The Amazing Race premieres on CBS tonight. This season there appear to be no Jewish contestants, unlike last year’s Andrew & Dan (who wore their curly hair, stars of David, Jewish fraternity, and lack of rhythm with pride), or the much preferred subtle Jewiness of “New Yorkers” Terence and Sarah and surprise-to-me Jew, Marisa of the “Southern Belle” team.
SO, those looking for Jews in awesome Emmy-award winning reality competitions (I know I can’t be the only one!) or simply wanting to see Jews racing around the world… fear not! Israel’s Reshet (Channel 2) TV Network is working on their own version of The Race, called “HaMerotz LaMillion.” This version is on a slightly smaller scale with only 10 teams (rather than 12) and 1 million shekels (rather than dollars) at stake.
According to Haaretz: “Ten couples will compete, including two elderly kibbutznik women, a couple that is due to be married, two childhood friends, two night club owners from Tel Aviv, and two beauty queens.” My favorite team is the sassy Israeli bartender and her American doctor ex-boyfriend whom the site touts as “every Jewish mother’s ultimate dream” (I will pause for you to barf).
This US reality show copycat joins the Israeli versions of The Biggest Loser (Laredet BeGadol), Wife Swap (Ima Mahlifa), Survivor (Hisardut), Beauty and the Geek (HaYafah veHaHnun), Big Brother (HaAkh HaGadol), and American Idol (Kokhav Nolad).
And some originals: HaOlim is a competition of new immigrants in which viewers vote for who is the “ultimate oleh.” The Ambassador (HaShagrir) is an Apprentice-style show, where contestants must work their propaganda muscles to sell Israel around the world.
The one I hope we can get on this side of the pond is Darush: Manhig in which
Twelve experienced social activists compete for a prize of five million shekels (about $1.25 million). The cash prize, however, will not go towards lining anyone’s pockets, but rather towards supporting the social change project of the winning individual; in other words, the show’s reward is the chance for the winner to realize his or her vision for social change.
Hey, if you can’t race around the world, might as well fix it.