Characters: The Amazing Race 20
The producers started off Season 20 by moving the Race in a new direction. Whereas Season 19
's course had been created to exploit the Metagame
, giving the contestants one of the trickiest mental challenges in the show's history, Season 20 hit the teams with the most physically challenging course since Season 10
, and the cast was stocked with big, strong teams able to take advantage of this new, physical bent. However, whereas Season 10 mostly hit the teams with a series of challenges that relied on brute strength, Season 20 hit the teams with a wide variety of physical challenges, ranging from constructing a campsite, to balancing bottles on their heads, to dance choreography, designed not to give Alpha Male teams a distinct advantage.
The course was a success, and for the first six legs it seemed like the season might be as well. However, the later legs turned ugly and bitter, and somewhat predictable. The season had some of the most notoriously bad inter-team relationships, with all those bad feelings coming to a head during the seventh leg, when three of the teams started an argument during a layover at the Nairobi airport, which ended up spilling over and engulfing all the remaining teams in some way. The competition turned ugly after that, and when the only two remaining likable teams fell in 6th and 5th place, it ended up challenging Season 10
for having the series' most hated Final 3. On top of that, the teams outside of Dave & Rachel and Art & J.J. were comparatively weak, leading to those two teams winning 11 of the 12 legs, and finishing outside of the top 3 only three times combined. This led to a rather predictable, and somewhat boring, finale, that even one of the biggest mistakes in series history could not salvage. In the end, what started out as a solid season ended up on the weak side.
Rachel Brown & David "Dave" Brown, Jr.
Dave: I don't necessarily view Rachel as my wife, I view her as my teammate.
Dave: As my equal and as my teammate.
Dave: As my peer.
Dave: As my soldier.
Army combat pilot and his wife, they had spent a lot of time apart due to Dave being deployed in Iraq for a year. They used their physical abilities to dominate the season, winning a record eight legs. All was not sunshine with the couple though, as their time apart and Dave's army training caused him to be rather stern with his wife. He yelled at Rachel a lot, treating her like a soldier instead of a spouse, which she did not just take, responding to his verbal abuse with a boatload of snark. They lead for most of the final leg, but almost blew it when they followed the wrong path at the Coral Kingdom Gate, and ended up running to the Finish Line instead of the second Roadblock. Phil turned them away, but they were able to make up the time lost when Art struggled with the sledding Roadblock, as Rachel passed him, and they officially checked in for the win.
- Action Girl: Rachel, for example, she beat Danny stacking hay bales to win the Fast Forward and keep them in the Race.
- All or Nothing: They closest they came to elimination was when they went for the Fast Forward in leg 6, and had to race to stack their hay bales before Joey "Fitness" & Danny. It was a huge risk, as, had they lost, they would have been pretty much done for. Dave even called it an "all or nothing" move during the task. In short, they risked their race in order to win a pair of Ford Tauruses.
- Backseat Driver: Dave, during the rickshaw Roadblock.
- Born Lucky: Despite winning eight legs, they never really dominated the other teams. Three of their leg wins were by three minutes or less, and the 10th leg ended with their ferry to the Pit Stop leaving as both Brendon & Rachel and Ralph & Vanessa were running up, giving them four legs which they won by the slimmest of margins, and easily could have gone the other way. Plus, they won the Race because Art struggled with the final Roadblock, allowing them to make up the time they wasted by going to the Finish Line. Then there was the Express Pass, which allowed them to survive the third leg, in which they did not complete either the Roadblock or Detour, yet managed to survive.
- Chekhov's Skill: Rachel's dancing experience allowed her to learn the choreography in the Bollywood Dance Roadblock on her first try, with the other contestants taking three or more tries to complete it.
- Cluster F-Bomb: After her Precision F-Strike in the first half of the finale, Rachel went off on Dave even further at the final Roadblock, when he kept going on and on about her "technique" at rolling lava rocks.
- Control Freak: Dave, which led to most of their fighting when she refused to just follow orders.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: They won two-thirds of the legs.
- Deadpan Snarker: Rachel did not take her husband's abuse in silence, and she got a lot of cracks in at him.
- Directionless Driver: Dave in Italy, which got him a few snarks from Rachel about following the directions from people who lived there.
- Flexible Tourney Rules: The survived leg 3 without completing a single task, either giving up on or failing every challenge they were given, yet still managed to beat three teams into the Pit Stop. They quit on the watermelon stacking side of the Detour, used the Express Pass on the harp stringing side of the Detour, and Dave was the only contestant to fail the bottle balancing Roadblock (each team was given a limited number of bottles), forcing them to take a 2-hour penalty (instead of the standard 4-hour penalty for failing to complete a Roadblock).
- Flawless Victory: Even their disasterous third leg did not land them in the bottom two.
