Two days ago, Michael, Michelle, and I had our first discussion about the upcoming season of The Amazing Race. Specifically, what are the drawbacks when you have a cast full of people whose profession ties into their social media image?
I have decided to tackle this subject and offer up a few points of advice for the contestants as they prepare to watch the episodes unfold on television.
1) During the race, I hope you were not worrying about what footage you gave to the camera operator running alongside you.
Remember: This cast makes their money largely based upon an image that they have had to cultivate and manipulate in order to reach out to an audience, and thus make a living off of it.
If I had the chance to talk to these contestants beforehand, it would be to let go of any stress related to editing what you do when the camera is on you.
(Don’t let it drive you mad.)
You are going to waste way too much energy and focus on something that will be irrelevant to your performance on the race. In fact, it will likely backfire as the audience will see through your self-edited persona, and come off as inauthentic on TV.
In some of the contestant’s bios, a statement appeared that I had never seen in any other season before:
“I am worried about being unintentionally disrespectful to other cultures.”
What I equate this to is “I am worried that my social media persona will take a hit, and lose the audience that is helping me get by financially.”
That sounds like a miserable way to play The Amazing Race, and may make for uncomfortable television as a viewer.
If your fans ultimately throw a fit because they see the ‘real’ a.k.a. ‘alternatively edited’ real you, then who cares. Screw em.
This leads into my second point. . .
2) Be prepared to share the spotlight, and be chill about it.
Everyone wants to be the team who gets edited in an over-the-top positive light. They want to be that team.
This season, all eleven teams could possibly be craving this edit. However, the smart cookies in this season’s crew will accept that The Amazing Race is not responsible for boosting their career.
Relax. Breathe. Meditate.
Be chill, bro.
Be grateful you got to have this experience, and let go of any professional aspirations you had for this opportunity. Do NOT view it as a career move.
If you are eliminated first, you get to hang out at Elimination Station. And if you get to make it to the finish line and win? Well, that’s good too.
Even if all eleven teams prove to be entertaining, somebody has to be the mid-season invisible/under-the-radar team, and somebody else has to go home first.
Do not invest too much into this experience.
And my final point. . .
3) Be prepared for edited footage that may not paint you in the best light.
I think this is most important point. The Amazing Race is most popular amongst the 49+ conservative/super family-oriented couch-potatoey demographic.
They will be offended. Trust me. It has happened in every single episode of competitive reality TV ever since Survivor debuted in 2000. They will call you horrible names, talk about how terrible of a person you must be in real life for not removing a hat, and be completely hypocritical in terms of who they praise.
NOTE: All-female teams, men who cry, and those who reside in the north tend to receive the most hate.
Claim you are from either Kentucky or Oklahoma, and you’ll get to escape the wrath of casual fans.
So just relax. Do not take their Facebook messages/tweets/DMs/hate mail seriously.
You are probably used to creating your social media persona around 90% positive feedback–that will not be the case with fans of reality television.
And unfortunately, you’re going to have to find your own way to deal with it that will not send you into a severe mental breakdown.
Recent examples of those who have had to deal with this to an extreme have been Hayley from TAR 26; Tiffany & Krista, Logan & Chris, and Justin & Diana from TAR 27.
Oh, and Joe & Bill of TAR 1 and TAR 11 -still- have to sift through negative reactions to them on TAR Facebook groups. Fifteen years later, and those guys just lay back and sip on fine wine as they ignore criticism that should have expired due to a statute of limitations.
So yeah. Embrace the fun and comedic nature of The Amazing Race. This not only includes the light-hearted jokes, but also the unintentional dark comedy which frequently permeates this franchise.
That’s it for today’s TAR 28 blog post. My written cast assessment will be posted hopefully by tomorrow night.
In the meantime, be kind to the folks around you and keep on smilin’. Peace out, V Town!