Previously on TAR: Teams flew to New Zealand. Kamkar cried at an airport but luck granted them onto the second flight. Colin & Christie’s relationship improved. Bowling Moms moved up to second place. Chip & Kim toyed with using the yield on Kamkar then discovered they may have screwed up. In the end Kamkar were eliminated and nobody cared. Who will be eliminated this round? Because non-eliminations always occur at Final Three, and only one non-elimination remains.
– Intro time. Baa-baa-doo-doo-da-doo-doo-da-doo-do!
– This is New Zealand. A stunning island nation although Phil’s opinion is biased because he is kiwi himself. Only worthwhile thing to note is that this place hosted the landscape for Lord of the Rings. I swear that was the number one thing everyone knew about New Zealand in 2003. Peter Jackson will be present when TAR visits here next time.
– Teams are eating, sleeping, and mingling. Will Colin & Christie breeze by the rest of the pack?
Or will they be distracted by Colin’s desires to build a Nuclear Power Plant?
– And will Chip & Kim be able to climb out of last place?
– Colin & Christie will depart at 4:56am. Drive to the Westhaven Marina in the city of Auckland. Use the boat known as the Hydroflow to lower your next clue from a flag.
– Colin & Christie brag about finishing first in each of the past three legs.
CHRISTIE: It’s because the rest of the teams suck!
COLIN: I don’t think it’s just because they suck I think we’re running a pretty good damn race.
They lead the pack in true humble form.
– Bowling Moms leave at 6:23am. Maybe Colin & Christie are right. Bowling Moms were approximately an hour behind everyone else and are the closest to Colin & Christie’s nearly 90 minute lead.
– They get into a fight.
LINDA: Where are we going?
KAREN: I don’t know.
LINDA: Let me look at the map. Okay, here’s the map. You need to tell me where we need to go. Do you want to drive?
LINDA: Then tell me where to drive. I can’t do both.
KAREN: I don’t know, Linda.
Linda does both while Karen does nothing. Excellent teamwork on leg 11!
– Brandon & Nicole leave at 6:46am.
BRANDON: All four teams want to win and win bad.
NICOLE: We need to get serious.
I wish she said ‘dangerous’ instead of ‘serious’ so I could have made a Darkwing Duck reference.
– Chip & Kim exit at 7:02am. Not far behind Brandon & Nicole.
CHIP: I’m not going to be diplomatic anymore. It’s me first me first. That’s how it has to be. Forget friends. You have friends later.
For their sake lets hope they mean it rather than buy into the UFC-like hype that all the teams do when it gets to five teams or less. And the word ‘doggone’ is nowhere to be found. Perhaps an absence of ‘doggone’ is the international Chip symbol for things getting serious.
– Colin pulls down the rope to get the clue. Roadblock time. “This person should have strong arms, strong legs, and no fear of heights”. That is the most direct roadblock clue I have read. Isn’t three hints a bit much? Colin is doing it regardless. This person travels by boat to Auckland Harbour Bridge and walk a series of narrow planks on the girders beneath the bridge. I wonder if Bender Bending Rodriguez helped produce the girders.
– Bowling Moms are lost. Karen suggests that Linda the Driver should exit the vehicle and ask for help. Today is apparently “Karen Does Not Want to Do S— Day”.
This is larger than the secret ladder in one of the first levels of Super Mario World. A 1-up may or may not be placed on the top of the bridge.
– CHRISTIE: Take your time because we’re way ahead of everyone else.
Is there anything in New Zealand that isn’t designed to be an adventure sport?
– After Colin gets the clue he has to jump off the plank into the water below. You don’t fall into the water though because they are attached to a cord.
– Christie reads the clue. Fly to Manilla and find Malaguena Motors. It is off to the land of Milli Vanilli. You know it’s true–you know it’s true–you know it’s–you know it’s. . .
– Brandon cranks the lever to get the clue Soulja Boy style. Nicole reads the roadblock.
NICOLE: Is that you or is that you?
After expressing hesitancy to do the roadblock Brandon recognizes he meets two of the three requirements and agrees to do it. A roadblock is a man’s job unless it involves caviar.
– Chip & Kim arrive at the roadblock. Chip celebrates in a low tone of voice.
