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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Amazing Race is a fast-paced reality competition that features positive and negative consequences of competition. There's some mild language ("crap," "hell," "damn"; very occasional bleeped vocabulary), some petty behavior between (and among) teams, and references to drinking and drugs. Competitors sometimes flirt to get ahead; there's occasional racy modeling photos and references to wanting sex. Show sponsors such as Travelocity.com and competitors' social media sites are sometimes featured, and labels for travel gear such as Under Armour, Nike, and North Face are sometimes visible. The contestants don't have phones, but viewers are invited to keep up with them on Twitter and other social media platforms.
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What's the story?
From producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the wildly popular series THE AMAZING RACE combines the thrill of reality competition with the excitement of travel. Eleven teams of two, which consist of friends, married couples, siblings, parent-child teams, and even social media stars, dash all over the globe in hopes of winning a major cash prize. Hosted and narrated by Phil Keoghan, each episode features each team using their smarts, wits, and various modes of local transportation to help them get to from one far-off destination after another and remain ahead of their competition. Once there, they perform tasks of physical and mental skill to get clues and information that will get them to the next location. During certain legs of the journey, the last teams to arrive at checkpoints are eliminated. From the urban streets of Mexico City to the deserts of Dubai, the contestants do what they can to win while experiencing the wonder and adventure of international travel.
Is it any good?
The fun, fast-paced series allows viewers to see the world through the eyes of the race and learn more about cultures and local customs in places that aren't always well-known vacation destinations. But, like most reality competitions, The Amazing Race has a fair share of petty behavior, thanks to the stresses of the many unusual and sometimes-difficult circumstances the contestants find themselves in. Adding to the tension are the occasional ethical questions raised about the teams helping (or not helping) one another.
The way the individual pairs, who are from all walks of life, support each other throughout the race ranges from heartwarming to frustrating, especially when they begin to take out their stress on each other. Meanwhile, some cast members aren't always respectful of the international communities or their traditional customs. However, these moments are usually quick and usually overshadowed by the excitement of the journey. Overall, it's an entertaining show that offers an amazing look at the world around us and adventures that most people only dream about.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the participants' behavior on The Amazing Race. Does a competitor have a moral obligation to help another struggling team, or is it OK to leave them floundering? Who in this competition seems to be balancing a healthy competitive spirit with good sportsmanship?
What are some of the things you should and shouldn't do when traveling in a different country? Should you expect people to understand you or your needs while you're there? Is it ever appropriate to make fun of people's language(s) or customs, even if they're very different from your own?
Would you like to join The Amazing Race? Do you think you would do well in these stressful situations? Where would you like to go? Is there anywhere in the world you'd be more hesitant to race through? Why?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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