Characters: The Amazing Race 16
After the disappointment that was Season 15, Season 16 was not much of an improvement, and led to them losing the "Best Reality-Competition Show" award for the first time ever at the Emmys. It had many of the same problems, a course that was easier than fans had come to expect, a field filled with Stunt Casting
teams, and an annoyingly low level of understanding of the Metagame
. This is the oldest cast that has ever been put together, with most of the teams being over 30, as well as one of the weakest (though the two are probably not related). However, it did produce possibly the most popular team to ever run the race, and featured one of the most memorable, if not controversial, finales in the show's history.
Daniel "Dan" Pious & Jordan Pious
: I obviously have annoyed the cowboys, but, you know, this is a race
, it's a game, and there's a million bucks at the other end, so I'm going after it.
Brothers, one straight, one gay, and one of the most surprising teams to ever win the race. They were immediately dismissed by most of the fans and were a favorite to be eliminated on the first leg as Dan made it abundantly clear that he was not a fan of the Race, nor was he particularly excited to be on it. They were never one of the strongest teams, nor were they one of the weakest. They were stuck in the middle of the pack for most of the season, with their only leg win prior to the finale being via Fast Forward, and did not stick out that much, with most fans not really having an opinion about them either way. They went into the finale as the underdog to "obvious favorites" Jet & Cord and "villains" Brent & Caite. At the Shanghai airport they cut in front of Jet & Cord in line, angering the Cowboys and their fans, but ultimately giving themselves no real advantage. What did give them an advantage was Dan taking the initiative to move them up to first class without additional cost during the flight, which gave them a lead they never gave up. They ended up beating the Cowboys by 25 minutes, one of the largest finale wins ever.
- Chekhov's Hobby: Jordan's Race knowledge in the finale. They used strategies and knowledge he got from watching the previous seasons to upset the much stronger Jet & Cord.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The final leg turned into this thanks to their jumping up to first class and the other teams struggling with the Industrial Light & Magic task. They won by 25 minutes, one of largest finale deficits ever, and are one of only two teams post All-Starsnote to lead for the entire final leg (the other being Nat & Kat). A Deleted Scene showed that Brent & Caite knew Dan & Jordan had to have already won by the time they left the ILM building, as both they and the Cowboys had been stuck there so long after the brothers had already left.
- Dark Horse Victory
- The Drag-Along: Dan made it very clear early on the he did not want to be there, but by the end he was fully invested and making strategic moves that would help them win the Race.
- Driving Stick: They actually celebrated when they were given a car with an automatic transmission.
- Felony Misdemeanor: The finale is probably the single biggest example of this trope the Race has ever seen. Specifically, not many had a real strong opinion of Dan & Jordan until they cut in front of Jet & Cord at the Shanghai Airport. Most Jet & Cord fans (especially casual fans) let lose the cries of, "Cheaters!" and decried the show for letting two such heinous villains cheat their way to victory, while others simply realized that the cutting in line was of no real benefit to Dan & Jordan outside of throwing the Cowboys off their game. Some were still complaining about it a year later when Jet & Cord returned for Unfinished Business, not that the show itself helped matters, as "Dan & Jordan cutting in line" was repeatedly cited as the main reason for Jet & Cord losing.
- Failing A Taxi: Used to try to drum up drama in the finale, as they had trouble finding a taxi to take them to the Finish Line.
- Genre Savvy: Jordan knew the rules regarding first class tickets. He also knew that there was nothing in the rules that prevented him and Dan moving up to First Class during the flight for free.
- Global Ignorance: Lampshaded by Jordan in the finale when he asked Dan if California was in the United States, then immediately broke down laughing when Dan gave him a look.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Brandy & Carol.
- Let's Get Dangerous: They were an afterthought up until the finale, where they dominated the final leg. Dan himself stepped up big in the last two legs after coasting along for most of the race.
- Mood Dissonance: While the other three teams were celebrating Brandy & Carol's elimination, they weren't quite as happy, and questioned the logic behind it.
- One Steve Limit / Gender-Blender Name: With Jordan Lloyd.
- Only Sane Man: They were the only team to question the logic of using the second U-Turn on Brandy & Carol instead of Jet & Cord, saying that they would all come to regret it eventually.
- Promoted Fanboy: A main part of Jordan's story.
- Sibling Rivalry
- Sibling Team
- This Is A Race: See the above quote from the finale.
