The Teams of Amazing Race: The Finaleby Charlie Reneke -- 07/10/2002
I'll admit, I stopped doing these articles about halfway through the series, mostly because I didn't like the show. Although I grew to like during the final five episodes, I will have very few good memories of The Amazing Race. I had high hopes, when I wrote a preview article for RealityNewsOnline way back before Osama bin Laden was a household name. In fact, it was my first article here. Now, in recent weeks, we've proved that I'm no good at calling anything (see the "Is Brandon an Idiot? RNO Roundtable article from last week). Nevertheless, I wrote a preview where I made predictions, and now it's time to look back and see how I fared.
11th Place: Matt & Ana: The Young Married Couple
Eliminated in Episode 1
Odds I gave them on winning: 1-8
What I said then: "I, for one, think they have a good shot at taking the cash."
No specific blunder or mishap cost these two. They were simply slow-paced during the race and ultimately looked like the big fishes out of water.
10th Place: Kim & Leslie: The Teachers
Eliminated in Episode 2
Odds I gave them: 1-6
What I said then: "...teachers these days are… well… dumb."
That's one call I made right. Indeed, I actually got hate mail from an RNO Reader who said that he knew the teachers personally and they would surprise me. SURPRISE, THEY WERE DUMBER THEN A BOX OF ROCKS! Knowing that another team was right behind them, and with the end of the second leg in clear view yards away, the bimbos argued with their cab driver over their fee and they got eliminated. I was delighted for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that the two idiots were as snotty as they come. I'm also relieved personally that they lost so quickly, because the thought of two people as dumb as they are with a million dollars to spend quite frankly scares me.
9th Place: Pat & Brenda: The Working Moms
Eliminated in Episode 3
Odds I gave them: 1-4
What I said then: "The question has to be if they can do it physically, and I wouldn’t bet against it."
Physicality had nothing to do with the Mothers’ demise. After using the Fast-Foward in episode two, only to gain a slim lead, it came down to "pick a path, any path." They chose wrong, and they lost. But they played the game with a positive outlook and never had anything bad to say. It's a shame they got eliminated when they did. Had they survived that leg, I think they could have gone very far.
8th Place: David & Margaretta: The Grandparents
Eliminated in Episode 4
Odds I gave them: 1-20
What I said then: "I’m picking them to be eliminated first. Prove me wrong guys!"
They certainly proved me wrong, but after failing to complete the third leg of the course correctly, they received a major penalty and couldn't recover. It was close, but the old-timers proved that they could hang with people half their age. They were very fun to watch. How cool would it have been to see them outlast everyone?
7th Place: Paul & Amie: The Engaged Couple
Eliminated in Episode 5
Odds I gave them: 1-5
What I said then: "...we must question whether or not the stress might put a rift in their unity."
Paul swore up and down for four episodes that he didn't want to be in the race. In episode five, he got his wish. Amie, who came on too strong during the first few episodes, fell ill and Paul loved her too much to see her like that. They basically forfeited. Had they stayed in longer, this team might have been the definitive villains of the show.
6th Place: Lenny & Karyn: The Dating Couple
Eliminated in Episode 7
Odds I gave them: 1-3
What I said then: "...the question of whether the smallest fight will divide the quality of teamwork comes into play... I would bet on them making it to the finals."
Whoops. Well, they had the tools to make it all the way, but because they were polar opposites of each other, it wasn't meant to be. After a blazing star and a fourth-place finish in episode one, they fell to ninth place in episode two and were never close to the leaders again. Unlike Frank & Margarita or Paul & Amie, it was the female who came off as the antagonist in this team, with poor Lenny left to look like a idiot. At one point, it would seem Lenny intentionally tried to get them eliminated, leading them in the wrong direction. And they STILL didn't get eliminated. Can't these kids do anything right? On the bright side, they both basically declared that they were breaking up seconds after their elimination. No word yet on whether or not violence came into play once the cameras stopped rolling, because judging by Karyn... breaking up is hard to do... uh uh!
5th Place: Nancy & Emily: The Mother and Daughter
Eliminated in Episode 9
Odds I gave them: 1-15
What I said then: "Don’t bet on seeing them last long."
At this point, you have to be asking yourself, "Did Charlie call anything right?" Of course not, you silly readers. As for these two, well, they are surefire charter members in the Reality TV Hall of Shame. They struggled throughout the entire series, and lost all hope when Team Guido won the Fast-Forward pass in episode nine. Nancy decides to quit, so they skip out on using the required mode of transportation (a bus) to get to the next town and instead take a taxi cab. They completed the road block and finished the leg of the race, knowing that they were eliminated. Only problem is Guido got cocky and spent the night in a hotel rather then tracking down transportation to the next Pit Stop. Guido finished several hours behind Nancy & Emily and would have been eliminated had it not been for the 24-hour penalty the Mother & Daughter got. Doh!
