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Characters: The Amazing Race 17

The seventeenth season of the Race, The One Where a female team finally won. On the heels of two disappointing seasons and their first Emmy loss, the Race needed to do something to shake up the show, so they reverted to what worked so well in Seasons 12-14, more Genre Savvy teams and more tricky mental tasks, and they ended up with one of the toughest and most memorable fields the Race had ever seen. This season contained the most unsubtle Foreshadowing the show had ever used, as, by the time the finale rolled around, most long time fans realized that a female team was finally going to win the Race. A good season, it erased many of the bad feelings left over from the two previous seasons, and left the fanbase excited heading into Unfinished Business.

Of special note, while Season 7 had the highest ratings of any season, Season 17 is the highest ranked season, being the 22nd most popular show of the 2010-2011 television season (Seasons 7 and 12 both came in at #25).

Natalie "Nat" Strand & Katherine "Kat" Chang

Kat: Tastes like a million dollars.

Anesthesiologists and the first female team to win the Racenote , Nat & Kat stood out early due to getting on the second flight out of Boston, yet making up the half hour deficit to be the first team to reach Stonehenge. They would become fan favorites due to their polite natures, and they are possibly the only team to go through the entire season without getting mad at each other, or anyone else. Though they won five legs (the record for female teams), going through stretches where they would easily dominate the other teams on tasks, they would at times stumble to the back of the pack and have to claw their way back up the standings. In the finale, they found a cab driver who allowed them to use his phone to figure out the big puzzle clue, giving them a huge lead over the other teams and winning them the race.

  • Ascended To Carnivorism: Kat, who had not eaten meat in 22 years, did not hesitate to eat half of a sheep's head to win the Fast Forward.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Kat
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: In the Circus Band Detour in leg 7, they memorized the song on the accordion by turning it into a number pattern, setting them up for their third leg win.
  • Badass Bookworm: Nat in particular, but vegetarian Kat did manage to eat half of a sheep's head without complaining like some other vegetarians previously (Meredith and Terence).
  • Born Lucky: Nick said they had the best luck he'd ever seen.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: They so thoroughly dominated the final leg that it was clear they were going to win halfway through the episode, and they didn't see another team past the midpoint of the leg.
  • Crazy-Prepared: They prepared for the race like they would a professional sporting event, and did research on any sort of fatigue or stress they would put on their mind and body over the course of the race. Once on the course, they took overly detailed notes on every single leg in preparation for the final puzzle that had decided most recent seasons.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nat. Aside from the MD-PhD comment (see Not That Kind of Doctor), she also remarked that one of the grumpy-looking locals serenading their sheep head meal was "very inspiring," and asked, when flying to Hong Kong, if she would be the tallest person there.
  • Determinator: Kat the vegetarian eating half a sheep's head in order to win the Fast Forward.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Nat, while talking about her diabetes, is shown calmly checking her blood sugar level while driving in the first leg.
  • Genre Savvy: They studied and prepared for the game before coming on it, took notes throughout the season, and knew enough to find a cab driver with a phone in the finale.
    Nat (commenting on the Fast Forward): We know enough about the Race that when there's a little glass of water on the table, that is a bad sign.
  • Impairment Shot: Played with in their opening, referencing their jobs as anesthesiologists. The camera is facing towards the ceiling, with Nat & Kat standing over it, and Kat lowering a gas mask towards the screen.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Averted; Nat is a Type 1 diabetic, but the subject rarely came up even though managing it was the hardest part of the race for her. On one hand, this might have been because diabetes just doesn't sound as dramatic as having one leg or being deaf, but at the same time it was similarly averted when Luke and Zev returned for Unfinished Business.
  • Long Runner Tech Marches On: This very thing helped Nat & Kat win, as in the finale they made sure their cab driver had a phone they could use to figure out their puzzle clue, while the other two teams just jumped in a random cab. Jill & Thomas in particular got hopelessly lost as a result.
  • No Sense of Direction: They got lost for hours in Oman, though this was mostly because their map did not include several roads they needed to take. Only the fact that Gary & Mallory got slightly more lost than they did saved them from elimination.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Inverted when, after being U-Turned, Chad started taunting Nat at the Roadblock. Though really, it might have just been because Chad didn't know the difference between an MD and a PhD.
    Chad: Nat you should be able to get this easy. How's that PhD helping you?
    Nat (in a voice over): For the record, I have an MD, I do not have a PhD.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Nat could always be seen sporting a smile that seemed to take up half of her face.
  • Politeness Judo: They used "please" and "thank you" to make their way around the world, and never lost their temper, even at each other. They used their politeness to get a man to buy them a travel guide, and to defuse Chad's temper after they had U-Turned him. In the finale, Nat was able to coax a reluctant person over the phone to help them figure out their puzzle clue:
    Nat: Hi, I'm sorry, I'm in a race.
  • The Smart Guy: Both of them.
  • This is a Race: They did not hesitate to hit Chad & Stephanie with a U-Turn to give themselves a better chance to survive leg 9, and told Chad it wasn't personal after U-Turning him.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When they walk into the Fast Forward and see that it's an eating challenge, even before the meat is put on the table.
  • True Companions: They talked about their bond during their victory speech.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: They both had to face their fears in leg 5. Nat had to deal with her fear of heights, while vegetarian Kat had to eat half a sheep's head to win the Fast Forward. Nat had to deal with heights again later in the season finale.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Upon reading their clue telling them to fly to South Korea:
    Kat: When you land, drive yourself towards the North Korean border. Really?... "Do not cross the border," I guess that's pretty obvious.

