**There will be a special announcement at the end of this blog. Stay tuned.**
Previously on TAR: Eleven all-star teams set out from Miami, Florida. In a race of more than 40, 000 miles across four continents. Along the way the best of the best battled the elements, health issues, and each other.
Eight teams came in last (Phil proceeds to name all of them).
Dating couple Eric & Danielle met on their prior season of the race. Eric tried to dominate Danielle as they shared bad luck in airports. But their constant respect for the game and each other (really?) brought them to the Final Three.
Beauty Queens Dustin & Kandice have had their share of adversaries, but their competitive spirit and their physical prowess always kept them in the game. When the Chipmunks are the most physical team, you know you avoided mactors.
Cousins Charla & Mirna used their brash tenacity. And their good luck in airports into the Final Three. But it wasn’t always easy for Charla who sucked at nearly every task possible.
In tonight’s season finale one of these three teams will win the million dollars and win The Amazing Race All Stars.
They will also win this dog.
– Now for my take on why these three teams have made it into the Final Three:
Dustin & Kandice: In TAR 10, the Chipmunks made enemies by breaking deals for no apparent reason whatsoever. This season, they used, what’s the phrase? Oh yes, common sense. They maintained allies, followed people to piss them off, but also weren’t afraid to work on their own. I suppose it is a much wiser strategy this season than their stab-and-flee strategy of the previous race. However, the two teams they stabbed have made it to the Final Three with them. This means they have been targeted for an awfully long time.
Still an improvement from their stupidity in TAR 10. And they have been extremely dominant since round five of the season. They just need to ensure they can read clues correctly.
Eric & Danielle: The first and only hybrid team to compete to date in TAR. Nobody has taken them seriously in the past, present, and the future. Perhaps the most underrated team of the season. While Danielle avoided many of the tasks, she was stuck with completing the more physical roadblocks. Luckily this season had fairly easy roadblocks. Eric proved himself to be in the top five all-time list of expert driving and navigating on the race course. This team could have gained a couple additional first places, but their bad luck in airports and their lack of aggression with agents puts them behind the expert flight snagging skills of the other two teams.
Overall, Eric has run nearly twenty-six flawless legs as only his stubbornness to not hire a taxi in Hong Kong put him and Danielle in a last place position. As for Danielle, thank goodness she hasn’t quit the race yet. As long as Eric can continue navigating masterfully, and they don’t get as worked up as the other two teams, Eric & Danielle could snatch the title.
Charla & Mirna: As a duo, they had the worst previous finish heading into All-Stars (tied with David & Mary for 6th). Therefore, seeing them crack the Final Three has been a surprise to most audiences. Their weaknesses lie in Charla doing any skill-based roadblocks or being left responsible to do anything on her own. In fact, Charla using her Little Person image like in TAR 5 has been her only asset. And because there isn’t any gross food roadblocks this season, she loses the one thing she always did in TAR 5 (Chocolate, caviar, eggs).
So how does the team balance out? Mirna. Mirna hires local help. Mirna keeps track of money. Mirna is relentless until she has the best flight possible in her hands. Mirna drives. Mirna navigates. Mirna lifts really heavy objects that Charla cannot. Mirna does more work in any partnership we have seen thus far since the Equal Roadblock Participation Rule came into effect.
Their downside is that Mirna overwhelms herself with all of this responsibility, and has nearly self-destructed the team’s very foundation. They started off the season with three consecutive eighth place finishes followed by a ridiculously close seventh place finish. Somehow Mirna has led the team to two victories and a steady streak of mid-pack finishes to avoid ever being last place. But as we reach the final leg, Mirna will need to work extra hard for this team to claim the victory and triumph over their Chipmunk rivals.
**NOTE: Most viewers thought Chipmunks would win heading into the finale simply because they have beaten the other two teams every round since round seven. That is a six-leg winning streak over those two teams. That is a record up to this point in TAR history. Only Oswald & Danny and Uchenna & Joyce have been capable of beating Dustin & Kandice since round eight. And if you exclude Fast Forwards, Charla & Mirna’s victory in round six is the last time Dustin & Kandice have been defeated.**
**ANOTHER NOTE: Dustin & Kandice will be the only team other than Frank & Margarita and Rob & Brennan to make it to Final Three without ever leaving the pit stop in last place (or if it’s a non-elimination, second to last). So Chipmunks have ran about as perfect of a race as you can run since the sixth round.**
**THE FINAL NOTE: This is the last time we will be shown these eleven all-star teams. The last time they will make a physical appearance. After tonight, they’re gone. Keep in mind the words you are reading are as of February 2013 with TAR 22 airing in two weeks. This could all change come TAR 25: Super All Star Edition. That’s my guess for when 3rd timers will make their first appearance. But as for now, we will maintain that this season finale marks the end of the most significant era that TAR ever endured. With ten classic seasons and TAR 6 on its belt, we can all prepare for a tearful farewell.**
– Intro time. Guidos’ glasses clank for the final time. Kevin & Drew’s heads shine brightly for the last time. This has been a fun ride.
– We are introduced to Guam. A key military stronghold in the South Pacific. We see men marching.
Who is he looking out for?
It’s on. Both of these dudes are on the lookout for spoilers.
And Brandon is halfway there.
– Phil’s Questions: None. Straight to business.
– Dustin & Kandice, who were the first to arrive at an undisclosed time, will depart at 1153am when it is super windy. Dustin reads that teams must fly 3, 800 miles to Honolulu, Hawaii. When they land, they will take a taxi to Kamaka Air Hangar and sign up for a helicopter that will take them to Lanai.
KANDICE: You have 201 dollars for this leg of the race.
Please mail it to your nearest Malaysian Newspaper Carrier today!
– Dustin says some crap about Final Three giving confidence.
DUSTIN: We can really feel it inside. You’re going to see passion and aggression. And a fearlessness you have never seen from us before.
So pretty much the same thing we have seen for twenty-five of the past twenty-six legs on TV? Okay. Shut the f— up and keep racing.
– Eric & Danielle depart at 1255pm. Chipmunks once again slaughtered the competition. It feels like I have been typing that every round for a month. They’re approaching Team Gypsy dominance.
– Danielle is nervous heading into the final round. Eric recaps that he lost TAR 9 by about five minutes due to ruining his own lead at the final roadblock of the season.
We lost our season despite having a 1.69 TAR average? smh
– Eric assumes the Chipmunks could be on a flight very quickly because a bunch of flights go direct to Hawaii from Guam. Chipmunks book a 350pm flight to Honolulu via Tokyo.
DUSTIN: For privacy reasons, could you not mention you saw two blondes?
AGENT: What colour is blonde?
(Everyone roars with laughter.)
KANDICE: AH HAHA, YOU FUNNY.
– Charla & Mirna depart last at 129pm. Mirna talks about how their confidence and enthusiasm ran within them for a reason. Charla is wearing an odd dress.
I wouldn’t wear that on TV in a million years.
– Mirna says they need to make up two hours on the Chipmunks. What else is new. Eric & Danielle find there are two Northwest flights that connect to the same flight to Tokyo. One is at 350pm and the other at 420pm. Everyone will arrive at 740am. So naturally, nobody cares. I am sure teams departed 24 hours later at the pit stop to ensure this happened.
– Charla & Mirna book the 420pm flight. The agent informs Mirna that ‘all of them’ have already purchased tickets. He must be aware it is at Final Three. For all he knew it is a westwardly race. Presumptuous f—.
– The two flights take off. Chipmunks are first to land. The other two teams are thirty minutes later. Mirna sees a United flight and wonders why nobody told them about it in Guam. Charla & Mirna scramble for a quick connecting flight one last time.
– Eric assumes there is no way that Charla & Mirna won’t be on their flight. Mirna discovers the new flight gets in at 700am. Mirna begs to be on the flight and runs to various counters. Eric cannot comprehend the idea of Charla & Mirna not being on the inevitable 740am flight. His only reasoning is they got bogged down somewhere. Dustin tells the camera that Charla & Mirna are known for snagging flights that no one else can snag.
This is the final leg yet all are so calm about it. They really have that million dollar hunger.
