Throw another crappy All-Stars series onto the bonfire of reality tv history.
11. Dave & Connor – Father & Son (Winners)
Oy. Connor not being entirely awful saves them from being the most annoying winners ever (*cough* BJ & Tyler *cough*), but Dave. Good grief, Dave. The annoying came in waves :
Wave 1 : “We are now three legs before/two legs before/one leg before/in the same leg as/one leg after I ruptured my Achilles last time! Hope I don’t rupture my Achilles again! Like I did last time! My Achilles!”
Wave 2 : The second wave blazed to the fore the second that Dave could stop comparing everything to that time last time when he ruptured his Achilles, when he suddenly decided that we all needed to know and bow to the fact that he was a 60 year old man. Dave being a 60 year old man meant that you couldn’t U Turn him. It meant you couldn’t beat him in a footrace. It meant that he couldn’t be expected to do ANY of the roadblocks, even the ones that were literally just sitting still and drawing. Dave was bellowing “YOU DO THIS ONE, I’M 60!” to Connor right up to the end of the last leg, well past the point where it was even allowed. (Fun Fact : Dave was in fact 58 at the time of the race)
Wave 3 : Complaining about “The Brenchels”. I don’t fault Dave for hating Rachel – a good 50% of the people who’ve ever competed with her do. I’m not even faulting Dave for flipping out over a U Turn. It’s for a million dollars, it happens. What I *DO* fault Dave for is for feuding with Rachel with such Mormony non-insults as “SHE’S GOT A SCARY FACE!”, “YOU’RE JUST NOT QUALITY PEOPLE” and “WELL DONE FOR U TURNING A 60 YEAR OLD MAN!”.
But yeah, Connor was, you know, fine.
10. Mark & Mallory – Team Kentucky (10th place)
Yes, because they didn’t learn from the last hybrid All-Stars team they hammered together. As Bopper was sidelined by a two day bout of minor inflammation that in the end probably shouldn’t have ruled him out of racing, the show’s producers parachuted in Mallory, who Mark had transparently never met before, but HEY THEY’RE FROM THE SAME STATE, SO THEY’RE BOUND TO GET ON. Lol oops, they hated one another, and spent the entirety of their two legs bickering and fussing until Mallory went TURBO, lost Mark’s bag containing his medication, and then bitched him out for having a problem with it. Yeah no, well done Bertram, definitely the right idea not just to draft in the Chippendales instead.
9. Joey & Meghan – YouTube Hosts (9th place)
ALL STARS! They sucked even harder this time, finishing either last or second-to-last in each of their three legs, but were marginally less annoying on the grounds that he was too miserable to summon up the energy to screech and pull faces at nothing. Also Meghan’s raw seething jealousy of the country singers as they blazed past them with their hypnotic fembot powers of sexuasion, as she had to sit there fixing her giant toy car her own damned self, was kind of funny.
8. Leo & Jamal – Cousins (4th place)
First time around : The self-proclaimed “Afghanimals” try their damndest to be the Big Villains of the series, constantly lying and scheming for no reason and constantly mugging to the camera about how wicked-bad they are. Their quest is sadly doomed to fail, as on the same season there is an aggressive, mildly delusional, self-confident woman with silly hair.
Second time around : The self-proclaimed “Afghanimals” try their damndest to be the Public Sweethearts of the series, constantly gooning around and having fun and alligning with the “good people” and being contrite. Their quest is sadly doomed to fail, as on the same season the Cowboys exist.
7. Jessica & John – Engaged (7th place)
First time around : Flamboyantly awfully haired fitness fanatic John dominates the team, driving them to win two Express Passes, alienate half the rest of cast with their weirdness, and finally flamboyantly flail out due to an entire leg of the most hilariously awful decision making in Amazing Race history, culminating in John bulging out his eyes with rage and rambling about how he doesn’t even need a million dollars, man, HE DOESN’T NEED IT.
Second time around : In order to make it up to Jessica, this time John lets Jessica take the lead. Jessica is really boring, and the team sit boringly in the middle of the pack for seven legs before fading away. HOWEVER, in the Sri Lankan leg it was revealed that John is unexpectedly *smoking hot* without a shirt on, so they can be ranked above the Afghanimals I guess.
