The Amazing Race 2 Ranking

The Amazing Race 2

Countries visited:

USA (2), BRAZIL (2), SOUTH AFRICA, NAMIBIA, THAILAND (2), HONG KONG, AUSTRALIA (2), NEW ZEALAND (2),

Format changes:

– Teams continue to eat, sleep, and mingle with the others.

– There’s about twenty million more confessionals compared to the first season.

– Phil isn’t wearing a turtle neck in the first episode!

– Route markers are red and yellow, and clues are indeed in sealed envelopes permanently.

– Airport security is huge thanks to recent 9/11 incident.

– Prizes for finishing first on random legs. That’s what happens when your budget increases.

– Phil checks in every team as opposed to only the last placed team in season one.

– Teams were allowed to tie at the pit stop

– Slightly less time spent in airports

– They cast a gigantic jack—.

– Just like the first season teams are leaving twelve hours apart with rare exceptions. Does that occur in present-day Amazing Race?

– Teams ‘may’ be eliminated are used only on non-elimination legs. Everyone knows the pattern. (Glad they eventually change this.)

– Teams are yet to be penalized for coming in last place on a non-elimination leg. (Glad they eventually change this.)

First episode:

Blake’s first quote: “I’ll tell you what scares the hell out of me: Second place.”

Deidre’s first quote: “We’re going to prove them wrong.”

Gary’s first quote: “We’re willing to do everything except felony.” — Do traffic laws not count?

– The Nevada opening is incredible. That truly looks like the end of the universe.

– Claire quote: “If we’re out first, I’ll die.” — I’d take that bet.

– I’d totally slip Fat Maria some tongue.

Will quote: “Tara is the calming one.” — Tara and calm uttered in the same  sentence? Unbelievable.

– Hope & Norm are too boring for TV and don’t excrete likeability. Why were they cast?

– I hate voiceovers.

Second episode:

– Why do they give the lady at the Samba club a horror movie edit at the start of the second episode?

Brandon Hantz Thinks She's a Temptress.

 Brandon Hantz thinks she’s a temptress.

– Tara continues to be referred to as ‘the calming one’.

– Did you know Russell & Cindy are religious? Did you? Well guess what? They are?

– That mother—-ing taxi driver ran over Doyin’s foot! That b—!

– She may be old, but I want to punch Peggy square in the jaw. She is such a sourpuss. Why sign up when you’re going to whine, whine, and whine? You’re not the loveable elderly team.

– Why did Shola and Doyin waste their fast forward so early? Why not wait for the Gutsy Grannies to be dead from exercise and lack of sleep?

– Gary and Dave playing volleyball is equivalent to my skill.

– Why does Shola or Doyin give the camera that threatening look when Phil announces that they can skip all tasks and go directly to the pit stop? Did anyone notice this? It’s like Yau-Man finding a lemon tree.

 Time to pay back that taxi driver for rolling over my foot.

– It took nearly twenty-seven minutes for Hope & Norm to be featured in a confessional. I love how editors decided to shrug as early as season two to ignore a team completely. This isn’t a new technique in competitive reality television, folks. I guess after Lenny, they decided to go down the slope a bit further.

– Enough of Peggy already.

– “There’s four tickets left on the bus, so only one team can get on.” — Well, this is a rare acknowledgment of the sound and camera guy.

– Chris refers to Danny & Oswald as ‘Cha Cha Cha’. Did they start it?

– Chris & Alex are featured in a confessional for the first time. They fixed the bus that broke down. Would this have been shown if it was any other team?

– Gary & Dave’s bus broke down too.  Public transportation can screw over in infinite ways in The Amazing Race.

– Ah, the start of the Tara & Will vs. Chris & Alex love/hate battle. Time to settle in for the ride.

Chapter 1 of the feud: Tara & Will agree to work with Chris & Alex. Will speeds away in his car intentionally because he thinks they are too slow. What happens next? The car breaks down while Will is driving and expects Chris & Alex to help him. Chris & Alex seem to help regardless of Will making a move to leave them in the dust. Not only that but Alex directs Tara how to find the route marker in the roadblock task.

– Cyndi & Russell, ChaChaCha, Sisters, and Gary & Dave all start and finish the roadblock in seven or eight seconds. I approve of this decision.

– I didn’t care for the dramatics of surprising the Gutsy Grannies that they finished eighth. Why cast them in the first place if you want them finishing above tenth or eleventh to be a major upset? It’s like Phil brought his grandparents to go on the Race just so they can ‘try it’.

– That was a strange editing of the Hope & Norm vs. Blake & Paige fight. Maybe the rumour about Blake’s lawsuit is potentially true. You definitely feel like they tried to cover something up. – “Next time on The Amazing Race…Mary & Peach face their biggest fear!” RANDOM LOCALE: If you go there, they will kill you!

You mean Mary & Peach have a fear of being murdered by locals on The Amazing Race? Who knew.

Third episode:

– They showed a clip of Shola or Doying squinting at the camera again in the preview! Was this an inside joke for the producers that they turned into a game of showing this?

 I have a MMA Record, Keoghan.

– Why point out that teams are given 150 dollars for this leg?

– Doyin: “We were excited to find out we’re going to South Africa. My dad and, well, our dads, are from West Africa. Sierra Leone. So this is like a homecoming for us.”

NOTE: Go look at a map or a globe right now. Look at Cape Town, South Africa. Then find Sierra Leone. It’s like saying that going to Alaska is a homecoming for me. Maybe I’m related to Sarah Palin.

– I would totally turn off another team’s alarm if we had a late night departure. That would be a genius trick to use at a pit stop.

– Mary & Peach get their own ten second scene? “I’ll get my nails done, you get a beer.”

– Alex thinks we need to ANAL-IZE. Hide your kids, hide your wife from the Bostonian accent.

