The Amazing Race season 13 finale episode 11 ranking

Final episode

COUNTRIES VISITED

BRAZIL – BOLIVIA – NEW ZEALAND – CAMBODIA – INDIA – KAZAKHSTAN – RUSSIA – USA

Previously on TAR: Eleven teams set out from Los Angeles, California in a race of 40, 000 miles across five continents. Along the way teams experienced highs, lows, bruises, and tosses.

Eight teams fell by the wayside.

Separated couple Ken & Tina came on the race in hopes of repairing their broken relationship. Over the course of the race they re-discovered each other and found themselves in the Final Three.

Throughout the race Nick & Starr were the models of consistency. But when the pressure got to Starr, Nick’s calming influence helped propel them into the Final Three.

Fraternity brothers Andrew & Dan came over huge odds as they fumbled, danced, and marched their way into the Final Three relying on a lot of brutal tenacity and a little bit of luck.

In tonight’s season finale one of these three teams/Nick & Starr will win a million dollars and The Amazing Race.

– Intro time.

– This is the last episode before we have the new visuals and remixed intro. Let’s savour this, alright?

the amazing race 3

the amazing race 2

the amazing race

Negotiating for a bigger intro.

– Phil introduces us to Moscow yet again. It is famous for being the epicentre of Soviet power.

– Phil’s Questions: None.

– Nick & Starr, who were the first to arrive at an undisclosed time, will depart first at 1056pm.

portland nick starr

Million dollar fist bump.

– Starr reads that their final destination city is Portland, Oregon. Portland. . .
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PORTLAND?!

Okay. Let’s do an aside here. I live in British Columbia. You know, that province on the Pacific Ocean in Canada. The three American states below us are Washington, Oregon, and California.

Everybody along the west coast raves about their trips in BC, Washington, and California. I have never heard somebody say “oh my god, I had an unbelievable time in Oregon”.

Everybody I know has visited all three of those states and BC. They live in one of those four places and travel to the other three at some point in their life.

You know what I have heard about Portland? That the whole place smells like urine if you are anywhere near downtown.

That claim is supported by the fact that I discovered Portland has the largest percentage of homeless people out of any American city. Yes, even more than Detroit.

People I know that went to Oregon either rented a cabin on the ocean for a week because it was cheap and split between six or seven people, or because UFC 102 was being held in Portland where Randy Couture would fight Big Nog.

The only pro sports team in Oregon is the Portland Trailblazers. Also known as the worst team in the NBA over the past decade that isn’t a newly expanded team since the 90s.

I can think of numerous landmarks in Vancouver, Kelowna, Seattle, LA, San Francisco, and San Diego. But Portland?
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I got nothin’.

There are several other cities that TAR could visit for the final round that isn’t LA, Hawaii, or Alaska. They could have gone to Boston, Orlando, Houston, Memphis, Nashville, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and San Diego. None of those cities have ever been visited in TAR and I can guarantee you all are more exciting than freakin’ Portland.

– Anyways, once in Portland teams must find the Tilikum adventure camp where they will find their next clue.

Oh, and Portland is over five thousand miles away from Moscow.

portland

– Nick & Starr enter a cab to begin claiming the million dollars. Starr admits her and Nick are sleep deprived and tired, but we know they aren’t fooling anyone. She knows adrenalin will carry them through to the finish line.

– Nick & Starr book a flight that heads to Portland via Frankfurt. Remember how I have said that Frankfurt is one of the top five biggest airports in the world? I swear Frankfurt is used to connect teams about three times per season.

– Dan & Andrew depart. Seeing how there was no Fast Forward last leg and teams stayed entirely within Moscow, it’s impossible to have a lead of more than one hour right?

portland dandrew

Three and a half hours?! The top three teams all were at an equalizer at the first task last round with Dandrew one hour behind, but yet Nick & Starr still won the round over everybody by three and a half hours? That may be the biggest lead a team has ever had entering the final round.

– Dan feels they deserve to be in the Final Three because of their perseverance. He says people that claim he is chicken feed for the other two teams is mistaken.

– Dan is aware of the major European cities that connect flights.

DAN: It will be Munich or Frankfurt.
ANDREW: Or Barcelona.
DAN: Hahahaha, no.

portland dandrew 2

Andrew’s To Do List After the Race

Delete Dan off Facebook.

portland ken tina

330am? Nick & Starr and Ken & Tina started the previous leg at the same time and were nearly five hours slower? Wow. Just give the cheque to Nick & Starr right now.

– Tina says there is no question that they came to win.

TINA: I am not leaving without the prize.

Well that is going to be an uncomfortable conversation at the finish line.

– Dandrew have tickets. Meanwhile Starr has spent four hours obtaining the address of the route marker. Ken & Tina have purchased tickets at the counter. Tina believes she can trust Ken because she sees his eyes have changed.

Maybe he is wearing contacts.

DAN: This is the Stanley Cup, the World Series, and the Super Bowl all rolled into one.

Come to think of it. . .what is the name of the NBA championship? If Americans have an easier time remembering the Stanley Cup, the NBA really needs to pick a memorable trophy name.

– This is the last travel graphic we see before Google Earth takes over.

portland map

portland map 2

portland map 3

portland map 4

portland map 5

Next time they should just zoom out when showing the route.

– You know how they always show the greatest landmarks of the new city they are visiting each round in TAR? This may be the saddest two-second clip show of a new city.

portland scenery

If you look close enough, you can see a guy peeing against one of the buildings.

– Plane lands and the three teams start running. Nick & Starr are first into a taxi. Ken & Tina right behind. Dan & Andrew are last and in a slow-moving taxi.

– KEN: Nick & Starr have had a horseshoe stuck in their rear end all season.

That pretty much sums up all eleven rounds.

– Dan & Andrew laugh as their taxi driver calls for directions. Why does this driver sound terrible?
portland taxi

Dan finds it hysterical that they are already dead last while Andrew was in Delusion Mode thinking they had a real chance of winning.
portland taxi 2

– Ken & Tina are first to the Detour.

High and Dry or Low and Wet.

– In High and Dry, teams must climb thirty feet up a tree and traverse a forty foot log then leap through the air to retrieve one half of a clue. Their partner will retrieve the other half.

In Low and Wet, teams choose a floating log and walk 850 feet to a logging truck where their next clue awaits.

comic book guy

Shortest. Detour. Explanation. Ever.

Yeah, this is a big step down from last round’s wicked riddles and confusing routes.

– Nick & Starr show up and choose High and Dry as well. They appear to be only a couple minutes behind.

– Tina reminds us of her fear of heights as we see the instructor give a full minute of explanation. Be funny if she chickens out about ten miles from the finish line.

– Dan & Andrew’s driver is lost. Andrew borrows the cell phone to call Tilikum Adventure Camp.

– Ken has climbed up the tree and now traversing the bridge. Nick is currently climbing the tree. Ken has jumped and grabbed the first half of the clue. Tina is nervous.

– Andrew is told to take a right on Bell Road.

– Nick successfully grabs the clue without touching the trapeze bar. He has made up some time.

– Tina’s helmet fell off. Nick tells Starr that the task is easy and that she should have no problem moving fast.

– The driver sees the sign for Bell Road. Andrew tells him to do. What does the taxi driver decide to do?

portland taxi 3

This may be one of the worst taxi drivers I have seen in the history of TAR finales. This is a major American city who can’t even use a cell phone to obtain directions, and even when he has directions, he blatantly ignores them.

A driver’s job is to make sure you get to a destination. If you can’t do that, then why in the world would you be a taxi driver?

ANDREW: Just make a U-Turn, sir?

portland taxi 4

The driver is asking one of his passengers how to drive?! This driver is like the Portland Trailblazers of taxi cabs.

ANDREW: Wherever you can.

Aaaaand they’re done.

– Ken tells Tina to just keep moving. She tells Kenny to shut it as her helmet chokes her when she falls off. Kenny points out it is costing her time as she repeats what he says and tells her to shut up. Tina can’t even undo the helmet. Meanwhile Starr’s helmet stays on perfectly fine.
portland tina

I guess it wasn’t bright to ask for a bigger helmet.

portland tina 2

An unblurred Nike swoosh. Nike appreciates free advertising!

portland starr

Starr demonstrates helmet safety.

portland tina 3

Tina, however, does not.

– She tries to drop the helmet but can’t get it undone. Be funny if a safety helmet is responsible for choking somebody to death at adventure camp.

– Starr literally jumps into first place as she leaps to the second half of the clue. Tina is shaking as she moves at sloth speed.

– Nick reads that they must take a taxi to the Bridge of the Gods. Once there they must take a flying fox two thousand feet to the island below to receive their clue. Nick & Starr head back to the taxi. Tina is shocked that Nick & Starr are already done. Ken is helpless as he watches Tina struggle.

portland ken

Marriage if she jumps.
Divorce if she doesn’t.

– Tina is hesitant as Ken begs her to jump.

KEN: Tina, please!

This clip is reused from the Delhi round when Ken pleads with Tina to get into a taxi. I imagine Ken & Tina’s conversation was too repetitive by this point.
david eyeroll

“C’mon David, don’t let go!”

– Commercial break.

– We head back to Tina still on the bridge. We see an entire twenty seconds repeated. Tina was going to make a small leap but exchanges it for a bigger jump.

– They have the clue as Tina yells at Ken for yelling at her. He denies he was doing it. Ken says they are two minutes behind Nick & Starr.

– Dandrew show up to the Detour. No teams are even visible.

– KEN: We are racing for one millllion dollars.

portland ken tina 2

Hold up.

dr evil

Did Mike Myers pay them one million dollars to make the Austin Powers franchise relevant again?

– Dan cheers on Andrew who is doing this task in sandals. I guess those were the shoes they purchased.

– Starr sees the bridge behind them and asks him to turn around. Ken & Tina’s driver meanwhile doesn’t drive past it. They are running onto the bridge.

TINA: I am scared of heights.

We have heard that exact same tone of voice uttering that line now four times this episode. This is getting ridiculous.

portland ken tina 3

The distance between them on the bridge is a metaphor for their relationship.

– In fact their mouths don’t even move when Tina says her heart is pounding. It is clearly being taken from the New Zealand Fast Forward or the Detour from five minutes ago. The amount of dialogue must have been really limited this round.

– Ken & Tina put on the gear. This time Tina won’t ask for a bigger helmet. Tina prepares to go first.

– Dan & Andrew have their clue and back in the taxi. Andrew brags they did the Detour quickly.

– Nick & Starr are just getting to the bridge as Tina rides the zipline.
portland tina 4

There were other people around, but Tina arranged for a bigger area of isolation.

