While “Survivor” has technically been on longer, “The Amazing Race” really seems to be showing its age a little bit more. This is probably due to the fact that the challenges are relatively formulaic, and that the winner is judged solely on skill rather than strategy — therefore, there’s not as much room for fun social dynamics.
The other problem with the “Race” over the years has been rather simple — relying on gimmicky casts rather than real people. We have seen multiple appearances by professional athletes, beauty queens, stars of other CBS reality shows … and twins. (Yes, fans of a certain Super Bowl commercial will probably get the joke here.)
Unfortunately, the season 20 cast does feature a number of these cast stereotypes, as you are going to see via the list below. There are still thankfully some fun team members, some likely to cause drama, and we can at least give the show credit for a few things. There are no beauty queens, no parent / child teams, there is not one team that is incredibly older or younger than the other (though Bill and Cathi showed last year that people over 60 can still succeed).
We haven’t seen anyone race yet, but here’s some snap-judgment on the teams that are going to be competing this time around.
Dave and Rachel – A married couple. They certainly seem likable enough, but not altogether exciting. At least Dave is in the Army.
Mark and Bopper – A state inspector and a motorcycle repairman who are friends. It’s interesting enough, and it’s hard to hate a guy named “Bopper.”
Nary and Jamie – If these two federal agents act like this, this could very well be the most insane season of the “Race” yet.
Brendon and Rachel – Engaged couple who met in the “Big Brother” house. In case you’ve never seen Rachel, she may very well be the most emotional person alive — she also managed to win this past season thanks to some newbies who acted like sheep in the house.
Joey and Danny – Friends, and one of them works as a club promoter. Whenever we hear this, we’re somehow reminded of The Situation from “Jersey Shore.”
Misa and Miaya – Based on their rather cheery photo to the left, there is some promise here for these sisters to be a rather fun team.
Dave and Cherie – They’re married clowns. Sure, Jon and Al back in season 4 make this not a completely original move on the “Race’s” part, but they were one of the most entertaining teams ever. In other words, we welcome them with open arms.
Elliot and Andrew – Finally, a pair of twins on the “Race” that don’t try to look exactly like the other one.
Kerri and Stacy – What we’re interested in seeing here with this team of cousins is that Stacy is a different sort of “basketball wife.” She doesn’t have the glamorous life to the extent that we often see it on TV, as her husband plays overseas and Italy and she spends much of her time going back and forth.
Art and J.J. – Can these guys actually help change the reputation of Border Patrol Agents? There’s a part of us that wants them to come on and be the kindest, most cheerful people alive.
Vanessa and Ralph – In the case that Brendon and Rachel leave early, these “dating divorcees” could be relied on to be the token fighting couple of the season.
The new season of “The Amazing Race” premieres on February 19 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.