After two straight disappointing seasons, the 10th season of the Race made several changes to shake up the format, first and foremost being hiring a new challenge coordinator, who immediately put together the toughest course to date. They ditched the unpopular "mugging" penalty of seasons past, replacing it with the Marked for Elimination penalty, in which last place teams had to finish first on the next leg or otherwise incur a 30-minute penalty. They also added the Intersection, which forced two teams to work in tandem, and the first (and only) mid-leg elimination. On top of that, this season featured the show's most diverse cast, including the first Indian and Muslim teams, and threw them into the most physically challenging course the show would see for the next ten seasons.
Despite all these new twists, the biggest surprise came at mid-season, when three of the teams entered into a co-dependent alliance, which resulted in one of the oddest scenes in the series. One of the teams stopped racing, waiting around for their allies after they had already completed the task. Ultimately, despite having one of the most hated finales in the seriesnote , Season 10 was a good season that managed to set a new standard for course difficulty that post-All-Star courses would have to live up to.
Tyler Denk & James Branaman
Former drug addicts and current models. They were good at physical tasks, and took advantage of the physically demanding course to power through the season, not even James's general struggles with the tasks managing to hold them back that much. They made it to the Final 3, where they won because their cab had an E-Z Pass toll collection system, allowing them to get a lead on Rob & Kim.
- Big Eater: About the only thing James was good at was eating cow lips, and he was the only one who didn't struggle with the Fast Forward in leg 8.
- Chekhov's Hobby: They breezed through hanging the jacket in the finale due to their jobs as models.
- Follow That Car: Their strategy in the penultimate leg was to just follow Dustin & Kandice all day and pass them up in a run to the Pit Stop.
- Friendly Enemy: With Dustin & Kandice. Tyler even described their relationship with the Beauty Queens as a tenuous one, where they were both looking for the first opportunity to stab each other in the back, yet at the same time, James also lent Kandice his nail clippers and conditioner.
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: Tyler did not like losing challenges to Dustin & Kandice, and made fun of James when he lost Roadblocks to them.
- Jerk Jock: Tyler had his moments where he would complain about or mock the other teams, and at the Kuwait City airport he intentionally provoked Karlyn into a fight after Dustin & Kandice bumped them ahead of Bama in the ticket line (James seemed more interested in just getting his tickets and getting out of there, and had to tell Tyler to cool it when he was getting all giddy about the fight later).
- The Load: James, which became evident in the second half of the season, as Tyler stacked most of his Roadblocks early on, forcing James to do five straight Roadblocks starting with leg 9. Both he and Tyler often talked about how useless he appeared to be most of the time.
- Mr. Fanservice: Being models of course.
- Muscles Are Meaningful: Despite being able to power their way through a very physical season, they were still considered underdogs to a pair of beauty queens.
- No Sense of Direction: They were almost eliminated in leg 6 when they got lost for hours looking for the Roadblock, only Peter & Sarah getting more lost saved them.
- Pretty Boy: They were described this way, semi-mockingly, by Dustin & Kandice. The girls even borrowed conditioner from them.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: James chewed out Tyler in the finale for sitting around at the Barcelona airport all night instead of trying to find a way to buy tickets to Paris immediately.
- Record Needle Scratch: They were in 1st place running to the Pit Stop in leg 10, the victory music blaring in the background, when suddenly they remembered they had left the good luck charm they were supposed to bring to the Pit Stop in the car. The Record Needle Scratch played and they scrambled back to the car.
- Shirtless Scene: Their part of the opening credits featured them shirtless.
- Short Cuts Make Long Delays: Tyler, along with Rob & Kim took so long eating the cow lips at the Fast Forward in leg 8, that Dustin & Kandice beat them to the mat.
- Tagalong Kid: James. He willingly let Tyler make all their decisions, while he just went along for the ride. Much of their airtime in the second half of the season was even them talking about this fact.
- Tempting Fate: The entirety of leg 8 was them and Rob & Kim first gloating about the Beauty Queens being forced to do the Intersection with one of the Six Pack, then gloating about how the Fast Forward was going to put them so far ahead, only to have Dustin & Kandice beat them to the Pit Stop anyway.
- True Companions: They beat drug addiction together, which forged them into this.
- Unskilled, but Strong: James, who struggled at any task that didn't include brute force.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: James and heights.
