The 14th season of The Amazing Race was called "a very unique season" by producer Bertram van Munster at the start of Unfinished Business. It was the first season to cut out most of the airport scenes that used to take up the first quarter of most episodes, only leaving them in when they had a significant effect on the leg, and has the distinction of being the only season not to feature the usually ubiquitous couples teams among the top 7, thus presenting more unique team dynamics.However, the producers clearly wanted more inter-team conflict, which was mostly lacking in the previous two seasons, and thus they stopped the traditional "eat, sleep, and mingle" Pit Stops mid-racenote which they would carry over to subsequent seasons, resulting in a cast that started off friendly, then suddenly became more cutthroat by the endgame. For better or for worse, this resulted in one of the most memorable, if polarizing, casts in the series, and it left the fans divided, as the top 4 had no consensus hero to root for or villain to root against. Despite the divisive effect they had on the fans, the teams were charismatic enough that five of the eleven teams in Unfinished Business were from this season. Like the cast, the season itself is polarizing. For the most part it's considered one of the all time greats, especially with those who watch the race for its competitive aspects (and it was the only post-Season 7 Race to make Phil's personal top 5note As of Unfinished Business), but those who dislike it really dislike it.
Tamara Tien-Jan "Tammy" Jih & Victor Jih
Lawyer siblings and the first Asian team to win the Race. Victor was nine years older than Tammy, and was greatly favored by their parents, which made him believe he had to be in charge and do everything for their team. This caused them huge problems early on, with their communication issues reaching their apex in Romania, when they nearly got eliminated due to Victor's stubborn refusal to listen to Tammy. However, despite that setback, they were able to work together more efficiently after that incident, only finishing below 3rd in that one leg. Despite their inability to do physical tasks well, they used their wits to make it to the Final 3. They fell behind early in the finale thanks to them struggling to carry their pig, but Victor was the only one able to finish the surfboard Roadblock without help, leading them to victory.
Control Freak: Victor, who bullheadedly made all the decisions through the first several legs, which ended up with him leading Tammy for miles in the wrong direction in Romania when he refused to listen to her. Though he got better after that incident, he still showed traces of this as the season wore on.
Curb-Stomp Battle: For the Chinese Waiter Detour, they had to recite food orders in Chinese given to them by customers. Being able to communicate with the locals was one thing, but that challenge managed to let them completely walk through the challenge unhindered, and they won the leg by two hours (the other teams getting lost looking for the U-Turn mat didn't help either).
Failed a Spot Check: When searching local shops for a gnome in China, Victor walked right by one of the gnomes in a clothing shop.
Family Honor: They told one of the task judges during the Calligraphy Detour that their parents would cry themselves to death if they failed to win the leg in China (they ended up getting to only 1 of the 3 China mats first).
Tammy: If we don't survive the Beijing leg, we will bring shame to our family.
Victor: No, we will bring shame to the Chinese people.
Heel Realization: After taking the wrong path in Romania, Victor came to the realization that his controlling nature was causing them issues, and they had to change their dynamic.
Holding Hands: Tammy with Luke to help get through the foot massage Roadblock.
Humble Pie: During their hike up the wrong path in Romania, Victor first refused to admit that they might be going the wrong way, despite the fact that there was obviously something wrong with the path they were on, then broke down in tears when he finally admitted that they had been going the wrong way, then cried again when they checked in at the Pit Stop, then for a third time during the Confession Cams.
Innocent Bystander: They ended up getting caught between Kisha & Jen and Margie & Luke at the mat during their fight, and looked very uncomfortable as the two teams shouted at each other across them.
Moment Killer: They were celebrating after winning their first leg, and Victor came in for a hug, only for Tammy to reject it because he was "gross" following the pie throwing Detour.
Mondegreen: When getting their clue to go to the Amber Fort via telephone, Victor heard and wrote down "valet parking."
Muscles Are Meaningful: After getting beaten by Kisha & Jen in a footrace to the ninth Pit Stop, they U-Turned them in a later leg, writing "Sorry, we can't outrun you." This is despite the show having come down to a footrace only once in 13 previous seasons, and Margie & Luke being the bigger threat. Only Luke massively choking on the final Roadblock allowed Tammy & Victor to triumph.
Musicalis Interruptus: In the second leg, Victor started singing Hellbrunn (Schloss Hellbrunn being the Pit Stop Location) over and over again, until Tammy yelled at him to stop.
Pride: Victor's main flaw. In Romania, he bullheadedly followed the wrong set of arrows to the coffin Detour site and refused to consider Tammy's suggestion that they might not be the race arrows, even breaking down in tears over the incident. This became less of an issue afterward, though he joked about not screwing up the Chinese language Detours because it would bring their family shame.