- Invincible Villain: While not as bad as Art & J.J., Dave's ego and constant verbal abuse directed at Rachel made him plenty unpopular. However, because they also won six of the last seven legs, and sucked much of the excitement out of the season, Dave is one of the biggest reasons the second half of Season 20 was so unpopular.
- Jerkass: Dave; J.J. even did a mean, but mostly accurate, imitation of Dave yelling at Rachel during the Pack a Box Detour.
- Lampshaded Double Entendre: When they won the Express Pass:
Phil: The Express Pass is a great piece of power in your pocket.
Dave: That's a little perverse, but we'll take it.
- Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: At the beginning of the final leg, Dave said their seven leg wins "proved" that they were one of the three best teams to ever run the race (and an eighth would make them the best). Subjectively, most long time fans would probably not call Rachel & Dave, Nick & Starr, and Meghan & Cheyne the three best teams to ever run the race, despite the leg wins. Objectively, the two concrete statistics that most Amazing Race fans are aware of (leg wins and finishing average), only measure how a team does against teams in their own season on the course they ran, and can not be used to determine how teams would fare when placed against different teams on a different course (which is why the results of All-Stars were so shocking to many fans). So while there is no definitive way to determine the "best team to ever run the Race," their eight leg wins do put Rachel & Dave on the short list to be in that conversation.
- Malaproper: In Africa, Rachel kept saying "banboons" instead of "baboons."
- The Masochism Tango: Especially jarring, after they had been fighting all season, when Rachel broke down at the Finish Line crying over how much she loved him.
- No Sense of Direction: Their inability to find the right castle in Bavaria led to them falling out of 2nd, and their only leg all season where they weren't one of the first two teams to hit the matnote .
- Oh Crap: When they got turned away from the Finish Line for not completing the second Roadblock, and not just them either, as the eliminated teams had the same look of shock on their faces.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Dave Gregg and Rachel Reilly. Maybe the most annoying instance of this in the series, as both Rachel's made the Final 3, making it hard for reviewers and recappers to distinguish the two from each other.
- Precision F-Strike: In the penultimate leg, after having Dave give her orders all season, he started yelling at her for unzipping his bag. She snapped and started yelling back at him.
Dave: Just stop. Silence is golden.
- Rant Inducing Slight: See Precision F-Strike.
- Read the Freaking Manual: Rachel made fun of Dave for his tendency to ignore instructions during the bike tire repair Detour.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness:
- Right before using the Express Pass in leg 3, Dave said it was a huge advantage, in that using it guarantees you 1st place... except none of the previous three teams had gotten first place after using it, and, prior to Season 23, the only team who won a leg using it did not care about winning the Race at that point, only that leg, as one team member had torn his Achilles tendon. Though many thought it would become a "free 1st place coupon" when it first premiered, it had become a way for a team to save their butts when they were struggling.
- When reading the clue for the "landing the helicopter" Fast Forward, Dave thought it would involve landing a real helicopter. Upon hearing this, Rachel mocked him for thinking the producers would actually let them fly a real helicopter, and even told him it had to be a remote controlled helicopter.
- They took the train to the Japanese Game Show Roadblock instead of a cab, not to mention they weren't even taking the train to the right building, allowing the two cab taking teams to beat them to the Roadblock, and Art was able to finish it before they even got there.
- Sequence Breaking: Going to the Finish Line instead of the final Roadblock.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Rachel mocked Dave during leg 9 for some of his boasting, in particular, his driving skills and his skills at "all sports."
- Sore Loser: Rachel said Dave was being this when they hit the 8th Pit Stop minutes after Mark & Bopper won their only leg.
- We Wait: Rachel actually used one of the tropes alternate titles, "Hurry up and wait," while waiting for the ferry taking them to the Pit Stop in India to depart before any other teams arrived.
- We're Not Here To Make Friends: Rachel invoked this after Art & J.J. started giving them the silent treatment after they failed to U-Turn Brendon & Rachel in Tanzania. Strange in that they actually ended up winning the season after Rachel invoked it.
Arthur "Art" Velez & J. J. Carrell
Art: I think somebody's going to end up crying by the end of the day.
J.J.: Just don't let it be you, Art.
Border Patrol Agents, they were very intense racers, which translated them to being unbearable Jerkasses
to most of the other teams, even somehow turning Mark & Bopper, a team they gave $5,000 of their own leg prize money to, against them. While Art at least had a sense of humor, J.J. seemed to take offense anytime someone didn't race with the same level of intensity and savviness that he did. They managed to win three of four legs not won by Rachel & Dave, and looked like the only team with a chance of unseating them in the finale. A mistake early on while trying to find "Mauka and Makai" dropped them to last. However, they would manage to recover and take the lead heading into the final Roadblock thanks to the mistakes made by the other two teams, but Art would struggle with the sledding Roadblock, getting passed by both Rachels, and they would end up 2nd.
