Purple Rock Watch-Along: The Amazing Race 7 Episodes 1-3

And now for something a little different. I decided to fill out the long Survivor offseason by taking a break from the show to cover some Survivor-adjacent content. So it’s time for us to watch the Rob and Amber season of The Amazing Race.

Before I get started, I feel like I should present my Amazing Race bonafides, so that you can know what to expect. And frankly, they aren’t that impressive.

I started watching the show with this season, specifically because of Rob and Amber. I enjoyed it enough to stick around for 10-11 more after it (I honestly don’t remember if I watched all of Unfinished Business or not) and even bought the first season on DVD (it was pretty great). So while I’ve seen a lot of Race, I’m not exactly an expert. It’ll be up to others in comments to put things in historical context, if necessary. Instead, this will be a Survivor-watcher perspective of the season, which isn’t inappropriate for this site and community.

However, this season was also my introduction to the online fan community, as I spent the season reading recaps and commenting on Television Without Pity, which was a significant part of the TAR fanbase (teams would comment there and attend their fan conventions). So some of the perspectives I’ll be sharing will be reflective of the fan mood at the time.

With that out of the way, let’s… (eyebrow pop) GO!

Team Impressions

Meredith & Gretchen

This is a tough one because on the one hand, you kinda have to admire Gretchen’s pluck and willingness to make racy double-entendres. On the other hand, her constant verbalization of her worries is more than a little annoying. But then that gets me dangerously close to complaining about the shrill pitch of an older woman’s voice… which isn’t cool. This will be the battle for as long as they are on the season.

Susan & Patrick

Susan seems pretty nice, other than for the fact that she raised a whiny man-child (although it’s hard to imagine any dude in his 20s not reverting to whiny baby when around his mom 24 hours a day). For me, Patrick’s highlight is easily him bitchily telling Debbie & Bianca that Rob was “dumb as a rock”… right as Rob and Amber were about to erase the lead the teams had gotten by getting on an earlier flight. In that moment, Patrick became every snide internet commenter who thinks they’ll prove their superiority by taking shots at Boston Rob. There’s a 100% chance Patrick has uttered “Rob took four times to win” in his life.

bUt iT ToOk hiM FoUr tiMes tO Win

Uchenna & Joyce

Not a whole lot of them in these episodes, other than Uchenna’s prodigious eating skills and Joyce’s less-than-impressive shoe shine sales ability. What’s interesting is how they are pushing the angle of “having the race help them overcome marital difficulties”, which… do not seem to exist? Which either means, yay! They’re doing it! Or… edit.

Ray & Deana

Holy fuck is Ray awful. Now, speaking of edit, there was a decent explanation for how they were portrayed in exit interviews that I’ll get to when appropriate. But editing or not, what a fucking dick.

Lynn & Alex

It seems pretty clear to me that these guys were CONVINCED that they’d be the stars of this season. Like, as soon as someone put them on TV, they would take the fuck over with their amazing personalities. Then they saw Rob & Amber at the starting line and NEVER got over it. The raw, naked jealousy they have for Rob & Amber is as obvious as it is desperate. And it makes them EASILY the most annoying team to me. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where these two are at a reality contestant charity event and they keep psyching themselves up to tell Rob off, only for him to sign an autograph for them, never realizing he was ever on a season of television with them.

Ron & Kelly

Fun game to play this season: how many dates do you think these two went on before being paired up to run the race together? If I set the over/under at 9.5, what are you taking?

Brian & Greg

I like to think of them as the Jeremy Sisto brothers. Do we think they’ve just been unlucky, or are they not detail-oriented enough to succeed?

I’ve got Jeremy Sisto. Which celebrity do you think they look like?

Rob & Amber

I’ll have more to say about them in other sections, both because I’m me and because they are prime movers for as long as they’re on the season, with other teams seemingly under the directive of “whenever Poochie’s not on screen, the other characters should ask ‘where’s Poochie?'”. But as for them, I think it’s good to note their dynamic. First off, they’re easily the most affectionate team (not that it’s fair to compare a young, engaged couple with more mature married couples… I certainly wouldn’t want to be in that competition). They’re also really supportive of each other (as are Uchenna & Joyce and Brian & Greg). But the key to their dynamic is that Rob does his Rob things (manipulation, confrontation, casual dismissal of his competitors) and Amber supports him while reeling him in when necessary.

This was also their dynamic in All-Stars, where she was much more of a partner than a lot of people care to give her credit being. A nice underrated moment in these episodes was during Rob’s confrontation with Debbie & Bianca and Lynn & Alex, where Amber lets Rob do his thing for a bit, then gives the patented Amber Tap of Calming when it’s time to reel him in. Look for this all season.

Settle down now sweetie

Rob & Amber: Game Changers?

The prevailing wisdom when it comes to Romber’s appearance on The Amazing Race is that they brought Survivor-style tactics to race, shaking things up in the process. Again, I didn’t watch much pre-Romber TAR, so I can’t be the judge of that. Plus, I’m not confident that they actually changed how later teams behaved, as a lot of what happens this season seems unique to them. But that isn’t to say that there isn’t things to talk about.

The big thing they brought to the Race is the idea that you’re not only competing against the Race itself, but also against the other teams. As I understand it, in general teams were relatively co-operative and congenial with each other in past seasons (with some obvious exceptions). And this makes sense. You are competing more against the course than you are against the other racers. As long as you rock your tasks, get to them with relative speed, and get a little luck (or at least avoid bad luck), you should be able to stay our of last place for quite a while, regardless of what other teams are doing. The Amazing Race can be very straight-forward in that sense, which I’m finding makes it very difficult to write about, tbh.

But that’s not enough for Rob. He wants every edge he can get, both to hopefully try enough things that the edges he gets will help counteract the heavy hand that luck plays in the Race and because he’s just a hyper-competitive dude who can’t help himself. We’ll probably talk about whether his little ploys are worth it for as long as Rob and Amber remain on the season, but regardless, they do make the season much more interesting. So let’s get started.

TFW when you realize Andy’s going to be writing a lot about Rob again.

Recruiting tour guides

This was a huge talking point in the fan community, about how Rob and Amber not only got help from locals, they had them travel with them to get help throughout the leg (whereas the standard usage for this help would be location-based only). Some people thought it unfair that they had someone travel with them at all. That the show should make a rule to outlaw it. Which… I mean, if there’s no rule against something, Rob is not going to avoid doing it just to make things more sporting.

The bigger question is how much the celebrity status of Rob and Amber helped them recruit these helpers. It’s a fair question. The guy in the first episode recognized them on the flight. But, while its undeniable that they are more noticeable than their competition, every team is being followed by a camera and sound operator. They all are noticeable and give the impression of some level of fame for gawkers. I’m sure more teams could have locals follow them along if they simply asked. This will be a talking point throughout the season, so feel free to share your take.

Bribing the security guard

This one’s an example of how Rob’s antics can backfire. Maybe if he doesn’t try to get the security guard to keep his secret of the direct bus in the second episode (a secret that was on the sign as “Directo”), the other teams don’t realize that the security guard is hiding something and not all of them buy tickets for that bus after Lynn & Alex and Debbie & Bianca HAVE to tell everyone how they caught him.

“Where’s Poochie?”

Although, I do wonder if getting busted this time helped get it into everyone’s heads that they always have to be paranoid about Rob & Amber, which is not a head space that benefits them all. Other teams are worried about the Race AND Rob & Amber, Rob & Amber are only worried about the Race.

Besides, when one plan fails…

Bribing the bus driver

This is a perfect example of how Rob looks for every little edge to win. How much of a difference could it possibly make to get off the bus a minute or so before the other teams? It’s so small. It almost seems petty. Except… the four teams involved in the bribery finished 1-4 for the leg. So maybe the small things matter?

Phrasing

Also, Rob using everyone’s money but his and Amber’s is the “Rob throwing his clue in the volcano” of the season.