- Twofer Token Minority: Jordan was both gay and Jewish.
- Underdogs Never Lose
- Undesirable Prize: They told Phil they would never use the scooters they won in leg 9.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Jordan's faced his fear of heights to win the Fast Forward by climbing on the outside of a Ferris wheel.
Jet McCoy & Cord McCoy (The Cowboys)
Brothers and professional bull riders. They quite possibly displaced B.J. & Tyler
as the most popular team to ever run the race. They had none of B.J. & Tyler's Base Breaker tendencies, fans who were obsessive on the same level as Dustin & Kandice's
, and what hate they did get was not directed at them, but at their fans. They quickly established themselves as the favorites, winning the second and third legs, and went into the finale as the favorite to win. Unfortunately, they fell apart when Dan & Jordan cut in front of them at the airport, and took so long to complete the Industrial Light & Magic task that Dan & Jordan cruised to victory. Their popularity would get them invited back for Unfinished Business.
- Call Back: In the finale, Cord quoted, "It's on like Donkey Kong," previously used by Frank, Chip, B.J., Jen, and Cara.
- Catch Phrase: Oh my gravy.
- Failed a Spot Check: They had one in the finale that ultimately cost them the race. The Industrial Light & Magic task involved one teammate walking through a virtual reality world, following instructions from their teammate (similar to the game Knightmare, though much easier). At the end of the task, the instructor was given their next clue on the computer screen, but it was swirling in circles. To get the clue, the other team member had to spin in circles, thereby making the words stay still on the screen. Jet & Cord failed to figure this out for the longest time despite Jet's path during the challenge being blocked by a spinning Jordan. Cord did not notice either, as he was too busy taunting Dan.
- Goshdang It To Heck: Good Southern Christian boys, they used swears like "Daggummit!" and "Gosh darnit!"
- Iconic Item: Their black and white cowboy hats.
- In-Series Nickname: The Cowboys.
- Leitmotif: They got their own generic Western movie theme.
- Loners Are Freaks: Completely averted. They really didn't mix much with the other teams, but were liked by both the fans and the other teams anyway. Being cowboys probably helped, as cowboys are expected to be loners by trade.
- Mr. Fanservice
- Never Live It Down: Jet missed lassoing his target while doing the Roadblock on the third leg. After successfully roping in his target on his second try, Cord started cracking jokes on how everybody will be ribbing Jet about missing it the first time back home.
- Nice Hat: They would never be seen without their cowboy hats, and always kept them on, even while bungee jumping. On the final leg, Jet's character avatar at the Industrial Light & Magic challenge was even given a cowboy hat.
- No Peripheral Vision: They passed by Brent while looking for a clue box, yet did not see him despite spotting his bags against a wall, looking right over his head, and being close enough to touch him. Brent's reaction to the whole thing was hilarious.
- No Sense of Direction: Especially when they had to navigate in cities.
- Sibling Team
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: They got their own theme, had their own commercial for the Country Music Awards, raced with many cowboyish themed tasks, and had a fanbase that both ripped apart Dan & Jordan for winning, and would get upset at any suggestion that the Cowboys were not the greatest thing to ever happen to the Race. They were the only team to have new footage appear in the preview for Unfinished Business at the end of Season 17. And their going from last to first on leg 8 while having a Speed Bump was chosen as the best comeback moment in CBS's Top 10 Amazing Race Moments video over Uchenna & Joyce's comeback in the Season 7 finale, where they had no money and had to beg their way onto a closed flight to win the race, or T.K. & Rachel's comback in Season 12, where they had to run a perfect leg with a Speed Bump even to make the Final 3.
- Unskilled, but Strong: They were horrible at navigation, airports, and most mental challenges. They also had a knack for diving in head first, screwing up challenges because they missed little details. However, they could blow through most physical challenges with ease. They were able to overcome the Speed Bump and win the 8th leg simply because they were the only team physically capable of doing the faster side of the Detour by balancing the flags on their heads.
Brent Horne & Lauren Caitlin "Caite" Upton
Caite (In the Miss Teen America competition): I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.
