The Amazing Race Asia 4 season finale rankings part two

Did you really mean to look at the analysis of the season finale episode? Then click the link here. I split the season finale into two posts because I care about your browser’s stability.

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Conclusion

And that is the end of TAR Asia 4. The first season I finish blogging here in 2015. Sadly this also means we are done with the Asia series.

Well, almost. There will be one more article next week where I rank all forty TAR Asia teams.

This was a solid season. I did not know what to expect because nobody ever talked about this season until TAR 24. During TAR 24 I would hear someone say “this copied a task from TAR Asia 4”, and that was the extent of Asia 4 references.

My co-host, contributor, and friend Ben said this is one of his all-time favourites. I can certainly see why he told me this because there are very few negatives.

However, there are very few things to make this season truly stand out. I had mixed feelings with repeated locations, mactors, mactresses, and burning all of the NELs at a record fast pace, but I gave it a chance.

In the end, I am glad I did. This season rarely has a dark moment, and there is plenty of comedy to carry this season. I also enjoyed watching teams be eliminated rapid fire to conclude the season.

Overall, I am glad the final season of a franchise did not end on a negative note. I think the TAR Asia franchise was successful as a whole, and will be sad to see the series along with Allan Wu’s puns disappear along with it.

But where does it rank overall? Check near the bottom of this post! With that being said, if you do not care about my final Asia rankings next week, I shall see you in a couple weeks for TAR 17!

Missed the whole analysis for the final round? Click the link below for part one!

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Team Averages

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–t 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 Adrian & Dana 11.0 TAR 16
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 Yani & Nadine 10.0 Would have survived round two, but were marked for elimination and thus officially finished in last both rounds TAR Asia 4
10th Jody & Shannon 10.0 TAR Adventure 16
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
9th Alan & Wendy 7.25 Saved by NEL once TAR Asia 4
8th Manas & Sahil 7.0 TAR Asia 4
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 Aiello Family 7.0 TAR 8
–D minus–
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
–D+–
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
7th Jeff & Jordan 5.67. Saved by a stupid Blind U-Turn once but dead next day. TAR 16
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
–C minus–
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 Monique & Shawne 5.33 TAR 16. Praise Jesus.
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
7th Ivan & Hilda 4.83 TAR Asia 4
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
3rd Hussein & Natasha Saved by 4.64 NEL once TAR Asia 4
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
4th Louie & Michael 4.36 saved by NEL once, used U-Turn. & trained wolf cubs TAR 16
5th Uchenna & Joyce All Stars 4.33 – FF, saved by NEL once TAR 11
8th Joe & Heidi 4.40 – Blind U-Turned with Injured Knee; TAR 16
1st Dan & Jordan 4.33 – FF once TAR 16
3rd Brent & Caite 4.33 – Used U-Turn TAR 16
4th Jess & Lani 4.3 TAR Asia 4
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
–B minus–
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
5th Carol & Brandy 4.00 – U-Turned. May or May Not Be Mean. TAR 16
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
6th Sunaina & Dimple 3.875 – Used Yield, U-Turned TAR Asia 4
2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85 Saved by NEL twice TAR 4
2nd Michelle & Claire 3.81 Used U-Turn and Yielded TAR Asia 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
–B+–
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
5th Ethan & Khairie 3.56 TAR Asia 4
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
6th Steve & Allie 3.38 – TAR 16, and ain’t got no clothes.
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
–A minus–
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 2.92 – Saved by NEL onceTAR 6
2nd Dustin & Kandice All Stars 2.92 – Used Yield TAR 10
2nd Bransen Family 2.85 – Saved by NEL onceTAR 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 Jet & Cord 2.58 – Saved by NEL once TAR 16.
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 Richard & Richard 2.27 FF TAR Asia 4
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) Ethan & Khairie

Besides Ivan & Hilda, they were the only ones without any known mactor/mactress ties. By default they must be ranked fairly high on this list because of that.

That’s not to say I dislike anyone for being a mactor, but rather because a cast is dull if everybody is the same. It is also dangerous to have a ton of mactors/mactresses if all of them are strictly using TAR Asia as a career launcher.

If you know how this season ends, you know that Ethan & Khairie had this season in the bag. Eliminating the Richards meant that Ethan & Khairie’s only true competition would have been Jess & Lani for the last two rounds. This is how close Ethan & Khairie were winning.

If they played this round normally, they would have been stepping on the pit stop mat in Bali simultaneously with Jess & Lani and Hussein & Natasha.

But instead they choked. A massive choke. Perhaps one of the biggest chokes in TAR history, and all because Ethan changed his mind on the Detour. It backfired, and backtracking to the other Detour option put them in last.

However, the choke did not end there. The Richards were suffering from bad luck and bad math, but Ethan & Khairie could not preserve their small lead. The Richards passed them, and beat them out by what appeared to be only a couple of minutes.

Azaria & Hendekea, Nathan & Jennifer, Lynn & Alex, Romber twice, Eric & Jeremy, Tara & Wil, Andy & Laura, and Toni & Dallas all are joined by Ethan & Khairie as teams who were all strong but choked at a crucial juncture in the race.

With that being said, Ethan & Khairie were not a team that any of us were rooting for to choke. I think this round alone is a testament to how likeable they were during the race.

Ethan accidentally screws over another team but offers to make up for it by being willing to fall into dead last. But the other team respects Ethan too much to take him up on his deal. That’s how popular Ethan & Khairie were amongst racers except maybe Sunaina & Dimple.

The crazy thing about Ethan & Khairie is that they were repeatedly labelled by producers as “Social Misfits”, but that does not come across in the edit. At all. Just like a terrible storyteller, we are never shown -how- Ethan & Khairie are Social Misfits.

If anything, Ethan & Khairie are part of the popular clique with Dominatrix and the Richards for most of the season. They even help put down the East Indian minority throughout the season.

It is crazy to think Ethan was really close to sinking he and Khairie in 10th place during round two. Remember when the key broke in the water? If Ethan did not succeed at the second attempt, he would have finished behind Yani & Nadine to officially be eliminated. The first two legs being in Malaysia and the Malaysian Boys being first out? That would have been humiliating.

Overall, Ethan & Khairie are stellar dudes. Khairie was a great toneless narrator, and Ethan is extremely good at reacting.

tim allen

Much like how Tim Allen has been hailed as a great reactionary star in Home Improvement despite being a not-so-talented actor. Sometimes having that natural ability to react is all you need.

I also love how Ethan would laugh at other teams. Nothing was held back in his confessionals. He told these stories in such a way that you laughed along with them.

Lastly, the way they went out with a smile despite a massive choke scored them some points as well.

The comedic and narrative value would have been drastically lowered if Ethan & Khairie were not cast. Look at how many confessionals they received in every single round. It is clear producers were relying on them to carry much of the narrative drive for this season.

So applaud yourselves, Ethan & Khairie. Yes, Khairie looks like Curtis from Big Brother 2000, and I will never know how a Malaysian knows what a polar bear is of all animals, but these guys certainly delivered.

Bravo, fellas. Bravo.

2) Jess & Lani

Jacintuh James.
Lani Pillinguh.

I liked this team a lot. Surprisingly, an all-female team with a rare feat of winning three legs in a row is currently ranked lower in terms of average by thirteen other all-female teams, including Sunaina & Dimple and soon to be a 14th team in the form of Michelle & Claire.