- Brains and Brawn: Art described themselves this way in their intro, with him being the brains. This turned out to be an Informed Attribute.
- Cassandra Truth: Subverted. They told everyone that Nary & Jamie were cops, not teachers, in the hope that it would put heat on them and cause the other teams to distrust them. The other teams didn't disbelieve them, they just didn't care because Nary & Jamie were nicer, and proceeded to tell Nary & Jamie exactly what was going on.
- Competition Freak
- Corpsing: Both of them were laughing uncontrollably by the end of the oil scrubbing Detour.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Through a combination of getting a flight two hours ahead of half of the teams, and all the other teams on the first flight switching Detours right as Art & J.J. were finishing stacking their watermelons, they beat all the other teams in leg 3 by five hours (seven in front of Ralph & Vanessa and Elliot & Andrew), which probably trails only Colin & Christie's seven hour drubbing of the other teams in Egypt as far as dominating legs goes.
- Double Standard: Some of the comments Art made during the Bollywood Dancing Roadblock, while not exactly sexist, showed that he had never seen how good some men can be at dancing. Especially since, in the end, it took J.J. the exact same number of tries to complete it as Rachel Reilly, and one more than Vanessa.
- Dropping The Bombshell: Subverted. They thought they were doing this by confronting Nary & Jamie about their real jobs. Their confessionals show they thought they had thrown everyone for a loop, but no one really cared about it except them.
- Failed a Spot Check: They dropped out of 1st in the first leg when they didn't notice that meat and cheese empanadas were made differently, and started making them incorrectly.
- Felony Misdemeanor: J.J. frequently bitched and moaned about other racers taking certain actions, acting personally offended when they didn't do what he liked. The "high" point had to be when he and Art made a deal with Rachel & Dave to U-Turn Brendon & Rachel, but when the opportunity came up, Rachel & Dave declined on grounds that it would be wasted with Nary & Jamie so far behind. Art & J.J. were able to use the U-Turn on Brendon & Rachel themselves, but J.J. still acted like Rachel & Dave had broken some sacred contract.
- The Glomp: Art did this to Phil when they advanced to the Final 3.
- Grumpy Bear: J.J.; Art made fun of him for this at the beginning of the eighth episode, when J.J. was too busy obsessing over getting back to the Race to enjoy the African safari they were being treated to.
- Hate Sink: They attempted to invoke this by revealing Nary & Jamie's real jobs to everyone. This backfired spectacularly, as it ended up not only failing to turn everyone against Nary & Jamie, but that, and other actions over the next few legs, ended up turning the fans and other teams against them.
- Hope Spot: When Rachel & Dave showed up at the final Roadblock, telling them they were still in the game, only to have Rachel complete the sledding part of the Roadblock, which Art had been struggling with, on her second try.
- I Was Beaten By A Girl: Rachel Reilly gloated over how much it was killing Art & J.J. that she beat them at the cricket Detour.
- Jerkass: No matter how whiny Rachel Reilly was, some of the abuse they dumped on her was way too much.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In leg 10, J.J. went on one of his usual rants when Rachel Reilly refused to shave her head to win the Fast Forward. Though he was just as much of a jerk as usual when berating her about it, he was right. If she wasn't willing to shave her head, why did she come on the Race in the first place? Especially since Mark & Bopper were so far behind, the Fast Forward was their only avenue back into the race. By leaving it on the table, she put them all in danger of elimination in what should have essentially been a Breather Leg.
- Let The Bully Win: Nary & Jamie said they were trying and failing to do this by confronting them about their real jobs.
- Malaproper: They had a complete inability to say, "Azerbaijan," and spent the whole leg saying things such as, "Azeberjistan."
- Moral Myopia: After finishing 2nd to Rachel & Dave's Fast Forward in leg 6, they told Phil it was all right, because it meant they really won the leg. This opinion didn't stop them from treating their own win by Fast Forward in leg 4, where Rachel & Dave finished 2nd, as a legitimate win and their second straight "dominating leg."
- No Sense of Direction: They got lost looking for the campsite in Tanzania, dropping them out of 1st place.
- Pet the Dog: In between trying to incite fights between other teams and being all around arrogant, they gave half of their leg 4 winnings to Bopper ($5,000) for his daughter when they thought he and Mark were about to be eliminated.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness:
- Like Dave, they seriously thought the producers would arrange for them to land a real helicopter as part of the Fast Forward.
- Right before their big fight at the Nairobi airport, they complained that Brendon & Rachel were following them just because they showed up a the same travel agency that all the teams went to, and told the travel agent not to tell them what flight they had gotten on. So they got upset at Brendon & Rachel for doing something that every team has done in every season of the Race, or else thought the agent should deliberately put everyone else on a later flight just because they got there first.