Karen finally does something.
– Colin & Christie get into airport at 9:45am. There is a 10:10am flight. They run through the airport scrambling to get on the flight.
– Brandon is doing the roadblock. He is intimidated by flights.
– The flight has been rescheduled at 10:45am. Their flight leaves without any of the other teams even finishing the roadblock. It is an enormous lead for Colin & Christie.
– Bowling Moms are at the roadblock.
– Brandon does some weird seal dance in the boat. He barks like a seal as he swings his hips. Your guess is as good as mine why he’s doing that.
– NICOLE: What do you know about Manila?
BRANDON: I know it’s an island.
AN island? Maybe it was AN island before Colin took out a knife and stabbed the island of the Philippines into a thousand pieces and says “Huh, happy now?” That’s more what the Philippines looks like.
– Chip keeps saying ‘Jesus’ in several different contexts as he climbs the ladder and walks the plank. Tim Conway would take larger steps than him on the plank. Shuffling his feet along the planks was slightly humorous.
– Chip & Kim pass Bowling Moms on the way back from the bridge. Linda is doing the roadblock. This is not Karen’s day.
– Linda says ‘heel. . .toe. . .heel. . .toe’ a million times up the ladder. She gets to the top and claims she is spaghetti. What does that expression mean? When she is told to step off she is extremely hesitant and not confident the rope will hold her.
It’s off to Neverland for Linda! She is searching for a new race partner in Wendy.
– It is time for a full-on raging airport session. Brandon and Chip discuss the roadblock. Bowling Moms get to the airport. Chip is shocked she did it. He said earlier that if the Bowling Moms did the roadblock that they would win the race.
– These three teams get on a flight that arrives in Manila at 10:00am.
– Colin & Christie’s flight was late. There was only twenty minutes to connect. Too bad. You missed it. Colin & Christie have their first stint of bad luck for the whole season. Unbeknownst to them their new flight is the one that the other three teams are on.
– Teams search for better flights to no avail. We are shown Chip snoring loudly for about ten seconds before we cut to Colin & Christie arriving in Hong Kong where the other three teams sleep.
– Teams acknowledge Colin & Christie walking to the gate. Bowling Moms are shocked and laugh loudly.
How does one get the nickname of Czar? I have never heard someone be called a ‘czar’ besides people in history who were actually czars. A strangely spelled word too.
– Christie comments on who was more excited to see who. They were excited to see them because it meant they were not behind. The other three teams “were SUPER excited to us because it means we weren’t already in Manila”.
KIM: Christie I ain’t seen you in two days.
– LINDA: Everyone wants to win and someone is going to be eliminated.
Now that is a prime example of TAR hype.
– I know I have Filipino readers. These are the first three screenshots of Manila that we get:
A tiny car. Along the west coast of North America more and more people go for smart cars. My sister’s vehicle was a 1980s Nissan Micra which is a car that struggles to go up hills.
Somebody playing the drums? There are some annoying teens and guys in their 30s a few doors down who play the drums in their garage.
These look like the hallways in my university campus. Manila and B.C. aren’t so different after all.
– Chip & Kim get into a taxi first. Their cab’s name is Allah. Brandon & Nicole get into cab second. Bowling Moms kill a mosquito in their cab. Colin & Christie picked the wrong Customs line and are the last team to a cab. Wait? Colin & Christie are in last? This is a first.
– Kim says the word ‘yield’ and Phil pops up with an explanation.
At least this yield sign is off the road and will not confuse any local drivers.
– Kim says they need to yield Colin & Christie.
CHIP: Colin & Christie are like the Los Angeles Lakers. They are the best.
Such a deep simile.
– Brandon yells at Chip from cab to cab to yield Colin & Christie. Bowling Moms say Colin & Christie have been really nice to them but that they would like to yield them. Yeah, right. Big talk, Linda.
If I was the cab I would be very concerned about somebody saying under their breath ‘get ready to jump out of the car’. Was a bomb planted? Is this thing going to explode? Will I get paid? I am reassured though that the taxi cabs are focused enough on the road that they block a chunk of their passenger’s conversations.
