TAR 11 introduction part 3.75


Uchenna Agu & Joyce Agu (1st place):

uchenna miami 9

They are the only winning team to return for another season out of all twenty winning teams. This will likely be the only chance for TAR to have a two-time winner in its franchise. Unlike Survivor and Big Brother where approximately half of all winners have played multiple times.

Why do Uchenna & Joyce receive special treatment? The answer is relatively simple. In the first ten seasons of TAR, most winning teams were friends who relatively got along well with each other. Rob & Brennan, Chris & Alex, Linz Family were siblings but were the same, BJ & Tyler, and Tyler & James. The relationships did not change from day one to the end of the game. BFFs forever. Regardless if they were dominant or did terrible throughout the race.

Seasons 4 through 7 was the Couples Era. People think only all-male teams are capable of winning back when the show was difficult, but for some reason they choose to ignore this stretch of four seasons where this is proven wrong. Plus all-male teams are limited in representation in later seasons. You’ve gotta love Confirmation Bias. BJ & Tyler’s two last place finishes, Chris & Alex’s two last place finishes, Rob & Brennan’s early season hiccups, and Linz Family being two minutes away from being eliminated on the first leg is flat out ignored.

The other couples either stayed together and lived a happy boring life or they split up for good and didn’t speak to each other anymore.

Uchenna & Joyce is the lone exception. Last time we saw them they won a million dollars and were destined to have a baby whether through adoption or vitro. The fairy tale was complete. Everyone forgot about the major relationship problems they had prior to TAR 7 because of how well they treated each other throughout the race and their incredible ending.

But we were wrong. Uchenna & Joyce still didn’t have their baby. They were arguing more than ever. Their marriage was on the brink of divorce. It was a big lesson that what we see of “characters” on TV is different from their real life circumstances. A million dollars doesn’t lead to a definite split for good or ensuring your life together is prosperous forever.

Uchenna & Joyce were in limbo. In addition, being the only team to outwit, outplay, and outlast Romber during TAR 7 seemed like a re-match that everyone wanted. After the incident where Romber fans thought production rigged for the pilot to allow Uchenna & Joyce onto the flight despite the gates being closed, it was time to end the speculation of Uchenna & Joyce winning thanks to a big fluke.

And their come-from-behind win and popularity was a big contributor too. I don’t think any team except maybe BJ & Tyler have won with as much of a fan base.

Rob Mariano & Amber Mariano (2nd place):

rob proposes to amber

Amber participated in Survivor: Australia in 2001. Rob participated in Survivor: Marquesas in 2002. Together they competed as Romber in Survivor: All Stars in 2004. They competed together on TAR 7 in spring of 2005. Then they had Rob & Amber Get Married shortly after TAR 7’s finale aired.

Following the wedding, Romber would do something rather unexpected. . .they faded. Considering the ADD nature of the entertainment and gossip industry, Romber’s 15 minutes of fame could only be stretched to about 45 total.

In 2006, Rob ventured into becoming a professional poker player on TV but lost several times. Daniel Negreanu failed his protege.

I used to watch a ton of televised poker tournaments, and I was a huge fan of the Poker Dome Challenge. Keep in mind that I had no idea that Rob was already appearing on the more obscure poker programs. I can remember to this day walking through the front door after a day in the 10th grade, turned on the TV, and doing a double take when I saw Boston Rob casually sitting at the table.

Rob finished second making it yet another failed reality TV venture. Poker Dome Challenge was the end of his short-lived pro poker journey.

Less than a month after his final poker appearance, TAR 11 began filming. Sure enough it was a renewed fifteen minutes of fame for Romber. They signed on knowing this would be the last point in their life before starting a family, and thus sidelining Amber from any more TV appearances.

I hate to say it, but everyone was expecting Romber to have another golden All-Stars run. With some of the best teams omitted from the roster, and since teams were being picked on their dynamic nature and their unique Achilles heel, Romber’s experience, cohesive relationship, and previous dominance seemed like a lethal combination to win this game. Plus they are in peak physical condition.

I doubt anyone was guessing that Romber wouldn’t make another run to the finale.

And an interesting aspect of bringing them back is that they don’t have their stardom anymore. No more magazine stands in Zimbabwe on the front cover. People won’t pop out of bushes and exclaim “Rob & Amber! I’m such a fan! I’m here to save you!”

Ron Young Jr. & Kelly McCorkle (3rd place): They broke up during TAR 7. No relationship, no fanbase, and Ron still referencing downtown Baghdad as he sits in his rocking chair staring into space made one of the easiest Final Three rejections for All-Stars.

Besides myself, I doubt anyone bothers to mention Ron & Kelly when discussing TAR 7. Mainly because there were ten other teams that were more likable and had more memorable moments.

