TAR 4 final episode ranking

Final leg
—-

A better alternative to wasting your time reading this blog.

Previously on TAR: Teams yelled at each other. Teams conquered their greatest fear. Teams (or Millie, rather) had asthma attacks. Nine teams sucked enough to not be in the final leg.

David & Jeff: Survived travel troubles, faltering alliances, and tides that somehow leads Phil to think they’re a force to be reckoned with.

Kelly & Jon: The only co-ed team left. Jon peed on the side of the road, told Kelly to f— herself, and we’re given a clip of Kelly’s butt getting pinched in India. Their determination and their faith in one another propel them to the front of the pack (although they’re currently in last).

Reichen & DK: Persevered over their adversaries, language difficulties, and an octopus task that was hard to swallow. Their teamwork has pulled themselves into the final 3 (Note they are pulling a crate while Phil says this).

One of these three teams will win the race and the one milllllion dollars.

– Phil informs us that we’re in Ellis Beach that served as the twelfth pit stop in a race around the world. No questions from Phil. We get straight to answers as Phil tells us David & Jeff are first to depart at 1:47am.

– They must drive to Aboriginal Cultural Park.

JEFF: David and I will win this race. We make the least mistakes of the three teams remaining.

ROFLROFLROFLROFL

– I’m willing to bet hours of operations brings all three teams together. Jeff struggles opening van doors.

– Reichen & DK depart. They talk about how people view all gay people as Queeny. My Word file indicates with a red line that Queeny isn’t a word.

– Kelly & Jon depart at 2:38am. The ceremony doesn’t open until six o’ clock. Called it!

KELLY: I can’t believe we’ve made it this far. That freaks me up. Not only do I think that we don’t deserve to be here because we’re so ssssstooopid, but it’s so surreal that there’s a million dollar pot at the end.

What’s even more surreal is that viewers are being told to buy into the idea of her and Jon being villains.
– Everyone catches up to each other in the pouring rain.

YES! There’s a didgeridoo sighting on TAR! Sweeet.

– Teams wait through the pointless ceremony until the Aboriginee gives them the clue in a cluster of sticks that apparently have carried messages for thousands of years.

Note that there was one point in the ceremony that the Aboriginees fired a lit arrow into a nearby island and engulfed it in flames. Unfortunately those in the first immunity challenge of Aussie Survivor were unable to do the same.

– Off to the General Aviation Terminal. David & Jeff lead. Kelly & Jon in the middle. Reichen & DK try to pass Jon. Jon’s response?

It’s like what my dad does when he’s frustrated in traffic. Wonder if giving the finger is a Canadian and American thing only. Everyone else would be confused if they saw that on the road.

Reichen is petrified at the idea of DK driving.

Eh, no biggie.

– Jon has another great reaction.

Okay, maybe he is a villain after all.

– DK recovers and is immediately back behind Kelly & Jon within seconds. Holy crap. I guess DK thought he was still doing the dune buggy task. I wonder if the sponsours were hoping DK would mention the great safety that he experienced during the crash?

– Detour time. Wing It or Wander It. Skydive like the first detour in TAR 3 or go into a forest, get into a boat, and motor to the skydive landing zone all the way to the end of the lagoon. Hmmm, what are you going to choose on leg 13? Survey says all three teams will skydive. They’re all pumped.

– David says it’s the first time him or Jeff have skydive’d.

Funniest confessional of the season:

REICHEN (completely serious tone): I’m sitting in the airplane thinking ‘I’m not going to be afraid of this because I’d rather be doing this than sitting in the backseat of that car with Chip driving.’

“You’re saying I have to jump from the plane and get back in the car?”

– There’s a great few seconds where DK literally breaks a sweat. Awesome camera work.
– We go to commercial as Kelly says “I knew I couldn’t do it”. Yeah, right.

– Kelly & Jon sure enough jump in about five seconds. Reichen & DK quickly follow.

– Teams are told to fly to Hawaii. Once there, drive to Kalauna Bay which is the southernmost point in the United States.

DK lands. He searches the sky for his partner.

We’ve got some more driiiiivin to doooo.

REICHEN: Uh, I think I’m gonna be a while. Please go on ahead without me.

– Jeff convinces David that the best way to get to Hawaii will be to go through Sydney.

