The Amazing Race 20 Episode 1 Rankings

First Leg






TAR 20. Boy, a lot of people hate this season. All of the normal people that dominated TAR 19 were nowhere to be found in TAR 20. Nearly everyone is crazy this season, and crazy cannot get along with crazy.

This leads to one of the most unique seasons in the TAR catalogue.

Let’s go over the format changes for this season.

a) The Fast Forward, which was absent during TAR 18 and TAR 19, returns for TAR 20. Since TAR 5, the weekly Fast Forward seen in the first four seasons has been reduced to zero, one, or two in any given season.

TAR 20 makes the one-time shift of having three in one season. A happy medium to keep the pro-FF enthusiasts and the anti-FF haters happy is if we have four or five Fast Forwards in a season, but I can live with three. Because there are three, just because you are in the lead doesn’t automatically mean you go for it. It has the potential for the compelling strategies which made the early seasons so much more fun.

b) The Hazard and the Double Elimination Leg from last season is ditched for this season, and doesn’t return again. Thank goodness. There is a Starting Line task, but no penalties on the line.

That’s it. No other twists or format changes occur in this season. NELs preserve the lame Speed Bump, the Express Pass is awarded to the winner of the first leg, and no new twists other than the three Fast Forwards is used for this season.

That is the shortest section for format changes in a while. Let’s move on to the overall storylines for this season.

a) It’s the last of three Titan seasons to ever air. For those who have forgotten this definition, it refers to two teams going head-to-head in each leg as the other nine teams never stand a chance from start to finish. The two teams win at least eleven of the legs and are almost always finishing in the top two every round. TAR 9 saw this with BJ & Tyler and Eric & Jeremy; TAR Asia 2 saw this with Adrian & Collin and Marc & Rovilson.

TAR 20 will see perhaps the most extreme example of this as the two teams will win eleven out of twelve legs, and both teams combine finishing below second only a total of seven times all season, and only finishing below fourth just once all season long.

Within the first four episodes, it will become clear which two teams will be crushing everybody else all season long. The unique part about this Titan season is that neither of the teams are particularly well-liked. One is typically ranked in the bottom ten of all 700+ teams to race internationally, and the other is typically ranked around the halfway point.

b) A very socially-driven season. Alliances occupy much of the narrative of this season for the first time since TAR 10. The cast is split into two alliances, and everyone is either forced or intimidated into picking a side. There aren’t really any good guys or bad guys in this scenario, and therefore you just watch everything crash and burn from the sidelines. It’s like watching all of your high school bullies or all of Hitler’s cronies being forced into a ring and having to duke it out as everyone else watches. It’s not like TAR 6 where you have -a couple- of good options, some bad options, then one really really really bad option and the really really really bad option wins. Or TAR 14 where you feel like production wants to pick a bunch of self-righteous/xenophobic/slightly favoured by production cluster of teams.

Here it is a matter of “throw a bunch of indifferent or unlikable people into the arena with lions, give ’em a sword, and see what the hell happens”.

c) We visit the Caucasus for the first time in TAR history. Paraguay will be the only other new country added to TAR’s visited locations, but most of the focus is on Azerbaijan. TAR has never visited any states in this region until TAR 20. We will wait another eight before Armenia and Georgia are visited in consecutive episodes to complete the trio. The task of making teams bathe in oil always stands out to me.

d) TAR 20 starts off on an odd note with something unprecedented and ends the season on an odd note with something unprecedented. It’s a season in general that has a few extremely funky things happen that you won’t really see in too many other seasons of TAR. Alliances, no major heroes, contestants doing things that production hasn’t really seen before, and a couple of long-standing records that are threatened throughout the course of the season.







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The first shot of the season is of an ocean coastline. Jesus, I wonder what this could be based on the starting line for every season of the past eight except for TAR 18.

PHIL: This is California.

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Wait, this isn’t California.

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All we need Sonic the Hedgehog to jump on and it is suddenly Mobius.

PHIL: This is California. The heart of America’s wine country.

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Dammit. By season 40, Phil is going to run out of ways to describe California. We’ve already had it described as the film capital, the entertainment capital, the surfing capital. . .maybe it’ll be the heart of America’s rock-paper-scissors scene or something by then.

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What a waste of water. As if California wasn’t dry enough as it is.

PHIL: Here in Santa Barbara, these idyllic vineyards provide the perfect destination for cycling enthusiasts. . .like me.

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After twenty seasons, I think the journey to the starting line is just referred to as the “Une Ride”.

PHIL: The eleven teams riding in the peloton behind me have no idea what lies ahead.

A pelo what?

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Huh. I learned a new word today.

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FUN FACT: Mark & Bopper nearly quit while riding in the peloton because Mark lost his helmet, and couldn’t continue because he ain’t got no head protection.

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I don’t even know how to ride a bike. Everyone would have to wait for an hour as I walk my bike to the starting line.

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Phil isn’t giving anyone a chance to catch up to him.


He’s like the Team Gypsy of cycling.

We are introduced to our first team.

DAVE & CHERIE – Married clowns from Tampa Bay, Florida.

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They should’ve been forced to ride in on unicycles. Gotta play the role that producers have assigned you to!

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Jon can balance a bicycle. Dave ain’t got nothing on him.

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Just in case you have forgotten Dave’s profession, he literally spells it out for you.

DAVE & CHERIE in unison: We’re masters of laughter for really big brothers in Brothers in Barnham Bailey Circus.

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“Pleeeease be one of your favourites, Logan.”

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I am digging the ghetto blaster by Dave’s feet.

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“We’ll pay you ten dollars in candy if you pretend to be excited by these clowns.”

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“Where’d my wife go? And who gave me this blue skullet?”

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“We usually do this with knives, but because CBS is filming us. . .yeah.”

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Dave & Cherie are the first team to be monkeying around and clowning around simultaneously.

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“This is why you drink milk to develop strong teeth, kids!”

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Dave is the first clown to hit himself in the head with a chair.

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At least Doink The Clown knew to hit other people with chairs rather than himself.

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The girl on the left looks so bored.

DAVE: I do strongly believe in what goes around comes around, and the karma we’ve built works for us in our favour.

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If karma exists on TAR, last season would have ended very differently.

Also, Cherie doesn’t get to have a confessional.

BOPPER & MARK – Lifelong friends from Clay County, Kentucky.

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Mark & Bopper are about to turn the corner with their edit.

We cue up music that sounds like it is straight from the Grapes of Wrath soundtrack.

MARK: We’re from the other side of the tracks.

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Editors go the extra mile by filming this in black and white.

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And have them being filmed while literally walking on the wrong side of the tracks.

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“I am also from the wrong side of the tracks.”

This is like more of a parody than something to be taken seriously.

MARK: We’ve never had nothing. Never did think we’d ever get nothing.
BOPPER: If we don’t win the money, we’ve not helped our kids and our family. We’re going to win the money.

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They even have a rusted triangle as a dinner bell.

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Chunky Kong would love a triangle as a dinner bell.

BOPPER: Come and get iiiiit.

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Note I don’t own a car, but Bopper has two in the driveway.

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Look at their meal. A healthy stew, chicken, and taters. That’s more food than most of the meals I had growing up. Geez.

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Bopper is even double fisting the chicken! That’s not a family that’s gonna go hungry! C’mon!

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“We are going to win the money. . .and an invitation to All Stars so Mark can be a total dick towards Mallory.”

MISA & MAIYA – Sisters from San Diego, California.

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Not recruits.

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Nice follow through by casting to pick recruits from southern California.

Misa & Maiya are both great golfers.

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I tried to look up who that famous Asian female golfer was on YouTube, but for some reason these were the top two results. Welcome to the weird part of the Internet.

The person I was looking up turns out to be a golfer named Michelle Wie. She debuted as a pro golfer a few years before TAR 20. I assume TAR was trying to get in on the minor youth prodigy golfing craze of the late 2000s and wanted to cast Misa & Maiya for TAR 20.

MISA: We started golf when I was twelve and Maiya was eleven.

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Those dribbling skills are up to par.

Maiya went to UCLA and turned professional (as a golfer) in 2009.