The Meat Block

Ohhhhhh snap. Rob hacking the meat-eating road block in the third episode is probably the most impressive thing I’ve ever seen done on the show. It’s just so brilliant, and the work of a team who has obviously studied every last inch of the rulebook in order to exploit openings.

Phrasing!

The calculus is so simple: if the Race gives you a task that will probably take more than four hours to complete… then don’t do it. Sitting around for four hours is probably a better use of your time than vomiting up a bunch of cow parts for four hours. Frankly, the second he quit, they had to know they’d be in the clear, as neither Meredith nor Gretchen (whoever was chosen to do it) would ever complete that task in less than four hours.

But, as stated, Rob isn’t satisfied with just one edge in a competition. So the next step in his master plan was convincing two more teams to quit too. Now he COULDN’T be passed. Superb. (And it should be noted, quitting was the right choice for both of those teams too. Meredith didn’t need to be Joe del Campoing himself there). The only way this move could’ve been more brilliant would have been if he quit sooner than he did.

Trying is for suckers.

The impression I’ve gotten from the fan community is that volume eating challenges were a semi-regular thing in the previous six seasons. After Rob hacked this one, I believe they went away. So I’d say that was game changing. And good riddance. Seeing people waste food, sometimes in poor countries, and vomit their way through it is not what I want from TV. And from a pure racing standpoint, I would NOT want to be racing around the day after I ate 4 pounds of red meat. It’s got make it harder for even the most creative teams to execute BMs.

Caution: Yield Ahead

We’ll talk more about Yield decisions and the proper Yield strategy when one is actually deployed, but do you guys really think the rest of the teams planned on yielding Rob & Amber at the first opportunity, or did they just tell Lynn & Alex that to shut them up about it already? Because if they were planning on doing that, the rest of the teams are stupid and deserve everything Rob & Amber do to them.

Best Move of the Episodes

It’s Rob tanking the meat block and it’s not close. But since I already wrote about that and still want this to be a regular segment, I’ll go with another Rob and Amber move (I promise that I don’t intend on making this whole series about them, but they were head and shoulders more interesting than everyone else in these three episodes). Rob’s careful stacking of all 180 books at the Detour proves that he and Amber can outshine teams even without fucking with them. Every other team took two trips to the library (and to be fair to later teams, the earlier teams took the smaller books), but Rob and Amber calmly sorted their stacks and got it all done at once. You get a good sense here why Rob is so good at puzzle challenges.

Not bad for a guy who is “dumb as a rock”, huh?

Runner-up: idk, Meredith & Gretchen with the llamas?

Worst Move of the Episodes

It should be every stupid team who just blindly dug through the closest sandpile for the worst flight time without even bothering to take half a minute to look at the other pile to see if it was a better time. That was infuriating. But… technical difficulties rendered that one moot, so I’ll go with Debbie & Bianca driving two hours to the ocean when they were supposed to be heading the Andes. Good on the edit for highlighting it with their snotty reaction to the tollbooth operator who had no idea of the location they were asking about… because it wasn’t anywhere near them!

“Why are these white ladies asking me about a place on the other side of Chile?”

Runner-up: Deana for agreeing to go on the Race with Ray.

Final Impressions

Ryan & Chuck

They seemed fun. It’s really too bad that we got an extra episode of Megan & Heidi rather than them, but them’s the breaks. Seeing them again does make me think about the difference between 2005 me who really wanted to see more of them cute rednecks and 2017 me who can’t help but think of who they probably voted for and yes that’s completely unfair but still.

Megan & Heidi

Meh. Whatever. Dead to me as soon as they dug into the 7:45 flight time pile because “it was closer and we’re here”. They weren’t even the better eye candy.

Standard-issue, really.

Debbie & Bianca

Now this was a loss. Fiesty, at times capable, and I thought they were really cute (especially Debbie), they seemed like they could be real contenders this season. But even in their short time on the Race, you got a glimpse of their fatal flaw: they don’t seem to deal well with pressure. It was not a good look when Debbie could NOT stop complaining about the choice of the llama detour (or when she said “retarded” like, five times. Remember when people did that?). She agreed in the most passive-aggressive way, and was basically quitting before she even gave it a try. (Although, they did finish first that leg, so maybe quitting is just the best technique this season?)

Baby llama drama.
sorrynotsorry.

You have to wonder if they still weren’t over the small adversity of losing their cab (when Rob and Amber stole it, which I’m not sure they were aware of) and became too distracted to make the necessary turn on the highway. Maybe they were just front-runners. Or maybe they got over-confident thinking that Bianca’s Spanish-speaking skills would give them an edge in South America. As I understand it, it’s not unusual for teams to falter in places they should have an advantage on The Amazing Race.

It’s also kinda disappointing that we don’t have any all female teams left this early in the Race.

Your Turn

Alright, it’s your turn to sound off on the episodes. As a reminder, we’re keeping these spoiler-free for people who may be watching for the first time. If you want to discuss future events, do so between spoiler tags:

I’ve introduced some conversation topics here, but obviously, anything is fair game. I’m interested in seeing what you’re interested in to help me figure out what to write about in future posts. And I promise: it won’t ALL be Rob and Amber.

Probably.

Also, head’s up: next week’s three episodes includes a two-hour episode. So four hours of TAR to watch.

Andy
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Andy

Co-host of the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast and the Canadian of the group, Andy has been watching Survivor continuously since the very beginning and likes to treat that as some kind of virtue to lord over others.

Favourite seasons: Heroes vs Villains, Cook Islands, Palau, The Amazon, Cagayan
Favourite players: Boston Rob, Kim Spradlin, Tony Vlachos, Cirie Fields, Yul Kwon, Rob Cesternino
Andy
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  • Unfortunately it looks like Uchenna and Joyce were unable to overcome their marital difficulties because they are not longer married.

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      Bummer. I really liked them as a couple. I hope that Susan and Patrick are still mother and son.

      • That joke could have went dark but I believe both are still alive

        • Saturday Night Palsy

          You do realize that whe your mom dies, she’s still your mom, right?

          Not sure why I put that in spoiler tags, but oh well.

          • purplerockandy

            To protect those of us whose parents have not yet died from being spoiler, I guess.

          • I took that as still living. Sorry for the confusion

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I came here mid-article to make that same comment :'(

    • purplerockandy

      I’ll probably address this at some point, because… edit.

    • Kemper Boyd

      Happens A LOT on the Amazing Race, like contestants who don’t speak to each other under a year after finishing. Although I HATED a couple who got engaged on one season because he was such a douche to her but they are obvs married with two kids.

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        yeah my advice to fellow viewers is generally don’t look at the ‘post race’ section of TAR wiki for the couples, because almost everyone has broken up

        • Kemper Boyd

          and Nat and Kat didn’t just decide to marry each other despite having possibly the most perfect relationship of any team on any cast of TAR ever.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      also I think they tried IVF and it failed :'(

      • Kemper Boyd

        yep that’s what they spent a chunk of the prize on.

    • gah! heart = broken ๐Ÿ™

    • Hornacek

      “Iโ€™m afraid itโ€™s splitsville for Delta Burke and Major Dad.”
      โ€œBut they seem so happy.โ€

  • Saturday Night Palsy

    Does every season of TAR have multiple contestants loudly saying English words with a bad foreign accent in the attempt to make themselves understood?

    • purplerockandy

      Yes. And adding “O” to the end of words to make them Spanish.

    • Maritimer

      Which makes it really funny that none of them clued in on actual Spanish word “directo”

    • Mike Hirsch

      There’s a season where one player has to say to their partner “‘Rapido’ doesn’t mean ‘fast’ in EVERY language.”

      • StormofCuteness

        ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

    • Purple Rock Emma

      I think it was maybe Gretchen who said “min-oot” for minute, which was just… sigh.

      • indescribable hat

        I don’t remember her saying it but that looks like maybe the French, and I would definitely be grabbing words from the wrong languages and embarrassing myself under pressure like this.

        • Purple Rock Emma

          Rob was definitely speaking in an Italian accent a lot, but Italian is very similar to Spanish (more so than Portuguese, for that matter) so it was probably fairly effective. When we had an Italian exchange student, we used Spanish every now and then when she got stuck.