Miss Teen South Carolina 2007 and her boyfriend. Yes, that Miss Teen South Carolina
. She came on the race wanting to prove to people that she was not as dumb as the "U.S. Americans" quote made her seem. In the first leg, Dan & Jordan recognized her, and immediately started mocking her behind her back with Brandy & Carol. Louie & Michael couldn't help but pass this on, causing Caite to instantly hate the "Mean Lesbians" (but not Dan & Jordan) and endeavor to get them eliminated. The would make the Final 3 where they would fall behind early due to a bad cab and never really get back in it.
- Alpha Bitch
- Attention Whore: Caite
- Dumb Blonde
- Evil Gloating: Caite, after U-Turning Brandy & Carol, leading to their elimination. She gloated to the other teams at the airport in the very next leg as they waited to board their plane to Shanghai. It was from this point on that she was portrayed as the villain.
- Face-Heel Turn: Caite was portrayed sympathetically early on, but as her feud with Brandy went on and the "mean lesbians" were eliminated, she started obsessing over being the only woman left in the race, and she fully became the villain of the season.
- Failed a Spot Check: In the final leg they had caught up to Jet & Cord after the Industrial Light & Magic task, but left their fanny pack behind at the task location, forcing them to go back and get it, ensuring their third place finish.
- Hypocrite: Caite constantly complaining about Brandy & Carol being mean, despite she being just as nasty, if not more so.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Louie & Michael.
- Last of Her Kind: Caite made a huge deal out of being the last woman in the Race, and her trumpeting of this fact is what set Brandy off at the Finish Line.
- Malaproper: Brent made such mistakes as using "anonymous" instead of "unanimous", and "barrier" instead of "bearing".
- The Masochism Tango
- My Nayme Is...: Caite (pronounced "Katie", not "Kate").
- Never Live It Down: Her main reason for coming on the Race is that no one has let her forget the U.S. Americans speech since it happened, and she wanted to prove to people she's not an idiot.
- One Head Taller
- Potty Emergency: Brent stopped the Detour in leg 11 to use the restroom, though he and Caite still ended up winning that leg.
- Read The Freaking Clue: They were twice turned back from the Pit Stop because they missed a clue and had to go back and finish the leg correctly, and got a 30 minute penalty on leg 1 for not taking the required transportation to the Pit Stop.
- Redemption Quest: Subverted with Caite. She may have accomplished her goal of getting to the Final 3, but, as a result of several stupid mistakes, constant bickering with Brent, and her feud with Brandy, her image probably got worse.
- Revenge Before Reason: U-Turning the "mean lesbians," even though Jet & Cord were in last place at that point.
- Sequence Breaking: They did it twice, first by missing the clue at the U-Turn on leg 6 (this did not effect their placement), then again on leg 8 when they followed Brandy & Carol to the Pit Stop without ever completing the Detour.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: Delivered a very calm one to Brandy at the finish line after Brandy started verbally attacking her, effectively shutting Brandy up.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: With Brandy.
Louis "Louie" Stravato & Michael Naylor
Undercover police officers, they struggled early on before getting on the best flight in leg 4, and riding the lack of equalizers over the next several legs to a 3-leg winning streak, after which they went right back to bumbling along in the back of the pack. Their frequent mistakes would eventually cost them to get eliminated in 4th.
- Call It Karma: Michael actually wore a Karma shirt despite the fact that they had U-Turned a team, were constantly badmouthing other teams for their bad attitude, and were generally egotistical to the point of Tempting Fate.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Brent & Caite.
- Mighty Glacier: Louie had some massive muscles, but he couldn't run ten feet without getting winded.
- Revenge Before Reason: U-Turning Joe & Heidi in leg 5 because they wanted to "humble him" despite the fact that Joe & Heidi were in 2nd and way ahead of most of the other teams at that point, and there were other strong teams nearer to the back of the pack (Jet & Cord for example). Only pure luck caused Joe & Heidi to get eliminated.
- Small Name, Big Ego
- Smug Snake: Made frequent claims to "controlling the race," especially after "convincing" Brent & Caite to U-Turn Brandy & Carol (over Jet & Cord).
- Tempting Fate: They boasted that they would not be surprised to win every leg, made several wolf/sheep analogies, U-Turned another team because they needed to be "humbled", badmouthed Brandy & Carol to Phil's face, and, to top it all off, they invoked I'm Not Here to Make Friends.
- We're Not Here To Make Friends: When U-Turning Joe & Heidi.
Carol Rosenfeld & Brandy Snow
Brandy: Dumb did us in.