– Reichen & DK are the only team to go to the domestic terminal. They think Qantas will help them no matter where they want to go to in the world.

– Kelly goes to another counter and says the only flight through Sydney will not connect to Hawaii until the following day. They say it’s a mistake for David & Jeff to fly to Sydney without even looking into a connecting flight into Hawaii.

Maybe we should listen to the conversation two feet behind us.

Nah, I think our idea is still good.

Swish.

ANDRE: They just do not want to listen, man.

NOTE: That is the only thing memorable about Andre in his racing career. His frustrations of Damon not listening to him will forever be remembered.

– Kelly & Jon and Reichen & DK buy tickets for the other flight that connects through Tokyo. Also a tight connection that is 45 minutes.

– Meanwhile, our lovely heroes in Sydney are fighting valiantly.

Poop. Race over.

– DAVID: That’s the first dagger. You’re not done yet, but it tells you to work a bit harder if you don’t want to die.

Second dagger.

And you’re dead.

R.I.P. Goats.

– Kelly & Jon don’t have boarding passes yet. They went on the wrong terminal. Reichen & DK however have their boarding passes and they themselves only get on the flight with four minutes to go. Kelly & Jon are a minute late to the desk as the lady who ran and got on the bus with them is begging the desk to give Kelly & Jon their tickets. The supervisor shoots down every suggestion. Kelly & Jon are stuck in Tokyo as Reichen & DK are on the flight.

– Not only are Reichen & DK on the flight, but the employees had to rush so quickly that they ushered them into business class. They raked up champagne on the flight. Nothing like getting inebriated when you’re a little over 24 hours from claiming a million dollars. That could be a million dollar hangover.

– Kelly & Jon are getting in at 8:05am. Reichen & DK arrive at 6:55am.

– David & Jeff are getting on a flight to Hawaii. Arrival time unspecified.

– Kelly & Jon arrive in Hawaii. Framed to not be too far behind Reichen & DK.

– Roadblock time. Someone has to swim out a few feet into the water and retrieve a rock from the bottom. Once on shore they will use the tools to smash open the rock. Inside is the clue.

He’s retrieving the rock in the water.

– DK opens up the rock. Time to drive to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Walk along a field of hardened lava until they snag the next clue.

– Kelly & Jon arrive at the roadblock. Jon doesn’t want to get his clothes wet, so he opts to pull a Dave Cruser and do the task naked.

– Dog Eat Dog is up next. Oh, and Jon is naked. I am surprised that this shot went completely uncensored. What happened to TAR being a family friendly show?

– Remixed track plays as Reichen & DK reach the clue box. Final destination city is Phoenix, Arizona. Because the roadblock and detour have both played out in this episode, the finish will be 99% determined by taxis. Even TAR 3 had an endgame roadblock. Apparently we’re taking a step backwards.

– Reichen & DK go to Hilo, the closer but smaller airport. They fly to Honolulu.

– Kelly & Jon get to the further Kona airport, but it’s a bigger airport. They fly to Hnolulu.

– Reichen & DK are on the 11:15 flight to Phoenix. They’ve booked at the very front of the aircraft. Kelly & Jon are four rows behind.

– Reichen & DK and Kelly & Jon found the exact address for the USS Arizona. Everyone is prepared for the final flight.

– DK says this will come down to racing like crazed animals. The irony of that statement.

– They’re running and bypassing lines of people on stairs at the airport until they get outside and hop into a cab.

JON: Here’s the first hundred bucks to show you how serious we are.

Who will be first to the anchor? It’s. . .

Four rows in front and possessing the exact address makes all the difference. Please note DK is reading the clue at supersonic speed. Probably because there’s nine minutes left in the episode and they also have to fit in a commercial on top!

– Kelly & Jon appear to have shown up seconds later.

Jon in true gymnast form ready to scale the railing.

Pathetic. I think Paul Blart Mall Cop had smoother moves than Jon. I love how the music dies.

– Reichen hands his driver another fifty bucks. It’s a taxi driver’s dream to be hired on the final day of a TAR race course.

– Clue time in Sun Devil Stadium. “Happy Valentine’s Day White + White”. They be stumped on the White + White part. It’d be hilarious if they couldn’t recall what day Valentine’s Day was. They’re going to section 2 row 14.

