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Characters: The Amazing Race 2
Following the cult success of the series debut, the second season aimed to build on the momentum of the first, while fixing the balance issues which plagued it (with more straightforward clues and equalizers, and a smoother difficulty curve). However, a few things did remain the same, as heavy focus was put on the villain team once again, and contestants continued to rally against those who they thought played "dirty." Overall, the season would come to be defined by the Love Triangle
between two teams, and the iconic footrace to the Finish Line between them. Though the more popular teams ended up getting a bit overshadowed thanks to the Love Triangle
taking center stage, the second season is considered a strong one, despite its roughness in some places.
Chris Luca & Alex Boylan (The Boston Boys)
Alex: We do have this alliance with Wil... It didn't end up mattering because it was a non-elimination round, but that showed his true colors... You know, I've been pretty cool, but after he did that, screw him, I think I'm just gonna take his girl, just for him steppin' in front he's gonna have to learn a lesson the hard way.
Best friends, and half of the series' most memorable alliance. Alex's flirtations with Tara would prove to be the key to them winning the race, as she would constantly help them out, even against her own partner's protests. Though they were good at physical tasks, they tended to be weak at communicating with non-English speakers and travel in general, and Tara gave them a lot of help in these area's, practically carrying them into the finale. Chris & Alex tailed their allies through San Francisco, passing Wil and the lagging Tara during the final sprint to the Finish Line to win the million dollars. Alex later started his own reality show, Around the World for Free
, in which participants traveled the world relying only on the generosity of locals.
Tara Lynch & Wil Steger
Wil: [Tara and I] have the best chance of winning, because I got Tara. I got sunshine.
Separated couple, the
original fighting couple team. Their deteriorating relationship became the focus of the season, with Tara constantly flirting with Alex despite Wil's complaints that they should be running the race for themselves. In the finale, Tara was unable to keep up during the long run to the Finish Line, allowing Chris & Alex to pass them and leave them 2nd, and providing a cautionary tale to all future teams on being careful when making alliances.
- Aesop Amnesia: In Thailand, it only took 5 seconds for Wil to forget how he had promised he would be more humble after the previous leg, and start being rude to their boat driver.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Wil's final speech, with him tearing up and trying to figure out what he could have done better while Tara celebrated with Alex, earned him much of the little sympathy he does receive.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Wil got drunk at the third Pit Stop, and started saying things which upset the other teams. (Chris & Alex did as well, but the editing decided to focus on Wil's mouth, and Alex & Tara's flirting.)
- Amicable Exes: Very much averted. Though they said they were this, and they still were business partners, it very quickly became clear that there was nothing amicable at all between them.
- Backstab Backfire: Wil's repeated attempts to get rid of Chris & Alex were undone by Tara insisting on keeping them around.
- Batman Gambit: Attempted and failed in the final leg. Wil tried to shake off Chris & Alex tailing them by driving off course from the Finish Line, but this only lost them time.
- Call It Karma: Wil was oddly the first major proponent of it, and would mention it every few legs.
- Cassandra Truth: Wil never missed an opportunity to tell Tara that helping out Chris & Alex was a bad idea, and they should be concentrating on the race instead of helping another team.
- Chewing the Scenery: Wil would go on pretentious rants that would fall into this.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Wil flip flopped on their alliance with Chris & Alex so much, you could never tell where he stood at any given moment.
- Cuckold: Wil. Though Alex is never shown to sleep with Tara, the intention is there on both their parts.
- Dope Slap: Wil gave one to Tara in leg 4.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted. This is why people started turning on Tara as well as Wil.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: It seemed that Tara really didn't understand that she was racing at some points.
Tara: Alex and Chris are cool guys, and all Wil can think about is beating people, beating people, beating people.
- Driving Stick: Wil couldn't get his car out of low gear in both the second leg and the tenth leg.
- Failing a Taxi: They lost what little lead they had on Chris & Alex in San Francisco when they couldn't find a cab.