MAIYA: People think we’re pretty girls and we’re dainty.
MISA: Maybe a little prissy.

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Future Baywatch audition!

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And tossing the pigskin. OMG! She’s such a tomboy!

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Spike that football!

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It took twenty seasons but we’ve finally filled the demographic of people who seek “Asian golfing bikini babes” on YouTube.

MAIYA: There will be no crying. We are athletes. We know what it takes to win the race.

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That’s right. You will never see them cry on TAR because they’re tough af.

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Well fuck, that doesn’t last long.

Who is our fourth team?

BRENDON & RACHEL – Recently engaged from Los Angeles, California.

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Definitely not a recruit. Just happened to play on consecutive seasons of Big Brother and made it through The Amazing Race casting process. Honest.

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Can’t believe she’s gonna be on The Amazing Race two more times.

NOTE: The Amazing Race 20 filmed two months after Rachel won Big Brother 13. So the peak of Rachel still craving the spotlight and playing it up for the cameras to an extreme is still in full effect. It won’t be until TAR 24 where she eases off a bit. Also I believe this was filmed fresh off the whole infamous Brendon cheating scandal. People tend to forget that Brendon & Rachel hogged the BB spotlight for two years with their outrageous antics to keep themselves relevant.

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Thankfully their fans weren’t as obsessive as Cody & Jessica’s and not xenophobic, so you’re not going to see the military angle be exploited or fans around the world who attempt to sabotage the other teams. They were probably too focused on the hundreds of death threats they were mounting against Shelly Moore at this time. This is why I tend to stay far away from interacting with the hardcore fans of the BB community—it’s the part of society that makes me worried for our future.

The creepiest and the most overly dramatic (for no apparent reason) reality TV fans I tend to interact with at finale parties in Hollywood are BB fans. I keep my distance.

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“If we smile long enough we can get another season on a CBS show out of this.”

And yes, Alison from BB4 and Jeff & Jordan from BB11 both filmed their Amazing Race seasons immediately following the conclusion of their stint in BB. Cody & Jessica would later be the fourth team to do this.

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“Look! I am an engaged woman! The middle-aged women and reality TV fans on the couch can totally relate to somebody who fell in love on a reality show because they work as a high-end cocktail waitress in LA and is cast repeatedly for these shows!”

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You’re not crazy, Rachel. You want crazy? Read the Funniest Complaints blog from season 30.

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“Will you please let me go on BB one more time so I can win too?”

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“Floaters grab your life vests. . .by the way, can you carry me Brendon?”

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Just like Brendon & Rachel, the ratings for The Amazing Race will continue to slide down while this season airs.

BRENDON: We’re both strong competitors and we proved that by winning Big Brother.
RACHEL: We?! I won Big Brother 13!

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Correction: Production wanted you or Jordan to win BB13.

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The redhead intensity penetrates your soul.

RACHEL: We are not in the race to make friends.


Seamus isn’t the only one to repeat this reality TV cliche.

RACHEL: We are here to win a million dollars and no one comes between me and my million dollars.

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This will become an endearing trait of Rachel’s by TAR 24 when she is a bit more grounded and acts more like a real person, but Rachel’s ability to make fun of herself ultimately makes her a somewhat bearable character. She won’t embrace this trait in TAR 20 so it’ll be an uphill climb as a viewr, but by TAR 24 this trait is in full swing.

We advance to the fifth team.

JOEY FITNESS & DANNY – Best friends from Long Island, New York.

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Thanks to Herb & Nate, the idea of referring to contestants by their nicknames is in full effect by this point.

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At least it wasn’t Joey Fitness & Danny Muscles.

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Is that woman Gina Marie from BB15?

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“Hey Gina Marie, baby! How about me and my bud Joey take you back to my place and we roll you up into an empanada?”

DANNY: We live the Guido lifestyle.

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That’s the Guido lifestyle?


I pictured this to be more of the Guido lifestyle. . .actually, it’s the same amount of wine. Joey Fitness & Danny got it right.

JOEY FITNESS: Guidos, baby.

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“Guidos, baby! We’re gonna look like bald fuckin’ oompa loompas in our caskets, motherfucker.”

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DANNY: Getting the hair perfect all the way around.

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I don’t know if perfect is the word I would use.

JOEY FITNESS: Muscles. Tattoos.

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Forget GTL—how about HMT? Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it?

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Do you even fucking lift, bro?

The only lard you will see on these guys is the brand name on the weights they are lifting.

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“Loser with the smaller guns has to give me twenty!”

DANNY: No Situation over here but I got a Solution for them.

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Jesus Fucking Christ. They checked all of the Jersey Shore stereotypes in the span of a minute.

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Thank God the show is canceled months after TAR 20 airs so we don’t have to put up with more Jersey Shore teams. That whole genre of TV where people live through others who they can’t relate to at all and borderline worship them is simultaneously fascinating and troubling.

Like, how many middle-aged women on the couch watching Jersey Shore are thinking “Gym-Tan-Laundry? That speaks to me on so many levels.”

We are introduced to our sixth team.

NARY & JAMIE – Federal agents from Los Angeles.

Ah. More recruits.

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Nary’s intense cycling staredown.

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Jamie’s not so much.

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Future members of CTU.

They talk about how there are few female federal agents other than Michelle Dessler and the pressure to perform is high.

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Misa & Maiya don’t look so badass anymore.

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Especially when there’s shots like this.

NARY: There’s more pressure to perform as a woman compared to a standard male. . .Mentally you have to be tougher. Doing this race is going to be cake to us.

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First confessional and Nary has already screwed up a popular expression.

JAMIE: I like cake.

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Did we just seriously have a female federal agent on TAR just say the words “I like cake”? That was her takeaway from everything Nary said about how you need to be a smart and capable woman to be a federal agent? I like cake? I was hoping they would have to be a bit more verbose.

Now to our seventh team.

RACHEL & DAVE—Married two years from Madison, Wisconsin.

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Ah, two Rachels on this season.

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I wonder what his job is?

He has been in the military for sixteen years.

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Peace out, A-Town.

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“She didn’t hesitate to call Dave Cube the Top Gun.”

He was in Iraq for a year.

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“Not for military reasons. Just. . .just in general. Just wanted to go to Iraq while serving in the military. It was a trip for personal pleasure on my working holiday visa.”

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“But at least he wasn’t silly enough to be captured and become a POW, Ron.”

Ah, Ron & Kelly. Good times.

Rachel didn’t realize the magnitude of how much they change when they are apart.

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Dave is hiding his awesome haircut.

DAVE: We hope the race can provide us hopefully to be that catalyst to reconnect and reconcile our marriage and our common bonds.

More well-spoken than Jamie’s “I like cake” out of the military personnel we have.

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Just like any struggling couple, having a baby is supposed to bring them together. . .luckily they didn’t go to that extreme and went with a puppy instead. So adorable!

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“Hey Rachel, can you pet my dog?”

Let’s dive into our eighth team.

ELLIOT AND ANDREW—Twin brothers from Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Thankfully one decided to have long hair and tattoos.

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Better job than Kami & Karli did with helping us tell them apart.

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We cut to Elliot singing the worst generic rock music I have ever heard in my life.


Other than Nickelback.

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“If any ladies come backstage after the show, they can touch my one-eyed monster!. . .Wait, what do they think I meant? What are they doing?!?! It’s just my right arm, ladies!”

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Is that Elliot or Joel Anderson from Survivor: Micronesia?

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“I haven’t had a shower in five days.”

So I decided to actually to listen to one of Elliot Weber’s songs from his band Enova.

He’s trying to be like Fallout Boy but it’s not quite working.

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Such nice boys.

And what does Andrew do? Is he the drummer of the band?

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ANDREW: I am a professional soccer player.*

*In Major League Soccer.

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Major League Soccer: Where your twin brother could quit his rockband and join your team within the span of a month.

I am not kidding. My ex-girlfriend is from Argentina and is a MASSIVE football/soccer/futbol fan, and the only soccer league she doesn’t follow on her phone is Major League Soccer. Nobody takes it seriously.

She says “It’s where older players go when they don’t want the competition and want a calm transition into retirement.”

Elliot & Andrew have always stayed close despite going in different directions.