Robert "Rob" Diaz & Kimberly "Kim" Chabolla
Dating, they were at each other's throats from the very beginning of the race, and had a tendency to blow up at each other over the smallest things. Despite their constant fighting and the tendency for every car they were given to break down, they were a fairly strong team, and managed to make the Final 3. In the finale, they were the only team who managed to book their tickets on the first flight to New York the evening before. However, Tyler & James managed to squeeze onto the flight in the morning, and they lost when their cab didn't have an E-Z Pass system, dropping them behind the models.
- Accidental Pun: Rob, at the airport in Kuwait City at the beginning of leg 7, grew frustrated with David & Mary not sharing their flight information, and dropped this gem:Rob: Dude, I do not want to deal with Alabama and Kentucky, if they want to segregate themselves, fine.
- Born Unlucky: They had a lot of car troubles over the course of the season, perhaps more than any other team in the series. In leg 9, they broke down and had to get a replacement car, only for their replacement car to start acting up right away.
- Driving Stick: Rob, in leg 7, which led to him breaking their car.
- Face Palm: Rob, while Kim struggled through the puzzle Roadblock in leg 6.
- Follow That Car: They did this a lot when they were navigating for themselves, particularly in the finale, when they tailed Tyler & James's cab in New York.
- Global Ignorance: Kim asked if the cows wandering the streets of India were homeless cows.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Rob blew up fairly easily.
- Jerkass: In India, they complained about being forced to race in all these poor countries, and they wanted to go to Europe and be around the rich people. In Madagascar, Rob started talking about how all the locals' brains were less developed because they got less protein.
- The Load: They were huge information leaches, most frequently off of Tyler & James. Also see Short Cuts Make Long Delays.
- Malaproper: In Kuwait, when a local told them to turn at the Grand Mosque, Kim repeated it as Grand Mask several times (she did not know what a mosque was).
- The Masochism Tango: Their constant fighting took up their entire storyline, and their passive-aggressive usage of the word "babe" during their fighting pretty much killed its usage as a term of endearment in the series.
- Piss Take Rap: During the rapping Detour in leg 9.
- Rage Quit: Kimberly fell apart on the tomato pelting Detour in the penultimate leg, and started shrieking at Rob that she wanted to switch Detours, and kept walking away from the task. The only reason they managed to finish the task is because it was 20km to the other task, and they didn't feel like traveling that far.
- Running Gag: Their constant breakdowns had fans joking that all cars have it out for Rob.Karlyn: If you have trouble every time you get in the car, then maybe it's you, and not the car.
- Short Cuts Make Long Delays: They took so long eating the cow lips at the Fast Forward in leg 8, that Dustin & Kandice beat them to the mat.
- Tempting Fate: The entirety of leg 8 was them and Tyler & James first gloating about the Beauty Queens being forced to do the Intersection with one of the Six Pack, then gloating how the Fast Forward was going to put them so far ahead, only to have Dustin & Kandice beat them to the Pit Stop anyway.
- Verbal Tic: Rob calling everyone "dude".
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Kim completely freaked out when she had to ride a horse in the second leg. She somehow managed to get clotheslined off the horse by a low hanging branch while the horse was moving at a slow walk, then sat on the ground sobbing. This was the reason why Rob did the Roadblock in leg 10.
Lynette "Lyn" Turk & Karlyn Harris (Bama Mamas)
- Karlyn: We just won't die. Like roaches.
Single moms from Alabama. They were dismissed as fodder early on after they had trouble scaling the Great Wall in the first leg, but they eventually showed that, despite their physical shortcomings, they had a shrewd understanding of the game. They were members of the Six Pack, except that, unlike the other two teams, they had a rather pragmatic view of the alliance, and took advantage of the other teams' kind natures to be the last of the Six Pack standing. They used their cunning and navigational skills to become the first all-female team to make the Final 3, where they went to Orly Airport in Paris instead of Charles de Gaulle Airport when trying to book tickets to New York, and were therefore last on the waiting list for the first flight. Missing that flight cost them the Race, and they finished in 3rd place.