– She finds it to be awesome and fun. Ken prepares to jump as Nick & Starr grab the clue. Ken loves being back in the northwest.

portland ken 2

You know you’re in the northwest when there is an outdoor adventure sport amongst thousands of trees.

– Tina opens up the clue on the island.

TINA: You’ve come a long way. How much do you remember?

portland phil

I remember when Phil used to wear turtlenecks. Now he will undo the first button of his collar? What a wild thang!
portland roadblock

Teams must choose one of these game boards. Each numbered piece of the game board represents a leg of the race.

portland roadblock 2

How is this not a Roadblock?

– Working in numerical order, teams will remove a game piece revealing either a Detour, Roadblock, Route Info, or Pit Stop symbol. Then they will enter a field of 150 clue boxes.

portland roadblock 3

The third one in the fifth column from the left originally appeared in TAR 3 episode 4. Clearly none of these boxes are from Family Edition.

– Inside each clue box will be a picture. They must match up the picture with the corresponding game piece that they are currently trying to fill.
portland roadblock 4

– Once teams have correctly filled their game board they will receive their next clue.

alaska task 2

bj final flags

This is about 50% of the epicness of the final flag task and about 1% of the epicness of last season’s memory-brain teaser hybrid which required a ton of focus.

– TINA: Oh my god there are 150 of these!

pokemon

I can’t imagine Tina’s reaction after generation I.

– Ken & Tina put on the Detour net as their first picture. Tina reads that a green light will come on if they are correct.
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How does the green light come on? Is there like some sort of bar code on the back of each picture? Or is it done manually by a producer like the final Roadblock in TAR 12? If only I could sit down and interview a TAR producer one day.

– It was route info for the first one (coffee cafe) but instead they put on the cargo net. They keep going as Tina describes what they are doing in round one.

– Starr yells out to Nick to watch what Ken & Tina are doing after he lands first on the island. Nick & Starr show up to the island. I can’t say this is the worst memory task ever, but it certainly isn’t quite as awesome as last season. This must require a ton of cardio.

– Nick reads the instructions in a land speed record time. He fit three words into one syllable. I think Nick may be one of the top three smartest and most well-rounded racers of all time. Taxis may be out of his control, but he can do every task in the most efficient and most effective way possible.

– Ken & Tina come back with the first one.

brazil mark bill

They see the second leg is a Detour. Nick & Starr talk aloud as they go through the clue boxes. Ken & Tina are walking much slower. Tina brings back the Beach It Detour.

fortaleza terence 7

– Round three is the Roadblock. The Cholitas.

– Nick & Starr put in the church but it is wrong. It was the other Detour option.

– Andrew is coaching the taxi driver how to drive. He tells him to switch lanes because it is a limit thirty miles higher than what he is driving.

– Nick & Starr put in the first piece. Ken & Tina have retrieved the third piece.

bolivia ken

Ken remembers it well.

– The fourth one is  a pit stop. Phil’s daddy.

– Ken & Tina are walking and jogging. Nick & Starr have put in the second piece.

– Ken & Tina retrieve the ball of yarn. You know, the superknot. It’s wrong. Nick & Starr have retrieved the third piece.
new zealand phil 5

KEN AND TINA: 4
NICK AND STARR: 3

– Nick & Starr have brought back the sheep. We’re tied again.

– Dan & Andrew borrow the driver’s cell phone again to get directions for Bridge of the Gods. This is indeed the worst American taxi in TAR history.

– Nick & Starr agree Route Info for round six was ambassador of the hotel. Apparently they skipped round five in the editing process. I guess it would be repetitive to see them do this ten times.

KEN: It was the ambassador.
TINA: No, it wasn’t.
game over

– Nick & Starr retrieve the ambassador quickly. It’s correct. Tina is annoyed that Nick & Starr are going “hog wild”. They have the ambassador of the hotel.

delhi house
– The seventh round is the pit stop. Nick thinks it was the first Russian round. It’s wrong.

NICK: It’s not Russia yet.
STARR: It’s Kazabakhstan.

Heh.

– Ken & Tina retrieve the Kazakhstan pit stop.

kazakhstan greeter

– Ken & Tina reveal route info for round nine. It’s the monastery. Tina has retrieived it.

russia choir

– Now it’s round ten Roadblock. The Stalin and Lenin riddle. Nick & Starr run back with number nine.

KEN AND TINA: 9
NICK AND STARR: 9

It’s a dead heat. Both teams are looking for the same picture. Knowing TAR they would put it at the end.

– Nick & Starr have received the final picture.

moscow statue 3

– Nick & Starr have all ten and read they must head to the parking lot once all ten pictures are correct. Ken & Tina continue to bicker as they see Nick & Starr done.

portland nick starr 2
The only person more exhausted than Nick & Starr and Ken & Tina are the camera operators who have to keep running back and forth with them.

– Commercial break.

– Ken & Tina have found their final picture.

– Nick & Starr read that they must travel by taxi to the Portland Building. Here they must find. . .a green dinosaur? Once they have found the green dinosaur in the window of the Portland Building, they will find their next clue.

portland green dinosaur

Portland’s proudest achievement. This place is so ridiculous that it should have been in Family Edition next to Bart the Bear.

– Nick & Starr enter the taxi. She sees Ken reading the clue in the background. Starr is huffing and puffing. Ken & Tina enter their cab who have got them first to each route marker thus far.

– Dan & Andrew show up to the island and start doing the memory task.

– Starr has borrowed the driver’s cell phone to get directions.

TINA: Do you know anything about the Portland building?
KEN: lol no.

Kenny is from Seattle, right? I can assure you that people from BC, Washington, and California know -nothing- about anything in Oregon outside of its funny smell.

– Tina wants to borrow the driver’s cell phone but notes he is already calling with “one of those head phone things”.

portland taxi 5

Also known as Bluetooth. Hey, since when was Mark Jackson a taxi driver in TAR?

portland ken tina 5

Tina provides an offensive explanation for the high Asian population in the Northwest.

– Ken & Tina’s driver is so awesome.

KEN & TINA: Nothing about a green dinosaur. . .but the other cab is right there in front of us.

– We see a road race as the two taxis battle to pass each other on the road. One of these seasons we are going to see a lethal car crash. Nick & Starr’s cab drives straight while Ken & Tina drove to the right. Both teams go hysterical sans Nick as they know one of these teams will have a lead.

– Ken & Tina’s cab ran into traffic. This allows Nick & Starr to show up first and run into the Portland Building. They grab the clue and avoid being seen in the window.

– Nick reads that they must run on foot to Alder Street and find a Food Cart that serves food from the country of the pit stop. This cart amongst many others along Alder Street will be the only one to hand them their next clue.

portland lady

Would you like fries with your million dollars?

– Ken & Tina have shown up to the Portland Building. Ken yells at Tina as they exit the cab that he is certain the building across the street is the Portland Building.

– Nick & Starr are sprinting on the street and enter a cafe for directions. Nick runs ahead of Starr and instructs her to yell at him if she needs him to slow down.

– Ken’s instincts lead him into City Hall. Tina asks reception for directions.

portland nick

Camera operator must be dying right now.

– Ken & Tina are told to go to the Standard Building. Tough for locals not to know of a green dinosaur. They see the dinosaur and find the clue.

– Nick & Starr are at Alder Street. Tina receives directions to run for three or four blocks.

– Nick & Starr are told to head to the Alder Street Cart Pods. Off they go. Ken & Tina are now on Alder Street too and ask for directions from somebody who is waiting at a traffic light.

– Starr points out the Russian Food Cart on the street.

portland flag

Or not.

– Nick keeps running up the street. They find the correct stall. Nick reads that they must run on foot to the place where “the magic is in the hole”.

Phil informs us this place is Voodoo Donut. Yeah. Voodoo Donuts.

voodoo donut

Oh, I get it. Hole as in a donut hole!

http://voodoodoughnut.com/about.php

The witch hunting in Salem, Massachusetts was for Paganism, but witch hunting in Salem, Oregon is because they wanted to control your jelly-filled dreams.

But seriously, their ‘about’ page may be the strangest ‘about’ page I have seen for a business page that solely deals with food.

– They find a lady who acts like a real jerk to them.

portland nick starr 3

LADY: I don’t know. Maybe go somewhere. Use a phone book or something.

– Starr begins screaming out “DOES ANYONE KNOW WHERE THE MAGIC IS IN THE HOLE”.

portland donut

I like how they don’t know the destination is a donut shop, but the first person they ask is somebody who looks like she has been packing away a few donuts herself. I mean, she’s even holding a donut in her hand!

– Somebody on the street tells them that it is down the street and next to the cinema. Nothing like donut and a movie!

portland nick starr 4

Look at the muscular build on that guy. He must work the calories off of those Voodoo Donuts.

– Ken & Tina list off the carts until they make it to the Russian one. Nick & Starr are still running on the street.

– NICK: It’s gotta be Burnside up here.
STARR: I don’t know.
NICK: Can you see that sign?
STARR: I can’t see it.
NICK: Yeah, that’s Burnside.

Burnside? Portland? I haven’t heard that name in a long time. In fact. . .
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tony hawk burnside

Holy fook. I refuse to believe that this reference is in my head all these years. A level from the middle of the first Tony Hawk game? I have the strangest memory recorded in history.

– Starr comes up with an unintentionally hilarious quote.

STARR: Thank god that guy likes donuts!

Yes. Thank god that he puts his health at risk for us all just so he knows the location of a donut shop that will ensure you will receive a million dollar cheque.

– Ken & Tina find a woman on the street.

portland lady 2

Oh, it’s you again. Gonna tell this team to f— off too?

TINA: Do you know this place?
LADY: Yes.
TINA: Has somebody already been here?
LADY: Yes.
TINA: Oh no.
LADY: It’s called Voodoo Donut. A donut shop. It’s on Second and Burnside. Go this way. They went the long way.
portland lady 3

It’s like she watched the first ten episodes and hates the idea of Nick & Starr winning too. Or maybe Starr pushed her sports bra off the ledge during a girls’ basketball trip in the ninth grade.

portland lady 4

LADY: F— Nick & Starr, they can lick my s—. Go that way and run like hell to catch up to them. Oh, and can you buy me another donut on the way back?

– Starr yells at Nick to run a little faster. Ken tells Tina to watch for traffic but she runs in front of a car anyway. I can’t wait for the TAR 26 finale where one of these final route markers leads to a team being run over by a car.

– Nick & Starr have found Voodoo Doonut. Ken & Tina keep running to have the clue too.
portland nick starr 5

Well isn’t this familiar.

