As the reality game show equivalent to "who would win in a fight?", fans had greatly anticipated an All-Star season of The Amazing Race since Season 4, and finally, it was announced that they were getting so many good teams that the eleventh season would be an All-Stars edition. The cast was stocked with seven seasons' worth of popular, often controversial teams, giving ten of the eleven (save for former winners Uchenna & Joyce), Their Greatest Second Chance at the Race. There were numerous controversies that surrounded the race, such as accusations of unworthy teams being castnote Which the producers caused themselves by repeatedly calling All-Stars a race between the "best of the best," when in fact they had cast the teams they deemed the most memorable, not the ones who had been best at the game., the lack of Season 4 and 6 representation, a number of huge snubs (Ken & Gerard, Colin & Christie, Kris & Jon, and B.J & Tyler being the most often mentioned), the course being easy compared to what the fans had just seen in the previous season, and a production snafu in Africa that spread 7 teams over 24 hours apart from each other, which, while it made the following sets of episodes rather predictable, is still considered one of the best episodes of the first eleven seasons. When it ended with a winner who was just as unpopular as Flo and Kendra, it cemented the season as "bad" in a lot of people's minds.
However, it was still a competitive, unpredictable season, and the clash of the personality titans made for some of the most interesting inter-team interactions in the entire series. At the very least, it will be remembered as the season when the gender barrier that had plagued the Race through it's early seasons was decimated, at a point in which the fanbase was getting ravenous to see an all-female team come out on top. Both female teams ended up making it into the Final Three, and it looked like one of them was a shoo-in to win, but well....
Eric Sanchez & Danielle Turner (Season 9, 2nd and 8th Place (respectively))
"Newly dating" couple made up of racers from opposing teams in Season 9. As expected from such a team, they bickered. A lot. Expectations were high from them pre-race, due to Eric & Jeremy having one of the statistically best seasons ever. However, Eric showed little of the skill he demonstrated in his original season, part in thanks to being shackled with a partner he didn't want to work with and who brought little to the table, as they narrowly escaped elimination repeatedly, never won a single leg prior to the finale, and only won due to a final task which required one team member to guess the other's opinions regarding the other teams. In a single year, Eric went from being a part of a team that was considered one of the best to ever run the race, to being a part of a team that was not only one of the worst to win it, but possibly the most hated winners as well. They broke up immediately after the season.
Ask a Stupid Question...: When they showed up at the travel agency in Zanzibar to find Charla & Mirna and Danny & Oswald still there after seven hours of looking, Eric asked if they had found a better flight, only to get a very sarcastic answer from Mirna about how they'd found one, but had decided to wait there for them instead.
Born Lucky: Eric's lucky streak continued in this edition, as they barely avoided elimination five times, including a last place finish that they survived due to Joe & Bill's Marked for Elimination penalty. And of course, the overly luck-based final task which allowed them to triumph over Dustin & Kandice and Charla & Mirna who both performed better overall.
Butt Monkey: Danielle. For whatever else you can say about her, Danielle did get all the worst Roadblocks, and managed to get hit by a Yield every single time she hit the mat. Having Eric's constant abuse did not help much either.
Failed a Spot Check: At the Boardroom puzzle Roadblock in the second leg, Eric actually saw and read the answer aloud (Chuquicamata), yet immediately dismissed it because, though he had found every other letter in the word, he had not seen the "H" yet, despite it being the only picture in the room with a "Q" in it. He only figured it out when he overheard Amber and Oswald (who had arrived on a later flight) discussing the correct answer.
Felony Misdemeanor: After getting Yielded by Dustin & Kandice, Eric repeatedly called them "dirty hookers," after which he tore up their Yield photo, and Danielle called them "shady bitches." They continued to complain about the Yield for the rest of the leg, and held a grudge for the rest of the season. They then had a similar, more serious, blowup when it was Oswald & Danny's turn, causing bad blood between them that lasted well after the race was over.
Follow That Car: Eric had a tendency to follow other teams until he knew where he was going, then race ahead of them. He annoyed Bill so badly with this at the beginning of leg 3, that Bill stood in front of their car so they couldn't go anywhere until he had opened the clue, which started their season-long feud.
Global Ignorance: Danielle, who multiple times messed up what country they were going to, such as not knowing that Warsaw was in Poland.
While everyone was waiting in line for South African Airways to open in search of the elusive tickets to Tanzania, Eric saw that the airline office was open, and announced it out loud. It was a great idea, but he told Danny & Oswald, while Uchenna & Joyce and Dustin & Kandice noticed what was going on and followed them. Though they all got tickets to Johannesburg, they had to be put on the waiting list for tickets to Tanzania, and Eric & Danielle, despite being first in line, didn't get themselves put on top of the standby list. All four teams got on the plane in Johannesburg, but there was a mistake made, and one team had to get taken off the plane, the team that was at the bottom of the standby list, Eric & Danielle.
They made yet another standby gaffe in leg 10, when, after not getting on the first flight to Hong Kong, they decided to go and exchange money while Dustin & Kandice and Charla & Mirna ran off to secure their seats on the second flight. Naturally, Charla & Mirna were able to talk their way ahead of them on the standby list, and they had to take a much later flight, getting them Marked for Elimination.
Kick the Dog: Though they were already unpopular due to their status as the manufactured couple and their constant fighting, Eric lost what little goodwill he had left with the audience when he infamously called Dustin & Kandice "dirty pirate hookers" after the Yield in Kuala Lumpur (Some fans assert that it was done in jest in the heat of the moment, however, he did repeat it to Charla at the Roadblock later in the leg).
Leeroy Jenkins: Eric's play style again, to blindly strive for first ignoring any sense or strategy, and he pretty much admitted it in the premiere. It was much less successful this time around, as he was with a partner who did not share his mindset, and, more importantly, he had much smarter competition this time.
