Previously on TAR: Uhhh, Phil isn’t around to tell us what happened last leg. I’m on my own for this one. Let’s see here. Bowling Moms got screwed by a slow cab and ended up in a showdown with Colin & Christie. Colin sucked at guessing flags so Bowling Moms had a significant lead. Brandon & Nicole followed Chip & Kim around until the final task to win the leg. Phil described the Caribbean as being sunny. Chip, Colin, and Brandon did their eighth or ninth roadblock of the season as well as be solely responsible for opening each clam. Karen was exhausted and let Colin pass her at the end of the round leading to Bowling Moms being eliminated. Colin & Christie have gone two legs without winning. It is their longest streak since not winning the two legs at the beginning of the season.
I’ll do my assessment of the final three teams:
Brandon & Nicole: The first team to perfect Damon & Andre’s strategy. They follow the other teams around to leech onto information until they think of a slightly better method to get the job done. Unlike Damon & Andre, this team manages to do this every leg without drawing attention because they know how to communicate with the other teams in a friendly manner. Brandon is also the most religious person to ever run the race. More than Cyndi & Russell from TAR 2 or Nancy from TAR 1. It is an unusual trait for someone so young.
Chip & Kim. A middle-aged couple that is capable of winning legs but frequently find themselves towards the end of the pack. They were the only ones of the remaining five teams to not have their money taken away on a non-elimination. In fact this season currently has the record for highest number of teams to come in last on a non-elimination. If they win, they will be the most popular winners ever. They are also the first team to use the yield. Their mental agility after their leg one error and Chip’s all-around strengths is their biggest contributor to making it to the million dollar round.
Colin & Christie. There was a stretch from legs 3 through 10 where they won six of the eight legs. Nobody has won so frequently over such a long stretch thanks mainly in part to fast forwards being removed. In earlier seasons a team like Frank & Margarita may have the title as most winningest team ever because fast forwards would not rob them of a win. Their intensity, determination, and aggressive nature towards cab drivers has propelled them to the end. Their mass alliances where teams let them get the best airplane tickets has gotten them to this point as well.
– No questions from Phil. Brandon & Nicole depart at 3:16am. Clue tells them to go to Calgary. Go to Lookout Mountain and put on snowshoes to hike to the top of the continental divide. In twenty seasons of TAR this is the closest TAR has ever been to me. Seattle is a close second from TAR 3.
– Brandon’s biggest advantage according to him is that they are trusting in the will of God. Incorrect. Please refer to what I wrote in your write-up. Chip & Kim depart at 3:40am. Chip says he is already a winner but would rather be a winner with a million dollars.
– 3:46am departure for Colin & Christie. Christie says anyone can win except Chip & Kim. Chip believes ever since the yield that Colin & Christie have been caught in a tailspin and are making mistakes. A 4th and 3rd place finish indicates that may be true.
– All three teams are on a 6:30am flight to Manila. They sit awkwardly in the office. Flight to Manila. Then flight to Calgary. Two days of travel has been summed up in less than thirty seconds.
– Teams are running through the airport to catch a cab. East Indian cab driver. That is indeed the norm of western Canada. Chip & Kim are in last place. They were not prepared for a cold climate considering they are from South Central. They suit up in the back of the cab.
– They’re at Sunshine Village. My cousin worked there. The Canadian stereotype is exploited as teams are thrust in what appears to be the coldest and mountainous climate ever. I do not identify with it because I live in Canada’s desert and hate any and all winter sports.
– Colin insists for Christie to push forward. Brandon & Nicole are behind and Nicole is struggling.
Nicole has stopped a few times. What is Brandon’s advice?
BRANDON: Just picture Jesus up there with his arms wide open. . .and you’re running to him. Picture that.
I watched this finale with my brothers when it aired. One of my brothers never watches these shows and only does so if he visits on vacation. This is the loudest I have heard him laugh at anything said in these TV shows. “Picture Jesus up there and you’re running to him???” and he completely loses it and references it for a couple of days. That was the solution to any and all of our problems that weekend. Just picture Jesus and we’re running into him like we’re a bull who sees a red cape.
