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Characters: The Amazing Race 4

The fourth season of the Race quite possibly could have been the show's final entry. Suffering from eternally mediocre ratings, CBS moved the Race out of its prime time lineup and into a summer slot. Even so, the show still managed to make waves by casting gay "married" couple Reichen & Chipnote  at a time when gay marriage was just starting to become a point of debate. However, the rest of the season was not quite as notable, mostly being a culmination of all the negative aspects of the series' early seasons. The domination of Alpha Male teams, the bickering over what was "right" and what was not, and Detours that relied heavily on "fast, but scary" versus "slow, but safe" tasks all were at their worst in this season. All this and the continued poor ratings forced the producers to make some serious changes to the format for future seasons. Quite possibly the most forgettable season of the Race, even fans who hold the early, more "adventurous" seasons above all others consider it one of the weaker seasons.

Reichen Lehmkuhl & Chip Arndt

Gay "married" team. Won not by being dominant, but being the most consistent team amongst a group of mistake prone racers. After the Race they split up. Reichen would go on to date Lance Bass and appear on a number of minor gay themed Reality Shows, while Chip has become a notable figure in the gay rights movement. They were supposed to appear on the original All-Stars, when it was being planned for Season 8, but were not asked for Season 11.

  • Badass Gay
  • Bowdlerise: In most foreign airings there is no mention of them being "married", plus their kiss at the Finish Line is edited out.
  • Everybody Knew Already: They wanted to hide their relationship from the other teams, and it worked for the most part, but Debra & Steve and Monica & Sheree both figured it out.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: After getting cut in front of at the first airport, even though it didn't end up costing them anything, Reichen decided not to honor lines in the second leg. At the bus station he positioned himself in front of the door, blocking the teams who had gotten there before him, and nearly got into a fight with several of them.
  • Foil: To Jon Corso. They didn't appreciate his homophobic comments.
  • The Good Guys Always Win: They were kind of pushy and unlikable early on, but when it came down to them versus the homophobic Jon Corso, they were the obvious good guys in that one.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Early on, they frequently got into arguments with other teams, and were in general not the most likable team. However, later in the season they became less confrontational, and had to deal with frequent homophobic comments from Jon Corso, which flipped them into being the "heroes" of the season.
  • Manly Gay
  • Read The Freaking Clue: Got kicked out of their carriage in leg 3 when they didn't pull the pass off the door.
  • Smooch of Victory: A rather infamous one, as seeing men kiss on television was not that common yet, especially on network television.

Kelly Parks & Jon Corso

Engaged couple from Texas and New Jersey respectively. Very opinionated, they had an unexplained dislike for many of the other teams. Late in the season they became a Foil for Reichen & Chip due to Jon's "homophobia." Lost in the finale when they didn't research where the were going in Phoenix, and Reichen & Chip did. They were invited back for All-Stars, but dropped out at the last minute.