– DK solved it. They’re off to Papago Park for the finish line. Kelly & Jon have arrived at the stadium while Reichen & DK are there but yet you can’t see both taxis simultaneously. Crafty editing, I presume.

– Reichen & DK are on their way to Papago Park. Ride a bike along the marked course to the finish line.

– A full minute of suspense. Who it be?

Yep. The “Chip n’ Dales” are first. Reichen is nervous as DK could try to pass him on the bikes only to end up spun out and ram the bike into the ditch.

– Kelly & Jon are on the bikes before Reichen & DK are at the finish line. The eliminated teams are in full Laff-O-Lympic exaggerated cheering and jumping fashion. I’m waiting for the season where an eliminated team spits and bites the winning team on the way to the finish line.

– Reichen & DK arrive at the mat first. DK managed to avoid crashing the bike.

– One hug down. Kelly & Jon get to the mat.

Another lame a– hug.

Jon squeezes in another ‘Kelly was the only girl left in the race’ comment.

– Reichen trusts his partner implicitly. DK thinks teams have seen that Reichen needs him and that DK needs Reichen. However, that can’t be true because they both divorce and Reichen runs off to join N*SYNC. That was a bold-faced lie, DK.

Just out of curiosity:

What’s missing in the picture?

Reichen&DK 11.9
David&Jeff 4.6
Kelly&Jon 14.11

1) Muiden -> Mumbai (An incredible leg. The equalizer occurs at a time that makes sense when teams arrive at the first route marker at 2:00am. The season gets a breath of fresh air (poor pun I know) in India as it contrasts with the central European spamming where it’s either cold, recreational, or gondolas everywhere. The train ride is one of the most daring ventures in filmmaking as teams get one of the biggest culture shocks in recent memory. Millie ruins a stranger’s clothes, the infamous creeper smile, and a leg that has you engaged from start to finish is TAR at its finest.)

2) Kota Kinabalu -> Sandakan (Teams drive themselves for a huge chunk of the leg and have a map so they can completely own where they’re going. This leg exposed major attrition by multiple teams. The only team that wasn’t at each other’s throats were the clowns. Even David & Jeff were given airtime to show their intrapersonal conflicts! Reichen & DK couldn’t follow a road so DK got to play with his own kind, Kelly & Jon screwed up the location of the hot springs and spotting the number 5, and David & Jeff not finding a clue in a wheelbarrow, and Millie & Chuck messing up every second of the entire leg makes this a comedy of errors. I like the setting for this leg too. There were very few people around because it was a rural area leaving the teams needing to go well out of their way if they wanted to contact locals. The sharp coconuts drew first blood for some of the teams. In fact, the detour was a great test of patience which is great in the ninth leg of the season. Also a great showdown that nobody was expecting in a non-equalizer leg as Jon and Chuck faced off in the roadblock and testing their knowledge of using a stick shift effectively.)

3) Mumbai -> Aleppey (Legs that are a part two to racing in the same country tend to be bland and uninteresting. Check on my rankings from previous seasons and you’ll know what I mean. This had a really good format. Yes they get bunched on the train but not much you can do when teams check out between 12:00am and 3:00am. I also like the unique environment of southern India. The roadblock was very inspired and made several players feel disgusting and likely worn out in the heat as we head into the second half where attrition becomes a factor. Editors did a really good job with the showdown between Reichen & DK and Tian & Jaree at the end of the episode. Sometimes you need to have a good ol fashioned showdown even if it is pretty manufactured once you’re in the midway point of the season. I’m in love with the idea of the pit stop being at a place called ‘The Finishing Point’. I don’t know, everything fused together extremely well for this leg.)

4) Marseilles -> Hamlet near Amsterdam that nobody cares about (The only European leg to not feature any equalizers. It’s incredible. The rivalry between Kelly & Jon and Millie & Chuck increases when they equally share nasty names for each other when the audio crew is nearby. A detour where teams put up with a lot of crap is fun to watch. Don’t forget the phallic roadblock. Tian’s sunglasses are a highlight too. Did I mention everyone in Amsterdam looks like they’re stoned? Oops. Will my Arts editor edit that one out? But seriously, this should’ve been the first leg of the season. It could’ve set the tone for the whole season.)