Read the Freaking Clue: They initially did not complete the rickshaw Detour correctly, as Victor told Tammy they could drop their rickshaw at the entrance to the park. They then had to run back and get it to drop it off at the correct spot.
Their reasoning for taking the Lufthansa flight in the first leg was that they did not want to deliberately take the later flight, even though flights in the first leg have often been deliberately set up so that the one that leaves later has a shorter layover, and therefore lands first. (They ended up being right in this instance.)
Victor following the wrong marked path in Romania for miles, even after Tammy repeatedly pointed out that the route markers are generally red and yellow, not red and white. Not even the fact that they were climbing a mountain for over an hour tipped him off to the fact that they might be going the wrong way.
Rubber Band A.I.: They won the second leg by over an hour, and used that lead to be the only team to get on the first flight to Romania... only their plane suffered mechanical problems, and had to return to Munich, causing them to lose out on not only the first flight, but the second one as well, as it had already left by the time their plane returned, putting them with the teams at the back of the pack on the last flight.
Sibling Rivalry: Victor was the dominant one while Tammy was the passive one, and over the course of the Race they learned to be more equal.
Smug Snake: For most of the season they showed shades of this, with Victor's overly-complicated, but unnecessary plans to get ahead the other teams, which the other teams saw and resented them for. Or how they repeatedly tried to ditch Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara in Russia, only to team back up with them when they were unable to accomplish this. It was particularly bad through the three China episodes, where they repeatedly tried to get locals to help them beat the "foreigners".
Tempting Fate: Victor saying the synchronized diving Detour looked easy right before they repeatedly failed to score the 5 points they needed for the task, and dropping them from 1st to 3rd before they switched Detours.
This Is A Race: Their reasoning behind ditching Cara & Jaime and Marie & Luke in Russia, and U-Turning Kisha & Jen.
Weak, but Skilled: Of the top five teams, Cara was the only one either of them could generally beat at physical tasks, but they only finished below 3rd place once due to being better at every other part of the game.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: They repeatedly tried to ditch Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara in Russia, only their poor navigation and driving skills kept putting them right back with those two teams.
Ex-NFL cheerleaders, and the only non-family team in the top 6. They started off as middle-of-the-road racers, but were able to improve their game to the point where they gained competitive footing with the top teams. They became infamous for Jaime's Hair-Trigger Temper, which she frequently took out on locals, to the point that it made up her Final 3 montage. Ultimately, they finished 2nd due to the combination of a bad taxi and Jaime stumbling on one of the surfboards in the Final Roadblock. Jaime's outrageous, and often amusing, outbursts made them the only villain team to be invited back for Unfinished Business (with even Phil calling them the villains in pre-season interviews), and she was invited to become a Playboy Playmate.
Alas, Poor Villain: Jaime broke down and took all the blame for them losing the Race when she couldn't find the last surfboard without Luke's help, prompting Cara to console her and tell her they were a team.
Alpha Bitch: Jaime even describes herself as such in her pre-Race interview.
Aside Glance: Cara had a few of these when Jaime went on her tirades. Most specifically, when they finally found the U-Turn mat in China, after more than 3 hours of searching, Cara complained about Jaime's defeatist attitude, to which Jaime retorted, "As if you hadn't been acting that way the whole time." Cara, who'd spent the last 3 hours trying to encourage Jaime to stop acting frustrated and just look for the clue, gave a look of disbelief to their camera crew.
Big Eater: Cara put on an unbelievable performance at the Chinese delicacies Roadblock in the penultimate leg, fueling their comeback. She finished the task in seven minutes, when the other teams were taking up to half an hour. Jaime even brought this up during a Deleted Scene during Unfinished Business as the reason Cara was in charge of all eating Roadblocks.
Born Unlucky: They constantly had bad luck with cab drivers, which was part of the catalyst for Jaime's angry streak.
Establishing Character Moment: During their intro, Jaime's first line was her giving a very Dustin & Kandice-like quote (which can be seen at the top of this character entry) about how "aggressive women" are often viewed unfairly, but then suddenly turns it around and says she ultimately doesn't give a crap how people see her.
Language Barrier: Cara said that Jaime did not do well with Language Barriers. Jaime then, unsurprisingly, mentioned that she did not like foreign languages.
Laser-Guided Karma: In the final leg, their taxi driver's dispatcher told them "I am not their personal concierge." This was treated as penance for Jaime's attitude towards cab drivers throughout the Race (even though said dispatcher doesn't even know Jaime and thus this would be considered bad customer service in any other situation). Also, the surfboard Jaime missed had a picture of Jesus on it, leading her to say she "forgot about Jesus".