– Suspense music picks up as the 740am gates have closed. Charla & Mirna will be screwed if this new flight doesn’t work out. They are granted tickets. Eric & Danielle are on the lookout for them. The two teams see the doors close and cannot believe it. They walk down the aisles to look for them.
I believe they just got Charla & Mirna’d.
– Honolulu time. Charla & Mirna land twenty minutes early at 640am. The second flight lands at 720am. Twenty minutes early. Must be good flight conditions. Chipmunks are second into a taxi. Eric & Danielle are third into a taxi. Dustin & Kandice refuse to believe Charla & Mirna are ahead of them.
– Charla & Mirna sign up for a 900am charter helicopter. Phil explains that teams will get into a helicopter that leaves ten minutes apart. The helicopters will take them 120 miles to the island of Lanai. Once here, they will pick a Jeep and drive themselves 3 miles to Kaumalapau Harbour. If you can’t find that place, you don’t deserve to be in the final leg of TAR.
– Chipmunks’ taxi goes a different way than Eric & Danielle’s taxi. Eric & Danielle sign up for the second charter. Chipmunks get on the final charter. The two teams are shocked to see Charla & Mirna and beg them for a story. Mirna claims they were right behind them and offers to describe what the stewardesses look like. Eric doesn’t buy it.
– Charla & Mirna board the copter.
And with 110 miles to travel, they fully intend to get super baked on board.
– Eric & Danielle are stoked to be in the middle. Chipmunks hate being in the back of the pack for the first time all season. Lanai time. Charla & Mirna pick the gray Jeep. Mirna sees Eric & Danielle in the air. Danielle picks the yellow Jeep. They see the sign and are on the move. Chipmunks land. Charla & Mirna park and have their clue.
Is that his proper work attire? He comes bearing clues.
– Final Detour. Under or Over.
– In Under, teams take a boat to an underwater cave and swim under the rocks where their next clue is waiting for them. In Over, teams take a boat to an inlet. Once here, both members must stand paddle themselves on a Brenda Lowe paddleboard to a buoy bearing a clue.
– Charla volunteers to do the Over option. Mirna doesn’t think Charla could do it or herself because it requires a lot of technique. At least Charla has a low centre of gravity.
– Eric & Danielle have their clue. They see Charla & Mirna paddling, and seeing they define themselves in better physical shape than Charla & Mirna, they go with the easy win via paddle boarding. Eric changes his mind when he sees Mirna having a lot of trouble. Charla’s low centre of gravity is paying off. Charla is at the buoy. Mirna is getting the hang of it.
– Eric has a shark phobia as he prepares for the Under task. He constantly scans for sharks. Eric being eaten by a shark in the season finale will surely boost ratings. Mirna has the clue from the buoy and return to the boat. Mirna observes Eric & Danielle aren’t close to diving yet. She reads teams must drive themselves to Shipwreck Beach. It is named for a WW2 Liberty Cargo ship. They will trek on the beach to find their next clue.
– Eric & Danielle enter the cave as the water blows out. Brutal. Danielle has the clue. Clearly she doesn’t have a shark phobia. Charla & Mirna are in their Jeep. Chipmunks choose Under rather than Over. They see Eric & Danielle are done as they re-enter the boats. Eric doesn’t see Charla & Mirna yet again.
– Dustin panics as trying to get into the cave while the current blows out water was intimidating. Both of them are gasping for air. They’re in last place.
– Charla & Mirna are at Shipwreck Beach. Eric & Danielle run out with Chipmunks second behind. They have Charla & Mirna in their sights. Both teams pass Charla & Mirna. There goes the lead. Eric has the clue. Teams must choose a kayak and paddle out to the shipwreck to a buoy holding their next clue. Chipmunks have the clue. Dustin points out the buoy to Kandice. Charla & Mirna have the clue. Mirna screams at Charla how to paddle.
– Kandice tells Dustin to ‘focus’ and ‘paddle’. Dustin wants to walk it. Kandice just wants to paddle. Kandice complains it is a waste of time.
This strategy will get them to the buoy in no time!
It worked for these guys too!
– I should note that the Chipmunks’ worst performance in TAR 10 was when they had to do a paddling task. That was the one where Tom & Terry did slightly worse to get eliminated. I am sure this is the last task these two wanted to see in the million dollar leg.
Dustin will say anything to avoid paddling. Look at those huge waves coming forth! At this rate David & Jeff will be in Hawaii before the Chipmunks get to the buoy.
– Kandice says that Dustin blocks out suggestions and doesn’t listen. She is getting frustrated. Kandice doesn’t want to cut her legs against the rocks. Charla & Mirna are not thrilled about battling the waves. Eric & Danielle have the clue. Holy crap. Eric & Danielle have a lead?
– Kandice yells at Dustin that they can’t walk and must work to battle the waves. They are splashed and flip upside down like the life of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Mirna screams at Charla to use her paddles. Both teams are getting splashed. Mirna is crying. I can’t distinguish water from the waves and the water flowing from Mirna’s face.
– Chipmunks have their clue. A helicopter in the background has been flying really low for the whole route marker. It is no doubt hired to get camera shots but is also undoubtedly triggering some of the waves.
Mark Burnett hired the plane to get epic shots for the opening to Survivor: Lanai.
– Eric & Danielle are back on shore. Eric reads that teams must fly 2, 300 miles to the final destination city of San Francisco. Once here they will take a taxi to Old Mint. Chipmunks return to the beach too. The final scramble for flights.
– It is eerie for the first time in the Chipmunks’ Jeep. Let’s capture their one and only argument all season. You think I’m making it up?
Sleepy at wheel.
Let’s capture their only argument.
KANDICE: Dustin, out there you were not a great teammate. You were about Dustin, and that’s it. You didn’t care what I was saying.
DUSTIN: F— you! We paddled your way.
KANDICE: B—- please, no we didn’t.
DUSTIN: F— you! We did both. It was a give and take.
KANDICE: B—- please, no we didn’t. I have no patience for you right now to even listen what you have to say.
DUSTIN: F— you, I thought I did what’s best for the team.
KANDICE: You c—, just to ignore what I said?
DUSTIN: No, Kandice–
KANDICE: I love how that’s how you think.
DUSTIN: I feel like I’ve always been about us.
KANDICE: B—- please, I know because I do what you say. I know you can’t ever admit anything, so I’m not even gonna try.
DUSTIN: Kandice, you’re saying a lot of hurtful things right now.
KANDICE: Because it’s true. You know what, it’s over.
Wow. They really raised their voices. Notttttttttt. Their quit is super convincing right now. So much for their perfect relationship and race for this season. Now there’s a blemish in their relationship like the blemish on their faces.
The audience, especially some of the less mature ones, hope for them to kiss and make up.
– Dustin thinks it’s a big thing for Kandice to say she’s not a good teammate. Charla & Mirna meanwhile are battling the waves. They have the clue. Lucky they have that initial ten minute lead at the beginning of the day. Also, I suck at tense shifts.
– Dustin says the reason for doing this race is to do it with her. She doesn’t want to race if Kandice doesn’t want to. Whoa. Melodrama much.
Well, that’s about as big of an expression as we’ll ever get on Dustin’s face.
Those happy memories are long gone, my friend.
KANDICE: It’s over. Once we get to California it’s on. We have a race to run, sister.
Yeah, we knew that argument was not going to last.
– Charla & Mirna are at the beach. They are slowly walking on the beach. Eric & Danielle head back into the helicopter. Chipmunks are second. Charla & Mirna are still on the road. Eric & Danielle have travelled 110 miles and are at the airport. Chipmunks are at the airport too. Charla & Mirna get into a helicopter.
– Eric & Danielle hear about a 1155pm flight that gets in at 757am. Chipmunks get to the counter and ask to duplicate the flight. They follow up by asking for any flights that they could make a run for. There are no other flights. This exhausting day and scrambling from Guam to Tokyo did nothing. Chipmunks search for more flights because they know Charla & Mirna will find one.
– Charla & Mirna are at the counter and ask for more besides 1155pm. Mirna lists off various airlines. Chipmunks try to eavesdrop. There’s nothin’. Per usual, Hawaii in TAR is nothing but a 20 minute distraction. Eric & Danielle feel the pressure knowing there are no more equalizeers. Charla intends to give every bit of sweat she has. Ew. Dustin is waiting to find out whose lives will change.