5) Sandakan -> Seoul (As Darkwing Duck would say, “Let’s get dangerous”. Teams have to suffer for the first time from communication barriers, breaking hands, and literally freezing themselves throughout the course of their venture in South Korea. Not to mention two of the teams see the border. The bizarre short-sighted decision by the clowns and the goats to share a cab plays out which is neat to see. I couldn’t imagine all twelve teams being able to put up with these tasks if it was thrust upon them at the start of the season. This was designed for experienced racers. Also, why does Reichen get to narrate virtually the whole episode?)

6) Venice -> Gmunden (There’s only one equalizer and it’s before the detour and roadblock. It’s an inspired leg for racing in central Europe. Producers bring out fiacres straight out of the 19th century, Beethoven vs. Mozart as a detour because they had the biggest rivalry until Yankees vs. Red Sox, and the largest tower jump in Europe is acceptable enough for a mindless task. Now to the highlights. Millie and DK get into a scrap where the female virgin cuts DK (although it’d be funnier if the gay guy cuts the virgin — C’MON, the irony of the situation!), Tian and Jaree get into a fight over who knows what, and Kelly goes into full on Southern Flo mode. Millie’s asthma attack where Josh sneaks into the frame is great, too. Also, Steve & Dave surviving the third leg was the most surprising thing I’ve ever witnessed in TAR history at this point in time. Steve & Dave were hours behind Russell & Cindy, the only task remaining was to take a train to the pit stop, and in the scenario that Steve & Dave arrive in Gmunden first, how could they possibly avoid being outrun by Russell & Cindy to the pit stop? Steve & Dave’s reaction when they get to the pit stop is hilarious too. They were as shocked as we were that they were ninth.)

7) Ellis Beach -> Phoenix (I think placing it in the centre of this ranking is an appropriate place. The ideal finish would be for David & Jeff to win and the least ideal finish would be a Kelly & Jon victory. We have middle ground right there. The setup of this leg was poorly formatted. There was too much airport time for a final leg because teams had to be spread out on flights to Japan’s connection, then spread out to Hawaii, then scurry to Phoenix. Skydiving detour was too mindless for leg 13 despite being thrilling. TAR 3 got it right by putting it in the very first round to set the tone of the season. The roadblock, rock smashing, was largely irrelevant as Jon and DK both completed it in what appeared to be minutes prior to driving to the airport where they end up on the same flight regardless. In Phoenix, there was an anchor and the really easy riddle that appeared to take no less than few minutes as well. Add in the fact that Reichen & DK lead for the whole leg after David & Jeff’s incident and you have a flat finish. The drama in the closing twenty minutes never quite delivered in its initial airing. In a rewatch it comes across even flatter. There isn’t too much to complain about at the very least.)

8) Seoul -> Mooloolaba (One of the worst elimination legs seen on TAR. When this originally aired everyone was too busy being sad that the clowns were going to be eliminated that they couldn’t care less what the other three teams were doing. In fact, Kelly & Jon’s comments would have been handled better by the public if the clowns weren’t in peril. Unfortunately, it adds fuel to the fire as viewers were rooting for Reichen & DK’s intensity to be punished or Kelly & Jon’s bullying to be punished as well. David & Jeff are given zero personality this leg but I recall rooting for them during the episode and hoping they’d win. We go through the episode awaiting the clowns’ dismissal. In the last five minutes the fans jump on their feet thinking the clowns can upset Reichen & DK to break into the finale and win this game. This excitement lasts for about one minute of the whole episode which doesn’t make up for the 35 minutes that we all thought it was a foregone conclusion that our favourites would be sent packing. Phil proceeds to fake out the audience and sends the clowns home. Everyone resorts to their next pick for who they want to win. Note how I didn’t mention any tasks that occurred in Australia or any incidents that teams had with the locales. This is why English speaking countries only belong in season finales. For some reason legs are really underwhelming if it’s just ‘go down the third cliff of the season’ and ‘do a five-minute task that doesn’t require any skill’. This episode is not memorable. If only we could have been privy to a David eye roll.)