Eric: They hesitated at a little lump in the road, and I don't know what hesitate means, so I just drove over it.
The Load: Suffice it to say, there's a reason Danielle finished 8th originally. Eric became increasingly frustrated with her late in the season as she would rather fight with him than keep up with the pace he and Eric had preferred to work at during Season 9, not that Eric helped matters by constantly berating her for being a weak partner.
Never My Fault: Danielle blamed their repeated mistakes trying to book flights on bad luck.
No Sense of Direction: In the premiere, Eric was the last of the contestants who lived in Miami to actually find the airport, arriving in 9th.
Pixellation: Eric, twice, after the second Yield. First when he cursed at Danny & Oswald's picture on the Yield sign, then again when he flicked off Danny.
Read the Freaking Clue: Danielle was turned away from the recycling truck in the newspaper recycling Roadblock in Kuala Lumpur, as her pile was not eight hands high.
Reality Show Genre Blindness: Danielle called the newspaper recycling Roadblock a "guy task," even though it involved collecting things from locals, something which always favors young females (Danny, the only guy to do it, got the least amount of help from the locals.).
Redemption Quest: Subverted. Going into the finale, Eric said that one of his main motivations for running the Race again was to make up for his stumbling on the final Roadblock during Season 9. Though they ended up winning, he ran a comparatively poor race and was despised by the fans, and is considered one of the most undeserving winners ever.
Rubberband AI: They ended two straight legs over 12 hours behind the lead teams, yet due to a bunch of equalizers, they managed to come back and win the Race.
Sex Sells: Danielle got a local kid to help her complete the newspaper recycling Roadblock in Kuala Lumpur by giving him a hug.
At the beginning of leg 5, Danielle said she was okay with Eric's ego, as they kept finishing at the front of the pack. They would finish second-to-last that leg, and their arguing would truly start soon after.
In leg 6, when they were getting on the flight to Tanzania, the one that they would get pulled off of several minutes later, putting them at the back of the pack, Eric said:
Eric: I can't believe that it actually happened. I'm still waiting for somebody to run after us and tell us to stop.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Eric, while somewhat douchey in his original season, took his attitude a whole new level in this one with his homophobicnote Such as calling Bill & Joe, "old ladies" and misogynistic comments towards the other teams and Danielle, and his blowups after getting Yielded, during which he made insults and threats that went way over the line. His behavior was questioned by both Joe & Billnote for blatantly insulting them in an attempt to start a fight and Robnote for his comments about Danielle's boobs at the fish tank Roadblock. On top of that, he was a sore winner in the post-race interviews (in which most racers generally are honest and respectful regardless of their behavior on the race), claiming that he was happy to have ruined the season for his "haters". Oswald & Danny in particular were so incensed by his attitude that they called him a "f**king asshole" in one of their interviews.
Unexpected Character: With all the complaining the fans did about casting, Danielle was the only contestant that really came out of nowhere. Eric at least had some justification for being on All-Stars with the highest finishing average of any team at the time, but Danielle finished 8th and was regarded as a weak Cannon Fodder racer. The team itself was also unexpected, having not raced together originally, and they were the only ones not on Phil's personal list of fifteen teams he'd like to see brought back.
Dustin: We're bigger than she is. We can make a Beauty Queen sandwich outta her.
The intensely competitive pageant queens returned to further prove their worth as more than just pretty faces. In just the few months that had passed since filming Season 10, Dustin had married her boyfriend Luke Seltzer, and they had gone from perceived villains to fan favorites. They showed up big time, going from a good team with a tendency to overlook things on Season 10, to being one of the best teams to ever run the Race. They dominated the last half of the season, winning four legs overall, and were the easy favorites to win until they were unable to finish the final task before Eric & Danielle (partly because Dustin's initial response would not go through and she thus changed it; a fatal decision in a matching task), ending up 2nd.
Action Girl: They were better at physical tasks than most of the men they were racing against, and became the measuring stick for every female team that came after them (and most female racers in general).
Alpha Bitch: They played an even bigger subversion this time around, as though they were seen this way again, particularly by Charla & Mirna and Eric & Danielle, they were generally more likable than their rivals.
Appropriated Appellation: After they bought the Yield from Oswald & Danny, they declared themselves the "Yield Queens" in reference to an insult Mirna made after they Yielded Eric & Danielle. Dustin even jokingly offered to show Oswald how to use the Yield when it came time to do it.
Dustin: Now we officially are the Yield Queens. We just bought a Yield.
Beat Them at Their Own Game: Early in leg 7, they managed to do this to Charla & Mirna and Danny & Oswald simultaneously by using Politeness Judo to secure the last tickets on the earliest flight to Poland, while the other two teams were in the same travel agency, working with another agent.
Brutal Honesty: Still one of the most honest teams ever. While the other teams were all playing nice around the cameras, worried about Manipulative Editing, they told Phil and the cameras exactly what they were thinking.
At the letter Roadblock in Argentina, they took the time to remind everyone of their rivalry with Lyn & Karlyn in Season 10 (none of the other former racers got more than a clip and a brief mention), foreshadowing their rivalry with Charla & Mirna later in the season.
They noted that once again they were the third team to show up for the Intersection.
Chekhov's Hobby: Dustin's musical abilities came in handy on the piano tuning Detour in Warsaw.
Crack Defeat: They were not the first team to lose because of bad luck and a short last leg (due to a mid-leg flight making the first half of the leg inconsequential), but this one enraged the fans, even more so than Freddy & Kendra beating Kris & Jon, as everyone thought a female team was finally about to win the race. You'll notice how they changed the way the final leg is set up after this season.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Between legs 7 and 12 they only lost to Fast Forwards, and several times they beat the other teams by over an hour. When they got beaten by Eric & Danielle in the finale, that was the first time they lost to a team head to head since leg 6.