It is surprising they won 30% of their legs and have an average in the C+ range. We tend to forget that they began the race with back-to-back eighth place finishes, and followed it up with barely surviving in 7th.

Sure, you could penalize two of their three wins because they had a huge advantage in both Australia rounds, but you could penalize nearly anyone in TAR Asia for winning a leg with home field advantage.

I stand by my statement that Jess & Lani bear a lot of similarities to Dustin & Kandice’s run in All Stars. Just convert aggression and flirtation with contestants and turn it into aggression and flirtation with locals.

And yes, Jess & Lani had ‘realer’ personalities than the Chipmunks.

My gut tells me that Jess & Lani slaughtered the record for most money begged for on The Amazing Race. I would say that teams who had their money taken away in TAR 5-9 probably begged less than Jess & Lani did.

So the question for the viewers was “how the hell did they run out?”

Unfortunately it would not be until the Race Memories special that not only did they beg more frequently than what we saw in ten episodes, but they went shopping for clothes and accessories after each successful pan handling campaign.

You can make all the jokes that you want about how the strip club manager is the person who holds the record for most money received from single men in TAR history, but it worked. Not even Heather & Eve did as well as them.

I would love to see Jess & Lani on Survivor. They have the perfect personalities for it. Just that cold nature in terms of how they approached the race, but never disrespecting the other teams nor taking things personally would make them contestants.

Not to mention during the race how they could be dancing whether first or last, and seconds later be screaming at a local who wronged them by shouting he is an “EVIL EVIL MAN”.

These two have good endurance. Frustration rather than fatigue was their biggest enemy. Once they got over the learning curve of the race, they could move quickly and be comfortable throughout the race.

Oh, and PETA wants Jess to make a statement for accidentally killing that sheep. She and Lani could find humour in the darkest of situations. Heck, they picked their own picture to fire arrows at after a day where everybody openly stated in Perfect Match that they hated them.

Perhaps the best decision that Jess & Lani made was ditching the pink skirts after the third round. That has to be the worst possible outfit to wear for a physical competition. I understand you want to be stylish, but wearing skirts with high-heeled shoes makes people wonder what the heck you are doing here.

I think Jess & Lani preferred the Charla & Mirna approach of prioritizing fun over kicking ass on every leg. This exact approach is why Jess & Lani were stuck with minimal funds on the penultimate round, and were in the dark for too long which led to their elimination.

The crazy thing about it? They would not fix this mistake if they were on TAR Asia for a second time.

Jess & Lani would have been tied with Ethan & Khairie, but I docked a couple of points for their mactor background.

P.S. Yes, Jess & Lani will not appear at the finish line for this season because Lani suffered a broken collar bone. I attempted to research -how- she broke it, but I could not find those details. Could she really have broke it within 24 hours after being eliminated?

3) Ivan & Hilda

I think Ivan & Hilda were pretty close to a top tier team in terms of entertainment value. Initially I thought they were Henry & Terri Lite, but they clearly have their own unique set of qualities.

For one, Terri doesn’t study dragon culture for a living. It sounds like a made-up occupation from Coach on Survivor, but it isn’t. She is like somebody who watched too much Game of Thrones and made a profession out of it.

Secondly, they have a sense of humour. A lot of jokes and remarks would go way over Henry & Terri’s heads. If Ivan & Hilda had all of their money taken away at a Non-Elimination, I doubt they would challenge producers and get into a verbal argument with Allan Wu.

Furthermore, Ivan is a Eastern European professor working and living in Malaysia. Henry never had that nerdy quality to him–he was a strict military guy spending his fortune in the Philippines.

In addition, Hilda never personally took out her emotions on Ivan. Their jabs at each other were passive. It was not like Henry & Terri where they personally accused the other of being the devil on a weekly basis.

Hilda just had a tough time with most tasks. This became evident from when she sprained her ankle at the opening task, needed to be carried down, but then was miraculously healed.

Okay, Hilda was not completely useless. I exaggerated it a bit for comedic effect, and when you compare to the notorious reputation of strong women in the TAR Asia franchise (minus Natalie Glebova and Monica Low who are half-Canadian coincidentally), of course she will be weak.

But would Flo, Kendra, or Mika ever cut off two pieces from a log alone? Absolutely not.

Compared to females within some American dating couples on TAR, Hilda is much stronger.

Ivan is a gentle giant. I loved it whenever he tried to act intimidating to motivate his wife. You knew not to take it seriously, and would back down and apologize if it had the opposite effect. Also, Ivan never felt more -alive- throughout the race. These are big differences compared to Henry.

The largest difference of all: The other competitors really liked Ivan & Hilda. They were easy to get along with, and could actually win a leg and do well.

I am satisfied with the amount of content we got from Ivan & Hilda during their six-round run. Too bad Hilda never got a confessional during her boot episode, though.

4) Richard & Richard

I know most alpha male teams are not popular in the hardcore community, but I must say that the Richards are generally well-liked. I can definitely see why as I watched this season.

Herrera is an extremely good narrator. Hardin is good with some of his off-beat comments. In fact, Hardins had such a great combination in the confessional department that they narrated half of the episodes this season. If it was not them talking, it was Ethan & Khairie.

In other words, producers did not think women in this season could properly narrate in an entertaining fashion.

Yes, they started off as BBallchard and Toquechard and have the same initials, but both developed two distinct personalities.

As opposed to Tyler & James, these alpha basketball players were complete characters. Herrera was an overall sharp guy while Hardin was an emotional one.

They started off the season as prime frontrunners, but halfway through the season that image went away. In fact, they should have been out in fifth place if not for Ethan & Khairie having one of the worst chokes in TAR history.

These guys formed great relationships with other racers and analyzed their own mistakes along the race course and corrected them. Remember when Herrera was awful with directions?

Surprisingly, they avoided being U-Turned or Yielded along the way despite standing out more than any other team in the cast. The only time they were sabotaged was with the infamous confrontation at the docks where Ethan did it by pure accident.

Besides being physically fit and self-adjusting, how were they a winning team? I think Herrera’s own words during the Perfect Match task in the pen-ultimate round perfectly sums it up.

“We don’t really talk about the other teams–we only talk about strategy and the race.”

It is rare for a team to avoid the melodrama and be extremely focused on the race, but also be fun to watch.

Heck, the Richards convinced a local at an airport to wait three hours for the next flight just so the Richards could take his ticket. You would have to be very likeable to have somebody go from wasting most of their day at an airport to nearly a full freakin’ day.

Furthermore, the Richards were pulled over by police in back-to-back rounds. Guess what happened both times? The officers not only let them off the hook, but proceeded to help the Richards with their next clue.

colin guinn

This is in sharp contrast to the Colin Guinn Strategy of dealing with cops.

Perhaps their only uncomfortable social interaction outside of the docks incident was during the final leg when they practically shoved that Korean fellow aside to ensure they could get a cab. The final leg is the perfect time to being cutthroat and hope things do not escalate.

This was just the beginning of a final round where they won by what I believe to be the largest margin in TAR history. I know teams have won by as much as forty-five minutes to an hour in the past (Uchenna & Joyce and others), but the Richards must have won by a minimum of ninety minutes.

Maybe eighty-nine minutes if you factor in Hardin tying his shoes at the mat.

As long as you keep Hardin away from camper vans, the Richards are downright fun, likeable, funny, and entertaining guys who are tough to view as anything but strong winners.