          • BadPlayer91

            Yeah, my boyfriend (who is Argentinian by birth) mentioned that Rob’s accent was spot on at one point, and asked me what his ethnic background was. I was like “urm, Boston. His background is Boston” but the Italian influence makes a lot of sense.

        • StormofCuteness

          Yes, that’s French and yes, when in different countries I often go through 2 or 3 languages of the same damn word that is spelled almost the same and pronounced 3 different ways. Sigh.

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        “Kook!…kook!”

    • Kemper Boyd

      Oh yes my friend so so much of it.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      Oh yes. Also, the ever popular move of flapping your arms to indicate airport, which makes sense in exactly zero languages.

    • Figaro

      Lynn’s “muy muy muy… wait… am I just saying very very very?” was at least pretty entertaining!

  • Carrots

    I only started watching TAR in the last couple seasons (blind dates and all strangers) so it’s interesting seeing how much more slowly-paced the show was in terms of challenges, and how much more time was spent on various transportation issues. Phil announcing how many legs would be elimination legs upfront, and making it clear that the first leg was definitely an elimination leg, feels very different. Also, on the (official CBS!) DVDs, I got spoiled on who left the race, which is really frustrating. (Spoiler-tag mostly for anyone else watching on DVD, just in case.)

    As far as the episodes themselves: it’s fascinating how bold Rob and Amber are. Even in the earlier stages of the most recent seasons, people are still pretty nice and not playing that hard against each other. Having a guide for episode 1 did strike me as egregious, but looking back, there are times where people are driven to places by cops and locals that make me realize, yeah, other teams could have leveraged the locals more, too.

    P.S. If anyone else is going, “Why does Brian look so familiar?” He’s got a bunch of acting credits, although the one I remember him from is playing Penny’s boyfriend in early Big Bang Theory.

    P.P.S. They eliminated Yields and replaced them with U-Turns, right?

    • purplerockandy

      The DVDs are SUPER spoilery, as each menu shows the eliminated teams from that episode.

      PS – That’s probably it.
      PPS – Yep.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      Ah ha! I knew Brian and Greg looked super familiar, but I couldn’t decide if one of them was an actor, they just looked like an actor, or if I just vaguely remembered them from watching this season. I didn’t want to look it up because I don’t remember how anyone finishes except first and runner-up.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      Yep, u turns replaced yields, thank goodness. There’s very little entertainment value in watching someone wait for an hour glass to run down. They’ve also changed the consequences for coming in last in a non elimination leg since this season (also for the best, IMO)

  • Maritimer

    When we first talked about this, I mentioned that bunching, like at the start of episode 3, really annoys me and is one of the reasons I stopped (though I get why they do it from a showrunning perspective, can’t have a team getting way out ahead and just staying there). I had forgotten the second reason: I can’t stand most of the teams. And the ones I can stand are just boring, other than Romber and, when they got screen time, Uchenna and Joyce. I had also forgotten about this unfortunate era of reality TV where being the “catty gay guy(s)” was pretty the only way for gay men to get cast (see also: Coby from Palau)

    I laughed out loud when Patrick called Rob “dumb as a rock.” I have to go on the theory he saw Marquesas but not All-Stars.

    I’m also reading the TWOP recaps as I go, so I may also end up reflecting some of their takes and opinions

    • purplerockandy

      With bunching, there’s basically two forms of it: natural and forced. Natural doesn’t bother me, because what can you do? Businesses aren’t open all night. Unnatural is just the heavy hand of production.

      A good example would be putting a clue box behind something that doesn’t open until a certain time… then doing nothing else in that location (like the parking garage in the third episode). There had to be a better way to do that.

      • Maritimer

        Right. Flights, etc have a logic to it. Having everyone start at different times over a 3ish(?) hour span to end up at the same parking garage that opens several hours later, to the point where Rob and Amber go back to the hotel and “nap” is just silly, especially when there is zero reason for the cars to be in the garage

        • BadPlayer91

          Yeah, I gotta agree. Even more then that, almost nothing happened as a result. Like, we had to watch footage of EVERY team come to the same realization, over and over. This could have been avoided in terms of the race, but it also could have been avoided in terms of editing. Show the first 3, then show Romber coming back later and how everyone else just camped out there.

          Could it be there was some secret way to get in or out of the garage and they were hoping someone would find it any cruise off? Or maybe they were wondering if anyone would figure out a magic way to speed things up, like calling the owner or something. I’m skeptical to believe this, but as noted, it seemed all so heavy handed, both edit-wise and race-wise.

          • purplerockandy

            No, they absolutely 100% did that to re-bunch the teams.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            At times I felt that being the first out of the gate at 1:30 in the morning and going back to bed would not be the worst strategy.

          • purplerockandy

            Yeah, at least the early teams in episode three had the advantage of being able to go back to the hotel to get more sleep. Whereas if you got there with only a few hours to spare, it probably isn’t worth it.

            (Of course, those teams would have to pay double the taxi fare).

          • Maritimer

            Right. By the like 3rd team, we got it. The garage was closed. The only other one worth showing was Ray having a fit

    • Mike Hirsch

      I was going to mention the bunching. That happened constantly the first three episodes. I get why it’s needed occasionally, but man, no advantage was worth anything due to all the bunching on these legs.

      I’m sure that’s a “phrasing” but I’ll allow it.

      • Maritimer

        It was constant. You could never pull ahead for more than a little stretch, other than the second half of episode 2, but then they reset it all at the start of 3

  • indescribable hat

    I think the Jeremy Sisto brothers look more like David Walton.

  • Ms. Sweaterfan

    I’m so excited for this rewatch that I couldn’t even read the whole article before starting to comment XD
    Also I accidentally watched the first 4 episodes. Probably not a big deal though because I’m on my 3rd rewatch of the entire season. In fact I was halfway through rewatching season 6 when this idea was pitched so I just sped through the end and now here I am.
    A few notes about my TAR fandom:
    I have terrible persistent TAR amnesia so I can never remember who wins. Sometimes I have an inkling about certain episodes, but over all I’m weirdly a clean slate with each viewing.
    Also, I watched from season 1, and I too quit during the Unfinished Business season, though I went back through and watched everything after I got CBS All Access (RIP TAR on CBS All Access). So now I’ve seen every single season, except for the stupid family edition because it sucks and doesn’t count.
    I jotted down my thoughts as I watched but I’m typing on a tablet and holding a sleepy baby so I’ll have to keep it brief.
    Condensed thoughts:
    -Gretchen’s voice is absolutely heinous. G & M are the quintessential old team. Watching them complete tasks is like watching my parents try and do anything on a computer
    -Susan and Patrick are the proto Margie and Luke, except Luke sucks way more
    -I love Uchenna and Joyce, but they’re not really a flashy reality TV couple
    -Ron and Kelly are a snoozefest but I love how their story ends
    -All the other teams: *fart sound*
    -I don’t usually have a ton of opinions about the race course, but OMG they spend way too much time in South America right at the beginning of the season. I prefer when we get to see lots of different landscapes and even different continents by episode 4

    Special Rob and Amber sub-section:
    -This was peak Rob and Amber mania and they’re really on point this season, characterwise
    -Rob really knows what he’s doing in reality competition TV
    -I’m an Amber lover too, but their strategy of just letting Rob make all the decisions works really well in these first 3 eps. He’s so great because he seems to pick the right challenge and identify the right strategy at every turn. He also thinks quickly and doesn’t second guess himself.
    -Amber is delightful. You can really see why everyone loves her, and she’s lowkey a huge asset to their team because as much as you may hate Rob, you just can’t hate Amber.

    Bonus content if you read this far:
    Baby Sweaterfan is apparently a Rob and Amber lover too, since he scooted himself halfway around to watch them ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7c5563e38794da8f17d34d7dcbd2146ed8efa9c077f234513d3c70671185f326.jpg

    • Kemper Boyd

      I hated Luke then felt bad because we were obiousy supposed to think he was so amazing for competing when deaf. But he was a douche to Margie so often and she was always trying her absolute best.

