Thursday, January 18, 2007

Amazing Race All-Stars - The Teams

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I like some "reality-competition" shows, like Survivor and Big Brother but I am absolutely in love with only one: The Amazing Race. How much do I love The Amazing Race? Well not only did I buy both DVD box sets that they have released so far, I also bought a book about the show called My Ox Is Broken by Adam-Troy Castro. In the book Castro writes about his loathing of reality shows in general: "I loathe the concocted situations, vapid contestants, and sniggering sexuality of the many series that hinge on speed dating, cruel pranks, staged conflicts, and the ubiquitous hunger for fifteen minutes of fame." But The Amazing Race "makes me a panting, unreserved fanboy." For one thing he loves the set. For another, he says: "It boasts the virtues that so many of its reality-show competitors lack: humanity, a broad canvas relevant to the world we live in, a premise that celebrates human diversity, and a structure that measures the character of its contestants in ways that go beyond willingness to embarass themselves for fame and glory. It helps, too, that its contestants have shown as much warmth, humor, and nobility as the far more typical fame-whore brattiness."

Late last year CBS and the producers of
The Amazing Race announced that the eleventh season of the show would be an All-Star edition with teams who had competed in earlier editions of the show. As seems to be the case in reality shows, being an "all-star" in The Amazing Race doesn't necessarily mean that you were the winner or in the top two or three in a given season. It was more a case of who was popular - or was perceived as popular by CBS and the producers - with the fans, and of course who was available and willing to do the show. The following is the breakdown of teams based on finishes in their seasons:
  • First place - 1 team
  • Second place - 2 1/2 teams
  • Third place - 1 team
  • Fourth place - 3 team
  • Fifth place - 1 team
  • Sixth place - 2 team
  • Seventh place - 1/2 team
There are teams from every season except seasons 4, 6, and 8 (the Family Edition which had four member teams). Here are the teams selected (links are to pre-race interviews on CBS's InnerTube site. There's some interesting stuff in the interviews): Kevin O'Connor & Drew Feinberg - Season 1, fourth place: "Swing you fat bastard." That was the line that had me cheering for these guys from the moment it was uttered. Sure they fought among themselves and fought with at least one other team but the Original Frat Brothers were fun and enjoyed themselves while they were doing the race.
View Meet Kevin & Drew on innertube now

Bill Bartek & Joe Baldassare
- Season 1, third place: The came up with their own name - Team Guido after their dog - although the other teams called them Bert & Ernie. They were a tough team, at times downright underhanded and they came to be regarded as the "heels" of their season after the tried to tie up some of the other teams in a line-up for a plane. The first gay couple on the series (with a relationship that has lasted longer than a lot of heterosexual marriages) but most assuredly not the last.
View Meet Joe & Bill on innertube now

Danny Jimenez & Oswald Mendez - Season 2, fourth place: Gay friends (but not a couple) who I guess live up to a lot of the stereotypes. They quickly became known as Team Cha Cha Cha, and they were absolutely fabulous. In a famous moment in Hong Kong they literally stopped racing to go shopping. Not only that, but they finished that leg in first place, largely because while they were shopping a high end travel agent was arranging their fight to the next destination - a flight that the other teams who were making their own arrangements knew nothing about.
View Meet Oswald & Danny on innertube now

John Vito Pietanza & Jill Aquilino - Season 3, fifth place: The team with the story. Jill had originally applied to be on the show with her brother F.T. who was John Vito's best friend. F.T. died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. John Vito Jill became romantically involved after his death, although they are no longer together. Nothing particularly memorable about them besides that.
View Meet John & Jill on innertube now

Teri Pollack & Ian Pollack - Season 3, second place: I quickly became a fan of theirs after an incident in Spain where Teri accidentally put gasoline in their diesel powered vehicle. Several other teams did the same thing but only Ian reacted in a no nonsense way - he syphoned out the gas while Teri went to get diesel. Some hated him for being environmentally insensitive, in addition to constantly bossing his wife around, but to me this showed more than a little resourcefulness. The oldest team ever to finish second.
View Meet Teri & Ian on innertube now

Charla Faddoul & Mirna Hindoyan - Season 5, sixth place: Liked Charla, not entirely crazy about Mirna. Charla wasn't about to let dwarfism stop her from doing most of the tasks placed before her although she also wasn't above using her size to get people to do things for her. Mirna, on the other hand seemed to be a lightning rod when it came to antagonizing other racers. Famously, she tried to get a ticket agent for an airline not to sell tickets on a flight to some of the other racers by telling him, in Arabic, that they were "bad people" and violent.
View Meet Charla & Mirna on innertube now

Rob Mariano & Amber Brkich - Season 7, second place: Romber. One of the greatest teams in Amazing Race history. Sure they were gimmick casting but they brought a whole new tactical outlook to game. They weren't above bribing a bus driver using other people's money, persuading other teams not to do a roadblock or (and this is the only one I fault them on) driving past a car crash. Interesting to note that they no longer list themselves by their former occupations. Rather they describe themselves as "TV personalities."
View Meet Rob & Amber on innertube now

Uchenna Agu & Joyce Agu - Season 7, Winners!: The only All-Star team to have actually won a season of The Race. Their battle with the Romber juggernaut was one of the great confrontations in the history of the show although it never became personal as it did with some of the teams in their season. The Force was strong in this couple (okay, so Joyce actually appeared in a several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, usually in a non-speaking role). They won based on persuading a pilot to reopen the doors of his plane for them, but the real decisive moment came in India during a Fast Forward where Joyce allowed her head to be shaved.
View Meet Uchenna & Joyce on innertube now

Eric Sanchez & Danielle Turner - Season 9, special case: Eric competed in The Race with his best friend Jeremy and finished second behind B.J. Tyler, while Danielle competed with her best friend Dani and finished seventh. But now they're a couple (what is she thinking?!). As such, while they've competed in The Race they haven't competed as a team before. They're the 1/2s on my list.
View Meet Eric & Danielle on innertube now

David Conley & Mary Conley - Season 10, sixth place: I loved the way that they - and in particularly Mary, who had never even been on a plane before The Race - embraced the whole experience of meeting new people and seeing the world. They were public favourites, not to mention Rosie O'Donnell's favourites. That said I don't think that they should be on The Amazing Race: All-Stars. Of course I don't think any Season 10 teams should be on the show with the possible exception of the winners of the season, Tyler & James - it's too soon.
View Meet David & Mary on innertube now

Dustin Seltzer & Kandice Pelletier - Season 10, fourth place: Maybe the strongest all woman team despite the fact that Lyn Karlyn were the first female team to make it to the final episode. They were tough and could compete with the best of them, but were also sneaky and conniving, and managed to alienate most of the other people in The Race by the end. But what I said about David Mary holds true for Dustin Kandice - it's too soon.
View Meet Dustin & Kandice on innertube now

The Amazing Race: All Stars debuts February 18.

No comments: