The Amazing Race 18 Rankings Introduction Part 1

THE AMAZING RACE 18: UNFINISHED BUSINESS

TAR 1-4: Original Era
TAR 5-9: Revitalization Era
TAR 10-13: Transition Era
TAR 14-16: Static Era
TAR 17: The Exception.
TAR 18-24: Funky and Inconsistent Era.

COUNTRIES VISITED
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AUSTRALIA – JAPAN – CHINA – INDIA – AUSTRIA – LIECHTENSTEIN – SWITZERLAND – BRAZIL – UNITED STATES

After a month hiatus due to work, summer vacations, keeping up with the disappointing TAR Canada 3, and a flu bug. . .we’re back! Okay, well, I’m back.

This is my 500th blog post. It is a huge accomplishment and I do not intend to stop anytime soon.

Just like with my TAR 11: Real All Stars blog, this introduction will be fairly long because it requires us to cover a wide range of topics before diving into the episodes and the rankings as a whole.

Here is what the two-part introduction will be covering.

PART 1:

a) The story about Jodi Wincheski

b) Who should have been cast for this season if you lift the TAR 12-TAR 17 restriction on teams.

c) Who should have been cast for this season if you do not lift the TAR 12-17 restriction on teams.

d) Recapping all sixty-one eligible teams for TAR 18. I read through HUNDREDS of exit interviews. This is why part one took over a month to complete.

PART 2 (which should be posted within five days because it will require zero research):

a) Who was cast.

b) Survivor and BB’s use of past players and all-star seasons since TAR 11.

c) Format changes for TAR 18 and overall impression of the season.

After that, our fun can begin once more. 🙂

So let’s dive right into this.

TOPIC #1: THE “JODI WINCHESKI” FIASCO. . .OR SO WE THOUGHT

Oh god. Do I finally get to talk about this? Something I had assumed over the past five years is now up for discussion. Excellent.

First, let’s take a look at the twenty-one seasons I have ranked thus far in my blog from favourite to least favourite.

1. The Amazing Race 5 – 9.2/10

2. The Amazing Race 12 – 9.0/10

3. The Amazing Race 7 – 8.8/10

4. The Amazing Race 3 – 8.7/10

5. The Amazing Race 17 – 8.65/10

6. The Amazing Race 9 – 8.6/10

7. The Amazing Race 2 – 8.5/10

8. The Amazing Race 11: Real All Stars – 7.2/10

9. The Amazing Race Asia 2 – 7.19/10

10. The Amazing Race (1) – 7/10

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

12. The Amazing Race 13 – 6.8/10

13. The Amazing Race Asia 3: Toughest Race Ever – 6.7/10

14. The Amazing Race 10 – 6.5/10

15. The Amazing Race 4 – 6.25/10

16. The Amazing Race 16 – 5.8/10

17. The Amazing Race 15 – 4.9/10

18. The Amazing Race Asia 1 – 4.55/10

19. The Amazing Race 8: Family Edition – 4.0/10

20. The Amazing Race 6 – 3.9/10

21. The Amazing Race 14 – 2.5/10

Now let’s see a spread of how many teams are represented from each season for Unfinished Business.

TAR 17 – 1
TAR 16 – 1
TAR 15 – 2
TAR 13 – 0
TAR 12 – 2
TAR 14 – 5 + Steve & Linda as alternates.

WHAT THE F–K?! How did this happen? Five out of a possible ten teams are cast from the worst season ever made, and f–king Steve & Linda are the alternates?

david mary

At least David & Mary could do well in the odd round and were the Rupert Bonehams of TAR entering All Stars, but Steve & Linda? What? Why?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

In reality, there was only nine eligible options to pick for TAR 14. Tammy & Victor were disqualified for winning their season, but who is the other?

siberia christie jodi 2

I have been waiting a long time to talk about this incident. Do you remember Christie & Jodi from TAR 14? On the left you have the goofy friend who is likely related to Tricia Godlewski from TAR 8.

Jodi, on the other hand, was a bit bland as a character. They didn’t do too well during the season, and didn’t have any big highlights.

Somehow, Jodi found her way into a job as a casting agent for subsequent TAR seasons after she played TAR 14.

dennis erika intro

Much like Erika did from TAR 5.

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And did you know Gary from TAR 2 was a story editor for TAR 5 a.k.a. the greatest season of all time? I wish he worked for TAR a bit longer.

Anyways, TAR 18’s casting period rolls around. The bar is set very very high because of the terrific job they did with putting TAR 11: Real All Stars together.

I do not know if Erika had a big role in casting TAR 11, but if she did then she clearly was not biased as only one team from TAR 5 was chosen (Charla & Mirna). There really should have been more teams from this season since it is awesome, but hey, Colin & Christie were about to have a baby and Chip & Kim were rejected for whatever reason.

TAR 14, however, was absolutely terrible and nobody would be outraged if not a single team from that season was brought back. Only TAR 24: Fake All Stars will topple TAR 14’s terrible run.

I was excited for Unfinished Business. It was supposed to be the first season I would return to watch since TAR 14 pushed me away from the series for two years. Finally, an article was released talking about the eleven teams and. . .
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I nearly punched my computer reading through the first ten teams, and spit out my drink before laughing so hard once I saw Kris & Jon from TAR 14 were returning.

This had to be a joke. A few days later, it leaked out that Steve & Linda were indeed the alternates.

After some more digging, everything made sense. Jodi Wincheski was helping cast TAR 18, and, well, if you choose five teams from the very worst season at that point in history, it’s very clear personal bias got in the way.
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Yes, I know Jodi Wincheski denied she had any involvement with TAR 18 in yesterday’s AMA on the Survivor Reddit, but I can’t accept producers are that stupid to pick a bunch of teams from TAR 14. I feel much more comfortable using Jodi as a scapegoat than believing multiple people are complete idiots.

In all seriousness, I have heard this happen before with Survivor. Past contestants who are friends with those in casting tend to have a much greater chance of being able to play again. It’s a fact. A fact which may or may not apply to Jodi, but a fact nonetheless.

But what happens here in TAR 18 is taken to an extreme. There is no other explanation. I cannot think of another person on the planet other than Jodi who would allow Kris & Jon to become a two-time player.

It’s even worse when you realize that Kris & Jon and Christie & Jodi were eliminated in the span of three episodes. This means they spent a lot of time together at Elimination Station. Creating bonds which clearly pay off for Kris & Jon down the road.

Without bashing Jodi too much, I should note that we shouldn’t be assigning too much blame for the incident solely on her shoulders. Bertram, Elise, or the folks higher up at CBS could have easily read between the lines of the casting choices on paper and say “Hey Jodi, uh, I know it is tough but all of your friends can’t play”.

romania kris jon 3

They could have said “no” to the most unimpressionable team of all time, Kris & Jon.

germany mel

They could have said “no” to an older guy who had a very tough time physically during his first appearance, Mel & Mike. Unless the tasks were going to be easier like they were in TAR 24, I was super concerned Mel was going to be seriously hurt during TAR 18.

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They could have said “no” to Jaime & Cara.

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They could have said “no” to Margie & Luke because another mother-son team, Toni & Dallas, deserved the spot much more.

switzerland steve linda 2

And, I can’t believe I am saying this, but they had the “power” to reject Steve & Linda as alternates. It is unbelievable we nearly lived in a world where the majority of TAR 18’s cast were all from the same season.

Unfortunately, casting for a returnee season is identical to what it is like in the real world. Getting the job you want in the real world may not necessarily be enough to earn the position–many times it is being lucky enough to have a pre-existing relationship with those who have the influence to hire you.

I don’t expect Jodi to have the time to sit down and watch every season and personally analyze all of the great casting choices, and research opinions from knowledgeable fans online leading up to TAR 18, but exonerating her for what she did is still too big of a challenge.

She chose literally everyone who finished between 2nd and 8th place from her own season to be brought back except herself and Mark & Michael.

phuket mark michael 10

Which brings me to a question I have always wondered: What the hell did Mark & Michael ever do to Jodi Wincheski?

So there you go. If you have ever wondered about why half of the teams for Unfinished Business hail from TAR 14, the mystery is solved. It is essentially  a case of somebody in casting who wants to hook up their friends with an opportunity, and none of the higher-ups cared about this insane act of personal bias clouding one’s judgment.

russia toni dallas

This is why we have never seen truly deserving players from this era get their second chance to play The Amazing Race.

P.S. Okay. I actually believe Jodi’s claim how she had no involvement with TAR 18. Does that mean producers truly thought that TAR 14, their worst season of all time, had a super duper strong cast to justify putting the majority of the eligible teams on the TAR 18 roster?

Maybe because Jodi was in casting that they were constantly reminded of TAR 14. If Jodi keeps talking about her TAR 14 experiences with other producers in the network, then hey, everyone else could be under the impression it is a strong and memorable season.

Hell, perhaps somebody high up was such a big fan of Margie & Luke that they became obsessed to such a degree that they wanted to re-cast anybody who were involved in Margie & Luke’s original story arc.

If anything, using the name “Jodi Wincheski” is more of a metaphor for whoever is the anonymous figure high up in production and put forth a cluster of teams from TAR 14.

So that’s what we’ll go with in these introductions. “Jodi” will refer to the mysterious unknown figure who nearly blew the whole pre-season process for Unfinished Business.

***

TOPIC #2: WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN CAST IN GENERAL. . .

So who should have been cast then? How far off base was “Jodi”, really?

Here I will propose two different lists. The first list will be if I lift the “people who have only played since All Stars” restriction.

To me, TAR 18 was the tenth year anniversary of the show. When the season finished airing on TV, a decade worth of TAR would officially be in the books.

So why not include a couple of teams from the first ten seasons who hadn’t had a chance to come back yet? There isn’t even that many characters to choose from in the span of six seasons since All Stars ended. This is yet another part of the pre-season production process which shocked me.

I am not going to go through every single team who played in the first ten seasons of TAR and the reasons why they should or should not return. Why?

Because I already did that in my TAR 11 pre-season cast assessment. Click here to see me talk about every TAR team ever up to that point.

Instead I am just going to talk about the teams I wanted for Unfinished Business who missed out on appearing in All Stars.
Let’s start with the team I was convinced was going to be on TAR 18 the second I heard about the Unfinished Business theme.

LENA & KRISTY

lena kristy intro

Seriously. Over ten years since TAR 6 has aired, and we have yet to see Lena & Kristy.

What was shocking about their exclusion is that TAR 15 had a Switchback in Sweden which was dedicated to Lena’s huge stroke of misfortune in the hay bales Roadblock. This is the stupidest task of all time which gets reinforced throughout the TAR timeline. So how the heck do you leave out Lena & Kristy from Unfinished Business?

What made the situation even more extreme is that Lena & Kristy were doing well throughout the day in Sweden. They sucked in Iceland and sucked even more in Norway, but they come out of nowhere to build up as much as a five hour lead on Lori & Bolo and Don & Mary Jean.

Then the World’s Stupidest Task comes along and knocks them out of the race. Was their success in Sweden up to that point just a good day for them, or were they past the learning curve and becoming legit contenders to win TAR 6?

Lena being dealt with the worst single case of bad luck in the show’s history is the epitome of Unfinished Business.

Maybe when the next all-star season occurs, presumably TAR 30, production will finally make things right and give them that second shot.

KEN & GERARD/JON & AL

gerard pushing ken

jon al yawn

I pick both of these teams because they represent a similar demographic.

Myself and Phil Keoghan never shut up about Ken & Gerard all the way into TAR 11. Phil would always talk about them as his favourite team as he wanted to see play again.

For some reason, producers didn’t want them for TAR 11 because Kevin & Drew, Joe & Bill, and Oswald & Danny were already locks for the season, and it would make for too many middle-aged all-male teams.

They were in a prime position to win the final leg, but a bad taxi cost them in the final destination city of Seattle.

We know what we’re getting if Ken & Gerard come back. Brothers with a great sense of humour despite possessing different personal qualities, and out-of-shape guys who are very sharp and quick.

Oh, and a kryptonite for helping those who they may not even like too much at the moment.

It wasn’t their kindness that did them in the end; just that aforementioned damn taxi.

TARA & WIL

tara wil

The original team to simultaneously kick ass but be super duper dysfunctional.

They kicked so much ass during the race that they ended the season with an average finishing position of 2.53. Better than Colin & Christie by 0.01 points, and is more impressive because a lot more teams used the Fast Forward in TAR 2 than TAR 5.

Tara & Wil were running as close to a perfect race as you can heading into the show’s final minutes in San Francisco.

Wil tries to trick Chris & Alex by hopping out at the wrong spot and inducing Chris & Alex into making a blunder. It didn’t work.

The finish line had the longest run to the mat of any season in history. Because of Tara’s poor running along with bad asthma, it was the perfect recipe for Chris & Alex to catch up.

It was mere seconds which determined the outcome, and Tara & Wil are stuck with one of the early blunders in TAR history. Would Tara be super pissed if Wil won, and how would the audience have reacted?

And I would love to see what would happen if they had to race together nine years later. Is Wil fully moved on? Would they be more mature as both would be hovering around the age of forty?

The answer is no, but it would be fun to see if they could still crush everyone in their path nearly a decade later.

I have a feeling they would turn down any invite sent to them, sadly. It is probably why production hasn’t even asked.