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        Totally! Luke is definitely the racer whose edit is most at odds with my opinion of him. Sure, it’s impressive that he can succeed at the race with his hearing impairment but OMG what a whiny brat!

        • Kemper Boyd

          what’s your favourite season?

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            I’m partial to season 5, 7 (mostly for Romber) and some of the later ones like 25 and 17. I gravitate more toward seasons with memorable casts than anything else.

          • Kemper Boyd

            17 is my favourite. It’s got a really strong cast of good racers, likeable people and a couple of villains to keep you entertained.

          • Adam B.

            Cannot distinguish between the first three; gun to my head, season 2’s two-hour finale bests the continuing drama of FloZac, barely, but goddamn that episode with FloZac and the Twins in Vietnam.

        • purplerockandy

          Now we need someone to research whether or not guys are just ALWAYS annoying when racing with their moms.

          • Don’t forget the Family Edition season where we had the Paolos: not one but TWO sons fighting with their mom!

          • purplerockandy

            The Weaver family had a son AND daughters fighting with their mom.

            God, they were the worst.

          • Oh God the WEAVERS how did I forget…

          • That season was rough. Those Bransens though…

          • purplerockandy

            I liked the Gaghans.

          • Now that I think of it, was this the season where all the teams who were consistently at the bottom of the pack started working together? It worked fairly well if I remember correctly. Everything TAR related is fuzzy in my head though…

          • purplerockandy

            Maybe? My TAR memory is also fairly fuzzy due to the repetitive nature of the show.

          • Mike Hirsch

            This is what I remember from the family season: the show just not seeing how this could be taken in a different way…
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2dc34b560207b8098004908f1552e64b7cc643a3490d73b4e17e21386c1460e0.jpg

          • the sky is falling
          • Hornacek

            As I mentioned in another comment, this led to the host yelling “Black Family, pick it up!”, “You’re falling behind, Black Family”, etc. How no one at the network caught that, I’ll never know.

          • purplerockandy

            Just so you know, that didn’t happen. Because the host of The Amazing Race doesn’t interact with contestants like Jeff Probst does. He sends them off of the Race, then doesn’t see them again until a leg is over.

          • Hornacek

            Are you saying that my sister, who watches the Amazing Race every season, lied to me about this?

            Maybe she told me that the host was saying “The Black Family is falling behind”, “The Black Family has to pick it up if they don’t want to come in last”, etc during his narration and wasn’t actually talking to them.

          • purplerockandy

            I’m saying that it’s the “there was this sauce” of TAR 8.

          • Hornacek

            I will gladly own that!

          • the sky is falling
          • Maritimer

            Probably. I wouldn’t want to do the race with my mother, even though she’d be good and we’d work well together as a team, but I know exactly what I would look like on TV as well

          • purplerockandy

            Same. Presumably, these guys had good enough relationships with their moms to want to do the Race together. But it’s hard to know what powerful forces are at work to make us revert to being needy children or surly teenagers.

    • Maritimer

      I really want to like Gretchen and Meredith but I just can’t. Its not even the voice, its the fact that she whines about everything. As Andy said though, I laugh at every double entendre.

      Yup, 3 episodes in South America is quite enough, time for somewhere new

      • Mike Hirsch

        Despite the shrillness of Gretchen’s voice, I like that Meredith and Gretchen like each other. That makes them more tolerable to me.

        • Maritimer

          100%. That’s the part that makes me really want to like them

    • Mike Hirsch

      Awww! And the family season lost me when the first episode was titled something like “Faster, Mommy!” And I was like “ugh” immediately.

    • Mike Hirsch

      I think Patrick, especially, was laser-focused on Rob to his detriment.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      Babyyyyyyyyy!

    • Hornacek

      “except for the stupid family edition because it sucks and doesn’t count.”

      But that season had the host yell at an African-American family saying “Black family, you’re falling behind!” and “Pick it up, Black family!” That’s TV gold!

  • indescribable hat

    Romber breaking the eating competition was extra spectacular because that should have been their downfall. When they started I was thinking Boston “Delicate Stomach” Rob would be so bad at it they should have put the much tinier Amber on it.

    • Purple Rock Emma

      He’s just lucky it wasn’t fafaru again.

  • Mike Hirsch

    Brian and Greg running over to the third dune and reacting to the earlier flight time is my favorite part of this season. Cracks me up every single time.
    Debbie was very cute.
    Lynn and Alex seem like they saw Team Cha Cha Cha and Reichen and Chip and thought, “We are the exact combination of those two teams! Lovable and plucky but also so excellent at racing that we will win!” and seriously overestimated their charms.
    Rob was hilarious in these episodes. And so proud of himself. I loved it.

    • purplerockandy

      His wink after the argument at the bus station is peak Rob: hilarious to those who dig him, infuriating to those that don’t.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        I don’t want to make a big deal about it, since I’m not much of a BR detractor, but that maneuver (do something underhanded, get called on it, be loudly indignant about being accused of doing something underhanded, use that as justification for all future underhanded stuff) is right out of the schoolyard bully playbook, and is some serious bullshit.

        • purplerockandy

          I don’t disagree. I think what helps make it more tolerable in Rob’s case (and mileage could very understandably vary here), is the wink to the camera. It’s his own acknowledgement that he knows he’s caught in the act but he’s having too much fun to not play along.

          And again, I completely understand if his “aw shucks, I’ve been a bad boy” schtick does not play with others. It works for me because it lets me know that he KNOWS he’s being a hypocrite.

          • StormofCuteness

            Isn’t it, on some level, worse to know you’re being a total dick and not caring?

          • purplerockandy

            Nah, it’s worse to think you’re not. Because how can you stop yourself with no self-awareness?

          • StormofCuteness

            I will think on this, but umm, having had someone accuse me of lying when I’m telling the truth is infuriating. I have almost no ability to think how this actually benefitted him in this game other than it humors him to gaslight people. ๐Ÿ˜

          • purplerockandy

            Well… the gaslighting serves its own purpose.

          • StormofCuteness

            Ugh…ugh I say.

          • forever1267

            “But they don’t know we know they know we know, you know?” – Phoebe Buffay

        • StormofCuteness

          Yeah, that’s where my fiance got really angry, and we decided he wouldn’t be watching the rest of the season because he really was starting to question my values since I do enjoy Rob (mostly).

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Debbie was well on her way to being my season crush. Very early-80s Annette O’Toole-ish.

      • Mike Hirsch

        Very much so. Very, very much so.

  • Purple Rock Emma

    “(not that itโ€™s fair to compare a young, engaged couple with more mature married couplesโ€ฆ I certainly wouldnโ€™t want to be in that competition)”

    So no double date then?

    • purplerockandy

      ESPECIALLY not to dinner.

  • Mike Hirsch

    I’d go with the under on Ron and Kelly.

  • indescribable hat

    Rob is antsy to find opportunities to get an edge and I kind of love it, but some of the things he does for so little advantage make me nervous that he’s just going to make them more hated. Stealing the taxi, the bus doors… I guess it’s hard to tell which little edge is going to matter in the moment, but I’m a little concerned that another team is going to get an opportunity to really screw them over and jump on it.

    • purplerockandy

      To be continued…

    • the sky is falling

      but the thing is, even if you hate another team. there isn’t much you can do to actively stop them. in the argument in the post, someone tells Rob, “good thing you can’t vote people out on this show” and Rob just grins.

      • purplerockandy

        Rob is WELL aware that his competitors can’t do much to him, other than the Yield. Following the loss he took in All-Stars, that was probably a large part of the appeal to The Amazing Race.

    • StormofCuteness

      Though his accusing others about lying about something he actually did doesn’t really serve any purpose other than being a dick.

      • purplerockandy

        It’s possible he’s just doing it to make Amber laugh. But possibly more possible that he’s just being a dick.