- Call It Karma: A twisted take on this occurred when Karlyn rejoiced in one of the Beauty Queens getting a cut on her leg as she got into their boat in leg 4, claiming it was karma for stealing their boat. She also later invoked it after Dustin & Kandice Yielded them, despite Karlyn having relished the thought of doing exactly the same thing to Dustin & Kandice earlier in the leg.Karlyn (after being Yielded): ...it's typical of something they would do. They've shown no character at all in this game. That's on them to live with, they'll have to live with that.
- Control Freak: Karlyn, as described by Lyn.
- Death Glare: Karlyn wore one all the time, directed towards everyone.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: They were the last team to arrive at the Pit Stop in leg 8, but were saved from elimination due to Mary & Dave's Marked for Elimination penalty from the previous leg.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Karlyn's reaction to getting Yielded by Dustin & Kandice in leg 10 was that they were playing unethically and she hoped they could sleep at night. Never mind that she had been gloating about having the chance to Yield them the night before.
- Flipping the Bird: Karlyn flipped off Kandice after the Yield.
- Green-Eyed Monster:
- Upon arriving in Finland in leg 9, they gave a speech in the cab about how the Beauty Queens use their looks to their advantage, and how they're at a natural disadvantage because of it. Because it came minutes after Dustin's So Beautiful It's a Curse quote at the beginning of the episode, it came off more bitter than it was possibly intended. It did not help that they were the only team still using the more derogatory "Barbies" nickname at that point, instead of "The Blondes" like the other teams.
- They made the same complaint in the penultimate leg, about Dustin & Kandice always getting the first cab, when it had been shown that the Beauty Queens had called ahead to get that first cab.
- Grumpy Bear: Karlyn constantly complained, mostly about Dustin & Kandice.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Karlyn was always shown to be angry at someone or something over the smallest reasons. Even Lyn said she had this in the first leg.
- Holier Than Thou: In particular towards Dustin & Kandice, as they semed to take issue with everything the Beauty Queens did, though Rob & Kim also mentioned feeling like they were being judged by them from the very beginning of the season.
- In-Series Nickname: 'Bama.
- Jerkass: Karlyn, who spent the entire race being nasty to everyone who wasn't David & Mary or Erwin & Godwin.
- Moral Myopia:
- Karlyn would do anything to stay in the race, but would complain when anyone else (Dustin & Kandice in particular) would do the same. In the first leg, she complained because Sarah used her artificial leg to board the plane slightly ahead of them.
- She got upset in leg 6 when Dustin & Kandice tried getting information from the same local they had, to the point where she shoved both the man and Dustin in an effort to keep him from helping her. After they got a different man to ride along with them, Karlyn complained that it wasn't fair, and they needed to learn how to run their own race, despite them being part of the information sharing Six Pack alliance.
- The Navigator: Their superior navigation skills gave them a needed advantage over the more physically fit teams late in the season, in leg 10 in particular, when they went from last place to nearly winning the leg due to their navigation skills.
- Odd Friendship: With Erwin & Godwin, David & Mary, and Tom & Terry.
- Perpetual Frowner: Karlyn, to the point where her surly demeanor was pointed out by the other teams.
- Piss Take Rap: During the rapping Detour in Ukraine.
- Pixellation: Karlyn flipped off Kandice after the Yield.
- Real Women Have Curves: They said they were more comfortable in India because the people there had a little more substance to their bodies.
- Sassy Black Woman: Both of them, especially Karlyn.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: To Dustin & Kandice, though Lyn still wrote a very complimentary letter to them in All-Stars despite claiming they weren't friends. Karlyn didn't sign it.
- This is a Race: Karlyn repeatedly spouted this, and used it to justify many of her actions.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Towards the rest of the Six Pack. Lyn convinced David & Mary not to go for the Fast Forward during the Intersection in leg 8 when it might have been the only thing that could have helped them overcome their Marked for Elimination penalty (thereby guaranteeing they would be tethered to a team guaranteed to get a 30-minute penalty at the end of the leg), and they ditched Erwin & Godwin in leg 9 once it became clear the brothers had no idea where they were going and they were racing for last, whereas both of the other teams held their friends over the Race.
- Weak, but Skilled: On a highly physical season, featuring a bunch of fit teams on a physically demanding course, they took advantage of their navigation skills and some far too generous allies to make the Final 3.