- Second Place Is for Losers: J.J. said, "second place would feel like a waste," on their final flight to Hawaii.
- Secret Chaser: Around the mid-point of the season, they figured out that Federal Agents Nary & Jamie were not teachers like they claimed to be, and started telling all the other teams that they were cops of some sort. When they confronted Nary & Jamie about it, the girls knew their cover was blown, but kept to the lie just to annoy Art & J.J.
- Serious Business: They acted this way about the Race, such as when they hugely overreacted to Rachel & Dave failing to U-Turn Brendon & Rachel, even though it was pointless with Nary & Jamie so far behind. They acted like Rachel & Dave had personally stabbed them in the back, and gave a number of diatribes about how they were no longer friends.
- Smug Smiler: When they revealed to everyone that Nary & Jamie were actually cops, and no one cared.
- Smug Snake: They talked like they were some unstoppable force in the game, all the while getting constantly destroyed by Rachel & Dave. Also, their attempt at turning the other teams against Nary & Jamie by revealing they were lying about their jobs backfired, as no one really cared that the teachers/federal agents were lying, and it just made Art & J.J. look like even bigger jerks.
- Stubborn Mule: Their donkey during the Light My Fire Detour, though this was a much less extreme example than some others.
- This Is A Race: They would seemingly lecture another team on this every five minutes.
- This Is Wrong on So Many Levels: Art says this to having to scrub oil off of a hairy Azerbaijani, while J.J.'s reaction was to just repeatedly say, "no."
- Villainous Breakdown: Art & J.J. visibly lost it in the finale as first Art struggled with the sledding Roadblock, then saw Rachel & Dave show up, realizing they had been in first the whole time, and then had to watch Rachel complete the sledding on her second try, passing them up again.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Heights for J.J. In the finale, he even equated using the mechanical ascenders to Tempting Fate.
- With Us or Against Us: How they managed to alienate all the other teams, even Mark & Bopper, a team they gave $5,000 to. After the big brouhaha at the Nairobi airport, in which Art & J.J. first tried to bully Brendon & Rachel, then Nary & Jamie (the two teams Mark & Bopper spent most of their down time with), J.J., in a deleted scene, gave Mark & Bopper an ultimatum about who they were hanging with, in which he quoted the trope name. On the next leg, they used the same reasoning on Rachel & Dave, after Rachel & Dave decided not to U-Turn Brendon & Rachel.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Said word for word when they saw that their Fast Forward of landing a helicopter on a building involved a toy helicopter and a model of a building on top of a helmet.
Brendon Villegas & Rachel Reilly (Big Brother)
Engaged couple, they met on Big Brother
12, and both returned for Big Brother
13, where Rachel won. As with most imports from other CBS Reality Shows, they were not popular with the other teams, but people had a hatred for Rachel that they did not have for previous imports, probably because she constantly whined and complained about everything, and practically went out of her way to make enemies with every other team. Whatever it was, most of the other teams berated Rachel right up to the finale, where they would fall behind when they mistakenly jumped in a cab when they were supposed to run to a nearby baseball field to catch a helicopter, and ended up 3rd.
- All of the Other Reindeer: The only teams who would talk to them were Nary & Jamie and Mark & Bopper.
- Always Second Best: They had four second place finishes, but no leg wins.
- As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Rachel said "DiGiorno" upon running into the Pit Stop in Italy.
- Attention Whore: Rachel was comparable to Flo when it came to crying at the drop of a hat, but unlike Flo, who seemed to be just mentally and physically exhausted, Rachel just seemed to cry for the sake of getting attention.
- Bad Liar: Vanessa accused Rachel of this at a travel agency in Azerbaijan when Rachel wasn't actually lying.
- Call Back: Rachel said the woman who had previously shaved her head had been able to do so because she was thin and pretty.
- The Ditz: Rachel. In Germany, she chose the Fairy Tale Detour because she didn't know what a beard was.
- Double Standard: Brendon made some of the same comments Art did during the Bollywood Dancing Roadblock. Again, not sexist, just really uninformed about talented male dancers.
- Enemy Mine: They had one in the finale, where Rachel Reilly said to Rachel Brown that she didn't care who won as long as it wasn't Art & J.J.
- Failed a Spot Check: At the beginning of the Fairy Tale Detour, they missed the marked path and went off in the wrong direction with Kerri & Stacy.
- Follow That Car: Art & J.J. constantly complained about them doing this, even when they were at places where there was only a single road for them both to follow.
- Global Ignorance: Rachel asked when they were going to get to the German state of Bolivia (they were in Bavaria), the editors played with it by replacing the German Regional Riff with a South American one.
