Reality TV is a hell of a drug, but I’m finding I only respond to the hard stuff.
Take “The Amazing Race,” CBS’s long-running reality competition, which on Wednesday at 9 p.m. kicks off its 31st season of releasing amped-up gaggles of money-hungry monoglot turbo-tourists into a race around the world for a positively quaint-sounding $1 million.
After nearly two decades of overstuffed backpacks, high-octane meltdowns, impossible challenges, improbable quotes (“My ox is broken!!”), and what I must assume is the most rewatched watermelon-related injury in history, I would imagine I’ve seen all the anguish, drama, tears, and forced servings of emetically spicy Hungarian soup “The Amazing Race” could possibly have to offer — several times over.
But no: This new season threatens to up the drama dosage a little; and like any addictive substance, the worse they make it the more I want it.
For season 31, the 11 competing duos are drawn from past seasons of “The Amazing Race” as well as the network’s two other well-established waking nightmares/reality franchises, “Survivor” and “Big Brother.”
This is bad news if you enjoy an upward trajectory for civilization, but great news if you’ve longed to see Nicole from the 18th season of “Big Brother” fall off of a yak.
The “Super Smash Bros.” approach to rampant reality TV character cross-pollination is nothing tremendously innovative (and it doesn’t always go so well, does it “Ru Paul’s Drag Race All-Stars”?).
But the decision to pit some of the genre’s most insufferable personalities against each other (including Rachel, the Sansa Stark of “Big Brother” and erstwhile gubernatorial candidate and possible werewolf Rupert from “Survivor”) may make for some truly magical/disastrous moments on the world stage.
On that note: Apologies in advance, world.Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.