  • indescribable hat

    I get the feeling watching TAR that you could take the original footage and produce a show called Ugly Americans that’s just the contestants yelling at taxi drivers, retail workers, strangers on the street…

    • BadPlayer91

      Or called Stupid Americans…

    • purplerockandy

      Just wait until the get to India. ALWAYS where teams fall apart.

      • purplerockandy

        Note: I don’t quite remember if they go to India this season, but the Race often does.

        • StormofCuteness

          Yes, they do go, but most do way better than other seasons in India. *I binged the whole season*

          • purplerockandy

            Pssst… I was trying to be vague in case someone thinks that a spoiler.

          • StormofCuteness

            Uh oh. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      Ah, gotta love that uniquely American custom of getting right in someone’s face and screaming “ENGLISH?!?!”

  • indescribable hat

    Heeeelp I don’t know anyone’s names and when I try to figure out which team we’re talking about I find that about a quarter of these jerks have names that could be a man or a woman.

    • purplerockandy

      Meredith is a man.

      Kelly is a woman.

      Deana is not Debbie.

      Lynn & Alex are both men.

      • BadPlayer91

        It definitely was a full episode or so before I realized that one of Meredith and Gretchen was a man. My brain just auto-corrected every time I heard it and assumed that both were Gretchen’s name…

      • indescribable hat

        Uchenna was also throwing me for a while because it’s unfamiliar to me and lots of women’s names end in A. I suppose I should be grateful Patrick doesn’t go by Pat.

        As for figuring out who’s who in any of the same-gender pairs? Not happening. I think I used to watch Survivor like this before I started watching the cast videos and reading the bios and picking a fantasy team.

        • Maritimer

          Uchenna was my biggest issue. I really wanted it to be her name rather than his. I really just assign the teams nicknames in my head and roll from there (the nicknames are often not flattering or appropriate)

          • BadPlayer91

            You mean like, the gay couple, the black couple, the old couple, the dude bros?

          • Maritimer

            Pretty much along those lines, yeah

      • Hornacek

        I was so confused watching the movie Dead Ringers. “Wait, the one twin Jeremy Irons is playing named Beverly isn’t supposed to be a woman? But their name is Beverly!”

    • BadPlayer91

      It took me awhile to remember who Ron and Kelly actually were, and I couldn’t look it up for fear of spoiling…so I feel ya…

    • purplerockandy

      Maybe I’ll do visual cues next time.

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        But the key to their dynamic is that skeezy Boston guy does his skeezy Boston guy things (manipulation, confrontation, casual dismissal of his competitors) and woman with low standards supports him while reeling him in when necessary.

        Like that?

        • purplerockandy

          That is certainly an interpretation.

  • I watched the first season of TAR and it was amazing, but the team I was rooting for came in second which broke my heart at the time. I didn’t watch TAR again until the Rob/Amber season and the stunt casting worked because I stuck with it for some years afterwards… but I barely remember any of it.

    I don’t have much time to rewatch unfortunately but reading this post stirred a lot of memories back up.

    Agreed, the Meat Road Block was epic. I was shouting at the other teams the way I shouted at the Survivors on All Stars, like, how could you let them play you this way! But it was brilliant.

    I remember also being REALLY impressed with the way they brought locals along to help them. Very smart move.

    I also agree with you Debbie & Bianca, I was crushed that they were eliminated so early for such a stupid mistake. They were a good team for all the reasons you outlined, I remember for a while hoping they’d get a second shot at some point.

    I don’t know if they were game changing but they were certainly game breaking for a good portion of this season.

    • Maritimer

      I have absolutely no idea how much TAR I’ve seen. I feel like I watched multiple seasons, but I don’t know if it was full seasons or bits and pieces. I know I watched at least one episode of the family season. I cannot keep TAR info in my head for whatever reason

  • BadPlayer91

    So, as I watched these episodes, I found myself constantly cheering for Romber, even though I’m not a huge Rob or Amber fan. Not that i’m anti-Romber, but considering I was generally un-opinionated on them, I felt an odd sense of investment in them doing well on TAR. I think this is simply because they are Survivor people. At the end of the day, I want people from Survivor to succeed, because that somehow seems to validate how awesome Survivor is to me. I think i’d feel the same for most players (though obviously not everyone, I want Debbie to fail at ALL reality TV she attempts…).

    As someone not super invested in TAR, this has been a great season for me thus far, largely because Romber brings a lot or Survivor mentality to it. Watching them shake things up was awesome, and I’ll be bummed when we lose them, largely because I find myself generally uninterested in all the other teams.

    Also, complaint, this season has very little man candy for my tastes. Like, Rob’s okay, and I don’t mind watching Brian and Greg run about, but i’m really looking for a handsome face and some jacked arms, ya know?

    • purplerockandy

      I’ll bet you wouldn’t spend much time rooting for Keith and Whitney when they were on TAR.

      • BadPlayer91

        NOPE

        • Super duper fan

          Did you watch South Pacific to know who they are?

          • BadPlayer91

            I assumed Keith Nale, but I also assumed that if Andy didn’t like them, I probably wouldn’t. I have not watched South Pacific yet…

          • purplerockandy

            I would watch Keith Nale play TAR with ANYBODY.

          • BadPlayer91

            I’d probably be pretty meh, which is how I often felt about Kieth. except for the Tuk Tuk, wait, maybe i’d love it. What if he played with Kelley Wentworth? Okay, I may have thought myself into this…

          • Super duper fan

            If I remember correctly you haven’t watched San Juan Del Sur yet, so you haven’t seen peak-Keith yet. I would love to see him play TAR, maybe with his son (with which he was paired up with in SJDS).

          • purplerockandy

            So… the Tuk Tuk was an example of Keith embracing a new culture in a fun way.

            Now picture him on the Race…

          • the sky is falling

            Keith to cabdriver getting gas, “Stick to the plan!”

            Keith to Tuk-tuk driver in Vietnam, “Step aside, I’ll drive”

          • purplerockandy

            I also remember Keith befriending the locals who worked at Ponderosa after he was eliminated in Cambodia.

    • Maritimer

      Is TAR known for man candy? I think Ron is supposed to be also, but I’m with you, none of them really do much for me.

      Also, in cheering for Romber, I think even if I wasn’t a big fan, listening to the other teams do nothing but bash them would make me go for them

    • StormofCuteness

      Uchenna is gorgeous!

  • Saturday Night Palsy

    So I binge watched the whole season and surprised myself by really enjoying it. (Spoiler for Andy: I was rooting for Romber!) For those of you who are in the know, do the eliminated teams get sent straight home, or are they “sequestered” like Survivor contestants? It would be a bummer if Ryan and Chuck didn’t get some sort of vacation out of this.

    Also, what’s a good “modern” season to watch?

    • Super duper fan

      Last season was really good (season 29). In this season they actually had 22 strangers, and they were divided into random pairs to the end of the race. I heard also a lot of good things about season 25, but I didn’t watch it. With other seasons it’s mixed-some really like certain some certain seasons, others don’t. But from post-season 20, it’s generally thought that 25 and 29 are the best.

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        Is 29 the one with Team Fun? Aside from them, I thought that people generally didn’t care for that season.

        • the sky is falling

          Yes

        • Super duper fan

          Yeah that’s the one. I don’ know , I personally REALLY liked this season, but I didn’t see a lot of opinions of it TBF, so maybe I’m wrong with perception of it. But I do personally recommend it though, but maybe watch season 25 first, because it’s definetely most agreed upon “good” modern season of TAR.

          • StormofCuteness

            I really loved Team Fun and enjoyed the season.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            I liked 29 and my enjoyment was also magnified because the show had been declining prior to that so it sort of felt like their last chance to fix things before being at risk of getting cancelled.