- Hypocrite: Both Vanessa and Rachel made blatantly insulting comments at each other both behind their backs and to their faces. Rachel seemed oblivious to having done the exact same thing on Big Brother, or, according to people who know her in real life, the kind of stuff she does every day.
- I Am Not Pretty: Rachel did this all the time, in particular when she chose not to shave her head and made a big deal crying about how she was ugly and had a big nose, and her hair was the only thing that made her pretty. This from a woman who worked as a Hawaiian Tropic bikini model even before she was on Big Brother.
- In-Series Nickname: Big Brother, and The Green Team.
- Jerkass: Both had their moments.
- The Load: Rachel. She couldn't go two minutes without whining about a task she didn't think she could do.
- J.J. accused Brendon of being this in the second leg, saying he wouldn't make decisions on his own, but would instead follow them or another team.
- No Accounting for Taste: Brendon regularly insulted her and belittled her when he was frustrated. Rachel was an Attention Whore diva who threw a temper tantrum at the drop of a hat. The greatest mystery of this season is how the hell they even made it to the Final 3 without knocking the other off a cliff.
- Nobody Touches the Hair: Rachel refused to do the head shaving Fast Forward, putting them (and the other teams in the top 5) in danger of a Mark & Bopper comeback. One of the things she was most upset about was that she would lose the $500 she paid for extensions, when she already won five hundred thousand on Big Brother.
- One-Hour Work Week: Brendon is a PhD student. Real life PhD students turn green with envy upon seeing him, since he's clearly in the cushiest program in the world where he gets this much free time.
- One Steve Limit: Averted with Rachel Brown.
- Read the Freaking Clue: Jumping in that cab in the finale instead of going by foot.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Apparently Rachel, after winning Big Brother, thought the Race would be a nice, fun trip around the world with her fiance. You know, despite the fact that it's a competition for a million dollars, and more than half the couples who've been on the show have ended up fighting due to the stresses of the Race. And that they can't pull as many safeguards to keep her around like on Big Brother.
- In Italy, after receiving a 2 cent Euro coin as their next clue, they did not realize that clues involving currency usually mean to look for a particular landmark depicted on the currency itself, and they tried inserting the coin somewhere on the car in which they found it to release their next clue. They dropped from 2nd to 6th while trying to figure it out.
- They took the train to the Japanese Game Show Roadblock instead of a cab, not to mention they weren't even taking the train to the right building, allowing the two cab taking teams to beat them to the Roadblock, and Art was able to finish it before they even got there.
- They were the only team to hold onto their bags once they had reached the Final Destination City.
- Redhead In Green: Rachel's sparkly green shirt was even a talking point amongst the other teams.
- Running Gag: Rachel's Wangst, which made up her entire finale Previously On montage.
- The Scrappy: Rachel, due to her constantly throwing fits over the smallest inconveniences and being snide towards the other teams. Of the other four of the final five teams, three hated them and one (Bopper & Mark) was ambivalent. Even Phil himself tweeted "It just wouldn’t feel right if @RachelEReilly didn’t throw a fit".
- Sitcom Archnemesis: With Vanessa.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: They would take up lots of screen time. Thankfully it was not nearly as bad as it could have been, as anyone who watched Big Brother could attest.
- Surprise Difficulty: Invoked at the beginning of the second leg. Rachel said how it was not as easy as Big Brother, where she received constant safeguards while sitting in a house for two months.
- We're Not Here To Make Friends: Rachel invoked this in her team introduction speech, despite having previously won Big Brother.
Vanessa Macias & Ralph Kelley
Ralph: All these people are so excited and happy to see us, I don't know why.
Dating divorcees. Despite their fighting, and their constant brushes with elimination, they would probably have been a lot more popular had Vanessa not hated
Rachel Reilly, and spent the entire Race insulting her both to her face and to the camera, despite Ralph repeatedly telling her to let it go. Vanessa would sprain her ankle while leaving the Roadblock in leg 10, and because Ralph had run out of Roadblocks, she was forced to do the Japanese Game Show Roadblock in the next leg. She predictably took much longer than the other teams to complete a task involving so much running, which ultimately put them behind and caused them to finish 4th.
- Alpha Bitch: Vanessa.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Vanessa admitted to being distracted by sparkly things when she saw Rachel Reilly's sparkly green shirt.
- Buxom Is Better: Apparently averted, as, during the Nairobi airport fight, Vanessa told Rachel that she should get her nose done before her boobs (though judging from comments she made, Vanessa had both done herself at one point.).
- Deadpan Snarker: Vanessa.
- Determinator: Vanessa ran on a treadmill for the Japanese Game Show Roadblock with a sprained ankle. Despite Ralph repeatedly telling her to take a penalty, she flat out refused to do so and managed to complete the task, albeit in last place.
- Drives Like Crazy: Vanessa, by her own admission.