They destroyed the other teams in leg 7, finishing the leg before three of the other teams had even arrived in Poland, and started leg 8 while Joe & Bill and Eric & Danielle were still out running leg 7. Even though much of that lead was because they were alone on the first flight into Poland, they finished the Warsaw portion of the leg in an hour and forty-seven minutes (that includes going through customs), when none of the other teams took less than three hours to run it.
Deadpan Snarker: How they generally handled the other teams' animosity, particularly Charla & Mirna.
Kandice: We have to kind of compete with Too Hot To Handle.
Dustin: It's a little hard to keep up with Too Hot To Handle.
Enemy Mine: Once again, they had one against them. Mirna actually went up to Eric & Danielle the leg after the Yield to form a Final 3 deal against Dustin & Kandice.
Failed a Spot Check: A couple times early on they reverted to old bad habits, such as in leg 5 when they overlooked the beacon they needed for a task, but they fixed this in the second half of the season.
Genre Savvy: Even more so than the last time. For example, they knew that Mirna was way better than them at booking flights, so they tailed her at the final airport to make sure she didn't uncover another miracle flight.
Heel-Face Turn: They got this due to their fan favorite status and also because of who they were up against in the Final 3.
No Damage Run: They were the first team to pull this off (save for the inevitable No Damage Runs by Rob & Brennan and Frank & Margarita in Season 1), and though there would go on to be several No Damage Runs starting in Season 14, they remain the only ones to do it while running three legs with only four teams, where a 3rd place finish in any of those would have ruined their No Damage Run.
Obfuscating Stupidity: At the beginning leg 5, they discussed how they'd been playing it safe so far, so that the other teams wouldn't see them as the sneaky and competitive team that everyone in their last season had disliked and feared, but that they could no longer afford to do that.
Pink Means Feminine: Their pink t-shirts (which had "World Peace" printed on the back) were commented on by Phil:
Phil: Pretty in pink in Mozambique.
Politeness Judo: Early in leg 7, they were at the same travel agency as Charla & Mirna, working with two different travel agents. They started talking about how Charla & Mirna made such agents uncomfortable with the way they would lean over the desk and crowd them. Fittingly, Dustin & Kandice's travel agent got them the last tickets on the best flight. Even more fittingly, Charla & Mirna were working with Oswald & Danny, who had previously had much success not being pushy and demanding with ticketing agents, and in this instance decided to just sit back and let Charla & Mirna be pushy (to their own detriment).
Read the Freaking Clue: After seeing Rob & Amber and Uchenna & Joyce both get their first attempts at the Sign It Detour rejected, they decided they had to point all the arrows in the right direction (which the clue said didn't matter). They got themselves so confused that they just gave up and switched Detours.
Reliable Traitor: They would temporarily work with someone or willingly accept information if it got them further in the game, they just never had any intention of returning a favor unless it was in their own best interest. Their tendency to always do what they thought was best for them at that moment was so constant, that both the Cho Bros. and Danny & Oswald were able to enact Batman Gambits on them to get what they wanted.
Rubberband AI: They started leg 8 while Eric & Danielle and Joe & Bill were still running leg 7, yet because of having to wait 14 hours for a charter bus and hitting a badly placed Intersection (when their charter bus held three teams, and they were the third to hit the Intersection), they ended up going head to head with those same to teams to avoid elimination.
Screw the Rules, I'm Beautiful!: They deliberately tried to play down using their looks to their advantage, as they wanted to prove they were more than looks. This did not stop Charla & Mirna of accusing them of this.
Sex Sells: A local in Kuala Lumpur told Kandice that she would have no trouble collecting newspapers due to the way she looked, it was even made the episode title quote.
Dustin: I think this race is more challenging. Everyone knows how to work every angle at every situation, and so all the tricks we felt like we had, they have too.
Sequence Breaking: In leg 3, they spotted the path to one of the Detours without ever finding the clue that was supposed to point them to said path. Though being sent back to get the clue cost them several minutes, they did not fall any spots because Teri & Ian saw them going back to get the clue, and promptly stopped to make sure they were going the right way.
So Last Season: At the beginning of leg 7, they talked about how a lot of the tricks they had used during Season 10 were now useless, as every team knew those tricks and more.
Surpassed The Teacher: In their intro, they say that racing against all these returning teams is like racing against their teachers, which is true, as Joe & Bill, Danny & Oswald, Charla & Mirna, and Rob & Amber had either created or fine tuned many of the strategies that Dustin & Kandice had used during Season 10. However, by the end of season, the Beauty Queens had surpassed all of these teams and had taken on the image of an unstoppable force heading into the Final 3.
This Is Gonna Suck: After waiting four hours at the Intersection for the trailing teams to show up, they were disheartened to see Charla & Mirna show up first, and even momentarily debated ignoring them and waiting for the next team to show.
Up to Eleven: They opened leg 7 by saying that what they had been doing so far wasn't enough, as every team knew how to play the game. Their goal, which had just been to hang on in the middle of the pack and stay in the race up to that point, needed to change, and it was time for them to get serious and step it up a notch. That would end up being their first leg win.
You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Kandice got fairly upset at Mirna's pushy, manipulative behavior at the Kuala Lumpur airport (when she was trying to jump them on the standby list for Hong Kong). First with how the people at the counter were being intimidated by her, then by how Mirna continued to try to get on the top of the standby list, even after they had already secured that spot.
Mirna: Welcome to Charla & Mirna's world. It's a scary one.
The crazy cousins returned to once again break stereotypes. They took the madness that had defined them the first time around to a whole new level, and it caused them to clash with their competitors, the other teams becoming upset at their super-aggressive tactics. They started off as apparent Cannon Fodder, but after squeezing by Rob & Amber in leg 4, they hit their stride by winning back-to-back legs. Mirna's airport skills and their ability to charm locals carried them into the Final 3, in which they were the last team to arrive at the final task and, being unable to finish it within the time limit, they finished 3rd.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Mirna, who would act nice and sweet to locals and ticket agents in order to get what she wanted, when underneath that she was very vicious and competitive, and very willing to tear apart anyone who got on her bad side.