– It took fifteen minutes into the episode before we arrived in Cape Town. This is just landing in Cape Town. Not even grabbing the first clue of the round.

– The Amazing Race turns into The History Channel momentarily. I remember how much this scene freaked me out for the rest of the night. It was so gloomy. That memory triggered as Shola & Doyin were entering the cell.

– Oswald quote about the dance detour: “It was like the Irish River Dance on crack.”

– Cyndi & Russell leaving the airport: Russell: “What are you doing?” Cyndi: “What?” Russell: “What are you going so slow for?” Cyndi: “I’m going fast, honey.”

I have a feeling Cyndi & Russell have this argument on a regular basis. 😉

– HAHAHA WILL GRABS TARA’S BUTT AT THE PIT STOP! Stay classy, Will. How did this guy not return to reality television?

– Peach giving sunglasses to the kids in Langa Township might be the best gesture of goodwill in the entire history of The Amazing Race.

– Cyndi & Russell give perspective on Chris & Alex for ten seconds. Why give us this information?

– These two teams miss a train by seconds. Alex points out that seconds are crucial. I bet he didn’t know how critical those words would be.

– Peggy & Claire are over twenty-four hours behind the second-to-last place team. I wonder if this is the biggest margin ever? Assuming you don’t include passport losses or 24 hour penalties, of course. I mean being straight up millions of miles behind.

Fourth episode:

– The first pre-pit stop fight. Wil vs. Russell.

– Wil’s quote: “It’s okay as long as we don’t stick it in each other’s faces.”

*Cue Alex sticking his mouth into Tara’s face.* Classic. I can’t recall that much fighting between teams in the early days of The Amazing Race. And we didn’t leave the pit stop until four minutes into the episode! Unlike contemporary times where they don’t let teams interact at the pit stop so they blow up during the leg. Producers don’t realize a romance between teams can cause just as much conflict within a team. In fact, it makes the dynamics extremely interesting and complex.

– The driver from Blake & Paige to the airport sounds like the butler from Batman. “Excellent, excellent Mr. Blake, I shall transport without getting you lost like other decrepit taxi drivers in this estate!”

– Reinforcement of the game being about minutes. I haven’t seen a season incorporate so much foreshadowing this early on.

– Cyndi: “All of the other teams that are left are very very aggressive.” — Cyndi, ONLY THREE TEAMS HAVE BEEN ELIMINATED! We can’t be doing this crap that ‘it’s getting down to it’ quite yet. Wait until top six to avoid my wrath.

– They really ramp up the negative edit on Wil at this point. They show him going on a tirade against a woman who is taking the time to arrange for three taxi drivers in an isolated area.

– Danny & Ozzy are using the fast forward when they have a big lead on the other teams? We’re not at season five yet, boys! I don’t think they would have suffered THAT much with Danny’s knee.

– The task of climbing up to the sand dune is straight out of the opening for Expedition Impossible. I’m convinced Expedition Impossible copied this task.

– Gary orgasms going down the Matterhorn.

– Yet another appearance from Alex’s gum-chewing smile. And exposing his Bostonian accent once again.

– “One of my weaknesses is driving a stick.” – Shola. And so Shola is the first casualty of the “I’m Such An Idiot to Not Learn how to Driver a Stick Before the Race.”

– “Did you see a route marka?” “I didn’t see a route marka.” “You sure you didn’t see a route marka?”

-Okay, I just saw Ozzy running. Maybe they really did need the fast forward. That was a painful run to watch.

– Shola & Doyin’s elimination is beyond their control. Booooo.

Fifth episode:

– Tension between Wil and Blake is a storyline before the leg. I forgot how ugly this season was between the teams. Or rather, between Wil and everyone else who throws Blake in under the bus so they don’t have to deal with Wil.

– Eighty dollars was given on this leg.

– Why does everyone hate Blake & Paige? This is the most one-sided feud I’ve ever seen. Every team has said they’ve been nasty every episode but they have not done a single mean thing. They don’t like Tara & Wil which makes them horrible? Guess what, EVERYONE HATES TARA & WIL! So Blake being upfront with it more than other teams makes them bad people? Or that they cut through the trees to beat Mary & Peach to the pit stop even if getting that extra minute had nothing to do with Mary & Peach?

– Five episodes in and Wil has less social skills than Na Onka. He’s blasting his own teammate and allies who are putting up with every single one of his sneak attacks. – What the bleep? Gary & Dave gets directions from Thai people dressed up in cucumbers?! That’s such a Gary & Dave moment.

Pikmin brought to life.

– TARA: If it weren’t for me, you two wouldn’t be here. WIL: I was tired on the plane. I just needed my luxurious ride. TARA: I think you need to apologize to me. WIL: . . .Yeah right.

The two most selfish people communicating with each other. Classic.

– Oswald & Danny picking up someone named Fern to lead them throughout the leg explains why getting a local to help you has always been referred to as the “Fern strategy”. I feel .2% smarter for knowing this now.

– Gary & Dave screwing up with finding a route marker that everyone finds with ease just when they get a lead is another classic Gary & Dave moment.

– WIL: If I’m in the race and I continue to race, I will promise you from this day forward that I will be nothing but humble.

– A roadblock that involves monkeys, cockroaches, dung, and a million bats in an extremely dark cave is a roadblock at its finest.

– Cyndi will never see another Batman movie again.

– They had about three seconds of suspense for who was the last team to arrive and there wasn’t any long-winded story before the last placed team gets to the pit stop. So much more substance in these older seasons when they don’t blast the suspense music for thirty seconds.

Sixth episode:

– Previously on TAR…Blake & Paige…Tara & Wil…Chris & Alex…shots of Gary & Dave…Cyndi & Russell…Danny & Oswald…did we forget anyone? Oh, and Wil swore he will be humble.