COLIN & CHRISTIE

colin christie intro
Do you recall how bummed out everyone was when they had to decline an invitation to TAR 11 because of Christie’s pregnancy?

Well, then where the hell was their invite to TAR 18? It’s like the original Brook & Claire incident. Apparently if you turn down the first offer then production never asks you again in the future.

It’s ridiculous. Do you know how many times Survivor producers asked back Michael Skupin? At least Survivor producers have a good memory. TAR producers don’t.

Colin & Christie were in somewhat of a similar situation to Tara & Wil. They were slaughtering the competition for 99% of the race until they overlooked the best possible flight to the final destination city. Back in the day when the final city had only a couple of quick tasks before the finish line, it was near impossible to make up for lost time.

This is what happened to Colin & Christie. Obviously everyone wanted to see them rehash their rivalry with Charla & Mirna. It’s a score which needed to be settled.

However, once Christie’s pregnancy occurred, a different direction could have been taken. For TAR 18, production could have re-invited them to see how they would be after three years of parenthood.

Would Colin be able to tap into the same intensity during TAR 5 or has being a father changed him?

Have both of them learned to be patient?

And lastly, how would Christie do in a season where she would have to complete more than one Roadblock? No longer would she be able to get away with eating a pound of caviar on her own before Colin would complete all subsequent Roadblocks.

The idea of Colin & Christie interacting with Margie & Luke or an Adam & Bethany or a Tim & Marie amuses me to no end.

BRIAN & GREG

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Some teams blame bad taxis for their demise; others get screwed over by a dumb task or their own personal meltdown.

Brian & Greg’s season-ender? A bad car crash.

brian greg crash 1

While they were able to outrun Ray & Deana to recover from the car crash, the next round was a very linear leg without an equalizer. Therefore, it was impossible for Brian & Greg to catch up and were out of the race.

brian greg botswana

And they really wanted it to be a NEL.

They may have been alpha males on paper, but Brian & Greg were prone to mistakes to where it became a level playing field.

What makes them stand out from any other alpha male team is that they might be the funniest team overall in TAR history. They are just like two of my brothers if they raced together.

I think newer fans would be shocked to learn a car crash ultimately put a team out of the race.

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Brian & Greg would be great comedic relief.

SHOLA & DOYIN

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Man. Shola & Doyin were dealt such a bad hand in TAR 2. The nicest and most likeable guys to participate on TAR. My sister had a huge crush on both of them.

They had two huge blunders which we’ve never really seen since then.

a) A taxi drove over Shola’s (or was it Doyin’s?) foot in the second round. Peggy & Claire’s reaction to seeing Shola & Doyin attempt the volleyball Fast Forward with them was hilarious.

b) Their car got stuck in the sand dunes in Namibia. The Detour closed down before they got there, and they were put out of the race in 8th place.

I know both twins are still big fans of TAR. Both are family men now and well-accomplished in real life.

It would be interesting to see if they can escape bad luck on a second attempt.

LYN & KARLYN

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I am not saying all of these teams had to be chosen for TAR 18, but at least a few should have been.

Following the season where the first all-female team won, I would have liked to see the first all-female team to make it to the Final Three have a chance to come back.

Lyn & Karlyn would have won TAR 10 if their flight to New York  did not depart without them. This was pretty much the only scenario where Lyn & Karlyn could have won a round on TAR 10–be alone on a plane that gets in much earlier than all of the other teams, and does not have a single equalizer.

This is exactly the opportunity they were handed in the season finale, but they could never make that freakin’ flight.

Lyn & Karlyn could have very well been the Sandra of TAR.

Lyn & Karlyn’s entire alliance was knocked out by the end of the game. They were at the bottom for most of the legs during the season. Why, Karlyn pulled a Sandra by swearing at other contestants and flipping them off.

But just as Sandra proved where all your only goals are to not get voted off every three days then secure the jury vote at the end, Lyn & Karlyn’s only goals are to not be last each round then win the final leg.

Furthermore, I doubt they would be U-Turned during Unfinished Business because Dustin & Kandice aren’t playing for a third time.

There really hasn’t been another team like Lyn & Karlyn since they played.

DEBBIE & BIANCA

debbie bianca

Okay. Debbie & Bianca bear one hundred percent of the responsibility for their own elimination from TAR 7. They are the anti-Lena & Kristy. Sure, they kicked butt in the first two rounds, but have nobody but themselves to blame for driving two hours in the wrong direction during the third round of play.

I think producers were only interested in bringing them back if it was during TAR 11 against Rob & Amber for a re-match. Unfortunately, you had to finish better than 9th in your original season in order to be considered for Real All Stars.

Personally, I believe Lena & Kristy will always be higher on the priority list for all-female TAR 11 returnees, but I just want to throw it out there that I find Debbie & Bianca compelling enough, and an Unfinished Business theme suits them.

***

See? That’s a pretty strong list, eh? Who would have been my overall cast for TAR 18 without the “must have played between TAR 12 and TAR 17” restriction?

1. Ron & Christina
2. Toni & Dallas
3. Mark & Bill
4. Brook & Claire
5. Lena & Kristy
6. Ken & Gerard
7. Colin & Christie
8. Nathan & Jennifer
9. Zev & Justin
10. Brian & Ericka
11. Dandrew/Shola & Doyin/Brian & Greg/Chad & Stephanie/Tara & Wil/Kisha & Jen.

You can’t look at me with a straight face and not say this is a weaker cast than a bunch o’ teams from TAR 14 going back along with Jet & Cord.

This would have been an awesome group, and you know it. You have skilled teams, you have drama, you have a variety of relationships, you have comedy, you have numerous storylines, and you have crazy.

What more do you want?

TOPIC #3: WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN CAST GIVEN THE RESTRICTION. . .

But because TAR producers are stupid, we were restricted to casting teams who played in a span of just six seasons.

Let’s review every team who has played since TAR 11: Real All Stars. Thankfully, the list is -only- sixty-one teams compared to the 112 teams I had to talk about from the first ten seasons.

Brook Roberts & Claire Champlin – TAR 17 – 2nd Place – 3.17 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Something about a watermelon.
Most Underrated Moment: Brook slicing her eye on a car door.

No, Brook & Claire were not treated the same way as Toni & Dallas where producers said they were “considered” but never invited to participate.

Fans wanted Brook & Claire back right away. They wanted to be back. And yes, producers did ask Brook & Claire.

You probably know the story by now, but Claire was married and became pregnant shortly after TAR 17.

The only way she could participate to please fans is if she got an abortion in time for the filming schedule for TAR 18. And if she did that just to play TAR for a second time. . .well, we would think she has major problems.

Could you imagine the conversation?

BERTRAM: Hey Claire, we just spoke to Brook about coming back right away for another chance to win the race. She is definitely down with doing it again because you guys had fun and are competitive. Look, five spots have already been filled and–
CLAIRE: Ugh. Sorry. Pregnant at the moment.
BERTRAM: Oh. Well, as long as I do not suffer from long term amnesia by our next all-star season, I’m sure we will give you a call back.
CLAIRE: Wait. I think there’s a solution.
BERTRAM (opens a can of Snapple): Really? What?
CLAIRE: I could get an abortion. It’s really easy. The clinic is just six blocks away. I don’t even have to take the bus there; I can just walk.
BERTRAM (spits out Snapple): ARE YOU SERIOUS?!
CLAIRE: Yeah, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity again. I mean, I -am- fifteen weeks pregnant but–
BERTRAM: Jesus Christ Claire, I’ve heard of people writing 900 page blogs covering a season of the race, but this is the craziest s–t I’ve ever heard.
CLAIRE: Sorry, but as Phil Keoghan always says, ‘no opportunity wasted!’
(CLAIRE hangs up phone; 60s Batman theme plays as she puts on her cheetah outfit.)

So yeah. Unfortunately real life does interfere with your favourite contestants from playing a game. Then producers of TAR have an awful memory, so we’ll have to settle for Brook & Claire being one and done.

But what a one it was.

Do I have to repeat all of the reasons why Brook & Claire are awesome?

1 down, 60 to go.

Jill Haney & Thomas Wolfard – TAR 17 – 3rd place – 3.00 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Their taxi driver has GPS.
Most Underappreciated Moment: Thomas biting into an apple and open-mouthed silent moments of surprise.

Sadly, Thomas didn’t take the course How To Be A Compelling TV Character at Notre Dame.

Jill & Thomas may have earned the first modern day Express Pass, but they were simply on a season with too many strong characters for viewers to think about Jill & Thomas.

This team is one of the strongest competitors we have seen in TAR, but not enough personality to build a case to be invited back for another shot. Few young dating couples in history ever end up being popular.

Also, from what I have read in exit interviews, I get the impression Jill & Thomas may not be the strongest when it comes to delivering confessionals. They stumble quite a bit.

Nick DeCarlo & Vicki Casciola – TAR 17 – 4th place – 5.27 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Something about accusations of having no common sense in Vicki’s entire body, and temper tantrums which result in sleeping through a Detour.

Most Underappreciated Moment: London is a country and Nick’s fear of clowns.

A lot of the casual fans ostracize any team who opts to quit (unless you’re from Kentucky and refuse to go without most of your clothes), and are also a dating couple who bickers.

Despite being drastically different from all other dating couples in terms of character traits (or as my friend Ben sums up Nick & Vicki–their appeal lies in the fact they are “unrefined”), the hardcore TAR fanbase were the only ones who were thoroughly entertained by them.

I think producers probably ignored Nick & Vicki for TAR 18 because not only do they have a negative reputation amongst casuals, but their story came full circle. Nick learned being a jerk did not get him anywhere, and would be a much more respectful person on a return trip to the race.

Yes, we would have been rewarded with Nick & Vicki’s obliviousness when it comes to English words such as battlement or knowing what the capital of London is, but we needed Nick’s untamed attitude and ridiculous statements during fits of anger to come back.

I don’t think we would have gotten that in TAR 18.

Lastly, with a poor racing average of 5.27, Nick & Vicki’s journey was bound to be cut short and feel like it would weaken the field of TAR 18. . .unless they are up against a bunch of teams from TAR 14.

Chad Waltrip & Stephanie Smith – TAR 17 – 5th place – 5.11 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: The proposal in Oman and winning the leg.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Stephanie trying to play a game of Russian bowling.
Producers invested a lot of time and energy into making Chad & Steph their new star dating couple. They sucked up a lot of airtime, Chad was the first person to propose while still in the race, and they had the record for being mentioned in the highest number of episodes in the ‘Previously On’ segment at the start of each episode.

While watching TAR 17 over the past few months, it surprised me more and more they were never brought back.

Especially when producers had Stephanie kept in mind to be a racer since TAR 14. In fact, Stephanie gave her passport to producers and didn’t ask for it back until during TAR 17’s casting process. Production wondered what was going on in Stephanie’s life as she just met Chad, and suddenly she finds herself on the race.

Their sense of humour, unique story as a couple, and their overall ability to stand out would seem like a prime candidate to be re-cast for TAR.

However, I think a couple of factors shut them out.

a) Jodi Wincheski didn’t race on TAR 17.

b) The audience didn’t react as favourably as producers thought they would. I am currently reading exit interviews of every team since TAR 12, and an interviewer repeatedly asked about their fights on the race (even though Chad & Stephanie’s way of fighting is far different than other past dating couples). They just laugh about it because it doesn’t even occur to them that viewers are throwing the same accusations of verbal and emotional abuse as they did with Brian & Cynthia of TAR Canada 3.

c) Chad & Stephanie got married one day before their elimination episode. Perhaps they turned down an invite simply because they didn’t want to have their wedding in Oman as well.

Producers thought they had cultivated new stars, but things did not work out. Oh well.

Gary Ervin & Mallory Ervin – TAR 17 – 6th place – 4.625 Team Average

oman gary mallory ervin 10

Most Memorable Moment: Gary’s testicles being crunched during the Roadblock in Norway.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Mallory’s childlike innocence.

Because I had only known about Gary & Mallory from the three episodes of TAR 18 that I watched when the season aired, and Mallory’s cameo in TAR 24 when she had a terrible partner, I was expecting more from them when I saw TAR 17 for the first time.

They were eliminated two-thirds into the season and did not get shown as much as several of the other teams.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that being a religious team from rural Kentucky who didn’t have a potty mouth probably helped them identify with TAR’s largely conservative fanbase.

You have to keep in mind that TAR is the most popular show amongst conservatives in the US who want “clean family-friendly entertainment”. Despite Gary’s balls being crushed in Norway, this father-daughter duo are the epitome of what that fanbase wants.

It’s the same reason why David & Mary were brought back for TAR 11 as they were essentially the Rupert Bonehams of TAR, Jet & Cord playing three times, or Mark & Bopper returning for TAR 24 (and I can guarantee you they will be playing yet again–probably in TAR 30).

I guess Steve & Allie’s invisible edit, regardless of the fact they were badasses willing to win a leg without their backpack along with Steve’s beer and 7-up-loving and duct-taping attitude, they struggled much more to get that widespread appeal.

There is nothing bad I can say about Gary & Mallory in particular. They found their audience and that’s why they returned.

Kevin Wu & Michael Wu – TAR 17 – 7th place – 5.29 Team Average

russia kevjumba michael wu 18

Most Memorable Moment: Screwing up several times in their elimination round or that time Michael nearly died in Ghana.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Kevin’s short-lived boxing career as MoJumbad Ali/ Kevvius Kwu.