Call It Karma: They repeatedly talked about how Karma was going to get Dustin & Kandice for their behavior, especially for Yielding Eric & Danielle. They even tried to coin the term "Yield Karma."note Which never caught on, mostly because the Yield was replaced by the U-Turn in the next season, but also because the number of teams who have won the Race after using the Yield/U-Turn far outnumber those who've won it after being Yielded/U-Turned.
Chewbacca Defense: They always had an annoying tendency to yell during arguments, but they became much more aggressive with it this time, to the point where they would just yell at teams until either (a) the other team would just give up and go away, or (b), the other team would lose their temper, at which point the cousins would go on the defensive and accuse the other team of attacking them.
Delusions of Eloquence: Mirna liked to make a bunch of self-righteous speeches, though a lot of them tended not to make much sense once you really thought about them.
Driving Stick: Mirna had issues with driving stick in multiple countries.
El Spanish O: Mirnish returned with a vengeance. It was Lampshaded by Marshall & Lance with their letter to the cousins during the letter sorting Roadblock, where they said that despite claiming to speak five languages, the cousins barely spoke English.
Face-Heel Turn: With Charla having less of a presence, and Mirna taking a level in crazy, they were much less likable this time around. This was emphasized by how most of the other teams couldn't stand them, and the teams at the Elimination Station wanted them to stay in the game so they wouldn't have to share a house with them.
Face Plant: Possibly the most famous one in the series. During the Knight in Shining Armor Roadblock, Charla had issues guiding her horse, as it generally moved faster than her. At one point it pulled her forward, and, unable to balance in her armor, Charla hit the ground face first.
Felony Misdemeanor: They reacted this way to everything Dustin & Kandice did. Their entire feud started because the cousins got upset that Dustin & Kandice tried "cheating" them by following them when they had paid a taxi driver to lead them to their next destination, even though Dustin & Kandice reasonably tried to discuss ways for them both to fairly get directions.
Green-Eyed Monster: Like Lyn & Karlyn before them, many of Charla & Mirna's issues with Dustin & Kandice seemed to stem from the fact that Dustin & Kandice were beauty queens, and, in their opinion, got by solely based on their looks.
History Repeats: Mirna started another feud with a dominant team they had no chance of beating.
Holier Than Thou: Her attitude towards Dustin & Kandice, especially after the Yield.
Hypocrite: Mirna, especially near the end of the season, could not go an entire leg without contradicting at least one thing she had previously said or done.
I Reject Your Reality: Mirna was so gung ho to prosecute the Beauty Queens, that after Oswald told her why they had sold the Yield, she related the story to Charla by saying that Dustin & Kandice had "obviously convinced them to use it."
In-Series Nickname: Mirna & Schmirna, which Mirna openly hated because she thought it implied that Charla wasn't as important to the team, but it didn't stop the other teams from using it.
Insult Backfire: After discovering that Dustin & Kandice had used their Yield power in both Seasons 10 and 11, Charla & Mirna decided to nickname them the "Yield Queens". A few episodes later, Dustin & Kandice bought Danny & Oswald's Yield to keep it from being used on them, and were the only team not upset by the whole exchange.
Large Ham: Guess. "Charla LEVEL 5! LEVEL 5! ON THE TREADMILL!"
Let's Get Dangerous: They started out weak, finishing 8th in the first three legs and 7th in the fourth, barely avoiding elimination the last two times, but then they won two legs in a row.
Motor Mouth: This was one of the things about Mirna that made the other teams hate her. Kevin voiced this complaint at the Elimination Station, saying that Mirna would yap at other teams in her Holier Than Thou way far past the point of frustration.
The Napoleon: Not Charla, but Mirna, who on both this season and Season 5 was loud, aggressive, pushy, and picked the biggest Alpha Dogs around (Colin and Dustin & Kandice) to constantly harp on and insult.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: They were upset at themselves for giving Bill & Joe the piece of the clue they had missed at the fish tank Roadblock, especially after Bill & Joe passed them up later in the leg. They decided they had to be more cutthroat after this.
Odd Friendship: With Oswald & Danny, especially because their approaches to the race couldn't be any more different.
Out of Focus: Charla was very quiet to the point that production had to prod her for soundbites. Also, she had little opportunity to demonstrate the physical prowess she had shown in her original season due to there being less emphasis on brute strength.
Positive Discrimination: Drew said that Mirna would try to take advantage of this, by pointing at Mirna whenever other racers would get upset at her. They also took advantage of Charla's height to get help from locals. Though these attempts often worked, it made the other teams resent them.
They shared a cab with David & Mary in Santiago, Chile.
Their amazing flight that got them into Tanzania a day before the other teams was actually due to a stupid move on their part, where they flew to Johannesburg with no booked connecting flights. It was so risky, that none of the other 6 teams thought it was worth it. That exact same move is what caused David & Jeff to fall a day behind in the Season 4 finale. It was only through bad timing on production's partnote They hadn't checked the local calendar and seen that affluent Mozambicans would all be trying to leave the country the same time the Racers were because of a mix of the start of school holidays and of the Hadj season. that it ended up being the right move, and everyone ended up going through Johannesburg later than them.
Mirna's comment on how to use the Yield:
"The Yield wasn't really necessary. Why would you ever Yield a team in the beginning of a leg knowing that they're not that far behind and they can catch-up and pass you at any moment? It didn't make logical sense to me."
Rubberband AI: Due to risking a flight to Johannesburg in leg 6, they got into Tanzania four hours in front of three of the teams, and a day in front of the other three. Naturally, this didn't last, as an overnight wait caught several of the teams up with them.