P.S. It would have been cruel if the Richards were going bald in a futile attempt to grow their hair back. The stress of the race simply was too much!
5) Michelle & Claire

I’m not going to lie: I went back and forth placing them just barely above or barely below the Richards in this ranking.

I ultimately decided below because of a frustrating aspect which I will get to in a minute.

But first, how great was Dominatrix? I know I ranked them as low as five in this team ranking list, but being fifth here is worth much more than being fifth in my TAR 14, 15, or 16 team rankings.

If you compare their placements of all legs to any other finalist in TAR history, Michelle & Claire probably have the most uneventful season long run on paper. They were in the middle of the pack all season long. Never in danger but never the top dog either.

Yet much of the attention was on them for the majority of the season, and you know you have an entertaining team when TAR’s version of “Lay and Pray” strategy does not bore us simply because Michelle & Claire are that fun to watch.

What makes Dominatrix a rare breed is that they are an all-female team with a record low combined age of 43. Nearly all-female teams that young are absolutely destroyed on TAR. Dustin & Kandice had a combined age of 48, but both had a competitive edge and enough athleticism to get them by.

Michelle & Claire I thought were dead in the water. Heck, they were nicknamed the “Tiny Singaporeans” by Allan Wu. Their team nickname was Rebel Pals. That is a prime indicator of having a terrible social game as well as having a big disadvantage with most tasks.

But my predictions could not have been proven more wrong. They held their own, were at the centre of successful alliances, and were even conniving enough to outlast their lone enemies in the race. Oh, and they were runner-ups.

However, there was one thing about Michelle & Claire which annoyed me: They could not quite own up to fuelling the rivalry with Sunaina & Dimple. That line of “they started it and we got our revenge” as well as “we never told a lie this whole race while Jess & Lani have no integrity” just freakin’ annoyed me.

Maybe Sunaina & Dimple did something off-camera before Michelle & Claire screwed them out of a flight, but all we know for sure is that Michelle & Claire were edited as firing the first shot.

Also, Michelle & Claire never liked any of the all-female teams in any of the rounds. What up with that?

If you can get past this, and instead remember Dominatrix for all of their crazy expressions, freaking out over bugs, and wondering what misadventure they would have next, then you have a team that would have likely been back for TAR Asia All Stars (if it were to exist).

Lastly, they deserve some credit for creating the only ongoing source of conflict for the season. Even if it only lasted for about four rounds.

6) Yani & Nadine

In seasons prior to Asia 4, we suffered through weak Speed Bumps that had already aired between seasons twelve and sixteen of the American version. With the twenty-fifth season currently airing, Speed Bumps are openly mocked by all fans.

But seeing the Asian format continue on with Marked for Elimination is refreshing. The penalty puts you in a crappy spot. Particularly when an equalizer halfway through the round makes it nearly impossible for you to beat anyone by much of any time, let alone thirty whole minutes.

Nadine really screwed up the first Roadblock on the cruise ship which earned them that penalty.

Furthermore, Yani failing at the underwater puzzle and being one of five teams to be assessed the four hour penalty put the nail in the coffin.

As I said earlier, they are not the worst team ever. They did beat Jess & Lani and Hussein & Natasha if the thirty minute penalty was erased. Edwin & Monica checked in dead last both legs before the marked for elimination penalty was even factored in.

Their love for Indonesia did not do much to rival with their supposed hatred of Malaysia as they could not do much of anything for two legs. Why, Yani nearly quit over the anaconda task. If Nadine was told by producers to not use physical force, they would have been out right then and there.

In other words, they both contributed to a poorly organized team. They sucked at directions, they sucked at tasks, and could have survived this leg if they could have chosen Rapid Fire as opposed to Rapid Water. So they were bad at decisions too.

Hussein & Natasha choosing Rapid Fire truly made the difference.

Outside of their performance, I thought Yani & Nadine were alright as characters. It appeared they enjoyed their experience for the most part, and got along well. We have seen a lot of mactors in the past do awful in the American and Asian seasons in terms of possessing zero competitive willpower or an interest in the adventure.

So let’s salute what little the second worst statistical team in TAR Asia history were able to accomplish!

7) Sunaina & Dimple

Better than Manas & Sahil overall in terms of character development, skill, and entertainment value? Sunaina is, but not Dimple.

Since I am ever the optimist, I have chosen to judge them from Sunaina’s perspective, so above Manas & Sahil they go.

Sunaina was a fun narrator at times. Just the fast-paced goofy way that she narrated every situation is what was particularly entertaining.

Perhaps the second most entertaining thing about them other than trying to ski.

They engaged in the only true rivalry of this season, and also happened to be a rivalry that tragically stopped halfway through the season.

Dominatrix sabotages Sunaina & Dimple at the airport.
Sunaina & Dimple Yield Dominatrix a round later.
Dominatrix U-Turn Sunaina & Dimple a couple rounds after that.
Ethan & Khairie join in a super tight alliance with Dominatrix, and think Sunaina & Dimple are the most suspicious people on the planet. . .yet Dominatrix started (and ended) this whole feud.

If it weren’t for them, there wouldn’t be any conflict other than Jess & Lani’s conflict with men at airports or who they leave in the middle of the streets.

Sunaina & Dimple even won a leg of the race, and did fairly well. In the last couple legs they certainly lost steam with lower finishes. Sadly Brisbane was not the final NEL as opposed to Sydney, and losing over three hours while driving in the wrong direction as opposed to Hussein who was saved by four hours of incompetence, and given an additional equalizer to catch up to Sunaina & Dimple.

What I liked most about Sunaina & Dimple is that they were game for just about anything. Few teams have said ‘no’ during the race as rarely as Sunaina & Dimple.

Okay, maybe Dimple said ‘no’ to a few tasks but the sound operator did not hear her.

Dimple is the mactress of the team, but yet she was shown the least of anyone this season. I wonder if she was pissed when watching the episodes from home. All we learned abotu Dimple is that she is a crappy driver.

Overall, the team of Sunaina & Whoever That Other Person Was will go down as a fun team for this season.

8) Manas & Sahil

An East Indian all-male team who goes early? Who saw that one coming? Their average is right around the absolute worst for a team to finish in eighth (7.0 after five rounds of play). Even Sahil & Prashant did well a couple of times. Niroo & Kapil had one good round to pull off a 6.75 round.

They might be in the running for worst all-male team in their 20s. In fact, they are. I just looked at the Team Averages. I cannot help but feel sympathy for them that they were beaten by Hussein & Natasha repeatedly who suck overall.

But seriously, they were the first all-male East Indian team to not act like complete divas in TAR Asia. They were also the first ones to not be completely bitter about their eliminations. I think after finishing near the bottom a few times that they knew their days were numbered. Five rounds and being the third team out was a longer life expectancy than anticipated.

They delivered some great moments in their elimination round. Well, it started off with Manas shaving his head for no reason right after the Richards did it for a Fast Forward. They picked a plane rather than a bus knowing the bus is scheduled to arrive earlier than the plane. Sahil completely messes up the pinata game and chucks the stick across the field, and nearly hit a kid in the head. Manas & Sahil were given a miracle thanks to the Intersection due to ditching Pig and the Jig. They went on to screw that up too as they slowed Hussein & Natasha down at stick collecting. Lastly, Manas’ good luck shave did not pay off at the Roadblock, and

Also, begging money from other teams to pay off a cab driver before Alan & Wendy showed up ten minutes later was an unprecedented move. It bought them an elimination.