Oddly enough my brother now watches TAR on a religious basis since he started dating a hardcore TAR fan a few years ago. Times have changed.
– Colin’s motivation to get Christie up?
COLIN: It’s a million dollars. It’s the final leg.
– Christie cannot catch her breath. They are completely still.
COLIN: Baby you’re not even like dying.
– Colin has his poles draped over his shoulder and Christie latches on as he walks up the hill. They get to the clue. We’re off to Canada Olympic Park.
– Brandon & Nicole get to the top. Colin does a somersault on the way down. He is ecstatic. Brandon & Nicole are running down the hill. Kim for once is way ahead of Chip in a physical task.
If only he dislocated his shoulder in the process.
– Colin does a loose rubbing handshake with the cab driver. Brandon & Nicole are supposedly right behind.
The Maple Leaf hat is the hot (er, cold) ticket item here in Calgary!
– Chip & Kim are literally left in the cold as a cab doesn’t pick them up. Oh wait. A cab picks them up.
– Colin & Christie find the Olympic cauldron. Detour time. Slide or Ride. In slide you do a two-man ride. You must do it in 34 seconds or less which is a competitive time for amateur luge riders. In ride, teams bike down a hill and must complete the course in three minutes or less. If teams fail either task they must repeat until they are successful.
– Colin & Christie do the luge. They see Brandon & Nicole pull in. I really wish they’d do bobsled because it is the most iconic moment in the Calgary Olympics. John Candy + a Jamaican bobsled team = Something every freakin Canadian remembers or references on a regular basis. I myself saw that movie multiple times in the elementary school classroom.
– Brandon & Nicole go to the luge but get lost on the way. Brandon says the bikes are next to the cauldron. Nicole is pissed because Brandon is too indecisive and never puts his foot down. So they go to the bikes and ironically. . .
Nicole cannot physically put her foot down on the bikes. Brandon cannot do it verbally but Nicole cannot do it physically. What a pair!
– Colin & Christie relax on the luge. Colin is on top of Christie as they lie on their backs. The timers commence for both detours. Colin & Christie do the luge while Brandon & Nicole fail theirs.
COLIN: Feel the cheese! We did it so clean.
CHRISTIE: Don’t get so cocky.
I think what Christie is saying is that Colin is not the Apollo Rocket of Love.
Christie was not feeling the cheese.
– Luge time is 30.26 seconds. They receive the clue. Fly to the final destination city of Dallas, Texas. Sure enough Colin & Christie are from Texas. But nobody ever loses in their home state/town though, right? Once in Dallas they must head to a barn in Fort Worth.
– Brandon & Nicole’s time is over four minutes. Dang the luge is much easier. They do not catch on because they intend to reset and try again.
– Nicole is fitted with a new bike. Her feet can reach the pedals and the ground. Brandon insists to balance and pedal.
Nicole yells for Brandon as she can only drag her feet. That would be what I’d do too. Therefore I believe Nicole has never learned to ride a bike like me. She is yelling. Screaming. Crying. Simultaneously yelling, crying, and screaming.
Nicole pushes over bikes like Flo pushes helmets into streams.
I just wanna go hommmmmmmmmmmmmmme. Brandon is calm in a Zach-like manner as Nicole is hysterical. Brandon calmly says she is being hysterical.
Brandon resolves the situation by giving her a piggyback ride to the local ice cream parlour. Nicole’s sobs are choppy as she bounces off of Brandon’s back.
– Brandon & Nicole are at the luge. Colin & Christie booked an 848 flight on American Airlines. Brandon & Nicole complete the luge with only one scream from Nicole. Their luge time was 30.46. Dallas is good news for them because they are Texans. Chip & Kim crash on the luge. Nicole complains in the cab that she wanted to do the luge and Brandon says she should have spoken up more and says everything is his fault in a sarcastic manner.
