“You’ve Got a Winner in Me”
JAPAN – VIETNAM – CAMBODIA – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – THE NETHERLANDS – SWEDEN – ESTONIA – CZECH REPUBLIC – UNITED STATES
LOGAN’S ANALYSIS OF THE FINAL THREE
I have always done this in the last round before the season finale. Oops. Sorry about that. I will do that now.
Brian & Ericka
Yes, yes, yes they get divorced after this season. Yes, they are the first interracial couple to run the race. Yes, they love wearing the colour yellow.
Now to their story thus far. They are the only team left to survive a Speed Bump, and have consistently finished low for the past several rounds. During the Dubai rounds they were doing alright, and put together a working relationship with other teams near the top during their peak too.
Overall, they have treated all other racers with respect and stay out of the conflict. Unless you steal their taxi while they watch helplessly from a rope traversing task.
Their inability to read clues in the Netherlands is what started their slide into the back of the pack. For some reason they have had a really tough time in the Europe rounds. Walking for several kilometres when they could instead be riding a bike, or arguing with drunk locals who succeed at distracting them.
The chances of them winning are extremely low as they have only beaten Meghan & Cheyne once in the first eleven rounds, and Sam & Dan only four times.
All it takes though is one really strong leg and we could have our first underdog victory since TAR 11 or TAR 7.
Sam & Dan –
The first all-male sibling team to rarely get along. Perhaps more yelling between them than Brian & Ericka during divorce proceedings. These two get on each other’s nerves, and lately have only been truthful to Meghan & Cheyne.
They were responsible for burning any bridges that remained with Brian & Ericka, and after eleven rounds, finally dumped Flight Time & Big Easy who were riding their coattails more than any other team in TAR history.
Their early alliance with poker players Maria & Tiffany was a double-edged sword. On one hand, they would be the one team you would want to drag to Final Three along with Mika, but it also would drag them to the back of the pack because Maria & Tiffany faced numerous issues.
Of course, Sam & Dan probably hoped the final leg would not involve math as Maria is an expert with calculations.
If Dan can keep his cool for just this final round, him and Sam can likely claim their third victory of the season. Otherwise, I see them as doomed to be runner-ups because the fighting will be too distracting.
Meghan & Cheyne –
Tyler & James in TAR 10, Nick & Starr in TAR 13, Tammy & Victor in TAR 14, and now Meghan & Cheyne in TAR 15 could be added to that list of recent dominant winners.
Nick & Starr are alone with the record of winning seven legs in The Amazing Race. Well, actually Marc & Rovilson have eight wins. Meghan & Cheyne currently sit at six wins. If Meghan & Cheyne win this final leg, they will tie the US record (although record a lower winning percentage since TAR 13 had only eleven rounds as opposed to twelve).
After six wins, three runner-up spots, a fifth place finish, and a sixth place finish, Meghan & Cheyne are bound to win. They haven’t even finished below second since the fourth round of the game.
They are currently riding a three-leg winning streak. Sam & Dan have barely won two legs for the whole season. Cheyne chose the right time to ditch bonds with the other teams, but perhaps still helped Sam & Dan too much in recent legs. It could prove to be one of the biggest chokes ever as Meghan & Cheyne wonder where they could have gone wrong.
In short, viewers were falling asleep as they were certain Meghan & Cheyne would sweep the finale and become one of the most boring but dominant winners ever outside of Tyler & James. Nobody entertained the idea of an upset taking place.
EDITOR’S NOTE: There is a HUGE controversy regarding the final outcome of the season. I will explain that as soon as I am done rehashing the episode. I didn’t know about this myself until about three or four weeks ago.
Previously on TAR: Twelve teams set out on a race around the world, but were dealt an unexpected surprise.
From the beginning shocking moments, greatest fears, insurmountable obstacles, and puzzling problems eliminated teams one by one.
Too bad they edited out the part where that guy from American Idol sang “Pants on the Ground” for Big Easy in the earlier rounds.
– Now Phil has the least in-depth take on the Final Three teams to date.
Married couple Brian & Ericka had plenty of bumps on the road to the Final Three. Never winning a single leg, their “love” for each other helped them beat the odds and stay inthe race.
Brothers Sam & Dan butted heads along the way. But when it mattered most their bold game-changing moves earned them a spot in the Final Three.
And they appear to be on a high as Dan jumped higher than Chun Li from Street Fighter 2.
Dating couple Meghan & Cheyne have emerged as the team to beat. However, the ride to the top wasn’t perfect. But the fear still stormed their way to the Final Three.
One of these three teams will win the million dollar prize and The Amazing Race.
– Intro time.
– Phil has introduced us to Prague for the second time in a row.
The same violent statues are shown.
– Phil has all but dropped his Phil’s Questions segment for this season. They’ve been gone since TAR 14.
– Meghan & Cheyne, who arrived at an unspecified time, will depart first at 11:10am. They read that they must fly to Las Vegas, Nevada. Six thousand miles away, and Rachel Reilly being one year away from making her first reality TV appearance on Big Brother 12.
And here I thought it was the city of sin.
– A licensed song plays. It sounds very late 2000s pop-ish. I usually can recognize minor tunes or soundtracks, but here it sounds like a song made for twelve year old tweens. Go back and listen to it. It is like the precursor to One Direction. Terrible, terrible, terrible stuff.
We’ll have to put up with another One Direction reference seven seasons from now, sadly.
– Once in Las Vegas, they will travel to the Graceland Wedding Chapel to get their clue from the King.
A bit of a step down from the TAR Israel wedding chapel task.
This Elvis impersonator is closer to looking like Adam Lambert than Elvis Presley.
– Oh god, I looked up what the song was used in the Las Vegas intro. It’s a Katy Perry song. What the hell? Since when did my blog become a haven for pop stars over the past five years? Has Katy Perry really been a thing for that long?
Daniel Negreanu? Penn and Teller?
DAMN YOU! WHAT IS TIFFANY MICHELLE DOING IN THIS MUSIC VIDEO?!
Okay, judging by the size of her chest, I can safely say that is not Tiffany Michelle. Phew.
– Moving on to the actual race, Cheyne expresses his excitement for heading to Vegas. Probably the last person he slept with before dating Meghan resides in Vegas.
But seriously, that is the last sexual reference I intend to make for the rest of the season.
Czech taxi sign approves.
– For some reason, Meghan & Cheyne enter an electronics store to book tickets for their flight to Las Vegas. Make sure it’s all inclusive and that you stay at Circus Circus!
“I’ll book your flight right after I check in with my guild. . .I said right after!”
CHEYNE: We’re confident in our game. We’re throwing everything out the window. We’re going for the gold.
Did someone say “go for gold”?
– The first flight leaves at 6:40pm. In other words, the departure times are designed for all three teams to be on the last flight.
– Sam & Dan depart second at 12:08pm. I thought they would have been further behind given Dan doing terrible last round. Both are excited for Vegas.
SAM: Ho! Make it rain!
– They enter the cab.
Until these guys f— it up.
DAN: It’s Operation Beat Meghan & Cheyne, and Operation Don’t Yell At Each Other.
Dan is bright for once.
– Meghan says everyone will be on the same flight, and that they will not get into Las Vegas until 2:00pm.
– Brian & Ericka depart last at 3:15pm. Brian, rather than acknowledging F3, airs a confessional regarding what little he has to say to Sam & Dan.
Just in time for the remake this year!
– My favourite thing when Brian & Ericka check out? There is some guy sleeping behind them, and is waking up from his nap.
Rise and shine, my boy. Your day starts at three o’ clock in the afternoon.
– Ericka recaps their four years of marriage. She says her mother has been hard on Brian. Ericka hopes that her mother recognizes that they are a couple regardless of their colours.
I wonder if Mrs. Dunlap witnessed their divorce and thought “I was right all along. I knew races could not mix when it comes to marriage!”
Instead of, you know, for this reason:
I wonder what other things Brian dreams of with fondness:
Okay, I’ll stop and get through the episode here.
– Long standing allies Meghan & Cheyne and Sam & Dan reunite and speculate as to who is the third team.
They congratulate each other on the inevitable first and second place finishes that are about to go down.
– Brian & Ericka are pumped and ready to surprise the other teams that they beat the Globetrotters last round. Do you know the saying “(insert action here) like there’s no tomorrow”?
Well, Ericka has her own version of it.
Well done, Ericka.
– Meghan & Cheyne are ecstatic to see Brian & Ericka. Hugs ensue. Sam & Dan are shocked, and welcome Brian & Ericka with open arms. Brian is hesitant to smile but Ericka has moved past it.
Brian’s smile is a lot less sincere, evidently.
– Sam & Dan have a great reaction.
I like how Dan is miming the strangulation that he is expecting from Brian. They apologize to Brian & Ericka. Brian shakes their hands, but intends to forgive rather than forget.
In short, he has not forgiven them.
London gets the Latvia treatment for the finale.
– We get an awkwardly long scene of the flight as the teams stand up in silence.
Followed by a cartoon-like yell from Meghan & Cheyne.
– The plane lands and we are treated to a lengthy chorus from Katy Perry’s Waking Up in Vegas. What show am I watching? It is like we are watching a crappy vacation movie with Queen Latifah.
– Three teams all scramble for taxis together. Meghan & Cheyne are ahead by two seconds on Brian & Ericka. Sam & Dan are about twenty seconds behind, and the driver promises to follow the other two teams. Brian & Ericka do the unthinkable.
Are we sure that’s right?
– Brian recaps everything that has happened since leaving the airport. Ericka wants to keep their driver for the day. Sam & Dan’s taxi driver keeps up with the two teams as Sam & Dan announce to him they are in last. His reaction?
– Meghan & Cheyne’s cab passes Brian & Ericka. All three teams have competent drivers. This is rare.
No one thought he would be the best taxi in Vegas.
– They arrive at the Wedding Chapel. All cabs are told to wait as they enter said chapel. Three-way tie essentially. Elvis is singing “Amazing Grace” instead of “Amazing Race”. They all sing together. This is the strangest start to a final leg I have ever seen.
Imagine if they were cast for The Amazing Race 26? That would be one of the most messed up crossovers.
– The song keeps going. If this were TAR 24, we would have twenty different mini games to show.
Watching teams do karaoke for a full minute is one of the most unexpected pieces of footage to be shown in a TAR finale.
– Elvis finally caves into the request of giving them a clue.
– Sam & Dan are first to receive the clue. Ericka comes up with a reason to be second to receive the clue.
She plays the Graceland card.
ERICKA: Have a good life! Marriage is wonderful! Just don’t race each other.
Ouch. How many times can Ericka mention marriage in this finale while I continually remind you of her divorce?
– This is not a true Elvis impersonator. Why?
Because the other teams have left the building. Elvis has stayed inside. So much for that saying.
– The three teams quickly open up the clue. They read that they must head to Mandalay Bay. No other information is given.
“For the millions of watching around the world, iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s tiiiiiiiiime!
Fighting out of the YELLOW corner, it’s Team Zebra!
Fighting out of the BLUE corner, it’s Team San Diego!
And fighting out of the ORANGE corner, it’s Team McMillen!”
Yes, the same Mandalay Bay and Events Centre which showcases many of the UFC’s biggest events every year. Particularly in 2009 when MMA was at its peak.
– We jump back into taxis. This is wild. Brian & Ericka’s driver is driving while putting his seatbelt on. Sam complains Meghan tried to take the clue from his hands back at the chapel.
– Brian & Ericka’s taxi is taking a different route from the other two teams and promises it is faster. Who will be faster?
The other two teams are choking. This is great.
BRIAN: Roadblock–Who’s ready to climb the mountain?
Yep. It’s a heights task. Because Canaan was up 5 Roadblocks to 1 a while back, Mika would have been virtually guaranteed to do this task by default.
And she would have quit this task. Wowzers.
– In TAR 24, teams rode up on a platform and changed light bulbs. In TAR 15, the task is just a wee bit more difficult.
How about a six hundred foot face-first rappel? Does that sound tougher than changing light bulbs?
Kelly loves face-first rappels.
Once they reach the bottom, the instructor with the chipped tooth will hand them their next clue.
– Ericka congratulates Brian on not doing the Roadblock. She tells us it worked out perfect because Brian is terrified of heights to the point he can barely get on a ladder.
“That one does not like heights.”
– Which floor we going to?
One for each time Jodi Wincheski should have been fired as a casting director since she was hired.
– Brian is terrified just looking up from the ground. Ericka says she is fearless. He is nervous for her.
– Meghan & Cheyne are second to the Roadblock. Cheyne is going to do it. To the top he goes as Ericka hovers around 61st and 1/2 floor. Brian cheers her on. Sam & Dan’s cabbie is taking them into a Do Not Enter zone. Traffic is not on their side.
– Commercial. We resume. Brian is panicking more than Ericka. She is going at a good speed. Better than a rope traverse course.
ERICKA: I don’t think a lot of people expected me to do this.
You’re right. Not too many people looked at you and said “I bet you will go on a reality television show and rappel six hundred feet down the Mandalay Bay and Events Centre.
– Ericka makes it into some crap about how it breaks stereotypes of Miss America.
Not Miss America.
Definitely not Miss America.
– Cheyne hates heights but is willing to do it. Meghan talks to Brian and says Cheyne is already freaking out. Editors decide to hold Brian’s following reaction for three full seconds.
Camera capture your tongue, Brian?
– Cheyne and Ericka are cheered on. I estimate Ericka’s lead is approximately five to ten minutes. She begins to dangle a bit. Brian freaks out just a bit more.
– Sam & Dan make a snippy remark regarding both taxis being at the Mandalay Bay as Sam & Dan arrive.