Manas is better off finding success with the next season of The Bachelor India. Sahil will just go back to depression. I guess.

9) Hussein & Natasha

I was going to put them dead last, but I appreciate how rare it is for TAR to cast father-daughter or mother-son teams for the series as a whole.

Yes, Ronald & Christina, Toni & Dallas, and to a lesser extent Steve & Allie are better than Hussein & Natasha.
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.
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Okay, maybe just Hussein.

And yes, Natasha is indeed a mactress. Isn’t that a given in the TAR Asia franchise, though? Mactors and mactresses galore each season.

What can I say about this team? I loved Natasha’s competitive spirit, and I liked how Hussein squeezed in a decent diss of Manas & Sahil. Natasha looks funny when she fires a gun.

What else did they offer all season? They finished in second place or in second-to-last place all season long. In other words, they performed the exact opposite of Michelle & Claire.

As I said in the previous round’s entry, Hussein & Natasha are one of those teams without a strong competitive mindset who squeeze into the Final Four every few seasons by catching a lot of breaks.

Find the correct buoy here, hope another team gets a penalty there, another team drives three hours in the wrong direction, finish last on a non-elimination round, and boom, you are in the Final Three (or “Big Three” in Natasha’s words).

Pre-season hype for them existed as merely “TAR Asia is casting its first ever father-daughter team! New barrier is broken!”

This was approximately ninety percent of their storyline. Five percent was Hussein’s sewing abilities, and the remaining five was Hussein’s lack of preparedness for the race.

Hussein took a four hour penalty on two of the Roadblocks. The first led to them being saved by a NEL after checking in last place by more than four hours, but luckily things balanced out by the second quit occurring during the final round of the season.

Considering the final Roadblock is a staple of most TAR premieres and finales, and this exact location being used for TAR 25, this should have been a rather easy task. Hussein’s forfeiture of the game based upon the task is a great reminder that many people on the couch would find it impossible to complete the majority of challenges.

Giving Hussein & Natasha a quiet underdog edit, and not allowing Hussein more than ten words all season long as he quit multiple tasks led to us scratching our heads. We all wondered what production saw in Hussein to cast him for the show. Was he really the alternate for one of Natasha’s friends per Natasha’s soliloquy on the boat a few rounds earlier?

But once the race ends, Hussein turns into a comedic fellow who everyone embraces.

My analysis: Hussein is a fun guy to hang out with in a social environment, but he is not an ideal candidate to watch in a charged environment where everyone must scramble.

Heck, remember Hussein’s whistle as Natasha attempted the lumberjack task in New Zealand? Hussein was exhausted but yet had enough energy to distract his daughter as much as possible.

How about the Sri Lanka Detour where Hussein infamously fell off the coconut course? The image of him lying on the ground as he tells Natasha to switch Detours is probably what confirmed for producers that they made a mistake. This was before the trapeze and well before traversing across two buildings in Singapore.

With all of this being said, it is truly incredible that they won the penultimate leg, and were in first for the beginning to the finale. This should have been a great showdown between them and the Richards, but tough tasks came and they were slipping. Then Hussein’s fear of six hundred feet led to one of the most uncomfortable scenes in TAR history.

“Don’t give up!”
“I am!”
“Don’t give up!”
“I am!”
“Don’t give up!”
“I am!”

This was a repeated loop for twenty minutes. Producers must have been pissed that the season finale turned into a foregone conclusion after Hussein decided to take the four hour penalty about twenty times as Natasha begged endlessly to make him reconsider.

They must be given credit for making smart mental decisions along the way. Hire a cab in Korea where the English language will not be helpful. Save your money. Create a proper plan of attack in challenges. Keep your eyes open for taxis nearby once you complete a task.

This helped them barely survive the entire race, and led to them being the only father-daughter couple to make it to the final round in the history of TAR Asia 4.

In short, these are great people. Natasha would be a fun person to be around, and Hussein is that cool uncle you invite over to family dinners.

But staying from televised competitions may be a wise move in the future.

10) Alan & Wendy

A bickering couple is so rare to find on TAR!!!!!!

They fought a lot by Asian standards not named Mai and Oliver. I am amazed both enjoyed the experience, but Alan was fed up when it came to certain elements of the race.

You need to have some level of cooperation on TAR, and that was certainly not the case with them. Alan screwed up the Roadblock in leg two, they switched Detours and fell behind in leg three, and found themselves with a solid lead this leg but blew it by not understanding the bus system.

However, something tells me the other teams were lucky to be on the express buses rather than knowing they were avoiding the one that was “pulling all the stops”.

The best part about Alan is that his last name is Luk. Everybody in TAR Asia needs to get in on the puns.

Wendy was definitely the better person out of the two, mainly because she was not super jealous all the time and was the only one capable of narrating. Alan was good for the occasional laugh, but hey, there are other characters who provided good laughs too.

I am not saying Alan was bad. . .it is just that his good moments are sprinkled here and there. If anything his Hong Kong English dialect is what made him funnier than what most people would expect from his personality.

Rank the Legs

1) Brisbane, Australia -> Lombok, Indonesia

This leg features what is arguably the second biggest choke in TAR Asia history (yes, Marc & Rovilson are first).

The thing about this choke is that Ethan & Khairie were given every opportunity to survive.

I liked that the finish from the previous round gave the leading team a big enough advantage to secure themselves a spot on the first boat in Bali. I feel satisfied that Jess & Lani were given this minor advantage for the true Race Day of this leg (Race Day being the day a round plays out after all equalizers are over).

The long-term alliance of Dominatrix, Richards, and Ethan & Khairie faced their biggest obstacle yet when they traveled together to the docks. Ethan misleading teams unintentionally by assuming they could travel on the same boat together led to the ugliest clash between teams for this whole race.

Richards kicked themselves for being led astray by Ethan who felt guilty enough that he offered the Richards their spot on the first boat. Hardin, regardless of his frustration, declined the offer and gave Ethan & Khairie a thirty minute head start.

Searching the village for the clue was a bit neat compared to other needle-in-haystack traditions because they went through private residences, climbed random ladduhs, searched toilets, fled from cows, and eventually reached fishing boats.

The rice throwing festival has been seen in TAR 13, and I find this was a lamer execution of it. Mainly because Terence was not there to bulldoze through a crowd of locals, and Christy was not on the verge of death.

You know there is true race fatigue when not only did the Richards take a private car to the temple before the rice temple, but took nearly two hours to get back to the fishing village per their penalty.

Yes, the Detour involved another needle-in-a-haystack, but I found it hilarious that they picked the grave of somebody who is not famous. This is borderline trolling, and Ethan & Khairie wasted several hours here. All four other teams appeared to have an easy time with balancing a basket on their heads.

Why, Hussein was the wizard at basket balance.

The Richards somehow pass Ethan & Khairie, but lose ground in another taxi ride as Khairie completes the Roadblock ahead of Hardin. This task was rather elaborate as teams had to find a briefcase on the ocean floor which can only be reached by scuba gear, bring it to shore, ride a cidomo to re-join their partner, and work with their partner to count the money in the briefcase and enter that number into a laptop webpage.

Does that effectively make it a four-part task?

Ethan & Khairie had another chance to catch up to the Richards despite their fail at counting due to the Richards’ cidomo being excessively slow, but that was not enough.

Somehow the Richards avoid being punished for their horrendous day, and Ethan & Khairie go home despite being awarded break after break after break to stay alive.