– Both teams are on the street looking for a taxi. A million dollar taxi hailing exercise. They’ve been doing it all season long.

– Commercial break. Less than seven minutes of footage and it’s a freakin’ commercial break. We know it all comes down to hailing a taxi.

– We resume in downtown Portland. A hot muggy day where there’s nothing but polluted air and dry urine everywhere.

– Ken offers an occupied taxi to pay fifty bucks for the passenger to get out. The driver rejects them.

– You know what would be hilarious? If cab companies knew TAR was using them as a final destination city, and decided to have none of their taxis operational. Teams would be stuck running on foot to everywhere in Portland as they go crazy thinking everyone else is ahead because they cannot find a taxi.

Oh my god. If any cab company from a major American metropolis is reading this, PLEASE make this happen.

– Nick & Starr and Ken & Tina are shown entering taxis seconds apart. The driver asks Starr if she is okay as she grows very anxious about reaching their final destination. Ken & Tina also cry and put their hands together.

KEN: This will be the last time I run in my life.

Wow. Just don’t move in between Voodoo Doonut and the cinema in Portland.

– Suspense builds. Who has the better taxi?

portland ken tina 4

Tina licks her lips. If she wins she can use the money to buy bigger implants.

portland starr 2

portland ken tina 5

Whoa ohhhhh, living on a prayer. . .

– Starr isn’t that anxious, right?

portland starr 3

Oh. Right.

– By the way both teams have been saying “this is it go go go” for the past ten minutes. It’s starting to piss me off.

– You know what’s strange? Phil never explained the location of the final pit stop. It isn’t explained after they reach the donut shop. I think this is the first and final time that production thought the final pit stop was so boring that there was no point explaining it.
portland mansion

One of many Portland mansions.

portland phil 2

Just Phil? I guess Toni & Dallas weren’t the only team who didn’t care enough to show up and celebrate any of the team’s possible victory.

– Both claim they see the parking area. Ah. Now we see the cheering teams as the taxi slowly pulls into the mansion.

portland nick starr 6

And the predictable finish occurs.

– Starr says they are competitive. And that Nick is her best friend. The applause for the racers may be the weakest applause I have heard since Freddy & Kendra’s TAR 6 win.

– It’s also the shortest winner’s interview. There is literally only six seconds before we see Ken & Tina emerge onto the mat.

portland ken tina 6

Give mom and dad a hug, now.

portland phil 3

Ken finds himself in what is too much of a touching moment. Who knew Phil wanted in on a threesome.

– Cue applause. Even from Kelly & Christy. Phil asks if they re-connected. Ken rambles and rambles. He takes their rings from his pocket. Ken wants to start things over right. Even Phil is crying?!

portland ken 3

I promise you Tina, I’m over those Cholitas.

– But why is Phil crying when he sees this?

portland phil 4

It reminds him of the regret he has had ever since he cheated on his wife with a goat on the neighbour’s farm.

– Ken & Tina eventually make out and do it on the finish line mat.

– The loudest applause by far was for Dan & Andrew. Everybody was chanting “Dandrew”.

portland andrew

Andrew even fails at putting up the correct number of fingers corresponding to his finishing position.

– I must say that Dan & Andrew win the award for the highest fanny pack toss I have ever seen in TAR history. It even goes out of frame for a few seconds.

portland andrew 2

Now that is just incredible height. It may be the most effort Andrew has put into anything all season.

– Phil awards them the 3rd place finish.
portland dandrew 3

Touchy feely day with Phil Keoghan.

PHIL: Did you think you would be one of the Final Three teams racing to the mat?

DAN: No, it’s appropriate that we ended the race in the same way we started it. With an incredible amount of mistakes.

portland dandrew 4

Doesn’t know why they couldn’t get a good taxi driver.

– Kelly & Christy aren’t paying attention to any of this.

portland kelly christy

They’re too busy laughing at Werewolf not being at the finish mat, and that Starr will feel compelled to replace Christy’s sports bra.

– Dan says they raced against two far superior teams. Cabbie finds it to be hilarious. He has a really good laugh over it.

portland cabbie

Helloooo screen cap fad for TAR 14.

DAN: We’re the ambassadors of the college frat guys.

Is there a fraternity for college frat guy ambassadors?

– Dan says rat guys will be proud of “beer guzzling idiots” like them. And on that note all eliminated teams swarm the pit stop. Hugs. More hugs. Starr being boring. Even more hugs. Cheering. Hugs.

portland finish

There we go. All eleven teams present at the finish line.

P.S. No, Dallas and Starr dated for too long after the race. They couldn’t bridge their long distance gap and make that jump to move in together.

CONFESSIONAL COUNT

NICK.STARR 3.5
KEN.TINA 4.4
ANDREW.DAN 1.3

Rank the Teams:

1) Anthony & Stephanie

So awesome. So incredible. So amazing. Anthony inspired all of Brazil to become car mechanics after the opening two rounds. Brazil celebrates Anthomania on an annual basis.

And Stephanie sure loves thinking about her s–ty apartment and finances. Also, she likes putting things in perspective.

2) Mark & Bill

You know how I said at the start of the season that the long-term cast has far less likeability than TAR 12’s high standard?

Well, Mark & Bill’s premature elimination is a big reason why. Just think of all the big stars so far after three episodes. Nick & Starr? Kelly & Christy? Ken & Tina? Terence & Sarah? NONE of them had any fans at the time.

The only other team shown as much as them after three rounds? Mark & Bill. I can tell you that Mark & Bill had ninety percent of the viewership while Nick & Starr picked up the remaining ten percent (primarily the youth flamboyant demographic at the time).

If there was a 39 Day Survivor Challenge for TAR and the category was ‘Most Disappointing Early Exit’, I can safely say that Mark & Bill would be in the top three vote getters. Bilal & Sa’eed and Lena & Kristy would round out a top three if I was evaluating upon the thirteen seasons we have re-watched thus far.

If Jodi Wincheski was on TAR 13 instead of 14, there is no doubt in my mind that she would have brought back Mark & Bill for Unfinished Business.

It’s a shame that Mark & Bill are in high altitude and screw up reading a clue in a round where the whole round played out within three hours of the newspapers being dropped next to Simon Bolivar.

If you can get your hands on their elimination episode, note Phil’s reaction when he eliminates them. It’s one of the few times where Phil adds in his rare ‘sorry to see you go’ on top of eliminating them. When Phil says that it is a good indication of his personal favourites as well as production discreetly liked.

Unfortunately a bad hour of gameplay can send your favourites to the rail.

Much like the elimination of the Gaghan Family in TAR 8, the season takes a sharp change in tone from this point forward. Because Mark & Bill’s “straight edge” attitude is taken away from the equation, it is now a battle of the goofy and incompetent teams against a group of bland sharp racers.

Recalling how bummed out my mother and sister were when Mark & Bill was eliminated is one of the few things I remember from TAR 13 that doesn’t involve marching. And if you were watching TAR 13 at the time, I can guarantee you were bummed out as myself and the other teams were.

It’s too bad Kelly & Christy chose to learn how to read that round.

3) Dan & Andrew

I didn’t expect them to be up this high. But you know what? They were too hilarious to drop lower than three.

I need to give major kudos to a team that has the worst average finish of any team to make it to the Final Three. Their average is 5.28.  They didn’t finish better than fourth until the second-to-last round of the game.

Do you know how hard that is to pull off!

It’s not like the concept of a lead was foreign to them. The running joke of them being number one earlier on in the leg or being at the front of the pack only to have one of them screw up a Roadblock or Detour led to hilarious results.

Dan had zero coordination or grace with the locals.

Andrew was a major tortoise who refused to put enough energy into tasks. Remember the oil handpump? You see Kelly & Christy pump vigorously while Andrew’s slow motion spinning put them in second-to-last instantly.

You knew from them being the only ones to choose the ‘Walk on your knees’ Detour option to climb up the steps that they were going to be prone to unusual errors.

I mean, what other team would ditch their shoes at a Detour thinking there would be enough time in a RACE to backtrack to the start of the Detour to reclaim them. And then proceed to blow their entire budget replacing them.

But a lot of good luck went their way. Several stronger teams would directly help them, or if you are Nick, tell them to not breathe in toxic paint fumes during a task. Heck, the only reason they finished above fourth in a round before Final Three is because one team lost their passport and another team wasted an hour searching for a clue box.

They are not allowed to complain about bad luck after that miracle.

The best way to describe Dan & Andrew is a comedy of errors. A necessary distraction from the “Nick & Starr Spanks Everyone Else’s Butts Every Round” season title. If it weren’t for Dan & Andrew, the second half of this season would be too boring. Each week people speculated on how uncoordinated and unprepared they would be for any given task but  what equally uncharacteristic way they would find to finish out the round.

Reader Ben told me that their greatest success came from asking people for directions while in movement to prevent production from freezing their game to ask for waivers. They were stuck with letting Dan & Andrew keep going.

Okay, they are really this high because of the marching. Oh the marching.

4) Toni & Dallas

A team forever remembered as the first to commit the enormous blunder of losing their passport and all of their money. To this day everybody talks about Toni & Dallas’ mistake that shocked the TAR world.

You could say that they have some “unfinished business” which sadly is unresolved to this day. One of the things he hardcore TAR universe will hate Jodi Wincheski’s casting bias down the road.

So what made Toni & Dallas so special? Well, it was only the second mother-son team in the TAR franchise. Oh, and the first mother-son team to be likable.

Like, what do you expect of a mother-son team who signs up for TAR? Divorced mother with a flamboyant son who spend all of their evenings together watching Entertainment Tonight and every competitive reality show on television on a religious basis since 2000?

Because that is certainly the trend that we will see on TAR before and after Toni & Dallas’ appearance.

But Dallas couldn’t be less flamboyant or less of a reality TV fan. This is a guy who is a true jock, or as Patrick would say, “dumb as a rock”. You know he didn’t pay a second of attention in class but played every sport and chased down every girl during high school.

And Toni? Not even close to being the smothering figure that viewers would joke about when it comes to Susan or Margie. Toni rarely acted like Dallas’ mother. Sure she encouraged him, but she let Dallas be his own man as he let Dallas act on his hormones to hit on Starr or direct where the team should go in a friendly manner.

I wish more teams like Toni & Dallas are cast because they feel like real people who have lives outside of obsessing with Rob & Amber or want to create drama just to snag more airtime.

They were a strong team all season long as they set themselves up to not only be the only long-term allies for Nick & Starr but also the only long-term rivals for Nick & Starr.