- Fatal Flaw: Their relationship.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Wil went off on Blake in the first leg for "cutting in line" to sign up for departure times at the hotel. Tara initially found the signup sheet, yet was not able to sign up for a boat because Wil was nowhere near her. When she went to find him, Blake & Paige took the final spot on the first boat, even though Wil was standing next to him, yelling that they had been there first. So really, Wil's dislike of Blake (which would come up time and again when Blake would "break the rules") stemmed from his own ignorance of the rules.
- Follow That Car: When they lost their clue in Alaska, and they didn't know where to go next, Wil just waited until Chris & Alex took off and told their pilot to, "Follow that plane".
- Fourth Date Marriage: They'd known each other for three and a half years, and been separated for two, which means they met, dated, married, and got tired of each other within a year and a half.
- Genre Savvy: They figured out leg 6 was a non-elimination leg due to the clue not saying anything about the last team to arrive being eliminated.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Wil.
- Hollywood Thin: Wil called Tara, "Bony," for a reason.
- Honor Before Reason: Tara chose to put her alliance with Chris & Alex over the Race, and even over her own teammate. Gary & Dave even pointed out that it seemed as if she'd rather be seen as nice than win the race.
- I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Wil's frustration with the mining Detour in Australia led him to say, "I'm not a miner." Tara's response? "No, you're an idiot."
- I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Wil was alone in this sentiment, though it's justified, as this is probably one of the few times where making friends cost the team the race.
- Jerkass: Both of them. Wil more so early on, but Tara more so later on.
- Jerkass Has a Point: They were not together anymore, so yes, technically Tara could flirt with whoever she wanted, but they were running a race together, and she started putting her relationship with Alex over her relationship with Wil. She also didn't think he had a right to get upset when she made him sit and wait for Chris & Alex so they could run legs together.
- At the wood carver's market in Namibia, after it had gone dark and teams were under speed restrictions, Wil yelled at Gary & Dave when they pulled in, accusing them of speeding. It wouldn't be until the next episode that we learned that they were speeding, and Gary & Dave were given a time penalty for it.
- Laser-Guided Karma: The bad will Wil built up between him and the other teams eventually came back to bite them in the finale when they lost their clue and no one was willing to help them. Blake & Paige even mocked them, writing Wil a fake clue to Siberia and laughing about it with Chris & Alex.
- Love Triangle: With Alex.
- Malaproper: Wil had an excellent one in the first leg, when he said, "you can turn a corner, and there will be another team right there, breathing down your throat." (Which was kind of prophetic, considering Alex ended up breathing down Tara's throat.)
- Never My Fault: Tara blamed Wil for everything that went wrong for them. Wil alternated between blaming her, the other teams, or the locals.
- Nice Hat: Wil's knit cap.
- The Masochism Tango: While both Paul & Amie and Lenny & Karen fought in Season 1, those were both generally one sided arguments mostly caused by the men not wanting to be there. Tara & Wil were the first true fighting "couple," who managed to excel at the race despite constantly being at each other's throats.
- The Millstone: Tara became this due to her waning loyalty to Wil, constantly feeding Alex information and giving a very demoralizing rant to Wil in the final leg. It's also widely speculated that Tara actually threw the final footrace.
- Minor Injury Overreaction: This was one of the complaints that Tara had about Wil, as he tended to blow up everything to epic proportions.
- No Accounting for Taste
- No Social Skills: During her final leg rant towards Wil, this is one of the things Tara accuses Wil of.
- Not So Different: At first it was easy to sympathize with Tara the way Wil was constantly yelling at her and berating her, but later Tara started yelling and berating him the same way, even when he was trying to be nice. This was even discussed in-show, as Blake & Page decided Tara was no better than Wil.
- Read the Freaking Clue
- They admitted in leg 4 that they did not read the inside of the clue telling them how to get to the Pit Stop, causing them to get lost.
- Wil did not read the clue for the Sydney Roadblock, and went back to get Tara before completing the task, forcing him to do it over.
- Sanity Slippage: Both Tara and Alex mocked Wil for suffering from this. Though it may not have been so much Sanity Slippage as it was Wil getting frustrated with a partner who was actively working against him.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: With Blake.