Running Gag: In the Roadblock on the penultimate leg, Charla repeatedly touched the screen to her GPS system, despite the clue, Mirna, and her increasingly frustrated escort telling her not to.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: Mirna delivers one to Rob during the letter sorting Roadblock when he tried to Rules Lawyer her by saying she couldn't talk to Charla during the task, and she responded with a scathing retort, saying she was just praying to her grandmother.
Sitcom Archnemesis: With Dustin & Kandice. It spurred from a conversation they had with David & Mary in Santiago, Chile (shown in a Deleted Scene), where David & Mary described the Beauty Queens in such a way that Charla & Mirna could not help but compare them to Colin after that. This was exasperated later in the leg when Charla & Mirna were paying a taxi driver to lead them to the Pit Stop, and seeing this, Dustin & Kandice decided to follow them. The taxi driver stopped, and though Dustin & Kandice tried to discuss a way they could both fairly get directions, they could not get a word in edgewise over Charla & Mirna yelling at them.
Small Name, Big Ego: Mirna, who seemed to forget the way she pawned off all the tough Roadblocks on Charla during Season 5, thought she carried more of a burden than anyone else:
Tempting Fate: As they were heading to the Cookie Confection Detour in Kuala Lumpur, Mirna was excited and talked about how she loves cookies. They struggled with the task, losing their three hour lead on the other teams.
That Liar Lies: They asked Amber why she lied to them about the clue at Playa Larga and sent them in the wrong direction.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Mirna. Though many will say (including teams she raced against in Season 5) that she had always been this unbearable, she just got a very flattering edit in Season 5.
True Beauty Is On The Inside: Charla gave a speech about this after clashing with Dustin & Kandice in Chile, a line of which which was used as the episode's title quote. Considering that Dustin & Kandice had been trying to have a reasonable conversation when Charla & Mirna started shouting over them, it comes of as the first of many Holier Than Thou moments towards the Beauty Queens.
Undesirable Prize: For winning leg 6 they got a pair of catamarans, and they didn't actually start celebrating until Phil explained to them what a Catamaran was.
Weak, but Skilled: Mirna, particularly with airports. Her uncanny ability to find the absolute best flights was the one thing that intimidated the other racers about this team.
What the Hell Is That Accent?: When talking to locals they would slip into these odd accents that sounded like no existing accent in the world, and had the added effect of making them sound like they had trouble speaking English. Even better, they would use the same accents no matter what country they were in.
Mirna: You have to try to do the right accent. Makes all the difference in the world.
The gay Platonic Life Partners returned to spread more of their fabulousity around the world, though this time with a bit more snarkiness. From the very beginning they looked like the most improved team of the season. During Season 2 they had glided along near the back a lot, finishing above 4th place only three times, whereas this time they were never found far from the front of the pack, finishing below 4th only oncenote A 5th place finish in leg 3. Many of the tactics that had isolated them from the other teams the first time around played favorably into the Metagame, and their status as fan favorites made them popular with the other teams, even with Rob & Amber. However, they would find themselves the victims of Killer Fatigue late in the season once again. Already Marked for Elimination, they got lost looking for the naval base in Guam, and found themselves eliminated in 4th again.
Aesop Amnesia: At the beginning of leg 7, they lost out on the best tickets to Poland because they ignored their own words of advice on how to deal with ticketing agents from Season 2. Instead of applying Politeness Judo to get the tickets, they sat back and let Charla & Mirna be pushy with and crowd the agent, while Dustin & Kandice, sitting right next to them, snapped up the last set of tickets on the best flight by using Politeness Judo themselves.
Batman Gambit: They were never planning on using their Yield power, but when they found themselves low on money, they decided to "extort" money from Dustin & Kandice by vaguely threatening them with the Yield unless the girls paid them to use it on someone else, counting on the Beauty Queens' cutthroat natures to compel them to take the deal.
At the Rungu Roadblock in Zanzibar, Oswald told Danny that if he could throw a boomerang, Danny could do this Roadblock. Oswald had completed the boomerang Roadblock in Australia during Season 2.
They decided to do the Dragon Detour in Macau as it resembled a similar Hong Kong Detour in their original season in which they wore a lion head to their next destination. Unfortunately, it took them so long to find that it put them in last and Marked For Elimination.
Call It Karma: They felt they had earned bad karma for selling Dustin & Kandice their Yield, which caused them to finish last that leg.
Cutting the Knot: Danny became frustrated while doing the newspaper recycling Roadblock in Kuala Lumpur, so he just went to a store and bought a bunch of newspapers to complete the task. This depleted their funds, leading to them selling their Yield down the line.
Deal with the Devil: This is how they saw their selling their Yield to Dustin & Kandice when they found themselves out of money, especially when after the deal was done, Charla offered them money. Mirna even referenced the trope name when talking about the deal in a Confession Cam.
Ending Aversion: They themselves said, during the penultimate Elimination Station, that they wouldn't be happy with anyone but Charla & Mirna winning, and were very vocal about their dislike of Eric in post-Race interviews.
Failed a Spot Check: During the pilot rescue Roadblock in Guam, the camera kept zooming in on the pilot standing in the bushes right behind Oswald, as he continued to mess with his GPS system. When Oswald finally turned around, the pilot gave him a casual wave.
Their Mat Chat clip from the end of episode 2 was pulled from the CBS website after less than a day, as no one at CBS seemed to notice that Oswald made an overt reference about oral sex towards Phil until people started commenting about it.
While waiting for their 5:30AM boat to Zanzibar, Oswald started pretending to be a prostitute coming onto Danny (Mirna didn't get the joke).
The Glomp: Attempted on Phil while covered in coal dust, though Phil got away long enough to avoid it.
History Repeats: They finished in the same position as in their original season after stumbling due to Killer Fatigue.
I Did What I Had to Do: How they justified selling the Yield. With less than $20 to their name and the leg just starting, they needed money, and Dustin & Kandice had an excess, so they struck a deal.