Meredith Smith & Gretchen Smith (4th place): I feared that these two would be cast. I knew TAR would cast an old couple, and who better than the oldest couple to not only be cast but also make it to Final Four. All-Stars was only two years later so age would not have caught up with them as much as it did with Rudy in Survivor: All Stars.

The casual fan base liked them and they had some of the more amusing statements and exceedingly lame jokes throughout TAR 7. They tied Don & Mary Jean’s record for oldest combined age to ever run the race. Since then, grandparent-grandchild teams are occasionally used and only one couple has come remotely close to the age record. Meredith & Gretchen are two of the six oldest racers to compete in the history of the race, too.

TAR sidelined these two in favour of another older couple (ten years younger, mind you) who, unlike Meredith & Gretchen, were a bit more explosive, dynamic, and were slaughtering the competition in the last few rounds of their season.

Lynn Warren & Alex Ali (5th place): If All-Stars was “Every Team That Hated Romber,” these two would be cast. These two had their entire edit surrounded by the presence of Romber. Every time they spoke you could guarantee they would say “Rob,” “Amber,” or “fabulous”.

This is when TAR casting only eleven teams really starts to show. On one hand people were supporting Lynn & Alex and frequently showed up on dream wish lists for All Stars. On the other hand people grew tired of their conflict with Romber and thought TAR 7 was enough.

Nice guys, though.

Brian Smith & Greg Smith (6h place): The hilarious and likable all-male team is by far the most competitive slot when casting for a TAR All Star. There has been so many in the show’s history. You could make an entire season where you could cast eleven of these teams and have a quality season. If there was a “B” Level All Stars, these two would no doubt be cast. It doesn’t help they are young and physically attractive. Too bad they didn’t go on to play in Survivor and crack into Survivor: All Stars.

Much like Brandon Bellinger, these two fall under the category of the goofy and lovable players who were eliminated too early to be brought back.

If given the option, I would eliminate Eric & Danielle from the cast in favour of Brian & Greg. I would expand the roster to twelve teams just to have Brian & Greg. I would ignore the legacy that some of the other All Star picks possess and just cast Brian & Greg instead. If they were on TAR 14, they would have no problem being picked to return.

I almost purchased the TAR 7 special DVD just to hear the commentary from Brian & Greg.

The biggest strike against these two is their inability to run a smooth leg. Either through bad luck, stupidity, or poor driving, these two could never make it to the top of the pack. Never. We’re scratching our heads wondering what the heck they are doing as they make their weekly mistake. It was like production wanted to play a season-long cruel joke on them.

Ray Hosteau & Deana Shane (7th place): Somehow these two got married and remain together to this day.

Without Meredith & Gretchen, there was no reason to cast these two for All Stars. Allies of Romber, but went out of their way to target the weakest and most passive couple of the season.

I’m waiting for Meredith & Gretchen and Ray & Deana to be brought back for TAR 22: Redemption Elimination Station.

PHIL: Welcome to Elimination Arena. We have Ray & Deana taking on Meredith & Gretchen in our first ever duel.
RAY: I’m not gonna lose to an eighty year old man. . .and his wife.
DEANA: Yeah, Ray.
GRETCHEN: Oh deaaar.
PHIL: For our duel we will play Chess.
RAY: Even if it was a game of Checkers, we still got them beat.
DEANA: This pawn forward to B–
RAY: Critical mistakes, Deana!


Even if it was a game of Checkers, they still wouldn’t be cast.

Susan Vaughn & Patrick Vaughn (8th place): A gimmicky team where Patrick couldn’t keep is eyes off Romber and maintained a poor attitude throughout? They may be superfans of the race, but I think they’re better off on the couch rather than being subjected to another race course where Patrick was bound to rage quit.

Debbie Cloyed & Bianca Smith (9th place): Is Bianca related to Brian & Greg? Anyways, if there was any case for a 9th place team to be picked for All-Stars, it would be these two. The only mistake they made was driving on the wrong road in the third leg.

If memory serves me correct, they were the first all-female team to win a leg of TAR. But as I was just told, Mary & Peach won a leg before they were eliminated in TAR 2. So much for my memory. What is more impressive is that they did it in the first leg with ten other teams to compete against. I am certain if they made it about two rounds further that they would be cast. They argued with other teams, made alliances, and were aggressive from start to finish. Heck, Debbie was easily the smallest person to complete the meat-eating roadblock and nearly made up three hours worth of time on Susan & Patrick.

It’s a bit disappointing these two couldn’t be cast over Dustin & Kandice or Eric & Danielle, to be honest.

Wish they didn’t join in on the anti-Romber bandwagon. I forgot how many teams were wrapped up in that distraction.

Megan Baker & Heidi Heidel (10th place): What parents name their kid Heidi when their last name is Heidel? That’s just mean. No wonder Heidi was so eager to get into an intimate relationship with the Smith Brothers just so she could eliminate her last name for good.