Let The Bully Win: Tammy & Victor did not even try to fight Jaime over a cab in China, as Jaime scared them past the point of even wanting to try.
Male Gaze: During their intro, the camera took a low angle as they did a cheerleading routine. Also when they were in their bikinis in the finale.
Miracle Rally: In the penultimate leg, despite winning the first half of the double leg, they got lost twice looking for clues on the second half of the leg, all but guaranteeing their elimination. Kisha & Jen got lost themselves, and got U-Turned, but still went into the Roadblock with a huge lead on the cheerleaders. Things looked over until Jen struggled with the Foreign Queasine Roadblock, then had herself a Potty Emergency. Meanwhile, Jaime & Cara got an amazing cab driver, Cara blazed through the Roadblock, and they managed to steal the last spot in the Final 3 while Jen was in the bathroom.
Morality Pet: Cara to Jaime. While Jaime was busy rampaging against everything that slightly annoyed her, Cara calmly dealt with her and called her out on all her faults. It was most likely this dynamic which kept Jaime from being as notoriously hated as someone like Kendra, despite being just as big of an Ugly American.
Ms. Fanservice: To the point that Jaime was approached to become a Playboy Playmate after the Race. Cara turned them down.
No Respect Guy: Partly related to them being Overshadowed by Awesome, and also partly related to none of the teams other than Margie & Luke liking Jaime, but they were constantly picked to be the next eliminated by the teams at the Elimination Station, and when they made the Final 3, Brad said that they got there entirely due to luck, and everyone agreed with him.note The biggest reason for this is they, like Dustin & Kandice during All-Stars, performed much better in the second half of the season than they did in the first half, meaning the teams at the Elimination Station, who were all eliminated in the first half of the season, never saw how good Jaime & Cara got late in the season.
This extended to Unfinished Business as well. During the pre-Race interviews, Ron & Christina listed Margie & Luke and Jet & Cord as their biggest competition, as they were the other teams who had made the Final 3, seemingly forgetting that Jaime & Cara had also made the Final 3 and beaten Margie & Luke.
Jaime: If I could just spend my life in the wild with animals and never see people again, I'd be completely okay with that. I'd never look back.
Overshadowed by Awesome: They were a very competent team and Jaime was good at most physical tasks, but they were also unlucky enough to be put against Margie & Luke and Tammy & Victor, who were just that much better. It did not help that Kisha & Jen, who they were consistently better than this season, went on to pull a Flawless Victory on Unfinished Business.
Pet the Dog: Despite her hatred of anyone who could not speak English, Jaime was repeatedly shown to go out of her way to communicate with the deaf Luke.
Politeness Judo: Discussed by Cara, in that she would like to have run the race this way, but as she had Jaime as a partner, she knew that was never going to happen.
Prank Call: Hilariously inverted at the beginning of episode 4. On their way to the Bucharest airport, Mark & Michael borrowed their cab drivers phone. They ended up calling not the airport, but Jaime & Cara's cab driver, who handed the cheerleaders the phone. Cara decided to pretend to be the Lufthansa agent, and started making up fake flights, much to Jaime's delight
Read the Freaking Clue: The struggled with the dancing Detour in China because they failed to dance through the entirety of the song, stopping after they had finished the choreography once.
Redhead In Green: Green was their team color and featured prominently in their wardrobes.
Rule of Fun: Their way of picking Detours was to select whichever one seemed the most fun.
The Runner Up Takes It All: While The Amazing Race is not usually a jumping off point for careers like other Reality Shows, Jaime is the major exception. She became a Playmate and a sports blogger for Playboy due to her appearance on the Race, which then led to her relationship with Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, and their child.
Satellite Character: Since the editing focused so much on Jaime, Cara was mostly a background character. This even extended beyond the Race, with Jaime becoming a Playmate while Cara slid back into obscurity.
Took a Level in Badass: By the fourth leg, all that time they were spending with Margie & Luke and Tammy & Victor started to show, and by the midpoint of the season they were formidable racers in their own right.
True Companions: With Margie & Luke, to the point that Luke and Jaime helped each other find their missing surfboards in the final task. Also, Cara to Jaime. She put law school on hold to pursue Jaime's dream of being on the Race and reminded her that they were a team when she beat herself up for not being able to identify the final surfboard.
Villainous Breakdown: Jaime's "This is how you lose a million dollars" scene, in which she yelled at Cara for being unable to keep up with carrying the pig and getting beaten by the "weakling" Tammy.
Wolf Whistle: Cara actually used these for motivation during the Russian underwear run.
