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.
28) Dana Hayward & Amanda Johnston – TAR Canada 3 – 10th Place – 8.00 Team Average
Entertainment value: 2
Overall Racing Abilities: 1
Comedic Contribution: 6
Overall storyline and narration: 1
“Hold on a second, Logan. I thought invisible characters who are too nice for television or are too normal would not make it high up on your list? Look at where you put Cindy & Rick, and they had a better overall race performance than Dana & Amanda!”
That’s true, but are you missing one element: Dana & Amanda have the weirdest legacy of anyone to be eliminated in the first three episodes of any season I have watched.
Neither of them have a big moment that the audience talks about, but yet have an active storyline on the sidelines which survives all the way through to the season finale.
For instance, Hope & Norm had about ten seconds of airtime in TAR 2, but have an odd legacy of being brought up as the source of the “if a car breaks down through no fault of the team, they will not be awarded a time credit for this unlucky situation” which was established after Blake & Paige’s unaired protest at the end of the second round.
“Drive your own car on The Amazing Race? That’s crazy talk!”
“Trust me, it’s overrated.”
Unless you are Lisa & Joni who are remembered as the 25th greatest team of all time randomly on the Internet, early boots remain trapped in the minds of the few hardcore fans. As much as I -love- Tramel & Talicia, they are unfortunately relying upon me to keep their memory alive.
And this is pretty much the case for the other 99% of early boots–you just hope a random fan will recognize your contribution to a competition you wished you could be more apart of when you had your shot.
But not Dana & Amanda. They are the 1%. They will be remembered. That’s a fact, babe.
Anyways, Dana & Amanda. Police officers from Newfoundland. For those of you who are not Canadian like myself, Newfoundland is arguably the most isolated province in Canada.
If that wasn’t enough, Dana & Amanda live in a town called Wabush. Besides it being one of the best names for a town I have heard in my life, nearly nobody lives there.
“Why does no one move here?” It’s Wabush, I tells ya!”
Keep this in mind. Tiny town in a region that everyone else in the nation gives approximately 0.01 f-cks about.
Prior to the start of the season, I assessed Dana & Amanda would not do well. Sure, they were physically fit and were already serving in the RCMP, but an isolated Newfoundland lifestyle + Training in a profession that requires you to be very straightforward with minimal flexibility = Early boots.
However, other media outlets had really high expectations of them. Like, winner potential.
You know TAR Canada wants strong all-female teams when they follow up Natalie & Meaghan by having multiple testicle-crushing/face-stomping/ass-kicking professions to represent them.
Dana & Amanda did alright in the first round. In a round where teleprompting made the difference as to who went home, Dana and her out-of-nowhere hat got the job done.
People raised their expectations even more. . .and then. . .and then. . .international travel happened. 🙂
For those of you reading this who competed on TAR Canada (1), this is called the world. It’s a series of unique places which exist outside of our nation, and has lots of water in between. You should explore it sometime.
Remember how Newfoundland is really isolated? Well, it is the least diverse when it comes to any type of language barrier compared to anywhere else in the country. For the first time ever, we’re going to see a pair of Newfoundlanders travel abroad on The Amazing Race Canada.
And the results are beautifully disastrous.
In Chile, they end up running across the entire city as everyone else is able to figure out that they need to take a taxi.
“Where is everyone?”
They are saved due to the fact that Gino & Jesse suck at international travel, and Susan & Sharnjit. . .well, as I said in an earlier entry, we never know what happened to Susan & Sharnjit.
Amanda has worn a hat and they both ran seven or eight unnecessary miles to get to a pit stop. We know nothing else about them thus far.
In Argentina, a couple of communication based tasks are thrown at Dana & Amanda. It does not go well.
a) Dana teams up with Nick on the Roadblock. While searching for a pack of Mentos, Dana interrogates an unsuspecting shopkeeper and is convinced she is hiding the Mentos in her purse.
“Newfoundland PD, let us in please.”
“This 18th century drawing of Charlie Brown is very suspicious. The Mentos must be hidden here.”
Yeah, Nick is amused by this.
b) Nick continues to play along as he eats all of the Mentos while Dana tries to answer their trivia questions.
In the only way an Anglophone knows how, she resorts to screaming “ENGLISH! ENGLISH! ENGLISH!” in the streets to get help. Except picture this shouting in a Newfoundland accent.
If only that dog were a Labradoodle, it could help translate.
c) Dana & Amanda want to do a dancing Detour, but are instead forced to go take orders in Spanish. After asking customers to repeat their order seventy or eighty times, Dana & Amanda need another seventy or eighty tries before they can finally complete this task.
