NOTE: Thirty-four English speaking teams competed in TAR during 2015 (TAR 26, TAR Canada 3, and TAR 27). Now it is time to evaluate how they all did. This is primarily being done because it is going to be at least a few years before I get to these seasons in my TARstorian rankings, and I doubt you want to wait until 2019 or so before you hear my opinions on contemporary racers.
We will be ranking these teams based on various criteria.
Overall racing abilities.
Overall storyline and ability to narrate the actions of what goes on.
33) Gino & Jesse a.k.a. The VoldeMussolinis – TAR Canada 3 – 1st place – 3.00 Team Average
Entertainment value: 1
Overall Racing Abilities: 5.5
Comedic Contribution: 1.10
Overall storyline and narration: 0
You thought that I would seriously rank them below Kelly & Shevonne? Nah, they are better than that.
But definitely not better than anyone else.
There have been teams who were projected frontrunners prior to the start of the season, and went through the predictable twelve-week motions before claiming their victory. These teams also happened to exhibit relatively dull personalities in contrast to their competition.
Enter Gino & Jesse.
If you listened to my pre-season podcast for TAR Canada 3 with Michael Harmstone, you would know we pegged this team as a lock for Final Three, but also commented on how they had one of the worst online biographies in recent memory. Michael’s pre-season hatred of them reached to such an extreme that I nicknamed them the VoldeMussolinis (a combination of Voldemort from Harry Potter and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini as if they were fused together like an Indian papaya mango tea).
I also said Melias would be in the Final Three, but let’s ignore that. To this day I stand by the fact they would have made a deep run if not for the insanely bad luck they suffered with Elias having a reading task, but we’ll get to that later on in this countdown.
Leading up to the start of the season, fans voiced outrage against the lack of Prairie representation, namely in Alberta. Gino & Jesse, a.k.a. VoldeMussolinis, were already claiming Ontario and the country of Italy via ancestry as who they would represent during the season.
When the Prairie complaints were rampant, they stepped in saying one of them lived in Alberta for an extended period of time, and insisted they would be their representative as well.
Next they would say that a sandwich they bought in the Northwest Territories would be enough to earn them a nod to wave the territorial flag as NWT’s flag bearer at next year’s Canada Games.
You may be thinking “oh, here is another hardcore fan who hates alpha male teams boo hoo”, but you can sit your presumptuous ass down because I love plenty of alpha male teams.
Awesome and hilarious.
Awesome and hilarious too.
Eh, sure. They’re alphas. . .right? Gerard just needed to work harder to keep Ken from the dozen glazed donuts at the bottom.
Oh, and they’re great too.
But seriously, I have never had as much of a problem with alpha male teams. People may say they have a historical advantage in TAR which means any alpha pair you cast MUST have outstanding personalities to justify them being cast.
Unfortunately, alpha male teams that lack personality or a sense of humour, and are 1000% focused on the competition at hand is a terrible combination for television.
And things would get worse.
TAR Canada 3 made the unusual move to have only four rounds take place outside of Canada. Of course, with mounting pressure and limited locations within our own borders, that means all tasks taking place in Canada have to be much more physically brutal and a true test of endurance as to make up for the easier format.
Therefore, an alpha male team like Gino & Jesse would easily breeze through the domestic rounds. In fact, all five of their leg victories would be in Canada. This was established in the season premiere where they dominated the other eleven teams.
Guess how a team like Gino & Jesse did, a pair wrapped so much in Canada, would do when travelling abroad?
Well, they would have been eliminated in the second leg of the race if not for 11.0 Team Averagers Susan & Sharnjit still being in the race. Seriously. That’s the only thing that saved them. If Melias had beat out the very team Duthie rudely ignored at the reunion show in the season opener, Gino & Jesse’s story would have ended there.
Instead we would see them be on the cusp of elimination in three of the four international legs, but something always going horribly wrong for the team that wound up finishing last.
If this were real Amazing Race, Gino & Jesse would not make much of an impression. Thanks, Sudbury.