These two were the Minor Leagues version of Danielle & Dani. Although labelling Danielle & Dani as the Major Leagues is a big stretch and a painful statement to utter.

They had their relationship with Brian & Greg. They sucked at driving to LAX. Other than that I don’t have much to say. The second leg scramble against Brian & Greg is the one memorable moment they have.

Ryan Phillips & Chuck Horton (11th place): If they weren’t stuck on the same van as Ron & Kelly right before the pit stop, these two would have done the world a big favour by putting out Ron & Kelly on the first leg. A fifteen-second sprint is the one event that TAR could have picked to trigger a Ron & Kelly victory.

ron mendoza

It reminds of the time in Baghdad when I was being chased by these two grizzly bears and–

Biggest Snub: Brian & Greg/Debbie & Bianca

Freddy Holliday & Kendra Bentley (1st place): Oh my god. Do I have to explain why these two weren’t picked? Virtually no one liked them, they had a flat personality, insulted the very spirit of what TAR is all about, and Freddy had the biggest temper tantrum of the season that made Jonathan feel sorry for him.

freddy gate 6

When I find out which casting director didn’t invite us back for All-Stars, somebody’s gonna pay!

Kendra founded a NGO that helps Voluntarily Poor Africa. She uses ten percent of her resources to help out Ghetto Africa, because according to her, “these are more NGO resources than they’ll receive in a year!”

Yes, these two had a child together and are married. I love how Phil didn’t seem too interested in either of them. Usually with winners he has a special relationship or is satisfied with their win. This is the only time I can recall where he doesn’t bond well with the winners.

When people finish watching a season and say “these are the worst winners ever!” all you have to do is either wait three months to eliminate recent bias or name drop Freddy & Kendra.

Kris Perkins & Jon Buehler (2nd place): They were on Phil’s exclusive list of fifteen teams. The most dominating couple before All Stars other than Romber. Why didn’t they play? Because they broke up.

So that’s the end of that.

Adam Malis & Rebecca Cardon (3rd place): Rebecca would wait until TAR 21 before willing to race with Adam. Why? Because two million dollars is enough compensation for spending another month of her life stuck with Adam.

I think Adam used up all of his outrageous stunts of poutiness by the end of the season. A repeat on All-Stars would have made things stale.

Hayden Kristianson & Aaron  Crumbaugh (4th place): One of the most interesting dating couples ever. Aaron pulled the ol pit stop proposal trick in the season finale. Hayden’s bizarre freak-outs but being self-aware enough to know she is freaking out served as an intriguing storyline. Aaron was underrated for some of the quotes he dropped throughout the season.

Easily a “B” Level All-Star team.

The Xi’an round is one of the few legs in TAR history where following one team can be entertaining for a whole hour. You didn’t need to watch any other team for that episode because these two delivered from when they opened the clue to the cheesy proposal at the end.

Aaron’s backpack toss floats in my mind.

Lori Harvey & Bolo Dar’tainian (5th place): Wrestlers who were married for several years but ended up divorced following the season. Their role as the Mactor Antagonists played out in the TAR timeline anyway. Hayden accusing Bolo of being 5’5″ and on steroids, Kendra calling him a barbarian, and Freddy staring him down after he got an itty bitty bump on his head.

I don’t think they got past the “Wrestlers” nickname. They were known as “The Wrestlers”. These two frequently struggled with most tasks too and viewers thought they were followers.

I wonder if either of them have revisited Hungary to take another shot at those cars?

Besides Kris & Jon, Jonathan seemed to be the only true friend to Lori & Bolo. Speaking of Jonathan. . .

Jonathan Baker & Victoria Fuller (6th place): Yes, these two did their whole media circuit after TAR 6 including Dr. Phil. You would be shocked to know these two were married until 2009–two years after All Stars.

That makes them the fourth couple to split of the TAR 6 cast.

These two had an all-star appearance written all over them. Phil didn’t put them on his list of fifteen teams which means he was worn out by Jonathan & Victoria. I think the audience was as well. Casual fans and the hardcore fans mutually hated them. There is a difference between polarizing teams and those who are universally hated.

Much like Freddy & Kendra and most of TAR 6, Jonathan & Victoria were hated.

Jonathan & Victoria would not have been competitive enough. Following one of their many second place finishes, race fatigue set in as they started to make silly mistakes upon entering Ethiopia. I couldn’t imagine them handling the stress of an all-star competition.

Gus McLeod & Hera McLeod (7th place): Finally! A team that isn’t a couple. Gus may as well have been in a wheelchair for All Stars because he must be the youngest contestant ever who runs slower than most people at walking speed. Alright, this running joke has become too much of a running joke.