Luke Adams & Margaret "Margie" Adams
Deaf contestant and his American Sign Language-translating mother. Luke was the first deaf contestant in the seriesnote though Asia Season 2 constesant Adrian was the first in the franchise, and as such, Phil signed their Race positions at the end of each leg. They started off as a strong team and early fan favorites, and though some fans soured on Luke's bursts of impatience, they remained favorites until Luke got into a shoving match with Jen in China, turning them into major Base Breakers overnight. Margie's surprising physical strength combined with Luke's ruthless strategy got them into the Final 3 without ever being in danger of elimination, but Luke choked away a massive lead on the Final Roadblock, leaving the task last despite having 8 of his 11 surfboards placed before the other teams showed up, ultimately giving them 3rd place. Their strong showing and Luke's Inspirationally Disadvantaged status gave them a place in Unfinished Business.
Action Mom: Margie, the "Bionic Woman". Despite being 50, she could perform gymnastics and carry a pig as well as the youngsters, sometimes even better than them.
Ascended Fanboy: Luke quit grad school to come on the show. His status as such was mentioned in the finale as him living his dream. He was also a relatively prolific poster on Reality Fan Forum.
Berserk Button: For Margie, it was her thinking Kisha was laughing at her son. When you realize that Luke is both deaf and gay, her reacting strongly to her son being bullied is understandable.
Character Shilling: Luke got gushing montages with the other teams talking about how great he was at the beginning of the second and third episodes.
Chewing the Scenery: Luke did this without actually speaking most of the time. Just watch his over-exaggerated gestures.
Crying Wolf: Though it was not Margie's fault, Phil and the rest of the production team pretty much ignored that she was clearly suffering from dehydration at the mat in Thailand. She repeatedly asked for water and said her fingers and mouth were numb, but Phil continued with his usual spiel until she collapsed, when he finally called for someone to bring her water. Having seen so many teams come into the Pit Stop tired, Phil probably did not think she was in much danger until she did collapse.
Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: Luke not being able to hear Jen running up behind him is partially responsible for him throwing an elbow at her when she suddenly ran into him.
Face-Heel Turn: After the shoving incident, when Luke became vindictive and held a grudge until Kisha & Jen were eliminated, though they reverted back to "face" for the finale.
Failed a Spot Check: Right before Luke's first shoving match with Jen, both teams completely missed the clue box, even though they both saw the Speed Bump right behind it, then walked away before spotting it, leading to Luke's elbow.
Fainting: In one of the show's scariest moments, Margie fainted from exhaustion at the mat in Phuket. This resulted from her doing most of the work during the rickshaw Detour (Luke not being able to hear the directions she was giving him forced her to do most of the pulling), and pulling the rickshaw along on a flat tire thanks to Mark & Michael hiding the tire pumps.
Fan Disservice: Margie's justification for not taking the underwear running Roadblock was "The world is not ready for that." Nonetheless, she looked fairly fit in a leotard.
Fatal Flaw: Luke's lack of patience. He suffered from concentration issues and got frustrated easily throughout the season (first seen during the pie throwing challenge). Ultimately, he wasted a significant lead at the Final Roadblock because he was too distracted by being unable to find the last two surfboards.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Killer Fatigue induced. At the Pit Stop before flying to the Guilin, China, the teams were forced to camp out in miserable rainy conditions while barely getting any sleep. Along with Luke's inability to hear who was coming, it only took a little physical contact to set him off against Jen.
Hide Your Gays: Luke, who wanted to talk about his sexuality, but the show decided to not include it until Season 24, in their 22nd episode.
Holding Hands: Luke with Tammy to help get through the foot massage Roadblock.
Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Luke aimed to be an example to deaf people, though not everyone agrees on the "inspirational" part due to his legendary impatience.
Language Barrier: Luke had this more so than any other contestant in the show, and it was central to his storyline. He mentioned that he liked being in non-English speaking countries, as it meant the other teams had issues with the Language Barrier as well.
Mama Bear: Margie reacted very intensely to her son possibly being bullied, which escalated into her comparing deafness issues with racial stereotyping.
Single Tear: When Mike White complained about not being able to sleep during their train ride in Russia, Luke mimed a single tear falling done his cheek, eliciting a sarcastic response from Mike.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Luke. He got a gushing montage from the other contestants after each of the first two legs, and their fight with Kisha & Jen took over an entire episode while bleeding into the following two. As well, Luke losing the million dollars was chosen as the most heartwrenching moment in CBS's Top 10 Amazing Race Moments video (aired prior to Season 19) over such moments as the Slave House visit in Season 6 and Auschwitz in All-Stars.
This Is A Race: Luke's justification for Blind U-Turning Amanda & Kris. Mike thus gave him the nickname of "Sinister Deaf Kid," joking that he would have to play limp to avoid getting U-Turned by him.