– Chip & Kim are first out of the car and look for where the route marker is. Brandon & Nicole and Bowling Moms are within fifty feet as well. Chip asks and runs to the front. He accidentally shoves Linda as if he is Jonathan Baker. However Linda knows it was unintentional and jokingly tells Chip to settle down. Kim is pushing Karen from behind. Chip & Kim’s intensity is at an all-time high. Shoving teams around? They are the new Colin & Christie.
Three of the four teams huddle around the yield mat. It should really count as a group yield.
But only one gets assessed the blame. I think the lack of anonymity is what discouraged teams from using the yield in each of the first ten legs. Final Four is a bit extreme for the first one to be used.
– Route marker time. Complete the decoration of a jeep-knee. It is the most popular public form of transportation in the Philippines. We will take Phil’s word for it.
– Colin & Christie get to the jeep-knee.
COLIN: Chip & Kim!
CHRISTIE: They yielded us, Colin.
What? There’s a thing called a yield this season? I thought it was some new twist TAR tried for a few rounds but then phased it out like it was the Medallion of Power.
Colin watches Chip put the jeep-knee together.
Unfortunately Charla cannot do the same.
You mad, bro?
– The three teams are putting the car together but take glances at Colin & Christie who observe them intently.
NICOLE: Left? What does left mean?!
– Bowling Moms give us the Teri & Ian speech of how they are moms and can fix anything. Sure enough they are first to complete the task. They receive their next clue and head to. . .
One of my favourite on-screen clues. Manila is Philippines’ capital of the duck industry.
– Chip hates that him and Brandon let women beat them putting a car together.
CHIP: We let a couple of women beat us and I was like daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang.
No exaggeration on how many ‘a’s are on Chip’s daaaaaaaang.
– Bowling Moms have the most feminine cheering celebration inside the car. Linda reminds me of Erin from The Office with her tone.
– Brandon & Nicole finish. Off to Giant Duck in Victoria. I should note teams get inside in their jeep-knee and direct their driver where to go. So if a driver does not know where to go then it’s TAR’s biggest mistake they have made.
– Colin asks Brandon where he is heading. Brandon yells ‘Giant Duck’ from the Jeep-knee. Is he out of his mind? What was the point of yielding them if you continue to help them? His head is only full of blonde hair and nothing else it seems.
– Chip & Kim are done before the sand in the hourglass has ran out. Chip feels ashamed and happy to avoid a confrontation.
– Christie reads the clue extremely fast and is tense. Colin asks her for help and she shuts him down. They are shown completing the jeep-knee seconds later. How long they really took is a mystery.
Unlike other teams who sit quietly in the back of the jeep-knee Christie is bold enough to move into the passenger seat.
– CHRISTIE: Please! Very fast! Please hurry! Please hurry! Please hurry! You must go fast.Please go fast, fast, fast. Go! It’s okay, run them over. Just run them over they’re not–JUST GO AROUND!
If this were an arcade the taxi driver would bag 20 points each for running these two people according to Christie’s wishes.
COLIN: Hey Christie, Christie! If you do that we’re going to seriously f— ourselves up. Seriously Christie.
The intense voice of reason. Throwing cash in a police officer’s face is where he draws the line. Running people over is going too far! The cabby either loves or hates his job right now.
– The rain pours. Ah the tendencies of a tropical location. Karen’s voice is super dry. Detour time. Choose between two chores commonly seen on a Filipino farm–plow or foul. In plow, teams use a traditional ox and plow to till the soil until the plow catches a rope and bring a buried clue to the surface. It should finish quickly because the ox is used to working with people. In fowl, teams herd a thousand ducks to a pen fifty yards away. It is difficult because ducks instinctively run away from people. I feel guilty for throwing rocks at ducks all these years.
– Brandon convinces Nicole to do the ox task as opposed to a thousand and one ducks. Bowling Moms follow suit.
– CHRISTIE: We have to catch up with other teams. Cause they yielded us. They play unfair. We have to catch up with them.
The driver is ready to make the same hand gesture to Christie. He may have done it if Christie threw in one ‘long time’ into her rant.
– Brandon celebrates finding the clue in the mud.
NICOLE: Brandon, you’re so good!