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Neither direction is a good direction if you ask me.

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Well, they’re already more entertaining than fellow football lovers Isaac & William.

ELLIOT: He’s like my life partner. . .but we’re not gay.

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. . .

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He made a funny.

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ANDREW: You can’t say that, dude.

I like cake, military guy who loves puppies, and twin brothers making jokes about homosexuality.

Let’s go for team number nine.

KERRI & STACY—First cousins from Gulfport, Mississippi.

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charla mirna copter

First cousins? Those are big shoes to fill. . .and also a pair of really small ones.

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Of course they had to pose in front of a tractor.

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Butt bumps!

KERRI: We’re the typical Daisy Duke country girls.
STACEY: We do like our eyeshadow and she likes to puff her hair but at the end of the day we’ll be in the mud getting dirty with the big boys. . .we have a lot of punch packed behind the southern drawl.

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They’re so silly!

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“I challenge you to a duel!”

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Who’s the real chicken here?

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This isn’t a photoshoot, Kerri.

Our tenth team?

VANESSA & RALPH—Dating from San Antonio, Texas.

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Man, this season sure loves muscle.

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And so does Nessa.

VANESSA: Ralph and I have been dating for a year, and known each other fifteen years. I used to stalk him. He got married. Stalked him some more. He got divorced. I got married. I got divorced. Now we’re dating!

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The classic Sandy & Francesca pose.

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“Some of the leaves from the hedges got in my hair. Those weren’t fun times.”

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“But it was worth it!”

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He does all of the heavy lifting but she reaps all of the rewards.

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. . .I think I know Ralph’s favourite position.

Now for our final team.

ART & JJ—Border patrol agents from southern California.

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They are going to be one of the most popular teams by the end of this season. The heroic border patrol agents.

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Wow. Below Louie & Michael, Lynn & Alex, Ashleigh & Jarrod, and Dave & Connor? Sheeeeit. I am curious what they do this season.

Art & JJ are supervisors of a 40-man unit that patrols the coastline.

JJ: A lot of times it’s life or death.

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Especially if they ride an ATV like Adrian & Collin.

JJ: We’re gonna laugh and rip each other and we’re gonna have fun.

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“Look at us having fun!”

ART: I’m the brain, he’s the brawn.
JJ: It’s like Beauty and the Beast and he thinks he is the Beauty.

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NOTE: While recording this confessional, three people illegally crossed the border from Mexico. Way to go, Bertram!

The starting line is at Bridlewood Estate Winery.

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If you open up an estate in southern California, you just have to be patient and you will inevitably be asked to host a starting line for TAR.

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Everyone has dismounted and changed clothes as they head to the starting line.

Phil says this will be a physically gruelling and mentally challenging and life-changing adventure.

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Where do you think Mark & Bopper are from?

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Everyone cheers as Phil talks.

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A little self-promotion couldn’t hurt.

PHIL: There are twelve legs that are designed to push you like you have never been pushed before.

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Unless you’re Victoria.

PHIL: The winners of the first leg will receive the Express Pass.

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“And as you know, the Express Pass has been completely pointless over the past three seasons sinc we introduced it, but hey, it’s better than CBS spending a few thousand dollars on a prize from Travelocity. So back off!”

Express Pass expires at the end of the eighth leg.

PHIL: The fact is I will be eliminating most of you.

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“And that alone will put me at half mast.”

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Daffy Duck isn’t too keen on kiwis.

Phil announces the million dollar prize.

BOPPER: A million bucks!

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“I can buy the whole state of Kentucky!”

PHIL: Your first clue is up in the air. Literally. In one of those balloons.

santa barbara balloons

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“And they’re coming right for us!!!”

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You just need a fork to stop it.

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I absolutely hate starting line tasks because they typically involve ridiculous twists and/or robs us of valuable airtime in a foreign country during the premiere, but I’ll admit this is a cool visual.

When Phil says go, they will turn around and head for the balloons and start pulling them down.

There are one hundred balloons and only eleven of them have a clue. Thankfully, there is no penalty for finding the final clue at a starting line task this year. No automatic elimination, no Automatic U-Turn, and no Hazard. This is the first starting line task where getting to the airport is all that matters.

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Only Carissa Gaghan can fit inside the basket and ride it like a proper hot air balloon.

When they grab the clue, they can run into one of the NEW Ford Tauruses.

ford taurus

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Ford Taurus: The only vehicle that lets you grab the race by the horns!

PHIL: Alright, let’s get this race started.

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Joey Fitness & Danny crouch down. They mean business.

The world is waiting for you. . .Good luck. . .Travel safe. . .

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You can’t say he has lost his enthusiasm.

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It’s strange to see teams run in opposite directions from each other at the starting line.

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I am curious if production told teams who had to go right and who had to go left at the start or if they were free to choose whatever path they wanted.

It’s not a far run as teams start pulling down baskets.

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“There is nothing in my pic-uh-nic basket.”

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Unfortunately our heroes don’t get to jump out to an early lead.

We see teams pull down various baskets without any luck. There is a chance they could be pulling down the same basket repeatedly.

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In other news, Joey & Danny have real jobs. . .the exact type of jobs you would expect them to have in order to fit the stereotype.

Dave & Cherie have yet to join the fray.

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Early diagnosis: Dave & Cherie are going to struggle this season.

Elliot & Andrew pull down a basket; so do Vanessa & Ralph then Joey & Danny.

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Yet Joey & Danny are faster at opening a clue so they jump up to second place.

They read they must fly to Santa Barbara (aren’t they already in Santa Barbara?). No information is given beyond that.

Kerri & Stacy are fourth to grab a clue. Brenchel are fifth. Dave & Rachel are sixth. Nary & Jamie are seventh.

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Kerri gets the classic “balloon on the head” treatment.

RACHEL: Where is Santa Barbara?

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“Is it right there?”

NARY: Fly to Santa Barbara.
JAMIE: We’re in Santa Barbara.
NARY: I know.

And they like cake.

Elliot & Andrew receive more information via Ford video clue. It turns out they are flying to Santa Barbara, Argentina.

santa barbara clue

santa barbara clue 1

I forgot nearly every city name in California is also a city name in every Latin American country.

They are told to pick up tickets to Buenos Aires at the AA check-in counter.

santa barbara joey fitness danny 13

It’s the first time somebody who self-identifies as a “Guido” is going to an AA that isn’t Alcoholics Anonymous.

KERRI: I can taste the burritos already. . .Do they have burritos there?

santa barbara kerri stacy 2

Mexican restaurants exist in Argentina so. . .Kerri is technically correct.

First six teams to the counter will get tickets on the fastest connecting flight to Salta from Buenos Aires.

RACHEL: Sparkles is in front of us. Green sparkly. She looks like Shamrock.

santa barbara rachel brown

CBS is sad you don’t watch their other shows.


However, Stan Lee is quite happy you read his comics.

santa barbara rachel reilly 4

I always have a chuckle when blatant CBS crossovers aren’t even recognized by the other teams.

Dave & Cherie are eighth to find a clue. Art & JJ are ninth.

santa barbara dave cherie gregg 11

Dave is nearly matching the picture on his T-shirt.

santa barbara clue 2

We get a picture of the clue.

JJ -butchers- the pronounciation of Buenos Aires.

Intro time.

santa barbara mark bopper 6

Mark flings an object onto the correct side of the tracks.

santa barbara team

I like how that blonde woman is as much part of the intro as Joey and Danny.

Mark & Bopper and Misa & Maiya keep looking. Misa & Maiya hate the hills.

santa barbara mark jackson 1

santa barbara mark jackson 2

Mark is only ten minutes into the race and has already launched into Eeyore mode.

BOPPER: If you got to throw up, do it. Let’s go.

mark mallory

“But then I ain’t got no clean clothes!”

Bopper finds the clue for Mark.

santa barbara mark bopper 7

Someone didn’t do cardio before the race.


MARK: I am baking like a soup pan in a pot of potatoes. I’m gonna be sick.

santa barbara mark jackson 3

BOPPER: We ain’t pulling over.


santa barbara mark jackson 4

Even the sound guy has moved.