– PHIL: Will Wil keep his promise of vowing to be humble? And will Tara stop her flirtation with Alex?

*START OF LEG*

WIL: Let’s get in the boat.

(Driver tries to fix the boat.)

WIL: & TARA: Go! Go! Go! Go!

WIL: Let’s gooooooooooooo!

TARA: Why are you going so crazy? Go! Why are you crazy Wil? Go you idiot driver!

– What the heck? Gary & Dave are narrating for every team coming out of the pit stop in addition to each team talking about how they are a force to be reckoned with.

– Blake is heavily underrated for his creativity with finding tough route markers. He sketched out a perfect picture of the flower he wanted to find.

– This is clearly a non-elimination leg. What’s nice about these non-elimination legs is that the attrition shows through. Nobody is at risk, they’ve been racing for weeks, and now teams will be eliminated twice as slowly. I’ll admit this is one of the few benefits to the 13-leg format. The teams watched the previous season and know four out of the next seven legs may very well be all for naught, but yet you need every advantage you can get to avoid pulling a Joe & Bill, regardless if you are 90 % sure there will be multiple equalizers along the way.

Contrast it with TAR 19. A non-elimination in the same country you were in last round could be ‘drive 20 feet and grab a clue-walk 50 feet and do a detour-take a 1 hour bus ride and do a roadblock-walk to the pit stop. End of leg’. Cutting ten days and a leg doesn’t allow for that honest and organic frustration building up with your team-mate. Pit stops are reduced too and forbidden from talking to other teams. This means you aren’t as sleep deprived, you can’t yell at your partner for flirting with other teams, you can’t follow what everyone else is doing, you can’t form coalition blocks that anger the other teams, and you don’t get to the point where you absolutely crave a comfort zone that you’ve been away for too long.

– This is the worst I’ve seen Oswald. He isn’t even the one with the burned out knee! I do find it funny that when he says four star hotels are worth every penny that he is indirectly promoting these hotels.

– All of the teams go shopping while waiting for the train? It is such an unusual scene. Peach and Mary fight over bartering. Blake and Paige fight over spending money on souvenirs. Alex flirts with Tara in front of Wil. I can see why you would include such a scene when nobody is going home. The idea of shopping when you have fixed funds and you don’t know how much money you will get in future legs is hilarious. Has there been a scene like this ever since? I can’t recall another instance of a cast-wide shopping expedition mid-race.

– I think the kid might have been Thai and not Chinese, Tara. You do realize Thai people may be more common than Chinese people in Thailand?

– 15 hour train ride that requires you to sit the entire time? I can see why producers showed mercy on this leg.

– Rafting while standing is all team work. Brilliant task at this time. Plus it’s funny to see teams race each other in really slow modes of transportation. “They’re very slowly getting awayyyyyyyy.”

– Despite arguing and being shown more than any other leg, Mary & Peach hit the mat first.

– Wil sneaks onto the mat a second ahead of Chris & Alex who clearly didn’t care about racing to the mat. Chris & Alex will only run to the mat when it truly counts. Not for a non-elimination pit stop that has yet to institute a penalty for coming in last. I love how Chris looks like he does not want anything to do with any of the three of them. Poor Chris.

Seventh episode:

GARY: Are you an idiot? Did you book one flight that’s two hours later than everyone else?

DAVE: Don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t

(GARY books the earlier flight.)

GARY: From now on, I’ll book the flight. . .and you can open the clues.

– Gary’s toque looks out of place in Hong Kong.

– Gary & Dave are added to the list of teams who pointlessly take the fast forward when they’re in first place.

– Gary’s analogy of Fast Forward to losing his virginity may be one of the most ridiculous (albeit accurate) quotes I have ever heard.

– Mary & Peach become the first team to read a clue in sync.

– In Hong Kong, drinking a man’s herbal tea implies sexual innuendo.

– In Hong Kong, going to rest on a Chinese junk does not imply sexual innuendo. My experience with Age of Empires II clued me into what a Chinese junk really means.

– Tara is the only woman in the mixed gender teams to claim she is the one with steady hands for the roadblock. Hong Kong is the dirtiest leg in TAR thus far.

– I haven’t noticed Alex’s accent for a couple episodes. Just realized that.

– Is this the most interesting Chris & Alex are with each other? Alex harasses Chris virtually the whole roadblock. That’s so unlike them.

– (TARA has just slaughtered everyone at a roadblock that required steady hands.)

WIL: Sometimes girls are better than guys.

WIL (confessional): Seeing Tara with those tiny arms. . .

I love that Wil dishes out an exceptionally harsh insult when his partner excels at a task that cements them second place in the leg.

– Mary & Peach receive one of the longest farewells for a team younger than 60-70 years old.

– I wonder why Blake & Paige thought they were last?

Eighth episode:

– Lay’s product placement!

– Chris & Alex interaction with Gary & Dave is always good. They never have anything good to say about each other but it is a fun way of mocking each other.

– Wil is so paranoid about the other teams that he can’t make up his mind about the Fast Forward. “Chris & Alex are going for it because you told them our plan! But I still wanna go for it! Wait, no! Yes! No!”

– I must admit telling another team you are going for the FF when they still have it (and you screw them over twenty times in seven legs) is not the best strategic move, Tara.

– GARY: Go the Murray House and find your next cl– (DAVE snatches clue) –ueeeeeeeeeeee. Did his brain malfunction and stall?

– Oswald & Danny start their ‘Let’s zen and f— with the other teams’ minds’ trick.

– Wil mouthing ‘F— me’ when he finds out they will be going to Sydney when they think they are ahead of the other teams. The reaction of knowing it might be an equalizer.

– I love that they blindside the teams that they’re going all the way to bleepin Sydney after the first two tasks.