6. Jet & Cord – Cowboys (5th place)
Never did I think I would have Jet & Cord almost in the top half of an Amazing Race ranking post. However, this series was just that bad. Sure, the only real character development they got was it turning out that Jet was secretly naturally gifted at a lot of things that you would associate with WOMEN and HOMOSEXUALS (the shame). Sure Jet whooping off and yelling that the Afghanimals were “DIRTY SUCKERS!” without performing the rest of “Do It Like A Dude” by Jessie J was disappointing. Sure their fanbase still can’t quite accept that they’re not that great. But…that bad.
5. Flight Time & Big Easy – Harlem Globetrotters (6th place)
After two series of running at 150% capacity, and almost winning both times (I know they were 4th in TAR 15, but that final leg was such a litany of disaster for the final three that I’m not sure how they could have lost) the Globetrotters came back this time with a new ethos. An ethos they learnt from TAR 18 winners Jen & Kisha of not really bothering, playing it safe and just relying on the fact that some other team was always going to be worse. I think something got a bit lost in translation, but watching Herb & Nate lollygagging around just being charming, rather than say, shoving people over, yelling at them about stolen chocolate gnomes, or, yes, pissing on national monuments (NEVER GETTING OVER IT) was a refreshing change. At the start of this series I was against people being asked back for a third go, but actually the sheer lack of giving-a-shit made them more bearable than most of these teams.
4. Brendon & Rachel – Newlyweds (3rd place)
I still don’t get the whole Brenchel thing. Whilst her meltdowns and his goofiness seem somewhat organic, there’s still just so much about them that’s forced. I’m thinking mostly of things like “WE NEED A MILLION DOLLARS TO HAVE A BABY!” (no you don’t) and “YOU, ME AND GOD ARE UNSTOPPABBLE!” (no you aren’t), but generally you can tell they’re a port from a more melodramatic reality show with every over-played facial expression and exaggerated prat-fall. On the other hand, they did make great underdogs for the 4 or 5 episodes when everyone suddenly turned on them for no reason and her utter frustration in the last leg (how much did that whole leg suck by the way?) as she realised that the whole race was completely beyond her control was the most palpably real moment of the whole series.
3. Natalie & Nadiya – Twins (11th place)
If the Twinnies could only be on one leg this series, I’m glad they spent it screaming abuse at one another and periodically allying with, then being abandoned by, then yelling at, every other team in the race.
2. Caroline & Jennifer – Country Singers (Runners-Up)
Other female teams in Amazing Race history have played the flirt card. Many of them. But normally this flirting took the form of just standing there being pretty and expecting men to give them directions, allign with them, or maybe help with the odd detour option they didn’t quite understand the mechanics of. Caroline and Jennifer on the other hand, were something else. Never have a pair so aggressively set out to seduce every single man they came across, from fellow competitors, to Roadblock arbitrators, to Phil, to the entire populace of Rome. And it, along with some judicious placing of Non-Elimination legs, worked. Caroline & Jennifer join the ranks of the five other female teams to make the final 2 despite being almost entirely inept at everything race-related. Their whole tactic is probably most emblemised by spending the first two legs seducing the Cowboys for their Express Pass, before IMMEDIATELY ditching them for the “Accidental Alliance” (an alliance so named by the singers themselves, because heaven forbid an intelligent act of strategy be ON PURPOSE, because that’s just not ladylike) of Team Achilles and the Afghanimals. Given that really no teams were likable this series, Caroline & Jennifer can at least say that they lived a TAR archetype to the hilt, better than any other before them. Even 12 years in, it’s still possible.
1. Margie & Luke – Mother & Deaf Gay Son (8th place)
Margie and Luke were my favourites this series for three reasons. One, because after two and a half series of coddling Luke. somewhere around Leg 3 Margie finally flipped, because she was too old for this shit, and started telling him that he needed to communicate better and ultimately yelling at him that throwing a public tantrum every time something didn’t go his way at the age of 28 was UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR. Margie basically radiated “why the hell did I sign up for this again?” the whole time and it was glorious. Secondly because, after two-and-a-half seasons in the reality tv closet, complete with producer-edited romances with female contestants, Luke said on tv that he came out when he was a teenager and it’s never been a problem for him and his mother AND THE SHOW EXPECTED US NOT TO NOTICE AND JUST GO “OH, OK THEN”. Thirdly because Margie was 56 AND I DIDN’T HAVE TO HEAR ABOUT 70 TIMES A LEG, DAVE.
Next up : cancellation probably, let’s face it.