Toughest Task They Ever Encountered: Sitting on a chair.

Oh, Wus.

With TAR 18 using four parent-child teams, the cutoff had to occur at some point.

Regardless of how you feel about the Jumbas, they are the biggest celebrities in this seven season span. In TAR 24, being popular on YouTube motivated producers to re-cast Joey & Meghan.

Yet the Jumbas are nowhere to be found. Kevin hadn’t quite gotten to the point of disappearing from the Internet to pursue being a monk.

If I had to assess why they didn’t race again, it may or may not have to do with the fact Michael nearly died in Ghana. Furthermore, Michael is one of the least competitive people to be on The Amazing Race.

Producers likely wanted the Wus on again to boost ratings, but they may have expected Michael to be over the whole experience. They probably missed Michael’s offbeat comedic nature.

Katie Seamon (teehee) & Rachel Johnston – TAR 17 – 8th place – 5.4 Team Average

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The team who craved to be the first all-female winners out of anyone in history.

Let’s get straight to why they weren’t chosen: Young competitive women who make “mean” remarks tend to not be popular characters unless your name is Janelle.

I would put Jaime & Cara in the same category, but because they befriended Luke and Jodi Dub, they are exonerated from this rule.

I wish we got to see a lot more from them during their short run. Unfortunately producers made it clear they were not the greatest at speaking in interviews. It’s probably a good thing that Katie & Rachel are too real to edit themselves for reality television. That bad luck of having an easy leg without an equalizer or a flight was their downfall.

Lastly, if you want to see an exit interview with the highest number of ‘likes’ I have ever seen, here is an excerpt.

Rachel Johnston: We have watched snowboarders before and Katie like hates skiing and hates snow and it’s like terrifying — like I don’t like going down Black Diamonds or anything so I was a little nervous.

Here is their full interview.

Connor Diemand-Yauman & Jonathan Schwartz – TAR 17 – 9th place – 4.75 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: That stupid singing.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Connor & Jonathan trying to be around the all-female teams as much as possible.

Two geeky friends = probably going to be well-liked by the audience.

Connor & Jonathan are in that somewhat exclusive first-to-last early boot club.

It wouldn’t have surprised me if producers brought back Connor & Jonathan because they are not only geeky, but are the only team other than Daichi & Sawaka in TAR Asia 2 who sing upon being eliminated.

I think I have pinpointed the reason why they were not considered (other than not being on a season with Jodi Wincheski).

Connor & Jonathan said that due to their background as being Ivy League students, viewers may think of them as rich, entitled, and spoiled kids if they ran a super competitive race. They stated they went out of their way to not use any U-Turns, deceive other teams, or bicker with each other.

In other words, they admitted to intentionally being as boring as possible because they knew of the potential vitriol and hatred one can receive from social media.

And people who act as artificially nice as possible need to be kept away from playing for a second time. We’ll take you back when you decide to be assholes, Connor & Jonathan.

Andie DeKroon & Jenna Sykes – TAR 17 – 10th place – 9.5 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Their relationship.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Demonstrating they are both double-jointed, and breaking down in the middle of a busy intersection.

They were supposed to be alternates, but Steve & Linda stole their spot. :/

But seriously, Rory & Lorelai were meant to play just one season. This was their first experience together as a mother and daughter, and it wouldn’t exactly be as magical if TAR 18 was “the SECOND time they experience something together as mother and daughter”.

Their role in TAR history was to never be a competitive team or be big stars. They did their job, and can safely move on with their lives.

Ron Kellum & Tony Stovall – TAR 17 – 11th place – 11.0 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Ummmmmmmmm. . .

Most Underappreciated Moment: Ron claimed he spent a lot more time at the gym right before filming–this led to the fastest sprint I have ever seen at the starting line in the show’s history.

PHIL: We brought back Ron & Tony because they started of so strong, but navigational troubles in England, London ultimately put them out of the race. They certainly have some unfinished business.

See how easy it is to make a blunder out of nothing for every team in TAR history? Particularly when some of the blunders for TAR 18 are “got lost in a taxi” or “got U-Turned in the middle of the race”. Such ordinary things, but it comes off as being special when Phil states it aloud.

Ron & Tony had their chance to be big characters but blew it in the span of ten hours (where they got so lost they did not even finish the opening round–at least Bilal & Sa’eed were forcibly eliminated halfway through the first leg. Ron & Tony have no excuses). So much for all of that university education. Back to Broadway you go, fellas.

Biggest Snub(s): Brook & Claire and Chad & Stephanie.

TAR 16

Jet McCoy & Cord McCoy – TAR 16 – 2nd place – 2.58 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: A gravy whose mixture is flashing yellow.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Dan & Jordan cutting in front of them at the airport in Shanghai.

If Jet & Cord were given an accurate edit along with a more diverse fanbase, they would have an interesting story arc for TAR 16.

Instead it became a matter of “cowboys doing cowboy things” and awarded their own theme music.

Even from the three episodes of TAR 16 I saw when the season originally aired, I was never much of a fan of Jet & Cord. I didn’t understand the hype behind them.

One of the craziest experiences I had monitoring the online community was after the TAR 16 finale when there was six thousand pages of comments saying how Dan & Jordan “cheated” and Jet & Cord were robbed of the win they “deserved”. Yet there was only two pages devoted to a certain post-race incident.

Even though the backpack incident had nothing to do with Dan & Jordan’s lead. That lead was created because Dan & Jordan made a request to a stewardess to sneak into first class while Jet & Cord were asleep. It was a million dollar nap for the Cowboys.

It became pretty clear producers went all-in with Jet & Cord as they hired them to shoot a quick promo for TAR 18 during the TAR 17 finale. Even if ratings were at an all-time low during the last few episodes of TAR 16.

I didn’t like how Jet & Cord used their fanbase to be as angry as they were with Dan & Jordan. It’s one of those lines which a contestant shouldn’t really cross in the reality TV community–using the fanbase to attack some guys who beat you in your season because you never gave them credit for how they performed.

But, you know, a town that has one light flashing yellow. Surely that’s enough to get you cast for a second time just one year later, right? Also, your chances go up higher if you are the only team out of 200+ teams to run the race with integrity and honour.

In all seriousness, it was a begrudgingly foregone conclusion that Jet & Cord would be playing again. Their third appearance wasn’t, though.

Sigh. Sometimes casual fans can be the worst.

Brent Horne & Caite Upton – TAR 16 – 3rd place – 4.33 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Such as “U-Turning the S–T out of ‘The Mean Lesbians’.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Nearly dying at the start of the third round. Gotta stay hydrated, guys!

Producers tried to push the Brent & Caite versus Carol & Brandy rivalry as much as they possibly could. Why, it was the first time one team confronted another during the celebration at the finish line. It was unprecedented.

The audience shared the uncomfortable atmosphere that TAR 16 had for most of the season, and most of it centred around the rivalry that nobody really wanted to see.

It’s too bad because if Carol & Brandy didn’t try attacking Caite within the first twenty minutes, Brent & Caite’s unintentional qualities could have been accepted by the audience in a much more positive light.

Caite, outside of the obvious TAR 8 exception, was the youngest contestant in TAR history. Furthermore, her mindset is much like how you picture the preppy female high school stereotype. Using childish lingo, finding things funny that those types of teenagers would, and being raised in a part of the country where the educational system may not be the greatest.

And even though Brent is nearly a decade older, his personality was almost identical to hers. You can tell being popular in high school and being apart of the modeling lifestyle their whole lives almost gave them this teenaged Peter Pan type syndrome. People like this do not come off well when traveling around the world, but the fact they acted more mature than Carol & Brandy did says a whole lot.

Not to mention exit interviews which stated Carol & Brandy would say comments directly to Caite’s face when the cameras were away, or Carol & Brandy being nasty in general to most of the other teams.

Speaking of exit interviews, I recently read a section where Jet tried to intentionally sabotage Caite during the LucasFilms task by tricking the setup of the change rooms so Caite would leave the Roadblock without any money. This cost them a lot of time, and due to the TAR 16 finale being frequently referred to as one of the easiest legs in the show’s history (even by Brent), they could not catch up.

Anyways, my guess would be that Caite is happy she escaped the spotlight for a bit. The beauty pageant jokes are dying out, and accusations of homophobia against her are disappearing as well.

While I am glad producers spared her from exploitation once more in TAR 18 when she is still only 21, I think it would be neat to see how Caite would race nearly a decade later.

And more importantly, I’d love to see if she would U-Turn the s–t out of the team she disliked the most. I love it when teams U-Turn people out of personal dislike rather than robotic strategy–you need rule breakers every once in a while.

P.S. Shockingly, Brent & Caite split up before their own season aired. Long distance dating ain’t for them. This is why it is hard to bring back young dating couples for a second time.

Louie Stravato & Michael Naylor – TAR 16 – 4th place – 4.36 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Eagle eyes and searching butts for cocaine.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Making a Blind U-Turn transform into a Not-So-Blind-U-Turn.

The undercover cops. If the Cowboys were not present this season, we could have seen the return of Louie & Michael. Which, amazingly enough, I would have preferred.

I do not hate Louie & Michael as much as Survivor Sucks (although that would be a high bar to meet), but I was indifferent to them overall.

Sure, there were amusing moments, but that eagle eye was getting to the point of flashing yellow. Oddly enough, a task that required good eyesight is the round when they were eliminated.

Louie & Michael were successful with their strategy. They nearly got their early alliance of Brent & Caite, Cowboys, and themselves to the Final Three. The only obstacle is that they couldn’t join them there.

Perhaps the biggest thumbs up we can give to these guys is they recognized the need to let Caite defeat Carol & Brandy during the race.

However, Louie & Michael converted a Blind U-Turn into a Not-So-Blind U-Turn when they were in first place and U-Turned 2nd place team Joe & Heidi out of the season. That was a huge early blow to the season.

Surprisingly, charismatic middle-aged all-male teams was rare between TAR 12 and TAR 17. Louie & Michael are the best we got in this demographic, sadly. We were dry of Ken & Gerards, Jon & Als, Kevin & Drews, Joe & Bills, and Bilal & Sa’eeds.

Knowing their post-race troubles being publicized, I believe producers were too uncomfortable with re-casting Louie & Michael.

Overall, I am indifferent to them but glad this was their only season to play.

Carol Rosenfeld & Brandy Snow – TAR 16 – 5th place – 4.00 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Brandy shouting at Caite at the finish line of TAR 16.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Carol & Brandy complaining about every physical task and production in general.

You expect a team like Brent & Caite to break up before their own season starts airing, but contestants who are as old as Carol & Brandy may be a bit of a surprise to go through the same thing.

Watching the season and reading through exit interviews has given me the impression much of the nasty behaviour is traced back to Brandy. In a sense Carol maybe should get a bit of a break. After all she wasn’t the one screaming at Caite during the finish line incident.

Sure, they had a big storyline being an all-female team who made a deep run et al, but man,  their only fans were older people who loved them for mocking Caite.

I find it a bit amusing how they would make fun of the tasks production made them do, but the criticisms must have been tiring for production to hear after nine rounds and none of the other teams could stand them.

Their chances of a comeback for another season were over the second they broke up. I can’t remember a team as intensely angry with everything around them as much as Brandy was during her season.

Lastly, Carol & Brandy fuelled the ugliness of exit interviews by accusing Caite of homophobia. When you think about how Carol & Brandy fired an endless number of shots at Caite’s pageantry experience, it is almost like they wanted to bait Caite into hating them.

“We got Caite to hate us because of all of our rude comments? Yes! Now we can accuse her of hating gay people. Particularly if she decides to U-Turn people bullying her rather than a strong team!”

Yes, brilliant strategy, guys. . .one that not a single team nor producer really bought during filming.

Perhaps things will change if Carol and/or Brandy can muster a public apology. It’s already been nearly six years since Dan & Jordan crossed the finish line.

Steve Smith & Allie Smith – TAR 16 – 6th place – 3.38 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Painting that random guy’s house, and winning all of the 7Up they could drink.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Steve’s drinking problem.

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Want to see how easy it is to race without your backpacks, Mark Jackson? Ask Steve & Allie.

Steve & Allie had a bunch of things going for them to be brought back. They were a strong parent-child team, they were competitive enough to agree to race the last five rounds without extra clothes, Steve used freakin’ duct tape to fix a vehicle, and only got screwed over because of bad taxis.

Furthermore, being a team composed of family members means you don’t have to worry about a break-up or something silly to put you out of consideration for being cast.

With four parent-child teams already picked for TAR 18, producers probably thought it was too extreme to make it five out of eleven teams. Even though people like Mel or Ron suffered physically during their initial appearance, and Mel didn’t look like he was prepared for a return.

Yes, I am indeed advocating that if TAR 18 was desperate to have exactly four parent-child teams, Mel & Mike should have been swapped for Steve & Allie.

Editors gave them an insultingly invisible edit, but the odd thing about it is Steve & Allie showed personality. We saw them get angry with each other as well as locals, and would make simple mistakes under pressure.

As I said before, TAR 16 was the Survivor: Samoa equivalent when it comes to editing. If Steve & Allie received more respect from producers, they would have been huge fan favourites. Nobody had a bad word to say about them.

