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Amazing Race Australia season 2 is on. Some impressions behind the cut:

The teams:

The Italian Sisters (Lucy and Emilia) (current standing 8.17) are currently my favourites, and not just because I know people that know them. They do seem to be enjoying themselves and picking up after what could only be described as an extremely shaky start.

I also like the Twins (Jo and Michelle) (3.33) despite their over-fondness for pink, their peroxide blondeness and their fake tan - they are racing competently and are often quite funny.

The Hippie Hairdressers (Sue and Teresa) (5.67) and the Cousins (Adam and Dane) (10) were good value and would totally have been favourites too, but unfortunately went out a bit early.

Sticky and Sam (2.67) I don't mind, but I'm a little over everyone mentioning that Sticky has one arm but can do anything someone with two arms can. Yes, we know, show not tell.

The Cops (Shane and Andrew) (6.17) are amusing in their racing incompetence but otherwise innocuous so far. It worries me that they are apparently part of my state's police force though as they can't navigate or successfully communicate with taxi drivers.

I liked Ross and Taryn (5), but they were fading fast before they finally got screwed in the last leg (see below).

Team CougarSon (5.83) is... entertaining to watch, but slightly scary. Sarah is allegedly 32 but manages to look ten years older thanks to the wonders of botox, tattooed on eyebrows/eyeliner/lip liner and too much blush; James is her 23 year old boyfriend. Sarah is also a beautician, which scares me - although one of Dean's workmates used to go to her salon to get waxed. Apparently Sarah talks even more than comes across on the show, which is impressive. James went to school where my dad teaches, which I am finding utterly hilarious.

Joseph and Grace (5.17) are mostly OK, but it's becoming more and more obvious that she's hoping to get a media career out of this.

Kym and Donna (5.25) annoyed me from the get go, and then they quit mid-leg. Waste of a spot.

And then you have Paul and Steve (4.67). Steve is a bit of a bogan, but hasn't been shown much so far. Paul on the other hand... is a tool. One thing I've liked about how the show has been edited is that that isn't the whole story - he has talked about having been bullied in high school which explains part of his tendency to over-react to certain triggers, although there are still times when I wonder about what's going through his head. He's certainly being edited as the villain, but at least he and Steve are willing to (mostly) put their money where their mouth is and they've been semi-competent at tasks. Well except when Paul ("I'm a really competitive person") is threatening to quit and take the penalty. In leg 1. Hm.

I'm still enjoying the race, but again there's no one I'm really barracking for. I would barrack for the Italian sisters, but if they win it'll be a minor miracle. I quite like the twins, I don't mind Sticky and Sam, and there are several teams where I don't mind one person on the team but the other grates. The grating team members are Cougar, Grace and Paul - I can live with James, Joseph and Steve.

There's really no one I can see winning, which is quite surprising as a team will eventually have to win. At present barring bad luck you'd have to say it's either the Twins or Team Armless (heh).

The legs:

I liked most of the first leg, although the first two Phillipines tasks were taken directly from TAR-Asia and didn't work as well in this series as they did in the original Asian series. The raft building was pretty funny though, mostly for the lack of competence shown.

The Indian legs were OK, loved the stair based challenge, mostly for the location - I'd never heard of Panna Meena ka Kund before but now I want to go there.

The Dubai leg would have been good but for the number of teams who managed to get seriously lost (and, in one case quit entirely).

The most recent leg was pretty badly designed - if you're going to have a non-elimination leg which incurs an automatic 30 minute penalty for the last team to arrive then you should not follow it with a leg with no bunching points, a Yield and an Intersection as this makes it impossible for the last team to catch up. Especially when the Intersection is right before the final task, which literally takes 5 minutes to do. Last year both the non-elimination legs were followed by a flight to a different country (leg #1 and leg #9) which at least gave the trailing team a fighting chance of staying in it.

What's been slightly annoying about both Australian versions is the number of teams quitting roadblocks. There were two in leg #3 last season, both at the Chinese horoscope roadblock, and two in leg 7.2, which was the first outing of the Intersection and probably (again) the stupidest place and task to put one in that entire season. This time we had 2 teams quit at the end of leg 5. I don't get it - keep plugging on until you get it, dammit!

There's also rather obviously been a whole chunk of stuff cut out - from the aired episodes there was no Roadblocks in legs 1 and 2, no Detour in leg 3 and no Roadblock in leg 4. I'd rather they cut some of the unnecessary airport drama and aired the missing tasks myself. It would help explain why some teams got so seriously lost in Dubai for starters.

I hope the leg design picks up, and it'll be interesting to see how things go from here.

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