9) Aleppey -> Kota Kinabalu (For a non-elimination leg, it was fine. The race slowed down as we learned about the five teams that will leave the most significant impression once the season is over. There were few taxi and boat rides which also means less of a luck factor. Look at the order of finish. The skill of teams in terms of the tasks and ability to find flights directly reflects where they finish at the pit stop this leg. Anytime the race limits the luck factor is when you know production has done a fine job. I just wish more was at stake than a seven night cruise. -_-)

10) L.A. -> Cortina D’ampezzo (Over an hour premiere is a good idea. Particularly when all twelve teams get airtime. Sure, I agree it’s the weakest premiere yet when teams have to find the best airplane ticket then the best bus ticket for the first forty minutes. Jaree abandoning a coffee before she can drink it while in last place is memorable for me. The most satisfying part of the episode is when Debra & Steve get eliminated. If you look up their interview on RNO you’ll see them agree that they aren’t the most exciting television to watch.)

11) Gmunden -> Marseilles (I s’pose it was an okay leg. Not that great. I’m happy teams were able to drive themselves this leg which producers wanted to be a rarity this season for whatever stupid reason. Nowhere near as much tension on an intra basis this leg except the mild bickering between the father-son. Chuck panicking about tight spaces and a roadblock coming before detour makes this memorable enough. I wish the detour had a bit more originality. It took DK’s inability to follow directions to make this one entertaining. I don’t know. The leg otherwise feels a bit flat.)

12) Cortina D’ampezzo -> Venice (Okay. This leg isn’t THAT bad. The mountain rafting looked awesome. Kelly & Jon snow rafting without a raft was hilarious. The guy at the pit stop could have bitten his thumb at the teams. Gondola race was neat. Reichen & DK hanging onto the doors when a bus arrives to put them at the back of the line is a funny little moment. Did you know it was revealed that David & Jeff held onto the doors as well? However, a couple of equalizers in a 17-hour leg makes this one of the sloppiest designs to a leg in TAR.)

13) Mooloobooyabalashakakanba -> Ellis Beach (It’s tough to take a leg seriously when you, as well as the other racers, know that no one is at risk of being eliminated. Add in that the next leg of the race will almost certainly feature an equalizer to go to Alaska or Hawaii and teams are making the race a joke. David & Jeff wanted the prize, Reichen gets his foot run over by his own partner, and Kelly & Jon copy Flo & Zach’s leg 12 strategy to put themselves in a position for leg 13. It’s funny that two seasons in a row feature a team taking all of the time in the world knowing they can conserve their energy for leg 13. A strategy I am sure production was frustrated to see taking place. Not much else happens in the leg. Horse-riding and dune buggying with zero suspense is not the ideal for a TARer. I remember watching the episode when it originally aired thinking ‘Why the heck do I need to watch this?’

12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th Deidre & Hilary 11.0
11th Matt & Ana 11.0
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF
10th Russell & Cindy 8.33
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
8th Steve & Dave 6.2 FF
11th Amanda & Chris 6.0
6th Andre & Damon 5.86
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8

9th Heather & Eve 5.75
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF
7th Silver & Gold 5.17

9th Steve & Josh 5.0 – FF
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF
2nd Teri & Ian 4.53 – FF
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF
6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.)
3rd David & Jeff 4.00 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF
5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF
2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85
4th Jon & Al 3.73
3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF
5th Millie & Chuck 3.67 FF
1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF
1st Reichen & DK 3.15 – FF
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF

Rank the Teams (Worst to First):

12) Debra & Steve

A boring boring boring team to watch on our television screen. Only one episode and they had a very Flanders family presentation. It reminded me of the Simpsons sketch where Ned gets mildly angry thinking his kids aren’t attending church:

ANNOUNCER: He’s got a bald head, he goes to church and cries, everybody loves Steve Carmody!

ME: But not me!

STEVE: Kids, what are you guys still doing in bed?

KIDS: We wanted to sleep in.

STEVE: But kids, it’s time for church.

KIDS: Dad? It’s Saturday.

STEVE: Oh, pardon me. I didn’t mean to get so mad.

ANNOUNCER: He’s got a bald head, he goes to church and cries, everybody loves Steve Carmody!
Can anyone outside of their family say they’re honestly upset that these two are first out? I never found myself saying during the premiere “Oh, I wonder what antics Debra & Steve are up to right now!”

