Although many us don’t want to admit it, we all have our favorite reality show. Some of us love the incredibly lame shot at true love that is The Bachelor; some of us love the cutthroat world that is Big Brother; some like to watch train wreck shows like Real Housewives; while others dig what I consider to be the best reality show out there, which is Survivor. Some of you might be all highbrow and just not interested, but when most of us are alone in our homes, there is at least one reality show we get into.
Some consider the best show of all to be The Amazing Race. For those of you who don’t know, it’s basically a televised race around the world that is now in its 25th season. The show is popular with fans and critics alike and has won numerous Emmy awards over time. The Amazing Race has visited well over 80 countries on six continents over the years, and has had a lot of contestants on it over that same amount of time. How do they do it? How do they pull it all together. Why are the twins on the show always so hot?
Well don’t worry, we at TheRichest have you covered, as always. We are in the know about the things that happen on The Amazing Race that you don’t know about, and on a show this ambitious that is a lot. Here are 15 things you did not know about The Amazing Race.
15. To Plan The Route, They Literally Look At A Big Map
You might think that the producers of this show have a really sophisticated way of planning out the routes that all of the contestants take. After all, it is a huge show that has an equally large budget. But you would be wrong. Basically the producers just get in a room that they call “The War Room” and look at a huge map. Nothing is off limits in the entire world- they just figure out a route that seems fun. Well, fun for the viewer anyway; it might not be so fun for the contestants. One of the producers, Elise Doganieri says “We think, what is exciting? Where haven’t we been?” And then the race is on. See what I did there? One thing is for certain, if there is a place The Amazing Race has not been, then they will be there soon.
14. They Visit Everywhere First
Don’t get the wrong idea, though. They don’t just throw these people out in other countries without checking out the scene first. That would be wrong, and if you ever saw the show, you would be able to tell that the folks at The Amazing Race do not like to do things wrong. While one of the producers stays home to cast the show, the other travels around the world scouting locations, checking out hotels, and finding people to work on the crews locally. This is one of the things that makes The Amazing Race so very cool. It does seem like everything is just happening off the cuff, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The show goes off like clockwork because there has been so much work put into the whole thing beforehand, and every location has been scouted.
13. Crews Are In The Country Ahead Of Time
The odds are that if you are reading this then you are an American. And the odds are, that if you are an American, you just assume that all the crew on the show are American and they just follow the contestants around the world. Well, you would be wrong. Well, some of the cameramen and sound people do follow the contestants everywhere, but not the whole crew. When you think about it, that would be ridiculously expensive to fly everyone all over the world. What they do instead is make sure that there is a professional crew ready to go beforehand in every country the show goes to. That crew takes footage to supplement the shots of the main camera crew that follows the contestants. If this seems like a lot of work…well it is.
12. The Camera People Have To Stay Within 20 Feet At All Times
I hope that these guys get paid a lot, because this does not sound like an easy job. Every team is assigned their own camera person and sound person, who follow them everywhere and have to be within 20 feet all the time. That means every plane ride, cab ride, or all those times when contestants are running around like a bunch of idiots, the same two crew members have to stay within 20 feet of them always. Hopefully these crew members and contestants get along well. Can you imagine how awkward that would be otherwise? Just think of the person in the world that bugs you the very most, and then imagine him or her running around with a camera filming you wherever you go. If this sounds awful to you I would suggest not going on any reality shows any time soon.
11. Contestants Really Are Booking Their Own Flights
So I don’t know about you, but making travel plans is not my strongest suit. I pretty much always depend on my girlfriend doing it all, unless of course I am going somewhere solo, then I stumble through on my own. So my point is, I would fail on this show, in a huge way. They actually all book their own flights, it is not just made up. In an interview one of the producers said “It’s completely organic. Sometimes they’ll find deals that get them there 20 minutes earlier by hopping from flight to flight. And we’re just like, ‘Wow.’” I would be like “Wow” too. In fact I am like “Wow” when I can even find my way from one gate to another, pick up my bag and figure out how to hail a cab. So if you are a travel agent, you might want to try to get on this show.
10. A Lot Of Contestants Stink At Reading The Clues
Do you ever watch The Amazing Race and see two contestants run up to a clue, spend about 15 seconds reading it, then run off as fast as they can chattering like a couple of dubs? When that happens do you ever think to yourself: “What are these idiots doing? There is no way they could have taken in all of that information so fast.” Well, you are not alone. The producers are always telling the contestants to take their time, read the clue, and make sure they have everything right before they take off. But do the contestants listen? Well, the good ones certainly do. The bad ones though? They don’t read the clues very well and always pay for it in the end. Did you ever read that old fable about the tortoise and the hare? It certainly comes to mind in moments like these.
9. Being Nice Helps You Win
This may come as a big surprise to some of you, but according to the producers, being nice to the local people and respecting local cultures actually helps you win. This is shocking, right? I mean, as Americans, it seems like just going into other countries, yelling at the locals, and treating them like dummies when they move too slow would be helpful, but I guess not. In all seriousness, though, it is always funny seeing a couple of rich or middle class Americans yelling at a local cab driver who doesn’t speak English and not getting that the guy is now going to purposely go as slow as he can and maybe even drop them off a mile from their intended destination. Being nice to the people you want to help you usually pays off way better than being mean.