– Chip & Kim crash on the luge a second time. Brandon & Nicole book tickets on the 848 flight. Colin comes up with a strategy of booking a taxi that will have the trunk open ready to put their bags inside.
– Chip & Kim attempt the luge a third time. They have a time of 32.99. Chip is a big guy to do a luge. Colin & Christie are in their hotel room booking their cab. Meanwhile Chip feels like they’ve blown their chance at a million dollars.
– Colin decides to chuck a bunch of their stuff into boxes and have it all checked in Dallas. This ensures they can run much faster as literal weight is lifted off their shoulders. Brandon & Nicole appear to be doing the same thing as Nicole neatly folds clothes.
– Chip & Kim get to the airport in what appears to be hours and hours later after the other two teams. Kim is calling the airlines.
KIM: We’d like to fly from Calgary to Dallas. Oooooh, what happened? Wowwwww. Okay. And let me confirm with you: So the tickets for tomorrow is that on flight number 848 and that is to Dallas, Texas from Calgary? And it has been delayed now and will not leave at 7:03?
Unbeknownst to the other teams who are too busy experiencing the delicious taste of Tim Hortons’ timbits. Welcome to the Canada, eh? Would you like some maple syrup added to your timbits?
KIM: It is going to leave at 9:50am?
KIM: So let me confirm with you: I should look for another flight if I want to win a million dollars? Thank you.
– The announcement of the flight conveniently changes after unlikeable TAR teams have booked tickets. Chip & Kim are searching for new flights. They found a 1:06pm arrival which is two hours earlier than everyone else.
CHIP: Just chilling like a villain.
– The three teams sleep together until 4:15am when Chip & Kim pull out a Trojan Mirna and run off to the counter. Chip & Kim are nervous because they do not want to be standing at the ticket counter of the United office that has the 1:06pm. They instead meander around the airport. Nicole is shown looking to the right which may or may not be in Chip & Kim’s direction.
– Brandon & Nicole get to the ticket counter a couple hours later. The agent behind the desk informs them of the flight delay. If only they called last night to find it out. Calgary’s fog delays everything. Brandon recalls the 1:06pm Denver flight and asks if they can get on.
That can’t be right. There is over twenty minutes left in the episode. There must be some sort of competition with so much time to fill. Otherwise Chip & Kim won a million bucks.
– Colin & Christie wander in thinking they have it all figured out. Only to be confused why Brandon & Nicole are at the United line. They walk over with the smallest backpacks seen on the race to the American counter. They find out about the delay and Brandon tells them the United flight is oversold but Chip & Kim are on.
– CHIP: This is definitely a mistake on Colin’s part. The old Colin, the Colin on his game would have different flights booked with four airlines. This could actually be the break in the whole entire race.
I think Chip is giving himself too much credit for Colin’s stumbles over the past few legs. If Colin & Christie were at the back of the pack so much recently wouldn’t they have worked even harder to be on the United flight? Yes they led this leg but they knew all teams would be on the same flight. I think what happened is Colin omitted the essential weapon you need prior to landing in a final destination city–tickets. David & Jeff claim to have booked seven flights at the pit stop prior to the final leg. It is a rookie mistake to not use the carte blanc from producers to book tickets on every flight that you come across. And of course this is the break in the whole race. There are less than twenty minutes to the finish line so any advantage you have at the very end of the marathon is going to be exaggerated. Wasn’t yielding Colin & Christie promoted as a key difference? What about Colin & Christie coming in last? Even Colin nearly getting thrown in jail was supposed to be the beginning of their decline. Why not just say ‘Dang, we’re lucky’ and leave it at that?
– Colin & Christie and Brandon & Nicole touch their faces a lot in fatigue, exhaustion, and pessimism. They scan for flights. Luckily there is a flight that arrives at 1:24pm. Chip & Kim’s lead is cut from two hours down to eighteen minutes. NOW we have a race.
