THE UPGRADE: So after all that -- 23 (that's it?) days -- whatever faults the rest of this season of The Amazing Race had, at least we had a worthy winner. [Rest is spoilers below the fold.]
Worthy in terms of the whole season? No. The only leg Dan & Jordan won was because of a Fast Forward, and even though the Race is don't-be-last until the final leg, it's still not impressive to see. But worthy in terms of racing the hell out of this leg, absolutely. The backpack shtick wasn't determinative, but asking to be moved to first class certainly was. From that advantage off the plane, they had a nice head start to the first task, found it easily (googled from the Shanghai Airport?) and impressively handled the rest of the race, including a too-easy-to-prepare-for-especially-if-you-could-tagteam-it memory challenge at the end. At least Brent and Catie were nicely crushed by their cab driver.
Not a great season for the Race overall, and I'm trying to figure out why. Overall, I'd attribute it a lack of impressive racing -- there are no Colin/Christie or Mirna/Schmirna teams looking to out-race the Race, and I feel like they're casting more for backstory and easily identifiable traits rather than racing abilities. But even more than that, the tasks weren't demanding enough -- physical challenges were basically gone in favor of a whole lot of "find that and do something easy," and I don't recall much long-distance driving or navigational challenges.
This season just wasn't must-see-it-right-now tv, and I'm wondering what it will take to resuscitate this franchise the way that this All-Star season has for Survivor. Thoughts?
added: Dan wants to focus on the post-victory ugliness, about which I can only say: double-true.