Okay, Amber Mariano.
– Pit stop time. Travel back to Manila Proper and find Coconut Palace. A palace made entirely from coconut trees. Ozzy Lusth’s summer retreat. Chip & Kim are JUST arriving at the detour.
– Linda finds the clue.
Second place here we come again!
Linda gets hosed Philippines style. The real kicker is that 35% of it is made of ox feces.
– Linda gives the most childish scream after she lands. The mud burns. This wasn’t in the brochure!
Bowling Moms grab their shoes and run barefoot to the jeep-knee. Their shoes are soaked.
– Teams are told to abandon their jeep-knees. Brandon asks around for taxis. Local says there are no taxis and instead only buses. Bowling Moms catch up and Brandon tells them the same thing. They board a bus together to Manila. Something tells me there are several taxis in Victoria and the local is bull and/or oxs—-ing them.
– Colin & Christie find the duck. Chip & Kim complete the detour and are told to catch a bus too.
– Colin & Christie grab the clue. They choose to do the ox. Christie is hesitant to get into the mud.
The ox is prepared to tackle Christie for her lack of effort.
CHRISTIE: Keep looking!
CHRISTIE: Keep looking, Colin!
COLIN: You’re not helping me look, babe. You’re just standing around.
CHRISTIE: There’s not much I can do, babe. It’s buried deep. It’s in the plowed area so it’ll be deep. Do you understand?
COLIN: . . .
CHRISTIE: Do you understand?
COLIN: Yes I understand!
Good work, Christie!
– Chip & Kim watch buses pass by that aren’t going to Manila.
COLIN: Where is he going?! No! In this field!
Colin utters the most memorable line in TAR’s 20-season history. Here it goes. . .
MY OX IS BROKEN!
Yep. Any fan of the earlier seasons or anybody who is any sort of TAR enthusiast has heard this quote but may not know where to exactly attribute it to anymore. The producers of TAR released a book a couple years later that dealt with embracing adventure. The title of the book? My Ox is Broken. Those who have worked on the show will point to this moment as the most memorable incident in the show’s history. The quote is so ridiculous that you cannot help but have it burned in your memory forever. It essentially sums up one’s tolerance for other cultures. The ox is broken? Somebody put in some rechargeable into him, stat! Thank you Colin for lasting to leg 11. Your presence means a lot to us.
– Chip & Kim get on a bus.
COLIN: My ox is broken. This is bulls—!
CHRISTIE: Colin, is it impossible for me to control him?
CHRISTIE: Please answer me when I talk to you. If there’s any way possible that you cannot wander aimlessly.
COLIN: Do you know how hard it is to look down and try to drive him? Do you realize how difficult that is? It wasn’t this hard for the other teams. I can guarantee you that.
Colin is completely missing the rope at the head of the ox. That makes the task ten times easier. Hence your ox is not broken. Colin & Christie are as bad with basic technology as their great great great great grandparents.
– CHRISTIE: Grab. The. Plow.
COLIN: I CAN’T GET HIM TO GO THERE
CHRISTIE: Well calm down.
COLIN: WHY DO YOU KEEP TURNING
CHRISTIE: Colin, why don’t you learn how to control it?
COLIN: I’M TRYING
CHRISTIE: Listen to yourself. No wonder you can’t control it.
COLIN: Christie I can’t make him go over there!
CHRISTIE: I don’t want another word.
Colin is surprisingly scolding Christie instead of the broken ox. Christie is clueless to this not being a roadblock and strolls through the mud without contributing to controlling the ox. Thirty minutes and she has done nothing.
CHRISTIE: Obviously we’re not doing it the way it’s supposed to be done.
COLIN: Get the f— over here and help me look.
CHRISTIE: It’s so deep, Colin.
COLIN: I DON’T CARE. WALK THROUGH IT WITH YOUR FEET UNTIL YOU FEEL IT
He is screaming more than Harry Potter inside Dumbledore’s office after Sirius’ death. Calm down, Colin. You’re on a reality show.
– Christie finds the clue with her bare hands. No ox necessary for an ox detour task.
– Colin & Christie conclude they’re getting off the bus before the bus gets into Manila so they can make up time. They are the first ones to find a cab.