In fact, viewers were probably annoyed that he cried over not getting the hotel room booked.

11) Monica & Sheree

ME: Monica, why did you guys go on the race?

MONICA: Because we’re married to professional athletes. We wanted to do something without the luxuries of being married to professional athletes.

ME: Monica, why did you guys get eliminated in India?

MONICA: Because we’re married to professional athletes. We couldn’t handle missing the luxuries that are around when we’re married to professional athletes.

ME: Monica, why did you guys get involved in two marital rape cases?

MONICA: Because we’re married to professional athletes. It’s one of the few downsides of being married to professional athletes.

ME: Uh….I think we’ll stop the interview here. Thanks.

10) Russell & Cindy

Russell and Cindy were dating long distance. Russell wanted to race on his own after seeing Zach do it all the way to the million dollars in the previous season. Unfortunately, when your partner WANTS TO DO SOMETHING, trying to minimize your partner as much as possible makes you look like a d—–bag instead of the one-dimensional hero. Russell’s d—-baggery was done with zero personality whatsoever which made him completely ignored by viewers. Cindy tried to get something rolling and was happy enough to do post-race interviews, but her in-game impression was underwhelming because the only thing she did was ask Russell to not treat her like a d—-.

9) David & Jeff

David & Jeff were my favourite team when I initially watched this season. Today I realized that David is a bit ignorant. He rolled his eyes and made offensive remarks about the other countries. Jeff was more pleasant though and I’d love to hang out with him on the west coast at some point. I think he would race in a similar manner to how I would except he doesn’t have quite as much eccentricity in him.

Not much else to say about the goats. There’s not much else to say except Jeff is overall pleasant. A team like them will never be cast again. Producers learned their lesson.

8) Reichen & DK

Uh oh! What am I doing? Why are the winners this far down? Well, ‘tis quite simple. They don’t exactly have the electrifying or a likeable personality. DK is very quiet most of the race and offers very few interesting interviews. His demeanour doesn’t change with the exception of non-English speaking cabs. Reichen puts up with DK’s antics and is a very straight forward teammate.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d rank these two ahead of Chris & Alex as winners so far. Rob & Brennan would be ahead only because they’re super likeable.

Reichen & DK found themselves in unpopular alliances. They were close with Kelly & Jon, NFL Wives, and Tian & Jaree. On the other hand they antagonized Millie & Chuck, and frankly shoving Millie away from a fiacre won’t win you any points with the fans. It’s tough to ever get one hundred percent behind Reichen & Chip.

I think they’re great, but there’s a lot of other teams who I would’ve preferred to win this season.

P.S. I will give them a nod for holding the door in Verona while the other teams behind them simply turned around to get seats on the bus.

7) Steve & Josh

The father is a prison guard. The son is a free spirit. What’s ironic is that their photo in the intro is the son behind bars. I’ve always found that amusing. What I liked about this team is that they’d fight over the dumbest things but reconcile quickly. It was a good conflict. They weren’t trying to camera whore or be completely mean to each other. Their disagreements resembled very much of a father-son relationship in real life.

Josh’s strategies to alienate NFL Wives, drag Steve & Dave with them, then give NFL Wives an improved bus ticket in Milan is one of the best season premiere strategy moves I’ve seen.

I don’t know. I just really liked them.

6) Millie & Chuck

Millie – Experiences asthma attacks. Super competitive. Has a mole.

Chuck – Experiences anxiety and claustrophobia. Not-so-competitive. Looks like a werewolf.

They’ve been dating for twelve years and are virgins. So add in tension and frustration into their relationship as well. What’s even better is that they’re both extremely religious which produces dilemmas on a whole other platform. This team was doomed to fail from the start. But they did it in a likeable way.

They are the most memorable of any team on this season. Do you remember Millie Mole? Her cutting Chuck’s lip? Sure, Chuck was quiet and took a backseat to most of Millie’s shenanigans, but he would attack Millie passively throughout the race.

You knew that these two weren’t compatible and were letting their childhood friendships get in the way. It was a fascinating story to watch unfold as Chuck tries to keep up with Millie and Millie has to relax Chuck and slow down. These two couldn’t be more opposite in terms of their demeanour. It was great. Their downfall was very fitting. Why? Because their frustrations reaches a peak following a leg where Millie was so dang competitive in getting the best flight during 3 in the morning when everyone knew it was a dang non-elimination leg. This made her and Chuck so sleep deprived that they were unable to pay attention to much of anything while they had to navigate on the road.