Now you can understand why the audience was devastated when Dallas lost the passport and money. The season was viewed as being over and two of the least likable and interesting teams cast this season would be in the final leg of the season.

What is equally devastating to the lost passport and money is that Toni & Dallas weren’t even invited for the next all-star season. Phil Keoghan said “other teams have better stories and are more interesting people”.

Are you f—ing serious? What’s more interesting than the first team who could have won the season but lost it at all at the last moment possible because of the biggest blunder in TAR history? And did he forget Dallas’ relationship with Starr? Oh, and the part that they were an entertaining mother-son team that didn’t annoy us?

What were they thinking!

5) Terence & Sarah

The sequel to Adam & Rebecca played out on TAR 13. Although Terence didn’t go to dramatic extremes like Adam did in terms of wanting to scare Sarah into staying with him.

Terence grew throughout the race. Yes he likes to be babied but he exhibited far more independence than Adam ever did. Terence could, like, you know, do stuff too.

Terence learned that he can’t stop Sarah from talking to other people. In fact he didn’t even hesitate to let Sarah talk to everyone else without ever being mad at her. The only major fault of Terence by the end of the season in terms of his relationship is that he complained excessively.

Oh, and his lack of seeing certain choices having enormous risks is the reason why they were ousted. He thinks the race is about risks but really it is about caution as he went to a restaurant with a local delicacy as he was on the verge of celebrating his sixteenth year as a vegetarian.

Sarah was perfect for television. She was hilarious in almost every single scene. Her voice squeaking, those extraordinarily expressive eyes, her uber competitiveness, putting Terence in his place every now and then, and also the way she had fun with locals and describing other people.

“They wouldn’t even say hi to us!”

“He wasn’t very sympathetic to our condition or how hard we were working!”

What’s even better about this team is how well they did. Nobody thinks of them as being one of the top three most dominant teams of the season, but they were. They managed to finish between second and fifth in virtually every round of the race. A surprisingly consistent team all season long.

And it’s too bad that they got eliminated the way they did because if Terence didn’t choose to risk everything I would imagine him and Sarah coast to the Final Three.

6) Aja & Cabbie

A very nice couple. They probably had the most adorable instances of bickering. One of the few couples that made you laugh and smile when they argued as opposed to annoyed and reaching for the remote like most dating couples.

What’s with long distance couples always being likable?

Anyways, Aja & Cabbie never excelled at any point during the race. They just weren’t the greatest with directions, and weren’t competitive enough when they needed to be. In other words, they typically ran the race in too calm of a fashion.

Not much else to say about them. They were a nice and likeable team that had the chance to take advantage of a great opportunity. I find it amusing that out of any team they happen to be the ones in the middle of the Nick & Starr and Kelly & Christy drama during the third round.

But now they’re gone.

7) Ken & Tina

I will be honest–I had a tough time figuring out where to put Ken & Tina in this ranking. On one hand their edit was relatively tame all season long. It wasn’t as overbearing as I thought it was going to be.

Ken being a former NFL athlete didn’t factor into the edit at all. Remember other NFL racers or even NFL wives who would squeeze in as many NFL metaphors as possible on any given day? Well, Ken was shown making NFL references too. But guess how many?
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One. Ken made one NFL reference all season. He is not like Marcus from TAR 19 where he has a four minute video dedicated to every football reference he mentioned on the race.

It was the sleazy part of a pro athlete’s life that was explored. You’re out of your home almost year round away from your family. A lot of dinners at Hooters. And here is Ken admitting he cheated on Tina. The whole race was about them repairing their marriage which no other team had done up to that point in TAR history. It was intriguing to watch because it did indeed feel real.

What was strange is that they finished 2nd-1st-1st-1st then fell off the face of the Earth. Heck, Dandrew even beat them by half an hour in the tenth round. It’s like that initial competitive spark dwindled throughout the season as they only defeated Nick & Starr once out of the last seven rounds of the game. Their focus on the game was gone as they solely focused on their marriage.

That is great for them, but sadly it can make for less-than-stellar TV.

I do appreciate Tina’s tense attitude in contrast to Ken’s relaxed but firm demeanour. And both of them did have a great sense of humour about things.

I would have given them a bigger and better spot on the ranking, but unfortunately Tina failed at arranging that. So I don’t owe her anything.

Yeah, that was the peak of Tina’s legacy. Intentionally doing favours for teams as she tries to subtly, but really not-so-subtly, insist upon them to help her out down the road. Nobody ever paid back what they apparently owed Tina.

8) Kelly & Christy

I didn’t know whether to put them above Anita & Arthur or below them.

Before blogging this season? Kelly & Christy would have been below Anita & Arthur.

After blogging about them? They are now higher than Anita & Arthur.

Why? Because their negativity, mean spiritedness, and holding the record for misreading clues was absolutely hilarious and a pleasure to blog about.

They just don’t seem to be “with it” in terms of integrating into this cast of characters. This season is full of quirky people. Kelly & Christy aren’t exactly quirky. . .they are mean and gossipy.

I forgot nearly everything about them other than the Teen Wolf incident upon this re-watch. I forgot about sports bra gate. If Kelly & Christy hadn’t accused Starr of pushing their bra off the ledge then teams would be able to mingle with each other at pit stops to this day.

But now the race has become much more anti-social thanks to Kelly & Christy’s  accusations that stem from nothing outside of “We saw Starr near our room”. Who knew such a forgettable incident would have an enormous impact on the rest of the TAR franchise’s history (teams still are segregated at pit stops all the way through TAR 23 that is currently airing).

Their feud with Nick & Starr seemed rather short-lived considering that Nick & Starr plotted to U-Turn them the following round. For whatever reason the second teams hit Cambodia put an end to this conflict in round five. It was mentioned but it just didn’t matter to the other teams that much.

Their ability to misread clues is a huge part of their legacy. Seriously? They managed to combine a hybrid of both Detour options and thought they were taking a four hour penalty when they gave up on it? Forgetting to tell cabs to wait as instructed in clues? Park at the base rather than summit? Doing part of a Detour before grabbing the Detour clue? Misreading that you needed a specific envelope  then follow it up by looking at the wrong numbers?

That is an enormous list.

What probably set them over the edge as an extremely unpopular team in the eyes of the general public is how they made fun of Toni & Dallas. Toni & Dallas were arguably the most popular team from the beginning through to the end of the season. Therefore, making fun of them while whispering ten feet away based on their appearance is a huge no-no.

Oh, and did you know they had awful ex-husbands? I don’t know how this enhanced their character on the show, but somehow it did. It made how they conducted themselves on the race make a bit more sense. I am not saying that they wrongly left their husbands, but their personalities don’t seem to be the type that have any interest in male authority.

Kelly & Christy are surprisingly strong-willed. The only thing they need to work on is be a bit more happy around others, don’t look for drama, do not be so quick to judge people, and learn to read.

In other words, they lived up to the reputation of the bitter middle-aged divorcee stereotype in America. We really haven’t had another team like them in the TAR franchise.

In short, are these two likable? Absolutely not.
But was their grumpy attitude, pointless conflict, faulty logic, and misreading clues entertaining as heck? Absolutely.

9) Anita & Arthur

You know those friends you have who say they are hippies just because they go camping every once in a while and have picky tastes? Expose them to Anita & Arthur if you want to shut them up. Hippies in the truest sense. Their two jobs all occur outdoors in the wilderness. Self-reliant. Old school. Probably have run more than one grow-op in their day.

I must admit they look a lot like my uncle did for several decades. Facial hair and, well, regular hair is the best of anything I have seen in TAR, Survivor, and Big Brother.

Unfortunately they don’t have a personality that would captivate enough of the audience on TV. I remember watching a deleted clip online where they lost their clue for two minutes as they search between the seats and their fanny packs in the taxi. They did it in a calm manner, found the clue, kissed, and moved on.

That’s why it was a deleted clip.

Super nice people and big fans of TAR. I am happy that production cast them. It is probably one of the few non-mactor teams that will be most remembered for their looks.

10) Nick & Starr

Much like Tyler & James, it was tough to not put Nick & Starr this low.

Is Nick the most well-rounded player in TAR history? Yes. He can lie to your face when he is ahead just to guarantee his lead and get away with it. He can team up with others when he feels he could be low in the pack. He can get people to like him. Oh, and he has the ability to read clues multiple times before setting out to complete them. Add in a reasonable amount of physical fitness and willpower to create a near perfect TAR player.

Sadly he was never a great narrator. You may notice that Starr had three times as many confessionals as he did throughout the season. Nick just wasn’t entertaining for a viewer. Also, people just got irritated by the unapologetic way that he lied to others on a weekly basis for personal gain. If this were Survivor, he would have a ton of fans. But in TAR? Viewers don’t appreciate deception as much.

Nick is also a great supporter. He would calm down Starr whenever she was feeling overly anxious or frustrated. Add that to his impressive resume. You can understand why he won seven out of eleven rounds during the season.

As for Starr? I can see why she was cast for TAR. She loves being in control. And what better way to remedy that than to deal with taxi drivers in foreign countries for a month. Her impatience and anxiety would make it impossible for her to race this with anybody other than her brother.

Oh yeah, and that showmance with Dallas? It developed into something real. Not for long. Unlike dating couples Aja & Cabbie and Michael & Kathy who decided to move in together after the race to see if things could work, Starr and Dallas never took that leap.

I thought this cast would be awful overall, but if Nick & Starr aren’t even last, then I guess there was a reasonably good cast put together. Sadly there just wasn’t enough teams that you were actively rooting for all season long.

11) Marisa & Brooke

Natalie White and Brooke. Candy. Funny expressions. Least competitive racers. Only reason they were accepted onto the show is because Joe Keoghan was a casting director for this season.

This is the drawback to casting a team without any life experience. Neither of them demonstrated any abilities or attributes that could tell producers that they could be competitive on the race.

Sure enough this oversight by producers led to a 10th-9th-4th-8th run for this team. It’s not their fault. I would go on a trip around the world for four rounds even if I knew I had zero skills. Production clearly wanted “two blondes” to be put on the race. They were a less flirtatious version of Danielle & Dani from TAR 9.

If Marisa or Brooke dated Nick or Dallas, they could be the next TAR All Star winner by Danielle’s criteria.

Rank the Legs:

1) La Paz, Bolivia -> Tauranga, New Zealand

This was by far the greatest designed round from the first four episodes of the season. It wasn’t a five hour day once you entered the country like the first three rounds.

Teams started before dawn and didn’t finish until just before or just after dusk.

