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Current Season vs. Past Seasons: Good Times, Good Times


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#1801

Masem

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 6:06 PM

I strongly recommend this order for older seasons:
- 5 (probably the best mix of race and casting the show's had)
- 3 (because once you've survived Colin and Minra, you can survive Flo and Ian)
- 1 (it's hard to watch if you don't know where the show ultimately matures into, but once you can remember this, the first handful of episodes are survivable.)
- 2 (for ChaChaCha, and the antics of Will, and knowing how now-successful TOMS CEO Blake started his career...)

4, 6 and 7 (the other seasons available on DVD) don't ahve that much going for them beyond if you're a collector. 6 is utterly ignoreable due to casting. The sad sad casting (save for Lena/Krista and Kris/Jon, and to some extent, Lori/Bolo). 4 has its moments (the Millie breakdown) but again suffers casting issues. And 7 has Rob and Amber.
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#1802

Lantern7

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Posted May 7, 2012 @ 9:52 PM

Avoid TAR6 at any and all costs. If you want to get angry at a TV show, this would be the season.

So . . . .Rachel & Dave: best team ever? I was thinking out loud about it at TARCon. I figure that even with the eight leg wins, they were big fish in a very shallow pond. I do know that this season set the record for fewest teams in first place: Rachel & Dave, Art & JJ, and Bopper & Mark. On the bright side, I think the final three were the right final three. Even though Brennan & Rachel sucked on screen, they might be the best team to never finish in first place.

ETA: Blake Mycoskie is successful? I'm not saying he was a dummy, but he seemed to be a space case back in TAR2. As for TAR 3: if you stop watching before Flo & Zach finish in last at the ninth leg, that's probably for the best. In an ideal world, it would've come down to Ken & Gerard, Derek & Drew and Teri & Ian. I know, the latter sucked as Racers, but JVJ were only slightly better, even though they were the most "together" male/female team in the game.

Edited by Lantern7, May 7, 2012 @ 9:56 PM.

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#1803

Zach808

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 12:59 AM

This season definitely wasn't one of my favorites. Granted, it wasn't the worst (it's going to be nearly impossible to top the season that made me watch Jonathan), but it still had some major problems.

I actually thought the season started out pretty good. The first 2 episodes, while a little confusing with so many teams, were at least better than last season. Episode 3 was probably one of the best episodes in long time. I'll fondly remember round 2 of the evil watermelons and that tense finish. Episodes 4 and 5 also had their moments as well. Episode 6 was kinda predictable thanks to the failed Fast Forward, though it still was kinda funny to watch the racers getting weirded out at the oil detour. Also, the scenery throughout the whole season was great, and I actually liked a lot of the tasks.

For me, the season really plummeted right after that. Episodes 7-10 have to be some of the worst episodes the show has ever aired, almost up there with the second half of season 6. The good teams were almost all gone. There were several awful, predictable eliminations after teams kept getting saved by NELs and not getting equalized. BBRachel's fake whining, Dave's negativity, Vanessa starting fights for no reason other than to piss BBRachel off, and the BP guys being absolute pricks really brought this part of the season down. I know that those problems existed in the earlier episodes, but it really stood out later in the season. I also didn't like Phil trying to make the teams hate each other more at the mat.

These episodes have also got me worried about the future of the show. Obviously, the producers must not have liked the overall friendliness of the previous 2 seasons, so they tried to cast a ton of teams likely to go at each other's throats. I don't like the direction this is going, and I would like to have the teams be a lot less toxic next season (kinda like the previous 2 seasons I mentioned). I've read somewhere that the show had been already been renewed for season 21 before this season started, so this might be the last chance for the show to get back on track (depending on what most of the general public thinks of the inter-team drama).

Fortunately, I found the finale a lot better than the 4 episodes before it. I know a lot of people here hate the Japanese Game Show tasks, but I personally find it funny to watch the contestants get tortured in them. I liked watching that prick Art fall on his ass repeatedly trying to grab the ducks and fail repeatedly at sliding down the hill. The race was pretty tight for most of the final leg as well, with several placement shifts and potentially game-ending mistakes. I also think BlondeRachel is a great racer, and that she deserved the million, even if Dave didn't. Definitely the best possible outcome.