Also, Jess & Lani scored the only hat trick of TAR Asia 4 as they won three consecutive rounds.  When they beat hometown locals Hussein & Natasha in this leg, everybody knew that Jess & Lani are the strongest team entering the penultimate round of this season.

Don’t mess with my Party People.

Overall, there was only one really good task, but the crazy upsets and rare conflict made for very good television.

2) Legazpi, Philippines -> Queenstown, Mount Coronet, New Zealand

This is the first round where we were spared from a sponsour-related task. The worst of it was a Caltex station or an Axiata jersey. No route markers or direct promotional tasks, thankfully.

Also, this was the first self-drive leg of the season. It was about freakin’ time. Watching Ethan & Khairie get pulled over for driving TOO SLOW was hilarious, and seeing them be punished for running too fast on the rugby pitch. New Zealand traffic issues are too common in TAR.

I enjoyed watching Jess & Lani cry after they begged for tickets in the airport. Sure, an equalizer and Ivan’s slow driving spared them at the lumberjack route marker, but that initial doubt as teams had a big lead on them was fun.

Finding a fisherman hours from the airport was good for a route marker, I guess. The lumberjack was physically demanding, the Detour/Switchback fusion was a classic thrillseeker’s TAR staple, the rugby task was highly improved from TAR Asia 3, and the avalanche locator Roadblock required great mental agility.

I just wish teams had to work a bit harder to find the pit stop on their own. -_-

Plus how often do we see snow outdoors in the TAR Asia franchise? It is quite the rarity.

Who can forget Hussein trolling his own daughter at the lumberjack task? And not quitting a task on his own for once? Somehow they beat five other teams this round.

Lastly, the U-Turn marked a rare time where direct payback for an earlier Yield/U-Turn occurred. Dominatrix punished Sunaina & Dimple, but Sunaina & Dimple became the first to survive a Detour.

In short, I loved the balance of this round.

3) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -> Colombo, Sri Lanka

Yes, round three is our first clean round of the season.

What was with the Axiata route marker in Kuala Lumpur before heading to Colombo? Was it just a way  for the trailing teams to have additional time to catch up and show up to Colombo together? But the temple was an equalizer anyway.

Yeah, this had to be just for the sponsour money.

Other than that the only complaint is that the Detour had a counting task which we already saw in the premiere. It is a bit too early to cycle through similar tasks in a season. TAR 16 had a few counting tasks too so I really am getting sick of them.

I enjoyed seeing the Yield revived. I dunno why but I like it when vintage twists are acknowledged by the franchise.

The ice carry (in Sri Lanka of all places), the sewing Roadblock, and selling peanuts were all good tasks. Also the task of surviving the lethally fast taxi drivers or the lethally priced fares for the cab rides.

Watching Manas & Sahil’s approach of asking other teams to pay their own cab was intriguing to watch because that had not happened since the mugging non-elimination penalties in the American version. Yes, Asia 2 used that penalty but Henry & Terri somehow did not need money from other teams after they protested at the mat.

Also, I wish I had Jess & Lani with me whenever someone tried to rip me off.

My favourite part is how surprised I was that it was a non-elimination round. Outside of TAR Asia 1, TAR 3, TAR 5, and TAR 6, this is the first time in a while where a non-elimination surprised me. Nobody had opened the season with two of their three non-elimination legs being used in the first three rounds.

It means teams will be eliminated rapid fire for the remainder of the season. And that’s not such a bad thing compared to other American ones.

In conclusion, the Yield did nothing and Hussein is a sewing beast. The end.

4) Sydney, Australia -> Brisbane, Australia

An equalizer at the airport meant that the previous leg served no purpose. Oh well. Definitely not the first time in TAR history that this has been done.

This allowed for Hussein & Natasha to not only catch up with their four hour penalty, but make it onto a flight with less than an hour to spare while everyone else had to wait and wait and wait wondering why the heck they were moving so fast in the previous round.

I like that we had another self-drive round here. At least that made up for the blatant equalizer. There was lots of driving which ensured that teams from first to last would be quite spread out.

On the other hand, the tasks were all quite fast. The pistol club, even if you missed a few shots, would be over rather quickly. Jess would have fired off all of the rounds if she knew there was a big enough lead for her at that point.

The Giant Drop seemed to be about two or three minutes between each attempt. That is not much time being gained or lost.

Each attempt at the racing Roadblock is a lap estimated to be 1 minute and 42 seconds or less. Therefore, you only lose a couple minutes per lap.

The beach digging did not take as much time as other infamous beach digs in TAR Asia, but I bet it still took a while regardless. At least they were given shovels for this one. Not the absolute worst task ever, I s’pose.

The Detour was good. Good ol’ fashioned face painting before throwing spears or boomerangs. Oh, and somebody has to be sacrificed by eating a wichetty grub if you want that next clue. It appeared whoever landed with the spear or boomerang would make their partner eat the grub.

Except for Hussein who did both. Yes, I am giving Hussein credit. He and Natasha barely survived elimination once again, and could not be more shocked that somebody else screwed up worse than they did in their super duper fatigued state.

Overall, solid round design. I would make a couple changes, but glad to see classic “drive in the wrong direction for hours and hours” result in someone’s elimination rather than some long time gimmicky task.

5) Galle, Sri Lanka -> Legazpi, Philippines

The most expensive leg in TAR Asia history. Planes, buses, Jeepneys, boats, kayaks, tuk-tuks, jet skis, and Jeeps. That is truly an adventure.

The Detour of catching pigs or doing a dance becomes an international TAR staple whenever Legazpi is a destination.

I -love- that teams were able to decide between traveling by bus domestically or by plane. That had never been done in TAR before. Two teams knowingly made the wrong decision while six teams all took a bus into the lead, and guaranteed to survive the round.

It was also a truly great episode for comedy. Proper pig catching techniques, people dissing Manas & Sahil’s racing abilities, Hilda’s tambourine usage or lack thereof, Manas shaving his head for good luck only to be ousted, and the amusing Jeepney designs.

Oh, and what TAR Asia leg would be complete without an easy Caltex task that has nothing to do with actual racing? Well, to make it ridiculous you turn it into an Intersection of course! I did not like how close the Intersection was to the end of the leg because it served as a minor equalizer, and the only task after the Intersection was a Roadblock dependent upon luck. Producers put as much effort into that Roadblock as Manas did into catching pigs.

The Legazpi environment was great, though. It is a bummer they are suffering from major storms at the moment here as 2014 comes to an end.

By the way, where were Sunaina & Dimple this round? They were rarely shown.

And how the heck did Hussein & Natasha survive again?

6) Queenstown, New Zealand -> Sydney, Australia

***BEGINNING OF REPEATING MYSELF***

Wow. A season of TAR burned through all three NELs before the sixth place team was eliminated. We effectively went from Final Three to being the final NEL for most seasons to Final Four being the new standard and then. . .Final Six?

In the first four seasons of TAR US, NELs did not even -begin- until six teams remained. Heck, TAR 3 and 4 did not use any of them until five freakin’ teams were left.

I prefer NELs being later on because it does the following:

a) builds up rivalries
b) great times to start showing how fatiguing the race truly is, especially in earlier seasons where the filming schedule would be as long as 39 days.
c) ensures the stronger teams survive to the end rather than a really weak team becoming a Cassandra Franklin-like goat and having no chance to win at the end.