– Chip & Kim catch on Colin & Christie will catch a cab before Manila. They counter by using the same strategy.
– Bowling Moms and Brandon & Nicole flag down a taxi once they are within Manila city limits. Brandon & Nicole get a taxi. Their driver may not be the best given his response to the Coconut Palace.
I’d like to know what that place is made of. Are there such things as a cookie tree?
Crazy American models. They ask me if there’s a COCONUT PALACE. That is so ridiculous. Nobody would make a palace out of coconut! Cookies however. . .
– Karen’s dry voice is severely hindering her and Linda’s ability to flag down a cab. They are the only team without a cab.
– Colin & Christie might be getting a huge break because their cab seems to be a pushover.
Oh well. Makes sense because Manila sounds like it is densely populated.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Nothing spells emergency like driving to the coconut palace to help some aggressive Americans.
By the way that is the #1 answer on The Amazing Race Family Feud for “Things You Like to Hear From a Cab Driver”.
– Nicole complains that they always get bad taxis. Brandon says it is in the Lord’s hands. Convenient cutaway to the taxi driver’s Jesus coin hanging from the rearview mirror.
– Suspense builds for who will be team number one. It’s. . .
My reaction to Chip & Kim being team number one. That is one dang fine taxi they snagged. That’s how you come back from a cemented third place finish. Chip slams a towel down as him and Kim pace back and forth as they fist bump and hug Phil and the Filipino woman. They won a trip to beautiful Hawaii.
CHIP: God always takes care of his idiots and I’m the first on the list.
– Cab race. It is out of everyone’s hands. Bowling Moms have snuck into second place. Their celebration is not as dramatic as Chip’s.
– Colin continuously hands the driver cash throughout the cab ride. Why not. Either you’re out or all of your money is taken away.
– Suspense time. The taxi barely avoids a discarded Coke bottle on the ground. Brandon & Nicole are team number three. They thank the Lord and it’s time to depart with Colin & Christie.
– This means Colin & Christie are out. Really slow piano music plays that I have not heard on the race before. The fans at home are going wild as they cheer and can yell ‘COLIN AND CHRISTIE, YOU ARE ELIMINATED!!! BOOYAH!’
– Phil informs them they are indeed last. I’ll miss these two in the finale.
– Colin & Christie hand over their money. Christie says all they wanted to do was race to the finish line.
Filipino Lady looks on with empathy.
– COLIN: We trusted Chip & Kim but they burned us. It’s on. . .like it’s on.
– Hype time. ‘Only four teams’ blah blah blah ‘million dollars’ blah blah blah ‘it’s business time’ blah blah blah ‘don’t underestimate us’ blah blah blah ‘trust is nowhere to be found’
Next time on TAR: Nicole hates riding a bike. The yield strengthens Colin & Christie. Somebody struggles ascending up the face of a cliff. And a million dollars was awarded.
Many people thought that non-elimination was rigged. Viewers thought production did it for the sole purpose of keeping in Colin & Christie through to the finale. It’s fair for them to think that because no one believed you could have a finale without a non-elimination appearing with three teams left.
Of course nowadays that type of accusation of foul play is silly. TAR 20’s finale is this week and all of the non-eliminations were used by the time 5th place was eliminated from the race.
Why did production bump non-eliminations to all occur prior to Final Three and eventually Final Four? From a production standpoint, I identify three reasons:
1) Most finales are two hours. A two-hour finale with four teams versus a two-hour finale with three teams increases the odds of your heroes and villains being present in the finale and thus bring in big ratings to close out the season. Kevin & Drew, Oswald & Danny, and the Clowns were all the most beloved people at Final Four in the TAR 1, 2, and 4 but were all eliminated prior to the two-hour finale. There would have been a ratings increase if viewers knew they could watch them in the finale even if it was for one hour. Naturally watching for one hour will lead you to watching for two hours.
2) Randomizing non-eliminations forces teams to give it their all in every single leg. Gone are the days where Chris & Alex leisurely stroll to the mat in Thailand or Zach implements a ‘take it slow day’ to convert non-eliminations into a rest period.
