Admit it. Deep down (or maybe not so deep down) you think reality-TV series are rigged.
Turns out even the contestants are tempted to think so - as we found out last week when we interviewed BodyBreak fitness gurus Hal and Joanne, who'd been eliminated from The Amazing Race Canada after the fifth episode.
The couple reported that they'd had "a target on their back" with the other contestants, who believed that the producers were giving them unfair advantages because of their celebrity status.
If so, it was a spectacularly unsuccessful "fix." With their ouster, The Amazing Race Canada lost its most famous participants halfway in.
In the always-provocative reader comments under our interview, one opined that reality shows are stacked in favour of "out" gay contestants.
Again, that was clearly not the case with Amazing Race Canada. The so-called "gay cowboys," Jamie and Pierre were eliminated in the second episode, and denied the chance for a Calgary homecoming where they'd have had a presumed advantage. It would have made for great TV, and certainly would have unfolded that way - if there was a script.
I have to admit, even I felt a glimmer of doubt when "The Hippies," New Age couple Kristen and Darren, lost to Army vet and agile amputee Jody and his brother Cory - mainly because Kristen and Darren didn't bother to use an express pass they had in their pocket. Was it an honest bone-headed mistake? Or were the show's producers worried about how it would look to have a Canadian war-hero trampled en route to the finish line - by hippies no less!
No, after covering this stuff for a long time, I'm not a candidate to become a conspiracy theorist. Some of the drama may be staged, or at the very least torqued in the editing room. But with the intense media and fan scrutiny and the number of people involved in production, actually faking the results would be extremely difficult to pull off.
You'd be better off faking the moon landing.
Tonight, the remaining five teams hit Quebec City, and the inevitable language barrier. Apparently the stumblebum sisters Vanessa and Celina (the team everybody's expected to see eliminated pretty much since week one) reportedly get the most lost.
The sentimental favourites remain Jody and Cory (expect a parade down the Highway Of Heroes if they win), while the realistic ones are musclebound buds and party-animals Jet and Dave. Yo, bros!
Father and son Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. are longshots, while married doctors Holly and Brett aren't a physical threat, but have shown a willingness to play dirty.
In the meantime, The Amazing Race Canada has been undeniably a pretty nice tour across this great country - minus the blackflies and mosquitos in your living room.