– Oakland. The city of Wil’s idiocy and Tara’s asthma attack.
– Teams scramble into cabs. Eric & Danielle are first. Chipmunks second. Charla & Mirna third. Chipmunks pass Eric & Danielle in the cab. They’re now in San Francisco. Chipmunks went straight while Eric & Danielle went left. Mirna’s cab does not react to him. Chipmunks exit the cab and enter the building. They have the clue.
He seems camera shy.
– Chipmunks have the clue from the security guard. I think it’s the guy borrowed from Switzerland’s Lindenhoff.
Look how stoic he is! I think even the Lindenhoff guard from TAR 3 occasionally twitched.
– It’s the final challenge!
Now let’s do some mediocre magic, GOB!
– In the final roadblock, teams must test after 28 days how well they know each teammate knows the other.
– The player not participating in this roadblock will enter a room and fill out the questionnaire as seen on the wall. Each answer will be one of the teams listed on the wall. They will write down the corresponding number that represents each team (note how John Vito & Jill are listed as “1”).
– Their four answers will create a 4-digit code. The person performing the roadblock must figure out the four digit code. In other words, it is nearly a duplication of The Mole 2’s episode 4 Dam Challenge. The person will have ten minutes to crack the code. If they answer correctly, they leave immediately. If they fail, they will continue trying until the ten minutes expire.
– Eric & Danielle are next to the vault. Eric and Dustin are answering the questions. The goal here is to answer these questions with as much of an obvious answer as possible like it was the Newlywed Game, and also do so as quickly as possible. We see Dustin and Eric hustling.
– Seeing how Chipmunks have the lead and share the same mind, I think we’re in for our first all-female victory.
– Eric finds this task interesting because it is all about communication. He says Danielle talks a lot regarding gossip. Charla & Mirna are last to the vault. They don’t seem to be more than five minutes behind.
DUSTIN: Who is the least trustworthy? Rob & Amber.
ERIC: Who is the least trustworthy? Oswald & Danny.
I’d have a much easier time guessing Eric’s answer than Dustin’s. That’s what happens when Dustin & Kandice don’t hold a grudge against others.
DUSTIN: Who has the best sense of humour? Uchenna & Joyce.
ERIC: Who has the best sense of humour? Charla & Mirna.
REALLY?! Eric thinks Charla & Mirna have the best sense of humour? I never saw Eric nor Danielle laugh at anything Charla or Mirna ever said. I even joked about how stone-faced they are when Charla & Mirna speak to them.
– Mirna enters the vault to answer the questions. She talks about how they always defeat any odds. It’s one of their strengths.
MIRNA: Who is the least trustworthy? Rob & Amber.
Hmmmm. I might’ve gone Dustin & Kandice on that one for Mirna. They’re probably over Rob & Amber by now.
DUSTIN: Who is the most overrated? Rob & Amber.
ERIC: Who is the most overrated? Rob & Amber.
Well that one was too easy. Answer anyone else and you’re an idiot.
DUSTIN: Who is the one you want to stay in touch with? Uchenna & Joyce.
ERIC: Who is the one you most want to stay in touch with? Uchenna & Joyce.
I think the second question is the only one that will throw people off. Those last two questions seem really obvious.
MIRNA: Who has the best sense of humour? Kevin & Drew.
DUSTIN: Alright, wait a second. Who is the least trustworthy? Instead of Rob & Amber, we’re going to say Joe & Bill.
Wtf? Joe & Bill? The Guidos? What did they ever do to you! Holy crap. Dustin decided to place one of the most obscure answers for that category. Their only hope now is that Danielle fails yet again and takes up the whole ten minutes.
– Eric and Dustin read the instructions. Both enter their four-digit code to lock the safe. Eric is back first and yells for Danielle to enter the room. Dustin is out what appears to be seconds later.
Another reason why changing answers was a bad idea? Eric & Danielle now have the lead. And have a decent shot at answering the code within ten minutes. Kandice and Charla do not.
– Dustin hopes the gossip has paid off. Danielle, Charla, and Kandice all try to crack the code.
DANIELLE: Who is the least trustworthy? Dustin & Kandice.
KANDICE: Who is the least trustworthy? Rob & Amber.
See Dustin? You’re choking.
DANIELLE: Who has the best sense of humour? Charla & Mirna.
KANDICE: Who has the best sense of humour? Oswald & Danny.
Danielle now leads 1-0. But that could change if she can’t figure out what’s wrong when she inputs the code.
DANIELLE: Who is the most overrated? Rob & Amber.
KANDICE: Who is the most overrated? Rob & Amber.
DANIELLE: Who would you most stay in touch with? Uchenna & Joyce.
KANDICE: Uchenna & Joyce.
Everybody Loves Uchenna & Joyce. Too bad they don’t end up loving each other.
– All three teams input a wrong code. Danielle tries to change who is the most overrated. 5 minutes remain for Kandice and Danielle.
KANDICE: Who is the least trustworthy? Change it to Kevin & Drew.
What the heck.
– Kandice fails. So does Charla. Danielle slowly goes over the answers.
– It opens for Danielle. Eric & Danielle beat the other teams at a challenge? Wow. They run out of the building. Dustin is in disbelief. So is Mirna. No one could ever expect this.
– Eric & Danielle read that they must travel to the Botanical Garden. Once here, teams must cross the finish line and claim the one million dollars. The last two teams to check in here will be eliminated.
KANDICE: The least trustworthy? Teri & Ian.
Now she’s just losing it.
– Charla fails too. Over two minutes remains on the clock. That has to be the most stressful task in the world. Eric & Danielle enter a cab and scream for the driver to hurry. Eric grabs his cell phone to get precise directions.
– Chipmunks’ time is up. Dustin informs Kandice that Eric & Danielle left two minutes ago.
Am I the only one who thinks the final task automatically ending within ten minutes is one of the dumbest things ever? How in the world is that challenging? That means a cab will influence the victory more than whatever happens within ten lousy minutes. A two minute cab deficit can be made up very quickly.
– Chipmunks are in a cab and ask to go the fastest way possible. Charla’s time is up and has the clue. There is a very awkward sound bite. They have a cab where the driver brags that he knows and is moving fast. Eric has precise directions.
– Chipmunks ask for a shortcut. The driver says it is the shortcut. Charla & Mirna go over a hill where Mirna’s head hits the ceiling of the car.
MIRNA: Please be careful of the bumps, my friend.
A concussion is not worth a million dollars to Mirna. Although she is a lawyer so she could sue any damage she suffers in a cab for a million dollars.
– Eric asks if there is another way with less red lights. The driver claims it is the only way. Chipmunks are hitting all green lights. Charla claims she will give all of her money if the driver gets her there quickly. Chipmunks are told they are going the most direct way possible. We see Eric & Danielle at another red light.
– A cab pulls over. A montage of all of the teams. Who will win?
How TAR 9 would have ended if Eric didn’t have to deal with world flags. So close to two million.
– The applause isn’t too enthusiastic. Phil congratulates Eric on winning the all-star Amazing Race and being the first to make it Final Three both times. Eric claims Danielle is perfect and is happy to run it with her. That may be the million dollars talking. Phil presses Danielle about how hard it must have been to run it with Eric who was competitive.
– Eric said he never slowed down for Danielle. Blah blah blah. Chipmunks are simultaneously smiling and pissed that they didn’t win. Kandice cries at the mat. Both of them cry.
– Charla & Mirna arrive at the mat. They talk about being tough. Then everyone launches into generic speeches. A new soundtrack plays. Suddenly something interesting happens.
PHIL: Eric & Danielle, guess what?
ERIC: What, Phil?
PHIL: Some more good news.
ERIC: What, Phil?
PHIL: I have a Sprint phone.
Oh. That’s it. Good news, everyone. Phil has a new Sprint phone. Buy one today!
PHIL: You can call your loved ones.
Oh, there was more to it. I’m sure neither of them care about it.
Because Danielle is too frightened by the spider on Phil’s jacket sleeve.
Dude! Your shirt, bro!
ERIC: What’s up bro?
JEREMY: Dude, how you doin’?
ERIC: We won, brotha.
DANIELLE: WE WON!!!
It’s like she is trying to yell ‘hi’ to her cat at home. Wait for Papa Eric to finish his call and maybe you’ll get to talk Danielle.