True Companions: With Jaime & Cara, to the point Luke and Jaime helped each other find their last surfboards in the finale.
Uncanny Valley Makeup: During the opera makeup Detour, Luke's inexperience with makeup, being the only man to do the task, led to him overdoing it with Margie's makeup, making her look like, in her words, Alice Cooper.
LaKisha "Kisha" Hoffman & Jennifer "Jen" Hoffman
Athletic sisters. Like Tammy & Victor, they had communication issues that hindered their ability to work as a team, mainly that Jen felt Kisha was overbearing as a big sister, but unlike Tammy & Victor, they never found a way to overcome itnote at least on this season. After an unremarkable first 8 legs (both competitively and character-wise), Jen rattled off a trio of embarrassing moments in China (Her fight with Luke, falling apart at the swimming Detour, and her Potty Emergency) putting them directly in the spotlight. Ultimately, though it looked like they had a spot in the Final 3 sewn up, Jen struggled with the Foreign Queasine Roadblock, then suffered a Potty Emergency once they were almost at the Pit Stop, allowing Jaime & Cara to slip by them, and getting them eliminated in 4th. They were given the chance to erase that humiliation in Unfinished Business.
All of the Other Reindeer: They felt like this after the shoving incident, as the other three remaining teams had been friends all season.
They almost allowed the long trailing Mel & Mike to catch up to them at the barrel Detour in Thailand, when Kisha did not notice the drinking water hose was running, and instead of doing both parts of the Detour simultaneously (filling barrels with drinking water and passing empty barrels up to the roof of the bridge), they took twice as long to do the task as they should have.
Right before Jen's first shoving match with Luke, both teams completely missed the clue box, even though they both saw the Speed Bump right behind it, then walked away before spotting it, leading to Luke's elbow.
Follow That Car: They admitted their strategy was to follow the other teams, because they could beat any of them in a footrace. However, this would also ultimately get them U-Turned down the road, as Tammy & Victor did not want to have to beat them in a footrace in the finale.
Going Commando: Jen admitted that she had to change into underwear for the Russian underwear run because she does not wear any.
Hair-Trigger Temper: They had to camp out in miserable Pit Stop conditions before Guilin, and combined with Margie & Luke's cab driver misleading them in the previous leg, Jen was instantly set off by Luke's elbow. They got over it quicker though.
Mirthless Laughter: Kisha tended to laugh when she was nervous. She did this on the mat in China, during their confrontation with Margie & Luke, which set off Margie and caused her to accuse Kisha of making fun of Luke.
Mondegreen: When getting their clue to go to the Amber Fort via telephone, Kisha heard and told their cab driver "amher football," which he then immediately translated to Amber Fort.
Muscles Are Meaningful: This allowed them to beat Tammy & Victor in a footrace to the Pit Stop in the first China leg despite the supposed language disadvantage, and caused them to become the target of a U-Turn later in the Race.
My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: The Chinese Waiter Detour required teams to listen to customers ordering food in Chinese, then repeat the orders to a chef. It was easy for Tammy & Victor since they spoke the language, but Kisha & Jen had a little difficulty: instead of ordering "New Taste Beef" they ordered "Oil Comes Again to Please the Mouth," and "Golden Pork Spare Ribs" got lost in translation as "Light Competition Red Dishes I've Played Before."
Never Live It Down: After they won Unfinished Business, Jen admitted in an interview that people were teasing her for their elimination via bathroom break (calling her "Pee-Pee Girl"), and that winning Unfinished Business hopefully would put this to rest.
No Sense of Direction: They got lost multiple times in Germany thanks to Kisha's navigation, dropping them to the back of the pack.
Potty Emergency: The result of Jen drinking four bottles of water while eating Chinese "delicacies".
Intentionally leaving their fanny pack, bags, and Kisha's shoes behind at the dock in Bangkok while they took a boat to their next destination, which would be a bad idea in real life, let alone a reality game show competition. This, along with failing to pay their cab at the dock, got them turned away from the Pit Stop. So even though they ended up hitting the mat third, they ended up last, only to be saved by Mark & Michael's four-hour penalty.
Jen coming on the show without learning how to swim at least decently first.
Stopping to go to the bathroom when you're racing to avoid elimination. This has been brought up by teams in future seasons, all saying they would pee their pants to win the race.
Dwarven stuntmen brothers. Though they had a lot of confidence, their inability to stay on course caused them to fall to the back of the pack a lot. They have the dubious honor of being the most frequently penalized team in the show's history (Though Nancy & Emily's 24-hour penalty remains the longest penalty, they had a total of four penalties levied on them over the course of the season). Though their first set of penalties only cost them a leg win, their second set, a pair of 2-hour penalties for using personal possessions to settle cab fairs, put them so far behind that they never saw another team after that, and they finished 5th.
