A post created solely because somebody said they missed my Amazing Race entries. Well after this they won’t!
11. Elliot & Andrew – Twins (9th place)
Oh what could have been. This season the show branched out from the “parent-child”/”mixed sex siblings” rut it had got itself into recently and returned to family-casting wells that had been left untapped in a while. Sadly the Identical Twin Magic of Kami & Karli (<3) and Derek & Drew (<3 <3) was not revisited with Elliot and Andrew, as they were the victims of a now standard issue “Early Boot InvisiEdit”. Apparently they fought a lot in the Additional Website Footage, both with the other teams and with themselves, and also hilariously incompetent, but approximately none of this made it to air. All I was left with was them running well, then reappearing 20 minutes later suddenly 5 places lower than they had been, seething with resentment and with no explanation given why. Just wasted potential. Especially as they were quite hot. And also went to the trouble of styling themselves so I could distinguish between them from the off. Oh well.
10. Art & JJ – Border Patrol Agents (Runners-Up)
For the first few legs I was kind of fascinated by their dynamic. Seeing someone run the race with their boss is potentially interesting, especially as JJ seemed quite keen to subvert the manager-managed dynamic by acting like an overbearing douche to Art at all times. Then it just turned out that JJ was like that to everyone. And that Art kind of was as well. I came to view those early days, when they didn’t really notice that any other teams existed with wistful nostalgia, after Art & JJ went on a tear why they spent every single second of their air-time in their episodes complaining about how other teams were running the race. They weren’t using their U-Turns right, they weren’t using their Fast Forwards right, they were following cabs when they shouldn’t, they weren’t splitting their Detours efficiently, that they were LYING to them about their jobs. I didn’t even have the pleasure of rooting against them, because their edit was so one-note and bad (except when they randomly gifted their prize to Mark/Bopper that one time) that I didn’t buy them as a credible threat to win even as they squeaked into first place in the final leg with one task to go. Some villains are devilishly wicked and fun to root against. Art & JJ were just annoying kibbitzers.
9. Misa & Maiya – Sisters (11th place)
Running right up to the Pitstop and not even seeing it isn’t even as great a First-Leg Fuck-Up as losing your passport before you’re even out of the country am I right? Maybe in a time when they actually cast smart people for this show they’d stick out, but as it is, they’re just kind of lame.
8. Nary & Jamie – Federal Agents (6th place)
LOL at everyone assuming these two would be the new Nat & Kat based on their ethnicities (one White & Blonde, the other…Miscellaneous) and their professions. And then they turned out to be just as boring but also utterly incompetent. Whether it be boiling a kettle or putting up a tent, there was no task too mundane that Nary & Jamie couldn’t screw-up so thoroughly that they wound up hours behind everyone else. And they didn’t even screw up in a flamboyant way – it just all happened off-camera because they were that dull. They get some bonus points both for their random OTTLESBIAN Boot-Episodes (“ALL THE MEN ON THE FORCE WANT TO SEE US IN THE SHOWER!”) and then points off again for the fact that they pretended they were kindergarten teachers to distract people from their secret status as Federal Agents. A fact that was gleefully followed up by an anecdote about how Jamie accidentally shot herself in the leg in basic training (and Nary was there for her, stroking her hair and tending to her needs, always). SUCH THREATS.
7. Cherie & Dave – Married Clowns (10th place)
CANCER CLOWNS! I was so worried that these two were going to be obnoxious OTT camera-hogs, just for the fact that they were clowns. I was wearily anticipating a whole season of wacky faces, flower-squirting, face paint and giant squeaky shoes. Then they spent their entire two episode stay crying and moaning and crying and getting lost and CRYING and moping that they sucked at everything and were old and talking about how Dave only just recovered from cancer AND NOW THIS. It was kind of hilarious. Ambassadors Of Laughter indeed.
6. Joey “Fitness” & Danny – Trainer & Club Promoter (7th place)
It’s not that I object to his nickname for its own sake, it’s more the pointless use of finger-quotes. What’s the point? Joey Fitness works just as well. Anyway, Joey & Danny’s thing is that they were from the Jersey Shore and one of them is Snooki’s personal trainer or something. It comes to something when the least abrasive and most laid-back team of the series are the ones representing the genesis of the current wave of trash tv, but really, it was that sort of series. Joey & Danny’s run on the show was truly a roller-coaster. Almost eliminated in the first two legs, saved only by Misa & Maiya’s hysterical blindness and their “YEAH! FUCK THE CLOWNS!” alliance with the twins, then suddenly front-runners, then eliminated suddenly when they picked a Fast Forward Fight with Rachel & Dave. All whilst wearing glasses without the glass and accompanied by their own house music theme tune. First The Situation was sort of not hateful on Dancing With The Stars, and now this? Who knows where it ends? Certainly not with me watching Jersey Shore though. Ever.