Brook Roberts & Claire Champlin

Claire: We might come off as the ditzy la la girls, like, "Aw, they're cute, but they're high maintenance, they're not gonna go anywhere," but the ditzy la la's, I think, are here to stay.
Brook: We're not goin' anywhere, anytime soon.

Energetic Home Shopping Hosts who gained notoriety before the season even started due to a clip of Claire launching a watermelon into her own face being used to promote the season, and gaining millions of hits on YouTube in the process. They were immediately dismissed as fodder due to the watermelon clip and their diminutive statures, but after quickly recovering from the watermelon incident, and then winning the second leg, they would establish themselves as one of the favorites to win. They wound up 2nd when they just couldn't keep up with Nat & Kat in the finale, stopping to look up the answers for the cryptic puzzle clue while Nat used her cab driver's cell phone to call information and get the answers. They were invited back for Unfinished Business, but had to decline due to Claire getting pregnant.

  • Action Girl: Brook never seemed to run out of energy, even when Claire was practically begging her to slow down, and mentioned that she had done marathon running and rock-climbing in the past.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Late in the season, both of them talked about how one of their main issues was Brook's concentration problems. Of particular note was the Roadblock on the South Korean military base, when Brook ran around yelling about being surrounded by ninjas and trying to high kick a wooden board after already receiving her clue.
  • Badass Adorable: Brook obviously, but also Claire. You try having a watermelon explode on your face and recover as quickly as she did.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Brook, in the finale, when she saw exactly what a bungee swing entailed.
  • Boom, Headshot: Hilariously averted with Claire, who took a watermelon, fired from a ballista at point blank range, to the face, then got up and finished the leg, getting 4th place (out of 11).
  • Butt Monkey: Poor Claire got all the horrible Roadblocks... hitting herself in the face with a watermelon, getting stranded on an ascender, throwing up all that food while looking for the one fake piece, she just couldn't catch a break.
  • Catch Phrase: Brook's might as well have been, "Come on, Claire!" with as much as she yelled it.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Their jobs as Home Shopping Hosts came in handy in the second leg, where Brook got them a lead on the sunglasses selling task, leading to their only leg win of the season.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Some of the things Brook says...
    Brook: I hope I get to wear a leotard.
    Claire: Oh my god. Who says that?
    Brook: Me.
  • Corpsing: After the watermelon incident, Brook just could not stop laughing. Several times she broke at the end of otherwise serious sentences about how her partner just hit herself in the face with a watermelon. During the Confession Cams, Claire started cracking up as well.
  • Crowd Chant: Brook got the crowd chanting Claire's name at the fake food Roadblock.
  • Delicious Distraction: During the television antenna Detour, Claire got distracted by the smell of food, and Brook had to tell her to focus.
  • Double Take: Brook acted this out during a Confession Cam in leg 8 as her reaction to Claire volunteering to do the rappelling Roadblock.
  • Dumb Blonde: Subverted with Brook. She was dismissed as this pre-Race, and even seemed like it on the surface, but quickly proved it wrong.
  • The Everyman: Claire, especially when put next to the athletic Brook.
  • Face Palm: During Claire's mocking of Brook in South Korea (see The Munchausen), Brook was sitting next to her laughing, ending with a self-directed Face Palm.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • During the Language Arts Detour in Ghana, they mocked themselves for missing the giant wall of symbols on a nearby building, when they instead started circling children playing nearby. They would also miss the decoder key on the side of the building, causing them to switch to the other Detour task and their worst finish of the season.
    • In Russia, they were in 1st during the Russian Mystery challenge, and a local led them right to 1 Vladimirsky Prospekt's Tower, where the next clue was. Unfortunately, they missed the marked door in the courtyard, and wandered around the area for a while, dropping them to 4th.
  • The Fashionista: Their outfits were focused on at the beginnings of legs 4 (where they used "zebra shorts" to cheer themselves up after dropping to 6th) and 11 (where they talked out how they had brought along special outfits for the final few legs; that's right, they had special victory outfits).
  • Felony Misdemeanor: They did not take kindly to Jill & Thomas U-Turning them, and Brook accused Thomas of having a tiny penis.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Discussed and averted in Oman, when they said that, despite being girly girls, they did not know how to cook.
  • Flower in Her Hair: Both of them, at different times during the race.
  • Foil: Claire's calmer, more steady personality played well in concert with Brook's hyperactive one.
  • Gaussian Girl: Played for laughs at the beginning of leg four, when they were modeling the outfits they were using to cheer themselves up.