A 24 year old beach bum versus the 30-something year old Miss America thong bum.
Nice spot for a relaxing sixty storey nap.
Meghan’s Quagmire-like neck is concerned.
I did not expect a Butch Lockley quote to be followed by beach speak.
– Sam is the (un)lucky person to do some face-first rappelling. Dan reports to the other teams that their taxi driver sucked. My guess is that they did not ask him to wait.
Only she spins webs of verbal abuse. That’s the difference.
– Lawrence of Arabia music plays. Brian & Ericka read that they must take a taxi to The Mirage. Holy crap. They could win this.
– Meghan cheers on Cheyne. He continues to do this task with his eyes closed. Brian believes the karma shall pay off as him and Ericka enter the taxi. She starts screaming in excitement. Brian immediately announces that they are not getting cocky.
– Cheyne’s helmet collides with the building. Meghan tells him to watch his head rather than laugh at it.
Sorry, I had to rewind that. Cheyne screaming in agony as he prepares for the collision is hilarious.
– Sam makes a random pop culture reference.
Yeah, screw you Tom Cruise! You punk ass bitch! Who’s face-first rappelling off of the Mandalay Bay and Events Centre? Not you! That’s who!
Why is the instructor holding out the clue when he knows:
a) Cheyne has his eyes closed
b) Cheyne is thirty seconds away, and needs a minute to take off his equipment.
c) All he is doing is taunting Cheyne with the clue. Like “oh you want this? Well too bad because you can’t even see it! Ha!”
– Meghan claims they are only a couple minutes behind Brian & Ericka. I would say it is closer to five. Maybe even ten. Cheyne is worn out. Meghan reads the clue.
– Sam is moving down the Mirage at a decent speed. Dan cheers him on. This is the most supportive Dan has been in a while. Meghan & Cheyne re-enter their taxi as Meghan repeats Cheyne did well at the Roadblock. Why are none of the teams bickering?
– Sam is done. Lawrence of Arabia music plays again as Dan insists to Sam that he completed it the fastest. Sam & Dan enter a new taxi and promise a good tip. For once, Dan is the one calming Sam down.
That outfit screams more “New Orleans” than “Las Vegas” to me.
– We get a strange split screen of all three teams and The Mirage. Since when did TAR begin obsessing with 24?
I should note we get another new soundtrack for this season. From the Harlem Globetrotters theme to Katy Perry, we now have a Latino 30s club saxophone music playing as we see a Beatles sign. I expect Santana to leap out of the screen and start singing the lyrics to Oye Como Va.
“The Amazing Race is not just a race around the world, but unites us with love. Yes, si senor, mi hermano.”
– Brian & Ericka enter the building. It’s The Beatles’ Love Cirque Du Soleil being advertised. My cousin always worked for Cirque Du Soleil when it would appear in Vancouver.
That guard has the job of putting on the most humiliating outfit possible. I have never seen a member of the Queen’s Guard have that much makeup slapped onto his face.
– Brian reads they must enjoy the cast of Love.
Who apparently have a San Diego sk8r punk attitude. Did I miss that performance at Ed Sullivan Theatre where Paul McCartney did a 720 McTwist?
– Another new soundtrack! This time it is The Beatles’ I Need Somebody (Help!) playing.
In TAR 24, they couldn’t even afford a cover band. Instead they were stuck with a one hour rental on David Copperfield.
– Phil tells us that one team member will use their other team member in a bungee cord to launch them high enough to grab a bungee cord.
If Sally & Tyson were doing this task, Sally would not only grab the bouquet but touch the ceiling of The Mirage.
– Once they have the bouquet, they will exchange it with the flower child for their next clue.
Who may or may not be Peih Gee Law from Survivor: China.
– Brian is free from heights as Ericka will be rigged up in the bungee cords. We see another zoom-in.
Ah, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts. Much like Brian & Ericka will be after the season.
– Brian says both of them are huge Cirque Du Soleil fans. Ericka is really excited. Meghan & Cheyne enter The Mirage. Meghan does not understand the task at first as she is getting tied up in the bungee cord.
– Ericka is frustrated to see Brian as her and Brian make their first attempt. Not close. Brian is really yanking on her shins when he launches her. She moves fast through the air. There is the bounce on the way there and a bounce on the way back where grabbing the bouquet is reasonable.
If only Jonathan & Victoria were doing this task.
– Brian & Ericka make a second attempt.
Tragically, another fail. Brian asks if she can get closer. She says she can, and make a third attempt.
So close yet so far.
– Brian knows Ericka is trying her hardest and only inches away. Ericka tells Brian to take a deep breath and settle down before launching her again.
– Sam & Dan are at The Mirage too. Another prop is shown. Sam says Dan should be the launcher because he is stronger, but Dan counters that he is taller and will have an easier time reaching.
Sorry, that prop is creepy.
– Meghan asks for Cheyne to be careful because her ankles are killing her.
Too f—ing bad, Meghan. Cheyne is going to yank on them anyway. I blame it on the classic San Diego Ankle Fetish.
– It’s a montage. Ericka yells at Brian to do it because he is taller. Ericka and Meghan are getting closer.
Meghan even rips off a third of the bouquet. So did Ericka.
– Ericka now flails in the air preventing Brian from grabbing her ankles as she wants him to be the jumper. He eventually convinces her to do one more try.
I am surprised the other foot did not swing and kick him in the head.
We dedicate the following song to our favourite Zebra racer, Ericka Dunlap! Hit it!
– We see a few more attempts. Then someone succeeds. But who?
It’s a White girl. No idea who it could be.
– Brian asks Ericka if she wanted to switch. She starts freakin’ screaming and yelling.
ERICKA: YES, I WANT TO SWITCH! DON’T GET ME PISSED OFF!
Uh, I think that’s already happened, Ericka.
– Meghan reads that they must visit the most famous casino of the country of Monaco.
Yeah, what a tough riddle. It will only take ten seconds to figure out. Next thing you know teams will be confused and go to the Rio.
ERICKA (hissing): We cannot let them have a lead!
– Dan says each launch is hurting his crotch. We go back outside where Meghan repeats the clue for another driver on the street.
Italy, Monaco, same thing, whatever.
– Their own driver is not sure. Taxi drivers are not knowledgeable when it comes to the driver. At least he didn’t say the Pyramid.
– Dan has the bouquet. Brian & Ericka are last. Let’s go live to Ericka’s take on the situation.
Alright, let’s go back to the competition.
– Brian & Ericka switch once more. Cheyne yells at more people on the street for help with the clue, but he stops Meghan from asking when he sees Sam & Dan on the street.
– Sam & Dan are in a taxi and make the mistake of following Meghan & Cheyne’s cab while Sam uses a cell phone for help with the clue.
SAM: Brian & Ericka look like they are mad at each other.
Bobby Jon Dunlap.
– Ericka is crying and yelling during each failed attempt. She has another loud yell. Another failed attempt and she is losing it.
– We resume. Ericka blames her short legs. Sam asks the taxi driver the question, but Dan interrupts him and says just to follow Meghan & Cheyne.
– Oh, and Ericka rips off half of the bouquet. She yells the loudest F-bomb recorded in TAR history.
ERICKA: AHHHHHHH (censored silence over mouth)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
– She screams after tossing the ripped bouquet to the ground in frustration.
BRIAN: Reach it with everything you’ve got–
ERICKA: I DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, they can reflect on the twenty minutes where they led The Amazing Race.
– Sam is on the phone and receives the correct answer. The Monte Carlo. Meghan & Cheyne note that Sam & Dan are turning in a different direction. Meghan is scared and wants to ask again.
– Oh, and the bouquet? Ericka doesn’t have it.
If Brian doesn’t already have a cap up his ass, he will have one there soon.
– Meghan & Cheyne start yelling at people on the street.
CHEYNE: What country is Monaco in? It’s in Spain.
TAXI DRIVER: It’s the Bellagio.
So many incorrect answers.
– Ericka pitches one last strategy.
ERICKA: Push my butt.
Success! A suggestion from Meghan Rickey’s camera operator finally pays off.
– Ericka starts yelling at the workers to get her done. Aw, hell!
– Brian knows instantly they are going to the Monte Carlo, but wants to ask. Ericka unilaterally confirms it for him without consulting anyone.
How a mil slips away.
– More split screens and saxophones play. Sam & Dan are dropped off at a familiar spot in the Monte Carlo.
Or as Dan would say. . .
“Poka poka poka poka!”
– Surprisingly, Maria & Tiffany are not inside. They read the clue after Dan yells at Sam to hurry. Dan reads they must count a million dollars in poker chips.
PHIL: Teams have been battling each other around the world in a quest for one million dollars. Now, a million dollars are at their fingertips, and they’re going to have to use their fingertips to count it.
“Really? A million dollars is at their fingertips, and they have to use their fingertips to count it? Can you guys come up with a smoother transition for the task?”
– Phil explains there is a table for each team. Each table is full of poker chips. One million, in fact.
– Phil says there are 8, 400 chips on the table. They must count up the chips until they have one million dollars. The dealer will then count it to verify their count.
Choose your dealer wisely.
– Once teams complete the count, they will receive their next clue and a special chip.
I think my eyes are deceiving me.
There we go.
– SAM: We were so stoked to get there first. We were so excited.
Stoked is now trademarked by Mickey & Pete as of 2014.
– I wish there was 900, 000 in white chips. Granted producers would need ten times as many tables for that.
– Meghan & Cheyne are at The Venetian. They are told by a guy next to a guy in Bluetooth that the Monte Carlo is the correct location. They enter the hotel and verify it with a concierge. Meghan groans as the driver yells at a light. Meghan & Cheyne know they lost valuable time.
And with no thanks to this guy.
– Brian exhales, and says they need a positive attitude. He hopes somebody went to the wrong hotel. It shows you how much less brains you need on the Amazing Race as Meghan & Cheyne have zero geographical knowledge.
– Commercial. We resume for the final segment. Meghan & Cheyne are in a traffic jam. Dan is becoming extremely flustered as Sam orders him to switch out jobs for the task.
– Brian & Ericka are second into the Monte Carlo. Brian notes that he is amazed that Meghan & Cheyne have yet to show up. The race could still very well be theirs.
– Meghan & Cheyne show up in last. It looks like they are only a couple minutes behind. Sam feels good because they had a large head start on the other two teams. I would guess around ten minutes on Brian & Ericka, and fifteen on Meghan & Cheyne.
– Lots of counting. Sam warns Dan that he is rushing too much and needs to be calmer. Dan argues that he does in fact have twenty chips in each stack that he put on the table. Now Dan is telling Sam to calm down.
– Sam & Dan’s stacks look disorganized. All three teams appear to submit guesses seconds apart.
May we win, pretty please?
Brian & Ericka’s dealer starts daydreaming about puppies.
Meghan & Cheyne’s dealer happens to be Ken from TAR 13, and he stops to work on his crossword puzzle.
– Everyone is panicking. Meghan & Cheyne’s count is verified first. Sam & Dan’s count is incorrect. As for Brian & Ericka’s?
Yes, the quotation marks are intentional. It is “incorrect”.
Brian is not buying it.
– Meghan & Cheyne read that they must go to the MGM Grand Hotel and find the High Roller Suite where Mr. Las Vegas will give them their next clue. Who is Mr. Las Vegas?
Why, it’s Jack Nicholson as The Joker!
Just kidding. It’s Wayne Newton.
PHIL: And he will tell the racers the location of the Finish Line!
Wayne Newton on the piano? Why couldn’t it be Randy Newman!
Although telling racers to go to “Infinity and Beyond” may be stretching producer’s budgets.
– Meghan is certain Wayne Newton is Mr. Las Vegas. Cheyne confirms this with other people in the hotel. I think someone who was in the Ask the Audience for Who Wants to be a Millionaire says Frank Sinatra.
– Meghan & Cheyne jump into a taxi and promise the driver hundreds if he can get them there really fast.
– Sam & Dan’s new count is correct. They are in second.
– Brian & Ericka are correct for a second time, but rejected again.
Where the lion at?
No, not that lion.
Ah, there we go.
– Meghan & Cheyne enter a service elevator.
Surprisingly, Rachel is not around yet to service anyone in the elevator.
– Meghan & Cheyne meet with Wayne Newton.
I should point out that Wayne Newton mistakenly recognized these two as his grandkids. What else do you expect from a 67 year old man?
MEGHAN: So where is the finish line?
Way to kill the mood, Meghan.
WAYNE: My house.
CHEYNE: That’s all you got?
WAYNE: That’s all I got.
Remember that this is in 2009. “My house” in 2009 is very different from “My house” in 2014. Wayne Newton has a notorious reputation for lawsuits, tax issues, and absurd fees and fines over the years. He has filed for bankruptcy multiple times.
In 2009 this would mean the fifty million dollar estate known as the Casa de Shenandoah.
It would be this.
– MEGHAN: This could be it! This could be it!
Of course it is. You’re heading to the finish line. How could it not be it?
– Sam & Dan enter High Roller Suite 88.
No candelabra to use here. What’s with room 88 this season?
– Sam & Dan see him, recognize him, but cannot come up with his name.
WAYNE: The finish line is at Stu Ungar’s house, you assholes.
– They are stumped to the point that Wayne has to tell them his own name. He is amused while Sam & Dan are embarrassed.
This isn’t the first history quiz Sam & Dan have failed.
They thought Jackie Kennedy was the Queen of England.
– Meghan & Cheyne are in a taxi. Cheyne feels bad for running out in a hurry on Wayne Newton. Brian & Ericka are shown counting for a third time. Ericka says something “is obviously wrong”.