BOPPER: Anytime my partner is in the back seat, there better be a barf bag around.

santa barbara bopper minton 2

“I wish Mallory was my teammate.”

BOPPER: When you’ve got loot on the line like this baby, you pee your pants if you have to!

santa barbara bopper minton 3

“Why, I’m peeing right now! You’ve got the barf bag and I’ve got the bottle!”

santa barbara mark jackson 5

“But then I ain’t got no clothes.”

Misa & Maiya keep looking.

santa barbara misa tanaka 1

I assume they have pulled some balloons down multiple times.

santa barbara misa maiya tanaka 6

You said there’s no crying on the race, Maiya!

santa barbara misa maiya tanaka 7

I think they found the clue.

We cut to nightfall and–

santa barbara airport

Oh. We don’t even get to see the teams meet each other for the first time at LAX. It’s like there was an unnecessary starting line task that got in the way.

santa barbara flight

Oh, and we skip out on EZE airport too.

eazy e

Yes, they named it after the godfather of rap.

FIRST FLIGHT (2 1/2 hours ahead of the second flight):
Elliot & Andrew
Brendon & Rachel
Nary & Jamie (but they were seventh to the balloon!)
Art & JJ (they were ninth)
Dave & Rachel
Vanessa & Ralph

santa barbara brenchel

“I have to catch up on my Big Brother podcasts.”

Once in Salta, they must drive themselves to the village of Santa Barbara and find their next clue.

santa barbara clue 3

A much simpler setup than the starting line.

The first flight lands.

salta cathedral


salta cathedral 1


salta cathedral 2

Another cathedral.

salta meat

And “salta”ing the meat. All we’re missing is a soccer ball.

Art & JJ are first into a Ford vehicle. Nary & Jamie are second. Brenchel 3rd. Elliot & Andrew fourth. Dave & Rachel fifth. Vanessa & Ralph sixth.

ART: We’re currently in first place.

santa barbara art velez

Subtitle matches up.

Mark & Bopper recap who is on the last flight with them at Aeroparque.

santa barbara mark bopper 8

This is the only clip we get from an airport in the premiere. It’s not even an interaction. It’s just a recap from Bopper.

santa barbara joey danny

“Wish I had more time to do my fucking hair, bro.”

MISA & MAIYA (BOPPER: The Hawaiian girls.)

MARK: And the Mississippi Girls.

santa barbara kerri stacy 3

What about the Mississippi Girls?

BOPPER: They got the badonky donk.
MARK: The badonkadonk. Gotta keep your eye on them.

santa barbara mark bopper 9

santa barbara mark bopper 10

santa barbara mark bopper 11

santa barbara mark bopper 12

Bopper wants to hit that.

santa barbara kerri stacy 4

First confessional Bopper makes about another team is how he wants to spank their big butts.

eric jeremy siracusa

Not even Eric & Jeremy had an opening confessional like that.

2 chainz birthday

It’s more of what I would expect to be the first confessional from 2 Chainz on a season of TAR 20. “Kerri & Stacy have big booties so I call them Big Booties”.

santa barbara landscape

It’s a warm day in northern Argentina.

santa barbara chickens

As I can tell you from experiencing the country first hand, there are a lot of hot chicks in Argentina.

Art & JJ are first to the clue; Nary & Jamie are second. They read they must go to the Aerodromo Gilberto Lavaque in Cafayete.

Brenchel are third to the clue.

santa barbara art jj 4

santa barbara clue 4

Traditional opening round parachuting task, I presume.

sweden travelocity gnome

And one that doesn’t involve the Travelocity Gnome trolling the TAR 26 contestants.

Dave & Rachel are fourth, Vanessa & Ralph are fifth, and Elliot & Andrew are sixth.

The second flight lands. Joey & Danny are seventh, Mark & Bopper eighth, Misa & Maiya ninth, Kerri & Stacy tenth, and Dave & Cherie are the team struggling with a stick shift.

santa barbara dave cherie gregg 12

He can balance a chair on his nose, but driving a stick shift? No bueno.

santa barbara dave cherie gregg 13

“These Ford vehicles are so difficult to handle.”

Mark drives past Joey & Danny.

BOPPER: Uno, baby! Team number uno!

santa barbara bopper minton 4

Actually, you’re siete, Bopper. Siete.

Cherie is crying and freaking out in the car because she doesn’t see any other teams. Dave tells her not to panic.

santa barbara cherie gregg 1

santa barbara cherie gregg 2

They are not going to last long in the race.

Commercial break. We resume to Cherie crying some more.

CHERIE: Tears of a clown.

moe the clown

Yes, Cherie is our Moe the Clown of TAR.

We’re at Aeropuerto de Cafayate. The front-running teams arrive in one big caravan.

santa barbara brenchel 1

Brendon has the puffiest bandana ever.

santa barbara airplane

santa barbara airplane 1

Men dragging an airplane?

RACHEL: Designated spot right there. Park here.

santa barbara park

Wow. Producers made it really clear as to where the teams need to park. Screw the red and yellow ribbon on a post.

It’s a Roadblock.

ROADBLOCK HINT: Who has a great sense of direction?

santa barbara roadblock

Yes, we will see this again in TAR 23 where the person who volunteers for a skydiving Roadblock won’t be the person actually skydiving. I assume this is a tactic by producers to ensure whoever is the most scared is the one that is forced to do it.

In this Roadblock, one team member will be provided with a map to their partner’s landing zone and must pick him up. Once they have done so, they will receive their next clue.

santa barbara roadblock 1

santa barbara roadblock 2

snoop dogg 1

“No! X spots the mark, playa!”

santa barbara roadblock 3

santa barbara roadblock 4

I like how there’s a giant ‘X’ in the desert.

PHIL: Once they reunite with their partner, the Jumpmaster will give them their next clue.

santa barbara tom cruise

Jumpmaster also goes by the alternative nickname “Argentine Tom Cruise”.

Dave is upset.

DAVE: I was completely demoralized.

Er, demoralized.

JJ, Brendon, Dave, Jamie, Ralph, and one of the twins is doing the Roadblock.

santa barbara skydive

ben wyatt

Why is Ben Wyatt from Parks and Rec working at a skydiving facility?

JJ: I hate heights because we’re playing with death.

santa barbara jj carrell

Didn’t we just listen to him at the start of the episode talk about how being a border patrol agent is mostly a matter of life and death? Why is skydiving a problem for him then?

santa barbara plane 1

Red Bull couldn’t help but join Ford in the corporate sponsour circle.

Dave and Art form an alliance.

santa barbara dave art

This task is a real nail-biter, and Art isn’t even the one in the plane!

santa barbara dave art 1

I see this alliance sticking together all the way to the end without any issues whatsoever.

DAVE: Rachel and I share a common ground with the border patrol agents, JJ and Art. They are government employees and have a similar alpha male type persona that I do myself. It truly is an inter-agency co-ordination between the US Border Patrol and US Army at this point.

santa barbara dave rachel brown

Dave’s way of speaking and his vocabulary is straight out of an episode of NCIS.

jessica cody amazing race

In fact it is quite similar to the way Cody speaks. It’s a military thing, I guess.

santa barbara jj carrell 1

santa barbara jj carrell 2

JJ is like a. . .is like a soup pan on a potato plate or whatever Mark said earlier.

The first plane takes off as Brendon, Dave, and Art racers drive off. Brendon and others estimate it is three miles away. The second plane takes off.

Art, Dave, and Brendon all find it easily.

santa barbara park 1

They had a tough time missing the PARK HERE sign.

santa barbara rachel brown 1


santa barbara jj carrell 3

“My dog just died.”

santa barbara trio

Get used to this trio on the ground.

santa barbara rachel reilly 5

Rachel brings her dateface.

She talks about being like, the luckiest girl to see the Argentinian (Argentine) countryside.

santa barbara rachel brown 2

santa barbara rachel brown 3

Rachel Brown, meanwhile, is not scared whatsoever.

santa barbara art velez 1

JJ lands. Art is not a fan of running in the sand.

JJ: That was fun but not fun.

santa barbara art jj 5

Neither of them get the experience they wanted.

