New Zealand and Australian teams competing in the 2014 series of The Amazing Race Australia. Supplied by Channel 7.
New Zealand and Australian teams competing in the 2014 series of The Amazing Race Australia. Supplied by Channel 7.

New Amazing Race is 'bloody bonza'

IT ain't perfect, but The Amazing Race: Australia Versus New Zealand is still bloody bonza in my book.

In case you missed it, there are five teams from our side of the ditch playing against five teams from the other side, a land where clouds are long and white, and 'ditch' sounds more like 'dutch'.

It's a refreshing twist for such a long-standing show, even if it trades off a chronic stereotype cling. Then again, I just paid out on the kooky Kiwi accent, so maybe I should suspend judgment?

Nah.

Host Grant Bowler is back in too-tight cargos, kicking off the series with a muddy bout of tug-o-war in the shadows of Uluru.

It was a lacklustre trigger for what should have been a wow spark, exploding a powder keg of pace, action and movement. Then the losing team (Aussies) were forced to wait out a 10-minute time penalty. Um, shall we take in the sunset over canapés while a jazz singer serenades us to sleep next?

Eventually we were flying away, back to - what? - Christchurch? To say it was a bizarre choice is an understatement.

For god's sake! You have just started a race around the world, the hype is huge, the contestants are pumped. Send them to freaking Iceland or Djibouti - not back home!

A random observation: despite his confusing accent, and even more baffling surname, the franchise's US host Phil Keoghan is actually a Kiwi originally. Surely kismet dictates that he take the reins here?

Contestant casting has been well done. The pair christened 'feisty friends', who I prefer to call 'lazy cynics', are funny. So too are Kiwi foster parents Cat and Jesse.

Tune in soon, or you will miss bodybuilders Tyson and Sally, who will be eliminated early. They are living proof that protein shakes do not make you smarter. In fact, they might just do the opposite.

Jarrod, who mows the lawn draped in an Aussie flag and says 'bloody' a lot, is the expected walking cliché; and

Team Raspberry and Coke (John and Murray) look like lively lads.

The two male ICU nurses are a quirky curveball, and had me spending far too long wondering if Daniel's hair was hospital-grade hygienic.

Hairnets aside, I am keen to watch. It looks as though there'll be enough screaming, falling over, spider-eating, map drama, slightly-racist interactions with non-English speakers and bitchiness to keep two countries happy.


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