They gave up 1st place in Zanzibar when, leaving the Detour, they stopped to buy fruit, allowing Charla & Mirna to pass them.
Danny giving up on the newspaper collecting Roadblock due to Killer Fatigue, and blowing their funds by buying a bunch of papers at a convenience store.
N-Word Privileges: After the coal Detour in Mozambique, Oswald told Danny he looked like a "faggy raccoon."
No Sense of Direction: They got lost during the Dragon Detour, which got them Marked for Elimination. Then they got lost looking for the naval base in the next leg, which got them eliminated.
Not the Intended Use: Out of money, and with the producers taking action against teams begging for money, they needed to find another way to procure race funds. So, they sold their Yield power.
Now You Tell Me: After they cut the deal with Dustin & Kandice for their Yield, Charla offered to share money with them, causing Oswald to say that he wished she's done it an hour ago.
Odd Friendship: With Charla & Mirna, in which they even rooted for them to win after their elimination. They justified this in a post-race interview by saying that whatever they did to other people, they didn't do it to them.
Paranoia Fuel: Invoked. They coaxed Dustin & Kandice into buying their Yield by making them think that it would get used on them if they passed up on the deal.
Read the Freaking Clue: Due to Danny's Killer Fatigue, they screwed up every single challenge in Kuala Lumpur. First when Danny did not bite into every cookie at the Cookie Confection Detour, as he thought there was a box of black licorice filled cookies instead of a single one, then their first attempt at the batik in the Artistic Expression Detour was rejected, as they did not look at the example batik and replicate the exact number of rows of the pattern. Then, on the Roadblock, Danny returned to the recycling truck with a stack of papers that was far too small.
The winners of Season 7 returned for another shot at the million. As the only former winners, they were naturally afforded a lot of respect by the other teams, many of whom saw them as the favorites to win after Rob & Amber's elimination. However, they also felt the pressure of the increased competition late in the season, which caused them to take a gamble on a flight with a one-hour layover. The gamble did not pay off, as they missed their connecting flight and did not get into Kuala Lumpur until all the other teams had checked in, causing them to be eliminated in 5th.
Aesop Amnesia: Their relationship had become rocky once again due to the in vitro fertilization they had been looking forward to at the end of Season 7 failing, and causing them more stress.
History Repeats: They missed connecting flights in Frankfurt in legs 7 and 9.
Informed Ability: Joyce took the boardroom Roadblock in Chile because she had good attention to detail. Though she entered the Roadblock first with Eric, she ended up finishing it ninth, only beating Ian, even losing to two teams who had been on a later flight.
No Sense of Direction: They got lost trying to deliver coal in Mozambique, putting them in last and getting them Marked for Elimination.
Non-Gameplay Elimination/Mercy Kill: Though they actually completed the leg, the editing showed them collecting the first clue in Kuala Lumpur, then being sent straight to the Pit Stop.
Odd Friendship: With Dustin & Kandice. It started with Uchenna threatening them with a lecture about slavery in Zanzibar of all things.
Out of Focus: Though more of their personalities were allowed to shine through this time, they got maybe even less airtime, probably because their rather subdued personalities got buried beneath all the big personalities flying around.
Paranoia Fuel: The aforementioned slavery remark, as well as their ambiguous reaction to Auschwitz after which Uchenna claims that humanity is going to "get it", hopefully before we destroy each other. Joyce adds "It's definitely going to happen someday."
Something We Forgot: In their final episode, they disappeared right after the first commercial break, due to their flight gamble putting them hours behind the other teams. They did not appear again until all the other teams had checked in, with Danny & Oswald and Eric & Danielle's race to the Pit Stop being played as if they were racing to avoid elimination.
Worthy Opponent: Once Rob & Amber were gone, they were picked as the favorites to win by most of the teams at the Elimination Station, including by Rob, who finally gave Uchenna & Joyce props for beating him twice.
Joseph "Joe" Baldassare & William "Bill" Bartek (The Guidos) (Season 1, 3rd Place)
Joe: We do feel like the godfather's of tough competitors. We can be smart, we can be fast, we can be ruthless.
The conniving couple were back, having to adapt to a race that had changed significantly since they had fathered the Metagame way back in Season 1. After mostly cruising through the first five legs, they found themselves in an unfortunately familiar place, trailing hours behind the front of the pack. After two straight legs of being lapped by the lead teams, they found themselves Marked for Elimination in Poland (due to struggling with the X-Ray Detour in Warsaw). This ended up being their death sentence, as an Intersection tied them to the other teams long enough that they were unable to overcome their Marked For Elimination penalty, and despite finishing the leg in 5th, they became the only victims of the Marked for Elimination penalty during its short run, and were eliminated in 6th.
Joe backed their car into a post while leaving the white water rafting Detour.
They repeatedly passed by the charter bus ticket dispenser in their final leg.
Happily Married: Changing network standards meant that they could show more of their relationship on-screen, even kissing.
Heel-Face Turn: Though they were always tame compared to the villains that came after them, they got a more positive edit due to not liking what they saw on screen the first time, and having competition that was much more cutthroat than the first time.
History Repeats: Due to circumstances outside of their control, they ended up falling way behind the other teams again, bringing their total legs where they finished over eight hours behind the lead team to eight, which is over a third of their total legs ran. At least they got to be at the Finish Line this time.
Bill failed to read the part of the Detour clue in Chile that told them both team members had to operate the front loader, and tried completing the Detour by himself.
In the next leg, it was Joe who failed to read the entire clue at the bottom of the fish tank at the Roadblock, leading them to getting lost when they did not have their entire destination written down. If they had not run into Charla & Mirna, who told them the rest of the clue, they might have gotten eliminated.
Troll: Their letter from Frank Mesa in the letter Roadblock was a series of nonsense that Frank wrote in an attempt to annoy them (it didn't).