Art & JJ read that they must drive themselves to the Patios de Cafayate and search the grounds for their next clue.

cafayate clue

The TAR 19 tradition of refraining from the use of clue boxes continues.

cafayate estate

A large estate on the outskirts of town. It really is like the Santa Barbara of Argentina.

Brenchel and Dave & Rachel head to their cars in second and third.

Misa & Maiya, Kerri & Stacy, Mark & Bopper, and Joey Fitness & Danny all show up to Santa Barbara in a row.

santa barbara misa maiya tanaka 8

santa barbara kerri stacy 5

All-female teams love to have their bandanas in cute little bows this season.

Stacy is nervous because the name of the next location has her thinking of being in the air and she is terrified of heights.

santa barbara stacy bowers

Don’t worry Stacy. They won’t have a task involving heights on The Amazing Race.

29 scott 4

Just ask Scott.

Dave & Cherie are eventually last to the clue box. No one else is around.

santa barbara clue 5

What if you don’t park in the designated area?

Nary, Elliot, and Vanessa jump.

santa barbara elliot weber 4

It’s going to take another 1000 downloads off of iTunes before he can afford to skydive on his own dime.

VANESSA: Who is the first person that thought “you know what? I’m going to get into an airport, strap on a parachute, and jump the fuck out”. You’ve got to be borderline crazy.

santa barbara vanessa macias

Probably from the same lineage of the guy who was the first one to decide to milk a cow.

VANESSA: My uterus is in my throat.

santa barbara vanessa macias 1

Your uterus is in your throat?

uchenna joyce intro 2

Maybe it’s the same condition Joyce has.

Joey & Danny are seventh to the Roadblock. Mark & Bopper are eighth. Misa & Maiya ninth. Kerri & Stacy tenth. And eventually Dave & Cherie.

Mark & Bopper realize it’s Mark jumping.


santa barbara mark jackson 6

It’s another Eeyore moment.

santa barbara mark bopper 13

santa barbara mark bopper 14

santa barbara mark bopper 15

Bopper couldn’t be less bummed for his partner doing the task he wanted to do.

Kerri is doing the Roadblock.

santa barbara kerri stacy 6

And also not doing the Roadblock. . .or else those are new fashionable overalls.

Luckily, Stacy re-reads the clue.

STACY: The non-participating member will be skydiving. Is that me or you?

I think you answered your own question.

STACY: To say my heart went into my gut is an understatement.

I think that’s an overstatement.

KERRI: This is a great way to face your fears.

santa barbara stacy bowers 1

“No it’s not.”

Maiya, Bopper, and Danny are driving away.

BOPPER: Let me show you how Mark will look when he comin’ outta there. Look it.

santa barbara bopper minton 5

santa barbara bopper minton 6

santa barbara bopper minton 7


santa barbara bopper minton 8

BOPPER: That’s how he’ll be lookin’.

Who the hell does he think he is talking about?

home alone macaulay culkin

Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone?

Meanwhile, we find out Danny can’t drive a stick.

santa barbara danny horal 1

If he spent more time in a car than on his hair, he might not have this problem.

DANNY: Day before I left my mother says to me “you sure you don’t want to try to learn to drive a stick?” Mama is always right.

santa barbara danny horal 2

santa barbara danny horal 3

Lack of preparation! It’s the motherfuckin’ Guido lifestyle, baby!

santa barbara joey fitness danny 14

I don’t think that’s an appropriate time to brag about Guido lifestyle, Danny.

Art & JJ are tailed by Brenchel to the Cafayate estate. Brenchel are fired up. They want to outrun them to the clue box.

BRENDON: We’re in a sprint! We gotta outrun these guys!

cafayate brenchel

This isn’t the pit stop, Brendon.

RACHEL: We are on the tails of the border patrol.
BRENDON: I am half Mexican and I hate them for a reason.
RACHEL: Brendon, stop it.

cafayate brendon villegas

The episode title should have been “I Am Half Mexican And Hate Them”. This line is just fantastic. It’s like things could get really ugly if both of these teams make it to the Final Three.

Brenchel are first to the clue. Brendon’s voice is panicking as he reads that they must make 120 empanadas.

cafayate brenchel 1

“They’re like burritos but better.”

cafayate empanada

We got some MJ moves on the dance floor.

cafayate phil keoghan 1

“The non-participating member must eat all 120 empanadas.”

Following a demonstration, teams must make sixty empanadas with meat and sixty with cheese.

cafayate phil keoghan 2

“And a bonus ten with kiwis.”

There are specific dough crimping patterns for each type.

PHIL: When the empanada champion approves of all 120–

cafayate phil keoghan 4

This empanada lady will become a star very quickly. Just wait.

PHIL: Teams can race to the pit stop.

cafayate phil keoghan 3

The pit stop is in plain sight on the estate. Impossible to miss.

RACHEL: Let’s go. Empayanas.

Try again, Rachel.

cafayate teams

It’s the most intense and panicked viewing of an empanada demonstration ever.

Art & JJ are first to ditch the demonstration and start crimping. JJ complains about his “big fat fingers”.

cafayate man

Meanwhile, this guy is gonna walk away with at least twenty new numbers on WhatsApp.

Rachel still doesn’t know how to say empanadas, but notes the two different styles.

Dave & Rachel are third to the empanada contest.

cafayate clue 1

We get to see the clue.

Mark skydives.

cafayate mark jackson

“I ain’t got no gag reflex.”

cafayate joey fitness

It’d be funner if Joey is invited back ten years later when he is out of shape and is forced to change his nickname.

cafayate misa tanaka

Radical, dude!

Nary & Jamie start making empanadas.

The champion evaluates JJ’s empanadas.

cafayate empanada 1

“You guys remember what you did to my son when he wanted to make a life in your country? Now he can’t even dance in those funky outfits.”

So obviously she rejects JJ’s empanadas.

ART: C’mon lady.

Art & JJ note the different techniques.

Vanessa & Ralph are fifth to the empanada contest. They are hungry.

RALPH: I want to eat so bad.
VANESSA: No joke. I want to rub my face in this.

cafayate vaness ralph

That’s right. Vanessa is on the verge of motorboating some empanadas.

cafayate man 1

“Don’t you dare disgrace our national dish.”

cafayate kerri paul

Stacy is being a wee bit melodramatic.

Kerri and Cherie are driving. Danny is lost and stalls for a second before driving again.

meredith maria intro

He didn’t full on Meredith & Maria this up.

Maiya isn’t able to spot a marker on the road.

cafayate tractor

Just a red beret on a tractor.

Maiya turns onto the side of the road where the red beret is located.


cafayate maiya tanaka

What’s wrong, Maiya?

cafayate car

One of those wheels is stuck halfway in the dirt.

dubai drive.jpg

It’s like the Argentine countryside is a sand dune in the Dubai desert.

cafayate maiya tanaka 1

Every season we always have an all-female team that is in -way- over their head.

Last season was Kaylani & Lisa. TAR 17 had Andie & Jenna. TAR 16 had Jody & Shannon. TAR 15 had Maria & Tiffany. TAR 14 had Christie & Jodi. TAR 13 had Marisa & Brooke. TAR 12 had both Kate & Pat and Marianna & Julia. TAR 10 had Kellie & Jamie. TAR 9 had Dani & Danielle. TAR 7 had Megan & Heidi. TAR 6 had Meredith & Maria. TAR 5 had Kami & Karli. TAR 3 had Heather & Eve. TAR 2 had Deidre & Hilary and Peggy & Claire. TAR 1 had Pat & Brenda and Kim & Leslie and Nancy & Emily.

. . .The American version of TAR isn’t known for having exceptionally strong all-female teams. Many of these teams have had car troubles.

So how is Maiya going to get out of this jam?

cafayate maiya tanaka 2

She heads for the mountains, never to be seen again.

MAIYA: The sand was a lot softer than I thought.

cafayate maiya tanaka 4

A lot softer.

cafayate maiya tanaka 3

“And now I need a phone to call AAA.”

cafayate maiya tanaka 5

MAIYA: I honestly hope that somebody comes by to help.


Mark lands on the ‘X’.

mya case of the ex

It’s a case of (landing) on the ex.

cafayate mark jackson 1

cafayate mark jackson 2

He said legs up, man. Why don’t you ever listen?