That made the round a big grind. Dandrew, Starr, Aja & Cabbie, and Marisa & Brooke all suffered from the attrition of the round. Heck, Starr was hysterical by the time she hit the pit stop with what she thought was a broken arm.

This was easily the toughest gnome finding task of the season. Teams appeared to take several minutes before spotting a gnome several blocks away. Remembering its location and figuring out how to get there once you left the rooftop seems much more difficult than simply searching for it in a hole or around a Lithuanian house.

The roadblock irked me because it took no longer than a minute total. Too bad Amanda & Chris weren’t around to take forty minutes.  The only thing to make up for the task’s easy difficulty is that the Maori warriors intentionally messed with the minds of contestants.

I loved how Starr had to pay the price for what she did in the previous round and once again couldn’t get Kelly & Christy off their back. What’s even funnier is that Nick pretended to help them when really he wanted them to suffer. Then Kelly & Christy end up demolishing the task to make Nick’s diabolical plan blow up in his face.

Given that Detour tasks have seemed really easy thus far, it is no wonder why so many teams switched out from the kiwi crushing to the Blow Kart racing. I think Blow Kart racing was neat because I never knew vehicles like that existed in the first place. New Zealand is truly the capital of adventure sports.

Also, I enjoyed the task of undoing the Gordian Knot. No idea why it had to be done in New Zealand specifically but it was neat regardless.

And lol @ Kelly & Christy running up the entire summit for no reason.

All in all it was a fun round. Sadly the last fifteen minutes of airtime plays out really rushed when you watch it. You’ll notice the choppy commentary in my episode blog for this round but that is because we switched scenes every four seconds. No joke.

Plus. . .PHIL’S DAD!!!!!

2) Moscow, Russia -> Two blocks down the street in Moscow, Russia

Moscow for the second round in a row was actually much more challenging than Moscow in the previous round.

Last round had an easy march (unless your name is Dan) and a repetitive flour transport task which made taxis the only relevant part of the round.

But this round? Riddles and focus was a huge component. The Roadblock was awesome as teams had to count statue heads of Stalin and Lenin to come up with a two-digit number to tell a shop keeper to receive a book where they must look at that page number in the book for the name of their next destination.

Seriously, that’s a freakin brilliant idea for somebody in production to create. That person needs to be in charge of creating tasks more often.

And the Detour proved to be a confusing mess as teams had to navigate the public transit system for a couple of hours as all of the directions would have been in Cyrillic. The only team to dominate the task was Nick & Starr because Nick mastered public transit as a New Yorker.

So the tasks were great. The trip into the submarine at the beginning was neat.

But what made this episode really memorable was the fact that Dan completed a dancing task as him and Andrew not only finished fourth or third, but finished in second. They improved twice as much upon their best finish all season. Ken & Tina and Toni & Dallas’ devastation as they saw Dan & Andrew ahead of them was truly hilarious.

Oh, and Dallas being the first player ever to lose his passport in all thirteen seasons as well as losing all of his money. Casual fans will remember nothing about this round because of how much Dallas’ error overshadowed the rest of the episode’s brillians.

3) Taurangua, New Zealand -> Siem Reap, Cambodia

I enjoyed it.
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Okay. Going to a new country is always a ton of fun.  You get to visit the most memorable and most unique places in that country when it makes its TAR debut. The floating island community is to this day recognized as one of the most intriguing places visited in TAR.

Oh, and freakin’ Angkor Wat. A modern wonder of the world for the past millennium. It’s right up there with TAR’s visit to The Sphinx. Actually, no. Sphinx and Pyramids were much more awesome.

Anyways, some of the tasks seemed to go by too quickly. The handpump task was just way too easy. . .unless you’re Dandrew.

It was one of those “will our boat break down or not?” leg designs. Luckily the teams weren’t bunched up. Seeing a team go home because a boat broke down seems dumber than a bad taxi because boat travel is a rarer form of transportation in TAR, and there is nothing you can do about faulty boats because you’re not even the one driving it.

Also, the diesel trucks traveling in an ultra linear fashion was also a matter of luck. You had to hope your driver wasn’t slow enough to be passed by other teams as they all traveled in a convoy to the harbour.

No equalizers! I love a round without equalizers. Even if it tragically comes at the expense of Aja & Cabbie.

Plus Kelly & Christy and Dandrew’s fight over “Who could make dumber errors” was a fun storyline that played out this round. Yet somehow neither were eliminated. Aja & Cabbie must have been hours and hours behind but yet it was still daylight. Seeing how teams landed by 705am, the round probably didn’t take more than seven hours total. That isn’t a whole lot.

4) Delhi, India -> Almaty, Kazakhstan

Heading into this re-watch I forgot everything about this round except for the Fast Forward blunder and the cow Detour.

And it’s not surprising because it occupies ninety percent of the episode. There wasn’t a single memorable landmark visited in Kazakhstan this round. In fact, can you think of a single memorable Kazakhstan landmark at all?

No, you can’t. That’s why TAR needed to find the strangest places possible to use for tasks.

Cow costumes, eating sheep’s butt, and hunting for golden eggs all contributed to a strange mixture of animal tasks for the round.

Also, the round can be forgettable if you’re not a Nick & Starr fan. Seeing them win a fourth consecutive round with ease probably doesn’t settle well with you. However, there was a bright spot as Toni & Dallas emerge simultaneously as allies and worthy opponents. But still. You hated they got the record, didn’t you?

Did Dandrew ever pick up their shoes? It’s left in the air as a cliff hanger. We saw how hopeless of a team they were as they finish next-to-last for an equally impressive streak compared to Nick & Starr at this point.

Lastly, Borat. This leg would not happen if it weren’t for the movie Borat. Editors included numerous obvious and subtle references to the controversial but ridiculously popular documentary throughout the season. The round would seem awfully lame if you knew nothing about Borat.

5) Salvador, Brazil -> Fortaleza, Brazil

Funniest round of TAR in a long time. Everyone delivered.

a) Tina’s sense of entitlement and telling everybody and their mother that they single-handedly increased the size of the plane even though it was really because Kevin Smith was on board

b) Terence being such a mixed bag of right and wrong and crybabyitis. This leg was all about Terence & Sarah from start to finish. He is simultaneously hated and loved by every team.

c) Kelly & Christy continue their quest of inspiring everyone on this season to make horribly dumb decisions. Oh, and did you know they are divorced?

d) Nick & Starr play such an antisocial game because Nick’s sphere of caring does not lie outside of Ken, Tina, and Starr. Also, forcing Starr to kiss seamen is downright amusing.

e) Anthomania. Anthony’s obsession with failed cars.

f) Marisa & Brooke pretty much acting like twelve year olds as they run through the race. I mean, handing out candy and squealing whenever they saw nudity on the beach.

g) The Detour was fairly creative. Even if one of the options was a mirror of a Detour from eight seasons earlier.

The only issue I had was the lacklustre roadblock. But seriously, the huge errors and personality quirks that the teams suffered from makes this an incredible episode from start to finish.

6) Delhi, India -> Two blocks down the street in Delhi, India

This round is well-constructed for being its own round, but is super forgettable.

It was ANOTHER India leg. The franchise’s tenth or eleventh in thirteen seasons. Not only that but it was ANOTHER Delhi leg. Two Delhi legs in a row.

Teams either traveled on foot or by taxi. No trains, planes, buses, boats, or ferries. The least amount of transportation required in TAR history.

No round before had relied only on taxis. Sadly this was only the beginning of the franchise’s budget cuts where rounds would be doubled up in the same city.

The Holi Festival was great because I hadn’t seen anything like it in TAR. Dozens of men throwing dye and water in everyone’s face, regardless if you were participating or not, was downright hilarious.

Kelly running twenty of twenty-one feet to the ladder only to run twenty feet back multiple times provided endless entertainment. Or Terence shoving civilians onto the ground? Then producing mucus for Sarah and the viewers after the task? Hilarious.

The Holy Water Speed Bump was pretty good because it was relevant to the everyday life of people I wouldn’t normally think about. Passing out Holy Water on a daily basis is a foreign concept to me.

The Detour seemed to take a total of fifteen to twenty minutes unless your names are Kelly & Christy or Dandrew. Searching number tags is a task you would expect after thirteen seasons while crushing peppers looked much more interesting.

Crushing peppers should have been a roadblock, now that I think about it. But then we would miss Kelly looking like a squirrel avoiding the crosshairs of a bow and arrow.

Ken & Tina catching up and securing fourth is how it should have been at this point in the season. It proves that bad taxis are pretty much the only reason why Kelly & Christy and Dandrew both beat them in the previous round.

Oh, and Nick & Starr winning a third leg in a row. . .eh.

7) Siem Reap, Cambodia -> Delhi, India

This round drops to #4 solely because of how many times TAR has visited India. In fact, they did multiple tasks in Delhi back in the inaugural TAR season. This would mark the tenth pit stop in India. Ten pit stops in thirteen seasons is ridiculous.

But the round itself was designed well. Ironing clothes and putting together a necklace full of rupees were two creative ideas. Spraypainting and newspapering an auto rickshaw was great too.

Plus the confusing streets were so confusing that most taxi drivers couldn’t handle driving around the nation’s capital. I bet there are places in India that you don’t visit as a taxi driver for several years because of the enormous population and side streets.

The culture shock of India is repetitive by this point in the TAR franchise, but it is always neat to see a clip of teams freaking out or potentially shutting down. These six teams handled themselves well.

One of two non-eliminations being used this round was a surprise for viewers. But what was an even bigger surprise is that Dan & Andrew weren’t the ones that finished in last place.

8) Los Angeles/Where else? -> Salvador, Brazil

The least memorable tasks in a premiere ever? I forgot about baristas, churches, military base, boats, and the descent.

Heck, the only memorable task before I watched this episode was Dandrew crawling up the steps, but that’s because Dandrew can make anything they do memorable. Even if they eat a bowl of Cheerios they would be more interesting than any other team doing anything except Anthony & Stephanie.

But seriously, Dandrew isn’t the only redeeming factor to balance out the uninspired and rehashed tasks this task. There was a lot of hilarious moments of foreshadowing and character interactions that are downright entertaining. In fact. that essentially takes over the episode.

Perhaps the reason why the competition aspect doesn’t engage us is because all eleven teams check in within a space of about eight minutes.  It was far too chaotic for the viewer to follow. That’s what happens when the pit stop is barely a minute away from the end of the Detour. If I was an editor I’d have a tough time making it cohesive on screen.

Get used to appreciating the characters while they last. Anita & Arthur are a fitting first team to be eliminated and made enough of a contribution to the series.