3) If the casual viewers know an episode will be a non-elimination they will not tune in. Most of us hate non-eliminations. Especially when we know if it is all along and are stuck calling bulls— on production for the whole hour. Don’t spit in our cupcakes and tell us it’s frosting. Production’s change ensures every episode has suspense because we never know until the final minute if the trailing team will be eliminated or given new life.
So next episode was the season finale. Four teams will play out the two remaining legs. Who was everyone cheering for? Chip & Kim followed by the Bowling Moms. Both would provide satisfying wins. You either loved Colin & Christie’s for their intense behaviour and outrageous treatment of cabs or you hated them for those very reasons. The only team who could eff up the whole season would be if Brandon & Nicole win. It would change a season from being absolutely incredible into ‘well gee when does next season start?’
Who wins definitely plays a part in whether the audience likes a season overall or cuts it adrift like they were on Pirate Master. Frank & Margarita fell to Rob & Brennan. Tara & Wil, the super villains, were trumped in the final seconds to produce a satisfying win. Flo & Zach won but Flo wasn’t really mean-spirited to anyone she met besides Zach, and Zach was a nice guy, and Flo was super entertaining, so we all lived with it. Reichen & Chip broke important barriers and became role models for the LGBT community. TAR 5 should end on a similar note.
12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th Dennis & Erika 11.0
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
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33
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
5th Kami & Karli 5.8
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8
9th Heather & Eve 5.75
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67
10th Alison & Donny 5.5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25
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
6th Charla & Mirna 3.71
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 Legs
1) St. Petersburg -> Giza (Ancient Egypt? The race goes to freakin Ancient Egypt?! God this leg was memorable. Egypt never entered my mind as a destination. The leg was very up and down for all of the teams. Unless you’re Colin & Christie. Yeah there was a stupid Fast Forward but it had no bearing on this leg. Colin & Christie finished with perhaps the biggest lead at a pit stop. Kamkar effs up with a puzzle, Linda effs up her ankle, and Marshall effs up his knee. Nobody was safe. Well, actually everyone was safe. I remember how blown away I was when the last place team lost all of their money and would have zero money for the next leg. My biggest complaint about the first four seasons of TAR had been eliminated. All of the viewers speculated how much of an impact having zero dollars to your name would paralyze you in the race. Charla & Mirna’s Trojan attack in the airport was pretty good too. This is the best non-elimination leg as well because TAR broke the predictable structure of 6-5-4-3 or 5-5-3. Even though there is only four non-eliminations we see it first occur with seven teams which was a necessary shake-up for the race. It forced you to run hard on every leg. Best location ever for the race and a very memorable episode.)
2) San Carlos de Bariloche -> St. Petersburg (I have nothing bad to say about this leg. Mirna continued her path of destruction with other teams as she interrupts Colin and hurls nasty insults. In addition she taunts teams at the roadblock for good measure. If nobody knew who Colin was last episode, they certainly did this episode as he once again stepped in the leader role and booked bus tickets for four teams. They in turn gave them the best flight available. Speaking of flights, the journey from Patagonia to St. Petersburg is perhaps my favourite of all-time in the series. There were five–FIVE planes! Editors should be given an Emmy for editing an episode that likely lasted four or five days into a 40 minute block. Seriously. The tasks were very inspired too. Vodka at midnight, hockey shots with amateurs, and eating the delicacy known as caviar. Do the rich have terrible taste? Chip & Kim’s random jump from being next to last several times into being first place and passing the mactors was great. Nicole and Christie’s reaction to the caviar was one of the funniest things I had seen on the race. Nicole nearly goes unconscious because she doesn’t like the food! The pit stop location is pretty dang epic. Brandon & Nicole cutting ties with their closest allies was also entertaining for its short-sighted move. Overall a very very very good episode of TAR. Even if we lose Bob & Joyce.)
3) Cairo -> Luxor (A gigantic equalizer at the start of the leg is a quick strike. Colin & Christie’s lead should not have been taken down from seven hours to zero minutes before they reach the inside of the pyramid. The shove between Mirna and them was proof of how much nearly everyone hates Mirna which had never been witnessed before. It made the Guidos look like moral gods. Tasks were very inspired. We moved from the royal Ancient Egypt tasks in leg five to the more peasant like tasks of Ancient Egypt here in leg six. No one knew what a scarab was. Junk shots from the goats. Colin awkwardly riding a donkey. The only other downer for this leg is that the Pizza Bros were DOA from the moment I saw Marshall walking out of the pit stop. Kamkar’s poop allergy balanced this.