– Oswald & Danny shopping for over five minutes in a mall? What the heck? I love it cuts back and forth between them and the teams freakin’ out about getting the earliest flight. They get rewarded with their carelessness for the race by arriving in Sydney FIRST!

– That is the most creative roadblock I’ve seen thus far in my research. Excellent roadblock. It reminds me of finding the smoke that thunders.

– Wil and Blake have poor reading comprehension.

– Oswald & Danny finish first?! And they win the first prize offered since the first leg? There is such poetry to that on so many levels.

– Tara brings up a good point. I didn’t catch on until now, but I am aware she has done almost every roadblock. Wil doing more roadblocks would have guaranteed eliminations earlier on. And this leg he was lucky because Blake didn’t think about reading it either.

– Blake & Paige must be heavy fan favourites at this point. It’s a non-elimination but yet they get to stay on the mat and talk as if they were eliminated for at least a full minute. At this time, you’re lucky to get more than ten seconds.

Ninth episode:

– Chris & Alex using the FF on leg 9 might be the smartest decision they make in the whole race. They told all of the other teams behind them that they’re going for it, and the only team ahead of them had already used a FF. This way, you are 100% guaranteed to not be wasting your time AND everyone may be willing to help you [unless you’re Wil] at key junctures at the conclusion of the race. Waiting until there are five teams seems to be a good rule of thumb when you want to use the fast forward. Nothing better than being extremely optimistic heading into the final legs of the race when everyone is cringing about when to use the FF or the fact they want to re-fuel and de-stress for just one leg.

– Blake & Paige think Chris & Alex were lying and waste their money to go to the FF? What reason would Chris & Alex lie to you about it when they are already ahead and the route marker isn’t until the following morning. Sorry Blake & Paige, but that wasn’t smart. Or as Alex says in this episode, “wicked smawwwwwwwt”.

– “We made 54 bucks tonight begging on the streets of Sydney? Even if we lose the race, we should come back here knowing we could make a living doing this.” Ah yes, another instance of Gary jokingly playing the post-9/11 ignorant American stereotype.

– Since when does it rain back-to-back nights in Sydney? Isn’t it supposed to be dry?

– Am I the only one who thinks this FF is a lot more advantageous than the other ones? Like Oswald & Danny’s FF or Gary & Dave’s FF. Oswald & Danny had less than an hour. Gary & Dave’s FF only gave them a lousy 20 minute lead despite being in first place when they looked for it. Chris & Alex must be getting at leas 4-5 hours from this.

– VISA product placement!

– CONSULTANT: You’re looking for the Big Winch. . .

WIL (looks at Tara): I thought you were the Big Winch.

– Gary refusing to listen at the airport = big consequences. Last charter flight, buddy!

– How did Chris wear jeans in Coober Pedy after saying it was 150 degrees? Maybe he’s a never nude.

– Wil complaining a task will take forever without doing anything. That must be editing. I refuse Wil to be that horrible while racing.

– A ‘Keep Off the Grass’ sign on a desert golf course. I think that’s a joke by the community.

– I couldn’t do the opal task. I have no idea what an opal is. It’s been a while since I’ve done the mining activity in Harvest Moon for PlayStation.

– Playing golf in 130 degree weather sounds like a nightmare, too. Therefore this detour is awesome.

WIL: Is this an opal?

TARA: Is this an opal?

MINER: No.

TARA: That’s so an opal!

WIL: This is an opal, man!

TARA: Totally an opal!

WIL: Op–

TARA: WIL! SHUT UP!

OSWALD: Is this an opal?

MINER: No.

DANNY: Then what is this?

MINER (deadpan): A rock.

– Gary & Dave switching detours. The clearest memory I have of TAR 2. I’m dreading the rest of this episode.

–  How did they get the nickname Itchy & Scratchy?

– Blake & Paige beat the pack and finish only behind the FF team? My oh my how things have changed.

– Oswald throws the backpack all the way down the hill while running to the route marker. For once, something that is so ridiculous may have saved him a few seconds of his time. Unless he took too long grabbing his backpack considering he went on a big shopping spree in Hong Kong. I wonder if Danny & Oswald’s bags are one of the heaviest in TAR history? They waste their money faster than any other team and this is an era where producers were generous with how much they gave out on each leg.

– Gary & Dave are gone. I think I was close to crying when I saw them eliminated when I was ten years old. I’m amazed how much of their humour I understood ten years ago.

– Did Danny call the Aborigine Mac? That’s mildly witty.

– I wonder if Gary becomes an editor for TAR 5 because of his ability to demonstrate such an awareness for the camera? He might have been one of the first in TV to give confessionals with ease. At the same time, his lack of being himself (which is something that gets praised once we get to Coach in Survivor: Tocantins) must have been annoying for producers and Phil.

Tenth episode:

– Chris & Alex depart at 3:00am. I love how by the tenth leg

– BLAKE: As long as we make absolutely perfect decisions and move quickly then no one can catch us.

Uh, I think that applies to any team in the history of TAR, Blake.

WIL: Tara and I are two stubborn people and it seems the world isn’t big enough for the both of us. So hopefully we’ll at least get along to where we can work together.

– ALEX: Is Wil losing his mawbles? Is he coming unwound?

– Wil sits in between two gas containers at a gas station saying he quits. He looks like a five year old. Chris, Alex, and Tara all make fun of him reminding him how he wouldn’t quit again.

– I love how Oswald & Danny seem really far behind but don’t care in the slightest.

– Oswald is putting on his contacts. That means he’s getting fired up.

– Blake & Paige lied and brought their bags onto the plane. They had it low enough hidden from the

– Alex gets on the intercom and ensures the plane stalls for fifteen minutes just so Blake & Paige’s trick would give them a penalty as opposed to being a benefit. Amazing. Teams that are being cast now are nowhere near as creative.