Lastly, this episode receives a major positive boost because Anthony & Stephanie survived, and frankly back when this season originally aired in 2008, that is what we all only cared about.

9) Fortaleza, Brazil -> La Paz, Bolivia

(The round was too short. Seriously. We needed ten minutes spent on Sports Bra Gate. At the time it seemed relatively minor, but in the grand scheme of things we never knew it would forever change the series. After this season teams would no longer be able to mingle with each other at the pit stop.

It’s funny because Christy could have slammed a door too hard, or the wind could have picked up to blow away the sports bra. If Starr really did it, she should have her house egged for making pit stops seem extremely bland for these past five years and making teams estranged from one another.

Newspaper reading wasn’t original given that we saw it as a task just six episodes ago.

The Musical Marching seemed rather bland for a Detour option. I hated that the speed of the musicians was not a fixed speed and differed from crew to crew. They should have been forced to keep up with the speed of the teams.

I can see why Phil Keoghan and Bertram both hyped up the fast wooden bikes. That looked like by far one of the most dangerous tasks in TAR history. I was expecting a team to get med evac’d. Christy is very lucky to escape with a few scratches and bruises.

I am curious how much more exhausted Mark & Bill would have been if they stayed in the high altitude longer. Despite being given a drink to deal with the altitude, teams really had a tough time with being focused or handling the physical tasks.

The roadblock was neat. It is one of the few times where judging was objective. You either fit the criteria or you didn’t. The funny capes and costumes must have been a hoot to wear.

It is too bad that the round ended on a bummer of a note as Mark & Bill check in seventh but a time penalty allowed Fan Least Favourites Kelly & Christy to pass them.

Oh, and did we mention this is the round where Nick continues his quest to be the first edited sociopath in the history of TAR? Prepare to watch TAR’s equivalent to Lord Heidik continue to go through the race.

P.S. lol. Nobody used the U-Turn despite all of the hatred being present.)

10) Almaty, Kazakhstan -> Moscow, Russia

Yeah, there wasn’t much hesitation to put this episode at the bottom. If there was ever a bridge episode in a season of TAR, this would be it.

Moscow is nothing new for the TAR universe, and none of the locations wowed the viewer.

This round is hampered by the fact that ninety percent of people expected this to be a non-elimination leg, and thus you never felt like even if Nick & Starr came in last that they were truly vulnerable. It took too much of the excitement away from Toni & Dallas’ victory and break Nick & Starr’s huge four round streak.

I honestly forget about the Roadblock because it seemed to be a straightforward but not lethal ‘caveman’ Roadblock. Both Detour options seemed rather easy for three of the four teams.

The only reason this episode ranks as ‘good’ is because of Dan & Andrew. Starting the round with less clothes than the previous leg for the first time since the TAR 7-9 non-elimination penalty where Phil took all of your possessions, helped make Dan & Andrew’s race journey even more laughable.

Then there’s the fact they spent 160 bucks on shoes.

Then there’s the fact they gave up every dollar they had and sat on the side of the road until the taxi driver took the money and walked away.

Oh, and the marching. Dan’s experimentation with the military march is immortalized. Besides Tara & Wil’s last minute TAR 2 defeat, my brother’s girlfriend always brings up Dan’s marching.

Next round may have the almighty passport blunder to make TAR 13 memorable, but this round helps immortalize TAR 13 as a goofy season because of Dan’s marching alone.

Imagine if Dan had to do the line dancing Roadblock from TAR Canada? He would be taking the four hour penalty almost immediately.

Surprisingly, this round will not finish dead last in the rankings. That will belong to the final episode.

11) Moscow, Russia -> Portland, Oregon, USA

If only Dan & Andrew and Nick & Starr switched taxi drivers.

Portland is easily the most boring American city to be visited in a TAR season premiere or season finale. This round proved that Oregon is one of the top five most boring states in the country.

The only way this round would be higher in the rankings is if Nick & Starr lost after winning five of the past six rounds. Instead they have a quick and uneventful victory that saw Dandrew finish several hours behind because of taxi issues that were out of their control, and Ken & Tina finished about twenty minutes behind.

It may have been a more exciting finale if all three teams were competitive against each other for the whole season, but Nick & Starr were such heavy favourites that the only thing that could surprise us is if they lost.

The final major task suffered a huge setback from the brilliance of the final task we witnessed last season in TAR 12. This one was far less epic and saw no change in terms of the leaderboard in what is supposed to be nail-biter. And why wasn’t it at least a Roadblock? The task is so much easier when two people can work together.

The green dinosaur was random. That’s really the biggest landmark in Portland?

 Dan & Andrew being screwed over two seconds into the finale by the worst American taxi driver in TAR history was painful.

And if the memory task wasn’t a Roadblock, why couldn’t they make the Voodonut task the Roadblock? Make them eat a dozen donuts in one sitting. Seeing them just go outside to open a clue really made the place serve no purpose. They should have made them test their willpower by eating an excessive number of voodoonuts. Freddy could even coach them in the process.

freddy gino 1

You love these Voodoonuts. It will be the best Voodoonuts you ever have. You will never have a better voodoonut.

And you know what else? How come we weren’t told where the finish line was? Did it just merely give an address and say go to ‘Field X’. I think 90s rock videos have made more distinct music videos than the final pit stop mat for TAR 13.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittock_Mansion

Doesn’t that look like a really interesting place to you? How come production wasn’t allowed to show it on TV at all? This is the first and last time that production edits out the name of the finish line completely. No idea why, but they did. Such a sloppy error to make.

I will go on record to say it is the least memorable finale episode of all time. A virtual tie with TAR 10. Heading into it I could recall nothing in terms of what the teams would do other than the flying fox in the middle of the field, scaling trees, and something involving a dam.

I often criticized TAR 10 for being a super unmemorable finale, but at least I remembered that Lyn & Karlyn got screwed by a major flight, and that Tyler & James knew New York City beforehand in order to enter the winner’s circle ahead of Rob & Kim. But the France part of the finale slipped my memory, so I think that is enough to make it land in a tie with TAR 13.

And I believe I ranked the TAR 10 finale really low as well.

Team Averages

Bulls—
Bilal & Sa’eed N/A
— F minus–
12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th Anita & Arthur 11.0
11th Ari & Staella 11.0
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 Anthony & Stephanie 9.5 (Why them?????)
10th Megan & Heidi 9.5 (Wow. They sucked.)
10th Kate & Pat 9.0
9th David & Mary All Stars 9.0
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0
10th Meredith & Maria 9.0
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF
9th Marianna & Julia 8.33
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 – Yielded
8th Marisa & Brooke 7.75 – Sucked.
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33
8th Aiello Family 7.0
–D minus–
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 Aja & Cabbie 6.2
7th Paul & Amie 6.2
8th Steve & Dave 6.2 FF
6th David &Mary 6.13 FF
–D+–
10th Ernie & Jeena 6.0
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
7th Shana & Jennifer 5.8 Used U-Turn
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
8th Sahil & Prashant 5.4 FF
–C minus–
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
8th Lorena & Jason 5.25 U-Turned
3rd Andrew & Dan 5.18
7th Silver & Gold 5.17
6th Kelly & Christy 5.14
7th Ray & Deana – 5.0 FF
7th Melody & Sharon 5.0
9th Steve & Josh 5.0 – FF
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF
9th Mark & Bill 5.0 – Wah.
5th Fran & Barry 4.89
6th Howard & Sahran 4.88
–C + —
3rd Lyn & Karlyn 4.85 – Yielded
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF
7th Teri & Ian All Stars 4.83
7th Schroeder Family 4.75
6th Lake & Michelle 4.71 – Used Yield
6th Brian & Greg 4.71
5th Erwin & Godwin 4.70
3rd Adam & Rebecca 4.69 FF and Used Yield and Yielded
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
–B minus–
3rd Ray & Yolanda 4.23
3rd Nicolas & Donald 4.18 FF and U-Turned
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 and Used Yield
5th Lynn & Alex 4.11
5th Andy & Laura 4.00 – Yielded
3rd David & Jeff 4.00 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF
5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF
2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85
1st Zabrina & Joe Jer 3.77
2nd Sandy & Francesca 3.77 – Used Yield
4th Jon & Al 3.73
6th Charla & Mirna 3.71
–B+–
3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF
5th Millie & Chuck 3.67 FF
5th Kynt & Vyxsin 3.63 Used Yield
1st Eric & Danielle All Stars 3.62 – Yielded Twice
4th Mardy & Marsio 3.58 FF
6th Jonathan & Victoria 3.56
4th Joseph & Monica 3.50 – Yielded
3rd Andrew & Syeon 3.46
1st Freddy & Kendra 3.46 – Used Yield and Yielded
2nd Ronald & Christina 3.45
4th Nathan & Jennifer 3.40 – Never finished in 1st
1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF
1st Chip & Kim 3.38 – Used Yield
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF
3rd Brandon & Nicole 3.31
5th Terence & Sarah 3.25
1st TK & Rachel 3.18
4th Godlewski Family 3.18
4th Dustin & Kandice 3.17 – Used Yield
–A minus–
7th Peter & Sarah 3.17
9th Aubrey & Jacqueline 3.17
3rd Weaver Family 3.15 – Yielded Twice
1st Reichen & DK 3.15 – FF
1st Uchenna & Joyce 3.15 FF
4thToni & Dallas 3.10 Still in Russia
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF
2nd Rob & Kim 3.08 – FF
3rd Ron & Kelly 3.00 – Yielded
6th Azaria & Hendekea 3.00
4th Hayden & Aaron 2.92
2nd Dustin & Kandice All Stars 2.92 – Used Yield
2nd Bransen Family 2.85
1st Linz Family 2.77 – Used Yield
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF
–BEST OF THE BEST–
8th Rob & Amber All Stars 2.75 – Used Yield
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny All Stars 2.67 FF x2 and Used Yield
2nd Ken & Tina 2.64 FF
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – FF and Yielded
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF
1st BJ & Tyler – 2.46 FF and Used Yield
1st Nick & Starr 2.45 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

* 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.

***

Okay, I’ll do a serious Ranking of the Teams.

Rank the Teams:

1) Mark & Bill

You know how I said at the start of the season that the long-term cast has far less likeability than TAR 12’s high standard?

Well, Mark & Bill’s premature elimination is a big reason why. Just think of all the big stars so far after three episodes. Nick & Starr? Kelly & Christy? Ken & Tina? Terence & Sarah? NONE of them had any fans at the time.

The only other team shown as much as them after three rounds? Mark & Bill. I can tell you that Mark & Bill had ninety percent of the viewership while Nick & Starr picked up the remaining ten percent (primarily the youth flamboyant demographic at the time).