  • Genki Girl: Brook had endless wells of energy and did not put them to waste.
  • Global Ignorance: While not every team was able to find Ghana on their map on the first try, Brook & Claire were the only team, aside from eternally dim Nick & Vicki, to not at least guess in the right area, and to have most of the other countries on their map identified before they found it.
  • The Glomp: Claire did this to Phil in Oman when they found out they were 4th, not last, leaving Phil looking particularly startled when she launched herself at him. Likewise, Brook did this to the Chinese Chef when Claire finally completed the Fake Food Roadblock in Hong Kong. Then Brook did it to Bob Eubanks in the finale.
  • Infectious Enthusiasm: During the fake food Roadblock, Brook got up on stage, started dancing, stole attention from the restaurant's karaoke singers, and then got the entire restaurant to cheer for Claire. She had the whole restaurant celebrating when Claire finally completed the challenge.
  • Insane Troll Logic: During the Language Arts Detour in Ghana, after being given the list of eight phrases they had to decode, Claire spotted a group of eight children dancing in a circle, and decided that they had to circle those children to complete the task (because eight children = eight phrases), and had Brook draw a circle in the dirt around them with a stick. Naturally both Chad & Stephanie and Katie & Rachel saw this, and started circling groups of children as well.
  • Instant Web Hit: The watermelon scene was used to promote the season, and ended up exploding on YouTube.
  • Large Ham: Brook, especially during tasks.
  • The Load: Claire just couldn't keep up with Brook, and several times cost them a position or two because she couldn't run or do Roadblocks as fast.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Though she was stunned at first, Claire recovered pretty quickly from the watermelon incident, to the point where she was laughing about it with Brook by the time they hit the Pit Stop. Doctors watching the show say she was showing signs of a concussion immediately after the hit.
  • Motor Mouth: Brook, at one point she talked through an entire boxing Roadblock.
  • The Munchausen: Claire mocked Brook's tendency to be an expert at everything in Seoul:
    Claire: I don't know how to ice skate, and I know Brook, she'll just be like, "I was a professional ice skater when I was seven. I won three gold medals, and blah blah blah." This woman has done everything. Me, I'm like... um, yeah, haven't done that before.
  • Never Live It Down: In an interview, Claire said that no matter what she does for the rest of her life, she expects to always be remembered as the woman who got hit in the face with a watermelon.
  • No Indoor Voice: Brook.
  • Pink Means Feminine: In Ghana, during the television antenna Detour, Brook zeroed in on the sole pair of pink protective goggles.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Brook.
  • Read the Freaking Clue:
    • In the third leg, they forgot one of the wheelbarrows they were supposed to bring to the primary school, and had to go back.
    • They were one of three teams to take a cab when they were supposed to walk in leg 7, but unlike the other two, they eventually saw their mistake, went back, and walked the route they were supposed to, ending up 2nd that leg. They also took a cab rather than the required subway on the penultimate leg, but they didn't bother to correct their error that time since the penalty wasn't that much of a hindrance compared to going back and waiting for the subway.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Averted and Discussed during their final speech:
    Brooke: The ideal of being a strong woman either means that you're a grumpy boots, or that you're this really masculine gnarly chick. No, you can be feminine and tap into the femininity while still being a very strong woman.
  • Running Gag: They had a "kiss count" for every guy they would kiss during the race. It totaled out at 9.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • This leg 7 title quote from Brook:
      "I want to be in the circus, that's where I belong."
    • And, while talking to the local woman at the Icehotel:
      "My fiancee calls me an ice princess, I might need to borrow that later."
  • Sex Sells: The reasoning behind the "kiss count," but also during the sunglasses selling Roadblock, Brook would hug any man who bought a pair of sunglasses.
    Brook: If you can kiss a stranger on the cheek, you can move mountains.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Brook, with Mallory getting hit the worst because of this.
  • Squee: When they met Bob Eubanks in the finale.
  • That's Gotta Hurt: The general reaction to watching Claire take a watermelon to the face.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Claire Lampshades this in commentary about her reaction to finding out what she had to do regarding the Fake Food Roadblock in Hong Kong, uttering an exasperated "NO!!!"
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Brook and free-falling, so the bungee swing in the finale was the one point in the season where she hesitated at all.
  • Worthy Opponent: The reason Jill & Thomas U-Turned them in Bangladesh, they even told them in the next leg that the only reason they U-Turned them was because they saw them as a threat. (Really, the only team who didn't see them as a huge threat was Chad & Stephanie.)