4) Buenos Aires -> San Carlos de Bariloche (Awesome leg. Pizza Bros’ confrontation with Mirna is so quotable. I have imitated Marshall saying “I hate her sooo much” at least once a month. I have yet to get the accent down. The frenzy in the airport is one of the series’ best. Brandon & Nikki betraying Mirna was great. Mirna wondering why everyone treats her so badly by then pulling an underhanded move on Pizza Bros was great. Colin joining in on the bashing by saying “we have to beat the midget!” creates a clear theme for the season. No taxis are present in this leg which is always awesome. The tasks are great considering how small of a space they are in. Well rounded. Oh, and Kamkar swimming to the pit stop.)
5) Luxor -> Kilimanjaro (Ranking these legs are really tough for TAR 5. I s’pose the midway leg will hover around the midway point because it was solid but not terribly memorable. Nobody quits, hangs out at the Sphinx, or shouts ‘b—’ in opposing taxis. In fact if anything this leg would be considered a slight disappointment. Right when Mirna has a shoving battle with Christie, Mirna is knocked out along with Charla because of luck as opposed to one titan or another using brilliant strategy to get ahead. How in the world was the yield not used by Colin & Christie? Despite losing our star team it was a fun leg. This is one of the most remote locations for the race but also fairly populated. The chaos between Brandon & Nicole with the Calgary guy was fascinating. Chip & Kim stop to hang out with people on the detour on the race is even better. Seeing Colin’s intensity mount to nothing more than whining about eggs was great. There is not much else to say about the leg. Perhaps too much time spent in airports pumping up ‘clash of the titans’ when it amounts to nothing?)
6) Rotorua -> Manila (Somebody finally uses a yield. Chip & Kim shuffle their position so many times until they shock everyone and finish first. And an ox breaks. The villains get the first dagger as David from TAR 4 would say, but Phil fails to push in the second dagger and instead settles for taking the villains’ money. Good stuff.)
7) Dubai -> Kolkata/Calcutta/Mother Teresa Land (Non-eliminations are plagued by police intervening on cab fare disputes. Teams catch up on flights. Wicked waterslide. The beginning of Chip’s campaign to foster Colin’s self-destruction. India’s train rides minus Kelly’s booty getting pinched from last season. Unique engine-less taxi. Two non-eliminations in a row can be a bit much. At least they caught us off guard with the non-elimination.)
8) Kilimanjaro -> Dubai (It’s tough to rank an episode where only one event worthwhile happens. No elimination, no roadblock, and one big equalizer. This leg was all about money. Colin didn’t want to spend it to the point he would go to jail, Brandon does it only if there is no other choice, and Chip thinks tipping cabs will only have its benefits such as cheap skating a different cab by giving him ten less dollars than required. Nothing else occurs this episode.)
9) Montevideo -> Buenos Aires (Mega discos are awesome. Charla asking directions from a prostitute. Kamkar and Chip & Kim get into a mud fight thinking they are last place but it turns out it was all for naught and in fact the face-off in the cab nearly had Alison & Donny catch up. Taxi vs. Bus dilemma was good because it made you think short term versus long term. At the time Alison’s elimination was a bonus because the stunt casting team would not be able to corrupt more than two episodes. The only negative is that we had to see dogs having sex.)
10) Calcutta/Kolkata -> Rotorua (Too predictable in editing techniques. Only noteworthy moments are Kamkar lying about having reservations booked to sneak onto a flight and Chip faking out that he will use the Yield when he was extremely close to making TAR’s biggest blunder. Zorbs and sledges are cool.)