Dating couple, and the "Mean Lesbians". They were a decent team, getting several top-3 finishes, and stole a lion's share of the screen time for the first half of the Season. While no one had any problems with Carol, Brandy's constant complaining earned her the ire of both the other teams and the fans. Ultimately finished 5th when they were U-Turned by Caite.
- Always Second Best
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: Subverted. Their elimination was initially played as this, until Dan & Jordan pointed out that the U-Turn could have just as easily been used to eliminate the more dangerous Jet & Cord.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign:
Brandy: How many languages have we butchered? ... My high school French is coming back to me, but it really is getting jumbled in my head with Spanish. Frenglish.
- Bi the Way: As stated in Brandy's bio:
People would be surprised to learn: That I'm bisexual.
- Dartboard of Hate: A variation on the leg 3 polo challenge, as Carol tells Brandy to imagine that the polo ball is her face.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Joe & Bill, both being middle-aged, cultured, homosexual couples who got on the nerves of the other teams and got lots of airtime as a result.
- Grumpy Bear: Brandy
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Dan & Jordan.
- Jerkass: Brandy
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: It's even indicated by their hair color.
- Satellite Character: Like Cara before her, Carol was overshadowed by her outspoken teammate.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: With Caite.
- Sore Loser: Brandy's rant towards Caite at the Finish Line remains one of the ugliest moments in Race history.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: For the first half of the season. They had by far the most airtime, were featured in promos as much as Jet & Cord, and became not only the focus of their own storyline, but Caite & Brent's as well.
Steven "Steve" Smith & Allison "Allie" Smith
Baseball coach and his daughter. Ran off five straight legs of top 3 finishes, including winning the seventh leg, before falling in 6th place due to bad luck with cabs.
- Cool Old Guy: Steve might have been just as popular as Gary had he gotten any airtime.
- Duct Tape for Everything: In leg 6 they crashed their front right fender on a curb. Loose parts were making an awful scraping sound while they were driving, so Steve used some Duct Tape (that his wife packed him "just in case") to tape up the loose pieces and motor along to a 3rd place finish.
- Out of Focus: They were just kind of there until their first leg win, then they got eliminated in the next leg.
- Shocking Elimination
Jordan Lloyd & Jeffery "Jeff" Schroeder
Dating couple, who appeared on Big Brother
11 together, and which Jordan won. Were cast due to Executive Meddling
from CBS, and though they won the first leg, they bumbled their way to the back of the pack through the rest of the Race, bad navigation (some of it their own, some of it due to cab drivers) causing them to finish 7th.
- Dumb Blonde: Lampshaded. Jordan said, "We should not be allowed to breed!"
- Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: In leg 5, they had to locate their first clue by buying a baguette and tearing it open to find the clue inside. Jordan started eating her baguette while Jeff read the clue. At one point, she responded to him with a full mouth, leading to the subtitler putting "????????????????" across the bottom of the screen.
- Global Ignorance: Despite being constantly reminded that they were going to Chile in leg 1, Jordan proceeded to request tickets to Santiago, China.
- No Sense of Direction
- One Steve Limit / Gender-Blender Name: With Jordan Pious.
- Out of Focus: Especially when compared to other immigrants from Big Brother and Survivor. The show obviously made no effort to put them in the spotlight.
Joseph "Joe" Wang & Heidi Wang
Asian married couple. Hovered around the top of the pack until they were hit with a U-Turn by Louie & Michael, causing their elimination in 8th.
Monique Pryor & Shawne Morgan
Friends and lawyers. Looked like top contenders for the first two legs, but Shawne struggled with the lasso Roadblock on leg 3, then they struggled again on the polo Detour, eventually switching tasks and falling far enough behind to finish 9th.
Jordan "Jody" Kelly & Shannon Foster
Grandmother/granddaughter team. Even though she was in good shape for her age, Jody set low standards for herself when she stated that she didn't expect to win the Race. They finished 10th when Jody struggled with the cow milking Roadblock.
Dana Davis & Adrian Davis
African-American married couple, and the weakest team to ever run the Race. They were the third team to get eliminated without finishing a single leg, however both Bilal & Sa'eed
and Eric & Lisa
were eliminated at legitimate elimination points, whereas Adrian was unable to complete the Race's first task, a wire walking challenge, a variation of which appears on almost every season, and has been completed by every other team who has attempted it. Phil had to come out to the Roadblock to eliminate them in 11th.