- Failed a Spot Check:
- They took several minutes to find their clue in the rug shop in Azerbaijan despite said clue being perched in plain sight on top of a rug.
- They passed up the "Hilary Clington" cart at the beginning of leg 8, which allowed Nary & Jamie to make up a good chunk of their two-hour deficit when they had to backtrack.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Vanessa's ankle.
- Grammar Nazi: During one of their fights in Germany, Vanessa corrected Ralph's, "I could care less," to, "I couldn't care less."
- The Glomp: Ralph to the task judge after completing the bottle dancing Roadblock.
- Going Commando: Vanessa admitted to this in Azerbaijan.
- Goshdang It To Heck: They favored "cheese and crackers" as their exclamation of choice.
- Hypocrite: Both Vanessa and Rachel Reilly made blatantly insulting comments at each other both behind their backs and to their faces. Vanessa would later go on to say she wanted to set an example for her kids.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl
- Noodle Incident: Vanessa ran her car into the Alamo... if she was being truthful that was.
- Self-Deprecation: The "They haven't met us yet," quote.
- Sequence Breaking: They passed up their clue at the "Hilary Clington" cart, and kept walking until they came to the Air Supply Detour. Ralph immediately knew something was wrong, and they turned around to retrieve the Detour clue.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: With Rachel Reilly.
- Stalker with a Crush: Vanessa described their relationship as starting this way.
- Tempting Fate: Racing to avoid last in leg 8, Vanessa said they had the best luck with cabs... right before their cab got a flat tire.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Vanessa had a fear of enclosed spaces and being underwater, so of course she had to do the helicopter underwater crash training Roadblock.
- You Are Fat: One of Vanessa's insults towards Rachel during the fight at the Nairobi airport.
William "Bopper" Minton & Mark Jackson (Kentucky)
Friends from Kentucky, they quickly became the fan favorites amongst the largely unlikable cast. When they weren't enjoying the hell out of themselves, they also had one of the most heartbreaking stories in the series, as Bopper's daughter was sick and he needed money to treat her. They managed to run a fairly strong race, and were the only team to beat Rachel & Dave to a Pit Stop after leg 5. Unfortunately, Bopper wrenched his knee in Tanzania, forcing an uncoordinated Mark to do the Bollywood Dancing Roadblock while suffering through dehydration and the after effects of motion sickness, and they didn't leave the Roadblock until all the other teams had completed the leg. Despite being non-eliminated for the second time during the season, the dancing Roadblock put them so far behind that not even the Fast Forward was able to save them in the next leg, and they finished 5th.
- Bald of Awesome: Mark all season, Bopper for the last few minutes of their season.
- Call Back: In the premiere, Bopper refused to pull over in order to let Mark throw up because, "when you got loot on the line like this, you pee your pants if you have to," referencing Jen's potty break back in Season 14.
- A Death in the Limelight: They seemingly got this twice, only for it to stick neither time as they were non-eliminated. When they finally did get eliminated, they were so far behind that they didn't have much of an opportunity for it to happen a third time.
- Elimination Montage: Subverted during leg 9, when they had fallen so far behind that the other teams had finished the leg while they were still on the first task. They received one playing over the Detour and them running up to the Pit Stop, and even got their second goodbye speech of the season, only to then be told it was a non-elimination leg. It was played straight when they were eliminated in the very next episode.
- Evil Laugh: Bopper, while imitating the witch at the Fairy Tale Detour.
- Fatal Family Photo: Subverted. In episode 4, Bopper started the leg by talking about his sick daughter back home, throwing up huge red flags that this was their Death In The Limelight episode. Through the rest of the leg, the trope appeared to be playing out straight, as they make a mistake that put them on a flight an hour behind the other teams, and only saw another team at one point. They rolled into the Pit Stop last, gave their final speeches to Phil, even had Art & J.J. give them half of their prize money for the leg... only then to have Phil tell them it's a non-elimination leg (the longest he's ever drawn that announcement out).
- Foregone Conclusion: Subverted in their final leg, when they started so far behind that they had seemingly no chance to catch up, but then Brendon & Rachel left the Fast Forward on the table for them... Then Double Subverted when the Fast Forward was not enough to put them back in the game.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Bopper wrenched his surgically-repaired knee in leg 7, forcing him to wear a knee brace for the rest of the race, and preventing him from participating in the dance Roadblock that would eventually cause their elimination.
- Global Ignorance:
- Mark was excited about going to the tropical country of Italy.
- They though Azerbaijan was in Africa.
- Good Ol' Boy
- In-Series Nickname: "Kentucky"
- Malaproper: In the premiere, the teams are tasked with making empanadas:
Bopper: This is the first time I have ever made a pinata.
Mark: It ain't a pinata, my brotha, it's a empi-za- Well, you call it whatever you want. I don't know neither.