– Blake & Paige are behind to the point where they waste their FF on a non-elimination leg. Why in the world would you waste it on the least advantageous leg? Why not wait until leg 11, or if Tara & Wil are ahead of you to use it, then you can use it on leg 12.

– The terror music. I haven’t heard this yet in TAR. The next time I can remember this song being played is Flo’s infamous cliff incident.

– Quick Jump vs. Long Hike? Of course you’d take the former. A long hike is not only a much longer path, but I’m sure you’d have a much higher risk of injury than a sport that has to have so many safety rules in place to ensure they can’t have a remote chance of being sued.

– Alex’s laugh sounds strange. Yep, I just criticized someone’s leg.

– I think Wil & Tara’s bungee jumping conversation after they jumped sounds like the time when Tara helped Wil lose his virginity. No joke.

– Wil doesn’t know how to drive a stick. . .or much of anything. He’s broken down about two or three cars on the race. I refuse to believe he hasn’t driven at least five cars already.

– Oswald bungee jumping. My goodness. You would think he was being abused by his mom.

– Separating the black sheep into a different pen, eh? Oh, and I totally called the song that would be playing for the sheep herding task.

– WIL: White — go that way. Black — go that way.

Yeah, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy Phil.

– PETA does not approve of Wil’s abuse of the last sheep.

– Chris sheeps for a long time. Grows frustrated.

*Chris checks his clue*

CHRIS (disappointed): Can’t tackle ‘em.

That’s the funniest thing that team has said that doesn’t involve Alex’s accent.

Chris&Alex 3.3

Tara&Wil 2.8

Blake&Paige 3.0

Oswald&Danny 3.3

Eleventh episode:

– Wil struggles with starting a car. Again.

– Wil & Tara yelling at each other. Again.

– Wil breaks down another car.

– Oh wow. That was a big exchange. They are both a huge mess. Thirty days of being with someone equally crazy does the trick.

– I have never seen Wil this relaxed about being beaten by Chris & Alex.

– BLAKE: It pays to be nice to people and get ahead. . .Oh God, they’re such a jack— to get in front of us!

CRAZY PEOPLE: 1

NICE GUYS: 0

– Oswald & Danny miss the ferry to catch up to the other three teams. Boo.

– Tara just kissed Alex while Wil was asleep. Oh my. Do they think the ferry is the Titanic or something? If only her and Wil’s egos could be the thing that sinks.

– OSWALD: Patience is a virtue.

*Camera cuts to Wil*

At least the editors have a sense of humour.

– Hours of operations force the four teams to wait until 7 o’ clock to start the leg. At least it wasn’t the final task.

– After 21 minutes into the episode, they arrive at the first route marker.

– TARA: You drive while I put my shoe on. . .Wil’s driving which is never a good sign.

Why let him drive if he’s nearly broken about three cars? C’mon Tara. You should know better.

– New Zealand must be one of the best places to live in the world. It’s one gigantic adventure park. Caves, cliffs, bungee jumping, rafting, mountains, catacombs, you name it.

– Chris claims Oswald & Danny sissy-footed the whole cave? Sexist and/or homophobic tendencies in that remark? Nah, I’ve made fun of his partner’s accent. That’s more than enough.

– I wish cameras would follow Tara & Wil to their trip on Mexico. There’s no way they enjoy that trip together.

TARA: Wil and I are completely different people.

You sure about that, Tara?

– They’re all lost except Blake & Paige. Nice.

– I think Chris has not changed his jeans since the first day of the race. They’re all seasons.

– I don’t think any of them are roughriders if you ask me. Sometimes a roadblock hint is just a roadblock hint.

– Look at that bird!!!!

– Nobody cares if you can compete with the guys, Paige. All you’re doing is implying that you shouldn’t be able to compete with the male gender.

– PAIGE: I am totally vibrating right now. I’m so hot!

– Oswald & Danny vs. Chris & Alex’s inabilities to navigate New Zealand. What’s so difficult about driving through New Zealand?

– Zero suspense. I love old school Amazing Race. They didn’t take thirty seconds to decide who would be the final team to be eliminated.

– CHRIS: No holds bawwed.

– Wil’s tongue yell? What the heck?

Chris&Alex 6.7

Tara&Wil 10.14

Blake&Paige 6.4

Oswald&Danny 4.3

Twelfth episode:

– When this originally aired, the final two legs were in a single two-hour finale. You think this would make producers re-think the idea of having this many non-eliminations if they’ve resorted to two two-hour episodes because of it.

– Heh, Tara read a clue with an inflection. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a question at the end of the clue.

– They’re going to One Tree Hill? A shoutout to television.

– Blake & Paige recognize Chris & Alex are their only competition and that Wil will self-destruct. I’m sure they didn’t know how it would exactly materialize.

– Wil claims he knows how to ‘talk to a guy’ on the phone of an airline. Great stuff.

– Tara goes over to hug Alex. Then Wil accuses her of her head not being in the game and telling them his flight. Did you ever think hugging and kissing Alex may result in Alex helping them out as opposed to the other way around?

– BLAKE: It smells like America here.

Hawaii smells like America? I won’t ask.

– I wonder if the Hawaii leg has teams communicating with their taxi driver as if they’re still in countries that don’t speak English. “Old Mill Road you know? Mori Rapido — er, I mean as fast as possible.”

– Everyone’s walking to find pineapples that have clues inside them. That isn’t stereotyping Hawaii at all.

– Is Chris doing football drills or what?

– Wil physically lifts Tara onto his shoulders? I didn’t know Wil was capable of willing to exert that much energy without breaking down or threatening to quit.

– TARA: I got on Wil’s shoulders and I like found it within forty secondsss.

Oh Tara. We’re all oh so envious of your pineapple spotting skills.

