After swearing off "The Amazing Race" (and, for that matter, "Survivor") a couple of seasons ago under the "I've seen all this franchise has to offer me" theorem, I checked out the premiere for two reasons: 1)One of the teams features screenwriter and sometime actor Mike White (aka Ned Schneebly, aka Kim Kelly's older brother, aka Buck), and 2)Several "Race"-heads whose opinions I trust, including Fienberg and Linda Holmes made it sound like this was one of the best season premieres in a long time. And so I watched, and I think I may have been sucked back in. A few reasons why after the jump...
• Though the bungee jump was in no way a game-changer (even if someone had needed a while to work up the nerve to go, no one else had the ability to jump the queue), it still looked awesome, even in standard-def, and was a reminder of the pure fun this show can be.
• The teams for the most part seem fairly likable, though I'm already done with the sibling lawyers. My rooting interest is obviously in Team Schneebly, but since I know they have no chance to win (the Race is heavily weighted in favor of more physically capable teams), I have a feeling I may be able to find some other groups to pull for.
• Phil signed "You are team number one!" for the deaf son and his mom! Big, fat, awwwwww for me from that one, even though I should have suspected he'd been working on his signing for just this occasion. One of a bunch of nice heart-warming moments.
• There was a minimum of time spent on drama at the airport, which I believe the producers have said was a change made to freshen up the franchise. As that was always one of my least favorite parts of the series -- it just reminded me of how much I hate the stress of air travel -- I'm in favor of the change.
What did everybody else think?