Attractive Bent-Gender: In Bangkok, they started talking about how "fetching" the "women" they rode in the party taxi with were, not realizing that the women were obviously men, something Tammy pointed out within two seconds of seeing them.
Broken Record: At the Phuket Zoo, they ran around repeatedly yelling the name of the animal they had to find next.
A Death in the Limelight: Averted. They were pretty much shoved into the background in their final episode due to the fight between Luke and Jen.
Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: In Phuket, when they managed to get in 1st place for once, they decided to sabotage the other teams' efforts at the rickshaw Detour by tampering with the bike pumps and obscuring them from view, which led to three other teams dragging the rickshaws along on a flat tire, and Margie fainting at the mat from heat exhaustion. This, along with getting a cab to lead them to their destination, which the clue explicitly forbade, caused them to take two 30-minute penalties and drop to 3rd place.
The Ditz: They did well in the first leg, but it was all down hill after that. They constantly made mistakes which the editors loved to point out, and seemingly couldn't go an entire episode without finding a way to put their feet in their mouths. Any pretense of them getting a serious edit went out the window by the fourth episode, when they wasted a lead of several hours by failing the wood stacking Detour, and then wandered around forever, unable to find the house for the shutters side of the Detour.
Elimination Montage: Other than Peggy & Claire's feelgood montage (where the other teams talked about how awesome they were), they were the first team to get one of the standard Elimination Montages that would be given to at least one team a season after that.
During the shutters Detour in Siberia, they could not find the house they were supposed to work on, and stopped to talk it over with Mel & Mike and Amanda & Kris while the house was feet away from them.
When checking in at the fifth Pit Stop at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, they completely missed Phil upon entering the theater and started wandering through the seats. Phil had to whistle and snap to get their attention.
Foregone Conclusion: Their four hour penalty, combined with the non-elimination leg, put them so far behind starting leg 9 that they missed the early connecting flights all the other teams got on to Guilin, China, making their elimination all but guaranteed.
Nobody Calls Me Chicken: Mark became annoyed with Mel at the hang gliding Roadblock when he kept telling Mark not to be scared of hang gliding. Ultimately, stuntman Mark was able to ignore Mel's taunts and chose to run down the hill, the exact thing Mel was trying to prevent.
They were super confident starting the second leg in 3rd. However, as they "chilled" in the cab, comfortable in their lead, all the teams behind them called to book tickets on the first flight to Munich, resulting in them getting stuck on the last flight with Christie & Jodi.
Mark: We started third, we can just kinda chill, relax. Not always be on G-O, not always be on that trigger.
They also left their bags behind and forgot to pay their cab driver at the dock in Bangkok. This had even worse repercussions for them, since they used personal possessions to settle their large cab fare, which landed them a cumulative 4-hour penalty.
In accordance with that, Michael was insistent on going back to get their bags right away, as he brought along several "irreplaceable mementos," onto a show were items frequently get damaged or lost due to frequent and hectic travel.
Tempting Fate: They talked about not wanting to drive in Russia, right before they were given a car to drive themselves.
Mel White & Mike White
Bisexual filmmaker (whose writing credits include School of Rock, in which he played Ned Schneebly) and his gay father. They became fan favorites in the second leg after Mel said a humble prayer expressing gratitude for the experience just as he thought they were done for. Despite their physical limitations, they managed to do very well, including winning a leg, thanks to Mel's ability to stay calm and think even when things looked at their most dire. They were eliminated in Phuket after their cab driver drove them to the wrong location looking for a gorilla statue (he took them to Patong Beach, the statue was at the zoo), landing them in 6th. Their positive attitudes and fan favorite status got them invited back for Unfinished Business.
Batman Gambit: During the hang gliding Roadblock, Mel failed miserably at this. Unable to run down the mountain due to his pulled groin muscle, and with all the other teams taking that option due to the bad wind conditions, Mel tried to get the remaining teams to stay by telling them that running down the hill was the "chicken option." This did not work, and every other team chose to run.
Determinator: Mel never gave up, even when it looked like they were sure to be eliminated.
Door Dumb: One of their funniest moments was at the second Pit Stop (Schloss Hellbrunn). For some reason, they ended up approaching the Pit Stop from behind. Instead of running through the courtyard like the other teams, they ended up at a locked gate by the mat. Instead of trying to go around or figuring out how to unlock it, Mike continued to pull on the gate, and even climbed up on it and tried to force it open, all within sight of an amused Phil. They finally got help from a guy who simply turned the door handle.