Unfortunately, Steve & Allie will join the list of contestants who were limited to a one-time appearance because producers chose to not give them a storyline. If Allie was as bubbly as Mallory, things may have been different.

P.S. Steve is retired from coaching, but not from attending AA. :/

Jeff Schroeder & Jordan Lloyd – TAR 16 – 7th place – 5.67 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Trying too hard.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Albus Dumbledore.

2015 and Jeff Schroeder is still under the CBS umbrella conducting interviews with players of various reality shows.

I thought TAR 16 was going to be their last hurrah after their showmance on BB11, but boy was I wrong. They used their fame to do well in the first couple of legs, but I am grateful they dropped down during their limited time in the game.

Especially when the entire Elimination Station series and the final moments at the finish line was narrated by Jeff Schroeder. Could you imagine what the edit would have been like if they lasted the whole race? I guess on a season with people like Jet & Cord, it’s only fitting Jeff is the third person with an over-inflated edit.

Dumbledore was supposed to be Jeff’s partner before the race, but production favoured Jordan over him. Dunno why.

Knowing how much CBS has pushed Jeff & Jordan as stars over the past six years, it becomes increasingly shocking that they were left out of the cast for TAR 18.

However, I doubt we would have been this lucky if they had been apart of BB10 and immediately cast for TAR 14. . .because, you know, “Jodi”. . .

Joe Wang & Heidi Wang – TAR 16 – 8th place – 4.40 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Louie & Michael tired of hearing about Joe’s knee, and U-Turning him and Heidi for no real reason.

Most Underappreciated Moment: When submitting their final guess for Phil in the trenches, Phil reveals they were way off. Way way way waaaaay off.

Joe & Heidi were in second place heading into the Normandy round of TAR 16. There was only one scenario where they could lose: A Detour where one of the options is impossible, a U-Turn ahead that is not a Double U-Turn, and the lone team ahead of them would decide to use it against them all occur at the same time.

Three improbable scenarios all came together on this round and screwed the Wangs up the ass in TAR 16. If there is one team with Unfinished Business, it’s them.

They were killing it regardless of Joe’s messed up knee. A strong middle-aged Asian couple had never been witnessed on TAR before, and Louie & Michael decided to kill what could have been an epic team to win The Amazing Race.

I consider Joe & Heidi to be vastly underrated. It hurts a bit knowing they are huge fans who never got the second shot they somewhat deserved.

P.S. Remember when Mr. Wang took a shot to the wang? That was funny.

Monique Pryor & Shawne Morgan – TAR 16 – 9th place – 5.33 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: None. Probably something about Jesus would be a strong possibility.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Monique starting a website called Momsextraordinaire. It’s not what I initially thought it was going to be.

Ummmmmmm. They were done physically by round three, and were responsible for Louie & Michael lasting for such a long time.

That’s all I got. Why were they cast?

Jody Kelly & Shannon Foster – TAR 16 – 10th place – 10.0 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Jody being the oldest racer ever.

Most Underappreciated Moment: A cow kicking the sh-t out of Jody at the Roadblock right before she was eliminated.

Jody went from being a couch potato to being one of the oldest endurance athletes out there. It wasn’t until the past few months that she has started to cut back a little on competition at the age of 76.

After Jody competed as a 71 year old in TAR 16, there will only be a total of five racers over the age of 60 to be cast for TAR. Mel and Ron are 70 and 61 in TAR 18 respectively, Bill & Cathi are in their early 60s, and Hoskote in TAR 23 was 60 right on the button.

Other than a returning player, Jody is nearly ten years older than any racer to participate over the next eleven seasons. On one hand, you could view Jody as that much more impressive. On the other, you could view her early exit and Mel’s multiple medical issues as the reason why the age ceiling significantly drops.

I believe only TAR Ukraine had a grandparent-grandchild team, and it worked out the same way as it did with Jody & Shannon. Except Shannon was able to get across the wire to keep her and Jody in the race past the opening round.

Producers had a tough time justifying the return of a team with a 10.0 team average.

Dana Davis & Adrian Davis – TAR 16 – 11th place – 11.0 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Adrian falling. Particularly one of those times when he sounded like Link jumping off of a cliff in the newer Legend of Zelda games.

Most Underappreciated Moment: When Adrian decides to muster up courage to give the Roadblock a second shot; it did not go as planned.

Adrian fell and he couldn’t get up. In other news, I heard he and Dana are superfans. Depressingly enough, they did not complete a single task. Even Bilal & Sa’eed survived a Roadblock.

NOTE: Producers let Dana do the cable walk challenge after Phil eliminated them. She succeeded in one attempt. No joke.

Biggest Snub: Joe & Heidi followed by Steve & Allie.

TAR 15

Sam McMillen & Dan McMillen – TAR 15 – 2nd place – 3.17 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: The Harlem Globetrotters stalking them for the duration of the season, including the fabrication of elbows being thrown.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Pokuh pokuh pokuh.

Dammit, Sam! Dammit, Dan!

I thought Sam & Dan would be in the running to play for a second time because they are the only team of brothers who rarely got along. They also had a rare story of waiting to come out as both being gay until they competed on TAR 15.

Ultimately, they were not very popular. Flight Time & Big Easy had a vendetta against them. If the Harlem Globetrotters choose to go after you, you are screwed when it comes to getting the casual fans to endorse you.

It didn’t help they chose to ally with Maria & The Devil Reincarnated minutes into the game. Wouldn’t that have been disastrous if both teams made it to the Final Three together.

Fun fact: After “stealing” Brian & Ericka’s cab, Sam & Dan’s conscience convinced them to call a taxi while Brian & Ericka were still trying to complete the cable ascension.

I think they had the potential to be great villains if brought back to play against a more likeable cast.

Brian Kleinschmidt & Ericka Dunlap – TAR 15 – 3rd place – 4.25 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: BRIAN! Oh, and the card dealer screwing them over by making a counting error in the chip count.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Brian drinking the liquor in the Speed Bump with the dancer or when he hid his arms inside of his sleeves.

Their story all season long was how they are the underdog interracial married couple. This was undermined just a year after the finale when Brian & Ericka divorced. Maybe Ericka’s mother was right after all.

But seriously, Brian & Ericka were a lot of fun. If there was a second slot from TAR 16 to be brought back, producers probably would have felt obligated to give Brian & Ericka the Tom/Ethan/Lex treatment (a mistake in the scoring of the Fallen Comrades challenge in Survivor: Africa robbed Lex of immunity, and is the reason why Kim Johnson made it to the Final Two).

As I have stated before, not only did they have to fight back to survive after multiple setbacks during the race, but Brian was a superb narrator. Combine this with their amusing fights and celebrations throughout the race, and you have a team producers likely craved to play again.

Just like with Claire’s pregnancy, it is another example of real life continuing on as shows like TAR and Survivor plan upcoming seasons. It’s the same reason why I am no longer that kid in the third grade watching Survivor: Borneo from his couch.

Herbert “Flight Time” Lang & Nathaniel “Big Easy” Lofton – TAR 15 – 4th place –  3.09 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Znarf Kafka.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Don’t do it, Mika! Don’t go down the waterslide! It’s too scary.

I always get the impression Flight Time & Big Easy participate on the race with the goal of getting as far as they possibly can to gain as much exposure for their brand as possible.

Can we fault them for that? I don’t know. This is where outside factors can interfere with the integrity of a competitive reality show.

This is why we see “just don’t lose” tactics such as following Sam & Dan for eleven rounds of play.

I will give Globetrotters credit for the following three actions:

a) They didn’t use their post-race interviews to round up their fanbase to shame Sam & Dan in the same way the Cowboys did to Dan & Jordan. They kept it classy.

b) The incident with Mika & Canaan at the waterslides. I can’t deny that moment is not hilarious.

c) Screwing up so badly that they weren’t part of the Final Three.

I doubt the Znarf Kafka incident was the difference between Globetrotters coming back for Unfinished Business. Their background is in family-friendly entertainment–this is a huge casual fan draw for The Amazing Race to count on each time they play.

Even “Jodi” does not have the power to intervene.

They’ll do whatever they can to keep up their goofy antics to entertain even if it means not racing in the grandest of styles possible.

In other words, I can’t diss a team who can make me laugh every now and then without being huge d—-bags about it.

And for those keeping track of the teams Survivor Sucks hate, they are right on the bottom of the list of 400+ teams along with Louie & Michael. I can understand their point of view. It just doesn’t bother me quite as much.

Gary Tomljenovich & Matt Tomljenovich – TAR 15 – 5th place –  4.22 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: What’s a candeluhbruh?

Most Underappreciated Moment: Gary cockblocking Matt in the saunabuss.

The other parent-child team on the list with Steve & Allie who didn’t quite make the cut.

Since I wrote the TAR 15 blog, Matt continues to be absent from the Online Reality Gaming community. What he is currently up to remains a mystery.

Compared to Gary of TAR 17, this Gary was much goofier. He reminded me more of my dad. The one who unintentionally embarrasses you when he is with you talking to strangers in public. He is a naturally funny guy. Matt meanwhile is that serious gothic kid you know from high school which made for the perfect contrast between this duo.

As I stated before, either them or Steve & Allie should have been picked over Mel “My Groin” White. Gary has far more physical durability, and being 23 years younger than Mel may have something to do with that fact.

After all these years, there is one big mystery surrounding this team: Who. . .is. . .a Candeluhbrah?

What annoys me is how after Lena & Kristy were eliminated because of a hay bales task, Gary & Matt can trace back the reason for their elimination to the Switchback as well.

It wasn’t because of a candeluhbrah. The saunabuss took twenty minutes to complete, and would not have been a task for them to finish if not for those stupid hay bales to put them in last in the previous round.

Producers can be stupid, and TAR 15 was no exception.

Maria Ho & Tiffany Michelle – TAR 15 – 6th place – 6.57 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Making me skip four seasons of TAR until TAR 19 aired on TV; quitting a task in the first round and being kept alive in the first season premiere NEL leg; quitting another task halfway through the season, but this time being eliminated.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Maria slaughtering the gold counting task after spending four rounds performing horribly in challenges.

You know what was the biggest fear heading into TAR 18? Maria & Tiffany’s forfeit during a Detour coined as being “unfair” would be enough to justify unfinished business for Maria & Tiffany, and thus have them back in the game.

I feel like we were close to having a cast of five TAR 14 teams as well as Maria & Tiffany. Producers estimated Maria & Tiffany were too prone to quitting once more, and is why they likely cut them from consideration. Thank goodness.

Okay, Maria & Tiffany weren’t entirely horrible. I just hated the circumstances under which Tiffany was rewarded with a spot on The Amazing Race. This is a great lesson in why it is dangerous to know a contestant before they appear on TAR or Survivor.

Maria & Tiffany would have had absolutely no new stories to tell even if producers decided to ignore them quitting in TAR 15. They struggled at nearly every aspect of the competition, and their cover of working with underprivileged youth was blown by the end of the first round.

It is funny to think they were the only all-female team in TAR 15. Skip two seasons ahead where you have far more capable teams such as Katie & Rachel, Brook & Claire, and Nat & Kat. Nat or Brook would have been more than happy to ring that damn bell.

Lastly, if producers asked Maria & Tiffany to race again, I am sure they would have said ‘yes’ just to spite me.

Fun fact: Tiffany stated in an interview that quitting a Detour was a 24 hour penalty. Therefore, the modification to reduce it down to six hours had not yet occurred for TAR. I can’t believe I am saying these words, but “Thank you, Tiffany”.

Mika Combs & Canaan Smith – TAR 15 – 7th place – 7.67 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Mika calling waterslides and tall buildings stupid.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Canaan doing a weird dance in Vietnam thinking the clue will magically spit out to him from the fountain.

If I had to design a racer for who I thought would be the worst all-around competitor possible, Mika could be the prototype.

She was weak, out of shape, had zero real life experience, hated water, hated heights, had zero linguistic background, did not have a mind for puzzles, terrible confessionalist, and was there strictly to promote her country music career.

You know they barely survived six rounds of play when they end up with an average of 7.67, and Canaan performed five out of six Roadblocks. This is a testament to how easy of a group Megan & Cheyne had to compete against throughout the season.

If Mika went down the damn waterslide, Flight Time & Big Easy would be eliminated from the race as well as consideration for Unfinished Business. Then we would get to watch Mika trying to swim across a creek to play golf and simultaneously quit with Tiffany & Michelle.

Now that would have been a crazy moment for the series.

I am embarrassed for the teams who lost to Mika & Canaan. Your path in life is likely brought into question after such a travesty occurs.

Lance Layne & Keri Morrione – TAR 15 – 8th place – 6.0 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Challenging Phil Keoghan to a fight.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Keri’s impression of Janice from FRIENDS.

You know how much I love these guys. Hell, people were telling me before I started watching the season that I would be big fans of them. A guy trapped in an adult body when all he wants to be is a karate kid, and a woman who provides unintentional comedy is a huge addition to the season.

It’s funny to know Lance & Keri were spared from widespread embarrassment when they U-Turned Sam & Dan on a leg where the brothers were far ahead of them. I bet Kynt & Vyxsin wished they got the same reprieve.