Dustin-Leigh Konzelman & Kandice Pelletier (Beauty Queens)
Miss California and Miss New York 2005 (respectively), they met when they were assigned to be roommates at Miss America and decided to apply for the Race together. Initially dismissed as just another Dumb Blonde team, they quickly established themselves as a threat, and became the favorites to win after Peter & Sarah's elimination. However, they managed to alienate themselves from the other teams by being viciously cutthroat in their game play, and deciding to run the race by themselves on a season where the other teams were all busy making alliances.
Though they were cut as the season's villains, due to a combination of the fans seeing the other teams as being boring, unlikable, or willingly Genre Blind, they became increasingly popular as the season wore on, especially after they became the first team to ever come from behind to beat a Fast Forward. Navigation issues during the Lug It Detour in the penultimate leg caused them to finish in 4th, but their skill and charisma got them invited back for All-Stars, where their popularity would motivate the show to give them a HeelFace Turn. Kandice later established her own swimwear line, Kandice Pelletier Swimwear, with high-profile customers such as Denise Richards.
- 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).
- Affably Evil: Outside of their cutthroat gameplay, they were genuinely charming and funny. They were likable enough that, despite their villainous portrayal, they managed to get a good portion of the audience behind them by the end of the season.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Their final leg portrayed them in a much softer light than the rest of the season, and they got a touching Elimination Statement that clashed with their more cutthroat and businesslike demeanor up to that point.
- Alpha Bitch: Played straight for most of the season, but started to become a subversion late in the season as, though most teams saw them this way, particularly Lyn & Karlyn, they were generally no worse than their rivals, albeit a bit over-competitive.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: The other teams were rooting for their elimination several legs before it actually happened.
- Anti-Villain: They fell into the same trap as Bill & Joe, trying to run the race by themselves on a season where everyone else was making alliances. Their only real crimes were being overly aggressive and not wanting to share information.
- Aside Glance: At the Bangkok airport in leg 5, when they and Peter & Sarah were both frantically searching for a faster connecting flight to India, Peter, who thought they were in an alliance, came over to look over Kandice's shoulder to see what flight they had found. Kandice showed her frustration at him by rolling her eyes at the camera.
- Brainless Beauty: At the beginning of leg 3, they talked about they get stereotyped as this due to being pageant girls. The fact that the other teams referred to them as the Barbies right off the bat shows this was not an unfounded opinion.
- Breakout Character: The producers obviously did not expect them to become fan favorites, considering the obvious villain cut. Their popularity was enough to earn them a HeelFace Turn on All-Stars. Notable in that, while on other reality shows villains have become fan favorites on several occasions, this was the only time it has happened on the Race (at least while the season was going on).
- Brutal Honesty: Possibly one of the most honest teams ever, with both Phil and in interviews. If they didn't like a team, they did not dance around it.
- Call It Karma: Averted with Kandice's karma quote from the 10th leg above, where she said there was no karma in a game.
- Competition Freak: This shared trait between them is what caused them to bond at Miss America, and what inspired them to apply for the Race in the first place.
- Deadpan Snarker: Their modus operandi, which did not make them very popular with the other teams.
- A Death in the Limelight: Their final two episodes were devoted to the other teams being obsessed with their elimination.
- Dirt Forcefield: On both halves of leg 9, teams had to compete in tasks that left them soaked in mud (a mud obstacle course Detour, and a tank driving Roadblock) save for Dustin & Kandice, who came out of both relatively clean.
- Dumb Blonde: Subverted. Though most dismissed them as this early on, they ended up being one of the most dangerous teams in Race history.
- Enemy Mine: The other teams had one against them when it was down to four.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: At the beginning of leg 7, right after Mary gave a speech about how she would give up the Race for her friends, Dustin had her ownnote :Dustin: It's really dog eat dog. Each team is out there for themselves, and so to say that you have an alliance, really when it comes down to it, only one team is gonna step on the mat at a time. I think the other teams are gonna do what's best for them, and we are too.
- Evil Laugh: They had one that became more and more prominent near the end of the season.
- Failed a Spot Check: They had a tendency to overlook things. Their worst offense came in leg 10, when they drove right past the Detour location, dropping them from first to last, and earning them their Marked for Elimination penalty.
- Friendly Enemy: With Tyler & James.
- Global Ignorance: The editors frequently liked to poke fun at Dustin for almost knowing something about where they were going next, like when she said that people wear wooden shoes in Finland (instead of the Netherlands) or that a nuclear weapon went of in Chernobyl (it was actually a nuclear power plant accident).