Edit: Yes, I forgot, Season 17 was also pretty non-hostile. How did I miss that?

Edited by Zach808, May 9, 2012 @ 9:28 PM.

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#1804

Rusun

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 1:23 AM

I do know that this season set the record for fewest teams in first place: Rachel & Dave, Art & JJ, and Bopper & Mark.



Nope, it's tied with 13: Nick/Starr, Ken/Tina, and Toni/Dallas.

Also, aks, you might consider the Australian version.

These episodes have also got me worried about the future of the show. Obviously, the producers must not have liked the overall friendliness of the previous 2 seasons, so they tried to cast a ton of teams likely to go at each other's throats. I don't like the direction this is going, and I would like to have the teams be a lot less toxic next season (kinda like the previous 2 seasons I mentioned). I've read somewhere that the show had been already been renewed for season 21 before this season started, so this might be the last chance for the show to get back on track (depending on what most of the general public thinks of the inter-team drama).


Seconded, only I would extend the friendliness to the previous 3 seasons: 17 was an antidote to 16, which was as toxic as 20.
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#1805

aks

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 1:26 AM

Thanks again everyone, seems like we'll start with S3 or S5 and then move to one or two later seasons.

Rusun: Is the Australian as good as the American version? I've noticed before that Autralia does some high quality versions of American comp. realitys so I wouldn't be surprised if they're at least close...

Edited by aks, May 8, 2012 @ 1:26 AM.

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#1806

Rusun

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 9:27 AM

Yes, because it combines the relaxed editing and fleshed-out characterizations of the older seasons with HD-graphics to produce a more than worthy spin-off. Many even consider its introduction/opening to be the best of any TAR edition:

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=1IoUHGK3LV0

Edited by Rusun, May 8, 2012 @ 9:28 AM.

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#1807

aks

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 9:49 AM

Good to hear! I can only find one season, has there been more?
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#1808

Masem

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Posted May 8, 2012 @ 10:37 AM

Re: Blake:

http://www.fastcompa...r-of-toms-shoes
http://fashion.teleg...ith-a-plan.html

Yea, he seemed like a goofball on TAR but definitely has turned that around.
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#1809

SimonHumboldt

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Posted May 9, 2012 @ 9:31 AM

So, this season, S20, was my husband's first season of watching TAR. Now, he's interested in watching one more just for fun. I've watched most seasons so far, but I can hardly remember last season, so my question is: Which season is generelly considered to be the best/most entertaining? Is there one that's considered better than the others? Basically, which season should my husband watch if he watches one of the old ones?


My vote is absolutely season 5.
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#1810

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Posted May 9, 2012 @ 7:33 PM

Good to hear! I can only find one season, has there been more?


Season two starts in a few weeks, probably just after Seven finally gets around to showing the end of TAR20. In terms of the foreign versions I'd also suggest the first season of TAR Asia (but avoid the subsequent three) and both seasons of TAR: China Rush.

In terms of the American version, though, definitely 3 and 5. And possibly 10.
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#1811

aks

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Posted May 13, 2012 @ 2:51 AM

Thanks again!

I can say that me and my hubby have been speeding through season 1 of TAR Australia. I'd say it's *better* than the American version because the casting is really much, much better. Halfway through I liked almost ALL the teams. Now, the casting might have been better (than it is now) in early TAR US, but I don't remember. But the finale this year (TAR US 20) was so horrid because I didn't like one single team apart from one half of the team that won. And that was my husband's first season... poor man. :)

But very happy with TAR Aus so far, we have 3 episodes left now.

Will definitely make sure hubby watches S3 and S5 of US as well since most of you suggest them. As far as I can remember I haven't seen them either so I'm gonna give it a go as well.

Happy to hear that there will be a S2 of TAR Aus. Hope the casting is as good this year!

Edited by aks, May 13, 2012 @ 2:51 AM.

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#1812

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Posted May 13, 2012 @ 2:05 PM

I'll throw in a vote for season 5. It has the best route map, best cast choice, and some of the best editing of the show (and a great finale).