The thing that is wrong.
– SAM: My stomach is in my throat.
MEGHAN: If I see another team’s cab, I will throw up.
– Meghan & Cheyne’s driver points out to them that they are at his ranch. Meghan requests to be dropped off at the main entrance.
I am guessing it is not the 90% that looks like a barren desert wasteland.
– Sam & Dan are supposedly close to it. Meghan & Cheyne run out to a gate and attempt to enter.
Climb the fence to break into Wayne Newton’s house!
Nothing. Luckily they do not run up the entire empty lot. The driver takes them to the opposite side. Meghan does her cartoon yell.
– Sam & Dan claim that where they are at is “it”. It’s a taxi showdown.
Oh! It’s going to be over soon! All of the eliminated teams except for Eric & Lisa cheer them on unconditionally.
– We get a close-up on two out of the eight eliminated teams who are cheering the teams on. Guess who they are?
The only two teams who have. . .unfinished business.
– So who is going to run up the path to Wayne Newton’s house first?
In a surprise to no one, the blue meets the black are the two who are first to the finish line. We now get close-ups of other teams.
The quitters share a frame.
Lance really deserves his own frame.
Hidden between Big Easy and Matt? Producers were really mean to Gary.
– Meghan & Cheyne run onto the mat and hug Phil.
This is some of the more bearable forms of contact with winning teams that Phil has experienced.
Thankfully Joe & Bill never won TAR.
We have a weiner.
999, 950 dollars after she replaces her pants.
CHEYNE: For real, bro?
PHIL: For real.
Oh god. I don’t know whether I want another team from a beach community to win another season.
– Meghan confirms it again if it is for real. Phil asks where they come from. Meghan says it has been a neat experience every step of the way. She cannot feel her body. Cheyne says Meghan is one of the most competitive racers in the whole race. Even more so than the guys, according to him.
– Cheyne rambles about how Meghan is a smart and intelligent woman, and is happy to claim her as his property.
– Sam & Dan jump onto the mat in second.
Time to do some gold digging!
– They hug Meghan & Cheyne before being crowned team number two. Dan does not want to see a casino again. He didn’t want to let his family down, and wanted to do the race. Phil comments on their screaming match-ups. Sam says the screaming won’t matter because they will always be brothers and hang out the next day.
SAM: It’s rare to look up to your younger brother.
Something tells me looking up to your younger brother is not exactly a choice for you, Sam.
But seriously, I have three older brothers, and NONE of them have ever said they look up to me!
Sam & Dan could be sentimental over a cookie and Tiffany would cry right now.
Maria Ho wants to eat that cookie.
– We transition into Brian & Ericka emerging from the shadows.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Brian & Ericka completed the casino task and saw Wayne Newton. It was edited out for time along with a HUGE FREAKIN’ CONTROVERSY! A million dollar controversy, no less. It’s like Lindsey Richter’s pierced ears from Survivor: Africa.
– Brian & Ericka are sarcastic to hear they are the third team to arrive. For just being uber screwed, they are in a really good mood. Phil asks Ericka what her family will think of Brian. Brian begins crying already. She thinks it is the first opportunity for her family to see things in him that they have never seen before.
ERICKA: I wish people would step back and evaluate the character of a person as opposed to what’s face value. What’s on the exterior.
A Miss America contestant who is smart enough to put together thoughtful and intelligent answers that will improve humanity.
Not smart enough to put together thoughtful and intelligent answers that aim to improve the current state of humanity.
Their final happy moment together. After this they divorce. In case you couldn’t figure that out after the first 2, 373 remarks I made.
– Everyone gathers on the mat. Meghan says it is a dream come true.
MEGHAN: I couldn’t imagine a better race.
a) Only if you got that record by winning an eighth round
b) Ericka’s mother has a better race in mind
CHEYNE: The whole experience was life changing and the money is not even as important as what we got to do together. It was the perfect race. It could not have been any better.
The Amazing Race: Where a gay White male from Missouri can forgive and laugh with a Black basketball star from New Orleans.
– And so we get the final shot of the season. Sadly Tommy Linz’s crown for best final quote will not be overthrown by Meghan & Cheyne this year.
The end. Get ready for a season where nobody will be laughing together at the finish. It is a contender for one of the ugliest seasons in terms of none of the teams liking each other and forming any good bonds.
P.S. Meghan & Cheyne did the opposite of Brian & Ericka by getting married after the season was over. They have one child now.
His name is Kid Kleets.
Next Time on TAR: Production becomes super lazy, but caters to their right wing audience with a homophobic cowboy duo. But will anyone care as Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains run simultaneously? TAR decides to follow the glamourized Russell Hantz edit as they come out with a younger version of Hantz.
Brian & Ericka said in an interview that they correctly counted the chips. Brian or Ericka pointed out that after being called incorrect, they told the dealer that she mixed in a couple of the black chips with the others, thus screwing up the count.
The dealer’s face turned extremely pale, and the producer told her to count again. We see Brian & Ericka fail at it three times, but they never said in interviews if they were right on the first attempt.
They insisted that this could have been the difference between winning and losing the race because they arrived at the task in second place ahead of Meghan & Cheyne.
It has not been addressed if they received financial compensation like Lex and Tom did in Survivor: Africa. CBS has never responded to corroborate Brian & Ericka’s story. We assume they are in denial due to it being edited out of the final episode.
If the dealer did not screw up, we may be looking at Brian & Ericka as the biggest underdog winners in the first fifteen seasons of TAR. Unfortunately we are stuck with our third extremely dominant male-female team in a row, and also be one of the more boring teams to be cast each time.
You say you are dying for underdog winners which rarely exist in the TAR timeline? Well, I think we can arrange that for you sooner than you think. 😉
Below is a list of all teams from seasons I have blogged to date, ranked by racing average.
e.g. Don & Mary Jean finished 9th, 8th, 8th, 8th, and 8th. Add up the numbers and divide it by the number of legs they have played.
Therefore their average is 8.2.
Bulls— Round One/Starting Line Eliminations
Eric & Lisa N/A
Bilal & Sa’eed N/A
— F minus–
12th Debra & Steve 12.0 TAR 4
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0 TAR 3
11th Preston & Jennifer 11.0 TAR 14
11th Anita & Arthur 11.0 TAR 13
11th Ari & Staella 11.0 TAR 12
11th John Vito & Jill All Stars 11.0 TAR 11
11th Vipul & Arti 11.0 TAR 10
11th John & Scott 11.0 TAR 9
11th Ryan & Chuck 11.0 TAR 7
11th Team Seinfeld/Avi & Joe 11.0 TAR 6
11th Dennis & Erika 11.0 TAR 5
11th Deidre & Hilary 11.0 TAR 2
11th Matt & Ana 11.0 TAR 1
10th Edwin & Monica 10.0 Only team to finish last for the first two rounds of the race TAR Asia 3
10th Lisa & Joni 10.0 TAR 9
10th Kevin & Drew All Stars 10.0 TAR 11
10th Neena & Amit 10.0 TAR Asia 3
10th A Black Family 10.0 TAR 8
— F +–
10th Steve & Linda 9.4 TAR 14
10th Anthony & Stephanie 9.5 (Why them?????) TAR 13
10th Megan & Heidi 9.5 (Wow. They sucked.) TAR 7
11th Garrett & Jessica 9.5 TAR 15
10th Kate & Pat 9.0 TAR 12
9th David & Mary All Stars 9.0 TAR 11
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0 May or may not be gutsy. TAR 2
10th Meredith & Maria 9.0 TAR 6
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF TAR 3
9th Marianna & Julia 8.33 TAR 12
10th Russell & Cindy 8.33 TAR 4
8th Don & Mary Jean 8.2 Saved by NEL once TAR 6
10th Kellie & Jamie 8.0 TAR 10
10th Kim & Leslie 8.0 TAR 1
8th Danielle & Dani 7.8 Yielded TAR 9
8th Marisa & Brooke 7.75 Sucked. TAR 13
7th Mika & Canaan 7.67 Why the heck did they sign up? TAR 15
9th Marcy & Ron 7.67 Bald. TAR 15
9th Isaac & William 7.5 TAR Asia 3
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33 TAR 5
8th Aiello Family 7.0 TAR 8
8th Singaporean Sophie & French Born Aurelia 7.0 (French Born Aurelia sadly does not know the English words for ‘team averages’. :/) TAR Asia 2
8th Tom & Terry 7.0 TAR 10
8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0 R.I.P. Margaretta TAR 1
9th Lena & Kristy 7.0 Producers refused to hay bail them. TAR 6
10th Hope & Norm 7.0 TAR 2
7th Christie & Jodi 6.67 Saved by NEL–Became the Devil of Casting Later TAR 14
9th Brad & Victoria 6.67 TAR 14
7th Niroo & Kapil 6.75 TAR Asia 3
6th Maria & Tiffany 6.57 Saved by NEL once and Justin’s blunder again TAR 15
9th Rogers Family 6.5 R.I.P. Renee. TAR 8
8th Susan & Patrick 6.5 TAR 7
6th Henry & Terri 6.44 Used Their Yield; saved by a non-elimination round THREE times. R.I.P. Henry. TAR Asia 2
6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43 Saved by NEL once TAR 1
9th Brett & Kinar 6.33 Rocky finish. TAR Asia 2
9th Aubrey & Jacqueline 6.33 TAR Asia 1
8th Pailin & Natalie 6.33 TAR Asia 3
9th Wanda & Desiree 6.25 TAR 9
7th Aja & Cabbie 6.2 TAR 13
7th Paul & Amie 6.2 TAR 1
8th Steve & Dave 6.2 FF TAR 4
6th David &Mary 6.13 FF Saved by NEL once TAR 10
8th Lance & Keri 6.0 TAR 15
9th Zev & Justin 6.0 Passport lost. TAR 15
10th Ernie & Jeena 6.0 TAR Asia 1
11th Amanda & Chris 6.0 TAR 4
6th Andre & Damon 5.86 TAR 3
7th Daichi & Sawaka 5.83 TAR Asia 2
7th Dave & Lori 5.83 Saved by NEL once TAR 9
5th Kami & Karli 5.8 Saved by NEL once TAR 5
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8 TAR 3
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8 TAR 2
7th Shana & Jennifer 5.8 Used U-Turn TAR 12
9th Heather & Eve 5.75 Legal team beaten by rule book. TAR 3
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67 R.I.P. Nancy. Saved by NEL once. TAR 1
6th Gaghan Family 5.5 TAR 8
10th Alison & Donny 5.5 TAR 5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF TAR 4
8th Sahil & Prashant 5.4 FF. Beaten by a bunch of rules. TAR Asia 1
4th Meredith & Gretchen 5.36 Saved by NEL twice TAR 7
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF TAR 4
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33 TAR 5
9th Debbie & Bianca 5.33 TAR 7
7th Gus & Hera 5.29 TAR 6
6th Joe & Bill All Stars 5.25 Saved by NEL once TAR 11
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25 TAR 5
8th Lorena & Jason 5.25 U-Turned TAR 12
5th Mark & Michael 5.22 Saved by NEL once but came up just short TAR 14
3rd Andrew & Dan 5.18 Saved by NEL once TAR 13
7th Silver & Gold/ Wil & Grace 5.17 TAR 3
6th Kelly & Christy 5.14 TAR 13
7th Ray & Deana 5.0 FF TAR 7
7th Melody & Sharon 5.0. Screwed over by weird penalty for another team. TAR Asia 1
9th Steve & Josh 5.0 FF TAR 4
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 FF TAR 1
9th Mark & Bill 5.0 Wah. TAR 13
5th Fran & Barry 4.89 TAR 9
6th Howard & Sahran 4.88 TAR Asia 1
–C + —
3rd Lyn & Karlyn 4.85 – Yielded TAR 10
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF and saved by NEL once TAR 3
6th Mai & Oliver 4.8 In a car TAR Asia 3
7th Teri & Ian All Stars 4.83 TAR 11
7th Schroeder Family 4.75 TAR 8
6th Lake & Michelle 4.71 – Used Yield TAR 9
6th Brian & Greg 4.71 TAR 7
5th Erwin & Godwin 4.70 TAR 10
3rd Adam & Rebecca 4.69 FF and Used Yield and Yielded, saved by NEL once TAR 6
9th Duke & Lauren 4.67 TAR 10
5th Lori & Bolo 4.6 – FF, saved by NEL once TAR 6
2nd Teri & Ian 4.53 – FF TAR 3
8th Kris & Jo–er, Amanda 4.50 U-Turned TAR 14
5th Paula & Natasha 4.45 saved by NEL once TAR Asia 2
5th Uchenna & Joyce All Stars 4.33 – FF, saved by NEL once TAR 11
4th Kisha & Jen 4.27 Saved by NEL once, U-Turned once TAR 14
3rd Brian & Ericka 4.25 saved by NEL once TAR 15
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF TAR 2
3rd Ray & Yolanda 4.23 saved by NEL once TAR 9
5th Gary & Matt 4.22 saved by NEL once and c—blocked once in Saunabuss TAR 15
3rd Nicolas & Donald 4.18 FF and U-Turned TAR 12
4th Linda & Karen 4.17 Saved by NEL once TAR 5
3rd Charla & Mirna All Stars 4.15 TAR 11
6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.) TAR 2
5th Paolo Family 4.13 FF and Used Yield TAR 8
5th Lynn & Alex 4.11 TAR 7
5th Andy & Laura 4.00 – Yielded TAR Asia 1
3rd David & Jeff 4.00 – FF, saved by NEL, grew goatees TAR 4
4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF, saved by NEL once TAR 2
2nd Jaime & Cara 3.92 TAR 14
2nd Pamela & Vanessa 3.92 TAR Asia 2
4th A.D. & Fuzzie 3.90 – U-Turned and saved by NEL once TAR Asia 3
5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF TAR 2
2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85 Saved by NEL twice TAR 4
1st Zabrina & Joe Jer 3.77 saved by NEL once TAR Asia 1
2nd Sandy & Francesca 3.77 – Used Yield, saved by NEL once TAR Asia 1
4th Diane & Ann 3.75 – Yielded TAR Asia 2
4th Jon & Al 3.73 TAR 4
6th Charla & Mirna 3.71 TAR 5
3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF, saved by NEL once TAR 2
5th Millie & Chuck 3.67 FF TAR 4
5th Kynt & Vyxsin 3.63 Used Yield, saved by NEL once TAR 12
1st Eric & Danielle All Stars 3.62 – Yielded Twice, saved by NEL once TAR 11
4th Mardy & Marsio 3.58 FF, saved by NEL once TAR Asia 1
6th Mel & Mike 3.57 TAR 14
6th Jonathan & Victoria 3.56 TAR 6
3rd Ida & Tania 3.54 Saved by NEL twice TAR Asia 3
4th Joseph & Monica 3.50 – Yielded TAR 9
3rd Andrew & Syeon 3.46 TAR Asia 1
1st Freddy & Kendra 3.46 – Used Yield and Yielded TAR 6
2nd Ronald & Christina 3.45 TAR 12
4th Nathan & Jennifer 3.40 – Never finished in 1st TAR 12
1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF, saved by NEL twice TAR 2
1st Chip & Kim 3.38 – Used Yield TAR 5
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF TAR 1
3rd Brandon & Nicole 3.31 Saved by NEL once TAR 5
5th Terence & Sarah 3.25 TAR 13
1st TK & Rachel 3.18 Saved by NEL once TAR 12
4th Godlewski Family 3.18 Saved by NEL once TAR 8
4th Dustin & Kandice 3.17 – Used Yield, saved by NEL once
2nd Sam & Dan 3.17 U-Turned Pointlessly TAR 15
7th Peter & Sarah 3.17 TAR 10
3rd Weaver Family 3.15 – Yielded Twice, saved by NEL twice TAR 8
1st Reichen & DK 3.15 – FF TAR 4
1st Uchenna & Joyce 3.15 FF, saved by NEL once TAR 7
4th Toni & Dallas 3.10 Still in Russia TAR 13
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF TAR 3
2nd Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 3.09 Used Yield and U-Turn TAR Asia 3
4th Herb & Nate a.k.a. Flight Time & Big Easy 3.09 TAR 15. Znarf!