They didn’t make it far enough to be memorable, didn’t have many notable interactions with other teams except Jonathan, and Gus lacks a competitive spirit.

Donald St. Claire & Mary Jean St. Claire (8th place): A team that fails to finish above eighth after five rounds should be scratched immediately. Production asked if they were interested, but Don was too busy playing Grand Theft Auto.

The one time we feel bad for both Adam & Rebecca.

Lena Jensen & Kristy Jensen (9th place): Contrary to popular belief, Lena & Kristy only ran one good round in their third and final episode of TAR. They struggled in the first two rounds but recovered and learned the race by round three. I understand why they didn’t get brought back, but to this day they are the second most memorable team from this season all because of their attachment to the most infamous TAR moment.

However, there was another all-star season a few years later called “Unfinished Business”. They were supposed to be teams who made one critical mistake or experienced one stroke of bad luck. I assumed Lena & Kristy would be brought back.

But they weren’t. The good news is that the hay bale task is still the most infamous task in TAR history and lives on to this day. Therefore, we can always hope and pray that they will have a chance to redeem themselves. I don’t care if it has been eight years or twenty years, these two will have another crack at the race. I won’t give up until TAR is cancelled.

Meredith Tufaro & Maria Sampogna (10th place): Heh. These two. Other than Meredith reminding me of my friend Kaitlyn, there is no reason to bring these two back. I think they covered virtually every mistake you could make in the first two rounds of TAR besides losing a passport or attacking another team. I think their ability to get lost on the lone road of Iceland and be several hours behind at multiple route markers could give them a case for Worst Team Ever.

They can’t even cite their age like Don & Mary Jean did after the season ended.

Avi Schneier & Joe Rashbaum (11th place): Avi should have sang a little less show tunes and start paying attention to the buoys. His obsession with alliances would have made him a better fit for TAR 7, and launch into an all-star spot from there. Maybe Peru would have been more receptive to Jews than Iceland.

Biggest Snub: Lena & Kristy


Chip McAllister & Kim McAllister (1st place): Typically it’s the fans who complain about the exclusion of players from an all-star edition of a competitive reality TV show. Why? Because fans of reality TV across all genres have serious issues. Some even go back to episodes that aired in 2001 and make fun of players who may no longer be alive or have moved on with life in the past eleven years that they do not care.

But if there was an exception, Chip & Kim would be it. For those of you who don’t know, Chip & Kim had their own website with a decent following. Probably related to their home business where they claim to live together 23 hours per day. I don’t think you could go up to somebody who watched TAR 5 and hear them say “Oh, that Chip and Kim really grinded my gears.”

Except if you’re Kami & Karli’s parents and didn’t appreciate Chip’s “ONE-OH! ONE-OH! ONE-OH! ONE-OH!”

Believe it or not people don’t hang onto what a character does in episode two of any given season unless you’re Shannon Elkins. Heck, viewers are unaware of who Colin & Christie are in the first two episodes. It’s not until episode three that they take over the whole storyline of the season. More on that later.

I think it’s fair to say that everyone including Chip & Kim expected Chip & Kim to be on All-Stars. It would be like if Richard Hatch wasn’t cast for Survivor All Stars. Chip & Kim were the original super likable couple who catered to all audiences. Especially those who have a prejudice against all-male teams winning or young boring couples winning.

So when Chip & Kim finally accepted they wouldn’t be on All-Stars they immediately used their website to protest. I think most people agreed when you see some of the other couples that are cast for this season. Chip & Kim trumped them in every which way except for a couple areas that CBS and Phil emphasized for their All-Star cast.

a) Kim doesn’t have the biggest personality. All of the other teams have both members with fiery and outstanding personalities. Kim was fairly reserved and was not proactive to do many of the tasks. Granted the smart strategy in the pre-roadblock proportion rule days meant that your strongest member should do every single roadblock task.

Chip ascended cliffs, went into Osiris’ shaft, played with animals, ate caviar, chocolate, and ostrich eggs. . .while Kim dug in a sandbox. It was a scarab but I bet you don’t know what that is.

I am curious how Kim would do in an age where completing six roadblocks instead of one is required. Could she handle caviar? Flying around in a Zorb? I suppose we’ll never know.

b) Their rivals couldn’t play. I think half of the interest in Chip & Kim’s return is to settle the score with Colin & Christie. This is much like Uchenna & Joyce going against the dominating young dating couple for a re-match in All-Stars. But then again Chip & Kim could find himself in a new rivalry. If he engaged in warfare with his beloved twins then what’s to stop him from battling with new stars?

c) Uchenna & Joyce were at a more interesting point in their lives. These two shared many things in common with Chip & Kim. Their slow start before doing well on the race. Joined up in an alliance with the most dominating couple until they were too big of a threat to carry forward. A middle-aged couple who treated each other with respect. Expressed religiosity. Endearing sense of humour. Both rallied to win with a crucial flight at the end of the game. And something else. . .