A lesson that it is possible to race too dang hard. Wish they were brought back.

5) Tian & Jaree

Some of the best storylines in reality TV are where you start by absolutely hating a team but then progressively like the team more and more until the point that you are bummed when they are eliminated.

Enter Tian & Jaree. I was rooting for them to be first out so freakin’ hard in the premiere. I became annoyed that they continued to survive and would celebrate when they would finally be eliminated. Jaree’s constant bickering about her cardio, and Tian being such a snot and snagging maps weren’t exactly appealing. Also, as Josh points out, nobody wants to see rich spoiled blondes with fake breasts to win a TV show. It just doesn’t happen.

These two truly evolved and grew on the viewer when they started to be respectful towards one another and Tian sucked it up and accepted 100% of all work without complaints. That’s what the race is all about. When they raced Reichen & DK in Aleppey, there must have been a legion of people who were rooting against Reichen & DK’s success. It was not meant to be as the models are booted when they finally figured out a successful M.O.

Note: Heather & Eve made it into TAR 3 because Tian & Jaree lost their paperwork and had to be pushed back to this season. If only we were privy to Tian & Jaree’s awesomeness a season earlier.

4) Amanda & Chris

A surprise pick but they impressed me in only two episodes. Teams are great when their conflict is intrapersonal but they balance it out with some of the wittiest insults.

CHRIS: Let’s go Flo!

They win points for being self-aware of how they’re probably coming across at home and having a good laugh after each fight. Those are the teams you want to see succeed. The ones who cater to the above average intelligent TV viewer. These two understand what’s up. Their post-race interviews proved to be pretty dang amusing as well. Although Chris brands himself as a jerk and Amanda as the spoiled b—-, they hardly portray themselves as someone I want off my TV screen ASAP.

3) Steve & Dave

They refused to run. They provided hilarious commentary. They screwed up their knees to the point that Jonathan Penner and James Clement are saying “Dayum!” They finished next to last for two legs when they were absolutely convinced they were last. I think if they made it through the Netherlands leg that they would have experienced serious health risks of dehydration and the humidity in India. Besides threatening to bust Tian & Jaree’s tires (which is rumoured to be creative editing) this team always brought a smile to our faces. Usually older teams cry and be like Rupert Boneham where you make intentionally stupid moves or promote yourself as honourable so you win over the stupid casual viewers at home. Not the case with Steve & Dave. They didn’t BS us and went through the game truly as themselves.

2) Kelly & Jon

Wait. Why did I put these two so high? Well it’s for a few reasons.

1) A ton of pop culture references. Anybody who can incorporate Fat Bastard on TAR wins serious brownie points.

2) Once you get to the last six teams who remains in your memories forever? It’s these two. They were the only point of conflict for other racers regardless if Kelly & Jon were intentionally trying to annoy other teams.

3) They didn’t camera whore it. Kelly nor Jon gave too great of confessionals and didn’t rehearse anything they said.

4) Kelly’s obsession with marriage and Jon’s obsession with completing his Bachelor Bucket List was an ongoing from episode one through episode thirteen. There aren’t too many storylines that get a 11 hour arc like that.

5) They prided themselves upon being the dumbest team to get to the Final Three. Would Fairplay ever admit he is too stupid to have kids? Would Frank Mesa admit that? Tara & Wil? Flo? No. You can’t count Kelly & Jon as villains when they degrade themselves throughout the season.

That takes us to our #1 team of the season. I believe it’s a foregone conclusion.

1) Jon & Al

94% popularity on CBS.com. Jon is given the job to host The Finish Line for around three years. Not once did the clowns fight with another team nor did they fight with each other. They liked talking about feces. They flung feces. Al was dragged through feces. Jon climbed on rungs that were full of feces.

When TAR All Star was announced there was a significant percentage of people that were shocked hearing “The Clowns” weren’t invited back.

Is there much else to say about the clowns? Not really. They were enjoyable to watch thanks to Jon balancing random stuff on his nose and charming the locals. I think TAR 4 would be viewed entirely different if this team had won.