– The attendant informs the two teams that they are attempting to bump people off the flight to Denver. I am sure production influenced this because a solid eighteen minute lead must not be exciting if there are few tasks to accomplish in Denver. We should note the two teams can only get on from Calgary to Denver. Denver to Dallas will be standby and that is even if they can be accepted to Denver. Did they get on?
The break of the game has vanished from Chip’s vocab. We now have a race. Brandon & Nicole and Colin & Christie await their fate whether Chip & Kim have an 18-minute lead or it is even steven.
– Colin & Christie are first to the counter. Colin greets Wendy the ticket agent. The issue is not that the flight is oversold but all of the baggage that they checked are tagged on American Airlines. They are not allowed on the flight if their bags are with a different airline. Brandon & Nicole join and both teams say they are willing to have their bags thrown away. Colin sees the situation going nowhere and runs to American Airlines. Brandon stays behind at the desk and whines.
– Colin & Christie barely make their American flight. Brandon & Nicole shortly follow. Chip is in shock that nobody is on the flight with him.
– Chip & Kim arrive at 1:06pm to get into a cab. 1:16pm for the next flight. Christie trips in the airport.
So much for making up time on Chip & Kim. I have a feeling that water bottle will be abandoned. Colin & Christie’s cab is found and is traveling extremely fast. Brandon & Nicole find a cab who says ‘I drive slow’ and moves onto a different cab that once on the road says ‘this is not a race track this is a highway’.
– Chip & Kim get to the route marker. What is their task? Grab their team key and enter a maze. Search the maze for a picture inside your teams’ box. Retrieve the picture and put it on a sensor at the starting point. They will do it a second time to find a second box that will contain their next clue.
– Colin & Christie and Brandon & Nicole are racing on the strees. Brandon says to keep up with the other taxi.
We should note this maze was created prior to Survivor: Vanuatu. Much better than White + White, roadblock animals, finding Shea Stadium, or some other random place like in the past.
– Chip & Kim find #2 but fail to find #1. Eventually they find it and complain about taking way too long. Colin & Christie enter Fort Worth but not at the Stock Yards. Chip re-discovers #2. They release their final clue. The final clue. Head to Dallas and find Tramell Crow Lake Park where the finish line is. The usual ‘this is it go go go’. They see Colin & Christie just arrive as they leave.
– Colin & Christie get box #1.
– Chip & Kim are stuck in traffic. Brandon & Nicole enter the maze. They run into each other. Colin & Christie find their final clue.
– CHRISTIE: F— the traffic.
– Kim’s sound byte of ‘we’re in big trouble’ is played yet again.
Am I the only one wondering how they get a camera directly in front of the cab? I think this cabby wants to be some action star.
Yes, I definitely think so. He bypasses a HUGE line of cars. Unless that is creative editing. Chip is very much worried that Colin & Christie could be ahead as they sit in Friday traffic. How often does TAR acknowledge the day of the week? Chip & Kim sit at a red light. Colin & Christie’s cab bypasses more cars. Who will cross the finish line first? A series of anxious shots.
Yayyyyyyy! Chip & Kim are a few steps away from claiming the one million dollar prize.
Six continents, eleven countries, and 72, 000 miles, Chip & Kim, my brand new turtleneck says you are the official winners of The Amazing Race and the ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
Don’t choke Phil, Chip! He has another fifteen seasons to host.
– Chip’s next move is to hug the twins. Kim does too. They cry and are out of breath. Chip talks about Kim being her soul mate. ‘Tis surreal. Kim loves the other eight teams that are eliminated. Phil turns his head to what was supposedly Colin & Christie at the time. Golf applause.
PHIL: You have been one of the most competitive teams ever on The Amazing Race.
And dare I add one of the most disappointed? Tears flow. All that is important to Colin is Christie. Colin congratulates Chip & Kim and says they had an awesome race. He says nothing was better than experiencing all of the cultures. Except Tanzania. And India.