Jillian "Jill" Haney & Thomas Wolfard

Thomas: We're gonna keep that streak of no all-female teams winning. I could care less about any type of history.

Dating couple, and the first team to win the Express Pass. They were the biggest threat to an all-female team winning, with Thomas showing a surprising level of respect for his female competition, while simultaneously showing little respect for his girlfriend's own skills. They ended up 3rd in the finale when they jumped in a cab whose driver didn't understand that they wanted to do an internet search for information, and got them dreadfully lost.

  • Directionless Driver: While looking for the Pit Stop in Norway, Thomas looped them back to the bridge where they did the ascender Roadblock. Though Jill said he was driving them in circles, he insisted that it was a different bridge until he drove across it and saw Katie & Rachel still at the Roadblock.
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: They ended up winning the penultimate leg when Brook & Claire were issued a penalty for taking a cab instead of the subway or walking to the Detour.
  • Failed a Spot Check: They ended up burning their Express Pass on the fourth leg Detour after they missed the arrow leading them to the Roadblock, and ran down the wrong path, dropping them to last.
  • Failing a Taxi: They lost 1st place in Hong Kong due to their inability to find a cab to the Pit Stop.
  • I Was Beaten By A Girl: Averted. He actually showed quite a bit of respect for his female competition. He considered Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire serious competition, and at the Finish Line he admitted that they were the two best teams.
    Nick: I definitely, without a question, think we're the top contender in this race, but you've got some very hungry, smart, athletic women that have proven they're a force to be reckoned with.
  • It's a Small World After All: While delivering water during the Detour in Oman, they randomly stumbled across the cousin of the man whose house they were supposed to find, and he led them right to the house.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Thomas was a Jerkass at the beginning of the season, but later on showed that he had a definite soft spot inside of him. In finale, when he realized that they had lost, instead of getting upset about it, he just hugged Jill and kissed her on the cheek.
  • Language Barrier: Thomas used the trope name in the finale when despairing over their horrible cab driver who had lost them the game.
  • Last of His Kind: In the finale, the girls made sure to point out to Thomas that he was the last man left in the race. A possible attempt at psychological warfare by Nat & Kat, as Thomas was well aware of the history on the line in that leg.
  • The Load: Brook & Claire essentially called Jill this after the U-Turn. Thomas pointed out that they were placing all the blame/credit for the U-Turn on him and not on Jill, to which the girls replied that they knew who the mastermind was.
  • Long Runner Tech Marches On: Their horrible cab driver in the finale didn't even know what Google or the internet was, and kept bringing up his GPS when Jill & Thomas asked if he knew anyone with a computer he could call.
  • Malaproper: Jill not only was a malaproper, but she tended to mispronounce words as well.
    There's a lot of nuts and bullets.
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: Notably averted. Given the chance of U-Turning any team, they targeted diminutive Home Shopping Hosts Brook & Claire, citing them as the biggest threats left.
  • No Damage Run
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Instead of getting upset when he realized they had lost the Race, Thomas just hugged Jill and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
  • Oh Crap: Upon seeing that Brook & Claire had survived the U-Turn.
  • Read the Freaking Manual: They cost themselves 1st place in Oman by breaking the relatively new Race rule that said they could not hire a cab to lead them to a destination, and were hit with a 30-minute penalty.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: A minor example, but the cab that got them lost in the finale, just minutes before they jumped in it, Nat & Kat had turned it down because they wanted a driver who would let them use his phone, and then it got worse when they refused to switch cabs when it became apparent that their driver was clueless.
  • Renaissance Man: Thomas was this, at least in his own mind. Aside from the constant boasting of his degree from Notre Dame, and his repeatedly putting down Jill for not having gone to college (she went to beauty school instead), anytime Jill would ask him if he had ever done something before (such as riding in a gondola), he would respond with, "of course I have."
  • Rubberband AI: They got a flight seven hours ahead of most of other teams on leg 9, but were right back with the pack in the next leg thanks to an airport equalizer.

Nicholas "Nick" DeCarlo & Victoria "Vicki" Casciola

Vicki: We're more of a physical couple than mental.

Dating couple, the heavily tattooed Nick & Vicki bumbled their way through most of the race, with Vicki doing her best to stay positive while Nick constantly berated and quit on her. Despite being so clueless that even Phil couldn't help but make a sarcastic quip at their expense, they managed to make the top 4, where they would cause the producers a huge headache after they took a 6-hour penalty for quitting the Detour, yet were non-eliminated. Fans were ready to riot had they made the Final 3 after Nick had essentially quit the race, but luckily they missed the equalizing flight on the next leg, and finished a distant 4th.