“Guaca. . .guacamoley? What the hell is that, Amanda?”
“Please let us have more airtime.”
d) They still have a shot at surviving the round, but Nic & Sabrina’s penalty expires three minutes before their arrival, and fellow officers Brian & Cynthia beat them out by seconds in a foot race to the mat. Dana & Amanda are shafted by the editing to such an extreme that, rather than having their own final words, Brian gives us final words on their behalf.
You know it’s a rough episode as a viewer when you could be losing either Nic & Sabrina or Brian & Cynthia by the end of the third round.
And that’s it. That is the story of Dana & Amanda. A young all-female team who goes home early and who editors ignored just as much as Susan & Sharnjit. Hell, you feel like you at least got to know Susan & Sharnjit a little bit in the season premiere.
Then something strange happens.
During the mid-season reunion special, Amanda is unable to attend and answer any of the stupid questions I submitted online.
Her reason for not being able to go was suffering from a condition called Chronic Duthapathitis.
Some teams try to be invisible on TAR Canada, but Dana & Amanda were taking it to new heights.
But yet. . .this would all be in their conniving master plan.
Every season, a poll is conducted by CTV to determine who is your favourite in a Fuel Your Casual Fan Favourites poll. Whoever earns the most votes by the end of the season will win Free Gas for Life from Petro Canada. Anyone who does not win the season is eligible.
Gino & Jesse were clobbering everyone in votes by the end of the first 24 hours of voting. Even with the Cabotage incident, that gap was never going to be bridged. The other teams following this poll knew this did not matter because they were there when the VoldeMussolinis crossed the finish line in first place.
Now it would be a fight to the death amongst the other eleven teams to claim this prize.
And well. . .
“Thanks Newfoundland and Labrador!”
Canadian casual fans are weird. They choose the flattest and worst characters possible to be first place, and their secondary option is an invisible team who were eliminated two months earlier on TV. We knew NOTHING about Dana & Amanda as characters!
So there you have it.
Well, not quite. Just days before the finale, CTV posted an update saying the vote tally was adjusted after they threw out any potentially fraudulent votes. Eleven of the twelve teams were not affected by this. Can you guess who was?
Yep, Dana & Amanda. Somebody online stuffed the ballot box so that law enforcement officers would receive -twice as many votes- as initially counted.
The funniest part? Even with half of these ballots considered null and void, Dana & Amanda held onto their position, and received Free Gas for Life regardless of this tampering controversy. How did Dana & Amanda pull this off?
A theory of mine is that due to the large volume of teams from Ontario and Quebec, the population was split as to who they were rooting for while all of Atlantic Canada piled their votes onto Dana & Amanda.
My other theory is that Hell secretly froze over at the end of last August, and we haven’t been informed yet.
As for my final theory? Casual fans are just plain weird. This is the most reasonable explanation.
If production is deciding their TAR Canada All Stars cast by who were the frontrunners in the Fuel Your Casual Fan Favourite poll, it will be worse than TAR 24. For realz. It could very well be the closest experience to watching robots play chess.
Invisible robots, I should remind you. Editors weren’t even -trying- to make Dana & Amanda be any type of character on screen, but yet they resonated with an audience who never got to know them. Is it just because they hated everyone else, and since Dana & Amanda didn’t have -any- negative footage, this meant Dana & Amanda won by default?
If Canadians decided who won Player of the Season for Survivor: Caramoan, Hope Driscoll would be the clear runner-up after John Cochran.
Or Ann Veal being declared the best character in the history of Arrested Development.
Because of this unexpected and hilarious achievement, Dana & Amanda make it to 28th for having the most bizarre storyline in TAR Canada’s brief history. Are they super awesome people? Are they douchebags? We’ll never know.
P.S. Dana & Amanda are the same age as me. I can’t get over the fact that competitive reality TV contestants will either be my age or slightly younger nowadays. Considering I started watching Survivor when I was eight years old back in 2000, this is frightening for me.
P.P.S. I actually campaigned actively for everyone to pile their votes onto Dana & Amanda in the final week leading up to the finale. When Duthie announced that Dana & Amanda won the prize, I laughed on my couch for at least a good twenty to thirty seconds.
34) Kelly & Shevonne
33) Gino & Jesse
32) Cindy & Rick
31) Susan & Sharnjit
30) Jeff & Lyda
29) Harley & Jonathan
28) Dana & Amanda
Hint for #27: I will make my way to ranking the next team. Just very very very slowly. Careful now. . .