In a brief break of recapping Amazing Race China, I just have some thoughts, which gives us to this title.
P.S: I’ll just replace central character to E, just to type less.
A central character is a person that is the main character of any series of Reality Show. E may not be fan favorite, nor the winner, E is just a character that bring the storyline for the season.
E may be the star because of having the most links to the other characters, having an important link for vital moments. Even though viewers may not like E for dominating a lion share of the airtime, they will remember E because of his importance to the plot.
With E interactions with the other characters and/or E ride in the season, the E are vital for the editors to help shine the season. That being said, E cannot be used to dominate everyone else airtime to the point that they are invisible (like Russel Hantz In Survivor Samoa or Rob in Survivor Redemption Island), E helps to make the other characters shine on their own as well.
And also, E is wasn’t enough to make a storyline alone, E needed secondary characters, who also had a strong link with the other characters and had the most response to what E brings to the table.
So how about I provide a recent example for an E: I may present Brendon and Rachel (Brenchel) from Amazing Race 24 (yeah, polarizing choice, but I did said that E is not a fan favorite)
Amazing Race 24 is horrible when you look at it in the production viewpoint. The locations, the tasks and the cast were very disappointing. Even though viewers disliked the fact that there are 3-peaters, a last minute manufactured team, teams that are more suitable in Unfinished Business, polarizing teams, and forgettable teams, they do not deserve to only travel in 4 countries in 8 legs, traveling in linear legs, and worst of all, the tasks, just the tasks (Shaving a balloon? Toy Chariot Racing? Screwing A Light bulb being the hardest task of the final leg?).
If you want me to list one of the few things that I like in this season, it will probably be having a fascinating storyline that include the central character.
Brenchel is in the polarizing team category. In the race, they are known for Rachel’s really vocal complaining and a rivalry with Vanessa that nobody actually know how it started (Differing viewpoints in abortion? Glancing mean looks? Brenchel conspiring with the Mississippi girls to block the queue in Paraguay?). They are secondary characters (to Art & JJ and Kerri & Stacy, the Mississippi girls fought with a lot of teams in airports) in their season, but by default since for me, they needed the Mississippi girls involvement to give a layer to their storyline, so it ended up making zero sense for how are they unpopular with the other teams unless they have good ears (only Team Kentucky definitely saw Rachel’s complaining before the Nairobi airport incident).
And while 24 is bad with team to team interactions (like what did Brenchel, YouTubers and Jessica & John did in those 3 hours?). The editors were lucky that the teams also had to survive the course.
When they were casted, their only clear ally, Team Kentucky had some pre-show problems with Bopper having pancreatitis and deemed unfit to continue, while Mark was forced to ally with Mallory, somebody that he never know, and their trust issues ended up eliminated them and their airtime in the 2nd episode.
But they were riding high, they arrive 2nd in the 1st leg despite being on the second flight, and won the 2nd leg thanks to getting a great cab. They were in a momentum, they hoped to be in the lead for the rest of the race, and Rachel reveals that she wanted to win a million dollars so she could have a Brenchel baby (Well, she rented a house in LA with her Big Brother winnings).
After that, fate gave them one of the biggest roller coaster rides in The Amazing Race. Which consequently, became the central character from the 3rd leg onwards.
Leg 3: Got a horrible cab that pushes them back in time for the second flight, a 3 hour deficit behind the first flight. And a bad time that the only reason they were saved is the YouTubers decision to leave their cab in nowhere.
Leg 4: Struggled in the Cocktail Detour (which by the way, the only difficult task of this entire season). And Rachel stupidly encourage Luke (the other team that is struggling beside him) enough to let him finish the Detour and made Brenchel facing a Speedbump for the next leg.
Leg 5: Managed to find a flight that give them a headstart over the other teams, but an equalizer and their performance in the tasks puts them in the bottom again, and survived over Margie & Luke having a horrible time with flights
In those both episodes, it also shows Rachel that she learned how to be more nurturing towards other people, like Luke and Brendon in the Spinning Detour.
Leg 6: Showed their biggest weakness in the season, clue reading and rashness. If it wasn’t for John, they had to take a Speedbump again (Oddly, it’s the only leg where they neither place in the Top 2 nor Bottom 2 and Team Country being the only team that appear in a CBS Live Q & A session)
Finally, they bounced back to the lead in Leg 7, and thought their bottom feeding is over, but then…
Leg 8: Which showed their Greed, when they faced the U-Turn in first. They decided to U-Turn Team Achilles that was behind that just to win a prize (and a headstart). And to their dismay, Team Achilles turned out to be really bitter towards them over a 10+ season old rule.
P.S: If it wasn’t for the editors horrible decision of showing them complaining about it for 3 straight episodes instead of showing them focusing on doubling their efforts in the race, Team Achilles would have been a great secondary character
Leg 9: The consequence of U-Turning a nearly 60 yearly old man, having everyone else ally against them (which Team Achilles diplomatic charm and Team Country), and tensions is starting between them. And they fall in the bottom again (which by the way is their fault for driving the wrong way)
Leg 10: Despite the alliance, they were spared with Team Afghanimals decided to U-Turn Team Cowboys (who were background characters, amazingly). But Rachel is showing signs of being whiny Rachel in the Bull Detour, and starting to amp up her wanting to have a Brenchel baby.
Leg 11: This is where Rachel finally break, with their failure of reading that they need a 9 or 11 boot (not a 10 boot which they took first). And were only saved by Team Afghanimals problems with direction.
Leg 12: The last leg, where tensions with Team Country and Team Achilles finally burst, verbally arguing with them in the unaired airport and the digging respectively. Amplified with having a horrible driver (which supposedly were selected by the producers), and got themselves insane by stealing, bribing, Rachel pretending to be pregnant to get sympathy from Team Country’s taxi driver. Then over thought themselves for searching the entire hotel to get a clue.
And after running one of the most inexcusable finale in a challenge viewpoint (seriously, a task that requires teams to queue is the final task). They ended up third again, Rachel dreams of having a Brenchel baby were dashed, and Phil even unintentionally forgetting that they made the finals again.
Damn, that is long. Still for me, one of the good thing that happen in this season is Brenchel being a great central character in this season storyline. Even though the secondary characters fell flat (Seriously, Rachel openly called Team Country akin to a parasite when the race is still going on, the editors should have take a note at it), Brenchel are fascinating to watch by themselves: having a reason to race (Brenchel baby), linking and making the other teams shine by themselves (with Achilles and Margie & Luke) and a complexity of what a human being is (selflessly encouraging Luke to finish well and stealing a cab in desperation & greed).
So, this is my thoughts about a central character. Thoughts?