  • Aesop Amnesia: In Ghana, Nick learned not to blow up at Vicki when things went wrong, and in Russia he learned not to give up when things looked bad. Both of those went out the window when they hit the birdcage Detour in Hong Kong.
  • Action Girl: Vicki was better than most of the guys at the physical challenges, even with her asthma. She would even leave Nick behind on most challenges.
  • All There in the Manual: In leg 7, they were coming off of finishing last in a non-elimination leg, but inexplicably did not have to do a Speed Bump. It was leaked on Nick's Facebook page after the episode aired that the judge for the piano Detour on the previous leg had accidentally rejected their entry when they had actually completed the Detour correctly. So, the leg was hastily turned into a non-elimination leg with no Speed Bump penalty. However, it was later reported that the lack of a Speed Bump was due to a production error that effected several teams, the maestro, did not in fact make an error, and that the leg was pre-planned as a non-elimination leg (which is more believable, as it is forbidden by game show laws to change the predetermined non-elimination leg order, and the producers have not done anything to save teams from production errors since they made rules about it following Season 2).
  • Directionless Driver: In Oman, Nick talked about how it was easier to ask for directions from a local than trying to decipher a map. Though it played out that way in that particular leg, with the two teams who relied on their maps getting hopelessly lost and falling hours behind, it's normally a coin flip as to whether going by a map or asking for directions is faster.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The two of them standing atop Eastnor Castle, unable to find the flag on the battlement, even though it was right in front of them and Nick had touched it at one point.
  • Extreme Omni Goat: At the rappelling Roadblock in Oman, a goat started eating their clue as they were reading it for the camera.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Several times. On the first leg they were charged with taking a flag from the battlements of Eastnor Castle. They repeatedly passed by the flags while asking the locals if they were a battlement. At one point Nick even touched one of the flags before walking away to look elsewhere. Immediately after that they couldn't find the coracle boats to take them across the moat.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Their six hour penalty for quitting the Detour put them nine hours behind the other teams getting into Korea. It allowed the other teams to treat the penultimate leg as a free non-elimination leg.
  • Global Ignorance: In the first leg, Vicki admitted she had never heard of Stonehenge before, then Phil baited them at the Pit Stop. It only got worse from there.
    Phil: Nick & Vicki, what's the name of this country?
    Vicki: We're in London, right?
  • Grumpy Bear: Nick.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Nick would snap at Vicki at the drop of a hat.
  • I Was Beaten By A Girl: Nick was not happy at all about the prospect of losing to Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire. When it was down to the final five teams, he mentioned that he wanted the three remaining couples teams to be in the Final 3, as it would make the Race more interesting. After they were eliminated, he picked the lone remaining male to win.
  • Jerkass: Nick, especially in leg 10 where he taunted Claire at the fake food Roadblock, then quit on Vicki at the Detour, bullying her into accepting a penalty by refusing to participate in the task. Their final leg starts with a montage off all the abuse he heaped upon her.
  • Manly Tears: At the beginning of leg 10, they showed a clipnote  of Nick breaking down in tears over how much he loved Vicki, and all that she had done for him. This was right before his ultimate blow up.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Despite being nothing but civil to him, Nick rained constant verbal abuse down on Vicki, and cost her the race by forcing her to quit the Detour in leg 10.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination/Mercy Kill: They were shown performing the Speed Bump and said they performed the Detour, but were unable to do many of the other tasks due to the darkness and their last place finish.
  • No Social Skills: It wasn't very surprising when Nick said he didn't have many friends.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Vicki. She blew through the vertical ascender task while Chad was still working his way up.
  • The Quincy Punk
  • Rage Quit: Nick provided one of the Race's uglier moments when he snapped in Hong Kong and quit in the middle of the Detour, literally lying down and refusing to help Vicki find a boat in Hong Kong harbor. The non-elimination leg dragged it out for two episodes, enraging the fanbase that they would allow a quitter like Nick to stay in the game and possibly steal a spot in the Final 3 from a more deserving team.
  • Read the Freaking Clue: In the third leg, they brought too many bags of cement to the primary school, and had to go back.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness:
    • Vicki didn't know how the Fast Forward worked. She wanted to go for it because she was "pretty sure everybody did the Fast Forward," and then, once she and Nick got there and saw the "Fast Forward Taken" sign, Vicki did not know whether that meant someone was currently in the process of taking the Fast Forward, and wondered if they should wait around.
    • Nick took the Roadblock clue, "Who wants to complete in a Russian drag race?" to mean an actual drag race.
  • Time-Compression Montage: Their final leg played out in one of these. As the other teams had all checked into the Pit Stop by the time they reached their first clue, shots of them doing the Speed Bump were shown with their Elimination Statement playing over it.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: They made at least one brainless comment every episode and Failed a Spot Check regularly, but if a task was physical they breezed right through it. Of special note is that Vicki easily scaled the ascender, a device with a reputation for putting female contestants at a huge disadvantage, faster than many of her male opponents.
  • Unwinnable by Design: The producers didn't even give Nick & Vicki a chance to catch up to the other teams after their six-hour penalty. Of course, the Race's reputation already took a hit for unintentionally letting them survive quitting a task (as, again, it is forbidden by law to change non-elimination legs), but instead of manipulating the Pit Start times to allow Nick & Vicki to catch up at the airport, as the producers have been known to do, they made it so Nick & Vicki wouldn't be able to make it to the airport until the first flight had already left.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Nick's grandma had a clown room that he had to sleep in growing up, which made him and his brother afraid of clowns. Naturally, he did not take well to the circus themed Detour in Russia.

Chad Waltrip & Stephanie Smith

Couple who had been dating for only eight months prior to the Race, and it showed. Though they did not struggle as much as Nick & Vicki, they were just as easily outclassed by the top three teams. Their one shining moment came in leg 8 when Chad proposed, and they went on to win the leg. They would get U-Turned by Nat & Kat in the next leg, and, already trailing behind due to a bad rickshaw driver, they would finish 5th.

