It's just a matter of time before somebody calls some of the contestants on "The Amazing Race" (8 p.m., CBS) the Amazing Racists, so it might as well be me. This show has had plenty of "ugly American" moments in the past, but now it seems to be getting out of hand.
Why did the producers insist that last week's "game" take place at the site of a slave-trading port? While entering the historic slave museum, Rebecca cracked that she wasn't surprised so many people "escaped" from Africa. Now that's a novel way to look at the Middle Passage. While rushing to the airport, Kendra couldn't hide her disgust with Africa and Africans. "They just keep breeding," she said of Senegal's poorer citizens.
Jonathan's unhinged behavior toward his wife, Victoria, has morphed from weird to deeply ugly. At the conclusion of last week's show he forcefully struck Victoria right in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.
I was under the impression physical violence was one of the few taboos of reality television, a cause for instant expulsion and deservedly so. The show's Web site describes Jonathan's act as a "shove," but anyone watching could see that it was a forceful, violent blow that sent her away sobbing and shaking.
The folks at CBS, "Race" and their advertisers should wake up and smell the outrage. Wife beating is not entertainment.
- Q: Where is the week after Christmas just like August?
A: On television. It's the time when networks "burn off" shows while nobody's watching.
Hence, on three consecutive episodes of "Father of the Pride" (NBC), Kate's comments put the PTA in a fowl mood (7 p.m.), obnoxious neighbors (7:30 p.m.), an anniversary forgotten (8 p.m.).
- Rory and Dean assess their situation on "Gilmore Girls" (7 p.m., WB).
- Scheduled on "Frontline" (8 p.m., PBS): the changing face of alternative medicine.
- Scheduled on "20/20" (9 p.m., ABC): New Years' romance stories; an academy for "cupids"; and classes teaching men and women to enliven relationships.