  • Alpha Bitch: A weird case, because though Kelly acted like one, she also accused Millie of acting just like the girls who used to bully her in high school.
  • Dartboard of Hate: A variation during a Taekwondo Detour in South Korea, Kelly was having trouble breaking her boards, so Jon told her to picture his face on the boards, and his line was even used as the episode title quote.
    Jon: That's me. That's my face. Just hit my face. Hit my face!
  • Defeat by Modesty: Completely averted with Jon, who did the final Roadblock naked.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Kelly felt the need to explain their nicknames for Millie & Chuck twice.
  • Dope Slap: Kelly gave one to Jon after getting kicked out of their carriage in leg 3.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In episode 3 teams were required to claim a horse-drawn carriage by pulling the pass off the door handle. Kelly & Jon and Reichen & Chip got in the carriages without pulling the passes, only to have another team, who read the clue, pull the pass off the door handle and kick them out of the carriage. Kelly & Jon failed to notice even though Reichen & Chip were making a big fuss about it two carriages back from them.
  • Fiery Redhead: Kelly
  • Foil: To Reichen & Chip. Jon seemed increasingly upset to be losing to a couple of gay men. (Remember, this was 2003, back when that attitude was still considered somewhat normal, if not acceptable.)
  • Hate Sink: Jon's homophobia near the end of the season ensured that fans would have a reason to root against him and for Reichen & Chip. Their earlier mocking of Millie & Chuck didn't exactly win over fans either.
  • Hollywood Thin: Kelly
  • Jerkass: Both of them, the most notable instance being the scene on a train where they ruthlessly mock Millie & Chuck.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: They started off struggling, but around leg 10 they became serious threats to win.
  • Miracle Rally: They started leg 9 in last place, missed the "operating hours" equalizer that evened out all the other teams, got majorly lost while trying to find the first clue, and tried to opt for the Fast Forward only to have to drive all the way back to the Detour location due to Chip & Reichen already having taken it. However, a sleep-deprived Chuck & Millie became so lost that Kelly & Jon ended up arriving at the Roadblock the exact same time as them, managed to complete the Roadblock just barely ahead of them, and beat them in a footrace to the Pit Stop.
  • Motor Mouth: Kelly
  • The Nicknamer: Though the nicknames were generally not very nice ones. Of special note were their nicknames for Millie & Chuck, "Millie Mole and the Werewolf."
  • No Indoor Voice: Kelly
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Jon Weiss.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Jon's homophobia became a major storyline at the end of the season.
  • Read The Freaking Clue: See Failed a Spot Check above.
  • Trash Talk: Jon was downright nasty in his trash talking towards Reichen & Chip.
  • Villainous Underdog: They were the first villain team to slip into an underdog role, playing the underdog to the three male teams in the top 4.

David Dean & Jeff Strand (The Goats)

Friends and alpha males. Notable for being one of the two Final 3 teams who never made it to the Finish Line, but unlike Bill & Joe it was their own fault, as they jumped on a plane to Sydney without first booking tickets to Hawaii, stranding them overnight while the other teams found flights through Tokyo. They have the worst finishing average ever for a team who won four legs.

  • Failed a Spot Check: Despite actually being fairly competent overall, they had several moments of this that the editors just loved to draw attention to (and let's face it: when you end up as the only team other than Bill & Joe who failed to reach the Finish Line, people are not exactly inclined to remember you as a paragon of competence). The most memorable instance of this was in Episode 9, when they drove right past where the Detour clue was located and had to repeatedly ask Jon & Al where it was, even as the camera guys helpfully showed that the clue was located within sight of their vehicle.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Goats
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: In the finale, no less. They were given a clue telling them Reichen & Chip had won the Race.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Dave Cottingham.
  • Out of Focus: Didn't have a storyline beyond "threatening alpha male team." It didn't help when they disappeared halfway through the final leg and failed to make it to the Finish Line. Their lack of identity led fans to call them "Team Who?"
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Jon Corso accused them of this in the finale when they took the flight to Sydney, saying they weren't looking at the big picture by not getting tickets all the way through to Hawaii before leaving.
  • Those Two Guys: See Out of Focus.

Jon Weiss & Al Rios (The Clowns)

Friends and clowns, they quickly became fan favorites due to their good-natured antics, and were the only team who didn't seem interested in bickering over semantics about what was the right way to race. Ended up 4th when their flight was delayed two hours by fog.

Millie Smith & Chuck Shankles (The Virgins)

Dating virgins. They'd been together over a decade, but their inability to cooperate caused their relationship to deteriorate over the course of the season. Finished 5th when they had trouble finding the leg 9 Roadblock.

  • Action Girl
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Particularly from Kelly & Jon.
  • Claustrophobia: Chuck, which led to one of his best moments when he started freaking out when trying to get into an F1 race car:
    Chuck: It's feeling tight! Hot and tight!
  • Commitment Issues: hey reason they'd been dating for so long without sex and had yet to get married.
  • Down to the Last Play: In their last leg, they had fallen behind and long lost sight of any other teams that was not Kelly & Jon, as the two teams managed to find themselves back-to-back racing through the Roadblock and to the Pit Stop.
  • High School Sweethearts
  • The Load: Chuck did everything slowly, much to Millie's consternation.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: They had dated for 12 years but said they never consummated. This was apparently notable enough that where most teams are labeled "Dating", "Married", "Best Friends" or the like, the show labeled these two "The Virgins".
  • No Sense of Direction: Got lost looking for the Roadblock in leg 9. They drove around for hours before discovering that it was located where they started.
  • One Head Taller
  • Opposites Attract: Millie was a tiny ball of energy, while Chuck was more subdued.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Millie
  • Shocking Elimination