Lance & Keri should not have returned because they are brilliant racers, but because they entertained me endlessly.
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Instead, this is the reaction when I see a bunch of unfun teams from TAR 14 come back. It’s a big lesson how life is not fair.

Also, in an unaired segment, Lance did decapitate the snowman. Who knew a snowman in Dubai would lead a short life?

I think the audience didn’t gravitate to Lance & Keri that much. Again, bickering is a black and white issue for casual fans, and sadly this is why my favourite team of this season suffered.

Furthermore, as Lance pointed out, their story was not as emotional or intriguing as the other teams. They weren’t coming out as gay people, they weren’t poker players or country singers with a pre-season following, they didn’t have a form of autism, and weren’t an interracial couple.

Combine that with being eliminated at an irrelevant time during the season in a round with little buzz, and you have a team who aren’t going to receive a compelling edit. Lance & Keri had no chance at being brought back.

Their unfinished business storyline would have been “Lance & Keri made a crucial error by refusing to follow the other teams to the route marker, and this was their fatal downfall!”

A story which somehow allowed Mel & Mike to return.

Zev Glassenberg & Justin Kanew – TAR 15 – 9th place – 6.0 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: That passport.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Zev wearing the monkey mask.

In the first twelve seasons of TAR, nobody lost their passport. Between TAR 13 and TAR 15, two passports are lost in the span of eighteen episodes and involve front-running teams. Since TAR 15, a missing passport leading to an elimination has only happened twice internationally.

So how the heck did Zev & Justin get the nod for Unfinished Business but not Toni & Dallas?

While Unfinished Business is plagued with parent-child teams, very few young all-male teams are ever brought back. An all-male team who loses their passport or cannot unscramble a five letter word after four hours helps level the playing field, and thus makes the use of young all-male teams an option.

Yes Globetrotters, I called you young. Bask in that compliment for the rest of this blog.

Much like Luke, production may have exploited Zev’s disability just a wee bit for ratings. However, Zev is a naturally comedic fellow who can take jabs at production and get away it, and appreciated his commentary. Justin is one of the sharpest social observers on Twitter, and is a guy worthy of our attention.

They were not in TAR 14 nor were minor celebrities, but production put them forth as a team to redeem their blunder. Their blunder is the reason why Maria & Tiffany were able to play in three more episodes.  It was such a great injustice for us all.

I am glad Zev & Justin will have the opportunity to re-write their legacy. They could take advantage of this and become the most popular winners in franchise history.

Nobody disagreed with the idea of them coming back to play.

P.S. Remember how much I hated the season premiere of TAR 15 including the part where they did nothing in Tokyo? Check this part out from an exit interview with RealityWanted.

“RealityWanted: What was your favorite place that you were able to visit?
A. Justin: The hotel in Cambodia was amazing.
A. Zev: I really liked the green room in Japan.”

This is why I love Zev.

Marcy Malloy & Ron Shalita – TAR 15 – 10th place – 7.67 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Ron being bald.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Ron resembling George Senior from Arrested Development, and grabbing Marcy’s butt in the intro for no apparent reason.

Another old couple who went out early. Perhaps TAR needs to be convinced to clone Bob & Joyce, Bill & Cathi, and Fran & Barry to give old geezers a reasonable chance to win the race.

Their unfinished business is choosing the wrong side of the Detour. Sadly, old married couples have never received the opportunity to play in an all-star season on The Amazing Race. Hell, Bill & Cathi are the absolute final old couple to have even one chance at the game, period.

They were a fun team for their three rounds of play.

Garrett Paul & Jessica Stout – TAR 15 – 11th place – 9.5 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: . . .

Most Underappreciated Moment: Jessica’s Latina background interfering with their relationship.

Uh, yeah. Jessica’s fiery Latina behaviour was a huge obstacle for their relationship. Garrett has twenty-eight brothers, and hasn’t had to put up with a woman before. Let alone a woman who is a fiery Latina who does fiery Latina things. Such as Fiery Latina’ing her way through life each day, or that time she fiery Latina’d everywhere.

Neither could speak in front of the camera. Apparently I called them the most electrifying team in reality entertainment. Garrett had Undertaker’s eyes. Jessica is Colombiana because I recall watching that movie on Netflix at my sister’s house right before I wrote about TAR 15.

I watched their proposal scene at Elimination Station. It is every bit as dull as you would expect it to be. You are not a casual fan if you remember specific moments about this team.

Eric Paskel & Lisa Paskel – TAR 15 – 12th place – N/A Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Being eliminated in an even bigger bullsh-t manner than Bilal & Sa’eed.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Eric & Lisa going through weeks and weeks of the casting process and taking a month off from work just to be eliminated in the same city as where they live. They did not go to Elimination Station due to being pissed, and walked home before the flight to Japan even left.

Producers truly owed Eric & Lisa a spot on Unfinished Business. I am curious what they would have been like as characters if they lasted past the first fifteen minutes.

The team that was aspiring to be numero freakin’ uno did not get to play in race numero freakin’ dos.

They sure loved yoga. You probably won’t find another team more people feel bad for when it comes to TAR. I mean, they were blocked from leaving the starting line. This is, in my opinion, the worst twist TAR has ever implemented.

And yet they will repeat this twist in a more subtle way for Unfinished Business. I know I am jumping ahead, but there will be a starting line task where a team will be forcibly U-Turned if they are the last ones to complete the task. Since nobody had survived a single U-Turn since the twist’s inception,  it was truly the TAR 15 twist all over again.

If Eric & Lisa had been brought back just to be U-Turned prior to the first pit stop, that would have been the greatest instance of dark comedy in TAR history.

Biggest Snub(s): Brian & Ericka; Lance & Keri; Eric & Lisa

Jaime Edmundson & Cara Rosenthal – TAR 14 – 2nd place – 3.92 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Whenever Jaime made the audience cringe with how she spoke to locals.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Cara pretending to be Lufthansa Airlines when speaking to Mark & Michael on the phone.

A young all-female team who were cheerleaders were not expected to do well. Particularly when the pioneers of this demographic are Kellie & Jaime of TAR 10, whose most clever trick in their two rounds of play was to shake Bilal’s hand without him knowing it.

Jaime & Cara were complex. I didn’t like them a whole lot, but they were the ones I disliked the least out of the Final Three in TAR 14. Yes, I was cheering for them to win.

They had some amusing moments which included many cringeworthy ones. Jaime’s bluntness is a double-edged sword that you’ve got to love when you hate almost everything else about a season of TAR.

Their aggressivity is likely what got them far in the season (as well as what I appreciated the most), and could have been the first all-female winners if they had a slightly better cab driver. Not only did their cab driver suck, but they stayed behind at the final task to help Luke complete the Roadblock.

As I said, they were complex. With Claire’s pregnancy, Maria & Tiffany as quitters, Katie & Rachel unmemorable, Marisa & Brooke being useless, and Jodi Wincheski joining the production side of things, Jaime & Cara earned the invitation back to TAR 18 by default.

Them being memorable because of how they treated locals and befriending Margie & Luke was enough to come back. It did not matter if the casual audience did not like them in general. Yeah, the bar was set a bit low for all-female teams in Unfinished Business.

NOTE: There is a funny moment in an exit interview with RealityTVWorld where the interviewer implies Jaime was going to ditch Luke at the final Roadblock. Jaime is sharp enough to catch onto it right away and the interviewer immediately goes on the defensive. Then the interviewer begins to grill Jaime for the only reason why I like her. It gets to the point where Jaime leaves the call. Hilarious.
Praise the awkwardness.

Margie Adams/O’Donnell & Luke Adams – TAR 14 – 3rd place – 2.75 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: HE IS SIGNING AND THEY’RE -LAUGHING- AT HIM! AND THAT’S RUDE! HE HAS HAD TO PUT UP WITH ME MISINTERPRETING OTHER PEOPLE’S ACTIONS AND CUSS THEM OUT HIS WHOLE LIFE!

Most Underappreciated Moment: . . .None?

Production did not want to acknowledge as being gay because it would be too complicated for casual fans to “understand somebody who is both gay and deaf”. Yeah, producers did not have faith in viewers by TAR 14. Luke’s sexuality would not be addressed until a much later and random period in the TAR timeline.

Personally, I thought Margie & Luke’s story was done at the end of TAR 14. It was my thinking that producers thought the incident in China made things too uncomfortable with production, but editors would run with putting them in the spotlight for the season anyway. Primarily because there was nothing else going on in TAR 14.

Margie & Luke’s unfinished business was similar to Ron & Christina’s or Eric Sanchez’s–choking at the final task of the season.

Personally, the version we see of Margie & Luke in TAR 24 will be my favourite of the three.

I will give credit to Margie for having to constantly help Luke communicate with others and incurring further exhaustion by being one of the most physically fit 40-something year old women in franchise history.

I just. . .I just don’t like it when everybody else cast for a season that involves either Jet & Cord or Margie & Luke have to always be walking on eggshells because of how the casual audience will react when watching at home.

I wish production gave them a more well-rounded edit rather than artificially calling them underdogs even though they were crushing this weak cast. Margie is rare for a parent-child team because she has such a rugged personality. She is a bit of a firecracker with complicated views, and I think this should have been focused on much more than it was.

And I don’t like how editors gave them an excessive amount of airtime. Dissing other teams in favour of presenting one-dimensional underdogs even if evidence suggests otherwise always irritates the crap out of me.

I know you need to build up characters who you are able to market and use as the face of the franchise, but Margie & Luke are one of those cases in reality TV where it was taken to an extreme. Jet & Cord would be another.

This is about as negative as I will be about this team for the remainder of this blog.

P.S. Producers are not exactly the most light-hearted people. They put in more music tasks in TAR 14 than in any other season to date.

LaKisha Hoffman & Jen Hoffman – TAR 14 – 4th place – 4.27 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Pissing away a million dollars.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Kisha’s laugh. I have it on a repeating loop in my house. Or that sneeze.

I am not a big fan of Kisha & Jen, but I do not hate them either.

If you send me an audio file of Kisha’s laugh, you can guarantee I will be giggling along with it.

Much like TAR 14 Rejects Mark & Michael, Kisha & Jen had this certain oblivious quality to them which could be their biggest weakness at times.

I remember the fan reaction to Kisha & Jen’s elimination in the penultimate round. Nobody thought Kisha & Jen going home before was a major upset, but rather we were all downright stunned a bathroom break metres away from the pit stop could be responsible for sending a team home.

That’s the kind of ridiculousness you would find in a TAR fanfic. Nobody could believe it would happen in real life, right?

But it did. Somebody was ousted a day away from the million bucks because a contestant couldn’t hold it for another five minutes.

The only reason producers could have wanted Kisha & Jen back is to see if something equally bizarre would happen again. Misplacing passports and choking at a task is a blunder. Unable to contain your urine problems for a couple more minutes is a downright head-scratcher.

It also helps Kisha & Jen are one of those rare all-female teams who have unique personalities and possess a super competitive background (except for sports that take place in the water).

I can see the justification for bringing them into the TAR fold once more.

Mark Munoz & Michael Munoz – TAR 14 – 5th place – 5.22 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Super penalties and not quite measuring up to the standards of Thai karaoke.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Hitting on Jaime & Cara, but all of their attempts falling just short of success.
Out of the seven teams I will be talking about who finished between 2nd and 8th, Mark & Michael are the only ones who have nothing to do with TAR 18. . .even though they would have been the most fun to have back. 😛

These guys not only brought something unique because they are as short as Russell Hantz, but their overall archetype is not frequently observed in competitive reality TV.

As I stated a couple of years ago, a fit all-male team cast as fodder sounds like a work of fiction. Somehow, Mark & Michael transferred that concept into real life.

Oblivious to teams, rules, and their surroundings was the funniest aspect of TAR 14. Their unfinished business would have been their four hour penalty in Thailand which put them too far behind to catch up in the following round. It is right up there with Jen’s urine break.

So why were Mark & Michael not cast despite my presumptuous opinions believing it had to do with them spitting on “Jodi’s” cupcake and telling her it’s frosting?

Well, Mark & Michael did not have many interactions with Margie & Luke during the race. Margie & Luke never said a word about the Munoz Brothers and vice versa.

Look at the other four teams of TAR 14 who got to play again. They all had an active storyline whether it be eliminated via U-Turn by them, befriending them, calling Luke the sinister deaf kid, or laughing at them, Mark & Michael failed to give the producers what they wanted in the editing department.

Big mistakes really do come in small packages.

Mel White & Mike White – TAR 14 – 6th place – 3.57 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Mai Thai pun.

Most Underappreciated Moment: “My groin.”

School of Rock: The only movie besides Napoleon Dynamite that your teacher is allowed to show you in elementary and high school.

Mel & Mike are great talkers in confessionals. Because of the weak field, they did surprisingly well until Mel’s durability (or lack thereof) began to showcase itself early on in the race.

Yeah, it’s a travesty a taxi driver screwed them over, but that has happened five dozen times by now in international seasons. That ain’t nothing new. If an unlucky break like that bothers you so much, watch a different program.

I am amazed that it is 2015 and Mike is continuing to have a presence in the reality TV universe.
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Yes, Mike is a close friend of Jeff Probst. Prior to the filming of Survivor: San Juan Del Sur, Probst was dead set on reviving Survivor’s worst twist, Redemption Island.