Nicole has fallen more in love with Brandon. Brandon likes Nicole. They’re blessed. Let the hugging of random teams begin! Marsha hugs Colin and says they ran an awesome race. How does she know this if the season has yet to air on TV? She was out third for crying out loud.
I present to you our winners of The Amazing Race 5: Bill Cosby & Kim.
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
4th Linda & Karen 4.17
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
1st Chip & Kim 3.38
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF
3rd Brandon & Nicole 3.31
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
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – 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) Manila -> El Nido (The best leg 12 to date in the history of TAR. Primarily because it is an elimination we see all teams give it their all and conserve no energy for the final leg. In addition, production tried as hard as possible to wear the feces out of them thanks to a cab race to charter flights, sitting in the hot island sun between tasks, racking their brains for the Filipino flag, diving for clams like they were Bobby Jon Drinkard, using their body to ascend 150 feet, and finish it off by paddling a kayak to the pit stop. Could you see how drained the teams would be to leave on a million dollar leg twelve hours later? Classic narrative as Colin & Christie catch up to Bowling Moms but then fall 40 minutes behind. Their showdown on the roadblock signalled the rebirth of the most notorious team. The education system fails the teams as no one knew what vertigo was. The island leg at its best.)
5) El Nido -> Dallas
6) 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.)
7) 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?)
8) 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.)
9) 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.)
10) 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.)
11) 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.)
12) 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.)
13) 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
11) 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.
10) Brandon & Nicole
A couple that I was slightly puzzled as to why they were cast besides being mactors. Was there relationship interesting? No. Did Brandon express any emotions besides coolly talking about God, Lord, and/or Jesus? No. Nicole was easily frustrated as she threw money to the ground for a shady bus driver and yelled about wasting money. Her breakdown on the bikes was one of the biggest cases of hysteria seen on the race course.
Other than that I don’t see much of a reason for them to be cast. I would have been content if they were out in episodes one or two.
9) 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.
8) Linda & Karen
They’re likeable. They’re competitive. The only knock against them is that they weren’t shown much and do virtually nothing memorable. What is the most memorable thing the Bowling Moms do on the race?
Nothing. They’re not a boring team by any means but for some reason they don’t stick despite being the most groundbreaking team in terms of the ridiculous notion of “all-female teams NEED to win this race before any other significant minority!”
The Bowling Moms have one subtle legacy of being the reason for a new rule that will come into effect on TAR 6 and last through for many years to come. A rule that would simultaneously be more fair but also benefit all-female teams.
I don’t have anything against the bowling moms. There are simply teams who are either more entertaining or likeable. It is such a strong cast that even the Bowling Moms are sixth.
7) 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.
6) 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.
5) 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.
4) 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.
3) Chip & Kim
Perhaps the best middle-aged team to run the race. They started the season at the bottom but managed to win four legs once the season is all said and done. Both of them were sharp in their confessionals, good-spirited, humorous, and Chip was a major stand-out character. With the conclusion of Survivor: All Stars, everyone expected them to be insta-cast for a TAR All Star that everyone assumed would be in the near future. They were far and away the most popular TAR winners to date.
2) Colin & Christie
While hated by a significant portion of the viewer population they were really a well-liked team during the race. It is no coincidence that upon entering Egypt that Colin’s camp consisted of five teams and Mirna’s camp had only one other team. In fact, Mirna was so hated for her hypocrisy on the race and being mean to teams while expecting them to help her in return that Colin was a borderline hero.
They willingly traded information with other teams in exchange for getting first priority on flights and planning a bit further in advance. Colin’s intensity in any physical tasks let him and Christie maintain their leads gained from airport savvy. Six first place finishes in eight legs would take a long time to be broken. Episode 5 is the biggest lead a single team has had on all other remaining teams to date. This team was unstoppable once Colin was the anti-Mirna leader in episode three.
