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The Great American Road Trip – Rating: D

Submitted by on July 26, 2009 – 7:07 AMNo Comment
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The Great American Road Trip- Not so Great.

Ah, the road trip!  We have all been on one whether it was with family or with friends.  Good or bad, memories are inevitably created.  It is this connection that the brain trust at NBC is banking on with their latest reality show competition, The Great American Road Trip (Mondays at 8 PM).

The advertising for the show was ingenious.  Using the song from the National Lampoon’s Vacation movies instantly draws a connection with one of the funniest movies – and road trips- ever.  Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, and Walley World- I’m smiling just typing the names and thinking of the movie.

The Great American Road Trip has seven families starting from Wrigley Field in Chicago and taking Route 66 across the country till the remaining two families arrive in sunny California.  Along the way they will compete in competitions which will actually decide who is eliminated every week.

I had hopes for this show when I first saw commercials.  It appeared to be another Amazing Race type show, but with families in massive RVs.  Definitely potential for something challenging to the contestants and entertaining to the viewers.

Sadly, the show has little of the entertainment potential that the commercials gave it.  The challenges are the only competitive part of the show; the actual trip aspect has no bearing on the outcome at all.  In the premiere episode the challenges did not appear too impressive either.

What bugs me most about reality television is that it often just encourages people to act in an over the top manner totally unrealistic from how they normally would.  The producers seem to be banking on that so far too by focusing on a temper tantrum in one of the RVs, and with the ridiculous way the family from New York tried to accuse another way team of cheating.

While the host does not brig much to the plate it helps if he or she has an engaging personality (Jeff Probst from Survivor, Phil Keoghan from The Amazing Race).  Reno Collier is apparently a fairly busy comic having worked with Larry the Cable Guy quite a bit and hosting a number of specials on CMT.  However, for a comic, he just was not funny.abale

I may watch the show one more time in hopes that it gets better.  That is, I may watch it one more time if I have absolutely nothing else to do.

Beer: Arrogant Bastard Ale from the Stone Brewing Company simply because the high alcohol content may help make Reno Collier funny