Chip and Kim, Linda and Karen, Brandon and Nicole, Colin and Christie, Jerry Bruckheimer. All people I disliked and wished ill upon… until tonight. By 11pm this evening, I loved every last one of them.

Once again, the Amazing Race went out in style, with possibly their most exciting finale ever. Coming two days after their Emmy win, it made for a pretty amazing week for Mr. Bruckheimer, damn him.

I know the next season has already been shot, and I know the people who make the show don’t need advice from me on how to make their show better, but here are my suggestions for next time anyway:

  1. Fewer non-elimination legs. I understand it’s easier to pad the season with a couple of these than to start off with 16 teams, but it’s always kind of a let-down when nobody gets the boot. At the very least, they need to be positioned more strategically. When Brandon and Nicole refused to shave their heads, they deserved to go home, but instead, the non-elimination leg gave them a free pass to the next round.

  2. Stop stripping teams of money if they come in last in the non-elimination legs. Since they’re allowed to panhandle during the mandatory break period and since every team managed to raise plenty of cash, it really wasn’t much of an obstacle. And it doesn’t do the show or America’s image abroad any benefit to reduce the contestants to begging. (Instead, find another way to punish the lucky losers, like forcing both of them to complete the next detour, instead of just one.)

  3. No more former Big Brother contestants. Not even Nakomis. (I’m guessing they already learned this lesson, since Alison was only visible on screen in the finale for about 0.000001 second.)

  4. No more yields. The new gimmick this season only got used once, maybe because the logic of it was so backward. Wouldn’t it make more sense to slow down a team that’s ahead of you, rather than one that’s behind you? And forcing a team to take a time out and possibly lose the race through no fault of their own isn’t exactly fair.

  5. As much as possible, have teams do traveling at the beginning of each leg, rather than later on. Everyone always seems to catch up to each other at the airport, rendering whatever tasks came beforehand meaningless. There’s nothing lamer than a cab race from an airport to a pit stop, and it’s more fun to see a team eliminated because they sucked at a challenge than because they got stuck with a slow driver.

  6. Bring back the Fast Forwards — or at least have more of them next time. Fast Forwards were fun because they screwed almost as many people as they helped. When more than one team went for it on the same leg, only one of them could win, and the others wasted a ton of time and fell even further behind in the race.

  7. No more Jesus freaks.

Other than that, leave everything exactly the same.

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