2nd Rob & Kim 3.08 – FF TAR 10
3rd Ron & Kelly 3.00 – Yielded, saved by NEL once TAR 7
6th Azaria & Hendekea 3.00 TAR 12
4th Hayden & Aaron Saved by NEL once 2.92 TAR 6
2nd Dustin & Kandice All Stars 2.92 – Used Yield TAR 10
2nd Bransen Family Saved by NEL once 2.85 TAR 8
1st Linz Family 2.77 – Used Yield TAR 8
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF, saved by NEL twice TAR 1
–BEST OF THE BEST–
3rd Margie & Luke 2.75 Used U-Turn once TAR 14
5th Henry & Bernie/Bunn-Eh 2.75 – Yielded TAR Asia 3
8th Rob & Amber All Stars 2.75 – Used Yield, Choked TAR 11
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF, saved by NEL twice TAR 3
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF TAR 3
4th Oswald & Danny All Stars 2.67 FF x2, Used Yield, saved by NEL once TAR 11
2nd Ken & Tina 2.64 FF, saved by NEL once TAR 13
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – FF, Yielded, and saved by NEL once TAR 5
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF TAR 2
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF TAR 1
1st BJ & Tyler – 2.46 FF, Used Yield, and saved by NEL twice TAR 9
1st Vince & Sam 2.45 FF TAR Asia 3
1st Nick & Starr 2.45 FF TAR 13
1st Tyler & James – 2.38 FF TAR 10
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF TAR 1
2nd Kris & Jon 2.38 TAR 6
1st Tammy & Victor 2.33 Used U-Turn Once TAR 14
2nd Rob & Amber 2.31 TAR 7
1st Adrian & Collin 2.23 FF TAR Asia 2
1st Meghan & Cheyne 2.00 FF TAR 15
2nd Eric & Jeremy 1.69 FF TAR 9
lol 3rd Marc & Rovilson 1.46 Used Yield and Yielded TAR Asia 2
Combined Team Averages (Repeats Only)
11 legs David & Mary 6.91 FF, saved by NEL twice TAR 10 + 11
11 legs John Vito & Jill 5.36 FF, saved by NEL once TAR 3 + 11
18 legs Danielle 4.78 yielded, saved by NEL once TAR 9 + 11
19 legs Teri & Ian 4.63 FF TAR 3 + 11
13 legs Kevin & Drew 4.38 FF TAR 1 + 11
20 legs Charla & Mirna 4.00 TAR 5 + 11
21 legs Joe & Bill 3.71 FF, saved by NEL thrice TAR 1 + 11
22 legs Uchenna & Joyce 3.64 FF x2, saved by NEL twice TAR 7 + 11
*31 legs Eric & Danielle 3.48 FF, yielded x3, saved by NEL once TAR 9 + 11
23 legs Oswald & Danny 3.30 FF x3, used Yield, saved by NEL twice TAR 2 + 11
25 legs Dustin & Kandice 3.04 used Yield twice, saved by NEL once TAR 10 + 11
26 legs Eric 2.65 FF, yielded x2, saved by NEL once TAR 9 + 11
17 legs Rob & Amber 2.41 Used Yield TAR 7 + 11
* I determined Eric & Danielle’s average in this last section by adding up all of their individual points from TAR 9, then adding up their total points in All Stars and dividing it by 31.
Rank the Teams
1) Lance & Keri
Oh my word. I had very low expectations, and even though the first two rounds were awful, rounds three, four, and five rebounded with lots of material from Lance Layne.
The Karate Kid. Roundhouses. The Bostonian Chuck Norris Lawyer.
That’s right. He was a martial artist, goofball, lawyer, and had the Boston accent to go along with it.
Furthermore, his fiancee sounds like Janet from FRIENDS.
In addition, they absolutely shattered Fran & Barry’s record for not only most missed clues in a season, but missed super duper obvious placements of clues. It was incredible. Between rounds three and four, they missed every single clue box until the round four Detour. If you go through and count it, you will be left speechless that they had such bad eyesight.
Lastly, they frequently had a terrible sense of direction in between route markers. Their only saving grace was doing Detours and Roadblocks reasonably well.
Being ousted in round five is fitting for them considering they were lucky just to survive the first ten minutes of the season (it was either them or Eric & Lisa that would go home). So even if I am bummed to see them out early, it is roughly 4 3/4 episodes longer than what could have very well occurred.
Lance seems genuinely disappointed and let down that Phil refused to take him on in a freestyle wrestling match. In fact, he appeared to suffer from withdrawals whenever he went more than an hour without kicking an object.
I sense that Lance & Keri will stay at the top of this list because I think the entertainment value of TAR 15 will drop in the remaining seven rounds. Nobody else is bringing much to the table. Editors are struggling.
A Megan & Cheyne would be number one on this list if racing ability was the lone criteria, but geez, finding people who love competition even if they suck at it but will be their true selves in the process can be very refreshing.
Thank you Lance & Keri for getting me through a stretch of rounds where only two out of five are proper TAR standard.
2) Zev & Justin
2nd to 5th to 8th to 9th over the course of four rounds? Are they really all around weak racers?
No, because that ninth place finish when they are eliminated is a bit misleading.
Zev & Justin did quite well all season. The reason they finished eighth because Justin lost a ton of time when he forgot their route info. The reason they finished ninth is because they lost their passport after WINNING THE ROUND!
This is one of the biggest elimination blunders ever. You could say it ranks right up there with Heather & Eve taking a taxi instead of walking to put themselves out of the race.
I would say Kisha & Jen are number two, but given what Jen did, I would say they are number one.
Toni & Dallas, as I have stated earlier, were doomed to finish last in Russia regardless of being the first to lose their passports. Zev & Justin? They had already won the round when they figured it out, and were well on their way to being in the thick of it with competition.
Zev being the first mildly autistic racer was given the Luke treatment at times, but we did get a feel for him having an all around personality rather than CBS exploiting it. And Justin definitely did not come anywhere close to act like Enabler Margie.
Zev & Justin’s friendship may be one of the most endearing ones to be showcased in the twenty-four seasons of TAR.
It was tough ranking them ahead of Garrett & Jessica, but I feel like I made the right choice.
3) Brian & Ericka
This is the most surprising team for me to be this high outside of Maria & Tiffany. Considering Ericka was cast because she was a former Miss America winner, I was expecting a couple of camera whores who I wanted off of my television.
Mix in Ericka’s hot-headedness with Brian’s incredible ability to give confessionals and we have really good TV personalities. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but Brian is a naturally gifted narrator. It’s what every season of Survivor or TAR needs. Someone who can tell you what is happening, or give an interesting observation without stumbling or annoying us too much. That’s how Brian had a ton of confessionals.
They were really good as our “straight men” by not doing anything particularly nasty on the race, and never being apart of the main storylines of the season. They scraped by to survive all the way to the end. Sure, they were important at the beginning, but you lose that storyline when you are alone at the back of the pack.
If a dealer could do her job, we may very well have the biggest underdog victory. It’s incredible to think Brian & Ericka could have been the winners of The Amazing Race 15.
They sadly must not only settle for divorce, but also have a reputation of being really good narrators, and Ericka being one of our favourite explosive reality TV characters to date.
4) Gary & Matt
Upon looking at them, you would believe Gary was the hardened Conservative father while Matt would be the free spirit. Not exactly the case as Gary would frequently act like the kooky dad during the race course, and Matt would be the more serious one.
They proved to be in the second tier of contenders as they won the second round of the season. After that they held their position in Vietnam with a third place finish. However, it would be confirmed that they would be second tier permanently as they finished fourth or fifth for the remaining six rounds of their time in the race. It doesn’t happen too often where a team finishes in only two positions other than first for six straight rounds.
They were given a second chance when they were saved by a Non Elimination Leg, but choked harder in their final round and probably performed worse than the other four teams anyway. They occasionally alluded to it being their worst performance throughout the round. I s’pose the Saunabuss threw them off their game as Matt couldn’t read words nor directions, and Gary probably had a musical about saunas stuck in his head.
Matt would go on to be apart of TAR’s Facebook community, and he would even go on to host his own online adaptations of reality shows. Sadly a failed version of Next Top Model led many to ridicule him, and he disappeared from the Internet ever since.
5) Eric & Lisa
Perhaps the only team from California this season that may have been cast as mactors, but had a worthy enough personality that you can understand why they have been cast.
You can see they thought being eliminated was as dumb as we all assessed it to be too.
I can only imagine how they watched from home seeing teams get approved by luck alone. . .and see a team be saved by non-elimination in the very first round.
If only they could have been numero freakin’ uno. They join Bilal & Sa’eed in the Super Duper Screwed teams in TAR history. Both teams would have been interesting to see go further, and both were robbed of a journey they worked so hard for.
6) Sam & Dan
Perhaps one of the youngest teams to run the race together, gay brothers Sam & Dan probably portrayed a high percentage of what high energy siblings in their early 20s would race. I am amazed to see the overall dislike for them on the Internet over the past five years. It never felt like they were mugging for the camera. In fact, they kept trying to lose the Globetrotters on their coattails because they didn’t want those celebrities to try and make the season about them.
Sam & Dan clearly did not care about a positive edit because their closest bond was with Maria & Tiffany. Editors were probably aiming to have us hate Maria & Tiffany based on Tiffany’s appearances on the World Series of Poker. But superfans Sam & Dan ultimately did not care. They liked them, and thus befriended them.
Yes, their constant whining, primarily from Dan, can be bothersome at times. But we had Mika this season. You knew Sam & Dan would complain but do the task anyway. Mika however is far more frustrating because of her outright refusal to do things.
Furthermore, Sam & Dan successfully called producers a douche and made light of the SARS epidemic. You would think they have spent a lifetime posting on Survivor Sucks.
Yes, they were never meant to beat Meghan & Cheyne at the end, but who could? Sam & Dan represented themselves well and deserved their second place finish. Would I like to see them come back? No. I like their legacy as it currently stands.
7) Meghan & Cheyne
What a gnarly victory. Meghan & Cheyne must be given major props for scoring a 2.0 average, and tying the record at the time with seven first place finishes (excluding Marc & Rovilson’s eight wins). Their California speak, and Meghan freaking out along the way was solid.
But that’s really it. Meghan had a couple of funny facial expressions, and overall I had a tough time writing about Meghan & Cheyne. They are highly skilled racers who made a Talladega Nights reference. My guess is they are fun to hang out with judging by how everyone except Garrett & Jessica like them, but will never make for great television much like Garrett & Jessica. I mean, the best material I had was a camera operator constantly filming Meghan’s butt.
So there. Don’t race too strong in the beginning, befriend all of the teams, communicate well with your partner, and race hard in the second half to destroy the race course and make the season yours.
Oh, and bribe the other dealers. That helps too.
8) Herb & Nate a.k.a. Flight Time & Big Easy
In fifth overall of the teams to not make Final Three, I cannot help but think to myself “are they really this high compared to the other eliminated teams?”
