So this weekend, TAR 22 reaches its epic conclusion, as the gripping feud of Roller-Moms vs Hockey Bros reaches its epic conclusion. Or, you know, Max & Katie could win. LOL. Anyway, this series reaching its incredibland conclusion reminds me that I never got round to ranking the cast of last series, which had a far more exciting finale. So here we are :
11. Amy & Daniel (Dating Off & On) – 10th place : Amy & Daniel’s whole thing was that they were really inspiring, because she’s a double amputee, but it doesn’t stop her from running marathons and rescuing kittens from burning buildings and really super sexy-hott. Which would be great, except it made her casting just feel like an attempt to one-up single amputee Sarah from Season 10. Except Sarah was a psycho secret lesbian who pimped out her metal leg for cash to gawping foreigners, whereas Amy & Daniel were just dull and vaguely self-righteous (“of COURSE we told Abby & Ryan where the pitstop was, allowing them to pass us up, potentially costing us $1,000,000, because we’re just the sort of people who can’t NOT do that, because we’re just GREAT like that”) and then lost because they got a shit taxi driver in one of the most boring legs in TAR history. Woo.
10. Rob & Sheila (Lumberjack/Marketing Exec) – 11th place : I don’t really remember anything about Rob & Sheila other than their amazing announced dynamic of “Lumberjack/Marketing Exec”, and that he’s related to all-time great Survivor First Boot “Timber Tina”. Oh and after the show it turned out they were kind of homophobic Holocaust deniers or something? I would worry about smearing their memory, but it’s not as though anybody remembers who they are.
9. Gary & Will (Substitute Teachers) – 8th place : Ugh, “Super Fans”. Will they ever not suck?
8. Rob & Kelley – 7th place (Married Monster Truckers) : Ugh, I’d forgotten just how much the first half of the series sucked. Anyway, Rob & Sheila’s “thing” was that they got together when her husband died in an horrific Monster Truck accident, and how everyone tried really REALLY hard not to speculate whether either of them had anything to do with it, because that would just be gross and hurtful. Their “thing” was also that Rob was an out-of-control force of nature who yelled everything at everybody, whilst Sheila pulled this face in the background : ^_^. I think pretty much my entire value gained from this team is just how vaguely smug and still Sheila always looked as Rob yelled more obscenities at whatever incompetent cab driver got in their way, before…randomly dancing at nothing like your drunken uncle at a wedding.
7. Josh & Brent (Goat Farmers) – Winners : Ugh! GAYS KISSING! Anyway, theoretically Josh & Brent should be almongst my favourite winners because they’re the final vindication of a type of team I’ve always loved : the team that bumbles, cries, fights and fucks up from the first leg of the race to the last, somehow ending up in the final by sheer dumb luck. Past (amazing) examples of this trope include : Adam & Rebecca, Nick & Don, Brian & Ericka, and, of course,DANDREW! But none of those teams won before, finishing in an appropriate 3rd place. Certainly Josh & Brent had the credentials – finishing in the top half of all of two legs prior to the final, becoming the first team to win despite never having won a leg or even finished second before, but as screw-ups go, they just weren’t lovable enough. They veered closer to “couple that really shouldn’t go on holiday together” than anything I wanted to watch. They seemed to spend the whole race whining with heat-stroke, pondering whether to quit, staring daggers at one another and deliberately trying to lose to Abbie & Ryan in the name of friendship. They don’t even fulfil the role of “LOLRANDOM” winners, because God but that “Evil Clique vs Outsider Gay Geeks” edit was heavy-handed by the end. Phoo. They do get bonus points however for jumping on the “It Gets Better” bandwagon with their post-race photoproject. My favourite bit is Lexi holding up her banner in her girly bedroom wearing a pink sparkly headdress, and her boyfriend holding up the same sign next to a deer carcass.
6. Caitlin & Brittany (Best Friends) – 9th place : OK, Caitlin were basically a Happy Shopper TAR 17 Katie & Rachel, in that they were identikit athletic blonde girls who seemed to be powered entirely by hatred when they weren’t being invisible. BUT, they did provide the one legitimately great moment of the first half of the season, with the rickshaw race to the Finish Line against Gary & Will. Watching them scream at their driver in an agonising inch-by-inch race to try to pass Gary & Will in the drive up to the pitstop, then watching those screams turn into squeals off glee as they finally passed them, then watching those squeals turn to screams again as…they went down completely the wrong street? Hilarious.