– Molankini island looks cool. No wonder why TAR likes to go to Hawaii so often. It’s such a unique climate. I can see why U.S. colonized the place.

– A real lack of confessionals at this point. They really wanted to shift to the documentary style for the last few legs.

– Wil’s tongue yell is just as messed up the second time.

– Is this the start of about ten seasons where at least one clue has to be on a buoy and at least one that is underwater? I believe so.

– Texans are the strongest swimmers?

– Whoa, I’ve never seen Blake that fired up. If only it were the finish line.

– Tara is screaming even for her standards. Wow.

– Wil is encouraging Tara and being optimistic that they’re not far behind? Wow. He’s coming around ever so slightly. I feel bad for Wil in that situation. He didn’t quit and tried to figure it out despite not getting how to open the clue.

– This pit stop is irrelevaaaant.

– Tara & Wil lose a foot race to the pit stop despite driving in first. Part one.

– I love how Chris & Alex don’t go 100 percent when they know it’s a non-elimination round. That helps you stay relaxed.

Chris&Alex 3.5

Tara&Wil 1.2

Blake&Paige 0.0

Final leg:

– Okay, let’s get out of Hawaii. They know this is not the final city.

– Ugh, they’re going to Alaska? So we’re just waiting time to ensure there is only one task left to do in the final city? I can’t believe we have to wait until TAR12 before production understands how to format the final leg properly.

– Chris & Alex are over an hour behind? Oh my.

– Tara & Wil are going to quit because they have been rude to both teams for so long that they know there is no way Tara & Wil would help the other two teams if they were in the same situation. I remember when this happened initially because I was ecstatic that there was a chance Tara & Wil would be utterly humiliated right when the million was in their grasps. The funny thing is that there will be a more humiliating alternative awaiting them.

– Alex and Tara schmoozing it up even though Alex refuses to give them the clue. Great.

– Tara asked different places around Alaska if they were expecting three teams. You would think these places would refuse to give out this information considering that would be an invitation for press to stalk your building. But nope, they gave out the information openly. Doesn’t that affect confidentiality agreements?

– Wil gloating the second they figure out where the route marker is located. He has learned nothing from this experience.

– BLAKE: I have written a new route info for Wil. Go to Siberia and find the most isolated place possible.

– They have to sleep overnight in an igloo? They must be jealous of last season who slept overnight in a cabin. First budget cut?

– TARA: C’mon Wil. I got you to every pit stop Wil. Every pit stop.

How clueless can a team be?

– WIL: What have I done? I thought up until today we were getting along fine.

. . . Okay, maybe he isn’t coming around.

–  Chris isn’t wearing jeans! Alaska was his breaking point.

– They stole a task straight from Big Brother 2. Where’s Bunky when you need him?

– Wil threatens to sit and quit until Tara stops yelling.

– BLAKE: It’s not good for Wil to yell like that. It hurts the team’s moral.

PAIGE: I don’t think Tara is much better.

I don’t think their yelling hurts them if they have the best average of any team in the whole season.

– Wil is a fourth generation San Franciscoan. Tara has family there too. Wasn’t there a team who had their final city be their hometown? I wonder how they finished on the final leg.

– WIL: Blake & Paige are right behind us. Those little weasels.

– Here we go! Final city!

– That first taxi for Blake & Paige may have been a great thing at the beginning, but it turns out to be their demise. Boo.

– Tara & Wil don’t get help from the traffic control because they were shouting and were yelling at traffic control.

– Blake & Paige racing against Tara & Wil simultaneously for the route marker is great. What’s better is that they probably think they’re first and second. Blake’s running expedition earlier and Tara & Wil’s rudeness may give Chris & Alex the million bucks.

– Tara & Wil are first before the final route marker. I am sure everyone watching was sick to their stomach thinking these two would win.

– How much time can Wil shave off with his knowledge of San Francisco? Oh boy. Just remembered what happens here.

– Poor Blake. He probably cost him and his sister a million bucks with his venture into the streets.

– I think interviewing these taxi drivers would be some of the most interesting interviews ever.

– Wil tries to shake them off at a dead end. It was a smart move but executed poorly. They should’ve walked out of the cab and tell him to turn around. Not the smartest idea evidently.

– Tara & Wil have learned nothing on this month-long trip.

– I wonder if they slowly brought the finish line further and further away as the camera and audio personnel called in saying Tara & Wil were going to be there first.  I could picture Tara running while all of the eliminated teams and Phil pull the mat further back.

– You can’t help but feel bad when Tara is hugging Chris and Alex while Wil is standing off to the side alone. He knows if he doesn’t run up the hill that he wins a million bucks. I wonder what we would think of the season if that were the case. Tara & Wil winners of The Amazing Race 2. Would that have killed the show that was so early in its franchise? Probably not considering the winners we see not too far down the road.

– Alex says a decade’s worth of travel in less than a month is exhausting. I would counter that a decade’s worth of The Amazing Race being watched in a month would be equally exhausting.

Chris&Alex 2.7

Tara&Wil 1.8

Blake&Paige 3.2

Best to Worst Legs:

Leg 13: Hawaii -> San Francisco (Tara & Wil lose their clue. Tara & Wil recover. Chris & Alex take risks but they’re all equalized anyway. Karma rears its ugly head for Tara & Wil. Wil pulls one of the most ridiculous manoeuvres I have ever seen. Chris doesn’t wear his jeans for once. The closest finish in the history of the race. The villains being toppled at the very very very end could very well make up for a season that had twelve boring episodes before it. Luckily, this leg doesn’t stand alone in terms of quality.)

Leg 1: Las Vegas -> Rio (‘What looks like the end of the world is the start of an amazing journey.’ = Best opening location EVER. We get introduced to some of the most memorable teams in TAR’s history. Wil raises the stakes by attacking Blake within the first twenty minutes. Gutsy Grannies are openly mocked. Starting the race in Brazil couldn’t be more different from Songwe. Fat Maria keeps in line with old school clues. And to cap it all off, the least competitive team is the first one eliminated. Excellent start.)