But Uchenna & Joyce had their baby problems and continuing to have turmoil in their marriage. Chip & Kim have a very stable relationship. So TAR cast Uchenna & Joyce for a specific slot and left Chip & Kim in the dust.

Colin Guinn & Christie Woods (2nd place): A team that was a lock for All-Stars. Perhaps the number one expected dating couple to return? Moreso than Chip & Kim. Because the Russian leg in TAR 9 is debated to not be counted as an official pit stop, people attributed the record for most first place finishes to Colin & Christie (they won six legs; Eric & Jeremy win five if Russia is not counted). The idea of winning more than six legs seemed impossible unless you were Team Gypsy.

Even after the race was over Colin became the first competitive reality TV contestant to propose on live television as Christie accepted. While everyone was expecting Colin to grab newspaper headlines with abusive behaviour at some point in the future, it never happened. These two have lived very quiet lives since TAR 5.

So what Colin-like insanity drove them away from All-Stars? Did the producers really ignore them? Uh, no. Much like Vecepia Towery, Christie had to decline the spot for All Stars due to pregnancy.


Why oh why did you not wait six months before you conceived? Maybe three months if your libidos could not last that long. Two months? Ugh. That’s the only reason why Colin & Christie would not grace our screens.

Did I mention I hate kids?

The difference between Colin & Christie and Jonathan & Victoria is that Colin & Christie not only avoided use of celebrity get on, but that there was never a moment where they played for the camera. You want Colin Guinn when he’s competitive? Watch TAR 5 and you’ll get a perfect view. Same with Christie. All of their cards were left on the table. I think the buzz surrounding Colin & Christie throughout the season is a huge contributor to why TAR avoided cancellation. Recall that there was over a year between TAR 4 and TAR 5. Producers and CBS knew they struck gold in TAR 5 which led to TAR 6 and TAR 7 airing within a six month period. It’s the only year to feature THREE seasons of TAR.

Thank you Colin & Christie for your contribution to the franchise. And thank you also for not camera whoring it with subsequent TV appearances.

Brandon Davidson & Nicole O’ Brian (3rd place): Much like Ray & Yolanda, Ron & Kelly, and to a lesser extent Adam & Rebecca, Brandon & Nicole finish in the third place spot as the team overshadowed by two giants and editors ensured they were the team you never took seriously.

Were they really that bad? Other than three seasons later where Brandon & Nicole applied with God and Jesus to be a 4-person team for Family Edition? They won a couple rounds and had strong finishes as long as Nicole did not eat caviar.

Sure, they were edited one-dimensionally where Nicole wanted to be competitive and save money while Brandon was in the Christmas spirit and wanted to spread love for Christ and ask God to alleviate Nicole’s stress on Calcutta/Kolkata trains.

creepy 2

Miss me?

Unless you’re David & Mary, one-dimensional teams are banned from All-Stars.

Linda Ruiz & Karen Heins (4th place): Could their names be any more German? They were the first all-female team to break into the Final Four. Hippies wore shirts dedicated to the Bowling Moms two years later in TAR 9. I can think of only one other team to be referenced in multiple seasons prior to All Stars.

The Bowling Moms were down for anything. They supposedly attempted to eff over Jim & Marsha in the second round (if anyone knows information about this topic, please message me ASAP. It’s one of the great TAR mysteries). Their initial alliance was with Colin & Christie but shifted to standing alone with Charla & Mirna.

LINDA: I like Colin & Christie, but dammit, Charla & Mirna are better.
*Chmirna gets eliminated one hour later*
LINDA: Oh. I blame my ankle.

They suffered bad luck with cabbies more than most racers not named James & Abba. Linda rolled her ankle but held out for another seven rounds. You don’t hear middle-aged teams continuing on with significant physical injuries. Usually they suck physically to begin with.

They may be down for anything, but clearly they’re not UP for much. Karen struggling on an ascension resulted in their elimination from the game. I’m guessing they weren’t cast because Karen didn’t talk much except to whine about Linda’s whining, and seemed prone to quitting too many times. And could they be in better physical shape three years later?

So they were passed. If All-Stars was one year earlier I bet they take one of the all-female spots. Or maybe not.

Kami & Karli French (5th place): I can’t remember a round where they didn’t make one boneheaded move. Their storyline of stupid moves came to a conclusion where they attempted to board a flight without boarding passes.

Yeah. That will work about 0.000% of the time.

They were another team never taken seriously. Viewers groaned with how much resentment they held towards Chip & Kim. Between newly discovered poop allergies and wondering what the word ‘descend’ means, this team was a good fit for a single-season run.