- Sore Loser: While Phil was giving Chirs & Alex their winners' speech, Tara and Wil continued to argue over what had cost them the race.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: They were essentially the main characters of the season, and the Love Triangle took over the entire plot by the end of the season.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Wil had this with both Tara and Chris & Alex. Tara herself, by the end of the season, could not look at Wil without showing visible disgust.
- This Is A Race
Wil: Your head's not in the game. You can't go over to these people and try to be buddy buddy with them. It's, it's cutthroat, this is a game for a million dollars, Tara.
Tara: That's the way you play, then.
Wil: No, that's how you play.
- Verbal Tic: Wil had a tendency to add "dude" or "man" to every sentence in which he addressed Tara.
- Villainous Breakdown: At the ice sphere challenge, while the other teams knew to use a chisel and hammer immediately to break the ice, Wil just threw everything at it in desperation, including the reckless use of a flamethrower.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Heights for Wil.
- Working with the Ex
- Wrong Genre Savvy: While the making of alliances is important to social games like Survivor, the Race is not a social game, and therefore making alliances with other strong teams is not necessary to make it to the end, nor is it beneficial.
Blake Mycoskie & Paige Mycoskie (Team Smiley)
Siblings, their constantly positive attitudes hid their cutthroat natures, as they were a team that would do anything to win. They were badmouthed by the other teams, who saw Blake's somewhat bold and inventive, if not always successful, moves as "cheating." They would make the Final 3, where they were taken out of contention when they fell behind while running through the streets of San Francisco, reaching the Finish Line 3rd. Blake later became the CEO of TOMS Shoes, a charitable organization which gives shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes sold, after seeing so many children without shoes in a return visit to Argentina.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Especially with Chris & Alex and Tara & Wil, not an episode went by without the other teams talking about how much they disliked Blake, or how big of an idiot he was.
- Batman Gambit: Blake seemed to attempt one nearly every episode, often ill-thought out.
- Brother-Sister Team
- Cutting the Knot: In legs 4 and 12 they passed up teams on the run to the Pit Stop by leaving the standard path to cut straight to the mat. While this sort of thing would become standard practice later, they were the only team to do this in either location, and were called cheaters for doing it.
- Failed a Spot Check: They lost all their money in leg 2, and had to beg for more to buy bus tickets.
- Felony Misdemeanor:
- Good Is Not Dumb: Tara & Wil and Chris & Alex constantly ragged on Blake for being an idiot. Despite this, he made several brilliant strategic moves, including being the first team to beg for money, being one of the first teams to use a cab driver's cell phone to call for information, thinking to rent a metal detector so that they could complete the Metal Detector Puzzle Detour prior to it opening in the morning, getting his bags on a flight when all the other teams had to check theirs, and getting preferred parking on a ferry, most of which were decried by the above teams as "cheating".
- Of course, good is not necessarily smart either, as many of his plans did backfire, and racers like Colin, Rob, Christina, and Natalie & Nadiya would pull off similar, and even trickier, gambits on the other teams.
- Kid Hero: Sure they're 25 and 21, but they were portrayed as young kids compared to the other teams. It did not hurt that Blake started the third leg wearing a sport coat and tie, along with shorts and a baseball cap, essentially looking like a kid in some sort of private school uniform.
- Let's Get Dangerous: They were a mid-pack team until they hit Australia, then they started rattling off top 2 finishes.
- Loners Are Freaks: Subverted. They were unpopular with the other teams for keeping to themselves, but much more popular with the fans.
- Loophole Abuse: One of the best/worst offenders in the series. They were the first team to beg for money, creating the Game Breaker that would plague the game until it was curtailed in Season 10, got the idea to circumvent the "operating hours" limitation at the metal detector Detour by finding a metal detector and searching the area over night so they could go right to the clue in the morning, and the "time credit will not be awarded" note that's given every time a team gets delayed due to means out of their control is due to them as well, as Paige threatened to sue if they were eliminated due to such an occurrence. All this happened just on the second leg.