JEREMY: Yeah! Yeah! I’m rich, biatch!
I think Jeremy just woke up from a nap while a re-run of Chappelle Show was on the air.
I never expected Donnell Rawlings to be quoted on The Amazing Race.
ERIC: We’re having a party.
JEREMY: Dude, I’m lovin it! I’m lovin it! I’m taking it in right now. Dude, I’m going to give you some spankings when you get home.
I didn’t expect the MacDonald’s slogan to be quoted either.
– And that’s the end of the phone call. I was fully expecting Danielle to talk to Dani. I bet a quadrillion dollars that if the call did happen, they edited it out due to time constraints. That’s hilarious. Production must wonder why they didn’t cast Eric & Jeremy together again in the first place.
– Eric is proud of Danielle. We don’t care.
ERIC: She knew the role she needed to take.
Which was to let Eric do every task except the roadblocks that required physical strength.
– Eric appreciates Danielle more. Danielle thinks opposites attract. Eric is happy to have the chance to win it.
The end to the least romantic couple ever to run the race ending up with the W.
Bulls— Bilal & Sa’eed N/A
— F minus–
12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th John Vito & Jill All Stars 11.0
11th Vipul & Arti 11.0
11th John & Scott 11.0
11th Ryan & Chuck 11.0
11th Team Seinfeld/Avi & Joe 11.0
11th Dennis & Erika 11.0
11th Deidre & Hilary 11.0
11th Matt & Ana 11.0
10th Lisa & Joni 10.0
10th Kevin & Drew All Stars 10.0
10th A Black Family 10.0
— F +–
10th Megan & Heidi 9.5 (Wow. They sucked.)
9th David & Mary All Stars 9.0
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0
10th Meredith & Maria 9.0
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF
10th Russell & Cindy 8.33
8th Don & Mary Jean 8.2
10th Kellie & Jamie 8.0
10th Kim & Leslie 8.0
8th Danielle & Dani 7.8
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33
8th Aiello Family 7.0
8th Tom & Terry 7.0
8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0
9th Lena & Kristy 7.0
10th Hope & Norm 7.0
9th Rogers Family 6.5
8th Susan & Patrick 6.5
6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43
9th Wanda & Desiree 6.25
7th Paul & Amie 6.2
8th Steve & Dave 6.2 FF
6th David &Mary 6.13 FF
11th Amanda & Chris 6.0
6th Andre & Damon 5.86
7th Dave & Lori 5.83
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
6th Gaghan Family 5.5
10th Alison & Donny 5.5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF
4th Meredith & Gretchen 5.36
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33
9th Debbie & Bianca 5.33
7th Gus & Hera 5.29
6th Joe & Bill All Stars 5.25
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25
7th Silver & Gold 5.17
7th Ray & Deana – 5.0 FF
9th Steve & Josh 5.0 – FF
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF
5th Fran & Barry 4.89
–C + —
3rd Lyn & Karlyn 4.85
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF
7th Teri & Ian All Stars 4.83
7th Schroeder Family 4.75
6th Lake & Michelle 4.71
6th Brian & Greg 4.71
5th Erwin & Godwin 4.70
3rd Adam & Rebecca 4.69 FF
9th Duke & Lauren 4.67
5th Lori & Bolo 4.6 – FF
2nd Teri & Ian 4.53 – FF
5th Uchenna & Joyce All Stars 4.33 – FF
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF
3rd Ray & Yolanda 4.23
4th Linda & Karen 4.17
3rd Charla & Mirna All Stars 4.15
6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.)
5th Paolo Family 4.13 FF
5th Lynn & Alex 4.11
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 Eric & Danielle All Stars 3.62
6th Jonathan & Victoria 3.56
4th Monica & Joseph 3.50
1st Freddy & Kendra 3.46
1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF
1st Chip & Kim 3.38
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF
3rd Brandon & Nicole 3.31
4th Godlewski Family 3.18
4th Dustin & Kandice 3.17
7th Peter & Sarah 3.17
3rd Weaver Family 3.15
1st Reichen & DK 3.15 – FF
1st Uchenna & Joyce 3.15 FF
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF
2nd Rob & Kim 3.08 – FF
3rd Ron & Kelly 3.00
4th Hayden & Aaron 2.92
2nd Dustin & Kandice All Stars 2.92
2nd Bransen Family 2.85
1st Linz Family 2.77
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF
–BEST OF THE BEST–
8th Rob & Amber All Stars 2.75
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny All Stars 2.67 FF x2
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – FF
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF
1st BJ & Tyler – 2.46 FF
1st Tyler & James – 2.38 FF
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF
2nd Kris & Jon 2.38
2nd Rob & Amber 2.31
2nd Eric & Jeremy 1.69 FF
Combined Team Averages (Repeats Only)
11 legs David & Mary 6.91 FF
11 legs John Vito & Jill 5.36 FF
18 legs Danielle 4.78
19 legs Teri & Ian 4.63 FF
13 legs Kevin & Drew 4.38 FF
20 legs Charla & Mirna 4.00 None
21 legs Joe & Bill 3.71 FF
22 legs Uchenna & Joyce 3.64 FF x2
*31 legs Eric & Danielle 3.48 FF
23 legs Oswald & Danny 3.30 FF x3!
25 legs Dustin & Kandice 3.04 None
26 legs Eric 2.65 FF
17 legs Rob & Amber 2.41 None
* Note: I determined Eric & Danielle’s average in this last section by adding up all of their individual points from TAR 9, then adding up their total points in All Stars and dividing it by 31.
Rank the Teams
1) Oswald & Danny
The only team in reality TV that could get away with shooting an arrow at a dead puppy, and still be likable. Nobody expected them to be cast considering their passive racing methods. However, Phil recognized their on-camera potential and ability to make unorthodox moves while being great people in the process. An entertaining version of the Cho Brothers, perhaps?
However these two are still super competitive. They tore through the competition for most of this season. But Malaysia hit and suddenly they found themselves consistently on the ropes.
If any other team was in the Final Four for those 3 1/2 legs, I think all-stars would be viewed as one of the most boring seasons ever. It’s a lot of racing for nothing to happen plot-wise. But Oswald & Danny managed to do the following:
a) Lose all of their money
b) Agree to be in an alliance to oppose the Chipmunks
c) Sell their Yield for money
d) Piss off all the other teams
e) Be the only team who could joke about everything that was going on
Yep. Literally everything you remember about these rounds is because of Oswald & Danny. The other three teams have virtually zero memorable moments except Eric’s reaction to being yielded twice, and Charla & Mirna partaking in the ninja climb task. And per usual, Chipmunks didn’t engage the audience.
So Oswald & Danny were funny, likable, entertaining, competitive, and made major moves. This means. . .
Oswald & Danny made All-Stars the season that we all know and (if you’re like me) love the season that lives to this day in our minds. Oswald & Danny deserve to be the first team to have a third shot on TAR.
Oh, and these guys finished fourth in back to back seasons, yet ratio wise improved upon their stint nearly ten seasons ago. It’d be amazing to see them return another twelve seasons later. Will Danny be in his wheelchair yet?
2) Charla & Mirna
Schmirna & Mirna. I had them at #1 for season 5, and placed them easily into the second spot for season 11. If you had any doubt these two were going to return, you were crazy, and probably still are.
Per usual, Charla & Mirna managed to get into a fight with every single team on the race, and gossiped about every team on the race. They immediately marked other young females as their rivals (Chipmunks), so they didn’t change much that way either.
As I’ve said before, Charla & Mirna can turn downtime into the funniest and most entertaining moments of an episode. They sneak onto flights that even the all-stars wouldn’t discover, and made any interactions with guides into highlights. Whether it’s forcing random security guards to pray with them, crying in front of a local to beg for help, taunting locals, teasing locals, and shouting at locals, and do all of the above to the other teams, you could probably make a whole hour show of Charla & Mirna each episode.
A new running joke this season is how often each of them needed to vomit. This is one of the stranger storylines to develop in TAR history. In five or six of the episodes, they either referenced a barf bag or proceeded to vomit. How absurd is that? I can’t think of a team who so willingly speaks about vomit.