Leg 3: Iguacu -> Cape Town (We get to see Nelson Mandela’s prison cell. Arranging flights to Cape Town may very well be one of the best airport strategy sessions considering there was about a dozen different connections in order to get from Brazil to South Africa. The healer at the roadblock has one of the best vocal chords I have heard in my life. Mary & Peach are convinced they will be killed at a route marker. Gutsy Grannies can’t wake up at 4am. Gutsy Grannies are ignored for a chunk of the leg and Peggy is FINALLY eliminated.)

Leg 5: Swakopmund -> Plai Pluh Ploo Plong Plow (Tara & Wil sneak in a few more ridiculous exchanges with other teams. Gary & Dave run into Pikmin. An excellent detour that exploits the chaotic nature of Bangkok. A roadblock that seems very far removed from contemporary tasks in the TAR universe. It loses points for Thailand being visited for the second season in a row. Oh, and I think five episodes is a good place to stop for Cyndi & Russell’s Sunday School class [although TAR aired on Tuesdays during this season, I think.] Did I mention Danny & Oswald are a fan favourite by this point?)

Leg 11: Christchurch -> Auckland (Tara & Wil’s ridiculousness vs. Chris & Alex’s sexistness and accent. Seeing Oswald & Danny fight it out for last place with Chris & Alex for two legs straight in New Zealand was good. Oswald & Danny being eliminated is fine because they already finished in last the leg before so it all works out fairly. The overall two-leg visit in New Zealand may be the true definition of an Amazing Race. Cars, campers, 4-wheel drive, bungee jumping, ATV, hikes in a canyon, sheep herding, navigating confusing roads where one wrong turn costs you thirty minutes in New Zealand makes for a very pleasant visual watch. Plus these four teams are ridiculously distinct. Mary & Peach who? Hope & Norm who? Gutsy Grannies both died by now. Yeah.)

Leg 4: Cape Town -> Swakopmund (The Matterhorn is a page taken straight out of Expedition Impossible. It’s an epic ride. Peach going for a FF that the lead team had already taken is a bit funny. Wil communicating with the woman at the taxi driver provides some laughs. Pre-leg banter between the teams is used appropriately. Shola & Doyin getting their seventh spell of bad luck sucks hard, though.)

Leg 9: Sydney -> Coober Pedy (Another leg in an English speaking country? That’s not as fun. Gary & Dave go home much to my chagrin. Detour was awesome. Roadblock was a bit luck-based, but still good. Chris & Alex make a million dollar move. Blake & Paige counter Itchy & Scratchy’s departure with a high finish. The fireworks between the teams have significantly died down since the start. Maybe things got too nasty by leg 5-6 that teams decided to hold back a bit? Maybe the real eruptions begin now that we’re heading into leg 10.)

Leg 7: Chiang Mai -> Hong Kong (I don’t know why this leg ranks so low for me. It’s just one of too many Hong Kong legs in the history of the race. Gary & Dave are funny in it. Mary & Peach fall enormously behind after traveling to a FF that had already been claimed for the SECOND time in the race. I don’t remember anything else happening. Nothing to really anger me. Mary & Peach receive a long farewell after not receiving as much airtime as the other five teams. A ton of sexual innuendo makes this leg hilarious.)

Leg 8: Hong Kong -> Sydney (There was only one task to do in Sydney, but this is countered by it being a non-elimination leg so it doesn’t matter. What matters is that Oswald & Danny wander the streets of Hong Kong looking for a travel agent haphazardly while buying Gucci products, leave for a route marker to open hours after everyone else only to stroll in with one minute to go, and then win a 5-day cruise for their efforts which happens to be the first prize offered since the first leg of the race. Mix in Wil and Blake being idiots at the roadblock because they were so intently wanting to beat the others despite knowing there’s a 95% chance this will be a non-elimination, and instead pay much more money for three extra taxi rides. Blake & Paige are thankfully saved by a non-elimination but I do wish they would have been penalized even if I like them. I do like that this episode was about 3-4 minutes shorter than the other episodes because it aired in a single 2-hour block with the following episode. That was a good move considering the next leg is an elimination.)

Leg 12: Auckland -> Hawaii (Blake & Paige win a vacation for beating Tara & Wil in a foot race. That’s the only reason this leg is this high. Wil’s tongue yell earns points too.)

Leg 10: Coober Pedy -> Christchurch (The editors didn’t bother with showing them doing ninety percent of the tasks for more than two seconds. It returned to the first season’s documentary style. Tara & Wil maintain their fighting. Wil breaks down cars. Oswald & Danny are saved by a non-elimination, so two of my favourite teams have been saved by non-eliminations. I wish Blake & Paige waited until leg 12 to use their FF. Alex holding up the plane may end up being memorable down the road. Sheep herding looks fun.)

Leg 6: Ratchaburi/Plai Ploo Pluh Plow -> Chiang Mai (Really boring tasks. If this were an elimination leg, we would see Chris & Alex vs. Tara & Wil to avoid last place. Wouldn’t eliminating at least one of these two horrendous teams this round make the rest of the season much better? I mean, this non-elimination leg was the perfect order of placement but it gets wasted as a non-elimination. Instead, we see the rest of the season finishing out in the exact opposite order. Seeing the teams shop and comparing it to other non-elimination legs from the first four seasons makes this better if you compare it to those ones, though. Painful drawn out train ride to punish the teams for having safety is a bonus. Twenty-six minutes from first to last. Is that the closest for a six-way race?)