- Mr. Fanservice: The cameras loved getting shots of Blake without a shirt on.
- Nice Hat: His cowboy hat.
- No Sense of Direction: Tasked with finding the Murray House in Hong Kong, and with their cab driver not knowing where that was, Blake just instructed him to drive to the Western District, because it sounded right, putting them way off course.
- Perpetual Smiler: They earned themselves the nickname "Team Smiley" from the other teams for a reason.
- Politeness Judo: Discussed at the beginning of the fifth leg, though they were not as adept at it as Oswald & Danny.
- Read the Freaking Clue: Like Wil, Blake did not read the clue for the Sydney Roadblock, and went back to get Paige before completing the task, forcing him to do it over.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Leading to him praying for the salvation of the Buddhists of the world in Thailand.
- The Runner Up Takes It All: Unlike most of the other contestants in Race history that fade out of the limelight, Blake took his experience on the Race and following travels, using the inspiration to found the highly-successful TOMS Shoes, which helps to provide footware to impoverished countries.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Blake, who is the only contestant to ever wear a tie and a sport coat on the Race.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: With Wil.
- This Is A Race: Quoted at the beginning of the third leg, when Blake declined to wake up Peggy & Claire when they overslept their Pit Start time.
- Troll: In the final leg, when Tara & Wil lost their clue, Blake wrote them a fake one telling them to get lost in the most desolate part of Siberia, as payback for the way Wil had been treating them the entire race.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Paige had a Texas flag sports bra.
Oswald Mendez & Danny Jimenez (Cha-Cha-Cha)
Oswald: So we found out, again, how much it is worthwhile to be polite to people when you're asking for things.
Homosexual Cuban-American best friends. They were easily the most popular team of the season due to their amicable interactions with the local cultures and their Camp Gay
nature. Though their tendency to calmly and patiently deal with all obstacles often got them an advantage over the other teams, their lack of a sense of urgency would ultimately cost them in their final leg, as they fell behind and finished 4th. However, that same attitude made them the face of the season and earned them a spot in All-Stars.
- All There in the Manual: Danny's boyfriend died of AIDS shortly before the Race (it was mentioned briefly during their Elimination Statement), which they would explain in interviews for All-Stars was the reason they were so easily emotionally effected during this season.
- Badass Gay
- Breakout Character: Despite getting less airtime than Tara & Wil, they became the defining team of the season.
- Camp Gay
- Driving Stick: Oswald didn't just learn to drive stick for the race, he learned to drive for the race.
- Friendship Moment: Danny said this about Oswald letting him use race funds to buy cologne in Hong Kong, saying it was proof that their relationship was more important than any game could be.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Danny hurt his foot going into the fourth leg, causing them to go for the Fast Forward that leg.
- The Load: Oswald became more and more disenchanted as the season wore on, with Danny having to constantly prod him to keep racing.
- Loners Are Freaks: Like Blake & Paige, subverted due to being unpopular with the other teams but popular with the fans.
- Loophole Abuse:
- They were one of the first teams in Race history to befriend a local in Singapore, who helped them to navigate the complex city and get to the tasks easily; fans of the show call such locals "Ferns" based on her name.
- In the fourth leg they used their Politeness Judo to get a ride into town from an employee at the rent-a-car counter (paying him whatever they felt was fair), causing the future rule where teams had to take a legal cab, and could not accept rides from locals.
- Paranoia Fuel: Caused this due to their isolation from the other teams (to avoid the constant drama), as the others thought their constantly being calm under pressure, and how they mysteriously showed up at the last minute at some locations was done deliberately to mess with their heads.
Dave: You see how calm, cool, collected Cha-Cha-Cha was?
Gary: I know, I kinda hated to see that.
Dave: They're so zen.
Gary: It seems like Cha-Cha-Cha spends their whole nights in a spa, and we're sitting here sweating like hogs. And we're like...
Dave: Palpitations and anxiety.
- Platonic Life Partners: They were not a couple, even if they were constantly mistaken for one by the audience.