Unwinnable by Mistake: Again, though this time it was because a four-hour charter bus gap/Intersection/Marked for Elimination combo that guaranteed their exit in leg 8.
Villain Decay: They were no longer villains, but neither were they the biggest threat anymore. Probably because their biggest advantage the first time around was their travel experience, and that most of their competition had no idea what they were getting into. Having teams like Dustin & Kandice, Rob & Amber, and Charla & Mirna who knew the Metagame took away those advantages.
The cantankerous couple came back to compete with those youngsters again. While they started off much better than they had on Season 3, they would end up being caught on the wrong end of the Tanzania flight spread, with their only chance of staying in the Race being to beat Joe & Bill. However, they got left in the dust at the Solve It Detour, and were eliminated in 7th place.
BadassGrandparents: Bill & Joe even commented that Teri & Ian were much more competent than they were given credit for.
Call Back: When discussing clothing with Joe & Bill in Argentina, they brought up their infamous paper underwear.
Catch Phrase: Ian used "We're comin', Phil," again, as well as, "Hoorah!"
The Drag-Along: Teri, this time around. Though she made it very clear that she was missing her family during Season 3, this time she complained that she just wanted to get on a plane and go home, so much so that it started to annoy the other teams.
Failed a Spot Check: They missed their shot at getting on the first boat in Argentina when they ran past the marked path at Playa Larga, letting Danny & Oswald and Eric & Danielle pass them.
Heel-Face Turn: Ian no longer had to deal with quitting cigarettes, which meant they lost many of their Jerkass tendencies from their original season.
It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY!: Teri insisted on pronouncing Ian's name "Eye-an", despite everyone else (including him) pronouncing it "Ee-an". This is because that's how his mother intended for his name to be pronounced, and how he was introduced to Teri.
The infamous Survivor couple returned with a vengeance. For three legs, they left the other teams in the dust as they grabbed consecutive 1st place victories. However, with their egos flying higher than ever, they suddenly collapsed in the fourth leg. A series of mistakes by Rob put them in a race to avoid last with Charla & Mirna and Uchenna & Joyce, and when Rob was the last one to find his letter in the Roadblock at the end of the world, they were eliminated in 8th.
Always Second Best: Lampshaded in the Elimination Station, when, on the last day, Mary made Rob a "Best Number Two" Certificate.
And There Was Much Rejoicing: They even got a montage of the other teams talking about how glad they were to see them gone in the leg after their elimination.
Blatant Lies: In their last leg, Amber told Charla & Mirna that she hadn't been talking to them when she had sent them off course looking for the clue at Playa Larga, but had been talking to Rob instead. Of course, Charla & Mirna did not believe her, since it was such a ridiculous lie.
Break the Haughty: Their entire storyline for the season. The first three legs were filled with boastful quotes from them, only for them to fall apart in leg 4.
Amber: If you ask us who we would love to race against, there's really nobody, but I think everybody else would answer that question and say "Rob & Amber. Oh, I would love to race against Rob & Amber."note Not true, as the teams besides David & Mary wanted them gone from the very beginning.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Rob & Amber stated in their Reality News Online interview that they had to look up on the Internet to remember who Susan & Patrick were after receiving a spiteful letter from them during the letter Roadblock.
Chekhov's Hobby: Rob used his experience in construction to blow through the front loader Detour in Chile.
Deadpan Snarker: Rob's interactions with his fellow teams again almost entirely consisted of making snide remarks to the camera about how the other teams were beneath him.
The Dreaded: Their reputation did precede them, as most of the other teams spent the first few legs obsessing over them.
Evil Gloating: They picked up right where they left off in Season 7, in particular when they were standing around in their final leg, gloating about how they had sent Charla & Mirna off course while looking for a clue.
Humiliation Conga: their final leg was one blow to the ego after another for Rob, starting with him being unable to spell "Philippines" at the Sign it Detour, followed by him getting both them and Dustin & Kandice lost in the Navigate it Detour, and culminating with losing the deciding Roadblock to a team he thought was weak, and getting a nasty letter from Susan & Patrick that just rubbed in their inevitable elimination.
Hypocrite: Eric called Rob this at the Santiago airport after he jumped from the back of the line when a new ticketing agent opened up, saying Rob shouldn't be complaining because he would have done the same thing. Amber then said it as well.
Kick Them While They Are Down: Their letter from Susan & Patrick was just a series of insults that hit them at the point where they knew they were about to get eliminated. The letter even mentioned that they hoped Rob & Amber were in last place.
Rob: This is just insulting.
Large Ham: Rob was even more of a cartoonish villain than last time.
Laser-Guided Karma: It happened to them again, as Rob had to watch as Charla & Mirna, who they had deliberately sent in the wrong direction less than an hour before, made up a twenty minute deficit to pass them at the Roadblock.
Paranoia Fuel: Invoked this in the other teams through a combination of their reputations and being so dominant early on.
Joe: Maybe Rob went wrong. Rob is not Jesus.
Reality Show Genre Blindness: Rob repeatedly insisted this time around that the other teams don't matter, it's basically you against the course, and whoever does the best is the winner. While he could be considered partially right, as other than the Yield/U-Turn, there's no way to directly affect your opponents in the race, a big part of the air travel portion of the Metagame is built around knowing where your opponents are and what they're doing, so they don't get a faster flight than you. Also, this is a guy who had much success in his previous season finding ways to delay the other teams.
So Last Season: In their intro, they said that, while the other teams would be copying all their old tricks, they had a whole new bag of trick this time around. They even started the race with a single small backpack, a gamble no other team has ever tried.
Sore Loser: Rob did not take their 8th place finish well. He sulked throughout the Elimination Station, even while Amber was having a good time. Even after the season was long over, he said in interviews that skill was not rewarded, and luck was too much of a factor on the Race, and he would never run it again, even if asked (unless Colinwas involved).