4th Place: Kevin & Drew: Frat Pack Inc.
Eliminated in Episode 11
Odds I gave them: 1-2
What I said then: "This team will win."
It was a sad moment for me when Kevin & Drew bowed out of the race. I have no friggin’ clue how Team Guido managed to finish ahead of them in the eleventh leg, but they did. The Frat Pack was easily the most entertaining duo of the show, with several one liners and insults that had me laughing. I could tell they had a great time, and if they play their cards right, the "fatties," as Joe & Bill liked to call them, have a shot at landing themselves a couple of acting gigs. Hey Kevin & Drew, this Bud’s for you!
3rd Place: Joe & Bill: Team Guido
Odds I gave them: 1-12
What I said then: "They could be the sleeper in this race."
They did some pretty underhanded things during this race, and some of the stunts they pulled would get them labeled as terrorists in the post-9/11 world. Still, I have to hand it to these guys, they were great villains in a mediocre reality show. The fact that I was scared to death that they would come from behind and take home the million tells me that they were both the great villains I mentioned and also strong competitors. Just one thing though: I don't think it was the editing that made them villains. Like it or not, they did what they did to Nancy & Emily at the airport. It would take some pretty elaborate special effects to make it seem like they were innocent. Fittingly enough, they didn't even get to cross the finish line, finding out they lost while stuck somewhere in Alaska. I'm sure the other ten teams didn't miss them.
2nd Place: Frank & Margarita: The Seperated Parents
Odds I gave them: 1-18
What I said then: "I honestly don’t see how a reality TV show will help bring back together a couple that was no doubt bickering with each other non-stop before they separated, but they are players and I’m just a writer, so what do I know?"
Indeed, I don't know anything. I picked this duo to come in second-to-last, and they came in second place outright. It's perhaps the most amazing thing I saw on The Amazing Race, that these two didn't have a major blowup. Oh sure, there were tons of little squabbles, but nothing that could cost them the race. These two had my support right up until they read the clue about going to New York City for the Pit-Stop. At that moment, Frank went crazy and Margarita had dollar signs in her eyes, like a cartoon character. By time they got to New York, they were more concerned about where the Lawyers were then where they were themselves. They kept saying that Rob & Brennan were scared, but the only fear I saw was on Frank's face at the train station, when the Lawyers didn't show up. Although Margarita already had the money spent in her head by time they stepped onto the train, I think Frank knew that something was up. After all, the Lawyers had been tailgating them the entire race, so logically, they should have been right there behind him, right? Right? The train ride was the best part, because Margarita was absolutely beaming with joy. They had won. The check was written, it was over, stick a fork in it. Oddly enough, I might be the only person who doesn't feel bad for them one bit. I would have felt a little bad for them had Margarita not acted like a damn idiot during the last thirty minutes of the show. Indeed, I felt really good when the Separated Parents saw Rob and Brennan at the finish line. Margarita stopped... she couldn't believe it. She looked like she was about to cry. Frank had to stop and wait briefly for her. They crossed the line, and Frank was right there to hug the winners. Margarita was hesitant. Perhaps she was hoping that Rob & Brennan got penalized. Perhaps she thought that she and Frank earned a time bonus due to a technical error. Neither was the case. They thought it would be a cakewalk in New York City, but instead, Rob & Brennan were the winners of The Amazing Race, and Frank & Margarita were the big, dumb-looking losers. As my grandfather would say, "My heart bleeds purple piss for them."
Winners: Rob & Brennan: The Lawyers
Odds I gave them: 1-4
What I said then: "They have one of the best shots at winning due to their youth, and we all know how sly lawyers are."
I think Rob & Brennan were the most enjoyable team to watch in The Amazing Race. Only one time was I worried that they would get eliminated. But after watching the entire race play out, not a single time were they shown yelling at each other, or being snotty to another team. Nearly every team had something about them not to like. The Separated Parents were cocky. The Guidos used dirty tactics. The Frat Pack made bad choices. Nancy & Emily quit. Paul & Amie and Lenny & Karyn didn't get along. Not only were Rob & Brennan nice and friendly to everyone else, but they decided against playing dirty several times during the series, most notably during the final episode. They could have booked up every remaining seat on the flight to New York. They didn't want to win that way, and instead they won with class and dignity. In episode five, they defined themselves and the outcome of the game when they kept their cool after making a near fatal mistake, taking the wrong path several times on their way to the pit stop. Unlike the results of many reality TV shows, The Amazing Race had a happy ending for nearly everyone watching, and the right team won.
Final Thoughts: The Amazing Race was pretty darn boring during the first few weeks. Although the events of September 11th delayed the series by several weeks following the first episode, the show quickly started to gain momentum. By episode nine, I was hooked. Although I questioned the results of several legs of the race, I'm satisfied with the end result, and I look forward to The Amazing Race 2. Thank God that Mike & Krista from Big Brother 2 aren't in it.
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