But there have since been cons:

a) Super predictable if you stick rigidly to it. Viewers will skip the episode if they know nobody is going home.
b) Super predictable for the players too. Teams stop caring about rushing to the mat if they know it is a NEL. This is evident even in later seasons where Final Four becomes the new standard for having a final NEL.

So naturally, producers starting in TAR 3 started throwing curveballs. They experimented with back-to-back NELs, and in later seasons would have a NEL earlier and earlier and earlier. Heck, TAR Asia 1 used one on the very first leg in Asia 1, 2, and 4.

Unpredictability is pretty much the only reason to have early NELs anymore. You never want your teams to become too comfortable and race in a safe manner. We saw this in round ten of TAR 25 where the Wrestlers were indifferent to being told they were last.

The other benefit to early NELs is that momentum does not stop for the viewer later on in the season.

In short, the benefits for early NELs are:

a) Unpredictability for viewers and teams.
b) Second half of the season carries a lot more momentum.

Obvious cons are:

a) Saves a team who doesn’t really need saving (Lila Abu Lughod reference?) like Don & Mary Jean.
b) Goes against the classic structure.
c) Prevents an underdog come-from-behind win at the end of the season that will inevitably be talked about for a long time.
d) A stronger team ends up having more enemies as they have more teams to compete against heading into various twists.

Yes, I understand why early NELs are necessary and love that all of them are used here in TAR Asia 4, but we must point out why they were not ideal to do in the first place.

***END OF REPEATING MYSELF***

For a NEL, this was a fun round. Particularly watching Asians trying to ski for the first time. Between this and those who did the trapeze, there was a lot of bruising for people like Dimple and Hussein. So many epic crashes. I swear some of the instructors threw banana peels onto the course. It was ambitious for producers to force non-skiiers to do a full on skiing task. Yeah, it would be really easy for most, but they knew full well how brutal it would be.

I loved the Detour where they did a twist on herding sheep. Herding ‘x’ number of sheep is simply not enough. You need to isolate specifically marked sheep and herd them into a pen. Nobody is allowed inside. Jess killed one, and one took a nap on Ethan and Khairie. Heck, Michelle and Claire even switched.

Kiwi crushing like in TAR 13? No, we’ve moved onto grapes as the alternative is to transport wine. It was time consuming and very physically demanding.

Between all of this, there was a lot of self-drive with the same camper from the previous leg.

The only downside to this round is the blatant inclusion of sponsours. Every team delivering their Sony Handicam message to the post office, and the only task truly deemed impossible in TAR history known as the Hilton Hotel Bed Making Challenge really eats up a ton of airtime.

And yes, I am listing the cheesy crying (I am looking at you Rich Hardin and Michelle Ng) as a negative for this round.

Plus it is BS that Jess & Lani did not even receive a prize for coming in first. Even Jaime & Cara won a prize for winning a leg involving a Virtual Pit Stop. It truly was a slap to the face of Jess & Lani.

But on the other hand, I got to hear Jess say ‘murderuh’ and Lani’s over-the-top ‘oh nooooooooo’.

Searching for the bald man with an umbrella is a bit of a needle in the haystack, but I like that teams did full laps without spotting the guy. It was amusing for them to ask random strangers if they have a clue about the weather, and witnessing their confused reactions.

Lastly, we have the trapeze task. Sure, a copy of the TAR 8 task in Montreal, but hey, it has not really been repeated since. Not exactly being repetitive considering how many rounds of TAR we have seen over the years.

The biggest knock against this round is that the teams do not really interact with other teams outside of sympathy over Hussein’s lack of flexibility to perform the trapeze task.

Also, if you hate NELs then you will love every round after this because we will go on to witness team after team after team being eliminated.

Overall, it was a fun round.

7) Gyeongju, South Korea -> Singapore, Singapore

This was such an average design for a final round if it were just any ol’ season. Sadly, because this is the final round in TAR Asia history, much is left to be desired.

I wish the scramble for flights mattered a bit more. The Richards’ gamble of intentionally boarding a flight that would not arrive until four hours after Hussein & Natasha is a good lesson in equalizers being too extreme.

NOTE: If Hours of Operation were not present, Hussein could have quit the Roadblock and still win this season. That would have been a hilarious ending.

It was a bit eyeroll worthy to see Caltex flex its presence one last time. The task was more cruel than normal as teams may have been forced to visit up to three of the Caltexes in the city. That would be like if I had to go to every local Tim Horton’s or Scotiabank in TAR Canada.

I would like to repeat once more it is dumb that whoever is in first would automatically get a fancy car while the other two teams did not receive that same guarantee.

The spicy crab task was an alright task, but not difficult enough for a final round. If you have any suggestions to not repeat the same crab jokes over and over, feel free to help. I am nearly out of ideas. Krabby the Pokemon, Parvati Shallow, STDs, and Bubble Crab from Mega Man X have all been used at least once.

I do have one joke left, though. That shall be kept quiet for now.

The magician’s task with J C Sum and Magic Babe Ning was original and creative. This was much more difficult than the lame Copperfield task in TAR 24’s finale. I also liked this task because J C Sum and Magic Babe Ning may be two of the most ridiculous names I have heard.

The Detour was solid albeit poorly explained. Surfing had a learning curve, but teams were pretty much guaranteed to reach two minutes combined. Meanwhile I could see a team like Marisa & Brooke or Don & Mary Jean needing fifty attempts to add up three numbers in the contraption.

Why did producers refuse to explain that all three numbers had to be added within a specified time limit? The lack of rules clarification pissed me off all season long. We never had much of a problem with this in each of the other three Asia seasons. Why is it suddenly an issue on season number four? Dumb.

A heights related task is probably repetitive for viewers after ten years of TAR, but hey, we need at least a couple of them during each season. Not original, but apart of what makes this race amazing. Never would I have thought it would lead to someone quitting. No need to get into that crap again.

The final memory task could have been a brutal one. Walking in waist deep water can be tiring after a while, and flinging around floating rings would wear you down even faster. Unfortunately producers only had seven questions and each had just three possible answers. I would say three or four questions could be considered difficult. Unless you are Dominatrix who took all of their notes with them into the task to make it super easy.

Tougher questions, more options, and more rings that potentially need to be swapped could have made this one of the roughest final challenges in TAR history. The Richards knew which one they had wrong, thus making this task easy considering they did not have notes in their possession.

Combine this with the Richards winning by a ridiculous margin and you have a finale that makes you feel satisfied with the winners, but not satisfied with how no real competition existed.

I could replay the Richards shoving that Korean guy a few more times, and witnessing all three teams succumb to fatigue and pressure in the finale. Specifically Richards promising to be efficient by being inefficient, and Dominatrix crying and cursing at every turn.

P.S. This marks the least amount of puns uttered by Allan Wu in a single episode of TAR Asia 4. Tragic.

8) Colombo, Sri Lanka -> Galle, Sri Lanka

I love that this round goes from plane to train to walking on foot to bus to tuk-tuk to crossing on a tightrope.

That is a lot of modes of transportation in one round, and this is not even the round notorious for the extensive transportation used.

The equalizer was at the beginning, and the route doesn’t mess around for the remainder of the leg. I like how Alan & Wendy start off with a strong lead, but completely screw up by not researching the bus system properly. Vintage TAR at its finest.

Compared to the previous Sri Lanka round, there is very little crossover with other franchises. Sure, it was unoriginal that there was another lock-based task just two rounds since Kota Kinabalu, or that the coconut rope course was nearly identical to TAR 6, but I do not want to be greedy.