Charla’s uselessness but passing it off as a triumphant victory was another amusing storyline. I mean, most of these tasks that Charla couldn’t do didn’t include a height or strength disadvantage. They were basic things like reading directions or understanding the task. It was unbelievable. Mirna had to babysit her most of the time and take on as much work as she possibly could. If Charla ran the race with anyone else, she would be eliminated within the first three rounds in both seasons. No joke.
Mirna was more impressive this season than her previous stint. She can blow up over and over and over and over again but somehow never be in last place, and even drag Charla to a first place finish in an area of the world that her and Charla were eliminated last season.
And the ninja task is why they earned an invitation back to All-Stars. And possibly an invite to become the first threepeat for TAR 25 along with Oswald & Danny. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dustin & Kandice are near the top of that list too.
To put it simply, it’s simply a shame we don’t have a Charla & Mirna every season. Their ridiculousness in an endearing manner towards the audience (but not to other racers) has made them a top 5 team in TAR history. Maybe not skills wise, but for their presence.
3) Uchenna & Joyce
They will likely be the only winners who will get to come back for a chance to win two seasons. As I said before, their personalities and behind-the-scenes relationship issues made them a team too dynamic to keep out of All-Stars simply because they are winners.
I really don’t have a bad word to say about these two. They played twenty-two consecutive rounds of TAR before suffering defeat. I know they get a divorce after the race which makes all of the “we will work it out” montage at the end seem like dark humour, but hey, if that’s what needed to happen, then I support them.
Yes. Support people who appear on your TV screen for one hour total between the past six and eight years.
There has never been any winners as dynamic nor popular since.
The worst part is I think they would have absolutely slaughtered three of the teams this round if they didn’t risk going on the Frankfurt flight. It must have been painful to watch as teams switch Detour options multiple times and struggle at the Roadblock. Oh well. They’ve had their million, and the Frankfurt choice was their own fault.
And I find it amusing that they are invisible with more than 30 minutes of airtime to go in the episode. Thirty-one minutes. No team has suffered that fate. Even Steve & Josh’s elimination in TAR 4 was more merciful.
4) Teri & Ian
If you’ve kept up with this blog, this shouldn’t surprise you. I think these two are the best overall older couple to run the race. In terms of personality, performance, and entertainment value, these two blow all of the other older teams in TAR history out of the water.
This season they continued to deliver as they changed into a progressively more light-hearted team. However, there was a slight role reversal as Teri came off grumpier and Ian seemed to be a lovable goofy man. If they were able to win a leg, I’m sure we would have seen another legendary set of facial expressions.
Much more dynamic couple than Rob & Amber. That’s for sure. They were eliminated this season thanks to some karmic retribution. They could have been hours and hours behind in the fifth round in dead last, but they stumble upon the opposing and much easier task out of sheer luck. The following round they fall to the back of the pack and get eliminated. I feel content with their elimination despite rooting for them since the start of the season.
But oh well. We still got six rounds out of them, and thus puts an end to their TAR legacy. I am content with a total of twenty episodes from these two.
5) Joe & Bill
“We are just two gay grandpas!”
And yet they were villains for thirteen straight episodes in TAR 1. Come time for TAR 11 and their villainous reputation is essentially gone. In fact, the only team they fight with is the mildly “douchey” Eric & Danielle. And I don’t think there are enough Eric & Danielle fans for Guidos to be viewed as the antagonists once again.
They ended up to be bumbling buffoons this time. Their La Maquina error led to following Charla & Mirna but ditching them to make a run for the pit stop. Perhaps their only villainous act all season that was awarded a thumbs down by the crowd.
Otherwise they were seen as eccentric. More clothing was tagged with ‘Team Guido’. Their dog is mentioned more than any other dog in TAR history including Hachiko in TAR 9.
Blocking Eric & Danielle’s car, the La Maquina incident, falling over sixteen hours behind in multiple rounds, taking a shower using French cologne, discussing their thong wardrobe, flirting with Phil, Joe ringing a bell and screaming at a Kenyan airport, and failure to find a ticket dispenser all led to nobody taking them seriously this season. Ever.
The great thing about the Guidos is they can have fun when they are a million hours behind but still keep a very competitive spirit. This is much like how they handled the conclusion to TAR 1. Other teams such as Eric & Danielle or the Chipmunks don’t have the attitude to be entertaining when a million hours behind. They simply lose all energy and get humbled.
6) Eric & Danielle
You think just because I have been defending Eric & Danielle for four hundred pages in this blog that I would rank them in the top half? Nope. Smack dab in the middle is where they belong. I’d be crazy to put them above the teams you have already seen in this list.
Ninety percent of you will be asking “why this high”?: Because I really liked the idea of a hybrid team. In twenty-two seasons of TAR, they remain to be the only hybrid team to ever compete. It’s almost a mini competition to see if one partner got lucky with how far they got previously or to prove that they are indeed worthy of being an all-star.
If Charla & Mirna are #1 in your books for the most entertaining team ever, then Eric should be #1 in your books for strongest overall racer ever. Him and Jeremy ran the best race to date in TAR 9 by finishing first or second in twelve out of thirteen rounds. Fast forward to All Stars where Eric must race with one of the least skilled racers in TAR history (a 7.8 average after five rounds), the worst airport luck we have ever seen, and still have a 3.62 average? He is the only person to never be Philiminated. That’s right. Twenty-six consecutive legs. In TAR 25 he will team up with a Gutsy Granny for his biggest test yet.
Or dare I say Flo?
Plus Eric is hilarious. Sure, he couldn’t talk about sex as much unless it was referencing Danielle’s chest holding down fish, but managed to squeeze in an appreciated Anchorman reference. Seeing him and Danielle be yielded not once but twice, and being kicked off multiple flights created one of the biggest underdog images to date.
Thanks to their victory, Eric & Danielle became the first team to win the season without winning any of the legs leading up to the finale. It will be a long time before we see this record repeated. In addition, they picked up the worst average finish for a team to win a season of TAR.
One last note regarding hybrid teams–They are a few steps behind because there is a learning curve to adapting a pattern to run the race with your teammate. It could be tougher because each of you may have a different style that you established when running the race with your previous partner. I’m curious if we will have any more data regarding hybrid teams.
Ten percent of you will ask “Why are they ranked so low”?: Why? Because did we really NEED to see Danielle again? You could say it was because she was screwed over by Lake & Michelle’s Yield, but that would be like saying David & Mary got screwed over because they sucked.
Heck, Eric & Danielle weren’t even dating as they entered the race. Eric & Danielle had already broken up (broken up by Eric of course), and was about to date a woman back home. However, when CBS called he was willing to give Danielle another chance because otherwise he wouldn’t be able to have his shot at redemption. After a round or two, Eric knew there was nothing left in the relationship much to Danielle’s dismay. I wouldn’t be surprised if Danielle’s blowups were because of her sexual frustration with Eric. That’s why Eric kissing Danielle on the forehead after the million dollar announcement is the only embrace you see all season.
And I think there was potential for more compelling hybrids to be brought back for All-Stars. Eric & Danielle would not have been at the top of my list.
7) Dustin & Kandice
It took twenty-five rounds for the Chipmunks to show any emotion. Much to my disappointment they got over it quickly. The Chipmunks were not cast for their intriguing relationship. I can tell you that.
One of the most boring teams in terms of their intrarelationship. Their interrelationship with other teams once again brought a lot of attention onto them. Whether it was copying flights, tailing teams who paid for a cab while the Chipmunks offered nothing, and never apologizing for what occurred made them a controversial team for the second season in a row. And once again, their conflict always lied with the women. If Heidi Strobel was a Chipmunk, I’m sure she would attribute it to jealousy, but I think the Chipmunks drew fire from the women because Charla & Mirna are the easiest people in the world to piss off.
Then there’s the fact that they continued their streak of using every Yield possible. Why, they were so good at using Yields that they managed to use the final one by proxy! They’re nothing but dirty pirate hookers, as Mr. Roobaker would say.
Much like Charla & Mirna, they ran a very mediocre race for the first four rounds of the season. It was dreadful. They misread clues and were lucky that a bunch of teams were struggling worse than they were. But much like Charla & Mirna, we enter Africa and they suddenly become a strong team. Between round five and round twelve, the only teams to beat them were Charla & Mirna once, then any team who took a Fast Forward. They picked up some of the biggest pit stop leads without the aid of a Fast Forward in the show’s history. The only team who could have slaughtered this record is if Colin & Christie didn’t go for the Fast Forward in round five of TAR 5 in Cairo.