The first 5 seasons are all great in their own right. 1, 2, 3, and 5 all have a clear "villain" team, and clear teams to root for, if you like things like that. I'm also a huge fan of season 4 (its my second favorite), but the teams are a bit harder to nail down since opinions vary wildly on them (with exception to 1 team that everyone roots for).

After season 5, I'd probably go 2-4-1-3, but you really can't go wrong with any of them, and season 7 is a great choice as well. Season 6 gets off to a pretty good start, but falls victim to all of the likeable teams being eliminated early (except 1), which leaves a whole bunch of bickering couples left in the final 6.
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#1813

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Posted May 15, 2012 @ 12:18 AM

Will definitely make sure hubby watches S3 and S5 of US as well since most of you suggest them. As far as I can remember I haven't seen them either so I'm gonna give it a go as well.


It's worth noting that season 3 has the first visit to Neuschwanstein Castle and season 5 has the first visit to Lake Manyara, both of which turned up again in TAR20. (Coincidentally, both as the Leg 7 Pit Stop.)
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#1814

TWoP Roxy

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Posted May 15, 2012 @ 10:51 AM

This thread is for comparisons of previous seasons with the most current season. If you're not making comparisons, don't post. Take it to Previous Seasons.

#1815

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Posted May 15, 2012 @ 9:41 PM

Finally got around to rewatching the finale (miss a solid 50% of the goings on while at TARCon). How does everyone think the final leg stacks up to other races?

Personally, I liked it. There were quite a number of tasks (ascend/rappel, shave ice, waverunner rescue, warrior games, ATV course, paddleboards, along with a chopper ride and a couple little clues to try to throw off racers). This allowed for quite a bit of teams shuffling order, which always makes for an exciting finale. Sure if Dave and Rachel hadn't missed the final task, it would have been a bit of a yawner, but it still was lightyears better than the Atlanta finale last season, which is IMO the worst final leg the show has ever designed (alright, maybe the gossipy final challenge in All-Stars takes the cake).

Keep in mind I'm strictly talking from a design standpoint, the results are kind of irrelevant. Season 12 is when the show adopted its current format of the final leg entirely in one city, and I think this is one of the better efforts since then (19 was the worst, while I think 13 was my favorite, as it involved a memory task and running through downtown Portland, which is something I really miss in the final legs - sprinting through the city). I realize the producers really want to avoid spoilers, but there's something thrilling about seeing the teams running through downtown, rather than being privately shuttled to obscure out of the way locations (or closed down big attractions like Candlestick Park or the Rose Bowl). 17's final leg I remember being pretty awful with the exception of the "remember the greeter" task which was pretty brilliant.

As far as results, this is the first finale where the team I wanted to win has won since TK and Rachel took it. I liked that the show used a lot of new music in the final leg (like when Art is continually failing at the sledding - pretty tense). Are Dave and Rachel truly the best racers, having set the record of 8 wins? Hard to argue against Colin and Christie or Rob and Amber for best racers IMO, but it was a completely different show back then.
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#1816

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Posted May 15, 2012 @ 11:33 PM

Hmmm.

12 (Anchorage): Pretty decent in hindsight, although I remember feeling gypped out of the last half a leg at the time. The Detour was basically needle-in-a-haystack versus needle-in-a-different-haystack, but with the most ambitious forced task ever with the glacier climb and the simply AMAZING Road Block puzzle (which was actually significantly easier than it looked), it holds up well.

13 (Portland): Decent choice of location. Also worth noting is that it's the last time we had a Detour in the final leg, and it's a shame they haven't had one since - giving teams the chance to split up increases both the odds of the order shuffling AND of the editors being able to mould a tight finish out of comparatively little, like the finales since have turned out to be. The memory puzzle (cluebox field) was needlessly complex, but if I'm not going to hold it against 12's logic puzzle I shouldn't do the same here.

14 (Maui): Not really that memorable, much like the rest of the season's tasks. A lot of it is familiarity breeding contempt - although we'd only seen Hawaii once in the preceding seven seasons - but the leg itself really isn't great. There was the surfboard fence memory task where some of the needed pictures were too oblique for their own good (a reflexology diagram for the foot massage task?), and... um, was there something with bikinis?