          • the sky is falling

            It seems like they skipped a season. I never bothered to find out what happened, but seems like it usually always runs alongside Survivor. I mean it was a bad sign when it got moved to Friday night.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            I think they used it as a midseason replacement last winter-ish, so everything got thrown off a bit. Hopefully things will be righted. Still, I’d say TAR is destined to be the first of the big 3 CBS reality competition shows to stop airing new seasons. I’m curious to see what kind of send off they ultimately give it. Best case scenario for me is an all stars season with as many of the big name/ fan fave teams as they can get.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Yeah, regardless of ratings TAR has to be the most expensive and logistically difficult to produce.

          • the sky is falling

            Yeah, creating this show seems like a complete nightmare. Regardless of the massive numbers of camera crews involved, setting up each challenge, placing route markers, research, hiring locals, hurts my brain to think about all the moving pieces involved.
            They oughta do a special before it goes off the air to show us how all the machinery works. Seems like it would require a much larger crew than Survivor to produce. At least Survivor and Big Brother are filmed at a single location.

            I’m sure the ratings pressure is felt by this show more than almost any other reality tv production.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            The one specific thing that breaks my brain is knowing that some PA got every local person who appears on camera and isn’t blurred out to sign a release.

          • the sky is falling

            There’s no way. Every cab driver or participant in challenge has to sign a release?

          • purplerockandy

            So I think how it works is that the crew that follows every team (camera operator and sound operator) is also responsible for getting releases signed on the spot.

            Which is what makes Rob & Amber’s strategy of recruiting one local to help them throughout a stage so smart: instead of having to ask multiple people for help (and thus slow them down multiple times), they can maximize one release.

          • the sky is falling

            Are you sure they need a release from every random person they encounter in say India, Peru, Slovakia, Istanbul etc…? If so, this show should win the Emmy every season.

          • purplerockandy

            Pretty sure, yeah. At the very least, if they speak on camera. Maybe not background figures.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I’m pretty sure they have to for everyone who interacts in some way with the contestants, but not for people just milling around. That’s why every once in a great while somebody will be blurred out. My guess is that they print out release forms very briefing explaining things in the language of the country they’re visiting.

          • forever1267

            There will also be Public Notice signs around the areas where they gather to say something like “If you pass through this area, there is a chance you will be on TV. Walk through at your own risk”. The blurred ones must be the ones who didn’t read the signs first.

            You see these a lot here in Los Angeles.

    • the sky is falling

      TAR is mostly dumb fun. It’s missing the strategy element of Survivor, but at least it lacks the ‘Annoying people yelling loudly in confessionals’ element of Big Brother. I find all the seasons are fairly entertaining, none particularly stand out to me.

      • Adam B.

        When airport strategery mattered, it was damn good.

    • purplerockandy

      Yes, they are sequestered to avoid spoilers. Also, as the Race dwindles, eliminated teams travel with production to get them to the finish line on time. I’ve even heard that they have them do mock versions of the challenges to hopefully throw off spoiler hawks. Don’t know if that’s true or not.

      • 1LOSTFan

        True indeed that the last few eliminated teams participate in mock challenges.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      25 is really fun, 21 is pretty good (and it has Natalie and Nadiya)

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      25 is the consensus favorite of recent seasons, and rightly so, but there’s a lot less variance with TAR than Survivor–if you like any modern TAR season then you’ll like most every season. 26 had a twist that purists hated, but the course went to a bunch of places I’ve been to (the shrine in Tokyo in episode 1 is where I got married). 27 had a strong cast and a particularly great endgame. 28 was…. fine. 29 had another twist that kind of violated the TAR concept but resulted in some excellent teams.

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        Hah! I just sat down to start that one and realized that it was the one time I tried to watch before! I decided I didn’t like it because I felt that if if I had an opportunity to travel to foreign countries, I wouldn’t want to spend my time putting sheep in a pen or racing down a canal. I would want to be able to experience things. If I recall correctly, there was a challenge where the teams had to make something in an open air shop on a bustling street. I remember thinking how much more fun it would be just to stand outside the shop as the city moved and breathed around me.

        I felt that way at the beginning of this “rewatch”. But I soon started to realize that much of the downtime gave the players that opportunity. Riding in the back of a truck with locals, driving through the countryside; there is still time to soak in your surroundings.

        I’ll probably watch this season later, but for now the vague memories will slow me down. By the way, I realized I’d seen the first three episodes when I saw that smarmy dentist’s fake-tan face.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          It’s hard to explain what’s good about 25 without spoiling anything, but I will say that there are challenges later on that definitely make up for the peat-shoveling and whatnot. But TAR is a well-oiled machine at this point; none of the subsequent seasons is much of a step down.

  • the sky is falling

    I had forgotten that Larry David was on this season.

    a few other general thoughts thoughts:
    -GAH! they have flip phones? what century was this filmed in? GAH! it was only 12 years ago!
    -Ray is indeed a dick, Deanna does all the hard work and he just cries.
    -I had forgotten how money played a larger factor in the early seasons, game has switched to easy mode now.
    -It’s always been a pet peeve of mine how so much of your success depends on finding a decent cabbie
    -Rob just plays circles around everyone else. He came up with ways to play the race that I had never even thought of before. I’ve never before or since seen players use bribes to advance. And it’s rare that folks try to recruit a guide.
    -I miss when this show aired on Sunday nights.

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      As for the phones, look at where they are. The heart of Peru isn’t known for being at the forefront of technology. (Also, I still had a flip phone two years ago. They still work!)

      Also, I guess that their plane tickets are the only thing that they don’t have to pay for. Do they have any other “free” things? Trains?

      • the sky is falling

        Just surprised me to see a flip phone. Astounding how quickly smart phones became ubiquitous.
        I think the money is just for cab fares and food and gas and hotels. I think just the plane tickets and maybe long train rides are paid for.

        • Saturday Night Palsy

          At first I was thinking “holy shit! How cheap is plane fare in South America?”

          • BadPlayer91

            Cars were paid for when they had to drive places, but not gas. I’m glad we didn’t have to sit through a bunch of American’s navigating foreign car rentals…

      • purplerockandy

        They can use their credit cards just for air travel and long trains (although some of those tickets are already pre-bought anyway). Accommodations and food are provided at the pit stop by the show.

        • the sky is falling

          Since you seem to know a lot about the behind the scenes aspect of the show, do you know if there’s any time for sightseeing at the pit stops between legs?

          Or is it basically 4-8 hours to sleep and 4 hours filming confessionals and eating dinner?

          • purplerockandy

            It’s 12 hours, some of which is used to fulfill your TV demands (as you suggest, filming confessionals). After that, the time is yours. You could go sight seeing if you want, or even use the money given to you to eat not on sight, but it probably isn’t advisable. It’s like the army: sleep when you can.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            I can’t remember if they’re still doing it by season 7, but in the earlier seasons the 12 hour break is described in voice over as time to “eat, sleep and mingle” and they very occasionally show brief scenes of contestants sharing a meal, etc.

          • Maritimer

            I *think* Phil said that at the start of the second episode

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            A few seasons ago, they were staying overnight in some place with a hopping nightlife, and a team wanted to go out clubbing and mocked the other teams for being party poopers. It cause some mutual friction with other teams.

        • Saturday Night Palsy

          Wait. They have to spend their own personal money on plane tickets?

          • purplerockandy

            No. Credit cards provided by the show.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Makes more sense.

          • purplerockandy

            This was actually explained by Phil in the first episode.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            Yeah, but Phil is like the purplerockjohn of TAR, nobody listens to him.

          • purplerockandy

            He merely exists to set up the actual talent of the show.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      I like that they had to watch their spending and strategize around money, but I absolutely hate when they beg for money, especially in poorer countries. It just seems in really bad taste that these wealthy Americans take advantage of the generosity of others for a silly game. Even worse is when the contestants fight with taxi drivers in poor countries over their fare. In an earlier season (5 maybe) a guy almost gets arrested somewhere in Africa because he’s fighting with a driver over what amounts to maybe $10 US. That type of stuff always makes me cringe.

