Before I get to my episode play-by-plays, it’s time to give an over-the-top and lengthy introduction to TAR 11. This will be divided into three parts.
THE AMAZING RACE 11
UNITED STATES – ECUADOR – CHILE – ARGENTINA – MOZAMBIQUE – TANZANIA – POLAND – MALAYSIA – CHINA – GUAM
Welcome to what will no doubt end up being the longest single-season blog of anything I write regarding TAR. Back when I did these TAR blogs last year all that was here were my Survivor Rankings and less than 1, 000 views total.
Today the blog is approaching 12, 000 views, 10 seasons of TAR, 9 seasons of TUF, 1 season of Big Brother, first round analysis for Survivor: South Pacific, abandoned Street Fighter ranking, four seasons of my SCWL game posted, half of my WWF Royal Rumble statistics, 3 seasons of Super Smash Bros. Melee/Brawl tournaments, and much more to add in the future.
But for now. . .
It’s a celebration, b—-es!
So this is it. All Stars. Spring of 2007 when the TAR craze was at its zenith but also in the midst of a transition era. Let’s begin with some statistics.
All-Star Stats Breakdown
Survivor: All Stars (season 8) spring 2004
18 out of 112 players were chosen. Sixteen percent of all past contestants returned. In addition, everyone had to survive at least 50 percent of the game to be considered, and thus it was really 18 out of 70 players who were brought back.
18/112 = 16 percent
18/70 = 26 percent
With only seven seasons to choose from in a 3 1/2 year period, this produced an awfully tight knit community. Especially when five players out of eighteen are from the SAME SEASON. So a third of the cast came from the same place in space and time. This produced a very personal atmosphere and caused friendships to be broken and yet to be repaired nine years later.
Why did I sign up to do All-Stars?
And on the other end of the spectrum. . .
Yeah. That. Wonder what happened to those two?
So as you can see, the first competitive reality TV all-star experiment ended on a sour note. Four winners returned to be humiliated, those seeking redemption were humiliated, and five of the last seven players remaining in the game were the five least notable names to be cast. In fact the winner of the season is perhaps the most irrelevant player ever to make the jury in each of the first seven seasons. And the guy to her left barely made it onto All-Stars with a tenth place finish.
Between grinding, parents dying, bitterness, friendships broken, cheesy marriage proposal, and the least likable players to make it to the end outside of perhaps. . .well, the least likable players ever to make it to the Final Four in twenty-five seasons of Survivor happened to be the four to dominate All-Stars.
In addition, Probst expressed a strong desire to quit the show by the end of the season. Nine years later and All Stars is still the most exhausted Probst has ever been due to a season of Survivor. The audience would be drained too because the ratings never really recovered and Survivor maintains its core viewership today.
That was 2004.
Now let’s discuss what happened with the next all-star season of a reality TV competition.
Big Brother: All Stars (season 7) summer 2006
14 out of 75 houseguests were chosen to return. Nineteen percent of all players returned, making it slightly higher than Survivor: All Stars’ percentage. However the cut-off was much higher with anybody who finished tenth or better were eligible. This is the same as Survivor, but since Big Brother only use ten to fourteen houseguests in the initial six seasons, it really renders the notion of high calibre players to be moot.
14/75 = 19 percent
14/60 = 23 percent
Much like Australia’s presence in Survivor: All Stars, nearly a third of the cast originated from not only the same season, but the same ALLIANCE which forced the first five seasons’ alumni to team up to eliminate players from the recent and beloved sixth season until they were no longer a threat.
Except there was one significant tweak compared to Survivor: All Stars. The audience voted in the majority of the players (eight). As expected they were all very recent and all were very good looking people. Production picked six players who were irrelevant in their season, forgotten, or ugly to return.
Would models who camp outside the Big Brother house until the next invitation for an all-star game to re-appear on TV to get a better modeling or acting career dominate or would a plastic surgeon and his loyal business partner outwit everyone else in the game?
Brrriiiiing. Brrrriiiiiing. Hey Boogie, remember when we flat out said we were an alliance from day one, created two showmances identical to Rob & Amber and made everyone fall for it the entire game?
Bahahahaha. Creating fake showmances with people we have known for a year and live in a house with for 72 days will totally end well.
Hey Doc, they found out about the showmance and are pissed. Should I call the person I seduced for 72 days a ho on national television and come up with every degrading remark possible for her and Janelle? Should I throw the first round of the Final HoH competition when both want me out badly because of how much we hurt them? Oh, and the fact I am the second most forgotten and irrelevant player in the cast should make me popular, right? If you don’t answer, I’ll go through with my plans.
Somehow this is the guy who wins and produces a very ugly finish to Big Brother. Super personal, plenty of people hate each other, and Boogie compiles a record of doing awful in two out of the three games he played.
Do you notice the parallels between these two games? The irrelevant player from their prior season wins despite their entire game relying on the abilities of their partner. The winning strategy hurts everyone involved with the game, and leaves a sour taste in the mouths of viewers.
As you can see, nobody wanted The Amazing Race to go down this path. Ever since 2004 The Amazing Race insisted they would NEVER do an all-star. Phil wasn’t feeling it. TAR was a family show. Its audience primarily lies with right wing conservative Americans. Why take the chance?
But finally, they caved.
The Amazing Race: All Stars (season 11) 2007
TAR originally aired September 5, 2001. The conclusion of TAR 10 celebrated just over five years of TAR. A big milestone for a series that went through the first nine seasons of being on the verge of cancellation.
So TAR thought it would be worthwhile to celebrate this via an all-star. Can you really make an ‘all-star’ edition of The Amazing Race? Does it really fall in the categories of Survivor or Big Brother? With TAR doing an all-star, couldn’t any old show do an all-star? America’s Next Top Model did one in their fifteenth cycle as well as Dancing With the Stars, and The Apprentice is marking its 14th edition with an all-star too.
An All-Star is about to go down.
Uh, right. I was going to say ‘need we say more,’ but whatever.
Shush, you. Wait another year for me to blog about you. Need We Impatience More? It makes about as much sense as whatever you just said.
Look at the stats and TAR makes big leap from what Survivor and Big Brother did. You know that 16 to 19 percent ratio of all players getting a chance to come back? For TAR it’s much lower.
22/244 = 9 percent
Nine percent of all returning players. That’s practically half. And if we look at how the cut-off was to finish eighth or better during the series we have. .
22/160 = 14 percent
Again, half of what we see in the cut-offs for Survivor and Big Brother.
In addition, none of the seasons had more than two teams brought back. It was fairly evenly distributed as teams from the series’ first season and the series’ latest season each had two teams. The remaining seven teams were picked in the eight seasons that lie within those boundaries. In a crowd of 160 people, it’s tough for there to be any close bonds. Thus, TAR All Star eliminated the possibility of bonds being broken and things getting too personal or the gameplay slanted merely because of pre-existing bonds between multiple teams.
Unfortunately Bertram would completely ignore this successful move in five years when TAR takes another crack at the all-star format.
That’s it for part one. Stay tuned for part two where I debunk the biggest criticisms for a TAR All Star season.