Thankfully, Probst decided to have dinner with Mike White. Jeff told Mike what his plans were for San Juan Del Sur, and Mike had a disappointed look on his face as he said “You’re doing that again?”

That’s right. Mike White, the guy who wrote School of Rock and two-time The Amazing Race contestant, convinced Jeff Probst to ditch Redemption Island.

Now we just need Mike to complain about how stupid and dumb the Final Three scenario is.

I loved Mel & Mike’s witty dialogue in TAR 14. A 68 year old guy, no matter how much his groin hurts, making it over halfway through the race is a true accomplishment.

Unfortunately, it was not clear to “Jodi” and producers that, similar to the words of Rudy Boesch in Survivor: All Stars, being two years slower and weaker can make a huge difference to your ability to compete.

It is sad Mel was thrown into a situation where his legacy in TAR was bound to be tarnished.

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P.S. Because of Mike’s good deed for the Survivor community, he is allowed to play TAR for a third time with Mel as a 76 year old withering skeleton in TAR 30.

Christie Volkmer & Jodi Wincheski – TAR 14 – 7th place – 6.67 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Christie running to the pit stop in her bare minimum.

Most Underappreciated Moment: That time they were clueless about finding that piece of wood or something.

Christie was like a combination of Tricia Godlewski from TAR 8 and Helen Hunt. She was goofy.

Next.

Amanda Blackledge & Kris Klicka – TAR 14 – 8th place – 4.50 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: . . .

Most Underappreciated Moment: . . .

lol. Remember that time when Amanda scooped icing off the back of Kris’ head and those two seconds where they misplaced their passport? Or how we all forgot they were U-Turned out of the race by Margie & Luke?

Such memorable people. I can guarantee you there was not a single person in the fanbase who at any point after TAR 14 thought “I hope Amanda & Kris are brought back”.

Brad Hunt & Victoria Hunt – TAR 14 – 9th place – 6.67 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Brad’s desire to relapse by connecting via Amsterdam does not work out as planned.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Brad & Victoria mooning Phil Keoghan at the first pit stop.

Wow. This is the team I liked the most in TAR 14. Brad being the next Tyler & James by being a recovering drug addict was an interesting story. It didn’t matter though as they spent two out of three rounds kicking (as well as showing) ass on the race.

A rare scramble for flights screwed them over in the end. If it wasn’t for their error, Tammy & Victor would have been eliminated. Especially when Brad & Victoria say they had a flawless run once in Romania. Producers told Victoria she was the best at the gymnastics Roadblock, and they had one of the scariest cab drivers seen on the race because of how fast and reckless he was driving.

NOTE: I think they are no longer together. Do not quote me on this because I don’t really want to ask anyone in the TAR 14 cast to confirm it.

Steve Cole & Linda Cole – TAR 14 – 10th place – 9.5 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Linda walking ninety minutes in the wrong direction and insinuating Steve will physically beat her over it. Such a weird scene.

Most Underappreciated Moment: They weren’t the first team eliminated.

Oh right. Steve & Linda were alternates. If anybody dropped out at the last minute, regardless if it was a non-TAR14 team, these guys would have been subbed into the cast.

Go ahead. Laugh. I know this fact is hysterical.

Steve & Linda were supposed to be the next David & Mary. Producers were craving David & Mary 2.0. I know they were.

Both teams are big fans of the race, both live in a rural area, and both have that strong Southern accent to appeal to audiences instantly.

What producers didn’t recognize is that Steve & Linda have milder personalities and less of a mind for the race.

Producers likely ranked them at the top of the list of stars who got away for their franchise.

“Jodi”, meanwhile, likely ranked them at the top of the list of friends she wanted to help out.

I know what new aspect about Steve & Linda you want me to talk about. Trust me, I know.

I will say it reinforces the notion of how sheltered their life has been. I doubt they have had too many opportunities to expose themselves to diverse settings or anything different from what they experience every day, and that is why producers found them compelling.

To be compelling enough to play TAR twice means you need to have a little bit of racing ability. Steve & Linda never really had that.

Seeing them on Unfinished Business with Amanda & Kris would have made TAR 18 go from a lolzworthy casting process into a complete farce.

Preston McCamy & Jennifer Hopka – TAR 14 – 11th place – 11.0 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Missing that train.

Most Underappreciated Moment: The Piggyback of Shame.

I had to look up Preston & Jennifer to recall what Jennifer looked like.

Ten minutes later and I have already forgotten.

Out of all of the teams in TAR history, I think Preston & Jennifer are about on par with Mika in terms of abilities. They screwed up every single thing in the premiere. Their elimination was well-earned.

Biggest Snub: Brad & Victoria or Mark & Michael by default.

Ken Greene & Tina Greene – TAR 13 – 2nd place – 2.64 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Tina assuming she was responsible for an airline in Brazil to switch to a bigger plane to “help” all of the teams get tickets together.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Ken wrestling that woman in Bolivia.

Originally TAR 18 was going to be a ten-team cast, but Tina made special arrangements for it to be an eleven-team season.

But seriously, out of TAR 4, 6, 8, 13, and 19, TAR 13 is by far the greatest miss in terms of not having any teams represented in a returnee season.

Ken & Tina, however, is not one of those surprising absences. Their story played out over the course of eleven episodes.

They were eager to reconcile their marriage, and did so by being very competitive to win three out of the first four legs. When it was clear their relationship was back on stable ground, their performance on the race became progressively worse. By the end of the season, they lost multiple rounds to Dandrew, including overcoming a Speed Bump just over halfway into the race.

I would say this team is very Type ‘A’ personality and can take over any room they are in, but they seem to value helping out other teams during the race. It is as if they struggled to put things aside and focus on winning the whole thing. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is not the type of television I want to see in a returnee season.

Lastly, their relationship status was resolved by the end of the season. What story could they tell for TAR 18? That everything is hunky dory?

P.S. In exit interviews, Ken & Tina are adamant that they were solely responsible for increasing the size of the plane. This makes the running joke awkward because I thought they were always in on it. :/

Dan Honig & Andrew Lappitt – TAR 13 – 3rd place – 5.18 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Dan marching.

Most Underappreciated Moment: All of their other highlights that didn’t involve marching.

If it weren’t for the fodder teams cast from TAR 14, I would have said Dandrew had no business to be brought back due to their lack of skill.

But because pretty much everybody and their 10th placed mother can be on TAR 18, there is absolutely no excuse for why Dandrew could not play again.

Andrew could have been sick of traveling around the world with Dan. Who knows.

Most returnee seasons in competitive reality shows have an unofficial requirement of casting at least one piece of fodder simply due to popularity (David & Mary), or too many turn down the invite forcing producers to go for the bottom of the barrel (Jenna Lewis or Erika). Or the third reason being that they are too damn funny to not bring back (Coach in Heroes vs. Villains or Rudy in All Stars).

The third reason could have easily been exercised to have Dandrew back in the fold. I can guarantee you each team will be talking about them, and confessionals would become a game of who can use Dandrew’s progress in the race to create the funniest quotes possible.

Then you have the fact Dan is the most uncoordinated person to run the race. I personally know casual fans who -still- remember the marching to this day.

It’s too bad that the fodder used for TAR 18 did not follow the three guidelines. Instead we get dull fodder, and that’s sac-religious when it comes to competitive reality TV.

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“On your KNEES, Dandrew!”

It’s too bad Dandrew were not considered. I think they could have stumbled along if they kept up their strategy of never stopping locals to sign the waiver. Precious seconds saved to ensure they can march to their heart’s content!

Toni Imbimbo & Dallas Imbimbo – TAR 13 – 4th place – 3.10 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Gee, I wonder what that would be?

Most Underappreciated Moment: Finishing first place on the tenth round, and dissing Kelly & Christy.

Who knew a mother-son team would be the lone threat for Nick & Starr in the second half of the season? Let alone the son in a mother-son team could end up in a showmance with another racer?

You have Susan & Patrick who portray the stereotype of the obsessive reality TV fans who you meet on the street or see post on the official The Amazing Race and Survivor Facebook pages.

You have Margie & Luke, who, you know. . .

Then you have Toni & Dallas who are very refreshing. Dallas isn’t really portrayed as a Ray Romano-esque Mama’s Boy as we would expect heading into the season.  He is his own person who happens to be running the race with his mother.

And while they begin the race in the middle of the pack, their alliance with Nick & Starr proves to be a pay-off and suddenly the out-of-shape single mom with her athletic son are in contention to win the whole thing. It is an incredible story developing.

Why, Toni & Dallas -win- the tenth leg of the race. Dandrew has a Speed Bump in the penultimate round, and Ken & Tina continue to lose steam.

They begin the round with a lead and, well, the pressure is so great to make the Final Three that Dallas commits the biggest blunder ever seen. He loses the passport. A true water cooler moment for the series. Somebody essentially DQ’ing his own team out of the race because he loses the most critical document needed to travel? It had never done, and nobody thought it -could- be done.

When the passport is lost, TAR 13 is essentially over. We get a super boring finale in the following week, and everybody feels so bad for Toni & Dallas that we all wonder what would happen if they got that second chance. Hell, Jeff Varner waited 29 seasons for his second chance on Survivor: Cambodia. Therefore, Toni & Dallas are bound to get another shot at some point, right? Right? RIGHT?!

Toni & Dallas have the perfect story and it is a true shame nobody in production saw its value in franchise history. We have had two returnee seasons over the past seven years since this incident, and Toni & Dallas have yet to receive a phone call. Apparently, they have been “considered” according to some interviews, but no invitation has been sent out after all this time.

P.S. And next week we’ve got Denise & James Earl making their debut. I am not optimistic about their presence in the race.

Terence Gerchberg & Sarah Leshner – TAR 13 – 5th place – 3.25 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Terence + Meat = Not good. And “who’s my girl?”

Most Underappreciated Moment: Terence nearly tackling several locals during the festival in India, and trying to disgust Sarah after the task is over.

Sarah is a hard-working woman in the city. Terence is a long distance-running free spirit. Oh what a glorious and trainwreck of a contrast this was.

They were a slightly more stable but weirder version of Adam & Rebecca (if that makes sense).Terence becomes more and more independent throughout the race to the point he lets Sarah talk to the people, and Sarah is one of the most expressive people I have seen on television. Solid comedic relief and watching weird people interact led to some bizarre exchanges.

Their physical fitness and quickness kept them near Nick & Starr for most of the season. Well, until strategic thinking was involved and Terence made the huge mistake with the Fast Forward which could easily qualify for a spot in Unfinished Business.

Unfortunately, Sarah & Terence broke up not long after the race. Sarah is married to somebody else, and I know Terence has a new partner as well. You can tell their relationship would not last when they bicker in their exit interviews. There was a quote where they talk about how they spent days and weeks after elimination taking out their anger on each other.

Yeah, it wasn’t a healthy relationship. A TAR 18 appearance could have been much more uncomfortable than their TAR 13 run ever was.

Kelly Crabb & Christy Cook – TAR 13 – 6th place – 5.14 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Bragate.

Most Underppreciated Moment: Running up the hill as if they are in a middle-aged upper class all-female morning running club.

Ah, the McFrownersons.

Although I find “catty” to be a sexist term, it’s tough to find another word to describe Kelly & Christy’s personality. Well, other than the made-up phrase of “super ultra grumpy”.

Making fun of younger racers based on their physical appearance is one of Kelly & Christy’s least flattering legacies. Sadly, it only descends from there.

1) The Bragate incident. They accused Starr of pushing their bra over the window ledge at the hotel’s pit stop. This led to why teams are sequestered at nearly every single pit stop from TAR 14 onwards.

2) Misreading so many clues and pioneering the whole #ReadYourClue movement which has become a TAR staple. It all stemmed from Kelly & Christy screwing up a dozen route markers throughout their six or seven rounds of play. Okay, this isn’t exactly something against their character, but more of an amusing legacy to have.

So there you go. Kelly & Christy are responsible for sequestering teams, misreading clues, and going after two racers who are over a decade younger than them. Perhaps they’ll grow old and become Carol & Brandy’s replacements.

I legitimately feared they would be in TAR 18. I don’t know why, but after the Tiffany Michelle incident, producers had no boundaries. My assessment is producers had a tough time getting along with Kelly & Christy, and hence why they were buried in the edit.

It is funny how I am probably one of about six viewers who remember Kelly & Christy anymore.

P.S. Okay, their most memorable moment was Kelly doing the India Roadblock and running around in circles. I can’t get through that clip without laughing.

Aja Benton & Cabbie White – TAR 13 – 7th place – 6.2 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: That awkward cut at the finish line of Cabbie laughing at other teams.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Cabbie making fun of Tina’s magical powers to switch to a bigger plane.

‘Tis sad these two broke up after the race. We know that is why they were not eligible. . .besides the fact they did not run a particularly strong race.

Aja & Cabbie are downright likeable people. They are extremely easy to root for in each round of the race. It was a shame the Cambodia round ultimately came down to them or Dandrew being eliminated. If only they could have had a stronger performance in the preceding round in New Zealand. That is what cost them the game.

Even if they were together, it is doubtful they would have been considered. They are just one of many likeable early boots in TAR over the years. Their personalities are not exactly dynamic for another go in reality television. Sometimes that is a good thing.