  • Aesop Amnesia: Their first leg ended with Chad saying it had been a humbling experience, and they needed to stop the arguments and change the way they were acting. That attitude did not last long.
  • Character Focus: Despite playing second fiddle to the female teams for most of the season, leg 8 in Oman was their shining moment, starting with them oversleeping their Pit Start time by two hours, then having Chad propose during the "operating hours" equalizer, and finally getting their first and only leg win of the season. It was also the only episode where Chad was not portrayed as an incompetent buffoon, and he went right back to this characterization in the next leg when they were eliminated.
  • The Day The Music Lied: Approaching the Pit Stop in leg 7, at the end of a close footrace with Michael & Kevin, the "Horns of Perseverance" theme, which is generally played during moments of success, started playing as they walked up to the mat... Only they were immediately sent away to go pay their cab driver. Subverted in that they did eventually survive once all the penalties were tallied up.
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: They received this on both ends, surviving leg 7 due to Michael & Kevin's penalties, and winning leg 8 due to Jill & Thomas's penalty for hiring a cab to follow.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: They'd only known each other for eight months, already owned a home together, and Chad was ready to propose during the pre-Race interviews which happen several weeks before filming starts.
  • Griefer: During the potato planting Roadblock in Russia, after getting her manure, Stephanie threw the shovel on top of the pile of manure so that Mallory would have to climb the pile to retrieve it, while still leaving it in sight to avoid a "sabotage" penalty like Mark & Michael.
  • Heavy Sleeper: One of four teams in the series to miss their leg start time due to sleeping in (along with Peggy & Claire and Andre & Damon. Leo & Jamal would later repeat their feat of finishing first after sleeping in).
  • I Was Beaten By A Girl: Just like Nick, Chad didn't like the thought of losing to either female team.
    Chad: I did get clowned by the girls, but she didn't look as good as I did getting clowned.
    • During the Ascender Roadblock, Chad was astonished when Vicki blew by him despite starting after him.
  • Jerk Jock: Chad acted like this from the very beginning, and continued to no matter how many humbling experiences he went through.
  • The Masochism Tango
  • Moral Myopia: Chad reacted badly to being U-Turned by Nat & Kat, even though earlier in the leg he had been talking about U-Turning the doctors.
  • Power Hair: Stephanie.
  • Read the Freaking Clue: In leg 7, they took a cab when the clue told them not to. This earned them a 30-minute penalty when they finally checked in last, yet they were not eliminated due to Michael & Kevin's longer penalty.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness:
    • After being told to find the Pit Stop in the first leg, instead of searching the immediate area or following the visual clues like the other teams, Chad decides the Pit Stop is back the way they came, on the other side of the castle. They dropped two places while making a circuit of the grounds.
    • In leg 7, they tried checking into the Pit Stop without paying their cab driver first, and were sent back to pay him, which would have cost them the race if not for Michel & Kevin's penalties.
    • Despite starting leg 9 in 1st, they were on the last flight because, while all the other teams were working the ticket counters, looking for better flights, Chad decided he wanted Dairy Queen. To rub this in, the show kept cutting from other teams getting better flights to Chad & Stephanie eating.
  • Relationship Upgrade: During leg 8, Chad proposed to Stephanie in Oman while they were waiting for their departure time to continue their leg. Their title was subsequently upgraded from "Newly Dating" to "Engaged".
  • Sex Sells: This trope goes both ways, as Chad deliberately targeted women during the sunglasses selling Roadblock.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: They insisted that they were one of the strongest teams despite rarely finishing near the top. They said that the other teams were not beating them, they were beating themselves. It gets even worse in the Deleted Scenes, where they said they didn't see Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire as much of a threat in the long run.
  • Trash Talk: Chad taunted Nat at the rickshaw Roadblock after being U-Turned, trying to throw her off her game.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Chad. Despite constantly being at the back of the pack, none of the front runners wanted anything to do with him in brute strength challenges.

Gary Ervin & Mallory Ervin

Miss Kentucky and her father, they immediately stuck out because of their blindingly positive attitudes and high energy. Despite this, they found themselves often overshadowed by Brook & Claire. In Oman, they got lost for eight hours due to a horrible map that did not include many of the roads they needed, and ended up 6th. They were one of the more surprising selections for Unfinished Business, where they ended up being one of the stars of the season.

  • Action Dad: Gary is a former wrestler and coach, a licensed pilot, a triathlete, and started his own company. Oh, and he kicked ass at the Race.
  • Always Second Best: They had three straight second place finishes, but would not finish first until the first leg of Unfinished Business.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Malory had this issue, though some of it was the editing. In the first leg they cut from her cheering on her dad at the Roadblock, to suddenly laughing as she watched the juggler/task judge.
  • Badass Grandpa: At 53, Gary was beating guys half his age at tasks.
  • Cool Old Guy: Gary.
  • Daddy's Girl: Mallory is a text book example of this. Heck, Mallory even stated that she's the youngest of four.
  • Foreshadowing: Mallory, in the finale, after the winner had already been decided and all that was left to do was take the final cast picture, gave this line right before the trailer for Unfinished Business was shown:
    Mallory: I've had some of the best times, I think, that I've ever had with my dad... I just feel so lucky. Can we do it again?
  • Genki Girl: Mallory, almost to the same extent as Brook. The first time the two of them appeared on screen together, they devolved into an incoherent mess of loud jabbering.
  • Motor Mouth: Mallory.
  • No Sense of Direction: They got lost for 8 hours in Oman, though this was mostly because of their map (the same map that got Nat & Kat lost).
  • Out of Focus: Though they got some airtime, it was a lot less than most of the other teams who were selected for Unfinished Business. This was most likely because Mallory was almost the exact same character type as Brook, and Brook made it farther/was more entertaining. They would get a lot more focus during Unfinished Business.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: They would get to show what they were capable of in Unfinished Business when they didn't have three near-elite teams hogging the top of the standings.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Mallory.
  • Shocking Elimination
  • Southern Belle: Mallory is a modern version of this.

Michael Wu & Kevin Wu (Kev Jumba)

Father and son team, and stars of the Kev Jumba YouTube videos. Their inclusion initially caused a lot of excitement amongst their fans, but Kevin was not popular with the Race fanbase, mostly because all they ever saw was him constantly putting down his father's ability to do tasks, and ignoring his advice. In Russia, they would earn two 30-minute penalties (one for hiring a cab to lead them to their destination when it wasn't allowed, and then again for taking a cab when they were told to walk). They still might have been able to survive the leg, thanks to Chad & Stephanie having their own 30-minute penalty for taking a cab, but Michael struggled with the Gorodki Roadblock, dropping them from 2nd to the bottom of the pack, and putting them out in 7th.