Let me be clear: I have zero desire to see them play a second time. Let alone a third on top of that.
If you stop the Harlem Globetrotters’ storyline with their appearance here in TAR 15, it is virtually perfect. It was a gimmicky team who are using freaking trademarked names. They’re essentially representing a brand and a company rather than themselves. That would be like if Lori & Bolo raced as Flying Implants & Small Testis as part of the WWE.
They’re the first team to only go by their real names less than half of the time, and in fact their trademarked names are used so frequently that you forget their names are Herb and Nate.
For a team named GLOBETROTTERS, and having traveled to over seventy countries to play basketball, they appeared to be very average at traveling the world. Once the weak links were gone, they feared elimination and losing airtime for their brand to the point that they followed each of the two strongest teams (mostly Sam & Dan who always hated the Globetrotters in return from the beginning), and stuck to that strategy so rigidly to ensure they were in the Final Four.
Oddly enough, a basketball team on TAR would go home at Final Four.
They continued the short-running tradition of TAR 12-Asia 3-13-14 of having a huge blunder made at Final Four followed by a really lame season finale.
I remember not seeing the episode when it aired, and only reading about it online the next day. My mother said “the task looked tough”. But man, you can’t unscramble a five letter word with only one vowel, and the word matches up with the museum you are visiting during the round?
Seriously, F-R-A-N-Z. Since it is the Czech Republic, you could make an argument that putting the letter ‘Z’ as the second letter in the word. But seriously, that leaves only ten to twenty reasonable combinations out of a total of one hundred-twenty possible permutations.
Flight Time & Big Easy are also the first team to get their own theme song. Once again, it’s the licensed Harlem Globetrotters theme that TAR was able to be purchased/awarded the rights to use whenever they wished.
In short, they may be the most one-dimensional team on TAR this season. They were portrayed to be this fun family-friendly team that are inspiring youth to get out of the projects and make a name for themselves.
So why do they have them higher than last place if they are one-dimensional?
Well, because if you read between the lines of their one-dimensional edit, you see a relatively rude team who loved to troll people. Yes, they were major followers, but you get the impression that they chose to follow Sam & Dan rather than Meghan & Cheyne most of the time because they knew it would annoy Sam & Dan more. I am convinced they wanted Sam & Dan to have a great reaction to ensure Sam & Dan would be edited as villains, and the Globetrotters would be granted the hero edit.
But, I mean, one of the top twenty meanest moments ever was when Globetrotters were dead last in round six, doomed to be out in seventh place and likely have their legacy end right there. However, Mika decided to be super duper useless rather than her usual super uselessness as Big Easy goes over-the-top with making sure Mika’s chances of going down the waterslide goes from 0.09% to 0.04% by psyching her out.
Yet the editors play it off as a light-hearted moment when, really, it is one of the biggest jerk moves ever seen. What we see in the next round is Big Easy recapping it for everyone else as they are all laughing hysterically at Big Easy’s storytelling.
Lastly, Flight Time & Big Easy’s desperation to stay alive as long as possible to push the brand rather than win did indeed spawn some character moments. Primarily you can point to the incident of pulling down Sam’s pants as they race to the pit stop. There was absolutely no reason to do so except to hide how big of followers they really are by finishing ahead of Sam & Dan.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Harlem Globetrotters and Bertram Van Munster had made some sort of financial deal that resulted in Flight Time & Big Easy being cast twice more.
P.S. Between Dubai watches and five-letter scrambled words and other tasks, Big Easy is not a very skilled TAR racer. His appearance shows the downside that having somebody like Andre the Giant would not be ideal to complete tasks in the TAR universe.
9) Maria & Tiffany
I went into this race absolutely despising producers for casting Tiffany. Do I need to touch upon all of the crap she did in the World Series of Poker again? Hating other women, annoying men by repeatedly saying they have a crush on her, and calling the clock on pots she was never supposed to be involved in, and doing this all for the sake of extra camera time on television.
Maybe this was the reason why they were the only all-female team cast this season. Perhaps producers did not want Tiffany acting catty towards another team.
That lie about them working with troubled teens was so weak that Tiffany openly admitted to a stranger she was a poker player with another team in earshot.
They quit on the third task of the season, but saved by a non-elimination and the smallest penalty ever for quitting a task.
Also, they were super lucky by grabbing the correct license plate at the starting line on their first try.
They were going to be eliminated in round two, but saved by Tiffany having a duck farming Roadblock that she had experienced in her childhood.
They would have been done in round four by a mile, but Justin lost Zev’s passport.
Then it was at the point where Lance & Keri and Mika decided to be useless at everything, so Maria & Tiffany were given two free passes.
Then a physical round came after a mental one, and we saw just how poorly Maria & Tiffany can be at certain tasks. They were sent home approximately six rounds after they should have been.
Maria & Tiffany should be grateful.
But seriously, I wonder if Maria & Tiffany would be Villains x 10, 000 if another all-female team was on the season.
Speaking of their edit, it went from Super Villains in the first two rounds to being Sam & Dan’s sidekicks for the next five. Editors were bumpuzzled in terms of what to do with them.
I am amazed I am ranking Maria & Tiffany this high, really. They exceeded my awfully low expectations.
P.S. I hate Joan Rivers.
10) Marcy & Ron
Not as great as the potential of Eric & Lisa, but heck, a monkey could get a higher ranking than Garrett & Jessica at this point.
Editors did not pay much attention to them. Ron was bald and Marcy was fearless for round one. In round two they were ignored. In round three we learned Marcy’s dad was a Vietnam vet. And considering they were eliminated at the site of where the Vietnam War ended, their elimination was practically tailor made. A bit spooky considering this will be the third of only four visits in twenty-two seasons of TAR, and the only one to go to the Reunification Palace.
Marcy was funky and fun. You can tell she is wound up with high energy. Ron’s face never recovered from being slapped with the clue. I also love how Ron ignored her ninety-nine percent of the time.
They were not long for the race given they finished really low in rounds one and two. The whistle did not help them.
Why they chose to do a really tough Detour (Word Play) while all other nine teams chose the other one (Child’s Play) is beyond me. The route info for Word Play had to be three times as long.
But hey, as long as they had a great bald time, right? Ron’s old cap should be proud.
11) Mika & Canaan
Why was Mika cast? She only did one out of six Roadblocks. She would not do anything that involved any sort of jumping, heights or water. In any team tasks she relied entirely on Canaan.
Her answers to get through the race were to try and pray instead of actually do it herself.
And I have a feeling much of the motivation to be on TV was to further her career, which if I recall correctly, has gone nowhere.
Canaan was not too bright either, but at least he was willing to do stuff. I can’t believe I am saying this, but his partner was more useless than Flo. Flo may be a quitter and complainer, but at least Flo had major competitive and strategic fire when needed. Plus she spoke foreign languages et al.
Mika did nothing. There will be three Roadblocks to come in the remaining six rounds that there is no way she would have done.
I blame producers for casting someone who clearly had zero clue what they were getting into, and served as nothing but pure fodder for the other teams.
They are the worst 7th place team in TAR history. 10th-8th-7th-7th-7th-7th. And what’s crazy is if Mika goes down that slide then they would have made it to top five. Unbelievable we were that close to a potential Mika & Canaan deep run into the season.
But then again, Mika would have to quit once she would be forced to do Roadblocks.
I am curious what Canaan was thinking when he saw the Roadblock count go from 1-1 to 2-1 to 3-1 to 4-1 to 5-1. He probably expected Mika to throw in the towel once number five was reached.
Did producers cast Mika for the sole purpose of humiliating her in this precise task? They had to know she was absolutely terrified of water and heights. And knew there was a good chance they could beat some of the crappier teams like Marcy & Ron or Lance & Keri to reach this point.
The only reason they beat Garrett & Jessica is because they still served up some entertainment and funny mind-boggling logic throughout the season.
And doesn’t it bother you that production cast a team knowing that 99% of airtime would be dedicated to embarrassing them?
It really is troubling.
12) Garrett & Jessica
That’s what you would be saying if it were not for my blog. I tried my best to make Garrett & Jessica entertaining for you. The most electrifying team in reality entertainment, Jessica as Colombiana, and Garrett’s Undertaker eyes.
They could not be a more boring team. Okay, maybe not as boring as Kris & Jon from The Amazing Race 14. . .wait, is that their real names? Ah, fudge it.
If I were a producer, these two would never be cast. Garrett sucks the energy out of a confessional. Jessica is not a great speaker either. If I was the person interviewing them in casting and after both pit stops, I would question my reason for living. I would beg to interview any other team.
Heck, I would beg to interview a blade of grass. I would hate to know who was the 13th team cut in favour of Garrett & Jessica to be on the show.
Garrett proposes to Jessica at Elimination Station. You can tell how healthy that marriage turned out.
In any event, you’re welcome, Garrett & Jessica. Because if it were not for me, nobody on the planet would remember you on The Amazing Race.
Rank the Legs
1) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -> Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Where to begin with this round?
I am not sure how much production intervened to ensure all nine teams were on the same flight, but hey, sometimes you have to give them benefit of the doubt, right?
Cambodia is a rare location for the series, so visiting a place like Cambodia earns big points right there.
Two unique clues were also used in this episode. The opening made teams speak in a whisper like a 1970s foreign journalist as they entered a cafe to receive their next clue. The costumes the journalists wore were amusing. So was Canaan’s refusal to initially read the clue.
The following clue being a picture of Jacqueline Kennedy which also is hanging at her suite on the opposite side of town was really creative. I thought that was really neat.
The Detour of Matching Scarves Like TAR Asia 3’s Handbags versus Selling Helmets to a Family of Four seemed relatively easy. But hey, the leaderboard did shift which means teams were better at it than others.
Although Brian & Ericka got freakin’ lucky.
The monkey Roadblock was really easy for the first two maneuvers, but the final one was difficult enough to shake up the leaderboard a bit too. I just think the first two tasks took a total of thirty seconds to complete. I wish it was five to ten maneuvers. Perhaps the scorching heat that day is what discouraged producers from pushing them.
The pit stop location was neat too, and interactions with taxi drivers and locals were fun.
Then the huge blunder for the leg. Zev & Justin rallied from dead last to make the first flight thanks to standby tickets. They were first to clear Customs, and hail the best taxi driver in TAR for years.
Everything went smoothly for the rest of the day minus Zev’s Roadblock performance, but the taxi driver made up a ton of time and arrived at the pit stop first.
Once there, and undoubtedly told about the prizes they won off-screen, Zev & Justin only find one of two passports. It was depressing to see the most well-liked team (unless you count Maria & Tiffany’s perspective) kick absolute butt on that leg, but find out they made a bigger blunder than Toni & Dallas.
Keep in mind Dallas lost their passports and money in TAR 13, but he was choking so much at each task that I can guarantee you him and Toni would have been eliminated no matter what.
In Zev & Justin’s case, I was expecting them to hit Final Three or Final Four of this season, but Justin misplacing crucial items for the second time in three rounds led to their elimination.
Cambodia has not been re-visited since despite being a great location in TAR 13 and 15.
P.S. Who can forget monkeys, unicycles, the band, and Lance challenging Phil to a fight after him and Keri missed ANOTHER clue?
2) Cai Be, Vietnam -> Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
No equalizers. They started out the day by traveling a couple hours via taxi to Ho Chi Minh City. The chaotic nature of Ho Chi Minh City and its ties to American history on an American program is always neat to see.
The Teri & Ian moment for this season came through Marcy whose experience became a side story for this round. Perhaps if she made it further her and Ron would have had a more dynamic edit.
The tasks were fine. Disassembling VCRs saw a shift in the leaderboard which means there was some skill to it. Same with the Child’s Play Detour with hauling the heavy animals across a few blocks to collect balloons.
Lance & Keri have officially taken the crown from Fran & Barry. Like, Lance & Keri missed the post office clue, the pit stop, lost on the way to the Roadblock, the lady holding the clue at the end of the Detour, and MISSED THE CLUE THEY WERE HOLDING IN THEIR HANDS!!!
Never before has a team screwed up on every single route marker during the leg.
And somehow they still survived.
The locations were fun. The interaction with locals was necessary after ignoring locals for the first two rounds. Doing a labour related task within the community was great.
I have no complaints about this round except why Marcy & Ron were silly enough to choose Word Play which looked really tough on paper.
The premiere was awful. The second round was passable. But this round? Now we are finally back on track with what Amazing Race is supposed to be like.
P.S. I enjoyed the uniqueness of grabbing the bullet from a dragon’s mouth, needing to open the bullet, and seeing the picture of the post office inside. I thought that was a nice way to start the round.
3) Stockholm, Sweden -> Tallinn, Estonia
A new country added to TAR’s catalogue after fifteen years? Hell yeah!
TAR’s only visit to Estonia was surprisingly tame. Sadly, pit stop departures were once again an arbitrary amount of time, and had teams waiting nearly 30 hours to get on a ferry and cross the Baltic Sea.
While the Brotherhood of the Blackheads came off as a rather racist secret society, it ironically enough only had White people inside. The four teams could solve the key task easily as they copied each other in pairs.
The toughest part of the leg occurred as the Roadblock was a very Treasure Hunters-esque puzzle. Find a candelbrah, identify the number, and match it with room number. Once inside, pick up scroll on piano and use a candle (without any brothers) to reveal the location of their next clue.
The Detour/final task of the round and pit stop being combined for the fourth round in a row shows laziness and a lack of budget on part of producers. The order of finish miraculously changed in the two minutes it takes to run to the tower because the Harlem Globetrotters have zero sense of direction.