Marisa Axelrod & Brooke Jackson – TAR 13 – 8th place – 7.75 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Southern Belles who had a notorious performance in the New Zealand round.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Clearly being out of their element for the duration of the race.

I know what you are thinking: How the heck did Marisa & Brooke make it as far as eighth?

Many contestants are cast by producers who know they have little to no shot at winning. In the words of Probst describing Spencer, Marisa & Brooke had “zero point zero percent chance” of crossing the finish line in first place.

They did not possess any skills needed to be competitive on The Amazing Race. Southern Belles who go shopping every day. I think it would be interesting to see how much more able Marisa & Brooke would be at TAR seven years later. They would have a lot more life experience to put forth a strong effort.

I am not one to say “oh, they are so dumb why did they even  play” but rather feel bad for them because they just did not fit in with this environment. They probably did better than what ninety percent of us were expecting.

It’s just their lack of experience made them a poor casting choice. Producers should have waited a few years to get their desired results. Candy bribes can only go so far.

Mark Yturralde & Bill Kahler – TAR 13 – 9th place – 5.0 Team Average

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Most Memorable Moment: Mark wearing the oxygen mask in Bolivia as if he was Darth Vader.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Bill’s impression of Yoda.

Mark & Bill had such a big edit during their time in TAR 13. An edit which led to every viewer being shocked at the end of the third round. Even when they checked into the mat, I assumed it would be a Non-Elimination Leg. Tragically, that was not the case.

I think the well-spoken middle-age nerdy type is unique to Mark & Bill. They had such a positive reaction from the audience. The only way you could say they sucked is because Mark literally could not suck air in Bolivia.

Their outside-of-the-box thinking and intelligence was fun to watch. When they are eliminated, I thought producers were lining them up for a second shot at the title down the road.

Unfortunately, they missed playing with “Jodi” by one season, and did not get that golden opportunity.

I think in later rounds when they could warm up enough in confessionals to compare the other teams to random Star Trek and comic book characters could have been wonderful in each episode.

Lastly, both are super approachable in social media. The TAR 13 cast is, for the most part, a very fun group. The exact opposite of the TAR 14 (and TAR 16) cast, and it’s a shame the non-fun group ended up receiving all of the attention.

What the hell were producers smoking? Or did “Jodi” throw an epic temper tantrum at CBS headquarters weeks before filming was set to begin, and they all didn’t care enough to put up a fight? I need to understand what the heck happened.

P.S. The sea level elevation in San Diego, California may or may not be different from La Paz, Bolivia.

Anthony Marotta & Stephanie Kacandes – TAR 13 – 10th place – 9.5 Team Average

anthony stephanie intro 3

Most Memorable Moment: Whatever I said about them in the blog. My material is the only reason you remember them.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Going from invisible in the first round to going on a long rant about Brazilian taxi drivers.

I hear Anthony & Stephanie are not welcome to Brazil after what they said about their taxi drivers in episode two.

Recently, I discovered possibly why Anthony & Stephanie were essentially the Amanda & Kris or Garrett & Jessica of TAR 13.

Other than teams who get eliminated in the second round tend to receive the smallest edit of all teams, I read on Survivor Sucks that Anthony & Stephanie’s footage from the first episode was lost by production. Supposedly, the only time they are shown in round one is if they are with another team or being recorded by a camera at a challenge or a pit stop.

This explains a lot because we had no idea who they were until the second round.

Another interesting story about Anthony & Stephanie is they had forty to fifty pounds worth of stuff in their backpacks. . .each. They said challenges aren’t really what set teams apart in TAR, but rather it is how you navigate from route marker to route marker (which will become increasingly true in the US version).

I know Simi’s backpack was declared to be the heaviest of her season going into TAR Canada 3, but I can’t picture Simi being able to run around with fifty pounds on her back.

Heck, during my four years of university I would have a little over twenty pounds in my backpack on a regular basis. That weight dragged me down and wore me out by the end of the day. I couldn’t imagine having more than twice as much weight and being told to run as fast as I possibly can in extremely hot or extremely high locales around the world. I am amazed Anthony & Stephanie did not ditch ten pounds each after the first leg.

What would have been interesting is if they tried to take fifty pounds each into the high altitude of Bolivia. They would be dead.

I love how the only two comments I have to make about Anthony & Stephanie are unaired material. They were so close to getting the Hulkamania treatment.

P.S. If they were in TAR 14 instead of Steve & Linda, they would have been alternates.

Anita Jones & Arthur Jones – TAR 13 – 11th place – 11.0 Team Average

anita arthur intro

Most Memorable Moment: Being the Bee’s Knees.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Having the calmest fight witnessed in the history of the show.

There is a town about forty minutes north of where I live called Cherryville. It has a population of about three hundred people, and nearly everyone grows their own fruits and vegetables. Oh, and they -all- smoke weed. In 2015, they have yet to receive high speed Internet. My uncle lives there, and still uses dial-up.

Anita & Arthur look just like a married couple I would see in Cherryville. Sure, they live about sixteen hours south of it in a town within Oregon, but my point remains the same.

They are self-sufficient beekeepers, who, much like the people of Cherryville, have not experienced any decade after the 1960s. It’s wonderful.

Their relaxed attitude in life probably makes them super pleasant people to be around. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if their friends they Anita & Arthur are the coolest people they have ever met.

Unfortunately, a relaxed and easygoing attitude is what will make you a terrible contestant on The Amazing Race. Being amongst the oldest to be cast for TAR along with a minor physical disadvantage may not have helped either.

I remember before the season started how I took one look at the group and thought “yeah, the beekeepers are first out”. It wouldn’t be until TAR Canada 2 that such an obvious first boot would stick out.

Anita & Arthur being the fodder for TAR 13 is something I can back and approve. If there is any team I want to see on TAR who production knows they have zero shot at winning, I would want it to be hippie beekeepers.

Sadly, my favourite scene with Anita & Arthur was an online clip which did not make it to television. They temporarily misplaced their clue. The way they express anger was so mild but to them it is like screaming at each other. I think Arthur blames Anita for losing the clue, but then he finds it amongst his stuff. Shortly afterwards he feels super guilty and gets depressed about the whole incident.

Seeing calm people bicker is such a rare thing to witness on television, and I found it pretty hilarious. It is like that clip from The Simpsons where Ned gets angry with his kids for not going to Church, but then they tell him it’s Saturday rather than Sunday.

P.S. Arthur and Red Green need to meet in person.

Biggest Snub: Toni & Dallas; Mark & Bill

TAR 12

Ron Hsu & Christina Hsu – TAR 12 – 2nd place – 3.45 Team Average

ronald christina smile

Most Memorable Moment: Christina choking at the final Roadblock.

Most Underappreciated Moment: “I am the real truth flavour!”, it being the principle of the thing, and Marianna/Julia comparing Ron to Mr. Miyagi.

Where to begin with Ron & Christina? How the hell does a father-daughter team who are such polar opposites have the greatest success of any father-daughter team in the entire TAR franchise?

This blog is full of real truth flavour, and there is nothing more tasty than knowing producers overrode a decision to have Steve & Linda as a team and instead cast Ron & Christina.

Unlike Gary Ervin, Ron has a very compelling personality in a father-daughter duo. Christina is such a passive person who wants everybody to be happy, and here you have Ron who sometimes does not think before he speaks and really puts his foot in his mouth.

The principle of the thing is that, even if Ron ended TAR 12 as a changed man, you know he is going to have his trademark blow-ups and eccentric observations if you bring him back for a second time.

Ron & Christina’s application story is unique. Ron was the bigger TAR fan, and introduced Christina to the show during TAR 5. Christina wanted to apply right away, but Ron refused to do so until she finished her Masters in 2007. So Christina wrote up a goal saying “Amazing Race 2007”.

2007 rolls around and Ron & Christina apply for TAR 12. . .sure enough they make it on.

You can tell Ron is such an outgoing storyteller like Ope is in TAR Canada 3. During the race, Ron found it easy to connect with strangers they met along the way. I know the type of dads who have that expressive personality but all they want to do is make friends and tell their stories.

One of my favourite scenes is Ron and Nic becoming friends despite bickering for the first nine rounds. Nic casually sharing a snack with Ron as they make fun of Don and Christina having to do the Osaka Roadblock is one of those small moments I’ll always remember.

Another favourite is Marianna & Julia referring to Ron as Mr. Miaygi. This gets me every time because Ron and Mr. Miyagi have absolutely no personality traits in common. Exact opposite people, but the comparison was made because, you know, Asian.

Ron & Christina are a great example of a team who are nice and generous on the race, but competitive enough that they aren’t dumb and stupid to sacrifice their game for another team.

I am personally glad producers went with the Ron & Christina combination rather than the Azaria & Christina alternative. They knew Ron & Christina will always deliver.

P.S. Ron never confirmed for us if Lithuania’s pastries lived up to its reputation. :/

Nicolas Fulks & Don Jerousek – TAR 12 – 3rd place – 4.18 Team Average

nic anger

Most Memorable Moment: Don dancing with Marianna & Julia or that burning image of when he did the ditch vaulting task.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Teams all hating Nic & Don for almost no reason, and Nic having ‘That Bitch’ expression on his face when he couldn’t get on an early flight.

nic shirt

Don is the only person over the age of 60 to cross the finish line. He was very close to also being the first 70 year old to do so as well (he was 68 during TAR 12).

As many of you know, I not only live in a retirement town but I also work in the health field. It is in the past two years that I have come to know A LOT of people who behave just like Don. Nobody like Don has ever been cast on TAR before or since, and we were awarded the gift of this unique character lasting all the way to the finish line.

Lots of inappropriate remarks, mental images which will never escape my head, and that unpredictable attitude which made him get to the end.

They might win the award for most unexpected team to make it to the finish line on TAR. Neither were physically fit, and neither seem distinctly brilliant. Heck, nearly every team hated them by the middle of round two.

When I say neither were physically fit, I mean Nic and Don would appear equally exhausted at times. They rarely ran or moved anywhere quickly but somehow would always survive. Why, they even claimed a Fast Forward award to win a freakin’ leg of the race.

Nic is an accomplished pilot which is what made him getting into trouble with airport staff for being rude rather amusing.

Let’s look at their relationship: Granddad and grandson. You expect them to fall as flat as Jody & Shannon, but the exact opposite happened. Producers knew they were taking a chance by casting this team, and I bet they never expected they nearly cast their season twelve winners.

I know I have said this many times, but we may never get a Final Three quite like TK & Rachel, Ron & Christina, and Nic & Don. Great seasons like TAR 5 or 17 still have their Brandon & Nicole or Jill & Thomas to take away from what goes on, but that Final 3 in TAR 12 was downright solid.

So why are Nic & Don not returning players? Don being 72 years young at the time may have something to do with it.

Nate Hagstrom & Jen Parker – TAR 12 – 4th place – 3.40 Team Average

nate jenn patience

Most Memorable Moment: Jen losing the race on her birthday.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Never. Finishing. In. First. Place.

Oh god. You know they were the young mactor recruits but holy hell did they deliver.

They swore so much that production told them to replace their cursing with words like “fudge” to be able to use it as footage to air on TV. This is why Nate & Jen occasionally sound like five year olds when they are angry.

Unlike a certain pair of wrestlers from TAR Canada, Nate & Jen had the original story of never finishing a leg in first place, but instead rack up four runner-up spots during the season.

To top it all off, Jen wanted to win the penultimate round on her birthday but instead pulled a Tijuana Bradley and instead went home. Going home because of huge decisions that backfired and blew the reasonable lead they had on the way to the pit stop.

It’s crazy to think these two ran TAR 12 at the same age I am as of 2015. They had some unintentionally hilarious quotes. Such as the double take when Nate insisted Jen and him will be eliminated by the end of the season. Or the dreadful cherry that has melted on top of the sundae because they were as wet as Dawson entering a taxi cab, and the fight in the boat which all happened in Croatia.

Jen screwing up a dancing task despite being a pro dancer. Heckling every team who beats them to the mat. Nearly being eliminated in the first round because they spent nearly over five hours walking with an Irish donkey.

Jen’s parting words of being melodramatic when she stated “we should have focused on the relationship rather than the race!” is a memorable moment for me as my immediate family and I all happened to watch that episode and laughed at the scene together.

It would have been hilarious to see this dysfunctional couple brought back, but something tells me there was about a 150 to 200 percent chance they broke up either during or instantly after the race was over.

Kent Cothron & Vyxsin Fiala – TAR 12 – 5th place – 3.63 Team Average

kynt vyxsin intro

Most Memorable Moment: “Vyxsin, stop this car!”

Most Underappreciated Moment: Kent running in India during the Roadblock.

They failed to apply for TAR Asia 3 after TAR 12, but they did get their wish granted to play once more.

Kent & Vyxsin earned their invite through writing about The Amazing Race endlessly online. They will do an interview with pretty much anyone, and wrote for multiple websites. I think they even did something for a Canadian website during their hiatus as well. If anything, the amount of effort a team puts into providing TAR with free advertising is bound to reap the benefits down the road. Especially if you’re a team in your early 20s (yes, I know Vyxsin is six years older than Kent, but whatever) who can take off to film another season at any given time.

Kent & Vyxsin were a fairly young team at the time and stood out for obvious reasons. I have to give them credit for finding a specific stereotyped role to grab the attention of producers. Dating Goths! C’mon, who wouldn’t want to see dating Goths on the race?