15 (Las Vegas): My favourite of the final legs. Sure, it was totally a 40-minute ad for those casinos, but the tasks were all good - indeed the bungy bouquet thing is probably the single best task in the season - and there was nice symmetry throughout: Obviously the poker chip metaphor task to the gold weighing earlier in the season (and to how little brainpower the season required in general), but also by starting and ending the leg by visiting celebrities synonymous with the city, and with the mundane "a guy's house!" finish line kind of matching the even more mundane "a dry aqueduct!" start of the season. It's really only ruined by two things: the croupier's fuckup costing Brian and Ericka the race, and the fact that so many people in one of the world's gambling meccas had never heard of Monte Carlo.

16 (San Francisco): Perfectly and utterly mediocre. It's clear they just wanted to get a same-sex winner after not having one in five seasons (and only having three same-sex teams winning since TAR2), and while the season itself was designed to benefit male teams, the finale with its ascender task and chest-carrying was the nail in the coffin. No female team was ever going to win the season once those two tasks were set up. There really isn't much of a chance for a trailing team to catch up either - the eliminated teams memory task is too quick, and the only other task of substance is the misfire of a Star Wars tie-in.

17 (Los Angeles): Eh. They tried to replace having a bunch of mid-range tasks with three BIG tasks (crane swing, Rose Bowl float, greeter puzzle), but the only one that even came close to working was the greeter puzzle. There's no question it was well-thought out. I do wonder why they went to all the trouble of finding greeters with hats for the decoys (from every season except TAR6) and then had two random people though (the guy from TAR7's South African tribes Detour and the cowboys tea guru). It's not like there weren't any more greeters with hats.

18 (Florida Keys): The less said about it the better. I get that that part of America is different to say the least, but did they have to spend so much time toeing the line between cultural and cringeworthy?

19 (Atlanta): Yes, it sucks. That said, it's worth noting that the map task was originally planned as the second Road Block - with the change only being made after a frantic reshuffle to a backup leg resulted in a two-Road-Block leg back in Thailand. Having it as the now-standard "psych! your partner has to do it!" second Road Block task would have made it look much better. Still not great, but better.

20 (Hawaii): Not a bad finale, and certainly the best in the last five seasons, but it did have a bit of a Bradys Go To Hawaii feel, didn't it?
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#1817

SimonHumboldt

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Posted May 18, 2012 @ 12:50 PM

20 (Hawaii): Not a bad finale, and certainly the best in the last five seasons, but it did have a bit of a Bradys Go To Hawaii feel, didn't it?


It could have used Vincent Price acting menacing and saying, "Oh, take any tiki!"
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#1818

TheRabbi

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Posted May 19, 2012 @ 12:44 PM

Interesting. I had forgotten about a couple of those challenges. For the record, there was also a detour in the 14 finale (I remember teams talking about it at TARCon, the thing involving carrying pigs was a detour option everyone chose and the other was edited out). I agree 100% that the detour needs to be brought back in for the final legs. Even if the finish isn't that close, it allows the editors to potentially make it <i>look</i> close (showing 2 teams doing different detours back and forth).

Interesting that you hated 18's finale: I actually don't mind the tasks too much (boat forklift, undersea restaurant, trailer design), but it was a bit crippled by the obnoxious wind levels at the trailer park. And like I said earlier, I don't really like the finales shipping them off privately to out of the way locations instead of actually being in Miami.

To get back to this season's finale though, I liked the final sequence being the warrior games leading into ATV's (if that's what you'd call those things) and paddleboards. Would have been too much to hope for to see it neck and neck down the stretch, but it would have been epic on the paddloeboards (even moreso than if 2 teams were neck and neck when tricycle riding the 7 mile bridge last year, because the tricycle riding seemed unnecessary). I do kind of like the cab rides to the finish though, with teams reflecting on their overall experience.
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#1819

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Posted May 21, 2012 @ 7:36 AM

Interesting that you hated 18's finale: I actually don't mind the tasks too much (boat forklift, undersea restaurant, trailer design), but it was a bit crippled by the obnoxious wind levels at the trailer park. And like I said earlier, I don't really like the finales shipping them off privately to out of the way locations instead of actually being in Miami.