Leg 2: Rio -> Iguacu (Doyin gets his foot run over by a taxi. Teams fly above the city to start a trend we will see in many future seasons, so even though it is original for its time, now it would be a case of ‘been there done that’ as a viewer. The roadblock is lame. Bus rides for the final task always bring down the quality of a leg. Peggy getting a third of the episode to be edited as an extremely cranky and unlikeable person. For an excellent season, it’s not too bad that this is the only bad episode early on.)

Worst to Best teams:

11. Peggy & Claire (Claire was fine, but Peggy’s pessimism and annoyance got her airtime. Why have older people on if they are not competitive? Claire needed a different partner. I am so happy we no longer have to hear from the Gutsy Grannies with the exception of Bill’s mock reference to them in All-Stars. Please never dominate an episode  of TAR ever again, Peggy.)

10. Deidre & Hilary (Eh. All I know is that they were trying to connect after not seeing each other much for a bunch of years. It seemed like they were going to reconcile regardless of the race. Was the mother keen on racing? Does anyone know?

9. Cyndi & Russell (Less religious confessionals would make you more bearable and likeable. It’s not your fault. It’s editing crew’s fault.)

8. Hope & Norm (You were portrayed as the one-dimensional Southern couple. I am curious to know if you support gay marriage? OK, a bit harsh for the Southern stereotype.)

7. Chris & Alex (A bit sexist but if there is any team to bounce off Tara & Wil’s antics, you certainly completed them. You flirted with Tara. You worked with Wil almost unconditionally. Tara & Wil may not be half as entertaining if you guys didn’t stick around until the very end. My apologies for making jokes at the expense of the Bostonian accent.)

6. Mary & Peach (The producers deserve kudos for casting these two. They didn’t cast two sisters who fit a supermodel stereotype. They picked two sisters who clearly aren’t models and  have substance to be on the race. Their interactions were pretty good. Peach was supposed to be the spoiled one and was reinforced in confessionals, but there is zero evidence of that in the race. Instead we see the older sister bossing around the younger sister. Although maybe I don’t see it because I am the youngest of five kids. I can picture them being just a second too late for any big sale in Peach’s beloved shopping malls. I hear Oswald & Danny got there just before them.)

5. Tara & Wil (They may be the most rotten duo to be cast in the first five seasons but they didn’t cross any racial line with the other players. The fact they kept it to illogical bickering, yelling, whining, aggressiveness, and repeated attempts to quit makes it on the side of entertaining as opposed to cringe worthy. Luckily no team is cringe worthy until season six.)

4. Oswald & Danny (Very nice people. I bring them down to fourth because they considered to quit the race. That’s blasphemous for the thousands of people who apply for the show and wish to compete. They make up for it in the last four legs when their adapted strategy is to simultaneously enjoy their friendship but do well in the race. This intriguing balance act of this approach comes up again and again in their TAR career. That’s what makes them such likeable and interesting characters on the show. Who else strolls in at 7:59am at a 8:00am opening of a route marker? Only Ozzy & Danny.

3. Gary & Dave (They’re up here for their exceptionally witty confessionals. Nothing else. Their departure with Phil may be one of the series’ best.)

2. Blake & Paige (Blake somewhat reminds me of my oldest brother and Paige a bit of my sister. They were competitive and did some unintentionally wacky things on the race. Pulling out a burning paper car out of a fireplace? Check. Giving a couple over-energetic confessionals? Being the youngest racers in the whole cast but make it just minutes away from the winner’s circle? Blake now sells shoes where half the money goes into his pocket and the other half goes to charity. I’ve seen him in commercials too. Oh, and Blake’s attempts to heal his relationship with Wil after their falling out on the first leg is amusing.)

1. Shola & Doyin (The only way these two aren’t your favourites is if you are the parents of one of the other ten teams. It’s such a bummer one of them had their ankle driven over and that their car was stuck in the sand for hours. Bah. They didn’t deserve to be as low as eighth. Luck is always a big factor in these reality shows. Unless you’re Vecepia Towery, Brian Heidik, or Earl Cole. Then you’ve got mad skillz.)

11th Deidre & Hilary 11.0

11th Matt & Ana 11.0

9th Peggy & Claire 9.0

10th Kim & Leslie 8.0

8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0

10th Hope & Norm 7.0

6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43

7th Paul & Amie 6.2

7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8

5th Nancy & Emily 5.67

9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF

8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF

6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.)

4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF

5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF

3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF

1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF

4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF

3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF

2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF

1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF

2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF

Concluding Thoughts:

You can’t go wrong with this season. If you switch Chris & Alex with Shola & Doyin, you have the perfect boot order. So for that, we have to do a minor deduction. We also can’t overlook the fact that the winning team finished last on two of the non-eliminations without being penalized for it, so that takes off .5. Fast forwards being on every leg again is one of my favourite things about the Race. The fact they skipped Europe out of all the continents besides Antarctica is very welcome to see. The tasks were great. Every team that were in top six were entertaining. When I find myself being bummed out about who is eliminated for four of the last five eliminations before the end means this was a great cast. I’m happy I made the time to do this project. There’s so many things I have forgotten, even if the boot order is implanted in my brain. That’s what made this re-watch enjoyable.

So we’re off to season three from here. I don’t know what else to say. It feels like I just blew up a castle in Super Mario World by myself in the basement and I look forward to the retro events that I will experience yet again.

Rating 8.5/10

1. The Amazing Race 2

2. The Amazing Race (1)

P.S. Curious about those decimals? Tara&Wil 1.8 at the end of the lsat four legs, for instance? The ‘1’ represents how many confessionals Tara had, and ‘8’ represents how  many confessionals Wil had. That’s right, I started confessional counting in leg 10.

P.P.S. Yes, that last stat with all 22 teams that have raced thus far are indeed their average finish per leg. Enjoy random stats.

Update: Currently trying to load those dang pics. Sorry.

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