8. It Is As Hard As It Looks
Is being on this show as hard as it looks? You may think that when the camera goes off that the contestants go to a local Hilton and spend the evening having some signature cocktails and eating some locally sourced food while they are waited on hand and foot… But nope, what you see is what you get. They really do live out of their backpacks for the duration and they sleep on the floors of airports when they have to. After all, the show is called The Amazing Race not The Pretty Cool Luxury Hotel Stay. The contestants on this show usually prepare beforehand and do their best to get in shape, as it is as grueling as it looks. Well, nothing on reality TV is exactly as it looks, but on The Amazing Race they certainly come a lot closer than most shows.
7. The Backpacks Weigh A Ton
I went for a hike today. I do it quite often, actually. When I do, I carry a backpack (okay most of the time I get my girlfriend to carry the backpack. Don’t judge me.). In that backpack I have what I need for the day, I usually have some water, some food for the top of the mountain, a couple thousand dollars in cash, three changes of clothes, you know, normal day-hiking stuff. My point is, it is kind of heavy and that is just for the day. Well, these people are carrying stuff for an entire month. All their clothes, their toiletries, everything you could imagine. And the other thing is- they are going to be in different climates, so they have to pack for really cold weather, wet weather, hot weather, all of it. Can you imagine how heavy those backpacks get? I don’t even want to think about it anymore.
6. The Contestants Can Only Tell Immediate Family Where They Are Going
Part of the whole deal of the show is that contestants can only tell immediate family where they are going. So if you were on the show you could tell your dad that you were going to be on, but as far as your best friend? Well, you would have to make something up. I imagine this would be kind of awkward if you were dating someone. One day you and your girlfriend are out on a hot date, or maybe just walking around the neighborhood playing some Pokemon Go and everything seems fine. The next day you wake up and she is packing a bag, and heading to the airport, and won’t tell you where she is going, just that she is going to be gone for a month. Actually, now that I think about it, that kind of sounds like the way every woman I ever went out with broke up with me.
5. They Can’t Talk To Other Teams
The contestants on the show can’t talk to each other. Well, sort of, anyway. This might seem a little odd, but when you think about it, not so much. The thing is, contestants can talk to other teams, but only when the cameras are rolling. There isn’t any of that “Gee, that competition was hard” or “Hey, I think there is a giant bug on my back, can you get it off?” kind of talk going on. It is strictly forbidden. Unless the cameras are on, of course, then the contestants can talk as much as they want. This is kind of one of the main things about reality TV of course; it is only reality when the cameras are actually rolling. What happens when the cameras are not on is often more real than what happens on camera, but we don’t get to see any of that.
4. The Auditions Are Grueling
The Amazing Race holds auditions throughout the country. Just like other reality TV shows they obviously recruit people quite a bit as well. I mean come on do you really think Jeff and Jordan had to audition? No way. Anyway, the process can take a long time. Sometimes you don’t even get called until about four months after you auditioned in the first place, and then they often ask the contestant to record and send a series of audition videos. Then, of course, there are all the obligatory evaluations, which include those that are psychological and medical. Then to top it all off, if you are going to try to be on the show, I hope you do not have a huge problem with needles, because do not forget all the vaccinations you will have to endure in order to go traveling.
3. Waiting Around Is The Worst
One of the major things about reality TV is that they tend to not show the down time. This makes sense, of course, no one would watch the show if the majority of it was some chick passed out on an airport floor, or two team members sitting around talking about whether or not David Ortiz is actually the greatest Red Sox player ever instead of Ted Williams. But whether or not we get to see it or not, the down time is awful. One former contestant said in an interview: “If you’re wet, and your shoes are wet, you still have to drive straight to the airport. And then, once you’re there, you have to wait 8 hours for your flight. So, the [female contestants] would be in the airport bathroom, trying to bathe in the sink.” I have to say, of all the things I have seen done in a sink, bathing is not the worst.
2. The Contestants Don’t Always Stay In Pit Stops
A pit stop on the show is where the contestants go when they are finished with a segment. In essence it is a finish line of a particular section of the race where people can eat and sleep. It is not just a choice that they stay there and rest- it’s mandatory. The thing is, though, the contestants often did not stay where viewers thought they did. One contestant said of pit stops: “We’ll go there to meet Phil [Keoghan, the show’s host], but then we have to get in vans to stay somewhere else. Some places were nice, but others weren’t. At one place we were staying in Thailand, I tried to wash my shirt in the sink, and the water left rust-colored splotches all over it.” Say it isn’t so! A reality show messing with details that a viewer does not see? Stop the presses.
1. Phil Keoghan Is Kind Of Loaded
Okay, so we all know about Jeff Probst, who is the host of Survivor. And we also know about Julie Chen, who is the longtime host of Big Brother. Even though The Amazing Race is incredibly popular, has been on TV for years, and has won numerous awards, not nearly as many of us know who Phil Keoghan is. Poor guy, I feel kind of bad for him, don’t you? Well, actually not so much. First of all he is from New Zealand and is kind of a big deal over there, so already I feel a little less awful for him. More importantly though, the dude is loaded. Not just a little loaded, but really loaded. The word is that he is worth around $12 million. I am going to have to check my bank account, but I am pretty sure that Phil has me beat.