Luck tasks are always bad (especially when in a finale); the forklift task would have taken roughly the same amount of time for everyone, making it hard for people to gain or lose a lead on it; and the trailer home task was ruined by the wind. It's not a great finale from a leg design perspective.
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#1820

Masem

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Posted Oct 23, 2012 @ 2:55 PM

Given how AV Club has decided to drop TAR coverage, I almost need to agree that the Race is becoming stagnent, and likely due to the fact that CBS is forcing them to do less on a smaller budget, meaning little self-navigation or complex trip planning. I've been watching S1-S6 again, and most of the enjoyment of these episodes comes from the fact when the teams put in cars and told to drive 100s of miles to their next destination, giving all sorts of opportunity for hijinks. You would never get a situation like the one that eliminated Millie and Chuck from TAR4 with the current race structure.

I'd almost rather see a single race cycle a year with double the budget (as per the older days) than having two cycles per season, only to recapture what made the show great in its younger days.
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#1821

ZeroThree

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Posted Oct 23, 2012 @ 8:27 PM

I would support having only one race a year, since it's obvious races like the current one had to be scaled down to meet the time and budget. Aside from self-navigation that would also mitigate dumb taxi luck, one of the things that's missing from this season is a variety in locations. Every single leg so far has been downtown and it's getting repetitive, not to mention again it necessitates taxis which lead to cheap, unfair eliminations like Amy & Daniel. Unfinished Business with its bog standard country list still managed to make the world feel huge with its wide variety of environments and tasks, so places like Indonesia are nice, but it doesn't do them justice to show such a small slice of it.
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#1822

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Posted Oct 24, 2012 @ 10:34 AM

I concur that one per year and more self navigation would be tremendous improvements. I wouldn't even mind more product placement from car companies if it meant more self driving.
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#1823

Lantern7

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Posted Oct 24, 2012 @ 11:54 AM

I can't see one season per year. I know it might do the show good, but I remember the agonizing wait between TARs 3-4 and 4-5. I would support more on-screen sponsors if the money went to improving the show, as long as it doesn't lead to Phil figuratively fellating a product. You know, like Probst with 7-Up or whatever crap movie Survivor is forced to promote and screen.

Edited for grammar correction. Also, I know TAR isn't as big a deal to me as before, but once a year would still suck. Maybe they could alternate with Survivor? CBS could spend four months apiece on those two shows and Big Brother. Just a thought.

Edited by Lantern7, Oct 24, 2012 @ 11:57 AM.

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#1824

AngelaWizen

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Posted Oct 24, 2012 @ 5:13 PM

can't see one season per year. I know it might do the show good, but I remember the agonizing wait between TARs 3-4 and 4-5.

Not to mention TAR12 to TAR13.
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#1825

Masem

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Posted Oct 25, 2012 @ 1:23 PM

but I remember the agonizing wait between TARs 3-4 and 4-5.


I'd rather have one strong season that makes me wait 9 months to see the next than lackluster-after-lackluster season with 3 months in between.

Totally not scientific proof of this, but the fact that I can remember nearly all the racers, locations, and challenges of S1-7 compared with blanking who won last season, much less what they did...
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#1826

SnideAsides

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Posted Oct 25, 2012 @ 7:40 PM

I can't see one season per year. I know it might do the show good, but I remember the agonizing wait between TARs 3-4 and 4-5. I would support more on-screen sponsors if the money went to improving the show, as long as it doesn't lead to Phil figuratively fellating a product. You know, like Probst with 7-Up or whatever crap movie Survivor is forced to promote and screen.


The key is not being gratuitous with the product placement. The basic rule of thumb, I think, is if you could completely ignore the sponsor and it would still work - there's a big difference between "drive a Mercedes across Berlin" (season 6) and "drive a Ford in reverse across an airport parking lot to read a series of letters on the ground with the rear-vision camera" (season 18). The former is decent even if you ignore that it's a Mercedes, the latter sucks even if you ignore that it's a Ford.