Michael and I weren’t the only ones projecting Canadian dominance for the VoldeMussolinis. From day one, all of the other teams viewed Gino & Jesse as the biggest threats all season long. If there was a U-Turn, it would be a no brainer that everyone would have put their picture up on the board.
However, both U-Turns were in the two most physically demanding rounds of the season in Canada (Quebec and Okanagan legs), which meant Gino & Jesse made it to the board first both times and tried to oust their biggest competition.
NOTE: Oh yeah. How focused were Gino & Jesse? They U-Turned Brent & Sean and Nick & Matt during the season. They were equally aware of threats as well.
Anyways, Gino & Jesse would talk about renovations and being children of a single mom and renovations and renovations and being children of a single mom for twelve episodes. I honestly can’t recall a hilarious moment these two had except for one.
During the penultimate leg with the Cabotage incident, the casual fans turned against Gino & Jesse. Now, I praised the VoldeMussolinis because it showed they weren’t entirely playing up for the cameras. They were going to do whatever it takes to win, and weren’t concerned what a bunch of middle-aged Canadians on the couch thought of them at home.
I even wrote an essay defending them at the end of the episode.
Furthermore, the reveal of who won the Fuel Your Fan Favourite Vote was going to be at next week’s reunion show, and knowing Gino & Jesse were guaranteed to win the fan vote by the time Cabotage rolled around would mean the reunion show was going to be very very awkward.
Sadly, Gino & Jesse decided to spoil my newfound respect for them.
1) They won in the finale. In what RTV Warriors coined the worst English-speaking TAR episode of the year, Gino & Jesse won, thus nullifying the possibility of the awkward Fuel Your Fan Favourite Vote moment (only non-winners were eligible for it).
2) During their interview by Monty after crossing the finish line, they made one of the most cringeworthy comments ever. Remember, A LOT of casual fans like Gino & Jesse, and this is that one moment where Gino & Jesse can use their influence for next season.
“What do we think of Canada? You never have to leave! There’s no reason to leave! Everything you could ever want is in our own backyard! We can play together forever and ever and ever and ever. Screw diversity! All of the diversity you ever need to experience is in a country with a low population density and only two official languages! Hell, the Okanagan is ninety percent Caucasian according to Stats Canada! That’s all we need!”
But. . .but. . .how could you do this.
If this were future TAR Canada contestants. . .
This would be Gino & Jesse.
Add in those clips where Gino & Jesse were disappointed when they found out they would be leaving Canada, and you have a team who goes against the spirit of what The Amazing Race should be about. It’s a show that opens our eyes to the rest of the world–not closing our gates and shouting mid-20th century nationalistic rants.
There is some guy already filling that role.
If TAR Canada cuts back on international legs for TARC 4, I feel Gino & Jesse need to be held somewhat responsible. Although at this rate I am willing to blame them for why I felt hungover a couple of months ago at a friend’s birthday party, or why the furnace broke down in my house last week.
To borrow a term from Survivor, a gamebot refers to a character who has nothing to them except discussing strategy, and excelling at it. Gino & Jesse are one of few teams to fill this role on The Amazing Race. During the reunion show segment, the only thing Duthie was able to talk about was them arguing in the last twenty minutes of the season. The other 11 1/2 episodes provided no material worthy of discussion other than Cabotage. It was just other teams saying “Damn, I wish we would’ve caught Gino & Jesse and beat them”.
Don’t get me wrong–I would rather hang out with Gino & Jesse one hundred times over one coffee break with Kelly & Shevonne, but Gino & Jesse just weren’t meant for television.
And depending on what we see six months from now, they could prove to be a hindrance to Canada’s most popular TV franchise. Sigh.
P.S. They seem like they would be pleasant in real life. If they were at a fan event in the Okanagan, I would be like “yo Gino! yo Jesse! Can I get a selfie with you guys? Thanks! What’s my name? Uh. . .it’s uh. . .Wayne Gordon. Bye!”
P.P.S. Yeah, Freddy & KKKendra are still the worst winners ever. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I may even put them ahead of Sam & Vince too.
Hint for #32: I swear they were on The Amazing Race last year. Will anyone believe me?
34) Kelly & Shevonne
33) Gino & Jesse