Failed a Spot Check: During the shutters Detour in Siberia, they could not find the house they were supposed to work on, and stopped to talk it over with Mark & Michael and Amanda & Kris while the house was feet away from them.
However, later averted in India during the camel feed Roadblock. Mel was noticeably struggling with the task, with Mike on the sidelines worrying about his dad. When they moved from the water buckets to the camel feed, Mel was the only one who spotted the baskets used to transport the feed (except Victor, who was long gone), while everyone else just used their water buckets or stuffed feed down their shirts. This gave Mel a huge jump on the second half of the Roadblock, and they finished 2nd that leg.
Foreshadowing: While packing up at the Elimination Station, Mel was reminiscing over their experience, and said how they'll never have such a chance again. Mike countered by telling him to never say never. Two years later they came back for Unfinished Business.
Graceful Loser: Mel, probably too much so. At the Elimination Station, he said that he was fine with being eliminated, and was having more fun there than he had on the race. Mike did not share this sentiment.
Obi-Wan Moment: Subverted. Mel took a hang gliding Roadblock that could only be performed when the wind was right, with the option otherwise of just hiking down the mountain. Mel's groin injury prevented him from taking that option, and thus when every other team left, he thought he would end up last waiting all day for the wind to change, and thanked God for the opportunity in anticipation of his elimination. At that point, the wind suddenly changed, and they coasted into 2nd place in that leg.
Rule of Fun: Mike's way of picking Detours was to select whichever one seemed the most fun.
Self-Deprecation: During the shutters Detour in Siberia, when they, Mark & Michael, and Amanda & Kris were wandering around looking for the house they were supposed to work on:
Mel: How can four smart guys and the rest of us not be able to figure this out?
Christina "Christie" Volkmer & Jordan "Jodi" Wincheski
Flight attendants, they started out looking like the usual dumb blonde team, as they barely escaped elimination on the first two legs. However, they managed to stick around for half the season, even winning a leg. Unfortunately, that glory was not to last, as thanks to being saved by a non-elimination leg, they went into India with a Speed Bump. When combined with their cab driver putting them in last place from the very beginning of the leg, the extra time spent on the Speed Bump allowed Mark & Michael to narrowly beat them to the Pit Stop despite taking the slower Detour option, and they ended up 7th.
Chekhov's Hobby: The one leg they actually did well in, and the leg they won, was the only leg in which they actually had a choice of flights, instead of having only one or two options to get to their destination. Most of the teams ended up missing the connecting flight in Moscow, allowing them to get into Siberia first, with only Kisha & Jen and Mark & Michael to compete with.
A Death in the Limelight: At the beginning of their final leg, Jodi started talking about how much she missed her daughter, and about how she wanted to be a good role model for her. In general, they were starting to grow on the audience before they were eliminated.
Determinator: It was this quality, how they kept plugging on despite always being on the edge of elimination, that started to endear them with the audience.
Dumb Blonde: Though not as dumb as they seem, they did manage to win a leg after all. However, all most people remember them for is wandering around after the Detour in the second leg, carrying some random piece of wood they picked up while trying to find the clue that every other teams had found in a matter of seconds.
Pixellation: During the underpants run, the editors blurred out Christie's backside since she was wearing a thong.
Reality Show Genre Blindness: In the first leg, they jumped on the first train to Interlaken, Switzerland that they could, even though there was a train that left an hour later, but got in earlier. Brad & Victoria, who were standing right next to them at the ticket counter, took all of five seconds to find out which train was better.
Dating couple. Though they started off strong, they would struggle with the Detour in Siberia. Their woodpile collapsed, causing them to switch Detours and fall to last place. Any hope they had of staging a comeback were dashed when they discovered they had been Blind U-Turned by Margie & Luke as a potential physical threat late in the game. Despite lasting only four legs in a season with many memorable characters, they were asked to return for Unfinished Business, where their stay would be even shorter the second time around.
Expy: Of Kris & Jon. It was so blatant that people were pointing it out before the season even started, and the comparisons only got worse from there. However, Amanda was not as big of a physical threat as Kris had been.
Failed a Spot Check: During the shutters Detour in Siberia, they could not find the house they were supposed to work on, and stopped to talk it over with Mel & Mike and Mark & Michael while the house was feet away from them.
Horrible Judge of Character: They thought Kisha & Jen had been the ones to Blind U-Turn them, and never thought that it could have been Margie & Luke.
Kris: Mike & Mel, when they saw the U-Turn picture on the board, they were probably like, "Aww, that sucks."
Amanda: Well, you know Margie & Luke probably felt so bad, too.