If there was a 39 Day Survivor Challenge for TAR and the category was ‘Most Disappointing Early Exit’, I can safely say that Mark & Bill would be in the top three vote getters. Bilal & Sa’eed and Lena & Kristy would round out a top three if I was evaluating upon the thirteen seasons we have re-watched thus far.

If Jodi Wincheski was on TAR 13 instead of 14, there is no doubt in my mind that she would have brought back Mark & Bill for Unfinished Business.

It’s a shame that Mark & Bill are in high altitude and screw up reading a clue in a round where the whole round played out within three hours of the newspapers being dropped next to Simon Bolivar.

If you can get your hands on their elimination episode, note Phil’s reaction when he eliminates them. It’s one of the few times where Phil adds in his rare ‘sorry to see you go’ on top of eliminating them. When Phil says that it is a good indication of his personal favourites as well as production discreetly liked.

Unfortunately a bad hour of gameplay can send your favourites to the rail.

Much like the elimination of the Gaghan Family in TAR 8, the season takes a sharp change in tone from this point forward. Because Mark & Bill’s “straight edge” attitude is taken away from the equation, it is now a battle of the goofy and incompetent teams against a group of bland sharp racers.

Recalling how bummed out my mother and sister were when Mark & Bill was eliminated is one of the few things I remember from TAR 13 that doesn’t involve marching. And if you were watching TAR 13 at the time, I can guarantee you were bummed out as myself and the other teams were.

It’s too bad Kelly & Christy chose to learn how to read that round.

2) Dan & Andrew

I didn’t expect them to be up this high. But you know what? They were too hilarious to drop lower than three.

I need to give major kudos to a team that has the worst average finish of any team to make it to the Final Three. Their average is 5.28.  They didn’t finish better than fourth until the second-to-last round of the game.

Do you know how hard that is to pull off!

It’s not like the concept of a lead was foreign to them. The running joke of them being number one earlier on in the leg or being at the front of the pack only to have one of them screw up a Roadblock or Detour led to hilarious results.

Dan had zero coordination or grace with the locals.

Andrew was a major tortoise who refused to put enough energy into tasks. Remember the oil handpump? You see Kelly & Christy pump vigorously while Andrew’s slow motion spinning put them in second-to-last instantly.

You knew from them being the only ones to choose the ‘Walk on your knees’ Detour option to climb up the steps that they were going to be prone to unusual errors.

I mean, what other team would ditch their shoes at a Detour thinking there would be enough time in a RACE to backtrack to the start of the Detour to reclaim them. And then proceed to blow their entire budget replacing them.

But a lot of good luck went their way. Several stronger teams would directly help them, or if you are Nick, tell them to not breathe in toxic paint fumes during a task. Heck, the only reason they finished above fourth in a round before Final Three is because one team lost their passport and another team wasted an hour searching for a clue box.

They are not allowed to complain about bad luck after that miracle.

The best way to describe Dan & Andrew is a comedy of errors. A necessary distraction from the “Nick & Starr Spanks Everyone Else’s Butts Every Round” season title. If it weren’t for Dan & Andrew, the second half of this season would be too boring. Each week people speculated on how uncoordinated and unprepared they would be for any given task but  what equally uncharacteristic way they would find to finish out the round.

Reader Ben told me that their greatest success came from asking people for directions while in movement to prevent production from freezing their game to ask for waivers. They were stuck with letting Dan & Andrew keep going.

Okay, they are really this high because of the marching. Oh the marching.

3) Toni & Dallas

A team forever remembered as the first to commit the enormous blunder of losing their passport and all of their money. To this day everybody talks about Toni & Dallas’ mistake that shocked the TAR world.

You could say that they have some “unfinished business” which sadly is unresolved to this day. One of the things he hardcore TAR universe will hate Jodi Wincheski’s casting bias down the road.

So what made Toni & Dallas so special? Well, it was only the second mother-son team in the TAR franchise. Oh, and the first mother-son team to be likable.

Like, what do you expect of a mother-son team who signs up for TAR? Divorced mother with a flamboyant son who spend all of their evenings together watching Entertainment Tonight and every competitive reality show on television on a religious basis since 2000?

Because that is certainly the trend that we will see on TAR before and after Toni & Dallas’ appearance.

But Dallas couldn’t be less flamboyant or less of a reality TV fan. This is a guy who is a true jock, or as Patrick would say, “dumb as a rock”. You know he didn’t pay a second of attention in class but played every sport and chased down every girl during high school.

And Toni? Not even close to being the smothering figure that viewers would joke about when it comes to Susan or Margie. Toni rarely acted like Dallas’ mother. Sure she encouraged him, but she let Dallas be his own man as he let Dallas act on his hormones to hit on Starr or direct where the team should go in a friendly manner.

I wish more teams like Toni & Dallas are cast because they feel like real people who have lives outside of obsessing with Rob & Amber or want to create drama just to snag more airtime.

They were a strong team all season long as they set themselves up to not only be the only long-term allies for Nick & Starr but also the only long-term rivals for Nick & Starr.

Now you can understand why the audience was devastated when Dallas lost the passport and money. The season was viewed as being over and two of the least likable and interesting teams cast this season would be in the final leg of the season.

What is equally devastating to the lost passport and money is that Toni & Dallas weren’t even invited for the next all-star season. Phil Keoghan said “other teams have better stories and are more interesting people”.

Are you f—ing serious? What’s more interesting than the first team who could have won the season but lost it at all at the last moment possible because of the biggest blunder in TAR history? And did he forget Dallas’ relationship with Starr? Oh, and the part that they were an entertaining mother-son team that didn’t annoy us?

What were they thinking!

4) Terence & Sarah

The sequel to Adam & Rebecca played out on TAR 13. Although Terence didn’t go to dramatic extremes like Adam did in terms of wanting to scare Sarah into staying with him.

Terence grew throughout the race. Yes he likes to be babied but he exhibited far more independence than Adam ever did. Terence could, like, you know, do stuff too.

Terence learned that he can’t stop Sarah from talking to other people. In fact he didn’t even hesitate to let Sarah talk to everyone else without ever being mad at her. The only major fault of Terence by the end of the season in terms of his relationship is that he complained excessively.

Oh, and his lack of seeing certain choices having enormous risks is the reason why they were ousted. He thinks the race is about risks but really it is about caution as he went to a restaurant with a local delicacy as he was on the verge of celebrating his sixteenth year as a vegetarian.

Sarah was perfect for television. She was hilarious in almost every single scene. Her voice squeaking, those extraordinarily expressive eyes, her uber competitiveness, putting Terence in his place every now and then, and also the way she had fun with locals and describing other people.

“They wouldn’t even say hi to us!”

“He wasn’t very sympathetic to our condition or how hard we were working!”

What’s even better about this team is how well they did. Nobody thinks of them as being one of the top three most dominant teams of the season, but they were. They managed to finish between second and fifth in virtually every round of the race. A surprisingly consistent team all season long.

And it’s too bad that they got eliminated the way they did because if Terence didn’t choose to risk everything I would imagine him and Sarah coast to the Final Three.

5) Aja & Cabbie

A very nice couple. They probably had the most adorable instances of bickering. One of the few couples that made you laugh and smile when they argued as opposed to annoyed and reaching for the remote like most dating couples.

What’s with long distance couples always being likable?

Anyways, Aja & Cabbie never excelled at any point during the race. They just weren’t the greatest with directions, and weren’t competitive enough when they needed to be. In other words, they typically ran the race in too calm of a fashion.

Not much else to say about them. They were a nice and likeable team that had the chance to take advantage of a great opportunity. I find it amusing that out of any team they happen to be the ones in the middle of the Nick & Starr and Kelly & Christy drama during the third round.

But now they’re gone.

6) Ken & Tina

I will be honest–I had a tough time figuring out where to put Ken & Tina in this ranking. On one hand their edit was relatively tame all season long. It wasn’t as overbearing as I thought it was going to be.

Ken being a former NFL athlete didn’t factor into the edit at all. Remember other NFL racers or even NFL wives who would squeeze in as many NFL metaphors as possible on any given day? Well, Ken was shown making NFL references too. But guess how many?
.
.
.
.
One. Ken made one NFL reference all season. He is not like Marcus from TAR 19 where he has a four minute video dedicated to every football reference he mentioned on the race.

It was the sleazy part of a pro athlete’s life that was explored. You’re out of your home almost year round away from your family. A lot of dinners at Hooters. And here is Ken admitting he cheated on Tina. The whole race was about them repairing their marriage which no other team had done up to that point in TAR history. It was intriguing to watch because it did indeed feel real.

What was strange is that they finished 2nd-1st-1st-1st then fell off the face of the Earth. Heck, Dandrew even beat them by half an hour in the tenth round. It’s like that initial competitive spark dwindled throughout the season as they only defeated Nick & Starr once out of the last seven rounds of the game. Their focus on the game was gone as they solely focused on their marriage.

That is great for them, but sadly it can make for less-than-stellar TV.

I do appreciate Tina’s tense attitude in contrast to Ken’s relaxed but firm demeanour. And both of them did have a great sense of humour about things.

I would have given them a bigger and better spot on the ranking, but unfortunately Tina failed at arranging that. So I don’t owe her anything.

Yeah, that was the peak of Tina’s legacy. Intentionally doing favours for teams as she tries to subtly, but really not-so-subtly, insist upon them to help her out down the road. Nobody ever paid back what they apparently owed Tina.

7) Kelly & Christy

I didn’t know whether to put them above Anita & Arthur or below them.

Before blogging this season? Kelly & Christy would have been below Anita & Arthur.

After blogging about them? They are now higher than Anita & Arthur.

Why? Because their negativity, mean spiritedness, and holding the record for misreading clues was absolutely hilarious and a pleasure to blog about.

They just don’t seem to be “with it” in terms of integrating into this cast of characters. This season is full of quirky people. Kelly & Christy aren’t exactly quirky. . .they are mean and gossipy.

I forgot nearly everything about them other than the Teen Wolf incident upon this re-watch. I forgot about sports bra gate. If Kelly & Christy hadn’t accused Starr of pushing their bra off the ledge then teams would be able to mingle with each other at pit stops to this day.

But now the race has become much more anti-social thanks to Kelly & Christy’s  accusations that stem from nothing outside of “We saw Starr near our room”. Who knew such a forgettable incident would have an enormous impact on the rest of the TAR franchise’s history (teams still are segregated at pit stops all the way through TAR 23 that is currently airing).