Tian Kitchen & Jaree Poteet

Models and friends. Tian was a strong racer who had to deal with Jaree's constant complaining. They ultimately finished 6th. Because they ended up getting eliminated in a leg in which Tian had to compete in a Roadblock that no woman had ever done before, it caused an uproar amongst the fans. It planted the suggestion that maybe the reason alpha male teams were so dominant was because the courses were being designed to favor them.

Monica Ambrose & Sheree Buchanan

Friends and wives of professional NFL players. They had a "minority alliance" with Reichen & Chip. They ended up finishing in 7th in India after deciding to walk instead of taking a bus like all the other teams, and they got too far behind to catch up.

  • Pixellation: Monica flipped off Steve & Josh after they screwed them out of the better flight in the first leg by buying the last tickets available for Steve & Dave, who were standing behind Monica & Sheree in the line.
  • Running Gag: Considering they couldn't go five minutes without talking about how their husbands were professional football players.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes??: Heights for Sheree.

Steve Meitz & Dave Cottingham

Older, out of shape air traffic controllers. In the first leg, Dave injured his knee climbing a hill, but they managed to survive long enough to finish 8th thanks to a Fast-Forward and other teams's mistakes.

  • Game-Breaking Injury: Dave blowing out his knee in the first leg.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with both of them. Steve with Steve Cottingham and Steve Carmody. Dave with David Dean.
  • Self-Deprecation: They would make fun of themselves both during and after the race in their recaps. From when Steve bungee jumped in Austria:
    Dave: "He got to the top of the tower and it was like an eclipse. Greenpeace showed up and said, 'Will you please stop throwing whales from the tower?'"

Steve Cottingham & Josh Cottingham

Father and son team. After winning both the first (in a tie) and third (by Fast-Forward) legs, they fell far behind in France and ended up in 9th.

  • No Sense of Direction
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Steve Meitz and Steve Carmody.
  • Shocking Elimination: If you just look at the fact that they won two legs, yes it was shocking. However, the first leg was a three-way tie after the teams on the first flight, except for injured Steve & Dave, decided to all jump on the mat together, and the Fast Forward was too late in the leg for Monica & Sheree's Fast Forward to allow them to win the leg, and they won the third leg via Fast Forward. On the other two legs they ran, where they didn't have a flight or Fast Forward advantage, they finished 9th.
  • Something We Forgot: Leg 4, the race to the mat between Kelly & John and Steve & Dave was edited to look like the battle to avoid elimination, with even the sad elimination music being played as Steve & Dave strolled up to the mat. Only after Steve & Dave were told they were still in the race did it cut to Steve & Josh, who had fallen hopelessly behind and quietly disappeared from the episode halfway through.

Cindy Duck & Russell Brown

Friends, Cindy wanted to see if there was something more there, but Russell didn't. They finished in 10th when they mistakenly got train tickets to Gmund instead of Gmunden, Austria.

Amanda Adams & Chris Garry

Dating couple from South Dakota. They tied for first on the first leg, but got eliminated on the very next when Chris fell apart at the mask Roadblock.

  • Call Back: In the premiere, Chris called Amanda "Flo" when she started lagging behind, in reference to Flo's constant lagging and complaining in the previous season.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Amanda suffered a severe case of road rage on the way to the airport in the premiere, and started cursing out all the other teams. Made funnier by the fact that she was small and cutesy, and looked like a total Goshdang It To Heck type during the team introductions.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Season 14 and 18 team Amanda & Kris.

Steve Carmody & Debra Carmody

Overweight and out of shape married couple, their lack of physical ability doomed them to be the first team eliminated from the very beginning. They were considered the worst team to ever run the race until Dana & Adrian in Season 16.

  • Face Plant: Their most memorable moment is Debra's face plant while running through a jetway. She noted later "I wish I could say I tripped over something, but I didn't."
  • Happily Married
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Steve Meitz and Steve Cottingham.

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