Sunday, July 24, 2011

TV Show Review: Expedition Impossible

When I first heard of Expedition Impossible I thought "oh great, another 'reality' TV show that tries to imitate how to rough-it," but after a good friend told me that I should try-out to be on this show next season, I figured that I should probably give it a shot.

I have been pleasantly surprised so far. The season starts out with thirteen teams of three's ranging from sisters to co-workers and friends, each making an attempt at winning $50K and a new Ford Explorer. If a team crosses the finish line last, then they are eliminated. The team to cross the tenth finish line first will win the money and SUV.

While at first glance it looks like another "Amazing Race," it is geared towards outdoor adventure instead of just racing through busy cities. So far teams have faced hiking up sand dunes, riding camels, paddling inflatable canoes, riding arabian horses, building and paddling rafts, using para-cord from survival bracelets, sleeping at an alpine base camp in freezing temps, rappelling, and miles upon miles of hiking. Although they don't hike more than 10 miles in one day, the challenges are enough to take seriously.

Although everyone competing are from everyday walks of life, on Team - No Limits is the famous mountaineer Erik Weihenmayer - the blind guy who summited Everest in 2001. I would be surprised if the producers didn't approach him to be on the show instead of the other way around. Seeing him on the commercials for the show is also another push I had to actually watch. Yes, he does have two companions helping him along the way, but he definitely has a disadvantage (ever tried riding a camel or horse blind?). In addition, this team brings real experience to the show. Erik was the only one I saw wearing gaiters during the trek through the sand dunes, and you can tell that these guys know what they are doing.

Will I try-out? I think that it would be a fun month-long adventure, but am not sure that splitting $50K and a new Expedition would be worth the hassel of rearranging my grad school schedule and finals. If the winnings were to be more like $50K for each team member I would really consider it.

The bottom line - I definitely recommend that anyone who enjoys the outdoors watch this show. There are several mistakes made that everyone can learn from if they are looking for them: one girl gets in a hurry and decides to not put her socks on for the last couple of miles and ends up with blisters painful enough for her to get some extra attention from the host; Eriks companions get rushed and leave him at the top of a winding staircase, thinking that they can do the challenge while he waits; one of the "Country Boys" has real difficulty hiking up hills - completely hindering his teams ability to push for first place; and several teams struggle in the cold to effectively use their para-cord to hook when all they needed to do was warm up their hands, think for a second, and take their time throwing the cord.

Check it out anytime on Hulu or watch it every Thursday at 9/8c on ABC.