I say that on top of what is already mentioned in the original article, the COMMENTATORS on Amerincan NW are a huge part of the problem. Especially the former Olympian (I think that's his claim to fame, by recall). They (and he especially) are ANNOYING. It's likely half the WRITING itself, but when they are talking as if they are doing it LIVE (which they obviously are not) and say things "as they are happening" to make it seem like they're completely on top of what's going down -- it's annoying as hell.
People jump onto the rope hang obstacle, and people landing above or below the "same area" are scolded for being below or above an ideal point (in other words, they are wildly inconsistent in their commentary). They are VERY uninteresting to listen to generally speaking.
The Japanese's way of making it FUN and as the original article points out "men against the course" is much more enjoyable.
Another fine Japanese show Americanized and ruined (just like Iron Chef.. heck, just like Godzilla for that matter, thanks Matt Broderick).