Joey lands.

cafayate joey fitness 1

He lands sideways, that is.

Misa has an orgasm prior to landing.

MISA: AH! AH! AHHHHH! *thud* Ahhhhhhhh. That was not a dainty landing.

cafayate misa tanaka 1

“It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.”

Misa & Maiya always overestimate physical characteristics everywhere they go.

Bopper reunites with Mark in seventh place. Mark won’t shut up about how sick he is feeling at the moment.

cafayate mark bopper

“I am so sick I may even throw up all over you.”

Dave jumps in tenth place; Stacy is still inside of the plane.

STACY: I am literally in the clouds.

cafayate stacy bowers

Literally not in the clouds.

STACY: I was just terrified because if the parachute doesn’t open correctly, what is going to happen to me? What is going to happen to my family?

cafayate stacy bowers 2

You become the first person to die on The Amazing Race, and your family mourns your loss before moving on with their lives.

cafayate stacy bowers 1

cafayate stacy bowers 3

Ah, the next person to be added to our catalogue of “I can’t do this” racers on TAR right before they skydive. There’s always one each year.

Commercial break. We resume. Stacy quits. . .Nah, just kidding.

STACY: I was thinking of my kids. . .can’t show them to be complacent in their fears and show it is okay to duck and hide from their fears.

cafayate kerri stacy

Stacy has kids?! Plural? And here I am as a single 26 year old Canuck making jokes about racers’ butts. Huh.

STACY: It felt good. It felt like I was flying. It was liberating, but I’ll never jump out of a plane again.

cafayate stacy bowers 4

“And neither will my kids.”

cafayate stacy bowers 6

cafayate stacy bowers 5

notorious big juicy

“And this is for the teachers that told Stacy that thought she’d never amount to nothing. Oh baby Mississippay!”

Maiya finds a couple of dudes.

MAIYA: I am in the race of my life in a big hurry trying to find my sister and can’t get my car out.

Maiya may or may not have exaggerated the life-or-death nature of this situation. She makes it sound like her sister is being held for ransom.

cafayate men

This is Argentina, Maiya. It’s the one country in South America where having car jacked in the middle of the countryside is a very possible scenario.

cafayate maiya tanaka 6

That extra truck is just a distraction.

cafayate maiya tanaka 7

Oh, and remember how there is no crying on The Amazing Race?

cafayate maiya tanaka 8

Yeah, the tears are coming again.

cafayate maiya tanaka 9


cafayate maiya tanaka 10

Happy hands!

cafayate maiya tanaka 11

Maiya gives a hug of appreciation.

Cherie reunites with Dave as they have their own theme music. Really, Dave & Cherie have their own theme music! Cherie’s voice sounds really really dry.

cafayate cherie gregg

cafayate duo

“How dafuq did they beat us?”

Dave & Cherie are in eighth.

Danny finds Joey; Kerri finds Stacy. Misa is all alone.

cafayate kerri stacy 1

“Yay! Mark & Bopper aren’t around to keep checking us out! Hooray!”

cafayate misa tanaka 2

Misa & Maiya are now 0-for-2 when it comes to finishing tasks so far this season.

Elliot & Andrew are sixth to the empanada contest. Art & JJ start correctly pinching the empanadas.

cafayate art jj

They’re caught in a pinch as they chase down the Express Pass.

JJ: Look at that. Almost Chef Boyardee like.

cafayate empanada 2

Did JJ just confuse empanadas with ravioli?

chef boyardee

Because Chef Boyardee has never made an empanada in his life. I would never trust an Italian to make an empanada. It’s just a recipe for disaster.

The empanada guru rejects three of Art’s empanadas. This triggers an argument between him and JJ. JJ asks Art to correct the ones that the guru pointed out, and Art insists he’ll get to them.

cafayate art jj 1

“You’re crossing the line with this border patrol agent!”

Maiya finds Misa.

MISA: Good to see you. We’ve got to hustle.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka

And they proceed to form a solid huddle and walk at a really slow pace. Cherie moved faster than them.

We cut back to the empanadas.

cafayate man 2

“I’ve been stuck here for twenty years.”

Dave & Rachel are flying through their empanadas. Meanwhile, Rachel finishes her sixty, but Brendon has not.

RACHEL: Are you done?

cafayate brenchel 2

“I expect no less.”

cafayate nary jamie

I wonder how many comparisons there were to Nat & Kat pre-season. I can tell you Type 1 Diabetic Nat wouldn’t be able to say “I like cake”.

Nat would probably be able to eat these empanadas, though.

We cut to a bunch of the teams from the first pack making empanadas. Brendon has made 61 empanadas as he and Rachel summon “Chef Margarita”.

cafayate brenchel 3

I don’t think the chef would be the type to respond to the calling of “where she at?”

RACHEL: We’ve got to get first place in this leg. The Express Pass gives you a huge advantage above every other team.

cafayate brenchel 4

“Ummmm, you sure about that honey?”

Chef Margarita judges.

cafayate empanada 3

It is an empaNADA with her.

Art & JJ ask “por favor senora, gringo.”

BRENDON: It’s border patrol. No bueno.

The rivalry deepens.

Art & JJ are rejected again.

ART: She was like the Empanada. . .
ART & JJ: Nazi.

cafayate art jj 2

I know lots of Nazi war criminals fled to Argentina after WWII, but I don’t think the Empanada Champion was one of them.

Dave & Rachel are judged.

cafayate empanada 4

We cut to the pre-recorded B-roll of her nodding.

cafayate dave rachel brown

When in reality it was more like this.

Brenchel’s empanadas are approved shortly thereafter.

cafayate phil keoghan 5

And because we had a starting line task, the pit stop is in the same location as the last task of the round.

cafayate dave rachel brown 1

cafayate dave rachel brown 2

Get used to this, Phil.

cafayate man 3

There is a joint tucked behind the man’s ear.

cafayate phil keoghan 6

Phil really needs to step up his hat game.

PHIL: It’s a good start.

cafayate dave rachel brown 3

Future celebrations will be far more subdued.


PHIL: The Express Pass is a great piece of power in your pocket.

cafayate phil keoghan 7

“It’s actually a pointless piece of shit that we’ll take us another ten seasons to axe, but whatever, same thing.”

DAVE: It’s a little perverse but we’ll take it, Phil.

cafayate dave rachel brown 4

Dave is the first racer to call Phil Keoghan a pervert. . .and he got away with it.

cafayate phil keoghan 8

Well, other than Phil’s dad around Marisa & Brooke.

As Dave shakes Phil’s hand, Brenchel swarms in.

cafayate pit stop

Just missed out, guys.

cafayate pit stop 1


Art & JJ beg for their empanadas to be approved.

cafayate art jj 3

ART: Please pleeease. You’ll only have to bribe us a little if one of your friends wants to slip into California. I promise.

cafayate empanada 5

We activate more empanada B-Roll.


cafayate art jj 4

cafayate art jj 5

Who knew a Spanish dish would spoil the dreams of two border patrol agents on the first leg.

cafayate nary jamie 1

“I like ponies.”


cafayate vanessa ralph

“I want to rub my face between your pelatons, Phil.”


cafayate elliot andrew weber

cafayate elliot andrew weber 1

cafayate elliot andrew weber 2

I wish a bull would fly through the air.


cafayate elliot andrew weber 3

Sixth place on The Amazing Race has never felt so good.


I for one can’t wait until their third brother Elias competes on the third season of TAR Canada.

cafayate elliot andrew weber 4

“I love you, man.”

Mark & Bopper are seventh to the empanada contest.

cafayate mark bopper 1

I love Mark’s reading glasses. They’ve even got that string on ’em.

teri ian.jpg

Ian would be proud.

Dave & Cherie are eighth to the contest. Joey & Danny are ninth (I presume Joey are ninth). Kerri & Stacy are tenth.

cafayate dave cherie gregg

Wait, are Dave & Cherie using wheelie luggage instead of backpacks? It looks like it can unzip into backpacks. Who do they think they are?

novo christie jodi

Christie & Jodi?

KERRI: Compete in an empananda contest.

cafayate kerri paul 1

Ummmm, is that the word?