11) Santa Monica -> Maldonado (Although it is this low it is by no means a bad premiere. It’s a great premiere. Jim’s knee injury, Charla & Mirna’s craziness, Chip, Kim, Kamkar, and Donny ignoring a preposition in the clue would be enough to have this premiere be the best leg in any season. But this is TAR 5. There’s just too many memorable and entertaining legs that topple the premiere. The fact Jim & Marsha survive and boring couple Dennis & Erika are first out was one of the better scenarios. Biggest negative for the leg is that the semi-celebrity team is the one that wins the leg. Nearly everyone in the audience thought Alison’s win on this leg was rigged. Obviously this would prove to not be the case. There was also too many equalizers.)
Rank the Teams
7) Dennis & Erika
Why is it that I have nothing to say about the first couple that gets eliminated in each season? They are likely underdeveloped and are branded with zero personality so we do not care about them. Matt & Ana, Hope & Norm, Debra & Steve, and now Dennis & Erika. Dennis played the nice guy to the point it was irritating. All because he could not handle being labeled as a scumbag which none of the other teams really meant too seriously. I doubt anyone cared about their storyline of getting back together and being re-engaged.
6) Alison & Donny
I never approved of Alison being cast on the race. Although Big Brother is not too popular internationally I would say it is still unfair to the other players. Why not cast someone who has yet to appear on one of the big three reality shows? Instead Alison is cast solely for her name. We are lucky that the couple’s extreme lack of compatibility made them have the most ridiculous fights ever seen on TAR, and we are also lucky they did it in an honest and non-camera whoring fashion. They earned their airtime by winning the first leg then falling to last place on the next. I just wished TAR didn’t continue the practice of casting d-list celebrities in the future.
5) Kami & Karli
A difficult team for me to rank. On one hand there was about zero instances where I rooted for them to win the season, but approximately zero instances where I was rooting against them. I sincerely hope casting picked up on the fact that these two are so similar and have unorthodox logic skills that they would make some of the biggest mistakes ever on the race. In addition, the fact they survive six eliminations is a miracle in itself. They did not deliver when they did well on a leg. Do you remember anything about the twins if they succeeded on a leg? Do you remember all of the screwups on any leg where they finish next to last? Of course.
In short these two were never meant to be competitive for the million bucks. They were merely the figures appointed for oddball moments on the race. And it worked.
4) Marshall & Lance
Pizza Bros who are loud, witty, and offensive to anyone they don’t like. They gave great confessionals and got along surprisingly well for being a loud sibling team. They were ultimately a casting mistake, though. Marshall should never have been allowed to enter the race as heavy as he was. I cannot recall anybody who has entered the race heavier than he was. His knees were bound to be ruined. I think even Steve & Dave from TAR 4 had an easier time.
However, if you eliminate the weight, there is no real reason why this team should not have been cast. They were great television despite being scumbags. That’s right. Scumbags.
3) Bob & Joyce
The Internet dating couple. Both lost a spouse to cancer but on the race discovered they truly loved each other. They were at the front of the pack for most of the race until a business class ticket screwed them over. Bob looking humorously old and Joyce’s wacky attitude only made them more likeable. They were the first older team outside of Teri & Ian that I truly liked in TAR. Sure Bob got into an odd fight with my man Chip, but hey, who knows how much of that two second clip was set up by editing. It sucks how they went out.
2) Jim & Marsha
One of my favourite teams. Who wasn’t disappointed to see them go early? They nearly miss the first flight of the game because Jim tripped on the pier and had a nail go into his knee. A ton of blood. They were nice and polite to the other teams but remained competitive. Incidentally the only time they finished outside of last place (or next to last place) is a leg that did not involve planes. Sometimes the bad luck is not with the taxis but rather with airports.
They are also the first father-daughter team to be on the race.
1) Charla & Mirna
Otherwise known as “Schmirna & Mirna”. Seriously, can you think of a reason why these two should not be cast? Charla is the first Little Person on the race. However her partner is perhaps the most polarizing person to ever be on The Amazing Race. It goes against the stereotype of reality TV contestants who are celebrated for their disabilities and positively breaking barriers. Mirna & Charla contradict this. Mirna is a conniving mothaf—er and Charla plays along. They have fun, cry, yell at other teams, play victim, play bully, and can do the whole cycle in every single episode. Plus they have the highest ranking of any team to finish in sixth.
Need we say more? Or as we say on Martha Stewart’s Apprentice, need we play more?