Gary & Matt were given a ton of airtime in their farewell round. Seeing how they were the least shown of the top five teams for the first eight rounds, I am glad they finally received the attention they deserved. Matt being c—blocked by his dad’s singing in the Saunabuss as his hopes of getting laid by the blonde-haired woman evaporated, messing up directions, Matt not knowing what a candelbrah was, their Sicilian taxi driver, and their tearful farewell as Zev made fun of Gary’s emotions.
Oh, and then that whole accusation of Sam & Dan throwing an elbow at the Globetrotters on the way to the pit stop after the Globetrotters stalked them the whole round as if Flight Time turned into Caleb and Sam & Dan fused together to become Amber.
Seriously, Globetrotters forcing them to share taxis and tailing teams against their will from the second they set their foot in Tallinn really dropped their credibility.
4) Dubai, UAE -> Zoutkamp, Netherlands
Ah yes. A season which only visits two continents, and round seven marks the transition into Europe.
I loved the character scenes at the start of the round, and I also love that they had to self-drive as well as self-bike most of the round.
On paper, all they had to do was count 63 bells and play either three holes of Croqolf or have a classic circus game/folk dance/herring feast.
You would think these were four Detour options, but it’s not. I love that they finally threw a physical round at them. The worst of it up to this point has been either paddling or enduring heat. Very little running or co-ordination required up to this point.
Counting bells was really easy for five out of six teams. I am puzzled how Ericka spent two hours on it.
The swim to the golf area then play golf was neat. The three teams who completed it all did it fairly easily.
The other Detour option seemed really easy for Brian & Ericka and Harlem Globetrotters. Hit the bell which takes ten seconds, learn a dance which takes ten minutes, then eat a herring full of onions which appears to take just under a minute.
Wasabi bombs are probably tougher than a herring for most teams. How Matt was compelled to switch at the sight of herring is beyond me.
Earlier I said that the top five teams alive at the end of the episode are on their own playing field while the other six teams were bound to go at one point or another.
But after seeing Gary & Matt’s performance, Ericka’s performance and Brian’s reading comprehension, and Big Easy’s inability to do most tasks, I see only two contenders now.
Sam & Dan and Megan & Cheyne are truly in their own league. The other three teams are one tier below, and the first six eliminated teams all are terrible in one way or another.
What is the most shocking thing is to learn that only Sam & Dan, Megan & Cheyne, and Gary & Matt are the only three of the top seven teams who know how to swim up to par.
I am usually annoyed with pit stops that are really close by because they tend to be too easy to find, and place that much more emphasis on the tasks rather than skill level.
Now to the controversial part. Was Maria & Tiffany screwed due to being the only all-female team where a woman had to hit the top of the High Striker?
The answer is no. We saw how close Tiffany was after three laps of swimming, several rounds of golf, and nearly thirty swings later. If she put that same energy and form into her first swing, Maria & Tiffany probably finish near the top.
And can we comment how out of shape Maria was for most of the season? We also touched upon how poor Tiffany’s cardio was from time to time.
And if Maria & Tiffany were screwed at the Detour, who cares? They were saved by America’s first ever opening round non-elimination after they quit the task, and when Zev & Justin lost their passports. Those are two rounds where they should have been out in eleventh or ninth already.
Just because Maria has one good round in the previous episode suddenly doesn’t make up for how crappy they were before, and declare their elimination to be a “robbery”.
Overall, this leg looked weak, but two teams managed to suck so badly that we are given the false impression that this was one of the toughest rounds ever.
5) Prague, Czech Republic -> Prague, Czech Republic
Going into a room that is 180 degrees below zero? Brutal.
I hate that Big Easy and his fans feel betrayed by Dan who Big Easy stalked for the whole season, and repeatedly antagonized Sam & Dan during this process. Somehow, Dan being kind enough to practically do the task for Big Easy and allow him to copy once again was viewed as a dirty move.
I think the response to Dan helping Big Easy shows the bias against Sam & Dan, and the obvious casual fandom for Flight Time & Big Easy.
This round proved why none of the remaining teams have a chance of beating Meghan & Cheyne barring bad luck or a minor slip-up. They slaughtered the competition.
Brian & Ericka were by far the most entertaining team of the round as I found myself laughing out loud when they were at the club and dealing with the city’s drunks.
I approve of all of the tasks. It was much better than what we saw in the previous round. This was a worthy penultimate round, but they really needed to have more travel rather than the whole round being completed in about seven or eight hours total.
The elimination of the Globetrotters signalled the first time that a team would be rewarded for being given a dishonest edit in the form of playing a caricature that did not represent their true personalities on the race. Sadly this trend will continue heading into the very next season.
I will never get over the fact that Big Easy quit a five-letter word scramble where he had only twenty-four possibilities to answer. Maria & Tiffany were more persistent than that.
Lastly, this round continued the four-season tradition of having an exciting penultimate leg heading into what will be a rather dull final leg. Thankfully that will be the end of this trend as the next couple seasons will feature much more exciting finishes.
P.S. The supervisors must have hated listening to those telephones ring for eight hours. I bet Flight Time & Big Easy taking a four hour penalty, thus leaving the supervisors inside for four additional hours absolutely tortured them.
6) Tallinn, Estonia -> Prague, Czech Republic
A new country for the TAR US catalogue is sadly tainted by stupidity on the part of producers.
An unmemorable needle in the haystack Roadblock is compensated with an amusing Don Giovanni impersonator. Sadly a crappy needle in a haystack leg cannot be forgiven because a caricature is placed front and centre.
The teams broke off every single bond except the one between Sam & Dan and Meghan & Cheyne as the four teams screwed each other over when it came to working together or stealing taxis. It really made up for the lameness of this round.
This round is given a boost because this is a new European country for TAR to visit. Only three more European countries will appear in the TAR universe, if I’m not mistaken.
The Detour was a bit lame. Traversing a rope course against a near impossible boating task made all teams choose one by default. Well, Sam & Dan had to fail the boating one three times, but yet again we see a lopsided affair when it comes to Detour options.
Miraculously, nobody quit traversing the ropes.
You know why else I thought this leg was better than several others? And not just because there was a really fat taxi driver? Because the pit stop was not ten feet away from the most recent task. Teams had to take a taxi to the pit stop for one of few rounds this season.
Oh, and there was the final non-elimination this round which had to occur by default. I doubt Brian & Ericka ever felt in danger.
Lastly, I believe Czech Pragas work better than Hungarian Travants or Mongolian Jeeps.
7) Phnom Penh, Cambodia -> Dubai, United Arab Emirates
I love self-drive legs. . .but I HATE needles in haystacks.
ROADBLOCK: Search the desert for one of few urns that contains water.
DETOUR: Find a snowman in a huge mound or build it yourself.
It was TAR’s second trip to Dubai (previous trip was in TAR 5). Much like TAR Asia 1, they checked out the desert and the indoor ski resorts.
Our first Fast Forward since TAR 14’s unaired orphanage Fast Forward was ignored by all teams, and Megan & Cheyne were the first team to claim it since Nick & Starr ate cow butt before Terence’s vegetarian stomach could.
The race car Fast Forward would oddly enough be re-used in a United Arab Emirates trip in TAR 23.
The main storyline for this round was heavily centred around Brian & Ericka helping every team not named Flight Time, Big Easy, Lance, or Keri.
The initial trip to the tallest tower on the planet was neat. Seeing how it was making the skyscrapers downtown look miniscule in comparison, you get a sense that this is one building you would be terrified to do some tower jumping.
Maria helped repair the reputation of Asian female drivers by puncturing her radiator when she ran into a visible stake.
The other continuing story of the round was Maria & Tiffany finishing sixth, Mika & Canaan finishing seventh, and Lance & Keri finishing eighth for the fifth round in a row as the other five teams continued to play for who actually has a chance in Hell of winning the season.
Dan’s ladle breaking through no fault of his own was funny. I love that he acted like he could not scoop out water without Tiffany’s ladle when the bowl portion of his ladle was still functioning.
The round ends on a depressing note as Lance & Keri get beaten by Mika & Canaan. The lion is put to rest. One day he shall roar again.
8) Dubai, UAE -> Dubai, UAE
Hello, budget cuts! I hate it when they do back-to-back rounds in the same city. Having two rounds in the same country already annoyed viewers in the earlier seasons.
The Detour was by far the best part about this round. Counting the gold rate versus assembling hookahs appeared to be two difficult tasks if you weren’t a mathematically sensible person or knowing how to put things together.
The Roadblock? That seemed much easier than what Big Easy made it out to be.
Traveling by taxi was a bit boring. Why not drive themselves like last round?
And combining the pit stop with a ten second task that should have been uneventful is lazy.
Seriously, this round would have been very unmemorable if not for Mika being a three year old in disguise.
I should give kudos for Maria & Tiffany doing the best of any team this round. This will be the lone time I give them any credit without a backhanded remark.
Hopefully nothing ridiculous happens next round too. . .oh wait.
9) Tokyo, Japan -> Cai Be, Vietnam
Producers must have known it was going to be a two-hour two round season premiere beforehand, because there are very few tasks this round.
Placing mud against fruit trees, walking to a farmer’s festival to herd ducks, and walking to the pit stop were the only things they did.
Yes, there was a flight and bus scramble, but none of that mattered as all teams were on the same plane and all teams were equalized at the docks.
The best part about this round is that editors went back to traditional TAR 1 style of editing. There were few tasks, and were crammed into the end of the episode. Their focus was instead on ten of the eleven teams. I say ten because Marcy & Ron were rarely shown for the whole episode.
A surprising amount of focus was on Maria & Tiffany and Sam & Dan. The Globetrotters may go on to play three times, but they were really near the bottom for airtime. Zev & Justin stole the show for their rollercoaster ride as Justin choked with losing the clue but Zev not only gave away his jacket to a stranger but made up a ton of time at the duck herding task.
Maria & Tiffany could have been the first team in TAR history to play two rounds of TAR and finish with a 11.0 average, but the Roadblock being a duck herding task which Tiffany did when she was a kid may be the biggest miracle they could have hoped for.
We learn about Tiffany’s identity because, well, she flat out revealed it to a stranger with teams within earshot, and made the episode about her. God she’s so selfish.
Oh, and the Speed Bump was super easy as usual. People have been complaining that the Country Singers had it too easy with Speed Bumps in TAR 24, but viewers forget that easy Speed Bumps date all the way back to TAR 15. Serving soup or transporting a typewriter?
Even with the faults of this round, it was still ten times the first round. Because instead of it being a cheap game show, this round truly felt like we were watching The Amazing Race.
Oh, and Garrett & Jessica were eliminated. How tragic.
10) Zoutkamp, Netherlands -> Vasby, Sweden
I liked that it was self-driving for the whole leg. The amusement park was a thrill, but a bit too easy considering only one of them had to do it rather than both. That seemed unnecessary to restrict them like that when it wasn’t a Roadblock.
Travelocity managed to get the TAR Asia-like unnecessary additional task plug, but those are usually necessary to help pay for the show and give out cool prizes. Unlike TAR 24 where they contribute to extremely dull prizes.
The Detour was lopsided. Who in their right minds would choose to learn the Norse alphabet when you can FREAKIN’ EXPLODE DYNAMITE IN PUBLIC THROUGH A LEGAL AND TELEVISIED FASHION! I feel bad for the Vikings who had to stand outside all day. If they knew dynamite was the other option, I bet they would not bother to show up.
TAR debuted the Switchback twist where they duplicated the geography and circumstances of a past task. This time it was the dumbest Roadblock in production’s history–the hay bales Roadblock. A Roadblock so dumb that a team was stuck doing it for ten hours without any other method to find the clue faster.
Sure, this season made it a non-elimination knowing how dumb the task is, but it should never have been brought back again. Switchbacks should do Hall of Fame tasks. Not Hall of Shame tasks.
And why Lena & Kristy were not brought back for TAR 18 (okay, I know because Jodi Wincheski is the most biased casting director ever) or for TAR 24 is beyond me. Maybe TAR 30 will be their time?
Nevermind. The Globetrotters will take their spot and play for a fourth time instead. Tough break, ladies.
11) Prague, Czech Republic -> Las Vegas, Nevada, Rachel Reilly City, United States
Equalizer! Which has always happened since TAR 11. For some reason teams aren’t allowed to fight for flights on the final leg anymore.
The bouquet task was fine. Given how many attempts Ericka needed, I would assume it was difficult.
Hey, Wayne Newton! Your new face doesn’t look a day over three years old!
It’s funny that the finish line was at a location that no longer exists. Wayne Newton’s house has since been repossessed and was sold out to somebody else.
The clue of “go to the most famous casino in Monaco” proved to be surprisingly tough for a team that has dominated nearly the whole season. Was that really the toughest challenge they faced?
I wish a final leg could be self-drive for once in American TAR.
Meghan & Cheyne win the final leg to tie the record in surprise to no one, but the reason why this leg is ranked near the bottom is because of the chip counting task. The dealer/producers screwed up counting Brian & Ericka’s chips, therefore potentially altering the outcome of the season.
We have no idea if Meghan & Cheyne truly won The Amazing Race. To this day it will remain one of TAR’s biggest mysteries.
12) Los Angeles, USA -> Tokyo, Japan
Oh god. Where to begin? The design for this round is worse than I remembered. I fully understand now why I quit watching TAR until TAR 20 after this episode aired.
Nothing makes sense. I know this world cannot function without a few idiots in the mix, but did all of them need to be working on the design for The Amazing Race 15?
Every decision they made needs to be followed by a chorus of “Why?!”
Why did they need to eliminate the first team at the starting line?
