photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
i dont know how or why the algorithm gods at YOUTUBE threw this RANDOM TRAVEL GAME at me but ive been pretty hooked as of late on JET LEG: THE GAME. the conceit of the channel is that two teams of two players are involved in some predetermined BOARD GAME, GAME OF TAG, or GRAND CHASE across across a COUNTRY, CONTINENT or the whole GLOBE. each season, made up of 6-8 episodes, switches up the GAME and locale, with past seasons involving NEW ZEALAND, JAPAN, EUROPE and SOUTHEAST ASIA.
as someone who spent almost half his life abroad in developing COUNTRIES like NIGERIA, ALBANIA, MYANMAR, VENEZUELA and CYPRUS (as well as KUWAIT and JAPAN), i find it INTERESTING and more than a little FUNNY that they chose to explore COUNTRIES with ROBUST infrastructure and EXTENSIVE INTERNAL TRAVEL options. there is a part of me that would really like to see them FRUSTRATINGLY navigate severely INFREQUENT public transportation in SUBSAHARAN AFRICA, SOUTH AMERICA or even EASTERN EUROPE. LOCATIONS where overcrowded buses are not advertised or listed, but unofficially understood by the local community to take place from certain spots on certain days when capacity is reached. in other words, a FLEXIBLE schedule. my heart shudders at the thought of these seeming lightweights traversing such regions, especially when they complain about relatively MINOR delays in GERMANY or JAPAN.
i have to say, my biggest gripe with JET LEG: THE GAME is that it largely REDUCES and FLATTENS the UNIQUE aspects of LOCAL CULTURE into a purely OBJECTIVE-ORIENTED excursion. SCENIC places are viewed and "admired" on an entirely SUPERFICIAL LEVEL, purely because the GAME told them to. as someone that lived in JAPAN, its beyond CRINGE to watch the GAME PARTICIPANTS talk loudly to each and even eat on a public subway. such behavior is incredibly TABOO and interpreted by LOCALS as socially DISRESPECTFUL. its just DUMB, CLUELESS AMERICANS being DUMB, CLUELESS AMERICANS. so that is my issue, this GAME (much like THE AMAZING RACE-like franchises it is obviously based up) is REDUCTIVE in terms of how it treats LOCAL CULTURE and is a real missed opportunity to educate DUMB, CLUELESS AMERICANS about the WORLD ABROAD. something that sadly is much needed as we as a people have no sense of geography, both NATIONAL and GLOBAL.
other than that, JET LEG: THE GAME is ENTERTAINING as hell, even if at least one of these participants (i.e. SAM) have zero social skills or CHARISMA, but no shortage of EGO about his supposed strategic thinking. for me that misguided HUBRIS makes the game all the more COMPELLING to watch. not really sure why anyone would not be rooting for BEN and ADAM.