They played a perfect stretch of six rounds until Dustin made the dumbest move by listing Joe & Bill as untrustworthy. I can guarantee you that Dustin has been scratching her head why she did that since the minute she exited the vault.
I will concede that the Chipmunks are the strongest all-female team to play TAR two times (I can’t recognize some of the moves they did in TAR 10 as being particularly wise; they made too many mistakes in that season).
Just don’t give them a boat to paddle on rough waters.
8) Rob & Amber
This would have been the perfect farewell for these two. After being a duo in Survivor All Stars and finishing in the Final Two, then going on TAR 7 and making it to the Finish Line, then an invitation two years later for one last chance to extend their stardom where they go home early would have been a fitting end.
Fourth round. Poof. They’re gone. Two games of Survivor and two games of TAR. That should have been a competitive reality TV career.
At least we know they’re done with TAR. Amber has three kids and virtually no motivation to play again. As we know, Rob is far from over as he has played Survivor TWO more times.
As of December 2012, I declare that we will not see him nor Amber anymore.
Rob & Amber had a tough time stirring up any real controversy besides the last twenty minutes of the fourth episode. Producers and editors tried to milk their anti-social behaviour as a way to make them out as ‘too ahead to talk with other teams’. In fact, they were essentially being shown doing nothing.
However, their competitive nature and a fitting end to a long drawn out saga puts them higher than some of the teams who had no business being back at all.
9) John Vito & Jill
Bad directions from locals and perhaps bad luck from an overnight sleep at a restaurant sent them out the door.
It was nice to see them return and disappoint my sister yet again. However in a field of such crazy teams, they are probably ecstatic to avoid the chaos that will no doubt ensue any moment.
Go Team Friends With Benefits!
10) David & Mary
Fan favourites who recorded the 78th best average in TAR history came back. . .to perform the exact same way. No new dimension to their relationship other than David unwilling to go with his gut regarding Petrohue and the wrong turn that Mary wanted to take because it ‘had the most words’.
This is All Stars. They barely survived two eliminations and sure enough eliminated in the first round of TAR that they had to do entirely on their own. Three times in a row they finished ninth. They wanted to play aggressive and not have alliances, but sure enough they get by on an alliance and get burned within two rounds.
The most surprising thing is that Rob & Amber or another skilled team didn’t help them along the way to ensure they had a weaker team with them in the final legs of the season.
And if you have a team so weak that others are considering that strategy, production should have really re-considered another team to play in their place.
11) Kevin & Drew
I have to put these two last. Drew, particularly. Yes, seeing the least enthusiastic player ever attempt to go against all TAR convention was a treat to see. It was like Drew was parodying the show. But if this were to continue? It would have been annoying in episodes three and onwards.
Plus you can’t help but feel a team like Ken & Gerard would have appreciated that spot ten times more than Drew. I wish Drew was more grateful for it.
I can’t believe he made production stop for six hours to watch footage that didn’t matter.
Rank the Legs
1) Stone Town -> Warsaw (This is one of the few times where I can remember the day when I watched the premiere of this episode. My parents and my siblings were out of town. I was left alone in the house to watch TAR. Because I live in a house with five or six other people, the idea of being alone for a full night always freaks me out a bit.
When you’re thrown into a unique situation, all of your sensory experiences go to an extreme. That’s what happened when watching this episode. For a round where solitude and loneliness is the prevailing theme, I couldn’t help but feel moved by the editing crew’s techniques as we saw an unprecedented spread of teams. Chipmunks break the record for biggest non-Fast Forward lead on second place team, and I believe the biggest lead ever on teams who don’t get eliminated.
The travel from Zanzibar to Warsaw was such a grind for each individual team that production cut out a roadblock and cut down the Detour coverage in favour of showing the eight hours spent in a travel agency for teams or a tiny percentage of the thirty hours of straight travel that the trailing teams went through.
It is quite the mindf— when TWO-THIRDS of all teams sincerely believe they are stepping on the mat in last place, when really last place is 6-12 hours behind them. An incredible level of isolation is required for teams to make that assumption.
No other teams have experienced this type of mental attrition. Have seasons past been more physically demanding up to this point? Yes. But the level of mental attrition is nowhere near what we witness in this round and the one before it.
And the fact we are shown Chipmunks departing before two teams start the first task of the round is priceless. A Hall of Fame worthy episode of TAR. And we don’t even see a team get eliminated.)
2) Maputo -> Stone Town (One of my favourite episodes in TAR history. Seven teams spread across several dhows and several flights. Teams had to actively strategize to get from Maputo to Dar es Salaam by going further away from where they need to be. Figuring out flights took days as opposed to mere minutes. Every flight to the destination city was full to the point that putting yourself on priority standby and leading the lines became the name of the game.
Teams having team-on-team interaction in the dhows led to some memorable relationships forming. Charla & Mirna with Cha Cha Cha? Chipmunks with Uchenna & Joyce? And the dhows were a very unique form of transportation.
The tasks weren’t too bad either. It looked like it only took about two hours once in Zanzibar, but regardless were solid enough tasks. The puzzle appeared to be much faster than transporting logs, however.
Nearly a full day from first to last gave the round a classic feel as if there was not any over-the-top equalizers or heavy production intervention as if we were thrust into the TAR 1 days.
I find it amusing that the Guidos find themselves a full day behind most teams. The running joke continues to cap off a spectacular episode.)
3) Hong Kong -> Macau (Were you expecting this round to be high? I wasn’t. This was a round of the race where all four teams were distinct and enjoyable to watch that this round could be two hours for all I cared. The dynamics where everyone hates everyone in a friendly manner makes the race comfortable to watch.
The tallest jump in TAR history was perfect for All-Stars. The Detour was a bland Detour but was saved by the funny bouncing and Danny getting uber angry. The Dragon option could’ve been made more difficult given that it was duplicated. Mini Mokes were amusing to watch as Mirna nearly gets hit by a bus.
The Yield era ends on its highest note ever. A Yield triggering money, betrayal, and creating the first team to be yielded in one hundred percent of opportunities available (Weavers don’t count because there was an unaired/unused Yield in the first round of TAR 8), and thus created one of the biggest underdog teams in TAR history.
Add in the usual distinct humour brought in by all teams except the Chipmunks, and you have yourselves the second greatest Final Four non-elimination episode ever. Can you guess the greatest? I’ll answer it while I get a wrench to repair my ox.)
4) Calama -> Puerto Montt (Okay, it was a round with rather easy tasks. None of them involved skill. However, everything else about the leg was great. There was the one and only scramble for flights during the episode, and teams drove themselves for the entire round. None of the teams can blame a dang thing on taxis.
The conflict between the teams were organic and set up what is to come for the next several rounds. Guidos vs. Eric & Danielle, Rob’s disrespect for Eric continues, Charla & Mirna vs. Everyone in sight. This makes the round crucial and ultimately a bridge to what will occur the remainder of the season.
Overall, a cast delivers as much as it can as all nine teams had something interesting going on. It’s just that production couldn’t provide a leg that was all-star worthy. Wish we went to a new doggone country.
One last thing that bothered me is how they spent another round in a country where two teams (Romber and Uchenna & Joyce) would have a big advantage, and everyone else is at a disadvantage compared to them. That’s one of the logistic issues when doing an all-star. You have to do countries where everyone is on a level playing field. Sadly, another round that tips the race course in favour of another team is not the answer.
One last thing that I liked is that David & Mary were eliminated. The three weakest teams are gone. From the fourth episode until the end of the game, this feels like a true all-star race.)
5) Ushuaia -> Maputo (Yes! A new continent for this season! Yes! A new country to add to TAR’s catalogue! Yes! A unique roadblock!
But production did a terrible job with the Detour. One appeared to take two minutes max while the other option appeared to take well over an hour. Teri & Ian seemed to be about an hour behind all teams but come in third ahead of every team that did the charcoal option? That’s ridiculous. I think the nail polish task should have raised it up to ninety meticais. I am curious who was in charge of going with thirty meticais. Did they have a Dream Team test it out but they ended up struggling?
