And the Amazing Race Winners Are…

by Liz Colville

Some very nice people won the 17th season of The Amazing Race last night, but, spoiler alert, this is really about one awful team — a Sienna Miller type with a boyfriend who would never let her speak — and how wonderful it is they didn’t win. More spoilers after the jump, so beware!

After circumnavigating the globe, ish, the third-place team (real names: Jill and Thomas), along with the two other finalists, female teams Nat and Kat and Brooke and Claire, find themselves back in L.A. after visiting such places as Ghana and Lapland. Jill and Thomas proceed to hurl insults and frustration at their taxi driver because he can’t find them a person who has the Internet so that they can Google the answer to a clue in order to find the location of their last challenge. It was something to do with Don Quixote, but none of these fools knew what that book was. The lady doctors, Nat and Kat, got all their answers by asking an operator to please Google some things for them, which is also a bit crazy. Jill and Thomas’s taxi driver, whose first language was not English, didn’t understand what they meant by “Internet,” which prompted Thomas to ask him, “Do you even know what the Internet is?” Nice, nice.

There’s also a part where Jill is just standing around while Thomas glues flowers onto a float, and she’s really disappointed he wound up with this task because “He’s just not crafty at all.” Jill, by the way, lists her long-term goal on the CBS website as “Have an Eat Pray Love experience in life.” Mission accomplished!

Now, what the contestants do for their challenges is also a source of anger for me. They’re supposed to be educational: there’s a lot of the show’s host telling us audience members at home why a particular location is significant and what a particular culture does there. The teams do something that is supposed to “teach” them about those cultures. So in the port of Long Beach, the second busiest port in the U.S., the teams are given the task of bungeeing off a crane attached to a boat, as if they are a shipping container. Deep!

Anyway, Nat and Kat won!!

When Jill and Thomas reach the finish line, the show host says, “You guys have been so consistent. What happened?” What he really should have said was, “You guys traveled around the world, and you’re still condescending to foreigners. You lost. Losers. Get out of here!”

If I myself were a foreigner watching this show as a “challenge” to try to understand American culture, I would learn that being American is about three simple things: money, adrenaline, and schadenfreude. But Nat and Kat were different! Even-tempered, positive, and full of sisterly love for one another, they really deserved their win. Big ❤ ❤ ❤ to them.