BOPPER: This is the first time I have ever made a pinata.
MARK: It ain’t a pinata, brother. It’s an empa. . .empa. . .well, you can call it whatever you want then. I don’t know either.

cafayate mark bopper 2

That’s the third time somebody has screwed up the word empanada. Why is it such a tough word to read properly?

wendell holland

“I’ll be the first to say it. . .you can’t read. You’re trash. . .at reading. You’re garbage at reading. You can’t read. You have no technique of sounding it out. Drop the pink sunglasses, bro. Drop the green sparkles and the rural Kentucky education system, bro. Use a contact lens. Use a Spanish tutor.”

Uh, thanks Wendell.

JOEY: I’m horrible. I eat out all the time. I never cook.


france joe bill 4

Why cook when you drink imported wine all the time?

Misa & Maiya are last to the empanada contest.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 1

Well, it did say PIT STOP in the clue they just opened.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 2


john scott

santiago dana adrian davis 3

Misa & Maiya are entering John & Scott and Dana & Adrian territory for how poorly they are with completing tasks and making good decisions on The Amazing Race.

Danny sucks and asks for Joey’s help. Dave meanwhile says he is a good microwaver.

Misa & Maiya brag that they keep making a Japanese wonton dish which is similar. It’s called gyoza.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 3

Finally. Something they’re good at.

DANNY: Danny’s had a rough day today. Stick to cooking. I’m not gettin’ it.
JOEY: C’mon bro.
DANNY: I’m trying, man.

cafayate joey danny

cafayate girls

How dare you laugh at Jersey. No respect.

The Empanada Guru scans Joey & Danny’s empanadas.

cafayate woman

That’s such a cold look.

cafayate empanada 6

I think Danny has ruined a national dish.

cafayate empanada 7

Pre-recorded B-Roll of disappointment.

Commercial break accompanied by stereotypical gaucho music. We resume.

cafayate danny horal

Man, those empanadas are sloppy.

JOEY: Danny and I coming from behind. We’ve got it. Confident in Danny’s skills. You’ve got my word.

cafayate joey fitness 2

Why is there a pirate in the corner????

KERRI: When I was finished with mine, I went to hers. We into BEAST MODE.

cafayate kerri paul 2

creepy caleb

I am so tired of Beast Mode. I can’t believe this is the guy who gets to break the barrier by going for the CBS Triple.

BOPPER: You know how Kentucky does it! Loud and proud!

Oh, we’ll explore how Kentucky does it throughout this season, Bopper. Just wait.

MISA: We are The Comeback Kids.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 4

This is the first fucking leg! How can you be Comeback Kids? BASED ON WHAT EVIDENCE?! Jesus Christ.

cafayate kerri stacy 2

Kerri & Stacy tangle up their carne and queso.

cafayate champion

Champion B-Roll approves of Kerri & Stacy.

cafayate kerri stacy 3

Quick. Run before she changes her mind.

MISA: Double Bows just left.

cafayate kerri stacy 4

And it doesn’t have wheels!

cafayate kerri stacy 5

Gut Bump!

cafayate kerri stacy pit stop

cafayate kerri stacy 6

Phil witnesses the badonkadonk in full effect.


Dave & Cherie complete the task in eighth place.

JOEY: That was one of the worst feelings. They’re freakin’ clowns.

cafayate joey fitness 1

Your teammate has a fuckin’ brohawk, Joey.

cafayate dave cherie gregg 3

Dave & Cherie are like the opposite of a commercial for back pain right now.

cafayate phil keoghan 9

Phil has given up on his own hat; he admits defeat.


cafayate dave cherie gregg 1

Their own theme music plays obnoxiously.

cafayate dave cherie gregg 2

They can’t believe they are eighth.

Mark & Bopper’s empanadas are judged.

cafayate mark bopper 3

cafayate mark bopper 4

It’s good.


cafayate mark bopper 5

Good for them.

It’s a showdown. Misa & Maiya summon the Queen of Empanadas.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 5

Use a napkin, Maiya! God.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 6

As soon as they get the signal, Misa & Maiya run back to their car to get their bags.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 7

They nearly forgot their hat.

cafayate joey danny 2

The suspense is completely unnecessary. Joey & Danny still haven’t finished.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 8

Especially when Misa & Maiya are already in the courtyard.

cafayate phil keoghan 10

Unbelievable. Misa & Maiya have survived an atrocious performance in the opening round of the race.

MISA: Where is he?
MAIYA: He’s here somewhere.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 9

They are less than a ten second sprint away from him.

cafayate phil keoghan 11

“They’re right there.”

MAIYA: Is he here anywhere?
MISA: No. Go the other way.
MAIYA: Where the hell is he?

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 10

They are looking right at him!

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 11

“Nah, that’s just his twin brother who happens to be visiting and standing on a mat.”

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 12

MISA: Let’s run.
MAIYA: Let’s go by the cars.

cafayate phil keoghan 12


PHIL: Where’d they go?

cafayate building

Elvis has left the building.

cafayate phil keoghan 13

“If I have to hear Gym-Tan-Laundry for one more leg, I’m gonna have to cut a bitch.”

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 13

Misa & Maiya re-enter the parking lot.

cafayate joey danny 3

Joey & Danny are done. They still have a shot.

MISA: I think I see him.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 14

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 15

It’s like the Three Stooges. Where’s the banana peel?

Joey & Danny hit the mat.

cafayate phil keoghan 14


cafayate joey danny 4


PHIL: Do you know how close that was?
JOEY: To come from behind that’s our motto now.

cafayate joey danny 5

The real Comeback Kids.

MISA: There he is, Maiya. I see him.
MAIYA: You see him?!
MISA: They were right here this whole time.

cafayate misa tanaka 3

Where the hell are they?

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 16

They took the scenic route to the pit stop.

cafayate phil keoghan 15

This is gonna be uncomfortable.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 17

Misa & Maiya step onto the mat.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 18

I think they know what Phil is about to say.


cafayate misa maiya tanaka 19

And they’re eliminated.

PHIL: You were standing right there.

cafayate phil keoghan 16

“No, seriously. Just right there.”

MISA: We didn’t see you at all.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 20

“Wait, you’re the host of The Amazing Race?”

MAIYA: We were looking for you, Phil. We wanted to find you.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 21

Especially when they know the social media reaction that will be coming after the episode airs.

PHIL: We’ve never had that happen before with a team that close to the mat and have a team overtake them like that.

cafayate phil keoghan 17

julie lowell

“Even Lowell would have been able to see us.”

MISA: I can’t believe we made that mistake. I just can’t believe it. It’s really frustrating.
MAIYA: It’s like when you’re really focused and want it that bad. It’s literally tunnel vision.

cafayate maiya tanaka 12

tony vlachos

cafayate maiya tanaka 13

cafayate maiya tanaka 14

wie is de mol

Or as they say in Wie is de Mol, tunelvisie.

MAIYA: I can’t see anything besides a few feet in front of me, and we’re just. . ..
MISA: We had so much fight in us and it was surreal to make such a huge mistake.

It’s like Misa & Maiya were muggles and Phil Keoghan was the human embodiment of Hogwarts.

cafayate maiya tanaka 15

One of them should be partnered with an optometrist.

cafayate maiya tanaka 16

So much for no crying on The Amazing Race.

PHIL: I think she needs a hug.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 22

cafayate phil keoghan

“Wait, why are you hugging her? I said she needed a hug. I never specified it was you. Me and this amigo want to make her into our own empanada.”

cafayate pit stop greeter

“Es verdad!”

That smug hombre.

cafayate misa tanaka 4


cafayate misa maiya tanaka 23

More crying.

cafayate maiya tanaka 17

MAIYA: We have a lot of heart, but it’s the hardest thing to know that’s not enough.

You also need basic eyesight, an ability to follow a pattern in a winery, decent driving skills, and other attributes. If you want a lot of heart, ask a steroid user.

cafayate misa maiya tanaka 24

They’re gonna need handrails to be guided to Elimination Station.

Well, let’s find some appropriate music to play in the credits. Hit it!

Next Time on TAR: This season on TAR, exotic destinations, frustrating challenges, and explosive confrontations. Which team has what it takes to win The Amazing Race?


