Originally Posted by scowl
This is the first season of TAR I've ever seen. Do people complain about the rules and how their favorite team was cheated and how the producers need to change everything about the game or nobody will watch it like we do at the end of every Survivor season?
This was far more about luck than skill. I've ridden with cabbies who couldn't even speak English but could find their way around town!
I'd say "TAR" is equal parts perseverence (not giving up when behind because a non-elimination leg or team screwing up along the way could save a team's behind), luck (a delayed flight that was ahead of time gets diverted, someone forgot something that forced a team to backtrack, etc.) and equalizers (airport schedules changing, bad cabbies, etc.). Shoot, on the third season there was a team that won the Million Dollar grand prize without being aware they were winning and which the editors cleverly hid (from the viewing audience and the competing teams) until the very end. The reaction of the winners (which had done everything in their power to come across as whiny and dislikable) is simply timeless, one of the greatest 'you never know who could win this' out-of-nowhere finales in a reality show I've ever seen. And I only caught this when GSN repeated "TAR" seasons a few years back (didn't start watching first-run on CBS until "TAR 6").
And when something bad happens to a team that people like of course there are complaints, but this isn't "Big Brother" where you can clearly tell who the producers want the audience to like/hate by how the show is edited or what is shown on the feeds. The competitors and situations may get criticism ("TAR" usually ends its season with a memory recall task for what contestants did throughout the season... the show didn't do one this year) but overall the show's reputation is solid and blemish-free. There's an 'everybody is equal' atmosphere on "TAR" that puts all its teams on an even field. Some teams get more screen-camera and favorable edits (the Trotters and their theme song, the Cowboys, etc.) but being photogenic doesn't mean a guaranteed pass to the end because, in the end, the competitions and luck/equalizer elements affect everybody equally. Is everyone happy with this? No, but seldom does the show get the blame when it shows that a team just got screwed by randomly getting a bad cabbie on, of all legs, the final one at home (after getting good cabbies in foreign lands where they don't speak English). Sterling could have easily been picked that day in December (when the episode was shot) by the Sisters or the Trotters, and last night's finale would have been both the same and totally different.
BTW scowl, since you haven't seen any other episode of "TAR" yet (and if you can avoid spoilers) I'd strongly suggest you rent on DVD Seasons 1 and 7 of "TAR" (the only one's released so far on home video) to see how the show has evolved. Season 1 feels so rookie and experimental it comes across like an entirely different show, but the building blocks for the "TAR" you just saw are clearly present and (in their quiet way) still exciting. Season 7 is a mid-point that has the show at peak form, and features both the good (tasks/editing/overall production feels solid) and bad (reality TV stars cast as competitors, a still-controversial producer intervention in the final episode to keep the finale competitive, etc.) aspects of the production. Except for the forgettable 'Family Edition' there hasn't really been a season of "TAR" that's been anything less than entertaining.