  • Super duper fan

    Great coverage so far! I’m not participating in the rewatch, but I’ll try to share my thoughts that I had while watching the season in december last year (I had to use the wiki to know which teams are which):

    – while I really like the season, I don’t have it in THE favourite seasons of mine (3, 5, 29) because I’m not in LOVE with this cast. Rob and Amber are obviously the stand outs, with some other teams like Uchenna & Joyce, Meredith & Gretchen, and now eliminated Debbie & Bianca. It’s not a bad cast, bet there certainly were better before. (and Lynn & Alex were really annoying)

    – I thought that the premiere was pretty boring, even though it SHOULDN’T be boring. They went to Peru , it wasn’t clear who would go home… but it being a 1.5 hour episode, it felt as a slog sometimes (even though it had llamas guys, LLAMAS!)
    -Rob & Amber played really great these in these 3 episodes (The meat block strategy was GENIUS). They certainly were the best team this season (but I really wasn’t a fan of a certain move which they did in this season later, and I will make SURE to talk about it).
    -regarding the using locals strategy, I don’t have any problems with it….because Rob & Amber weren’t even the ORIGINATORS of this strategy. It were Oswald & Danny in season 2 (who are for now my favourite team from TAR, BTW), and they didn’t do it just once if I recall correctly (and they weren’t celebrities, they themselves asked some people to help them with directions through some legs). So if this strag=tegy was already in season 2, then Rob & Amber shouldn’t be punished for doing it also (although they had it easier, because they were some kind of “celebrities”)

    I do think this season is really great, even if I prefer some other sesons over it. I really liked all of the seasons of TAR that I’ve seen (well, maybe besides Family Edition), and I hope I also like other seasons. I will try to participate in the comments section, if I had some peculiar feelings towards something in the season.

    • purplerockandy

      Was season two with Fern? Because on TWoP, they called the strategy of using guides as “having Ferns”.

      • Super duper fan

        I don’t remember them using that term, but maybe I just missed it. But no matter how we call it, Oswald & Danny used the locals the same way Rob & Amber used them this season for sure.

      • Adam B.

        Yes. Fern was one of Team Cha Cha Cha’s local guides.

      • 1LOSTFan

        Correct, Danny & Oswald in S2 were the originators of this strategy, “Ferning”. They are one of the most popular teams in TAR history and easy choice to return for All-Stars.

  • Saturday Night Palsy

    So now that I’ve spent the better part of two hours commenting on a non-Survivor show on a Survivor website, I have to say: Thanks, Andy. This is fun.

    • purplerockandy

      It is a nice change of pace, non?

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        Hey, hey! That’s Canadian for “right”, right non?

        Edit: Plus it’s a hell of a lot more fun than an Andrew Savage Fan Friction.

  • purplerockandy

    If there’s anything you want me to be covering in these posts that I didn’t, please let me know. Note: I will also accept “nothing, this was perfect” as a response as well.

    • Super duper fan

      Nothing, this was perfect.

      • Purple Rock Emma

        Don’t praise the machine.

    • BadPlayer91

      I think you did a pretty good job. Thinking over the episodes, I agree that covering TAR is pretty difficult. There is little strategy or gameplay like Survivor that could be discussed and argued. Maybe you could review detours and which option is better/ways to best tackle them. But, the show kinda breaks that down for the viewer in most cases. Like, with the exception of Meredith & Gretchen (Merechen? Gretdith?), carrying the basket was the better option, as it put you right where you needed to go for the next clue, and the llamas took forever to move. So, it was pretty obvious, also based on where everyone ended up, which was better, lol

      • purplerockandy

        Yeah, the other issue is that a good way to cover TAR (and Survivor) is predictive: how do we think these teams are going to do based on performance/edit. Obviously, I can’t do that either.

        And sometimes with Detours, it’s “depends on the team”.

      • StormofCuteness

        I was super impressed with how smart M&G were with the llamas. IE Having someone on the front and someone on the back swatting them forward and doing all of them together.

        • purplerockandy

          Sometimes animals also like it when you’re not yelling at them.

          • StormofCuteness

            This also applies to human animals.

          • BadPlayer91

            Also sometimes animals like older individuals. M&G just seemed like the kind of people animals would be willing to follow.

            Also also M&G were really the only ones who probably had no choice for that detour. Everyone else could have carried the alfalfa, but I get the feeling would have been pretty debilitating for M&G and hurt them later in that leg.

    • forever1267

      This is fun. Please continue!

    • 1LOSTFan

      I’d just add that Romber were far from the first team to bring strategy into TAR. S1 Guido, S2 Blake, and S5 Charla & Mirna were the first pioneers.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    As someone who’s only been watching TAR since season 25, it’s really interesting to see an earlier iteration.

    –Phil is more serious, almost somber, in his voiceovers, almost like Borneo Probst.
    –The confessionals that were apparently taped in the players’ homes before the start of the race are really jarring.
    –Surprising that they allowed them to bring big-ass Lonely Planet-type guidebooks (or maybe they just edit it out now).
    –As Andy noted, the casual use of the word “retarded” (and on a semi-related note, i.e., times have changed relatively quickly, are Debbie and Bianca really best friends, or are they “best friends”; I only question this because Vanuatu aired around the same time and remember the loved ones visit?).
    –Phil actually explains the rules on camera. I know I can’t expect to have my hand held if I jump into a show 25 seasons in, but I honestly did not know the difference between a roadblock and a detour except for the element of choice, nor did I know the exact penalty for quitting a challenge.

    • purplerockandy

      They are just friends. And both have had boyfriends. It was really odd how they highlighted that moment with the brothers.

      • Purple Rock Emma

        I thought it was just trying to highlight the brothers as douchebros. (And on that note, as much as that’s definitely their archetype, I enjoy how much Brian and Greg seem to appreciate the sights when traveling.)

        • purplerockandy

          They are affable douche-bros at least.

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        That was Heidi and Megan.

    • purplerockandy

      Also, I don’t know if they bring the guidebooks with them, or purchase them along the way.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        I’m pretty sure they’re not allowed to have them at all now, as it’s one of those things where their absence seemed really odd to me. Also smartphones and tablets are of course forbidden, although they can ask passersby and cab drivers for theirs.

        • StormofCuteness

          I actually think they just don’t purchase them as much because smartphones can get you all the info and won’t add weight to their backpacks.

  • Blurry Denzel

    Lynn & Alex (especially Lynn) are assholes. I do like any time they talk about Rob & Amber and they cut to Rob & Amber talking about anything besides them. No one cares about you, Lynn & Alex.

    • Super duper fan

      They were SO annoying. My least favourite team in the season.

      • StormofCuteness

        You liked Ray more than them?

        • Super duper fan

          He was my least favourite PERSON in the cast. Lynn & Alex were my least favourite TEAM, if that makes sense.

          • StormofCuteness

            Yeah, I get that distinction. Personally, compared to other seasons, Lynn and Alex weren’t even that bad. I have really hated some teams over the years.

          • Super duper fan

            The other reason why I probably don’t have AS much strong feelings towards him, than most, is because there was actually a person in season 6, who basically played the same role as Ray, but WAS SO MUCH WORSE. Seriously, he SUCKED, FUCK THAT GUY. Compared to him Ray looks as a saint. He may be in contention of my least favourite Reality TV contestant EVER.

          • StormofCuteness

            Eeek, not sure I saw that season, but I know I’ve hated a few myself!

          • Blurry Denzel

            Jonathan was the fucking worst. So awful and uncomfortable to see the verbal abuse put on Victoria throughout the sesson. Season 6 was a real misfire casting wise for a show that did it so well in the early seasons. Jonathan was the worst of that season and shouldn’t have been cast.

          • Super duper fan

            Yeah, also Freddy & Kendra were really bad. I still enjoyed this season due to its fantastic cast, some great episodes, and great moments, and from the cast I really liked Gus & Hera, and Adam & Rebecca. But this season is definetely a definetely a definition of really high highs, and really low lows, and these three people REALLY bring it down.