But they had an Achilles heel. Their intensity and scorched earth treatment of cab drivers would interfere with their race. They blindly trusted teams and cab drivers with elaborate plans that when they were betrayed without logical reasoning it was far too much to handle. These blowups single-handedly made some of the episodes. From “he can have 50 or he can have nothing” to “my ox is broken” to “run them over they’re not important” to “feel the cheese” should forever cement their legacy. Their edit polarized the audience but an All-Star without them would be disappointing.
It’s too bad that so much of the audience hated them and loved Mirna when in real life people would likely discover the opposite.
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?
TAR 5 had the best finish to any season. The maze was the most difficult final task that was implemented in the race. It would take years for the final task to match complexity and be overall challenging. A little known fact is that Colin & Christie would have won if their cab did not blow out its tire. Isn’t that poetic? Colin is nearly tossed in jail for a flat tire dispute with a cab only to have it be the sole reason for costing him a million bucks?
But how about the season overall? While TAR 4 walked away with no long lasting stars besides Reichen & DK, TAR 5 almost had too many stars. Early boots Charla & Mirna somehow survived in being memorable regardless of being eliminated at midway point of the season. Typically only teams who lasted to leg ten or later could have a chance to be a star. Chip & Kim and Colin & Christie were easily the best endgame storyline thus far in TAR. A great supporting cast in Jim & Marsha, Marshall & Lance, twins, and Bowling Moms helped make this a stellar season.
The route was by far the series’ greatest. As I said at the beginning there were a ton of new countries. Russia, Egypt, Tanzania, and Philippines all offered much needed new visual stimulation for the fans.
The non-elimination penalty worked out reasonably well. Nobody would say they were upset with a somewhat ineffective rule because it was a major step up from zero penalties for non-eliminations. Fast Forwards faded but instituting Yields on every leg in exchange is a push for the viewer. Chip & Kim’s lone use of the yield fostered a great storyline to convince production that Yields need to remain.
But where did TAR 5 falter? Nowhere. Okay, not nowhere. As with TAR 3 and Kelly & Jon from TAR 4, the roadblock distribution was a big problem. Kelly, Flo, and Teri all won or were runner-up for completing one to three roadblocks. Is that really a “team” effort? In TAR 5 every couple followed this strategy. The man will do any roadblock that requires movement. Each of the final three teams had Chip, Brandon, and Colin do every single roadblock except one. Production no doubt reviewed this and wanted to avoid any more Flos winning TAR and win without being truly deserving. This is the only legitimate criticism for this season. Therefore I rank it as the best season to date.
1. The Amazing Race 5 – 9.2
2. The Amazing Race 3 – 8.7
3. The Amazing Race 2 – 8.5/10
4. The Amazing Race (1) – 7/10
5. The Amazing Race 4 – 6.25/10
Points deducted for the removal of fast forwards, imbalance of roadblocks, and Brandon & Nicole getting too far into the race.
So what’s next for TAR? This season was hailed for saving the series. CBS execs were relieved to see the finale clock in with decent ratings. The finale aired on September 21st. TAR 3-TAR 4-TAR 5 aired around 6-11 months between each of these seasons. TAR 6? It aired in the middle of November. A measly seven and a half week break.
Will TAR 6 improve upon and exceed TAR 5’s success? The answer of course is no. But we’ll give it a watch anyway.
P.S. Marshall took 30 to 40 minutes to walk 100 yards in the last two Egypt legs. Marshall blames his new shoes because Lance didn’t like the new shoes they bought and felt much better wearing his old sneakers prior to the race.
Below is a comment I found after that person watched the TAR 5 finale. TUF 5 will begin tonight and hopefully we’ll be onto TAR 6 in about ten days.
Hope the guys in the final banged their b****es good on every pitstop as they did f*** all through the entire race and when they did they whined and cried and wanted to quit. Good work by kim getting those flights though, glad they won.
Felt the moms were robbed of a place in the final. Whats the point of a yield if the last? team dont get eliminated?
Loved every minute of Nickys breakdown on the bikes, just like Christy, when they had to participate in anything they lost it. Whining b****es!!!