Why did we need a task at the starting line? What does searching for license plates have to do with the city of Los Angeles or Tokyo?
Why not let teams drive to LAX and determine their own order for flights?
Why do a task at the starting line when you can only do two tasks in Japan?
When the starting line task is essentially in a studio, why did we need the Tokyo task to be in a studio too? What does a game show inside of a Japanese studio have to do with Japanese culture?
Why make it an equalizer at the Roadblock to negate any reason for putting teams on separate flights?
Why make it a randomized order of who eats the wasabi rolls rather than the order of when they arrived?
Why have those unique graphics that make it look like they are meant for a Nickelodeon or YTV game show?
Why have the pit stop immediately after the Roadblock?
Why couldn’t Maria & Tiffany keep track of their tourists?
Why have a non-elimination in a round where you eliminated somebody at the starting line? That is extraordinarily insulting to Eric & Lisa.
What a waste for an awesome location like Tokyo.
I will go on record to say that this is the worst leg design in the history of The Amazing Race. It was awful from start to finish.
P.S. Not only did Eric & Lisa skip out on Elimination Station, but they also refused to be at the Finish Line. It was their stance against putting up with this awful twist which prevented it from appearing ever again.
Season Rankings Updated
Scroll down to the Conclusion section. For the first time ever, I included a short summary for each of the eighteen seasons that I have blogged about to date. Where does TAR 15 fall?
1. The Amazing Race 5 – 9.2/10
“After a year off the air, and TAR comes back with its most epic race course ever. Producers put all of their chips on the table like UFC owners did with TUF 1, and the payoff was enormous.
We had TAR 6 an 7 green-lighted, produced, and aired less than ten months after TAR 5 aired. Everyone and their mother was talking about what was going on in TAR 5 throughout the summer.
The two teams you wanted out the most were gone in the first two episodes. The second team did so by repeating Amanda & Chris’ feat from TAR 4.
The most format changes until TAR 12 would take place for this season as producers wanted to give viewers a new feel to the series. Not the least of which was the beginning of the Yield, and began the tradition of allowing one team to flip off another team and shove them into the dirt for a pre-determined amount of time. What was even better is that the Yield was offered -every- round. Unlike today where U-Turns only appear twice or thrice per season.
Colin & Christie, Chip & Kim, and Charla & Mirna are three of the ten biggest characters in TAR history. We were amazed to see them all be cast for the same freakin’ season. Because they all made it at least halfway through the game, there was never a dull moment. Include Marshall & Lance, Bob & Joyce, Jim & Marsha, Bowling Moms, and the antics of Kamkar made for a top of the line cast.
It is a crime that neither Colin & Christie nor Chip & Kim have been brought back. Colin & Christie did not compete in TAR 11 because Christie had a kid.
So was she pregnant during TAR 18 and TAR 24 too? Where was Charla & Mirna’s invite for TAR 24? Where are Chip & Kim’s invites, too?
These three teams made headlines all season long to the point that Charla & Mirna were incorporated into numerous TV sketch parodies for the following year. They were the face of TAR for season five, and returned to be the faces for TAR 11. Again, how did the Globetrotters, Cowboys, and Margie & Luke play three times instead of them?
Oh, the route? Incredible. It holds a permanent record of being the best route of any TAR season. Argentina to Russia to Egypt to Tanzania to Dubai to India to New Zealand sends chills down my spine.
I mean, they went to freakin Egypt. Can we just give it a nine for that alone?
So why is it not a ten? They eliminated my favourite twist, the weekly Fast Forward, Brandon & Nicole survived for nine rounds too long, Colin didn’t actually get thrown in jail for the night in Tanzania, and Kamkar didn’t fall off the map for their stupidity.
Caviar, chocolate, and eggs also makes for too many Roadblocks involving local delicacies.
P.S. A TAR book was named after a Colin quote from this season. How is this not number one?
2. The Amazing Race 12 – 9.0/10
You want to fix the worst problems with TAR, but have your first new cast after All Stars be a bunch of people from California? This season could have mixed results.
But it worked. Cutting down on non-eliminations, experimentation with U-Turns and Speed Bumps, new players, fewer rounds of play, shorter rounds, and eccentric old people made for a really fun season of television. This was the most popular season of TAR in terms of US ratings.
Annoying and useless teams went home first, but the villains rightfully went home in fourth. Sprinkle in a couple of stars along the way, and you have a very feel-good season. Feel-good television typically does not apply to fierce competitions like TAR and Survivor. But really, it is very relaxing. It is also the ideal season for a re-watch.
The final Roadblock task is considered the best final task ever done in TAR history. A difficult brain teaser is all that is needed to satisfy viewers.
Sure, you may find the winners likeable but boring, but look at the winners we have on the horizon until TAR 16.
I love that players approaching seventy years old can find success in TAR, and not be super entitled about it. I love that some racers have their personalities change throughout the course of the season. I love that a team you thought would win every round would get eliminated halfway through in a big upset.
Along with TAR 5 and TAR 9, it was responsible for helping the series recover and gain its primetime hold. There may not be any -huge- moments, but just a fun race course that will make you laugh, smile, and sit back along the way.”
3. The Amazing Race 7 – 8.8/10
Wedged between TAR 6 and TAR 8: Family Edition, TAR 7 really needed to deliver.
The stakes of the non-elimination penalties were raised, and production intentionally set up inevitable intense foot races to last for the mat.
Villains were known even before the game began as Rob & Amber came off their boring Survivor: All Stars to potentially corrupt TAR. They annoyed most of us with exploiting Danny & Oswald’s strategies by combining it with their temporary celebrity status. They were essentially the precursor to the Harlem Globetrotters Strategy except Romber were a bit better when working on their own.
Ray’s rivalry with the elderly, the Mendoza Meat Roadblock, The Legend of Brian & Greg, the car crash, head shaving and other over-the-top India adventures, and old people falling underground contributed to a memorable season.
But it was all topped by the season finale. Uchenna & Joyce had nothing in the middle of a third world country after coming last in the shortest leg in TAR history up to that point. They begged and begged and begged for resources until they had enough to get out of the country. Somehow they make up a 200 hour deficit and get on the same flight as Romber to Miami.
Uchenna & Joyce miraculously build up one of their rare leads in the final destination city before realizing they could not pay their cab at the finish line. What ensued was one of the craziest scrambles ever as viewers were ready to torch CBS Studios if Romber would casually stroll by a frantic Uchenna & Joyce to win the game.
A great finish truly makes a worldly difference in competitions. TAR 7 is no exception.”
4. The Amazing Race 3 – 8.7/10
“Ah, the beginning of my obsession with Survivor, TAR, and The Mole. Survivor Thailand, The Mole 2, and here we have TAR 3.
It has been close to three years since I last watched this season, but before that I watched it at least once per year. The only reason why it is not number one is because it had too many equalizers, and I have yet to decide whether I love or hated that the ending trolled me.
Epic Flat Tires.
Tramel & Talicia’s lone celebration.
The fall of Heather & Eve.
The fall of Gerard on a punt.
A cop is placed under arrest.
Michael “213” & Kathy.
The heroics of John Vito & Jill.
The emotional turnaround of Ian & Teri.
Just two of these elements in any season would be great. But here in TAR 3 we were spoiled as all of these went down in the span of thirteen rounds.
I will forever remember being in the sixth grade and having my classmates and teacher watch Heather & Eve’s humiliation for all of us to re-watch. I still have a copy of the tape I specifically brought to class that day.”
5. The Amazing Race 9 – 8.6/10
“Perhaps the most unexpected pre-All Star season to do well. Coming off of Family Edition which pushed the show to 10:00pm timeslot and inevitable death, TAR was close to being written off.
Much like TAR 5 and TAR 12, TAR 9 is right up there for saving the series. Greece, Sicily, Moscow, Oman, and Tokyo all delivered with their respective debuts. This season was really the story of two teams having one epic season long showdown. Sure, Fran & Barry, Lake & Michelle, and Ray & Janet Jackson were decent supporting characters, but Eric & Doug Roobaker versus BJ & Tyler is what we all remember.
Not John & Scott, and MoJo, surprisingly.
BJ & Tyler are pretty much the Tom Westman of TAR. Ninety percent of all viewers absolutely loved them, and everyone always says ‘my favourite season? That one with the hippies’.
Editors embraced the 10:00pm timeslot as this season had some of the most mature content ever released, but also happened to be a season long comedy show. Fran & Barry’s missed clues, Lake’s yelling, Lisa & Joni’s run, Dani & Danielle not knowing they were terrible, Dave & Lori’s adorable nerdiness, and locals enjoying their interactions with teams.
Shockingly, Mugged for Elimination would end with this season despite it being the most entertaining Mugged for Eliminations ever. It is parallel to Exile Island ending immediately after Coach went there in Survivor: Tocantins.
This features the second most exciting finish in TAR history. Eric & Jeremy are ahead at the final task. All you have to do is match up several flags in the order you visited them. In a Rovilson-like fashion, they choke as BJ passes them with the finish line in plain sight. It was easily the most exciting moment that the state of Colorado had ever seen.
Lastly, Doug Roobaker may be my favourite moment in TAR history.”
6. The Amazing Race 2 – 8.5/10
“Sadly this is the season I have seen the least, but that does not stop it from getting a high rating.
Sure, the route was lame considering how much overlap it had with the original, but we saw a ton of new and neat locations. TAR was not quite out of the documentary stage yet as we saw raw travel footage. This is reality TV nostalgia right here along with TAR 3.
Shola & Doyin were the original tragic characters as nothing would go their way, Tara & Wil may be the biggest jackasses to ever dominate the race, and the beginning of Metrosexual Loners Danny & Oswald. Remember Fern?
A ton of crazy things happen despite it being only the second season. The Africa drunken pit stop fight between Pastor Russell, Wil the Jackass, and Alex the Slightly Less of a Jackass? Gutsy Grannies being the original players to sleep through their pit start but somehow surviving two eliminations as well as being the only team to enter Europe all season, the Blake & Paige controversy, and lastly. . .it deserves its own paragraphs.
The most talked about final twenty minutes in perhaps of any reality TV season. The love triangle of Tara, Wil, and Alex finally facing off for a million bucks. Chris & Alex have done terrible most of the season. They had been saved by non-elimination twice because Wil screwed them over. Tara & Wil meanwhile showed nice guys can GTFO as they had few problems staying ahead of the competition, and Tara manipulating Chris & Alex for a chunk of the race.
Then everything leading up to Baker’s Circle and concluding with the most iconic foot race to end a worldwide marathon. You have undoubtedly seen the footage 20, 000 times as TAR bashes you over the head with it. Chris & Alex were disliked for 95% of the season, but their reputation turned around in a matter of ten minutes of television.”
7. The Amazing Race 11: Real All Stars – 7.2/10
“The best all-star format of any season seen in Survivor, Big Brother, and TAR history. Phil submitted a list of fifteen teams that he would love to see again. They were either really popular and/or really skilled. Production picked ten of these teams, and added the hybrid team of Eric & Danielle because Eric & Jeremy would have had a 1.10 race average if they competed.
Would we love to see a winning team from each season, and two Linz teams to have an eleven-team all winners edition? Absolutely. Would we have loved to see each season represented including Lance Bass? Absolutely. But for what reputation Survivor and Big Brother had, what TAR gave us was very fair and above average.
The route, the tasks, the travel, the stories, and the characters all collided for a season that for some odd reason was not well liked by the audience. Perhaps the LGBTQ community was pissed a Frat boy managed to whip an all-male gay team, and two all-female teams at Final Four as he had a partner who was viewed as spoiled and worthless (she did get 500k out of it).
Compared to casting for TAR 18 and 24, this all-star had the only true all-star cast of the entire series. None of the choices evoked a “Mary Who?” response, and catching up with our original stars along with new frontrunners made for an interesting clash.
It truly marks the end of an era as many familiar format rituals will be disregarded almost immediately after the season is over (Yields, Intersection, four NELs, 13 rounds, Marked for Elimination, multiple final cities in final leg, non-memory tasks, etc.).
Which is what makes TAR 11: Real All Stars such a great season. It effectively wraps up the core of the TAR franchise, and closes the chapter on some of the most important reality TV characters who can pat themselves on the shoulders for preventing TAR’s cancellation.
I urge the many people who view this as a bad season to re-watch and think about everything TAR accomplished because of the people playing, and enjoy the insane Africa rounds of play. Also, please appreciate Eric a bit more. Otherwise, there is no hope for you.”
8. The Amazing Race Asia 2 – 7.19/10
The golden season for the Asia series. Producers went all out for this season, and boy oh boy, they were rewarded for it. Adrian may be the most badass contestant we have had to race with a disability (Luke could learn from Adrian), and go on to win. Until David O’ Leary suffered from Crybabyitis.
Producers learned from their mistakes in TAR Asia 1 except for stuffing the race with five non-eliminations. Perhaps a case could be made that Marc & Rovilson were too rich/well-travelled/athletic/good at everything except flags for them to be allowed onto the race.
Put that aside and you have a base for what separates good seasons from great seasons. Anything above a 7.0 is a -great- season to me. Seeing Marc & Rovilson dominate, no, SLAUGHTER everyone for 80% of the race until Adrian & Collin began to rally, and top it all off with Adrian passing Marc & Rovilson at the final task had an incredible payoff. Oh, and Pamela & Vanessa passing Marc & Rovilson at the final task too equated to the biggest choke in TAR history.
Later on we would see Czech Republic make its debut even before TAR 15 could get there, and certain places in South Africa we had never seen before.