ART/JJ 4/7

Leg Rankings

1) Santa Barbara, California -> Cafayate, Argentina

I am not a fan of Starting Line tasks, and here we get another clear example of how a Starting Line task makes a season premiere feel super rushed and condensed. The first time we see two teams interacting is when Art & JJ and Dave & Rachel team up during the Roadblock. A couple of other loose observations during the tasks, and that’s it. Thankfully future rounds will explore these social interactions more.

There is one good thing about the Starting Line task this year: It’s the first one without any sort of penalty for the team that finishes last. They just have to get to the airport like everybody else.

Making 120 empanadas prior to reaching the pit stop was more of a unique task in TAR, and I appreciated it. We saw quite a bit of position shuffling due to the difficulty of it.

We saw a classic Roadblock fakeout as the team that thought they were going to skydive never ends up skydiving. Producers wanted more terrified racers to do this task, but the best moment we got was from Stacy and even that was a very small and repetitive moment we have seen over the course of twenty seasons.

Part of me wishes the pit stop was at a separate location, but it is the only reason why we got our Misa & Maiya elimination moment. I saw this episode live when it originally aired over six years ago, and the idea of this ever happening on TAR was thought to be reserved more for fanfics.

“A team is within plain sight of the pit stop less than100 yards away and doesn’t see Phil, camera crew, the pit stop mat, and the pit stop greeter? There’s no way that could happen.”

But it did. And not only that, but it was in the final showdown to determine who would be eliminated from the premiere. Knowing what happens at the finish line of this season, it really sets the tone for how TAR 20 is going to go.

Speaking of setting the tone, the way many of the teams carried themselves indicated who would be dominating this entire season. Dave & Cherie, Kerri & Stacy, Joey Fitness & Danny, and Misa & Maiya presented very clear weaknesses in this first round as the audience could quickly narrow down our contenders at the top. And Mark & Bopper were going to be our wildcards.

It’s not an awful premiere like others we’ve seen during this era of TAR, but more work still needs to be done. This episode would have been very unmemorable if not for the Misa & Maiya elimination.

Team Rankings

1) Misa Tanaka & Maiya Tanaka

Poor Misa & Maiya. Their reputation on TAR is going to be known for that one very very infamous blunder (which lucky for them will be overshadowed just two seasons later). They run a terrible leg. They can’t drive. They spend two hours searching through the same baskets in the hot air balloons. They can’t run fast.

But right before the pit stop they get a task that falls under their vary narrow tree of personal strengths. They make up a ton of time and aren’t last and then. . .completely fuck it all up by not seeing Phil. Joey Fitness & Danny slip through, and they are the first team eliminated.

Misa & Maiya have to be in the conversation for some of the worst racers ever.

John & Scott weren’t competitive.
Dana & Adrian chose the wrong person to complete a Roadblock.
Ron & Tony get very lost while driving.
Mika refused to do anything involving heights or water.
Meredith & Maria can’t drive and have no sense of direction.

Misa & Maiya. . .were mediocre or atrocious at everything that didn’t involve gyoza-related challenges. I think if you ran this season ten times, Misa & Maiya are the first team to be eliminated on nearly every leg imaginable.

It’s too bad because they wanted to be presented as strong women to the audience, but boy oh boy did that not come through.

Team Averages

Below is a list of all teams from seasons I have blogged to date, ranked by racing average.

e.g. Don & Mary Jean finished 9th, 8th, 8th, 8th, and 8th. Add up the numbers and divide it by the number of legs they have played.

Therefore their average is 8.2.

Because of how long this list has become, I only show the relevant section where the eliminated team from this episode has fallen amongst the ranks of what TAR history has to offer.

Bullshit Round One/Starting Line Eliminations That Do Not Count

Eric & Lisa N/A
Bilal & Sa’eed N/A

— F minus–
12th Debra & Steve 12.0 TAR 4
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0 TAR 3
11th Misa & Maiya 11.0 TAR 20
11th Misa & Maiya 11.0 TAR 19
11th Ron & Tony 11.0 TAR 17
11th Adrian & Dana 11.0 TAR 16
11th Preston & Jennifer 11.0 TAR 14
11th Anita & Arthur 11.0 TAR 13
11th Ari & Staella 11.0 TAR 12
11th John Vito & Jill All Stars 11.0 TAR 11
11th Vipul & Arti 11.0 TAR 10
11th John & Scott 11.0 TAR 9
11th Ryan & Chuck 11.0 TAR 7
11th Team Seinfeld/Avi & Joe 11.0 TAR 6
11th Dennis & Erika 11.0 TAR 5
11th Deidre & Hilary 11.0 TAR 2
11th Matt & Ana 11.0 TAR 1
10th Edwin & Monica 10.0 Only team to finish last for the first two rounds of the race TAR Asia 3
10th Yani & Nadine 10.0 Would have survived round two, but were marked for elimination and thus officially finished in last both rounds TAR Asia 4
10th Jody & Shannon 10.0 TAR Adventure 16
10th Lisa & Joni 10.0 TAR 9
10th Kevin & Drew All Stars 10.0 TAR 11

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8 Responses to The Amazing Race 20 Episode 1 Rankings

  1. Jimmy White says:

    These are my season rankings of the U.S. seasons:
    30. Season 24
    29. Season 8
    28. Season 14
    27. Season 16
    26. Season 26
    25. Season 6
    24. Season 4
    23. Season 20
    22. Season 15
    21. Season 28
    20. Season 23
    19. Season 22
    18. Season 13
    17. Season 27
    16. Season 19
    15. Season 10
    14. Season 21
    13. Season 1
    12. Season 30
    11. Season 3
    10. Season 18
    9. Season 7
    8. Season 2
    7. Season 29
    6. Season 11
    5. Season 9
    4. Season 25
    3. Season 17
    2. Season 12
    1. Season 5
    What do you think?

    • Seeing TAR 3 ranked that low behind TAR 18 makes me a bit sad, and TAR 14 is ranked too high, but otherwise I would agree with where the seasons are generally ranked.

      I might have TAR 30 lower too, but I am going to wait for recency bias to wash it all away.

      • Jimmy White says:

        TAR 3 definitely had some great moments (Dieselgate, Heather & Eve’s penalty, Andre & Damon getting detained, almost anything related to Ken & Gerard just to name a few), but I’m a bit iffy when it comes to the winners. I still think Flo & Zach are deserving winners, just as about every TAR winner is, since they made it all the way to the finish line first, but seeing Flo constantly talk about giving up and practically doing so in the 12th leg was not fun to see, and seeing them win feels like a bit of a letdown considering I really enjoyed the other two teams. I don’t think they’re all bad, though. Seeing such a laid-back person like Zach still act the way he does when dealing with Flo is pretty amusing, and it makes me wish I could act the same way when dealing with others. Like I said, Flo & Zach are deserving winners by my standards, but they feel somewhat unsatisfying for me. I also read your essay about why Flo is such a unique winner, and I see a lot of your points. I don’t think Flo & Zach are the worst winners ever (the worst for me is Freddy & Kendra), but they still feel a bit unsatisfying, sort of like how you thought Vince & Sam forfeiting the penultimate Roadblock but still winning was unsatifying, and you were rooting for Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 and Ida & Tania to win. Another reason the season is lower is because of the “Twin Hunt.” I thought it was a bit weird and added almost nothing to the overall story of the race aside from the resulting alliance between Derek & Drew and Ken & Gerard. The story only lasts about an episode and a half but does nothing for me and it just felt out of place. Don’t get me wrong, I still like TAR 3, considering it’s pretty high on the list, but these reasons are sort of lowered it on my list for me. You’re still free to agree or disagree if you want, though.

      • Yeah, that whole ending to TAR Asia 3 is odd.

        “You took a 4 hour penalty because you quit at the end of the penultimate leg. . .oh, now you get to overthrow the season long rivalry and the two biggest characters all season. Congratulations!”

        Oh if only Pregnant Tania had won.

        And yeah, Freddy and KKKendra are the worst.

  2. Sorry if I posted late, Logan, but don’t Nary and Jamie remind you any bit of Nat and Kat from Season 17?

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