Wait. TAR 12’s Learn Ten Words was the other side of this Detour.

And TAR 4’s Match a Mask with a Performer was an active route info.

And the Fast Forward was a head shaving task which we have seen at least three or four times by this point, and was the first offered outside of India.

And Dialog’s sponsourship was already used two rounds ago, and Hilton just one round ago.

And searching through a pile of cell phones for the clue was identical to searching through a pile of Blu-Rays for a clue, but far less time-consuming.

In other words, nothing was all that original about this leg other than the constant struggle with transportation.

I loved Jess & Lani witnessing somebody vomiting, Alan praying for a car crash, and Hussein nearly falling to his death. Lastly, nothing says a good time like having traffic cops laugh at your passport photo.

That was fun.

P.S. There was an original component to one of the tasks. The treasure chest could only be unlocked if you knew Sri Lanka’s history.

9) Lombok, Indonesia -> Gyeongju, South Korea

Airport equalizer.
Go to a ceremony here.
Ring a bell there.

Match your partner’s opinions with an improved version of Perfect Match from TAR 11’s final task, but still be told how many you have right. Better, but there should not have been any help.

Firing a bow and arrow at a small target bearing a team’s image of your choosing was simultaneously challenging and amusing.

I love a self-drive leg in an area with a heavy language barrier such as South Korea.

But you know what ruined self-driving, Perfect Match mediocrity, and bows and arrows?

The freakin’ Warrior’s Code task. How the hell does that qualify as the penultimate Roadblock of the season? How did that survive all of the planning stages and become an official task for this program? You could be wrong just a maximum of seven times. You would complete it in either two or three attempts.

What. The. Hell. Was. The. Point.

The most interesting part about this leg is Hussein & Natasha proving to be the smartest team by saving up all of their money and hiring a taxi to lead them for the day. They won this round because of this. Regardless of the fact they started out the day lost at the airport, and were slow at most tasks.

The team who had the least amount of money, Jess & Lani, wasted too much time and could afford a cab for the last two route markers. After being responsible for scoring the season’s lone hat trick, they would be Wuliminated over Dominatrix and Hussein & Natasha in a big upset.

This leg should be ranked higher, but dammit, Warrior’s Code has to make a top ten for dumbest Roadblocks in TAR history.

P.S. Yes, the hay bales task in TAR 6 is number one.

10) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -> George Town, Penang, Malaysia

Running backwards up a narrow staircase at the starting line? Counting steps at Batu Caves? Driving yourself to a route marker that was aired just a few months ago in the US version, and directly acknowledging it?

Refusing to properly explain a soccer penalty shootout task?

Creating a Detour where ten teams all pick the same Detour where one member pretended to clean a window and the other took a picture?

All of the teams finishing within an hour of each other?

Sorry, that was Bethany Hamilton ranking this leg.

I am glad nobody was eliminated because nothing really happened this round. I applaud producers for trying two unique tasks and a unique visual for the starting line, but re-using Kuala Lumpur and Penang so soon again made it feel stale.

Not to mention my ears burn from hearing Amazing Grace. By the way, did teams ever start forming relationships with each other? I feel like we learned almost nothing about everyone other than a few occupations and country of origin.

Nothing very laugh out loud funny either other than Hilda becoming the new Terri and Jess picking up locals that do NOT like being used.

Losing in your home town is always fun to watch, but seeing you finish in first place for that round comes off as boring as Tammy & Victor. Sorry Ethan & Khairie.

Maybe I just have something against having any more rounds in that whole peninsula. Los Angeles, northeastern China, and the Malay peninsula will always be under fire in these blogs.

I will praise them for doing a Roadblock and a Detour in the season premiere. Lots of tasks squished into one episode, come to think of it.

11) George Town, Penang, Malaysia -> Kampung, Malaysia

What a dumb round design.

An equalizer halfway through the leg?

Give a lousy twenty minute advantage for a team eating 275 chicken balls knowing that failure to complete one of the tasks will automatically give five teams a four hour penalty?

Petting the anaconda looked dangerous.
The underwater puzzle Roadblock was complicated.
The Detour was on par with most tasks in TAR history. Adventure task versus coordination.
Self-drive legs are always what TAR is all about.

But a four hour penalty for a team failing to complete the underwater puzzle Roadblock within ten minutes? Four hour penalties should only be assessed if a team QUITS a task.

angry video game nerd
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?!

Allan never explains this crucial detail before the task starts. We just see Claire be led out of the water being told time is up fifteen minutes later, and the screen displays a four hour penalty for her. Viewers are led to believe that producers made up this penalty on the spot, but we know there is no way this can be true.

Maybe Allan said it aloud and producers replied “no, when you say it aloud, the twist sounds stupid”.

Well, if it sounded dumb when Allan says it then maybe the idea is REALLY STUPID IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Following TAR 16’s unnecessarily high levels of nastiness towards each other, it is nice to watch a season where everybody gets along. The closest thing to a rivalry is Sunaina & Dimple simultaneously hating and loving Michelle & Claire who they nicknamed Dominatrix.

Lastly, the Richards should be given ten bucks just for spooking Hilda twenty feet from the pit stop mat. Classic.

And screw you TAR 24 for copying half of the round and ruining any good task that occurred for this leg. Shame on you.

Season Rankings Updated
—-

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 The Ultimate Fighter 1, and the payoff was enormous.

We had TAR 6 and 7 green-lighted, produced, and aired less than ten months after TAR 5 did. 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 which 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 a supporting cast of Marshall & Lance, Bob & Joyce, Jim & Marsha, Bowling Moms, and the antics of twins 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 was pregnant.
.
.
.
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 known as the weekly Fast Forward starting with this season, 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?

EDIT: My Ox is Broken returned in the tenth round of TAR 25.

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 gone down as a failure.

But it worked against all pre-game logic. 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 the penultimate round.

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 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 combined with remembering what happened on the race 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’s amazing upset.

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 sibling team you thought would win every round would instead 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 avoid being last at 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 Fern strategy 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 compared to the Globetrotters.

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 in underground caves 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 all airing close to simultaneously.

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 to the season trolled me.

Twin Hunt.
Dieselgate.
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 and racing turnaround of Ian & Teri.
Flo.

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, 24th greatest team of all-time Lisa & Joni’s run (with full bladders nonetheless), 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 where BJ truly had no clothes. It is parallel to Exile Island ending immediately after Coach went there in Survivor: Tocantins. Exile Island could not top Coach’s presence just like how Mugged for Elimination could not be topped by BJ just trying to find some freakin’ pants.

EDIT: San Juan Del Sur brought back Exile Island a few months ago. Sorry Coach.

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, Eric chokes as BJ passes him 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 (not wise to connect through a city in a continent that producers are not visiting in your season), the Blake & Paige/Hope & Norm car controversy, and lastly. . .it deserves its own paragraphs.

The most talked about final twenty minutes in perhaps 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 good 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 exciting 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 with their all-star seasons, 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. Also, this Frat boy had a partner who was viewed as spoiled and worthless (she did get 500k for her “efforts”).

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 final tasks, etc.).

This 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. 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, that is.

Producers learned from their mistakes in TAR Asia 1 except for the part where they once again were 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, er, I mean 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 truly finish in dead last in back-to-back legs at the beginning of the season. Somehow those two were not named Henry & Terri, who were a different team that were saved by 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 (Ann & Diane) 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. In fact, they are three of the strongest all-female teams in the entire TAR franchise.