It makes some of Brook & Claire’s outfits on The Amazing Race look normal by comparison.

I find them to be a little overrated, but I do acknowledge the unique qualities and energy they always bring to the table. They also crumble under pressure and/or sleep deprivation which makes for a solid product you can put on television.

Personally, I never got on the Kent & Vyxsin train as much as other people did during TAR 12 simply because there were three or four other teams who I preferred more, but if it were TAR 6 or TAR 24, the Dating Goths would most likely be my favourites.

And yes, Kent & Vyxsin did indeed make the mistake of U-Turning Nic & Don. I love how they and Marianna & Julia were hated for no apparent reason all season long. For some reason, the botched U-Turn of Nic & Don is one of the few botched U-Turns which air in the episode. Most likely because all other cases typically do not affect the outcome. I disagree with editing this out because it is fun to laugh at people who make a stupid mistake like that.

“Why did you U-Turn them???? They’re ahead of you!” never gets old for me.
.
.
.
AND VYXSIN, STOP THIS CAR! STOP THIS CAR RIGHT NOW!

Azaria Azene & Hendekea Azene – TAR 12 – 6th place – 3.00 Team Average

azaria hendekea

Most Memorable Moment: Kicking everybody’s ass until they got screwed over by the flight to Croatia.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Hendekea’s knowledge of the Croatian language thanks to her friend.

Sixth place with a 3.00 average? Maybe karma would not have bitten them if they had just let Nathan & Jenn win the fourth round in Ouagadougou!

Nah, just kidding. Azaria & Hendekea may have made it halfway through the race to sixth place, but it was considered a huge upset at the time. After the initial round in Ireland, they appeared to be unstoppable. They were well-liked and therefore not vulnerable to the U-Turn, and were well-traveled, athletic, and highly intelligent.

Even when the cards were down at the airport in Lithuania, they tried their own Occupy movement on the earlier plane for forty-five minutes until a bunch of passengers swearing in Polish and the pilot had to drop them off. Dang business class seats!

They were super likable and provided enough entertainment through their own sibling-like bickering.

Yes, I do have to acknowledge they pulled a bit of a Shola & Doyin when they declared going to Burkina Faso was a homecoming even though they are from Ethiopia which is located at the opposite coast of the continent.

Much like Shana & Jennifer, they were minutes away from catching up to Nic & Don, but the time gap was too much. If only it were TAR Canada where everybody gets on the same flight.

I thought for sure Azaria & Hendekea would be brought back for TAR 18. Mainly because subsequent sibling teams Nick & Starr and Tammy & Victor annoyed the crap out of me. Azaria & Hendekea were the only ones I truly liked. They were fun to watch, but my gut feeling tells me producers thought they would be too dominant in TAR 18.

Particularly when you look at some of the other teams in the field.

P.S. Producers must have thought about Azaria racing with Christina though, right?

Shana Wall & Jennifer McCall – TAR 12 – 7th place – 5.80 Team Average

shana jennifer shop

Most Memorable Moment: Nearly getting run over by a bus in Lithuania.

Most Underappreciated Moment: That dance they did in Burkina Faso.

“It’s the Salon d’Afrique” was a quote which instantly entered Shana & Jennifer into the KKKendra Hall of Shame. Viewers don’t exactly appreciate it when somebody makes a joke which comes at the expense of a third world country.

Unlike Kendra, there was more substance to Shana & Jennifer. That is a crucial piece of information to keep in the back of your mind.

I know what the casual audience is thinking: “Two blonde-haired bimbos on The Amazing Race? I hate them!!!!!!!”

But they were far more dynamic than that. As I have stated before, it was like watching Pinky & The Brain as a team on TAR. Shana did all of the scheming and thinking through all of the tasks they needed to complete; Jennifer, on the other hand, was the innocent peppy teammate who would fear to disobey her master.

Plus her master was bangin’ Ryan Seacrest, but that’s neither here nor there.

Between the U-Turn incident and fighting with Azaria & Hendekea at the airport, Shana & Jennifer didn’t have too many friends on the race. They were sharper than almost everybody gives them credit for, and that is a bit of a shame. I was surprised by how well they did at some of the tasks.

My guess is producers didn’t want to re-cast a team who was not popular with the casual audience, and had an obscure ending to their race.

Lastly, I have to give a shoutout to that dance they did for the judges in the fourth round. Oh god. It was like an audition to be apart of Girlicious.

Lorena Segura & Jason Widener – TAR 12 – 8th place – 5.25 Team Average

lorena jason intro

Most Memorable Moment: “Baby, there’s no more milk!”

Second Most Memorable Moment: Gilmore Girls.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Being stuck in the same cab for forty minutes of their final episode trying to make the audience think they are close to catching up. C’mon, we know better.

I saw Jason in an episode of Gilmore Girls!

Okay, this is one of the few dating couples I liked outside of TAR 17 and Michael & Kathy.

For the most part, they seem like nice people and never take themselves too seriously. They dominated the first two legs of the race.

Then Burkina Faso came along. If this were the Express Pass era, they would have used it on the camel milking task and likely last much longer. Thankfully, they didn’t have this lifeline which led to some of Lorena’s most memorable meltdowns. She was even going crazy in the first two rounds.

I can still picture Lorena screaming “Galloway is that way! We’re going the wrong waaaaaaay!” and “Baaaaby, there’s no more milk!!!!”.

It is tragic a quarter of their season was spent inside of a taxi taunting the viewers that they would miraculously catch up.

If there is any team who deserved the Amanda & Kris slot, it would be Lorena & Jason. They are similar to Amanda & Kris’ demographic and track record in their first race, but better in every way imaginable.

A fun story about the camel milking task is Lorena completed it and drank the milk. . .but did so in front of the wrong person. Production forced her to do the challenge for a -second- time, and therefore had to find a different camel due to emptying her previous one of any milk.

NOTE: How unlucky were Lorena & Jason were to being U-Turned? Well, Shana & Jennifer thought the ‘newly dating couple’ was them instead of TK & Rachel. That’s right. TK & Rachel were going to be U-Turned, and based on what was said in the exit interviews, TK & Rachel would have been eliminated that leg.

It is the only situation I can think of where a team U-Turned a different pair than what they intended.

topaz wave

It is the equivalent of pulling a Topaz on The Amazing Race. Lorena & Jason are surprisingly good sports about that situation.

Marianna Ruiz & Julia Ruiz – TAR 12 – 9th place – 8.33 Team Average

marianna julia stumped

Most Memorable Moment: Dancing with Don in the middle of Burkina Faso at night.

Most Underappreciated Moment: One of them having ultra ninja pole vaulting skills.

I forgot how great the cast in TAR 12 was from top to bottom. Why couldn’t this season have five teams brought back?

Sadly, Marianna & Julia may be the fewest notes I have regarding any of the ten teams from this season. I already covered dancing with Don and referring to Ron as Mr. Miyagi.

Perhaps what surprised me the most about them is that they appeared to be sharp mentally and physically as sisters, but Jesus, they sucked every round. Especially with how much international travel they had done prior to the race. If there was any all-female team you thought would do well, it would be Marianna & Julia.

NOTE: Production screwed them over in the second round. Right before the start of the round, producers confiscated their maps and directions they were going to use to get to the airport. None of the other teams had their maps confiscated. In the shocker of all shockers, Marianna & Julia were late to the airport and got on the later flight to Amsterdam.

ANOTHER NOTE: During the four hour camel milking task, a tree nearby with one of the camels was struck by lightning making everybody freak out. Apparently Julia, the one who did the Roadblock, helped Lorena because she wanted nobody to die during The Amazing Race.

YET ANOTHER NOTE: Ron & Christine accused them of lying about exchanging money during the first leg, and gossiped with the other teams how Marianna & Julia are liars. So nearly everybody except Shana & Jennifer or Lorena & Jason refused to work with Marianna & Julia.

Perhaps they didn’t suck and perform below their potential as much as we thought they did. We should entertain the possibility that a bunch of bad breaks constantly screwed them over and was fifty percent responsible for their poor performance.

I find it amusing that TAR 23 had a Switchback to Marianna’s ditch vaulting task during the second round. Who ever thought Marianna of all people would be featured in a Switchback?

Kate Lewis & Pat Hendrickson – TAR 12 – 10th place – 9.0 Team Average

kate pat pinkie

Most Memorable Moment: Old person kiss.

Most Underappreciated Moment: Kate speaking like a Hallmark greeting card and resembling Twila from Survivor: Vanuatu.

An all-female dating team on TAR US? What?! How is that possible?!

Oh. They cast one who had about a 0.01% chance of making it past the first three rounds.

You know they weren’t going to make it far when Kate went on that poem of how the race is a love letter to the universe. Like other teams throughout history, they treated it more as an “experience” rather than a competition. Hell, they managed to make Elimination Station webisodes more boring than they already are each season.

kate pat kiss
It’s too bad we couldn’t see much of their dynamic beyond old people kisses (probably the reason why we haven’t watched many elderly teams after Bill & Cathi).

According to their interview, they had only four weeks from the time they were told to be on the show to when filming started. Besides what they do for the church, there is only so much time to prepare with a personal trainer. Unfortunately, they may have needed another month to be on a more level playing field with the other teams.

Another fun bit from their post-race interview was them dissing some of the religious contestants who have been on reality television. Particularly Jameka from Big Brother who stated everything was pre-determined and God already decided a guy named Evel Dick was going to win the game.

Just reading their interviews is probably why they got to be on the show–such interesting personality traits you do not normally see portrayed on television.

It is another good example of why picking entertaining people and/or good talkers in confessionals are far better to see play TAR than clones of Tyler & James or Gino & Jesse who, while very physically and mentally able to excel at the race, are boring as hell to watch on TV or listen to in confessionals.

I like Kate & Pat. If I could have prayed for one thing leading up to TAR 12, it is that they could be a bit more competitive and not be such early exits. It is clear bringing them back for a second appearance would be tough to justify.

Ari Bonias & Staella Gianakakos – TAR 12 – 11th place – 11.0 Team Average

ari staella intro

Most Memorable Moment: “Karma is a bitch, but I am a bigger bitch.”

Most Underappreciated Moment: Stopping a pair of Colton Cumbies in the making by being eliminated at the end of the first episode. Best first boots ever?

Ari & Staella: The product of what happens when two people grow up and obsess over reality TV way too much.

Out of all of the teams to be cast for TAR, I can’t recall anybody quite like Ari & Staella who craved the idea of being villains and receive widespread hatred by the audience. There was something about them which made us think TAR 12 was just a launching point for their fifteen minutes of fame.

That is why it was gratifying to see them be the first team out of the race. If you ever want a high strung and dramatic team to be eliminated, just have an animal task right before the pit stop. It was between them and Nate & Jenn as to who would be ousted at the end of the premiere.

They really were the prequel to Colton Cumbie. By 2007, you have over seven years of reality television where the concept of childhood superfans were beginning to become of age to play Survivor or TAR.

Why, 2007 is the same year where Survivor: Micronesia — Fans vs. Favo(u)rites filmed too.

It’s not that I hate superfans being on reality shows, I am just uncomfortable seeing contestants who are so heavily influenced by it that they overdo it in the melodrama department.

If I had a spectrum of first boots in TAR, you would have John & Scott on one end as the super boring and non-competitive folks, and on the other you would have Ari & Staella who are too aware of the entertainment industry and uncomfortably into the race.

As to where Shahla & Nabeela fit into this? It’s a tough call.

P.S. Ari was just 21 years old when playing TAR 12. I know I am a broken record with the idea of “I wonder how an over-the-top personality like Flo would do fifteen years later”, but you could add Ari & Staella to this list due to the fact they went nowhere in the TV industry.

Biggest Snub(s): Nate & Jenn; Azaria & Hendekea

Teams I Would Pick With the TAR 12-17 Restriction

1. Brook & Claire
2. Toni & Dallas
3. Dandrew
4. Nathan & Jennifer
5. Ron & Christina
6. Mark & Bill
7. Kisha & Jen
8. Brian & Ericka
9. Lance & Keri/Zev & Justin.
10. Chad & Stephanie
11. Azaria & Hendekea.

ALTERNATES

1. Gary & Mallory if any family team drops out.
2. Margie & Luke if one of the two mother-son teams cannot participate.
3. Jaime & Cara if Brook & Claire are unable to play.
4. Brent & Caite if one of the dating/married couples are unable to play.
5. Not Steve & Linda. In other words, Nic & Don would have been great or Lorena & Jason.

So there you go. Part one is in the books. As I said earlier, I should have part two up within the next few days because I am eager to dive into TAR 18. It’ll be fun as long forgotten running jokes shal be revived, and hopefully new ones emerge.

Thanks for being awesome, guys. I was geting sick of the Helen Lovejoys who plague the TAR Canada fanbase.

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4 Responses to The Amazing Race 18 Rankings Introduction Part 1

  1. TheBayAreaGuy says:

    Without having the benefit of rewatching TAR 12-17 yet, I do agree with your cast list as those come to the top of my head (some will change once I rewatch them). The only I would change for now is Brian & Erika as they were divorced not longer after the race (unrelated to experience).

  2. Jordan says:

    Stephanie Smith was also pregnant during the time of filming of Unfinished Business, so another reason why they said no if they was asked.

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