- Manly Tears: Both of them during their first non-Elimination Statement, then Bopper while Mark was struggling with the Bollywood Dance Roadblock.
- Mistaken for Gay: During the statue cleaning Detour, the judge asked Mark & Bopper if they were engaged. Brought up again later after they did the Courtship Detour in Tanzania.
- Oh Crap: At the airport at the beginning of leg 4, when Danny asked to see their tickets to Turin, and they realized their flight landed over an hour after everyone else's.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Bopper.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness:
- Subverted with Mark's motion sickness. During the premiere, Mark revealed that he gets motion sickness, which is not the best thing to have going on a race around the world. However, when it was later revealed how they were doing this all for Bopper's daughter, it became clear that Mark knew what he was getting himself into, and he was doing it all for his own family, and his friend's.
- Played straight in the fourth leg. They started out the leg at 10:00 at night, but instead of going to a travel agency to book tickets, they instead went straight to the airport, putting them on a flight an hour behind all the other teams when they were the only ones not to get tickets on the first flight. They were only saved due to the non-elimination leg.
- Shoo Out the Clowns
Nareman "Nary" Ebeid & Jamie Graetz (The Teachers)
Federal agents masquerading as school teachers. They stayed pretty much in the background through the first half of the season, until a conversation with Art & J.J. in Baku clued the Border Patrol Agents onto their real identities. Deciding they watned to stir the pot a little, Art & J.J. told the other teams that nary & Jamie weren't really teachers, something the other teams did not car about in the least, and, immediately following the big fight at the Nairobi airport, they decided to make the whole situation worse
by confronting the Federal Agents about their real jobs. Though not phased by this mess in the least, Nary & Jamie still ended up last at the end of that leg when they had trouble setting up their campsite. Though they would get saved by a non-elimination, they would start the next leg more than two hours behind the second-to-last team, and, as there was no equalizer during the leg, they were not able to catch up, despite Vanessa & Ralph doing their best to blow their lead, and they were eliminated in 6th.
- Don't Look Down: Nary to Jamie during the rappelling Roadblock.
- Fun with Subtitles: At the beginning of episode 2, they explained that they were hiding their real jobs as federal agents and telling the other teams that they were kindergarten teachers instead. At this, the "Federal Agents" caption is crossed out and "School Teachers" is added in next to it.
- Girl on Girl Is Hot: Discussed by Nary & Jamie while building a shower.
- Ho Yay: Jaime, on her and Nary setting up a camp shower:
"This is what a lot of guys at work have been wanting, is Nary and I in the shower together. Well, they got it, but we ain't looking so hot right now."
- Identity Denial: Even after Art & J.J. figured out they were federal agents, they continued to say they were teachers just to annoy the guys.
- In-Series Nickname: "The Teachers," which teams continued to call them even after Art & J.J.'s reveal.
- Obi-Wan Moment: They had one at the end leg 7 after they fell behind at the campsite task, when they stopped on the side of the road to watch a herd of elephants. They were then non-eliminated.
- Out of Focus: Until Art & J.J. became obsessed with their real jobs.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: Their last leg was everything but a Foregone Conclusion, starting two hours behind the second-to-last team, on a leg with tasks that were more time consuming than challenging, and there was no equalizer to help them catch up. Even when they managed to make up the deficit between them and Vanessa & Ralph due to mistakes and a U-Turn affecting the latter team, they were then hit with a rather lenghty Speed Bump, which put them out of the Race.note
- Up to Eleven: Nary makes a reference to this during the Apples Detour.
Nary: One apple a day isn't enough, so we decided several thousand apples.
Joey "Fitness" Lasalla & Danny Horal (Jersey)
Friends and "Guidos," they they were an obvious play on the then current popularity of Jersey Shore
, with the editors taking them as about as seriously as seriously as the rest of America took the cast of Jersey Shore
. They started off weak, only avoiding elimination in the first leg due to Misa & Maiya's Pit Stop blunder, but were able to recover to pull of a number of top 3 finishes. Their momentum died in leg 6, however, when they went for the Fast Forward in Azerbaijan, and ended up losing a hay bale stacking race to Rachel & Dave. Losing the Fast Forward put them so far behind they never saw another team after that, and they finished 7th.
- All or Nothing: They were on the "nothing" side of the hay stacking Fast Forward, as after they failed to beat out Rachel & Dave, they were pretty much done for at that point.
- Casanova Wannabe: Danny more so than Joey "Fitness", though neither of them to the same extent as Eric & Jeremy.
- Driving Stick: Danny, which dropped them to the back of the pack when he had to to the driving part of the first Roadblock. He didn't even bother learning, despite even his mother telling him he should.
- Elimination Montage
- Expy: Of the Jersey Shore cast.