We also were exposed to the only team in TAR history to finish dead last in back-to-back legs at the beginning of the season. Somehow those two weren’t Henry & Terri, who hit three non-eliminations as Terri may be one of the most uncooperative racers ever. Paula & Natasha were a rare combination of being young, all-female, nerds, and doing well in the race.
We also had two mothers from Malaysia become the villains in the eyes of the other racers as them, Pamela & Vanessa, and Paula & Natasha made it very possible for an all-female team to win yet again in TAR Asia.
Lastly, the first four rounds were single-handedly carried by French Born Aurelia as we ventured through a familiar New Zealand and Philippines. Seriously. Watch the season just for French Born Aurelia alone. I cannot even come up with the French word for why she is amazing.
9. The Amazing Race (1) – 7/10
“The adventure and experiment of a lifetime begins as Bertram Van Munster and Phil Keoghan are apart of the first season. It is tough to rank it because it is edited more as a travel documentary rather than a competition.
For those of you who only know the Guidos and Kevin & Drew from their laughable performances in All Stars, watch this season. Your opinion of them will change for the better.
Note that this season featured so few equalizers that the top two teams managed to build a lead of well over 24 hours on the trailing two teams by the end of the season. This will never happen again.”
10. The Amazing Race 13 – 6.8/10
“This season has a very unique combination of being funky and good. This marked the final season in TAR’s transition era. No U-Turns were used and much of the format including the shortened eleven round format was copied from TAR 12.
The route was great for the first half of the season, but spending four of the last six rounds in Delhi and Moscow really hampered the season. A mixture of jaw-dropping blunders never before seen on TAR through no fault of the teams being terrible, watching a team prove that you can indeed virtually win every leg as well as the season, and decent casting made for an entertaining season.
Not only did we see the first ever super duper dominant brother-sister team take the first sibling crown, but a mother-son team proved that you can do well on the race as long as you hang onto your passport. Frowny McFrownerson was simultaneously a buzzkill but fun to irritate, the bra gate incident which led to teams forever being sequestered at pit stops, the great tale of Dandrew, the whiniest male contestant since Adam from TAR 6, Cabbie on the Street, and Mark & Bill all contributed to a fun adventure.
Tina tried to exchange this for a bigger rating, but it failed. Seeing Cambodia and Bolivia debut is the only reason why I have this above TAR Asia 3. Yes, again, seeing a team lose their passport at the most painful point possible gives this a boost as well.”
11. The Amazing Race Asia 3 – 6.7/10
“This season was definitely a step down from TAR Asia 2’s amazing route and cast, but it provided a surprisingly solid season.
Hyped as #toughestracever , what it really meant is that vomit-inducing cuisines, physical activity in really high temperatures, super extended rounds, late night tasks, and needle in a haystack tasks that made unrolling Swedish hay bales look like a cake walk covered the first six rounds of the game.
The second half saw a drop in overall difficulty but a favourable route for quitters Sam & Vince. Tragically, Sam & Vince would go on to win the game just one day after taking a four hour penalty because Sam could not pull himself twenty more feet across a gorge.
Why is the rating for this season nearly a seven then despite bad winners, needle in haystacks, and a bad route? Well, because the casting was really really goooood in the words of Audrey from TARC 2. Ida & Tania were simultaneously dominant and underdogs throughout the season as their late season run pointed towards a victory in the final leg, but was sadly not meant to be. Mai & Oliver, Henry & Bunn-eh, Niroo & Kapil, Geoff 26 & Tisha 31, and all-male team A.D. & Fuzzie set up for an incredible cast.
It would have been 6.8 if not for Isaac & William. What the hell were they thinking when casting them?
Perhaps the biggest improvement on previous TAR Asia instalments is that the number of non-eliminations was dropped from three to five. Although with this cast it was always sad to see anyone go.”
12. The Amazing Race 10 – 6.5/10
“Its two biggest faults: An opening round twist which eliminated one team halfway through the premiere, and perhaps a contender for the dullest winners to date in a horribly designed finale leg.
In between that you have a strong season. Mongolia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Ukraine, and Kuwait all appear for the first and only time this season. The Six Pack versus Rob & Kim and Tyler & James lasts all the way to the end, Rob breaking down cars, an out-of-shape all-women’s team is the first all-female team to be in the Final Three, brother-sister team David & Mary, Social Outcasts and Chipmunks Dustin & Kandice, Condescending Quitter Peter/Prequel to Rex Harrington & One-Legged Sarah make up for the beginning and ending.
This marks the first of three Intersections and the first of two seasons with the Marked for Elimination penalty.
It is perhaps the most creative production and the most epic route that TAR has ever done. Again, a jump to an eight or higher is very possible if not for its start and conclusion.”
13. The Amazing Race 4 – 6.25/10
“TAR 4 offered very few new things. An overall likeable cast, a route that spent too much time in Europe while going virtually nowhere new despite it being only the fourth season, and is the only season other than TAR 8 and 24 which pushed TAR closest to cancellation. The show goes away for a full year after this season.
Kelly & Jon are odd figures to become villains, the initial dominant alliance gets slaughtered quickly, Monica & Sheree talk about luxuries of being married to NFL players, and the most important figures on reality TV for the gay company even more than Richard Hatch appear this season.
Oh, and remember Jon & Al who had a 96% popularity rating? Even more popular than Jessie Camacho from Survivor: Africa? They help carry this season. The creepy and gropey Mumbai local did not have a 96% popularity rating, sadly.
It will be the last season to have a Fast Forward offered each round, and was the most fascinating part about the series. Sadly it will never return.”
14. The Amazing Race 15 – 4.9/10
“The season premiere, the return to the hay bales task, and the finale are three rounds that should never happen in TAR. Eliminating a team at the starting line and having nothing to do in Japan before a non-elimination; making teams roll hay bales AGAIN; and a dealer who screwed Brian & Ericka out of what could have been the most unexpected victory of all time.
Flight Time & Big Easy were the first team to be cast without using their real names and representing a brand. This is a horrible direction that the series would go into over these next five years, and probably until it gets cancelled by the time TAR 25 wraps up in the Friday Night Death Slot.
There were also casting choices who quit too such as Maria & Tiffany and Mika who were truly incapable of reaching the finish line, Yes, Maria & Tiffany had one good round, but they could not have reached the end. It is no surprise that Meghan & Cheyne essentially raped the competition once they put more effort into winning each round.
It may be billed as a season full of blunders by players with visits to Czech Republic and Estonia for the first time, but the above errors by producers when it came to casting and twists were outrageous that it ultimately makes it a failure.”
15. The Amazing Race Asia 1 – 4.55/10
“The first expansion outside of America. It featured the first all-female victory ever, granted one of the winners indirectly worked for the TV network which produced the season.
Again, five non-eliminations really held up the momentum of the season. Andy & Laura can only do so much, Mardy & Marsio could only eat so much like they were Brad Pitt or Sally & Tyson, Sahran’s fear of heights constantly, and Sahil & Prashant’s rage after their penalty.
The locations were repeated in the US TAR for the most part. Their inexperience was noticeable when they had things like the Bali beach task where producers had to change the rules on the spot, and a huge number of penalties for the first half of the season that left everyone confused. Remember the formula of being penalized the following round for two minutes per kilometre driving over the speed limit?
Luckily TAR Asia improves greatly for seasons two and three. You can forgive its failing debut.”
16. The Amazing Race 8 – 4.0/10
“This is what the audience wanted. Production earns points for having a unique theme and giving it a try. Unfortunately, the restrictions of travel, and a glaring drop in difficulty of tasks turned off the audience. In fact, it is what pushed the series to the brink of cancellation again as the show finds itself airing at 10:00pm until it recovers by TAR 10. As soon as teams exit Costa Rica and enter Arizona, the Midwest theme as teams put up with an unprecedented FIVE non-eliminations bored everyone.
The crazy antics of the Weavers being isolated, being the first to be yielded twice, and asking producers to help them behind the scenes kept up the raw entertainment along with Linzes and Christine Godlewski. And did you know it is just over a year before Billy and Carissa could sign up as a duo for TAR? Scary.
Why is it not the absolute worst? Because producers tried something new and fresh to comply with the wishes of the audience.”
17. The Amazing Race 6 – 3.9/10
“When three seasons are filmed in less than a year, one season is bound to be forgetful and be shorthanded when it comes to a strong cast. The route is surprisingly unique for its time. Making every team complete their fair share of Roadblocks for the first time would become a staple for the series until TAR 14.
However, the horrible decision to think the hay bales, too many flight equalizers, the dullness of Scandinavian locations, and Freddy & Kendra’s victory over a popular but really dull team dropped the reputation of the season. Oh, and remember Jonathan shoving Victoria? An incident that was so controversial that it led to an appearance on Dr. Phil. Lastly, the final leg was virtually the only one without a flight equalizer as Freddy & Kendra managed to get a time advantage in Chicago.
Due to TAR 5 and 7 airing in the same year and both being incredible seasons, you will see TAR 6 fade within a year.”
18. The Amazing Race 14 – 2.5/10
“A mediocre route, but introduced us to Jodi Wincheski who would become the worst casting director for TAR in subsequent seasons as she would be guilty of corruption.
An unlikeable Final Four combined with five rounds being set in areas that Tammy & Victor were more than familiar with led to the most suspicious victory in TAR history. Anyone who believes Tammy & Victor were awarded the title rather than earning it have a solid case.
Mix in boggling casting choices like Amanda & Kris, and Enabler Margie who would be rewarded with two additional appearances, and you have a contender for the worst season of TAR ever played.
The unbalanced editing is a big contributor.”
If you’re a lazy high school teacher, you’re free to bump up the 4.9 to a passing grade. If you’re a jerk, you can round down and call the season a failure.
That’s why I have it as 4.9. By some merits, this season can enter the ‘good’ column. By others, it can enter the ‘bad’ column. This is the first season I had never seen before that I have had the honour of blogging so far, and I was indecisive all season long.
On one hand, the first two legs were painful. The season premiere is the worst in the entire history of the series (as writer David Bindley wrote about in one of his blogs). Eliminating a team at the starting line for a task relying mostly on luck for ten out of twelve teams is atrocious. Then the rest of the round took place inside of a Japanese studio that featured a mega equalizer and a non-elimination. Oh, and quitters who were saved.
The Cai Be round did not fair much better. However, the cobwebs were shaken out as we entered Ho Chi Minh City. A real race was developing.
There were teams who should never have been cast in the first place. Mika outright said she could never do a task involving jumping from great heights or exposing herself to water. She quit halfway through the race. Big Easy quit over a five letter word scramble. Maria & Tiffany quit because Maria is physically weak to the point that Tiffany was too exhausted to compensate for the team’s strength.
Beloved stars Zev & Justin lost their passport. The second passport blunder in three seasons, and what was worse is that they were supposed to win the leg. Major characters being wiped out in round one (Eric & Lisa), Cambodia (Zev & Justin), and Dubai (Lance & Keri), crippled the season by the midway point. Three teams of quitters making it to top seven and beating the others was frustrating to watch.
There was zero U-Turn drama this season as a record low of one was made available, and was unaired because Lance & Keri U-Turned leading team Sam & Dan.
Only one Fast Forward was made available too as Meghan & Cheyne used it to ignite their huge run of wins and runner-up finishes for the remainder of the season.
Another big strike was Flight Time & Big Easy being too flawed as not only were they representing a brand, but the brand contributed to TAR by supplying their licensed theme music. TAR was selling out to Katy Perry, The Beatles, and Wayne Newton all in the final round.
Can we also discuss how we re-visited the hay bales task? The first ever intentional task re-visit coined as a “Switchback”, and it so happens to be the worst task producers ever created in the first fourteen seasons of the show.
The final leg is not legitimate because Brian & Ericka’s count was screwed up by producers, and we’ll never know if they would have won the race if not for the interference.
That’s what makes this season a huge fail.
But there were some great comedic moments. Zev & Justin are brought back for a reason. Czech Republic and Estonia made their debut on the TAR catalogue. Dubai was plenty of fun. The Cambodia round was epic despite the loss we suffered. Meghan & Cheyne aren’t awful winners, per se. I can imagine Brian & Ericka pointlessly walking for four hours and Brian daydreaming of Amber from BB16, and the story of Lance “The Lion” Layne.
Lastly, Garrett & Jessica had charisma flooding their veins.
Oh, and sounabusses.
That’s it. TAR 15 was a season that had a solid middle, but an awful beginning and end. They did just enough to make it resemble a real season.
The viewer reaction is that many of them were ignoring TAR due to the headlines of Survivor: Samoa, and many people liked that Meghan & Cheyne won because it meant Sam & Dan would not win, but were unhappy with many elements throughout the season. It was a very mixed bag of reactions when it comes to TAR 15. Some thought the twists were unfair and casting was a joke. Others thought the opposite and found the one-dimensional nature and laziness to be good enough for them.
TAR 15 is the first of five seasons up to TAR 19 that I had never seen in its entirety before. We now head to TAR 16. It is one of the most hated seasons because ninety percent of viewers love the first eleven rounds until the outcome of the finale is revealed. The other ten percent hated the first eleven rounds, and were ecstatic by the outcome of the finale.
Since TAR 14, the next step in the computer age influences TAR as our first viral star emerges on the season. We also have the first Big Brother team since Alison Irwin of TAR 5.
It’s a season that was heavily inspired by Survivor: Samoa’s and Heroes vs. Villains’ editing because those two seasons aired during the TAR 15-16 cycle. Will it pay off for TAR, or will no one remember this season? The random return of a twist barely used will also be present for this season.
I hope you enjoyed the sickest recap of TAR 15 that has ever been recorded on the Internet.