Villainous Breakdown: Rob fell to his frustration slowly over leg 4, first when he struggled with the Sign It side of the Detour, then even more so when he couldn't find his letter during the Roadblock. In a Deleted Scene, Dustin & Kandice talked about how, as they were heading to the hotel, they could hear Rob losing it in the post office.
David Conley, Jr. & Mary Conley (Kentucky) (Season 10, 6th Place)
The Kentucky couple returned to a more competitive racing environment, aiming not to make stupid alliances like they did last time. Many considered them the most questionable casting decision coming into the season, as, though they were popular enough, they had struggled for most of Season 10, heavily relying on their alliance to keep them afloat. As expected, they were unable to keep up with the other teams, finishing 9th in all three of their legs. In their final leg, they were comfortably in the middle of the pack until they missed the turn for Petrohue, which guaranteed their elimination.
Aesop Amnesia: Despite saying that they weren't going to rely so much on alliances this time in their intro, and though they lied to Dustin & Kandice at the Miami airport about which flight got in faster, they quickly formed a bond with fellow trailing team Charla & Mirna sometime between the end of leg 1 and the beginning of leg 2, and worked with them for the duration of the second leg until they realized that Charla & Mirna weren't as kind and benevolent as the Cho Bros.
Mary (at the beginning of leg 2): I came into the game thinking, "I'm not gonna like Charla & Mirna, I'm not gonna like the way they're gonna play this game," but from the time I met 'em I've loved 'em.
Mary (at the end of leg 2): For two races now, all I've done is help people. Charla & Mirna, they were my friends. After today, what went on today, no. This is the last time I'm gonna help anybody.
Backseat Driver: Mary again gave David horrible directions from the back seat, and sent them off course in legs 2 and 3.
Call Back: They wore shirts picturing Erwin & Godwin, aka the Cho Bros., who they allied with in Season 10note And who they thought should have made All-Stars over Dustin & Kandice.. They later wore shirts with the word "Lost" and a picture of Phil printed on them, worn by Erwin & Godwin one season previously. And in their final leg, they talked about how hard it was to run the Race without the Cho Bros. there to support them.
Cerebus Syndrome: They started off as the same friendly team they had been in Season 10, but quickly realized that this time around, all the other teams, even the friendliest ones, would not hesitate to stab them in the back if it meant staying in the race. Mary even said at the end of the second leg that this time she was only in it for herself. Not that the new attitude got them very far.
Fanboy: They were a bit overwhelmed by some of the teams they were racing against, Rob & Amber in particular.
Genre Savvy: They had a trick with airplanes where they would put their bags in the first class compartments so that they wouldn't have to waste time retrieving them in economy class (by running up to first class before retrieving their bags, they would jump the crowd of people lining up to exit from economy class), which caused them to get into a fight with Drew when he pulled their bags out of the compartment and put them on the floor.
Kevin O'Connor & Andrew "Drew" Feinberg (Season 1, 4th Place)
The funny Frats from Season 1 were back. Unfortunately, Drew was ill fit to run the race due to his various ailments and injuries, and they were further hindered by their complete unpreparedness, having done nothing to get ready for the season (as they had done nothing to prepare for the first season, and they thought it had worked out pretty well for them last time). They grumped their way through two legs, finishing 10th when Drew failed to notice that the speed limit had raised from 40kph to 50kph, and they were repeatedly passed by other teams on their way to the Pit Stop.
Their promotional photo was taken in the exact same pose as their Season 1 photo.
The Peru/Ecuador line in the premiere (which featured prominently in advertisements), was eerily similar to an exchange in the first episode of the series where Drew said they were in Zambia (true) and Kevin corrected him by saying they were in Namibia (false).
Drives Like Crazy: Drew drove on the rim of his car after he flattened the tire in Cotopaxi National Park.
Driving Stick: Kevin couldn't drive a stick shift, which limited them to the bolt tightening Detour in Chile, and forced Drew to do all the driving.
Game-Breaking Injury: Drew hobbled through both episodes. He was physically unable to compete against normal competition, let alone against experienced teams. Not only did he come in with a pre-existing injury, but he injured his shoulder when he fell in the first leg, then got altitude sickness.
Hypocrite: Drew stated at the Elimination Station that he didn't want Dustin & Kandice to win because, as beauty queens, they had already won something. When Amber asked if that meant he didn't want her to win because she won Survivor, he said no, because he liked her.
The Load: Drew, who even got outrun by Charla in the opening sprint.
Not as You Know Them: On Season 1 they were a couple of goofy, good-natured guys who became fan favorites as a result. Here they transformed into a pair of grumpy old men who were woefully unprepared for the rigors of the modern Race, and spent their entire two legs complaining about everything.
Oh Crap: Drew was not happy to see Teri & Ian show up at the Elimination Station.
Rage Quit: Drew walked slowly to the Pit Stop in Chile, then stormed off the mat before Phil could declare them eliminated. They then complained to the production crew about how all the other teams had been breaking the rules by speeding, and forced the production crew to stop the race for six hours, forcing the other teams to stand out in the heat and waste half of their Pit Stop while the crew reviewed the tapes to make sure none of the other teams had gone even 1 kph over the speed limit. This was because Drew didn't realize that halfway through the driving trip the speed limit increased by 10 kph, despite having both a road sign and the clue to tell him so. His staying well below the speed limit wreaked havoc on other teams' driving through that stretch, to the point where Mirna yelled at him that he drove like a girl.
So Last Season: They thought they could get by without preparing, just relying on their experience from the first season. Never mind that the game had changed a lot, or that their competition was greatly increased. You can even see it in how their bags are far bigger than anyone else's.
The plucky dating couple from Season 3 returned, now separated. Despite getting on the first flight to Ecuador, they became the first team out when they got bad directions to Cotopaxi National Park, and ended up at the wrong entrance, though at least Jill got to be the unofficial host of the Elimination Station.