          • Maritimer

            My impression is that TAR casts a “dating on and off” couple every season to cause drama but it really just leads to ugliness like this. I would much rather have newly dating couples who don’t really know each other (Ron and Kelly) than that

          • StormofCuteness

            Hrm, I don’t think it happens this badly so often, but I may get amnesia because I hate it so much.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            At the risk of triggering you: Chris and Logan the paparazzi.

          • StormofCuteness

            Omg, the worst!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

          • Maritimer

            And I’ve only seen bits and pieces of various seasons, and my memory for TAR is pretty bad so I may be wrong and/or just got the bits with those couples

          • Maritimer

            So I watched e4 last night and oh my god, Ray gets SO MUCH WORSE. He is just a terrible person. I expect that after the show their dating was “off” for good

          • StormofCuteness

            I pray that it was!

    • BadPlayer91

      Lynn & Alex are unfortunate reminder of early 2000’s gay representation. These two clearly have a narrative arc that is, at its foundation, likable. A gay couple, out to show the world they are just like everyone else. Unfortunately, part of that is also showing that gay couples can be mean assholes as well. It’s disappointing to think this was probably some viewers first experience with gay individuals.

      I’d definitely be interested in knowing how gay representation plays out across the show, but as I haven’t seen any other seasons, I can’t talk much to it.

      • Ms. Sweaterfan

        TAR always seems to enjoy casting at least one same sex couple (almost always male) and in the early seasons those teams always tended to be cast for their bitchiness. I want to say it’s gotten better, but they haven’t ventured very far from their original stereotypical casting types. Some good counterexamples I can come up with off the top of my head are an early team named Chip and Reichen, and a later player named Luke (who was teamed up with his mom). Chip and Reichen broke the mold because instead of being catty an bitchy, they were cutthroat and super competitive. And Luke is a special case because he was also the first deaf racer, so his deafness overshadowed everything else to the extent that I only ever recall them mentioning that he’s gay maybe once (and he was an all star).
        So, all in all not stellar. But one thing about TAR is that if something doesn’t fit in with your team’s gimmick, the show doesn’t tend to care about it at all, so it’s likely there have been a handful of gay racers whose sexuality just never made it into the edit, for better or worse.

        • StormofCuteness

          Hrm, I immediately thought of a recent team, Tyler and Korey who were fantastic fun! I also think there were a bunch more I really liked. I don’t think this has been as one-note as you do.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            You’re probably right – I’m in an early season mindset because I’ve been doing a rewatch so later seasons aren’t front of mind. But I did like Tyler and Korey now that you mention it, and I’m sure there have been others. The Beekmans were another departure from the Lynn/Alex casting type as well.

          • StormofCuteness

            Were they the goat farmers? Organic gardening? Man, my memory is crap!

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            Yeah they were goat farmers. I only remember them because they had a reality show about their farm that my mom watched ๐Ÿ™‚

        • the sky is falling

          Also, this season aired in 2005. A lot has changed in 12 years. It’s a relatively short amount of time, but ‘gay’ doesn’t carry the same stigma it did just a few short years ago. Im fairly uninformed as a straight white man, but it seems to me that no one reasonable cares anymore about orientation.

          • Ms. Sweaterfan

            I agree (keyword being reasonable). I think we’re also in a place where for the most part people who do care know better than to blab about their prejudices on a network reality show. As for presidential press conferences, that’s another story…

      • Maritimer

        A lot of early 2000s casting of gay people was like that. Survivor was actually one of the better shows on that front (Hatch, Mitchell (?), Brandon, etc). BB I think was actually the worst. I said below in the comments, but being catty/bitchy was the play to get on reality TV if you were gay and it was just brutal

  • Blurry Denzel

    I’m going with the under on Ron & Kelly dates before going on the race. Darrah and the dude pretending to be her boyfriend in Pearl Islands seemed to know more about each other than Ron & Kelly.

    • purplerockandy

      Heh. Emma and I made the same joke on Slack.

  • Saturday Night Palsy

    So thanks to the taste that Andy has given me (and a few recommendations), I’ve now started Season 21. All I have to say right now is that I wish Na’Onka was on this season.

    • purplerockandy

      I suppose you could’ve watched the All-Stars season with Romber instead. Not that I’m necessarily recommending it.

      • purplerockandy

        TAR All-Stars, not Survivor All-Stars, that is.

        • Saturday Night Palsy

          Survivor All-Stars is the third or fourth season I watched. I remember almost nothing.

  • the sky is falling

    Here’s my all-Survivor dream Amazing Race Season

    Team Coconut Bandits-Tyson and Gervase
    Rob and Amber
    Stephen and JT
    Tony and Woo
    Phillip and Franchesca
    David Wright and John Cochran
    Russell Hantz and Natalie White
    Earl and Yau-man
    Randy and Sugar
    Natalie and Nadiya
    Cirie and Sandra
    Malcolm and Denise

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      Drop Randy and Sugar for Kim and Troyzan and you have a winner! #SummerOfTroyzan

      These are my continents!

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      Sandra and Courtney
      Bret and Chris
      Savage and Kass
      Cirie and Michaela
      Coach and Phillip
      Culpepper and Candice
      Abi and RC
      James and Penner
      Danger Dave and Shambo
      Bob and Michele
      Sophie and Albert

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        Coach and Tyson! They were comedy gold in Tocantins!

        • the sky is falling

          It probably has to be Coach and Assistant Coach. Occupation: Coaches.

          Technically, Assistant Coach was on the show.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            “It says ‘Who likes shoes?’ I’ll do this road block. I used to be a cobbler in Bolivia. Now let’s stretch me out!”

    • Maritimer

      Sandra and Courtney
      Malcolm and Denise
      Cirie and Parvati
      Spencer and Kelley Wentworth
      Adam and Jay
      Todd and Amanda
      Jason and Erik (I know they’d only last one episode, but it would be hilarious)
      Tom and Ian
      Petebro and Abi
      Jenna and Rob C
      Colby and Jerri

    • Blurry Denzel

      So many options here. These are mine

      Sandra and Courtney
      Rob and Amber
      Tyson and Gervase or Coach or Rob. C
      Malcolm and Denise
      JT and Stephen
      Cirie and Michaela
      Hannah and Zeke
      Aubry and Tai
      Colby and Jerri
      Tom and Ian
      Kim and Sabrina or Chelsea
      Parvati and Nat Bolton (This is your chance, Natalie)

      • the sky is falling

        Sandra and Courtney is a particularly inspired choice. Laughing just thinking about the confessionals. But we gotta squeeze Russell in that cast somewhere just so Sandra can humiliate him yet again.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          It’s hilarious that the four of us who responded to the original post so far all immediately thought of Beans and Rice.

      • BadPlayer91

        I’m kinda upset it took 3 lists to get Colby and Jerri, particularly after Barbara’s post. Thank you for righting the ship!

        • BadPlayer91

          Oh, reading. I guess Maritimer righted the ship…thank you @disqus_sjBnbSyo83:disqus …

          • Maritimer

            When I came up with them, I was actually disappointed in myself that it took me so far down the list to get there

    • Super duper fan

      Sandra & Courtney
      Adam & Jay
      Aras & Cirie
      Tony & Kass
      Ami & Eliza
      Yau-Man & Earl
      Tom & Ian
      Brian & Amy
      Ciera & Wentworth
      Natalie B & Parvati
      Rupert & Jonny Fairplay
      Ashley Underwood & SDT

    • StormofCuteness

      I could never ever ever do that to poor Franchesca!

      • the sky is falling

        Half of my picks were for drama. That’s a particularly mean pairing, agreed.

    • purplerockandy

      Purple Rock Matt & @SNPalsy:disqus

      • Hornacek

        Blackjack and Hookers

  • Adam B.

    True story: my ex and I used to refer to Uchenna and Joyce as Team Low Motility.

    Previous seasons had eating challenges, but they tended to be based on unique foods rather than volume eating. My favorite being a caviar challenge, where most of the teams didn’t realize the need to hydrate before eating the saltiest food there is.

    • Ms. Sweaterfan

      That caviar challenge was SO GROSS

    • purplerockandy

      I believe they did a Wasabi detour in a later season.