5. Brendon & Rachel – PhD Student & Event Hostess (3rd place)
Yet another reality show cross-casting that caused strong feelings in the fanbase, none of which I particularly shared. Rachel and Brendon apparently picked up lots of fans and HATAHs during their respective stints on Big Brother, none of whom seemed to be able to shut up about things they did on that show. None of which I cared about. It did amuse me greatly that all her most obnoxious fans claimed the editors weren’t letting her be the HILARIOUS POWER-BITCH she was on Big Brother because she was clearly being softened up edit-wise for being a winner. Then she came 3rd, and it turned out she was just that middle-of-the-road. LOL. Anyway, Rachel produced a few memorable quotes (“I THOUGHT THE AMAZING RACE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN AND GOOD!” being the most note-worthy) but otherwise was just kind of whiny and defeatist. And Brendon was just…there. Nice sparkles though.
4. Kerri & Stacy – Cousins (8th place)
Like Elliot & Andrew, Kerri & Stacy were a return to a family casting spot that had been neglected recently : awesome cousins! Admittedly it’s only been Charla & Mirna before, but frankly that’s enough for me to want them to cast cousins on every series. And just like Elliot & Andrew, Kerri & Stacy got a semi-invisible Early Boot edit. The difference being that Kerri & Stacy were so aggro and volatile that their madness could not be contained, and leaked through into the main show. Sure, their full insanity wasn’t showcased, but there was enough to suggest that under their positive “WE’RE DOING IT FOR OUR KIDS!” heart-warming, sky-diving, sunny, sexy ba-donk-a-donk exteriors were psychos. And then it turned out post-series that they got into fights with everybody, over nothing, and everybody else hated them. Amazing. Truly Marianna & Julia done right.
3. Vanessa & Ralph – Dating Divorcees (4th place)
OK, for starters, she is probably amongst the fakest people I’ve seen on reality tv ever. And I don’t normally go in for the f-word, but there was very little that Vanessa said or did during the race that wasn’t contrived for screen-time. From her scripted quips to her randomly starting fights with people for no reason, Vanessa was the apex of inauthenticity. And in the end I didn’t care, because she was hilarious, and she brought Ralph with her, the most adorable man-child the race has seen in a long time. His constant brow-furrowed patience as Vanessa went off at everyone. His determined hauling them through all the tasks with his man-strength and patience. And, best of all when he got distracted by the product-placement auto-parking car and completely forgot he was on the race. And in the end, even Vanessa couldn’t avoid providing a moment of authenticity forever, as she gritted her teeth, girded her ankle, and powered through the pain to finish that Japanese Gameshow roadblock. It wasn’t enough to keep them in the race, but it was enough to win my respect. Which is, you know, totally worth a million dollars.
2. Bopper & Mark – Best Friends (5th place)
Oh my, can it be? A one-note Fan Favourite all-male team that I ACTUALLY LIKE? After suffering through (in descending order of awfulness), the Cowboys, the Snowboarders and the Globetrotters finally the show found a team that connected with the American Public that also connected with me. And all it took was repeated shots of Mark spraying vomit out of the taxi windows of the world, whilst Bopper jabbered incoherently in Kentuckese. Sure there was nothing very subtle about their pimping, and I would have liked it it the second half of “I’m doing this for my sick daughter…so I will screw over every other team, REPEATEDLY AND HARD” had come out more often, but they both did all that can be asked for of a Fan Favourite team that falls short towards the end, up to and including their amazing Bollywood Non-Elimination episode. Scripted or not, that whole sequence was compelling television. Mark pushing himself to the edge even though the pair of them were falling to bits, with limbs on the verge of dropping off, just to keep themselves in for one more leg. All via the medium of Bollywood Dancing.
1. Rachel & Dave – Army Wife & Combat Pilot (Winners)
I feel like the general opinion of these two is that they’re lacklustre winners, which I just don’t get at all coming off the back of Ernie & Cindy. I guess it’s partly because dominant winners are never popular, and leaping to unfounded abuse accusation at dating/married couples is the new fun thing to do now, but for me? Rachel & Dave are my favourite winners for a good long while. She’s such a no-nonsense ass-kicker (not giving a shit that Art & JJ decided that they didn’t want to be friends with her anymore ❤ Greeting Dave’s clenched homily of “silence is golden” with a hearty “THEN WHY DON’T YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP?” ❤ ❤ ❤ The first words out of her mouth as soon as they were more or less guaranteed the overall win being “I am going to take this stone and smash your skull in if you don’t shut up” <3) and he’s such a tightly-wound, hyper-verbose, control freak. Who wouldn’t want to watch that for three months? And under it all was heart, of a sort, as Rachel confessed on the finish line that when Dave had returned from a year in Iraq that she wasn’t sure if their marriage would survive. And they did (if you ignore all the parts where they were cheerily threatening physical violence to one another), and won 8 out of 12 legs whilst doing so. Another succesful example of Amazing Race as couples counselling.