5. James & Abba (Rock Star/Lawyer) – 6th place : Yeah, I’m not sure casting’s idea that an exciting team dynamic consists of two people whose jobs sound funny next to one another really bore significant fruit this series. Maybe if Abba had been dressed in his best court duds and hadn’t basically…well, just been a fatter version of James, the contrast might have been more hilarious. Or if he hadn’t been called Abba. Or if he had actually BEEN ABBA. James & Abba carried a vaguely chilled-out vibe throughout their 8 leg stay on the race, and then Abba’s knee exploded and they got robbed and then they lost their passport and all their belongings and then they died, the end. It’s kind of sad that their meltdown will forever be overshadowed by the one that happened immediately afterwards…
4. Trey & Lexi (Dating) – 3rd place : I feel like Trey & Lexi were slightly robbed of a more coherent edit, because they were clearly multi-faceted human beings, but the show only felt like showing them rarely, as their ultimate role was simply being minions in the Twinnies evil plans, in which he was somewhat morally conflicted and she was…less so. Apart from that they were just a random collection of scenes touching on some undeveloped themes as :
- her desire to get married
- his desire to…get married, just not right now
- her hot body
- his hot body
- her habit of shriekingly overplaying any minor injury she received as being potentially life threatening
- her winning salesmanship
- his stoic man-strength
- their Christianity
- their Christianity as compared to the Twinnies Hinduism
- their Christianity as compared to the Twinnies raw seething evil
- his hot body because dayum
All put together it didn’t really add up to more than the sum of its parts really, but they were certainly vaguely entertaining, reasonably often.
3. Jaymes & James (Chippendales) – Runners-Up : Basically a re-run of Brooke & Claire, but male, and with their shirts off all the time. Their backstory was that Jaymes (the blonder, more extroverted Chippendale) was running to raise money for his dad, who had cancer, and that James (the brunetter, more woobieish Chippendale) was along for the ride. Oh, and they were also here to prove that Chippendales could do more than just strip and wiggle their penises around. And also incidentally that when you’ve already got another gimmick, then the race will neglect to mention that you’re gay. And also that they took their shirts off all the time. Occasionally for an actual purpose, like trying to raise money in one of the race’s many “street sales” tasks, but occasionally…just because. Which, let’s face it, is enough for me. It was very easy to go into the final rooting for the Chippendales, because they were hot and funny and charismatic and had a good cause, and had overcome their moral qualms to finally take the plunge and join the Twinnies CRUSADE OF EVIL. And also kind of easy to let it go afterwards that they hadn’t won, because Jaymes could be kind of annoyingly OTT at times and when it came to brow-beaten “lesser” team-members, James was a bit too hot and self-confident to be truly heart-warming.
2. Natalie & Nadiya (Twins) – 4th place : If you expected me ever to not love giant ass-kicking evil Sri-Lankan identical twins, then I don’t know what to tell you, but I don’t think you know me at all. Never has a team had such a zest for wrong-doing. Whether it be screeching their obnoxious self-aggrandizing catchphrases over everyone, using racism to get ahead (“WE HAVE TO BEAT THEM, MR CAB DRIVER! THEY ARE WHITE DEVILS!”), dissing France, inventing the wantonly unsportsmanlike Unbreakable Double U-Turn, shamelessly stealing money from other teams, or causing an ugly Internet Incident by repeatedly calling Josh & Brent “The Evil Gays” (<3), Team Twinnie always had flair. Never has a team derived such innocent and pure joy from screwing other people over so repeatedly to advance themselves in the game, all whilst cackling maniacally and calling themselves “Brownies”. In an era of really bland, annodyne, crowdpleasing female teams, it was great to see a bunch of ladies more concerned with winning than getting a media career and showing off their tits to their best advantage. If there’s another All-Stars, they NEED to be cast alongside Charla & Mirna. Oh the sparks that would fly.
1. Abby & Ryan (Dating Divorcees) : 5th place : Abby & Ryan came onto the race with one stated goal. Not just to win the race, but to do so whilst surpassing the record for legs won set in the previous season by Rachel & Dave. And for a long time, it looked like they might achieve the former, if not the latter. Because let’s face it, who could ever hope to match Major Dave’s transcendent race ability? They won two of the first 3 legs, then finished a neat 2nd on the next three. And then…the greatest death spiral in the history of the Amazing Race happened, encompassing all of the following :
- an energy-sapping pointless feud with the Twinnies, which they were never going to win, because the Twinnies are amazing sociopathic goddesses, and Abby & Ryan are all too human.
- getting screwed over on connecting flights, on not one, but two separate legs, both times in Frankfurt, leading to the invention of the term “to get totally Frankfurted”
- forming a saccherine “friendship alliance” with the supposedly similarly doomed Josh & Brent, supposedly just because they loved one another that darned much, but clearly in reality because Ryan intended to beat them in a foot race.
- subsequently losing to Josh & Brent, OBVIOUSLY
- an utter mental breakdown on a fairly simple brainteaser Roadblock in Russia, culminating in Ryan screaming “THERE’S A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX!!!” to nobody in particular, like a crazy person in the street
- getting Double-Lock Double U-turned with looks of utter despair on their faces
- having a complete physical and meltdown breakdown on the streets of Amsterdam, culminating in Abby dry-heave sobbing for about 30 seconds on the shoulder of a complete stranger because she’d given her the one Euro she needed to finally finish the leg and go home, completely spent and over everything.
- Ryan having a complete twitter meltdown as soon as this aired, accusing the show of rigging, manipulative editing, stealing, the full whack. Possibly just to cover up the fact that his best friends won, and make it even more shocking.
- Ryan & Abby randomly being best friends with the Twinnies after the race, because in a real world context they both recognised one another as the beautiful psychos they are
I can’t imagine anybody having a better downfall in modern TAR. It makes “MY OX IS BROKEN!” look like a child’s tea party.
NEXT UP : Monkseal ranks the cast of Amazing Race Australia 2 (probably not…)