- Politeness Judo: While the other teams would rush around, frantically yelling at people trying to get ahead, they took their time and calmly talked to the locals, often getting an advantage as a result.
Oswald: The reservation agent told us, I'm gonna help you, and the only reason I'm gonna help you is because you guys are the only ones who've come in here calmly and politely.
- Shoo Out the Clowns
- Shopping Montage: Their most famous moment was going out shopping while waiting for a travel agent to book them flights in Hong Kong, juxtaposed by the stress of the other teams trying to get their own tickets. They eventually coasted to a first place finish and refreshed the Killer Fatigued Oswald.
Oswald: The moment she said, "I need an hour to get your flight ready," we said, "We need an hour to go shopping."
- Twofer Token Minority: Being Hispanic and gay. They stated in a post-race interview that they just wanted to be themselves, and if they were a role model to either minority, that was a bonus.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Oswald with heights.
Gary Rosen & Dave Lepeska (Itchy and Scratchy)
Former roommates and comedy writers. Despite being the intended comic relief team, Gary's snide comments ended up being a very "love it or hate it" form of humor, and constantly put him at odds with the other teams. They finished 5th when their Detour switching in Australia put them behind everyone else.
Mary Lenig & Peach Krebs
Sisters, and the only all-female team to win a leg without a Fast Forward for the first six seasons. Despite her and her sister's doubts coming into the race, Peach demonstrated herself a surprisingly adept racer, but a series of small mistakes in Hong Kong caused her to be hit hard by Killer Fatigue, and she forced Mary to stop racing, putting them out in 6th place.
- Action Girl: Mary.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Mary was the responsible one, Peach the foolish one.
- Holier Than Thou: Mary's "Welcome to the world of being human" comment to Blake & Paige.
- The Load: Peach was not this for the most part, but she did cause them to give up the race.
- Non-Gameplay Elimination: Of the Mercy Kill variety.
- Obi-Wan Moment: For Mary if not so much for Peach when she gave into Peach's Killer Fatigue and stopped racing to eat, essentially bowing out of the Race.
- Paranoia Fuel: They received this in South Africa when locals warned them against going to their next destination, threatening that they would be killed. The rumor turned out to be totally false.
- Sibling Rivalry: Particularly shown when they went out shopping.
- Sibling Team
- Surprise Difficulty: Discussed by Peach at the beginning of the second leg.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mary being the tomboy, Peach the girly girl. When they were stuck in the mess that was the Sao Paolo airport, trying to get to South Africa, Peach's suggestions of how they should relax were for her to get her nails done, and Mary to have a beer.
- Weak, but Skilled: Despite being the only team without a male, they smoked everyone on the river rafting Detour when Mary deduced a superior technique of using their bamboo polls to propel them along. This would lead to their sole leg win.
Cyndi Kalenburg & Russell Kalenburg
Married pastors, they were very subdued compared to the bigger personalities of their competition. They finished 7th when they got overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, getting lost in the "Confusion Now" Detour and falling far behind the other teams.
Shola Richards & Doyin Richards
Twins, they started off as a solid team until they got lost in Namibia, being the only team to fail to find the Matterhorn Sand Dune before it closed, which left them in the dust in 8th place.
Peggy Kuhn & Claire Jinks (The Gutsy Grannies)
Grandmother team. Despite their nickname, they were anything but gutsy, and struggled throughout the early legs of the race until flight delays on one of their three connecting points to South Africa put them a whole day behind the other teams, and they were forced to go directly to the Pit Stop for elimination in 9th place.
Hope Davis & Norm Davis
Married parents. A bad cab driver dropped them to the back of the pack in leg 2, and they were beaten to the Pit Stop by Blake & Paige (after the siblings got a replacement vehicle due to confusion over the rules), ending up 10th.
Deidre Washington & Hillary Washington
Mother-daughter pair, they went out first when Deidre struggled at rappelling.
- Long-Lost Relative: Hillary went to live with her dad after her parents divorced, and she and her mother were just beginning to get to know each other again.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The spelling was originally Deidre in the first two legs, but became Diedre in the intros afterward.