Conclusion:

The Amazing Race 4

Rating: 6.25/10

TAR 2 improved upon TAR 1. TAR 3 improved upon TAR 2. However, TAR 4 took a step backwards. It didn’t make any improvements to some of the mistakes TAR has made in the past. They only made things slightly worse. For that, it is automatically in position four out of four. Although it will not finish anywhere near dead last by the end of this countdown, it shouldn’t come close to the previous three seasons.

Why do people universally disregard TAR 4 as a lesser season when it first aired? I always thought it was the underwhelming characters.

Kelly & Jon filled the villain role but Millie Mole is the extent of their nastiness and we are forced to suffer through the same three quotes being recycled for a couple rounds. Millie and Kelly barely interact. Also, Jon is far too goofy to be taken seriously as a villain.

Reichen & Chip’s intensity was a turn-off for a chunk of viewers, and the audience forgot David & Jeff existed. Seriously, for the TAR superfans out there how often do you talk about David & Jeff other than being the team who didn’t make it to the finish line? That’s something David & Jeff should be happy about. They’ll forever be a common TAR trivia question.

If Tian & Jaree, Steve & Dave, Millie & Chuck, and Amanda & Chris are in the endgame, I feel strongly that the audience would be ecstatic about this season.

However,  because of my stats obsession, I spotted another factor other than underwhelming teams that could contribute to the audience’s displeasure:

None of the final three teams were dominating early on. The teams who won in the first five legs are all eliminated prior to the Final Four. In addition, the two teams who race to the finish line weren’t viewed as a bottom feeder or a dominator until the tenth episode. It’s tough to get a payoff editing wise when you have to create a story arc in the span of four episodes. How in the world do you focus on David & Jeff, Reichen & Chip, and Kelly & Jon if they’re all finishing in the 3rd – 7th range for the first half of the season? Even Jon & Al who end in fourth don’t claim a win until there were five teams left.

Another reason for the drop from other seasons is that TAR repeated locations. Malaysia, India, France, Italy, Australia, and Hawaii had already been used in the first three seasons. People were already thinking that TAR was becoming repetitive and losing its fresh appeal. Not only did they repeat locations but the travel route was not considered the greatest. Spending five legs throughout northern Italy, Austria, France, and Netherlands does not exactly translate as being diverse on-screen. It is far too much time to be staying in one continent. Africa, South America, northern Europe, southern Europe, and western Asia were all ignored for the entire season. I would say Mumbai’s train system and Seoul were the only two cities on the whole race that provided any buzz amongst viewers. Multilingual central Europeans are not the largest of cultural barriers for teams to overcome.

Major points for preserving the weekly Fast Forward which to this day is the most strategic twist that production has created.

The leg format may be another source of complaint. TAR 3 was the first to shake it up with 5-5-5-4-3-3 as its finish. TAR 4 reverted to the TAR 1 and TAR 2 days where legs were 5-5-4-4-3-3. Production definitely agreed with me because we do not see 6-6-5-5-4-4-3-3 or 5-5-4-4-3-3 ever again. Come to think of it I can only recall one more non-elimination that occurs when three teams remain.

1. The Amazing Race 3 – 8.7
2. The Amazing Race 2 – 8.5/10
3. The Amazing Race (1) – 7/10
4. The Amazing Race 4 – 6.25/10

What’s next? The Amazing Race 5 (well it’s really TUF 4 next but I think that will be done in a week). TAR suffered a big drop in ratings at the conclusion of season four. How close was TAR to being permanently cancelled?

TAR 4’s finale was in August of 2003.
TAR 5’s premiere was in July of 2004.

When TAR 5 was finally announced everyone was excited. Of course, there is a price for bringing back your favourite TV show from the ashes–the series’ biggest facelift to date. Would it improve the series or would the facelift work as well as it did for Joan Rivers? We shall see.

P.S. Earlier I asked what was missing from the picture. Here’s your answer:

(david jeff end)

David,

The production team has made an all-Chip n Dale Alliance. They’re going to tell you to fly to Sydney insisting it will give you an advantage. Don’t listen to them. Use the idol inside and save yourself from embarrassment.

XOXO,

BFFs forever,

J.T.

They just wouldn’t listen, man.

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