Charla Faddoul & Mirna Hindoyan (6th place):

charla hockey

After TAR 5 these two kept up their TV appearances. It doesn’t hurt that they flirted with Phil at every pit stop. Well, Mirna did anyway.

I think what gets them cast alone is their ability to turn the most monotonous or stagnant of moments during filming into big extravagant events. Sticking their tongues out as they taunt the players behind a window? Check. Taunting teams as they replicate the Trojan Horse phenomena by staying up until three o’ clock in the morning to run to the other airline? Check. Making a spectacle during the easiest of tasks? Check.

The fact Charla endears the general audience by being the only Little Person to compete on a major reality show until Leif’s appearance on Survivor over seven years later? Check.

What is fascinating is that these two are of Armenian heritage (luckily these two weren’t on TAR 7 or 21 where they had to visit Turkey–I can’t imagine what Mirna might say), and these two play the victim role as Charla struggles with a chunk of the tasks and other teams betray them. However, Mirna is a lawyer! Unless you’re Phoenix Wright, lawyers are hated. In addition, ninety percent of all players absolutely hate Mirna. Ask the audience and approximately half of them will like Mirna.

So you have this prime and rare mix of a team who is entertaining, over-the-top, victimized, loved, hated, memorable, and recognizable.

If you ask me “If TAR allows racers to play for a third time, who would be cast?” the answer would be Charla & Mirna.

P.S. My mom typically hates any female contestant in their 20s. Mirna is the first blonde female who my mom not only liked but absolutely loved to watch in both seasons. I can’t think of a time where my mom would genuinely enjoy herself watching these shows instead of shouting at the TV.

Their inclusion is a no-brainer.

Marshall Hudes & Lance Hudes (7th place): They were called, but Marshall was still limping across the Mound of Creation to get into a cab and fly back home. Lance’s patience is wearing thin.

If they were cast on All-Stars, I think Lance might upgrade from calling Mirna a “b—-” to calling her a “c–t”.

Bob Baron & Joyce Nicolo (8th place): Joyce looks exactly like one of my Creative Writing professors. Anyways, what’s to say about these two? For the first three rounds, they kicked butt. There were even sections where they solidified a first place position. One bad break in the longest journey to a clue box ever put them too far behind.

It’s too bad they could not advance further in the race to have a case for All-Stars. However, an early elimination and a super competitive field prevents them from being worthy contenders. Probably my favourite old couple from the first ten seasons. Maybe ever.

I appreciate Bob in the driver’s seat where he looks like Mr. Magoo. Those glasses are etched into my memory.

Jim McCoy & Marsha McCoy (9th place): Parent-child teams are not apart of this instalment of All-Stars. If they were on TAR 14, I bet they would be cast despite their ninth place finish.

Jim & Marsha had a significant amount of airtime in their short run. They were part of the pre-season promos as Jim’s severe knee injury nearly put him out of the race in the first fifteen minutes. Besides the terrible twists in two later seasons, production would be scrambling not knowing what to do.

They recovered from the injury and not understanding the Blue & White Hotel much like Kami & Karli and Chip & Kim to squeak out a tenth place finish. Their hero edit increased as Linda & Karen supposedly tricked them into exchanging their dollars for pesos. Again, wish I knew if it was intentional or not.

Plus Jim looking like Mr. Monopoly and his shock at experiencing Shake’s Mega Disco was hilarious. You’ve gots to go to Uruguay to go to a soap club.

Much like Bob & Joyce, one bad break with Nicole screwing their alliance and the airport forcing them to be on the final flight ended their game. So close to being breakout stars. I’m certain of it.

Alison Irwin & Donny Patrick (10th place): Speaking of stars, here’s Alison Irwin. Donny could be a star seeing how he was mentioned in about ten episodes of BB and shown a couple of times as producers wanted his thoughts on Alison making out with other men.

In a bigtime shocker, Alison & Donny broke up after TAR 5. After finishing 2nd in BB 4, and failing to live up to her potential with a 10th place finish in TAR 5, CBS gave Alison another chance by casting her for BB 7. Note that she was picked by producers rather than voted in by the audience. Alison failed once again at recapturing her 2003 glory as she was the very first one evicted.

What happens to Alison after BB 7? Disappears for good.

Dennis Frentsos & Erika Shay (11th place): Dennis was known as the nice guy who gave up the race so others could get ahead. Erika wasn’t part of the picture other than their one-episode storyline of rekindling a relationship that was already rekindled after a broken off engagement.

Following TAR All Star, Erika makes a big name for herself. Probably the biggest name for any first boot outside of All Stars. What happened? For the past five years she is a well known casting director. So stalk Erika, casually bump into her and say you’re a mactor, and BOOM, you will be on TV before you know it.

It’s amusing how much of a bad rap casting directors get in the past six years of reality TV.