To go with your example of Survivor, there's a vast difference between the early seasons when the car was given away as part of a standard challenge and now, when they base entire challenges around Things You Can Find At Sears.
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#1827

Lantern7

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Posted Dec 3, 2012 @ 1:19 AM

I think TAR21 will be remembered as the season where the best teams went out too early. This isn't a slam on the Twinees, who have been consistently good throughout the race. I'm not disrespecting the Chippindales and the Texans, who have done their best Chip & Kim homages, moving from near the back to the pack to the front. The Beekmans winning would be on par with the notion of Andrew & Dan winning their season, though Josh & Brent are better mannered and nowhere near as spastic. Still, we had Amy & Daniel, who lost Taxi Roulette and went from second (a minute behind Abbie & Ryan to start) to eliminated . . . as if some whimsical deity wanted a double amputee to last two legs. James & Abba kicked lot of ass and overcame losing $100, but they lost their passports thanks to a douchebag Russian cabbie and skidded off the path. Finally, Frankfurt bent Abbie & Ryan over twice, and the Twinees came up with the best way to eliminate them, with the Chips pulling the trigger.

I think that without Ryan, we're in for a nice finale. I know, the Twinees bug some people, but they're cute and they have skills. They're nowhere near as toxic as Ryan IMHO.

ETA: I reckon TAR21 will be more memorable than prior seasons. I can't remember the final four from TAR20 . . . all I recall are three couples and cops, the cops fucking up the final Roadblock, and everybody -- including production -- wanting Bopper & Mark to have at least make the final leg.

Edited by Lantern7, Dec 3, 2012 @ 2:30 AM.

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#1828

SnideAsides

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Posted Dec 3, 2012 @ 2:27 AM

I think that without Ryan, we're in for a nice finale. I know, the Twinees bug some people, but they're cute and they have skills. They're nowhere near as toxic as Ryan IMHO.


Right. Ryan and Abbie were basically "What if Colin and Christie were completely incompetent?"

All in all, it's been a surprisingly good season, even if it still feels a little like we're getting rid of cannon fodder a week before the finale and even if the best task so far was essentially "answer questions on a Powerpoint presentation". Probably the best since TAR12 in terms of being lighthearted and fun without having offensively bad task/leg design.
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#1829

Rusun

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Posted Dec 3, 2012 @ 2:58 AM

I think that without Ryan, we're in for a nice finale. I know, the Twinees bug some people, but they're cute and they have skills. They're nowhere near as toxic as Ryan IMHO.

ETA: I reckon TAR21 will be more memorable than prior seasons. I can't remember the final four from TAR20 . . . all I recall are three couples and cops, the cops fucking up the final Roadblock, and everybody -- including production -- wanting Bopper & Mark to have at least make the final leg.



I fully agree, and think that the top paragraph explains the next. S20 had an arguably nastier F4 than S16, quite possibly the vilest finalists of all (original American) TARs.

A season is only as good as its cast, proof of which being TAR Australia 2: the F4 were a pair of jolly co-workers, an OddCouple-ish Type A and Type B, the greatest Twin team ever, and love-to-hate sibling villains who never won a leg. Compare that with a Control Freak airman with his disgruntled spouse, two revoltingly repulsive and repulsively revolting "lawmen", a professional couple of famewhores, and an amateur famewhore with her disgruntled significant other (now ex). Those bickering "bros", OK loners, SC losers, and New England sleuths seem positively innocuous in retrospect.

All in all, it's been a surprisingly good season, even if it still feels a little like we're getting rid of cannon fodder a week before the finale and even if the best task so far was essentially "answer questions on a Powerpoint presentation". Probably the best since TAR12 in terms of being lighthearted and fun without having offensively bad task/leg design.


Half-agreed. Of all the loathsome teams to make F4, Nathan/Jennifer were head and shoulders above most. However, S17 and S19 both managed to have decent tasks/legs while being fun and lighthearted in spite of Thomas, Nick, and the Snowboarders.

Edited by Rusun, Dec 3, 2012 @ 3:09 AM.

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#1830

enlightenedbum

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Posted Dec 3, 2012 @ 3:10 AM

Nate and Jenn were only loathesome in comparison to the rest of the cast. They weren't offensive, they were just two people who badly needed to break up. I think this season is memorable for having a team I really like. I always end up enjoying those seasons more, even if everything else goes wrong. TAR6 for example, or hell, the BQs and Cha Cha Cha heroically saved most of All Stars for me. I do think the course is just too easy these days and that's a key difference from the seasons I really love.
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