Cha Cha Cha chasing Phil is easily a top ten moment in TAR history. I don’t think any mat entrance has matched that since. I think Tramel & Talicia would like to come back and regain their crown.
This episode avoided taxis. Anytime you present taxi help as optional rather than mandatory is always the way to go in TAR. Teams each being assigned their own driver is a classic element from the first two seasons of TAR.
Visiting sub-Saharan Africa is always a wise choice because you get some unusual encounters compared to the WASPy nature of Europe. Teams are thrown out of their comfort zone. The growing rivalry between Charla & Mirna vs. Chipmunks and Guidos vs. Eric & Danielle makes the season a bit more fun.
And LOL at Guidos’ charcoal mustache. A comedic episode overall, but was in desperate need of possibly fewer equalizers and a more polished Detour. At least last round had the exciting finish.
6) Warsaw -> Skala (I didn’t expect myself to rank the episode this high. For some reason I always remembered this episode as being terrible.
But upon a re-watch, there is a lot of subtle gems in this episode that we really don’t see in TAR.
The biggest thing of course is a visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Perhaps the most memorable route marker in TAR history. It is the heaviest location TAR will ever visit. You can’t top Auschwitz. You just can’t. So for production to take that leap is really ballsy and should be rewarded. I approve of my emotions being challenged for once.
This leg was a night round for all teams. It must have been around 7pm-8pm when the first bus arrived at Auschwitz. It made for a leg traveled entirely in the dark which is something we rarely see in TAR. Can you think of a round in the past where all teams must play through in complete darkness? It is probably what made this round so freaky and eerie as a viewer. The light never comes.
The Detour was amazing. One task was easy to find but tough to perform while the other task was hard to find but easy to perform. Classic Detour logic that stems from the Tunisia Detour in round one.
Seeing Chipmunks and Charla vomit is a series highlight. Charla inducing vomit is hands down the grossest image I have ever seen in a round of any TV show.
Charla & Mirna bickering with each other and continuing to find unfriendly locals and also seeing more in-depth analysis of other teams helps build characterization to finish out the remainder of the season.
With several many crowning achievements why does this episode rank so low?
Because the massive equalizer was unnecessary. They could have at least made the teams travel to Auschwitz in three buses rather than two. I don’t understand why they went with two buses except to make Guidos and Eric & Danielle much more competitive.
The Intersection did nothing in TAR 10 thanks to production being too scared to do anything with it. What happens with the Intersection here in TAR 11? The exact same thing! There was zero benefit except force the Chipmunks to lose their fifteen hour lead entirely. Stupid stupid stupid.
Oh, and the Fast Forward offer is the easiest Fast Forward I have seen since production reduced each season to have only two Fast Forwards for another set of stupid reasons. Counting steps? Why can’t they eat two feet of sausage each?
And the roadblock was lousy. Lead a horse down a straight line? Unless you’re Joyce, this should be done within ten minutes and without any variance between the time gained or lost for each team. And the pit stop was twenty steps away? This was even worse than the unaired roadblock + run to the pit stop combo that we saw in the previous episode.
It’s like production is becoming lazy when finishing out a round of TAR.
7) Kuala Lumpur -> Hong Kong (One of the strangest Final Four dynamics form, and it is all thanks to the All-Star nature of this race where we have seen each of these teams compete in more legs than virtually any other team in TAR history. Cha Cha Cha’s alliance with Charla & Mirna to oppose the Chipmunks left Eric & Danielle on the outside with no one willing to help them unless it was to push back their enemies.
This leg felt very inspired with life in Hong Kong. Traveling through crowded and confusing streets as teams battled ninjas on scaffolding, being filmed in a car crash, and kicking down doors at an abandoned building made this round distinct.
The money woes of Cha Cha Cha was edited in a great way as we see it constantly alluded to knowing it will play an important role soon.
I wish the tasks were made more difficult, though. This was probably the easiest challenge catalogue for any leg since the season premiere.
And a non-elimination we all see coming makes this episode a mellow experience.)
8) Puerto Montt -> Ushuaia (This is when teams should have gone to the next continent. But half a leg in Chile and half a leg in Argentina? I was over these locations at this point. The tasks weren’t great either.
The stardom showdown between Romber and Charla & Mirna makes this episode an instant favourite for most people. Seeing a team go from finale bound to running a horrible leg and being eliminated in the biggest upset of any round in TAR’s history had people talking. There was no reason for Romber not to win this leg. They were in the perfect location that has been so good to them this season and their past race.
The teams used several modes of transportation except train. That was a bit neat. Also, I approve of the callback to other teams providing letters.
If you switch Romber to finishing 3rd or 4th, you would end up with the worst leg of the season by far. There was virtually no other exciting things going on this round. Nothing that indicated to you this was a race at an all-star level.
The biggest compliment about this round is that producers no longer have a reason to use footage from confessionals where teams discuss Rob & Amber to be used in the episodes.)
9) Macau -> Guam (The episode is funny from start to finish. But the one hour long commercial for the US military and the constant suspense building was unnecessary. The first task started by 700am and I bet they were all at the pit stop by 1200pm. It made me feel like the budget cuts were being done during all-stars rather than after. C’mon. This season is a celebration. A Final Four celebration should have been the most exhausting grindfest either. Instead it was just a bunch of planes and helicopters being shown off.
Still fun with this squad though. Luckily we have these four teams to entertain us. Because production certainly didn’t care.
10) Skala -> Kuala Lumpur (This leg has never clicked for me over the past six years. All I ever remember is “Eric & Danielle get yielded” and “Uchenna & Joyce miss a flight”. I was genuinely surprised by the Detour and Roadblock tasks. The cookie task didn’t a ring a bell for me. Or the patterns. I’ll forget those tasks by this time tomorrow.
The Roadblock isn’t terribly memorable either. Collecting newspapers when nothing is on the line for any of the teams?
This round and the Roadblock task begin the “Cha Cha Cha self-destructs” storyline. Between the arguments and Danny making one of the dumbest financial decisions ever on TAR, this is the lone credit I give to this leg. I didn’t recall the Roadblock task, but I knew it involved biking and Danny wasting his money at some point.
I suppose when nothing is at stake the round falls flat on its face. The one great thing about this round is we do not have any equalizers. This round is played straight up which puts it above the worst legs of the season.
Otherwise this round is rather deflated. Perhaps the disappointment in Uchenna & Joyce being royally screwed was too much.)
11) Miami -> Quito (The season premiere of any all-star edition of any competitive reality TV show is always a top ten episode of any franchise. Why? Because of the unlikely interactions. You can’t help but feel giddy as Ian groans at Charla & Mirna, as David and Drew physically fight over a car, teams going from goons to gods, and gods to goons. Who can finish at the top of the all-star pact or falter to the bottom? How do they match up against our expectations? So many great storytellers for the first round make minor events seem like the funniest things in the world.
Then there’s the jokes editors throw in. Gutsy Grannies reference thrown in for good measure. Themes in how teams continue to treat each other. You should watch a different show if you didn’t enjoy the premiere.
The only way I can penalize this episode is that the difficulty of these tasks were lousy. Cotopaxi seemed to be tricky for teams but it did not translate well on TV. Producers could have been more harsh, but with so many teams to catch up on in a one hour episode, I believe a one episode grace period is in order.
And Poor Drew. He probably gives enough hope to people like James & Abba to try their luck at a Craps table.)
12) Tamuning -> San Francisco (Much like the season premiere, this episode failed to deliver quality tasks at the end of the episode. In fact, this episode was a big step down from the premiere. We spent too much time in Hawaii when all that was going to happen is an equalizer flight that would pit all teams against each other for one final task. It’s not like teams needed to move quickly to Hawaii or to San Francisco. All flights were really spaced out too.
Charla & Mirna grabbing an early flight did nothing. Not only was there the subsequent airport equalizer, but the helicopter task itself reduced teams down to a ten minute lead on each other.
You know that final vault task that we all assumed to be the Roadblock? It wasn’t. The Roadblock was unaired and occurred back in Hawaii. EVERYTHING EXCEPT THE VAULT HAPPENED IN HAWAII. But the finale was so pressed for all of those dang flights that they edited out the Roadblock task.