Sadistic for a first boot to be a casting director come to think of it. She goes from being a powerless nobody to someone who controls the gates to the Wonka Factory or the Man Behind the Curtain. She shall get her revenge. You’ll have to pay for your own damn taxi.

Biggest Intentional All Star Snub: Chip & Kim


Reichen Lehmkul & Donkey Kong (1st place): These two love abusing consonants. I’m surprised to discover Donkey Kong is eight years older than Reichen. It’s the same age gap for my parents. Anyways, Reichen & Donkey Kong. Perhaps the most competitive team ever? Super cereal in every sense of the word. They don’t take crap from anybody. Holding onto doors, shoving Millie’s mole, and veering off the road in an act of aggression all in the name of victory.

What stands out about these two is that they are probably the biggest homosexual pioneers on competitive reality TV besides Hatch and the Guidos. Their charisma is undeniable as they remain in the media spotlight for quite some time after their victory, and the fact that they made CBS honour their Married status.

But as Uchenna & Joyce and Flo & Zach know, winning does not equal an eternal life together. Reichen & Donkey Kong divorced after TAR 4 aired. If you want to read about it, there’s a couple of long interviews online. I think I’ve touched upon it before during TAR 4.

There was no way they could do TAR 4 together. But something curious happened:

lance bass

Yep. That’s Lance Bass.
Who? Oh child. You’re too young to read this blog if you don’t know who this is.

As Milhouse Van Houten would say, “it’s N*Sync!”

Yeah, I even got the freakin’ asterisk in there. I was in the third grade when they emerged so whether I liked it or not I had to hear them virtually every day for the next five years. Endless cameos. Far too many lyrics memorized. Similar environment with the Backstreet Boys. However, unlike the Backstreet Boys, these guys didn’t come off as copycats with creepy beards and weren’t pussies like Nick Carter.

Order of most well-known member to least well-known:
Justin Timberlake (in virtually everything)
Joey Fatone (host of numerous big talent-oriented competitions and played Dancing With the Stars)
JC Chavez (also hosted a bunch o’ crap and released a successful solo album)
Lance Bass (failed astronaut; failed Who Wants to be a Millionaire? contestant; came outta the closet once Lou Pearlman pulled a string that legally made him straight
Chris Kirkpatrick (feuded with Eminem; since Eminem has a million feuds in his lifetime, the only time you’ll recall this feud is if you listen to Eminem’s Without Me where a line states “Chris Kirkpatrick you’re gonna get your a– kicked”. Seriously. That’s all he has.)

After it tore Reichen’s heart to be with Donkey Kong, and said Bye Bye Bye to him, Reichen had a new Pop in his step as he got into a relationship with Lance Bass. Thanks to the previous TV appearances by Donkey Kong, these two couldn’t be more in the spotlight heading into All-Stars. We were waiting for Lance Bass to tackle TAR All Star. I’m sure Lance was thinking It’s Gonna Be Me on All-Star.

CBS made the call to Reichen.
CBS: Hey Reichen, you and Lance wanna be on All-Star? Les says ‘I Want You Back’.
REICHEN: I only want to do the race with DK, and This I Promise You.
CBS: Okay we just wanted Lance, we don’t care about you or f—-ing Donkey Kong. *click*

Lance Bass (failed astronaut; failed Who Wants to be a Millionaire? contestant; failed potential TAR contestant). Poor Lance.

Kelly Parks & Jon Corsco (2nd place): A team on Phil’s short list. The only reasons I can give why they weren’t cast is that they didn’t get enough star power and media attention. Plus they didn’t develop the polarizing fanbase that is needed for contestants with the villain edit. Dating couples are tough to create big villains unless they were already on Survivor or they push Little People in airports.

Add in the terrible viewership, summer timeslot, and virtually no buzz surrounding the season and you have a tough time having any big names outside of Reichen & Chip. Ask around about TAR 4. People will say one of the following:

a) That was the one with the gay couple winning, right? Glad they won, I think.
b) Didn’t really like the season that much
c) Never watched it

If you’ve read my TAR 4 blog, you know I’m a big Kelly & Jon supporter. Kelly goes into the Race thinking she will be the calm one but turns into this overreacting b—- who can’t do anything in every episode, and hates Moles of Millies. Jon is frustrated by this but has the goofiest attitude of any dating couple. Plus Kelly & Jon are self-aware and witty which makes for a rare couple in TAR history.

I think the fact we are not aware of Kelly & Jon’s existence or that we should be paying attention until halfway into the season when the Millie Mole feud starts may be another reason. If they didn’t finish in the middle of the pack every round we may have seen them earn more screen time. It was just an unfortunate series of circumstances for these two that they did not receive the recognition they deserved.