It Was with You All Along: During the Gypsy Moves Detour in Romania, Kris thought he had left his fanny pack back at the task's starting point. Once they had completed the task, he and Amanda searched frantically around the camp for their bag, and found nothing. They finally returned to where they completed the task to find the fanny pack in the cart they had used for the Detour. This mistake allowed Mel & Mike to pass them, costing them the leg win.
The Load: Amanda, to the point that Jaime mocked her during the wood stacking Detour for relying on her man.
No Sense of Direction: In Germany, they left the Detour in 2nd, before any of the teams behind them had even started the Detour, but got so lost looking for Schloss Hellbrunn, they dropped to 3rd.
Reality Show Genre Blindness: Amanda complained about being U-Turned, saying they were nothing but nice to everyone, seemingly forgetting, or just ignoring, the fact that they were racing against these teams.
Tall Poppy Syndrome: Margie & Luke didn't want to have to compete with Kris physically late in the season, leading to the U-Turn.
Bradley "Brad" Hunt & Victoria Hunt
Middle-aged, thrill seeking married couple. After a decent start, they took a gamble on a flight to Romania which did not pay off, leaving them stranded overnight when they missed their connecting flight in Amsterdam due to fog, and they were eliminated in 9th place.
Reality Show Genre Blindness: Their "risk" on their leg 3 flight was unnecessary. When they did not get on the first flight to Bucharest, they decided to take a gamble on a flight that connected through Amsterdam, even though they knew their flight would be arriving late, and the connection was going to be dangerously tight, just so they could get a 25 minute lead on the teams on the last flight. What made it especially unnecessary was that all the flights were scheduled to land in the middle of the night, which, to anyone who knows the race, means there's an excellent chance of an operating hours equalizer before they can get their next clue. Naturally, the teams on the last flight were equalized with the teams from the first flight at a train station, while Brad & Victoria missed their connection and were stuck in Amsterdam overnight.
Sore Loser: Victoria did not take losing very well, with her pouting throughout their first Elimination Station.
Trash Talk: Brad taunted Preston and Kris into a kayak race during the Elimination Station.
Steven "Steve" Cole & Linda Cole
Hillbilly couple. They were unsurprisingly ill-suited to run the race, as, other than a single shining moment during Cheese Hill, they were generally slow at everything. They ended up eliminated in 10th when Linda wandered down the wrong side of the mountain at the hang gliding Roadblock, putting them far enough behind that they were never able to catch up (and receive the penalty they were sure to have gotten for her failing to complete the task correctly). Despite this, they were invited back to be the emergency alternate for Unfinished Business.
All of the Other Reindeer: They felt alone and left out at the Elimination Station, though when they finally brought it up, the other teams pointed out that they were doing just as much to isolate themselves as the other teams were.
Expy: Of David & Mary, though they ended up being less fun and good-natured.
Failed a Spot Check: Linda missed one of the arrows pointing out the correct path down the mountain, and ended up running down the wrong path, all but ensuring their elimination.note If not for finishing in last anyway, she could have earned penalties for failing to complete the task correctly and/or accepting a ride from a local in order to make her way back to Steve.
Linda: Sir, could you go fast, but follow the speed limit?
The Load: Linda, who had trouble with even running.
Minor Insult Meltdown: The second Elimination Station webisode revolved around Steve being upset at Preston for not wanting to create an alliance with them during the first leg, and continued with him taking everything Preston said as a personal insult.
Not the Intended Use: Knowing that Linda was too weak to carry the cheese down Cheese Hill on her back like intended, they turned their cheese carriers into makeshift sleds, and slid the cheese down the hill, causing all the other teams to copy their tactic. When the task was brought back during Season 22, teams were given sleds instead (granted, it was snowing during the Switchback).
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Along with Preston & Jennifer, most of the Elimination Station revolved around them, even overshadowing the debut of the more popular Christie & Jodi and Mel & Mike respectively.
Preston McCamy & Jennifer Hopka
Bickering young dating couple. Their constant bickering and Jennifer's inability to move at anything resembling a quick pace put them at the back of the pack. Though they would arrive at the Pit Stop location in 10th place, Jennifer's slowness caused them to get passed up by Christie & Jodi in the footrace to the Pit Stop, and they were eliminated in 11th.
Face Plant/Prat Fall: Their part of the opening credits shows them doing this on Cheese Hill, most likely a play on them being the first team out.
Motor Mouth: A complaint Steve & Linda had about Jennifer at the Elimination Station.
No Sense of Direction: They were the only team to miss the first train from Milan to Locarno when they had trouble finding the train station.
Down to the Last Play: Upon arriving at the Pit Stop location, they went the wrong way out of the cab, allowing Christie & Jodi to pass them. With Jennifer being as slow as she was, they were never able to catch up.