Lastly, the first four rounds were single-handedly carried by French Born Aurelia as we ventured through 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.

R.I.P. Henry.”

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 Asia 4: “The Race of a Lifetime” – 6.81/10

“The final season of TAR Asia is a relatively good season. I think this is the perfect season to be positioned in the middle of my rankings. Nothing great happened to take it to the next level, but nothing infuriating that would make this a bad season.

Along with TAR 19, TAR Asia 4 is the season I have heard people talk about the least since its airing. You know TAR 19 was lacklustre when it shares a record with an obscure foreign edition.

It is tragic that this is the final edition of the Asian franchise, but an overall natural conclusion to the series. There is not much more they could have done with the series given the limited options for producers.

Casting was equally strong to TAR Asia 3. Scratch that, this cast was stronger than TAR Asia 3 since nobody was as much of a dud as Isaac & William. No real weak links in this cast.

Furthermore, nobody in casting was repeatedly irritating me. Hating on a certain father-daughter team or Dominatrix’s logic was more fun rather than being a strike against the season. Only downside is that producers failed to avoid mactors and mactresses yet again. Oh well.

The tasks and locations faired reasonably well. This aspect of the race was successful in the long run that American seasons, and Asian producers for the Australia series, would recycle these tasks and locations. Trendsetters in their own right.

However, many of the tasks were poorly explained. A rare problem I have encountered in TAR. How do you drop the ball after twenty English-speaking seasons?

Allan kept bringing the puns. I enjoyed that.

Perhaps the biggest reasons why this season has fallen into obscurity is because of the following:
a) No significant rivalries or conflicts. Besides docks, an EVIL EVIL man, the early U-Turn and Yield, not much happened.
b) No characters that are over-the-top to an extreme.
c) Winners are likeable, and won in an acceptable fashion.

On the flipside, these are the exact reasons why I like this season. It was a breath of fresh air. Nearly everyone was a source of comedy. Manas threw sticks, Hilda being carried away without breakfast, Hussein falling off of things, Jess & Lani wasting the money they begged for on clothes, Yani petting a snake, Dominatrix eating chicken balls and making funny faces, Richards with their comedic errors, Ethan with his polar bear outfit as well as his sheep herding, Sunaina & Dimple attempting to ski, and Alan feuding in broken English.

Experimenting with another Intersection as well as record-breaking early NELs was welcome to the series.

TAR Asia 4 could burn through all three NELs by top six for two reasons:
1) They have only ten teams to begin the season.
2) Episodes run four to ten minutes longer than US episodes.

 Therefore characters have enough time to be developed from day one, and thus editors do not need to worry about giving a team an invisible edit because too many teams are left after seven rounds of play. This was the perfect format to have all six teams be alive with zero NELs left in the race.

In short, TAR Asia 4 is the epitome of a good season. Every series needs seasons like these. Unfortunately easy-going seasons are tough to rank near the top of the chain, and since this was the final season of the series, my expectations were a bit higher.”

11. 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.”

12. The Amazing Race Asia 3: Toughest Race Ever – 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 when Sam could not pull himself twenty more feet across a gorge.

Why is the rating for this season nearly as high as seven out of ten despite bad winners, needle in haystacks, and a bad route?

Well, because the casting was “really really goooood” in the words of Audrey from TAR Canada 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 producers thinking when casting them?

Perhaps the biggest improvement upon previous TAR Asia instalments is that the number of non-eliminations was dropped from five to three. Although with this cast it was always sad to see anyone go.”

13. 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/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.”

14. 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.”

15. The Amazing Race 16 – 5.8/10

“Well, it did not have terrible winners, a horrible impromptu elimination twist, and five non-elimination rounds. I will give it credit for that and why it is not much lower.

But yeah, a rating of 5.8 indicates that this season is not very good. That is a ‘C’ or ‘C-‘ in the eyes of most people.

Adrian & Dana, Monique & Shawne, and Steve & Allie received invisible edits. Heck, we did not know who Steve & Allie were until the seventh round. Even the winners Dan & Jordan were not acknowledged by producers until the end of the game was drawing near.

Instead the narrative of the season revolved around irrelevant Jeff & Jordan, over-the-top Jet & Cord, and the rivalry between Brent & Caite and Carol & Brandy. These are not exactly people who can bear the responsibility of a season on their shoulders. U-Turning Joe & Heidi early on did not help matters much either.

Only one new country being added to the catalogue was beginning to hurt the series. Is there any reason to keep watching if the show is going nowhere new?

The Intersection twist made teams work cooperatively on a Roadblock rather than a Detour, but is now more of an answer to a trivia question rather than reviving a twist in an interesting manner. I would say the Intersection is a very interesting twist in concept that producers put zero effort into running with it.

The biggest and most talked about moment is when Dan & Jordan cut in line in the final leg. It led to the audience blasting a ton of hate in Dan & Jordan’s direction because everybody was desperate to see Jet & Cord (the team to receive the most biased edit ever) to win the season. Thankfully that desperation was not appeased, but it created an outcome where Dan & Jordan were made to feel guilty while everyone else was bitter.

Even the third place team was threatened into guilt because of what they did three rounds earlier to Carol & Brandy leading to the first ever finish line fight.

Overall, this did indeed play out like a season, albeit a bland one, and it concluded with much needed underdog winners.

There are comedic subtle moments in every round. You just have to look a bit harder.

In short, I find this to be an inoffensive season. It reinforced the idea for the sixteenth time that two women cannot win TAR together as all-male teams once again filled three of the top four spots, and was our youngest Final 3 ever.”

16. 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 also the first to be 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 recruit 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.”

17. The Amazing Race Asia 1 – 4.55/10

“The first expansion outside of America. It featured the first all-female victory ever, albeit 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 constant fear of heights, and Sahil & Prashant’s rage attack after their receiving the penalty that eliminated them.

The locations were repeated from 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, three, and four. You can partially forgive its failing debut. It does not have the same excuse as TAR 6 or 14 where American producers should have a full grasp on how to make a good season regardless of the circumstances.”

18. 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 to please the audience.

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 on Wednesdays until it recovers during TAR 10.

As soon as teams exit Costa Rica and enter Arizona, the Midwest theme along with teams putting up with an unprecedented FIVE non-eliminations in the second half of the season 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. And some of the teams do not disappoint.”

19. 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 finding compelling teams to cast.

The route is surprisingly unique for its time. Making every team complete their fair share of Roadblocks for the first time in history would become a staple for the series until TAR 24.

However,  the horrible decision to think the hay bales task, 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 them being invited onto an episode of Dr. Phil.

Lastly, the final leg was virtually the only one without a flight equalizer as Freddy & Kendra managed to get a time advantage over Kris & Jon 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 in the eyes of the audience and the eyes of the producers.

It is no wonder why none of these teams have been invited back.”

20. The Amazing Race 14 – 2.5/10

“A mediocre route, but introduced us to Jodi Wincheski who would become not only the worst casting director for TAR in subsequent seasons, but also would be guilty of corrupting future casting choices.

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, 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 another big contributor to its awfully low ranking.”

***

By the way, the podcast I co-host (YATNcast) interviewed Joe & Bill of Team Guido a few days ago. Michael and I interviewed them for nearly two hours on Friday night.

http://www.mixcloud.com/…/you-are-team-no-podcast-guidocast/

Enjoy!

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