Jon Weiss & Al Rios (4th place): Most popular team ever. Funny and goofy clowns. Nearly sacrificed their own race for an asthma attack. They made a deep run which made them strong contenders for All-Stars. Recall Jon hosting Finish Line interviews each morning after TAR aired for about four seasons and suddenly you have a team who remains relevant heading into TAR 11.

But they weren’t cast. For the tenth time, the reason of “we only have so many all-male slots and we’ve got bigger names to cast” comes into play. If there was a B level all-star, the Clowns would be insta-cast.

Millie Smith & Chuck Shankles (5th place): I think the Malaysia leg was a fitting conclusion to Millie & Chuck on TAR. It also ended their relationship for good. Both moved on and both lost their title of Virgin. I preferred them having the title of virgins because it made me feel better about my ongoing 21-year virginhood.

But I digress.

These two were severely fatigued by round ten because Millie is that freakin’ competitive. It’s rare for a tiny lady with asthma to be the most vicious Donkey Kong lip cutter out there.

David Dean & Jeff Strand (3rd place): Heh. I forgot about these two. I’m not kidding. I got through the Clowns and Millie & Smith before realizing I forgot these two. This is fitting.

They had a strong second half to the season after being on the brink of elimination for the first several legs. Luckily Steve & Dave served as massive buffers.

David looks like David from Guess Who? and Jeff looks like Rick Campanelli.

By the way, if you put David Dean or Jeff Strand into an image search neither of them will come up. You’ll get a bunch of creepy photos and advertisements for photography or books.

Their lives are as quiet as their time on TAR. None of the other teams had any interactions with them except for Reichen & DK in round three.

Probably the easiest cut for any team who won at least one TAR leg.

Here’s a bunch of photos of them so they are recognized in cyberspace. I’ll take their full names too.

david eyeroll 2

david jeff intro

david clever

david eyeroll

david jeff body

david jeff end

david jeff last

The world is a better place.

P.S. It took me three re-watches before I figured out who was David and who was Jeff. The tipoff is the re-used confessional of “Hold on David, don’t let go!”

Tian Kitchen & Jaree Poteet (6th place): Poteet is a last name? Sounds French. No wonder they used the French Fast Forward.

If TAR 5 was All-Stars, these two would be cast as the most dominant all-female team in history. And for featuring some of the strongest personalities for an all-female team ever. Too bad TAR 5 had an onslaught of three successful all-female teams and with later additions in TAR 10.

Their storyline came to a close in India as they finally learned to get along. There was no need for a return. Plus they never finished well other than when they finished the Fast Forward. Map snatching, Steve threatening to pop their tires, coffee break as a cab comes in a last place scramble, Jaree’s cardio, car trunk failing to close at starting line, Tian doing EVERYTHING, Tian’s whining over Jaree doing nothing, and Jaree mocking her could have made them strong All Star contenders.

But sadly their inability to be competitive in the All Star format keeps them out.

Monica Ambrose & Sheree Buchanan (7th place): Being married to professional athletes, I have the luxury of not giving a Supreme s— about either of them.

Steve Meitz & Dave Cottingham (8th place): I’ve never seen a team so flabbergasted each time they survive a round of TAR. If they were willing to play with poop, they would have made it at least another round. However, I can’t picture Steve & Dave in 110 degree heat riding bikes through super congested and polluted streets of Mumbai. Monica & Sheree probably prayed for Steve & Dave to be in the round with them. In addition Steve would’ve had to carry those baskets of fish on his head as they drench down his shirt.

We missed out on TV gold.

Steve Cottingham & Josh Cottingham (9th place): A shared first name and last name with the previous team? Happened to be their allies as well? What a strange coincidence.

So Rivers Cuomo brought out his dad to be on TAR. Their storyline concluded with the evolution of their relationship. Father-son bond is solidified. I love how because Steve is a warden that him and his son must literally be on opposite sides of the fence in their intro. You’re not allowed to come out until you finish your dinner, boy!

Russell Brown & Cindy Duck (10th place): Russell didn’t travel 40, 000 miles for sex, but yet spanks Cindy in the intro? I dunno.

Amanda Adams & Chris Garry (11th place): Amanda desperately wanted to be the next Flo as a joke. But what happens to 90% of Flo wannabes, and what should happen, is they suffer an early exit. I’m sure a young dating couple who won the opening leg were bound for All Stars.

However, one of the most unforgiving equalizers in TAR occurred with only ten minutes to go in the episode. Chris faltered for ten minutes and they lose the race by about a minute. Bit of bad luck, I say. The first of only two times I can recall where a team pulls the infamous 1st-11th/1st-10th finish in TAR history.

Debra Carmody & Steve Carmody (12th place): NBC sued CBS for abducting two contestants from The Biggest Loser Ranch and placing them on The Amazing Race. The lawsuit was settled out of court.

Biggest All Star Snub: Jon & Al or Kelly & Jon.

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