Their feud with Nick & Starr seemed rather short-lived considering that Nick & Starr plotted to U-Turn them the following round. For whatever reason the second teams hit Cambodia put an end to this conflict in round five. It was mentioned but it just didn’t matter to the other teams that much.

Their ability to misread clues is a huge part of their legacy. Seriously? They managed to combine a hybrid of both Detour options and thought they were taking a four hour penalty when they gave up on it? Forgetting to tell cabs to wait as instructed in clues? Park at the base rather than summit? Doing part of a Detour before grabbing the Detour clue? Misreading that you needed a specific envelope  then follow it up by looking at the wrong numbers?

That is an enormous list.

What probably set them over the edge as an extremely unpopular team in the eyes of the general public is how they made fun of Toni & Dallas. Toni & Dallas were arguably the most popular team from the beginning through to the end of the season. Therefore, making fun of them while whispering ten feet away based on their appearance is a huge no-no.

Oh, and did you know they had awful ex-husbands? I don’t know how this enhanced their character on the show, but somehow it did. It made how they conducted themselves on the race make a bit more sense. I am not saying that they wrongly left their husbands, but their personalities don’t seem to be the type that have any interest in male authority.

Kelly & Christy are surprisingly strong-willed. The only thing they need to work on is be a bit more happy around others, don’t look for drama, do not be so quick to judge people, and learn to read.

In other words, they lived up to the reputation of the bitter middle-aged divorcee stereotype in America. We really haven’t had another team like them in the TAR franchise.

In short, are these two likable? Absolutely not.
But was their grumpy attitude, pointless conflict, faulty logic, and misreading clues entertaining as heck? Absolutely.

8) Anita & Arthur

You know those friends you have who say they are hippies just because they go camping every once in a while and have picky tastes? Expose them to Anita & Arthur if you want to shut them up. Hippies in the truest sense. Their two jobs all occur outdoors in the wilderness. Self-reliant. Old school. Probably have run more than one grow-op in their day.

I must admit they look a lot like my uncle did for several decades. Facial hair and, well, regular hair is the best of anything I have seen in TAR, Survivor, and Big Brother.

Unfortunately they don’t have a personality that would captivate enough of the audience on TV. I remember watching a deleted clip online where they lost their clue for two minutes as they search between the seats and their fanny packs in the taxi. They did it in a calm manner, found the clue, kissed, and moved on.

That’s why it was a deleted clip.

Super nice people and big fans of TAR. I am happy that production cast them. It is probably one of the few non-mactor teams that will be most remembered for their looks.

9) Nick & Starr

Much like Tyler & James, it was tough to not put Nick & Starr this low.

Is Nick the most well-rounded player in TAR history? Yes. He can lie to your face when he is ahead just to guarantee his lead and get away with it. He can team up with others when he feels he could be low in the pack. He can get people to like him. Oh, and he has the ability to read clues multiple times before setting out to complete them. Add in a reasonable amount of physical fitness and willpower to create a near perfect TAR player.

Sadly he was never a great narrator. You may notice that Starr had three times as many confessionals as he did throughout the season. Nick just wasn’t entertaining for a viewer. Also, people just got irritated by the unapologetic way that he lied to others on a weekly basis for personal gain. If this were Survivor, he would have a ton of fans. But in TAR? Viewers don’t appreciate deception as much.

Nick is also a great supporter. He would calm down Starr whenever she was feeling overly anxious or frustrated. Add that to his impressive resume. You can understand why he won seven out of eleven rounds during the season.

As for Starr? I can see why she was cast for TAR. She loves being in control. And what better way to remedy that than to deal with taxi drivers in foreign countries for a month. Her impatience and anxiety would make it impossible for her to race this with anybody other than her brother.

Oh yeah, and that showmance with Dallas? It developed into something real. Not for long. Unlike dating couples Aja & Cabbie and Michael & Kathy who decided to move in together after the race to see if things could work, Starr and Dallas never took that leap.

I thought this cast would be awful overall, but if Nick & Starr aren’t even last, then I guess there was a reasonably good cast put together. Sadly there just wasn’t enough teams that you were actively rooting for all season long.

10) Marisa & Brooke

Natalie White and Brooke. Candy. Funny expressions. Least competitive racers. Only reason they were accepted onto the show is because Joe Keoghan was a casting director for this season.

This is the drawback to casting a team without any life experience. Neither of them demonstrated any abilities or attributes that could tell producers that they could be competitive on the race.

Sure enough this oversight by producers led to a 10th-9th-4th-8th run for this team. It’s not their fault. I would go on a trip around the world for four rounds even if I knew I had zero skills. Production clearly wanted “two blondes” to be put on the race. They were a less flirtatious version of Danielle & Dani from TAR 9.

If Marisa or Brooke dated Nick or Dallas, they could be the next TAR All Star winner by Danielle’s criteria.

11) Anthony & Stephanie

PRODUCER #1: We need a team that looks good, lives in LA, and are a heterosexual couple that is dating.

PRODUCER #2: Eh, I saw a couple running with their dog on the beach on my drive over here. Want me to ask them?

PRODUCER #1: Sure.

PRODUCER #2: Okay. I’ll be back in twenty.

***

Closing Statement

Before I get to it I am sure you are anticipating where this season is ranked compared to all other seasons.

1. The Amazing Race 5 – 9.2/10
2. The Amazing Race 12 – 9.0/10
3. The Amazing Race 7 – 8.8/10
4. The Amazing Race 3 – 8.7/10
5. The Amazing Race 9 – 8.6/10
6. The Amazing Race 2 – 8.5/10
7. The Amazing Race 11: All Stars 7.2/10
8. The Amazing Race (1) – 7/10
9. The Amazing Race 13 – 6.8/10
10. The Amazing Race 10 – 6.5/10
11. The Amazing Race 4 – 6.25/10
12. The Amazing Race Asia 1 – 4.55/10
13. The Amazing Race 8 – 4.0/10
14. The Amazing Race 6 – 3.9/10

I enjoyed another edition of the TAR 12 format with little changes. The cast had similar issues compared to TAR 10, but defeats TAR 10 single-handedly because there wasn’t an unfair round one double elimination nor an attempt to build a team up as a faux star.

I would have ranked the season higher if:
a) We didn’t see neither Moscow nor Delhi this season.
b) We didn’t see neither Moscow nor Delhi two times EACH.
c)  If any other team besides Nick & Starr won.
d) If Nick & Starr didn’t win seven out of eleven rounds including the finale to not only have the all-time wins record at that point, but also not have an upset in the finale.
e) No really cool landmarks were visited other than the Cambodia leg.
f) Sports Bra Gate means teams no longer see each other during rest periods at the pit stop.

However, this was one of the lesser annoying casts, but they didn’t have any super likable teams either.

Toni & Dallas’ blunder and Dan’s marching is what cements TAR 13’s legacy to this day.

In the past week, TAR 24’s all-stars cast was announced. Because of this announcement, I can confirm that TAR 13 will be the final season to join TAR 4, 6, and 8 as the only four seasons in franchise history to not have any contestants invited back for an all-star.

That right there is enough for anyone to make the case that this season is underrated. Yeah, I’ve ranked it 8th out of the 13 seasons we have seen, but I think judging this season solely based on the fact that we don’t like Nick & Starr much is a bit of an extreme.

Dan & Andrew, Toni & Dallas, and Terence & Sarah all making it deep into the season really helped entertain us during the season. Even Mark & Bill had huge potential as characters.

What is impressive about the season is that Nick wrote the book about how to do well at TAR. He read clues, re-read clues, allied with teams, glued to them when he was struggling, and would lie to their faces when he was ahead. I think Nick needs to be in the running for greatest player to run the race.

Boring and unlikable, but still, he was an incredible racer.

And I’ll never understand why Marisa & Brooke or Anthony & Stephanie were cast. That may be the two biggest wastes of space in the first thirteen seasons of TAR. They brought -nothing- to the table except their looks. This is why Nick & Starr had such an easy ride for most of the season.

Oh, and you know why else I had to drag this season’s rating down? In round ten they never told us when the teams checked out of the pit stop. A series first. Do you know how much that pisses me off as a viewer and a person that obsesses over statistics? I need to see the spread of when teams finished the previous round. It helps experts understand the world of editing and post-production much better.

***

Nobody would know that any classic elements of TAR would all be wiped out by the end of this season. The Transition Era has ended.

TAR 1-4: Original Era
TAR 5-9: Revitalization Era
TAR 10-13: Transition Era
TAR 14-19: Static Era

Things That End With TAR 13

a) The intro

b) The graphics

c) Eleven round format.

d) The hiatus of To Be Continued Legs

e) A straightforward U-Turn format

f) Teams hanging out with each other at pit stops

g) Smart casting

Next Season

– Next season we will see The Amazing Race’s future casting director. She will go down as one of the least reputable and most biased casting directors in the whole reality TV business.

– Yes, To Be Continued rounds are on the horizon after we had three weeks off from their ridiculousness.

– The ugliest incident since Jonathan pushing Victoria will take place. An incident so ugly that Phil feels the need to hype it up in his blog every week until it happens right before the season’s end. The viewers are divided over what happens to the point that zero likable teams will remain once it has unfolded.

– More India. More Russia.

– The U-Turn will be altered to ensure that TAR 13 will be the only season where a U-Turn or Yield style of twist never goes a whole season without being used.

– One team will have the biggest stroke of luck in TAR history. They will play the last FIVE rounds of the game in places where they speak the language fluently and/or have personally visited the location for several weeks each. Teams become aware of this as the race descends into the game of Follow the Locally Knowledgeable Players to make you wonder why production cast that team in the first place.

– You know how I said a bunch of unlikable teams make the end? Well, get ready because next season isn’t even the first time that all of them will be playing. These are the players which production hypes up as the new stars for the next several years of TAR.

– Lastly, production experiments with a “Coming Up” segment at the start of each episode. So if you just -love- seeing the same clip air in ‘Next Time on TAR’, ‘Previously on TAR’, and right when it airs before and after a commercial break, then guess what? You get to see it for a fifth time in the ‘Coming Up’ segment.

– It is a season that is so broken that it will break the second all-star season too. It is just that bad. This season is so bad that it is 75% of the reason why I stopped watching TAR between seasons 15 to 19.

– So get ready for a season that may make Freddy & Kendra’s victory look like the will of Mother Teresa.

– There is a task at the end of the first episode that is by far the meanest joke production has played on a contestant ever.

freddy gate 6

When I find out who said my season isn’t the worst, somebody is gonna pay!

This entry was posted in The Amazing Race, The Amazing Race 13, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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