  • Down to the Last Play: Subverted. Their footrace to the Pit Stop with Chad & Stephanie in leg 7 was actually pointless, as they had an extra 30 minutes in penalties to wait out. Whoever got there first, Michael & Kevin were going to be eliminated.
  • Elimination Montage
  • Failed a Spot Check: They were in 1st heading into the Pit Stop in leg 6, but Kevin repeatedly refused to listen to his father telling him to check for it in the park across the street from Saint Isaac's Cathedral, dropping them to 3rd.
  • Hope Spot: After losing a footrace to avoid last with Chad & Stephanie leg 7, they see Chad & Stephanie turned away from the Pit Stop to go pay their cab driver, only to have a one hour penalty dropped on them.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender: At the Elimination Station, Kevin repeatedly insisted that they could have gone all the way and won, despite Michael repeatedly telling him to relax and be happy with where they did finish.
  • Jerkass: Kevin was not popular with the fans (who didn't watch his YouTube channels at least) mostly because the editing focused mainly on his worrying about what his father could or could not do, to the point where it came off as if it was the only thing he ever talked about, and making the fans think he was a Jerkass who had no respect for his father.
  • The Load: Michael. Kevin had a point, he just could have been a bit more tactful about it.
  • Oh Crap: When they were told they had a one hour penalty in leg seven.
  • Read the Freaking Clue:
    • In the third leg, they forgot one of the wheelbarrows they were supposed to bring to the primary school, and had to go back.
    • In their final leg, they twice took cabs when the clue told them not to. This earned them two 30-minute penalties and got them eliminated despite Chad & Stephanie finishing behind them with their own illegal cab penalty.
  • Technology Marches On: Discussed. Kevin chose the Classic Cinema Detour in St. Petersburg because he had studied movies before. Upon arriving at the studio, he was completely flabbergasted to find piles of classic film stock, declaring he had never studied "those kinds of movies".
  • The Unintelligible: Michael really did not have a great grasp of the English language, and a lot of times was nearly impossible to understand.

Katie Seamon & Rachel Johnston

Beach Volleyball partners. They would be eliminated on leg 5 when, after falling behind on the sledding Detour in the previous leg, the lack of an equalizer left them scrambling to catch up to the other teams, only one of whom was under an hour ahead of them. Though their time on the Race was short lived and spent mostly in the background, they would become much more prominent once they reached the Elimination Station, where they constantly complained and talked about how they didn't want another all-female team to win the race.

  • Action Girl: Granted their 4th leg was a mess, but they had strong performances in the first 3 legs and a burning desire to win that might have carried them a lot further had they not been the victim of an equalizer-free leg 5 that made the game Unwinnable by Mistake for them.
  • Alpha Bitch: They had a bit of a nasty, entitled streak about them. It was most apparent at the Elimination Station. Their first statement upon arriving was Rachel saying they were very upset because they were supposed to win, and then that they were better than all the teams that were left. Later they went on a rant about how they didn't belong with the other teams there either, as they were better than them as well.
  • Driving Stick
  • Foil: Andie played this to them, countering their open resentment of the female teams still in the race by saying she wanted a female team to win.
  • Grumpy Bear: They definitely brought down the mood at the Elimination Station with their bitterness and complaining.
  • Ms. Fanservice
  • Never My Fault: They made countless excuses for their elimination, pointing to there being no room for them on the first flight into Sweden as the reason for their demise. However, they failed to make mention of their poor performance with the sleds, which put them so far behind the other teams.
  • Out of Focus: They got almost no airtime, even in their elimination episode. They are mostly remembered for their time at the Elimination Station.
  • Read the Freaking Clue: In the third leg, they forgot one of the trowels they were supposed to bring to the primary school, and had to go back. This was after calling Michael & Kevin idiots for forgetting one of their wheelbarrows.
  • The Resenter: Towards Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire, for daring to be female teams who outlasted them. Subverted in the final Elimination Station, when they were actually happy for Nat & Kat when they won, with Rachel even breaking down into Tears of Joy.
  • She's Got Legs
  • Shocking Elimination: They were early favorites after good performances in the first three legs.
  • Sore Loser: They were not happy to be eliminated. They (Rachel in particular) made countless statements saying that they did not want Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire to win, so that when it was apparent that a female team was going to win, the other eliminated contestants joked that they would tackle them at the Finish Line.
  • Unknown Rival: Nat & Kat and Brook & Claire were totally unaware of Katie & Rachel and their grudge against any other all-female team winning.
  • We're Not Here To Make Friends: As eloquently stated by Rachel in their final leg:
    Rachel: Katie and I are on this race to win. It's a race. It's a competition. This is not Amazing Friend. It's Amazing Race. We will do what it takes to win.

Connor Diemand-Yauman & Jonathan Schwartz (Team Glee)

Amazing Race, how sweet the game
That has two friends like we
We once were Princeton guys
But now, we want that prize
Were kind, but now we're mean
...
Through many Detours, Roadblocks, and legs
We are the last team to arrive
And Phil will send us home
Goodbye

Ivy League A Cappella singers who had a tendency to constantly break out into song. They started off strong, even winning the third leg, but Jonathan struggled with the sledding Detour in Sweden, and Detour switching put them in last place, eliminating them on their graduation day from Princeton.

