Amazing Race 17 Recap

By Daron Aldridge

September 27, 2010

They're great with a compass. Just ask them.

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It is time to get Season 17 of the Amazing Race and my third go-around recapping probably my favorite of the 156 reality shows on TV. This one was finally unseated in its Emmy category this year but a seven-year run is phenomenal.

Hopefully, you checked out the preliminary introductions from last week because in the interest of space to cover a 90-minute premiere, I won’t be dwelling too much on the giving team background. But, optimistically, there will be enough description so you can tell all the parent/child teams and dating couples apart. Once again, as recapper, I reserve the right to admit fault in my snap judgments and predictions.

After a prolonged panoramic shot of our first departure from the Massachusetts coast the teams converge on the starting live by way of boat. We are officially introduced to the teams:

  • Team HSN of Brook & Claire, best friends and television shopping network co-hosts;
  • Dating couple Chad & Stephanie, who I peg to be the most volatile on the race;
  • Pro volleyball players Katie & Rachel, who should perform well together and may win it all;
  • Team Glee of Connor & Jonathan, who are Ivy League singers and apparently the producers' answer to making the Race appeal to Glee fans;
  • Doctors Kat & Nat, best friends and co-workers;
  • Father/son Michael & Kevin, who use their generational/cultural differences for online entertainment;
  • Heavily tattooed dating couple Nick & Vicki;
  • Best friends and stage thespians Ron & Tony;
  • Dating couple Jill & Thomas, who may be harmonious or hateful on the race;
  • Dad/daughter Gary & Mallory, who is the reigning Miss Kentucky; and
  • Andie & Jenna, the team that has the heart-tugging story that they are a recently reunited biological mother and the daughter she gave up for adoption.





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Our accented host, Phil Keoghan, is waiting for them and breaks down the race, including a new twist in the form of the Express Pass. This new wrinkle gives the team that arrives in first place at the first pit stop the freedom to play their Express Pass at any future challenge, which allows them to completely bypass it and get their next clue. I like that the producers are upping the ante on the teams who happily tread water in the middle of the pack. Let’s see how hard they will race now.

With the dropping of Phil’s arm and an accented "Go," the teams start the race and head to Logan airport to catch one of two flights, the first of which only has room for three teams and arrives 30 minutes earlier in London on their way to Stonehenge.

In no discernible order of who’s leading whom, the teams scramble down the Massachusetts coast toward the airport. We learn that this is only the third time that Andie & Jenna have met. If they make it fairly deep into the race, then I will be very impressed because the teams that work well with one another and play off their known strengths are the strongest ones. Andie & Jenna have to make up for months and years of knowing their partner to be at the same point as their competition.


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