What was the task, you ask? It was the same task that Erik Von Detten did in Celebrity Mole: Hawaii: Jump off a cliff and into the water. That would have been epic to see on TV. Unfortunately there was too many Hawaiian tasks that they needed to edit one out due to time constraints. And because seeing teams nearly drown in boats to trigger the Chipmunks’ first emotional reaction, and because Charla & Mirna losing their lead needed to be explained at Kamaka Air, the cliff jumping task needed to go.
And that final task in the Vault? It was a great concept but executed poorly. There needed to be five numbers in the code, no time limit, and teams should have been forced to wait one minute after each guess. I think it would have been much more dramatic to see each team wait as they feel the pressure with each wrong guess as the million dollars slips away. Then once a team solved it, the editors could edit it to make it really close.
What did we get instead? “Oh, the leading team is only ahead by two minutes. Who cares if we solved it or not. We’ll let the cab ride decide.”
As you can see, that is a really stupid way to end All-Stars, and de-legitimizes a victory that most fans didn’t want to recognize in the first place.)
13) Quito -> Calama (Both tasks were great. However, that flight to the final task is what ruined the episode. Add in a one-lane road to the pit stop with only one exit, and suddenly you have the bottom four teams having no choice but to travel as a pact to the pit stop. Luckily they screwed up on the same turn, but the fact production opened the door for complete chaos is not something I approve.
Drew’s 2-episode glamourous return was well worth it. We were graced with the opportunity to witness the least enthusiastic racer in TAR history. Charla & Mirna broke the record for blowing a situation out of proportion. Mary giving directions based on the number of words was a series first.
Drew eliminating Phil from the pit stop was great. He just shuns them. There is no rule that you had to stand there as the sad music plays and Phil requests a life transformation from you.
Eric sounding like a lost kid as he followed Oswald and Amber and repeated ‘what is it’ over and over is an underrated moment. Or Charla falling.
Overall, the cast and tasks delivered. It’s just that one flight that knocks it down. Split charter flights would have been a better alternative if production was stuck in a crappy situation.)
398 pages later and we reach our conclusion. By the end, we’ll have a 400 page summary of All-Stars. Unbelievable. First off, I’ll rank where TAR 11 fits into the overall series ranking:
1. The Amazing Race 5 – 9.2/10
2. The Amazing Race 7 – 8.8/10
3. The Amazing Race 3 – 8.7/10
4. The Amazing Race 9 – 8.6/10
5. The Amazing Race 2 – 8.5/10
6. The Amazing Race 11: All Stars 7.2/10
7. The Amazing Race (1) – 7/10
8. The Amazing Race 10 – 6.5/10
9. The Amazing Race 4 – 6.25/10
10. The Amazing Race 8 – 4.0/10
11. The Amazing Race 6 – 3.9/10
To be honest, this was an easy placement to determine. All Star seasons should always be held to a higher standard. Compared to Survivor: All Stars, and Big Brother: All Stars, TAR All Stars had by far the most success. It beats out Survivor: Micronesia and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains in my books.
It had a cast that entertained from start to finish, a cast that was great overall, a solid race route with new countries being visited, and some memorable moments.
Where does it lose all of its points? Tasks that weren’t too difficult. Thank goodness we kept away from needles in haystacks, but we needed tasks that would stand out every single leg. It wouldn’t be until mid-season that these awesome tasks would be introduced it, but sadly were gone by the time we reach the final destination city. We also saw an abuse of locals being paid to lead teams to the pit stops. Why production didn’t offer less money is beyond me, but for whatever reason, approved of teams having an easy time getting to a bunch of the route markers that could have otherwise been difficult.
Now to discuss The Transition Era. As I’ve said before, this is the third era of TAR.
Era 1: The Classic Era — TAR 1-4.
Era 2: The Revamped Era — TAR 5-9.
Era 3: The Transition Era — TAR 10-13.
If you want to read about all of the things that were phased out at the end of TAR 9 to make way for the Transition Era, go back and read that season’s introductory or finale post. I probably talk about it in TAR 10’s introductory and finale as well.
So why is TAR 11 part of the Transition Era? Why is it so different from 10 and 12?
a) TAR 10 had only one Yield. TAR 11 went up to two Yields. However, like TAR 10, the Yield appears very late into the season.
b) It is the final season to have a Yield. The Yield twist is extinct from this day forward in the American version of TAR. Gone. Ka-put. For a twist to stick around since TAR 5, I am sure we all took it for granted that the Yield would be around forever. For whatever reason, production wanted to do something different and never looked back.
I personally wish the Yield would appear every leg like it did in TAR 5, similar to how the Fast Forward did in the first four seasons. But sadly production doesn’t understand their own game.
In a puzzling move, the Yield will be permanently replaced by a different twist starting next season. This twist has somehow stayed alive into present-day TAR.
c) Unlike TAR 6-10, this season did not have a To Be Continued Leg. Thank god. Because unless it’s TAR 9, all that happens is there is a super equalizer to make the previous leg not matter in the slightest.
We will see To Be Continued Legs make the occasional appearance when we least expect it.
d) It’s an all-star format. In the first seventeen seasons of TAR, this is the only one to feature returning players. Nothing consistent about that. An all-star format incorporates so many unique changes for any season of a competitive reality TV show. I beat this subject to death at the beginning, so there’s no need for me to elaborate again.
e) The last time more than one state/country appear in the final leg of the race. This is the smartest and cost-saving change that TAR will make from now on. No longer will we spend time in Hawaii or Alaska before advancing to the final destination city. If Hawaii or Alaska are visited again, they will be the finish line. This means fewer flights to air on TV during the finale. One less location to set up and hire its own crew. Everybody wins in this scenario.
f) Intersection is gone. A twist that production used minimally for two seasons is eliminated for good. It was clear production was always hesitant implementing this twist, and always used it in the least offensive way possible. Either you should use this twist for multiple rounds or not at all. Production conceded they were too afraid, and wiped it away.
g) The highest number of non-eliminations for the rest of the series. Unless the promo for the TAR 22 premiere next week is true, no season will ever reach four non-elimination legs ever again.
In a shocking twist, the next two seasons will feature a record low of non-elimination legs. It is an unexpected temporary change that no one expected.
h) Regular 2-season cycle is gone. You know how it has been one season in the spring and one season in autumn since TAR 7? Well, for TAR 12 and 13, an irregular schedule forms until the spring and autumn schedule is reset. Another reason to mark this as the Transition Era–it doesn’t follow any patterns.
i) No more 13-leg seasons. One of the few constants since TAR’s inception is that every season had thirteen legs. Yes, even TAR: Family Edition had thirteen legs much to our dismay. I don’t know if Bertram developed triskaidekaphobia, but all seasons from now on will be reduced to eleven or twelve legs.
j) Marked for Elimination is extinct. This twist introduced in TAR 10 is gone after this season. In my opinion, Marked for Elimination is my second favourite non-elimination penalty. It’s right after the penalty format in TAR 7-9, but is ahead of what we see from TAR 12-present day.
k) All of the teams that played this season, and all teams that were referenced, will never be mentioned or seen again.
With the end of All-Stars, I would say that production wanted to create a new generation of stars. You won’t see BJ & Tyler wearing Bowling Mom shirts or funny letters from past racers. Kevin & Drew won’t appear at a hot dog stand either. TAR 12 starts a new timeline of racers.
I should note that in TAR 20 we will see a flashback to Uchenna & Joyce. But we aren’t shown what they’re doing in the present. It’s a lousy four second flashback in the middle of TAR 20. Lena & Kristy will be another team that will have a flashback too thanks to production promoting Bertram’s most embarrassing moment as a producer for a competitive reality TV show.
Yes, that’s it. That’s the end of All-Stars. This is the 400th page. I projected making it to 400 pages, and unintentionally made it there right on the nose. I mentioned at the start of this finale blog that I would be making a special announcement.
I will blog the first season of The Amazing Race: Asia season 1. A few of you were asking if I would do the non-American versions that I haven’t seen, and since this is when TARA1 appears in the timeline, I thought it’d be the appropriate time to blog about it. If I can’t understand their English dialects too well, I doubt I will turn this experiment into a regular season blog.