  • A Cappella: They sang several times over the course of the season, including in their intro and during their elimination.
  • Adorkable
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: Their introduction clips showed them singing the song as "Amazing Race". They sang it again upon their elimination.
  • The Cast Showoff: They sang all the time.
    Please drive faster.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Their victory in the third leg was by over an hour, on a leg without an equalizer, when they started near the bottom of the pack (nearly 30 minutes behind Brook & Claire in 1st, and only 5 minutes in front of Gary & Mallory in last). They finished the leg before another team had even finished bringing the supplies to the primary school, meaning every other team had two whole tasks to go (finding Ghana on a map and the Detour) when they checked in at the Pit Stop.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Averted. They were the only team on the third leg to not miss the decoder key on the side of the building during the Language Arts Detour, every other team (aside from Gary & Mallory and Nick & Vicki, who both initially chose Bicycle Parts) ended up switching Detours, passing right by the decoder key as they headed away.
  • Global Ignorance: See Never Live It Down.
  • I Want My Mommy: Connor, during the race to the Pit Stop in the second leg, when their cab driver started driving down the middle of the street between the two lanes.
  • The Load: Jonathan didn't do a single Roadblock over their four legs, and he was the one who struggled with the sleds.
  • Nerd: What the other teams referred to them as.
  • Never Live It Down: They said that their Princeton friends would never let them forget being unable to find Ghana on a map on their first try.
  • No Sense of Direction: Their inability to find the airport in Boston became the subject of many jokes in the first leg.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: In their intro clip, Connor said that tenors are the Badasses of the A Cappella world.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: When they were eliminated, Connor had done four Roadblocks, and Jonathan had done none. They seemingly never thought about the required Roadblock split.
    • In their final leg, they left the Pit Stop three hours before Nat & Kat and Michael & Kevin, but decided to wait in line to check into their production arranged flight (when the counter didn't open for hours), while those two last place teams discovered a faster flight and helped their allies scoop up the last four sets of tickets.
  • Shocking Elimination: Two top 3 finishes in three legs had them looking like one of the favorites.
  • Spiteful Spit: A beggar spit on them in Ghana when they refused to give him money.
  • This Is A Race: Twice on the first leg they ditched teams who were having car trouble, both times using this justification.
    • However, Averted later on. They said at the Elimination Station that when things started getting more competitive at the Accra airport, they started having less fun.

Andrea "Andie" DeKroon & Jenna Sykes

Mother and the daughter she gave up for adoption when she was 22. They only met twice before running the Race together, and never heard each others voices before applying for the Race. We never got to see how this lack of interpersonal experience affected their teamwork, as their cab driver had trouble finding Peace Motor Spare Parts in Ghana, and they finished 10th. Once they hit the Elimination Station, they became the one team during the run of the web series to have actually preferred being eliminated, rather than wanting to still be in the Race, with Andie saying multiple times that they were having more fun there than they could have had on the Race.

  • Call It Karma: In Ghana, Andie gave a beggar some money, to which Jenna said that it might give them good karma... they were eliminated that leg.
  • Driving Stick: Andie got them caught in an intersection in the first leg because she was riding the clutch too much.
  • Graceful Loser: Andie, and probably too much so, as she repeatedly said she was having more fun at the Elimination Station than she could have had racing.
  • Long-Lost Relative
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: In the Elimination Station it was revealed that Andie had ten more children after giving Jenna up for adoption.
  • No Sense of Direction: Jenna made a joke of this at the Elimination Station, saying that if they led the way to the King's Bath, they would go the wrong way.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Of the Elimination Station, with much of the airtime spent on their unique relationship.
  • Team Mom: Andie was this of the Elimination Station. Connor joked that she was their honorary birth mom.
  • This is a Race: Averted. They openly voiced their disappointment at the Elimination Station when they heard the Race was turning into this.

Ronald "Ron" Kellum & Anthony "Tony" Stovall

Best Friends and theater aficionados. They started off strong, being the first team to reach Logan airport in Boston. However, they would quickly get lost in England, and then have issues rowing their coracle, resulting in them being eliminated first.

  • Ambiguously Gay: Their sexuality was never confirmed one way or the other, though many suspected one or both of them were gay.
  • Gentle Giant: Ron called Tony this.
  • Informed Ability: See Tempting Fate.
  • Jaw Drop: They both had several during their first conversation with Andie & Jenna at the Elimination Station. First when they learned of the ladies' having just met, then again when they learned that Andie had ten more kids after Jenna.
  • No Sense of Direction
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination/Mercy Kill: Though they completed the coracle and the Roadblock, this was not shown on television, as the show cut from them sinking in the moat once again to checking in at the Pit Stop.
  • Surprise Difficulty: Mentioned while looking for Eastnor Castle.
  • Tempting Fate: The first scene of them after the opening credits has them saying that one of their strong suits will be their ability to navigate. And while that ability was able to get them to Logan airport first, it did them no good in England.
    • During the fifth Elimination Station webisode, Tony ensured the other teams that someone really fun was about to show up, as they had been drawing good energy to the house. Then Katie & Rachel walked in.

The Amazing Race 16Characters/The Amazing Race The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business

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