- I Was Beaten By A Girl: They didn't take it well when they lost the hay bale stacking Fast Forward to Rachel Brown (to the point where it didn't seem to matter to them that, Dave, a combat pilot, was also working against them).
- In-Series Nickname: ''Jersey," despite not actually being from Jersey.
- Large Ham
- Lethal Chef: Danny's inability to make empanadas nearly got them eliminated in the first leg, if not for Misa & Maiya's gaffe.
- Nice Hat: Their intention was to invoke this with the panda and monster knit hats they wore in leg 5.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Joey "Fitness" (with the quote marks) was displayed on screen, and even Phil used it.
- Plucky Comic Relief: No matter how seriously they took themselves, they were portrayed by the show in a humorous manner.
- Read the Freaking Manual: During the Fast Forward, Danny said he never reads the manuals.
- Shoo Out the Clowns
- Strategy Versus Tactics: What essentially got them eliminated. By going for the Fast Forward, they went for the immediate reward and a 50/50 chance of either winning the leg or getting eliminated, instead of playing it safe and attempting to beat out the other five teams on the course. Danny even admitted during the challenge that they were playing the game without strategy. You can see this during the challenge, where Rachel & Dave were able to blast by them at the end due to Dave pushing bales off the edge of the truck on top of Rachel's stack, while Joey "Fitness" lost time by repeatedly retrieving bales from the back of his truck because he didn't want to fall off.
- Tempting Fate: At the beginning of their last leg, Danny called his over-sized novelty glasses "1st place glasses."
- Unskilled, but Strong
- We're Not Here To Make Friends: Danny got upset at Joey "Fitness" for simply saying hello to Vanessa & Ralph at the Munich airport.
Kerri Paul & Stacy Bowers
Cousins from Mississippi, only the second set of cousins in the series after Charla & Mirna
. On a season notorious for having the worst inter-team feuding in the series, they were easily the most hated team. However, as all of their clashing with the other teams, and all of the complaints the other teams had about them were all relegated to Deleted Scenes
, they ended up not really doing much during the actual episodes.
Despite leaving the Roadblock in Germany in 7th, they got lost looking for the Pit Stop, allowing Nary & Jamie to pass them, and ended up finishing 8th.
- Ambiguously Brown: There was a bit of confusion on whether they were black or Hispanic, though most tended to lean towards Hispanic.
- Driving Stick: Kerri.
- Failed a Spot Check: At the beginning of the Fairy Tale Detour, they missed the marked path and went off in the wrong direction with Brendon & Rachel.
- Fatal Family Photo: The first mention they made of their families was at the beginning of their final leg, and Stacy showed a picture of her kids to Phil upon their elimination.
- No Sense of Direction: Self admitted right before they got themselves eliminated due to navigation issues.
- Out of Focus
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Heights for Stacy, so of course she got both heights based Roadblocks (skydiving and rappelling).
Elliot Weber & Andrew Weber
Twin brothers, a musician and a soccer player. After an uninspiring first two legs, they ended up on the second flight to Paraguay, and subsequently struggled with the harp stringing, finishing it long after the other teams. However, they showed up at the bottle dancing Roadblock to discover they still had a chance, as Ralph & Vanessa had struggled just as much with watermelon stacking. Ralph beat Elliot by minutes at the Roadblock, and they were eliminated in 9th.
David "Dave" Gregg & Cherie Gregg (The Clowns)
Married clowns. They went in at a huge disadvantaged being relatively out of shape on a physically tough course against all these physical teams. However, they got eliminated not due to their physical abilities, but because Dave struggled with math in the cow counting Roadblock, putting them in 10th.
Misa Tanaka & Maiya Tanaka
Sisters and golfers, they made one of the biggest boneheaded mistakes in Race history in the premiere. Next-to-last at the end of the episode thanks to Maiya getting her SUV stuck in sand during the Roadblock, they hoofed it to the Pit Stop, charging through an entryway into an open courtyard. Phil, the greeter, the Pit Stop mat, and Phil's camera and sound crew were all there in plain sight, approximately 80 yards to their right. Misa & Maiya did not turn their heads and therefore failed to see them. They left the building in confusion, and, while they were wandering outside, Joey "Fitness" & Danny checked in, and Misa & Maiya were eliminated in 11th.
- Epic Fail: Their elimination.
- Failed a Spot Check/No Peripheral Vision: Phil's astonished look and "Where'd they go?" exclamation after Misa & Maiya left were particularly entertaining.
- Jaw Drop: When Rachel & Dave were turned away from the Finish Line.
- Ms. Fanservice
- Shocking Elimination: Not because they were performing well, but because they were within sight of the Pit Stop while Joey "Fitness" & Danny were still making their empanadas. Even Phil was shocked that they managed to get themselves eliminated.
- Sibling Team