- Hand Gagging: The moment that put them at their lowest level of popularity happened in leg 5, when Dustin kept their cab driver from sharing directions with Peter & Sarah's driver by literally covering his mouth with her hand.
- Hate Sink: They were an intended Hate Sink as the villains of the season, mileage varied on how well this succeeded.
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: Discussed by Kandice at the beginning of leg 6, when she said the other teams were not happy losing to a couple of blonde girls.
- I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Invoked at the beginning of leg 8, right before they had to face the Intersection.
- In-Series Nickname: "Barbies" was the most prevalent early on, though only Lyn & Karlyn used it with any frequency by the end of the season. By then, "Blondes" and "Blondies" were more common.
- Limited Wardrobe: They commented during the All-Stars pre-season interviews that they made a mistake bringing so many tank-tops and only a single t-shirt apiece, as they wound up in so many situations where they felt it was inappropriate to have bare shoulders, and therefore wound up wearing those t-shirts far more than they had ever planned to.
- Loners Are Freaks: They isolated themselves from the other teams by repeatedly refusing to share their information, preferring to work alone, which did not sit well with everyone else.
- Loophole Abuse: While there have always been rules in place to keep teams from taking each others cars mid-leg, there was never anything in place to keep teams from switching cars at the Pit Stop until Dustin & Kandice switched their damaged car for another team's at the beginning of leg 8. This loophole was immediately closed, as Kevin & Drew tore up their tires so badly in Season 11's first leg that they were driving on their rims, but were unable to take John Vito & Jill's car at the beginning of the next leg despite the couple being eliminated.
- Lost Aesop: The lesson they were seemingly supposed to be teaching was that it's not good to alienate other people and try to do everything alone, only this got lost somewhere during their two seasons. First, they ran one of the most impressive legs in Race history while using their cutthroat strategy, an episode that, despite framing them as the villains, made everyone look bad except them, then they got invited back for All-Stars due to the way they played the game, where, employing the same strategies, they performed a HeelFace Turn and became one of the most popular teams to run the Race.
- Manipulative Editing: A lot of their villainous acts. For example, them cutting in front of Lyn & Karlyn in the boat line in leg 4. They would later say in an interview that they had been in front of the other women on the dock, and had not cut in line (in an earlier shot, you can even see Dustin running down to the boats with the lead group, and Lyn & Karlyn nowhere in sight).
- Miracle Rally: They remain the only team to come from behind to beat a Fast Forwardnote .Tyler: The other teams cannot be ahead of us unless they ran a miracle.
- Ms. Fanservice: As Miss America contestants. That they were the Ms. Fanservice team was what got them dismissed by the fans early on, and why it was such a surprise when they turned out to be so good, as no Ms. Fanservice team had ever turned out to be anything but fodder before.
- No Sense of Direction: Getting lost during the Lug It Detour in Barcelona got them eliminated.
- Paranoia Fuel: Inspired this in other teams, especially when it was down to four.
James: The anticipation is killing everyone.Rob: They've seeped something into my blood system or something.James: The blondes have too much power over us.
- This exchange was from while the other teams were waiting for them to show up for a connecting flight in Casablanca in leg 10:
- Piss Take Rap: During the rapping Detour in leg 9.
- Read the Freaking Manual:
- They almost got themselves eliminated in leg 4 because they did not read to take their junk to the Pit Stop, and instead thought they had to row there. They actually could not go back and reread their clue as it got so damaged by the water it was unreadable, and therefore they paddled around until Kandice made the suggestion of going back to their junk. This not only led to their worst leg in two seasons, but their biggest argument as well.
- They did not fill up their bags of camel feed to the marked line during the Manual Detour in leg 6, and even though their bags were rejected the first time through, it did not stop them from finishing 2nd that leg (behind the Fast Forward).
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: They took a big risk in leg 10 on a tight connection through Milan to get to Casablanca a few hours earlier just so they could sit around waiting for a once-a-day flight to Ouarzazate. Granted, they were banking on getting there early and searching for something faster, but they risked not getting there at all.
- 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 just looks. This did not stop the other teams of accusing them of this.
- Scheherezade Gambit: When facing the Marked for Elimination penalty in the penultimate leg, they tried getting Tyler & James to help them out by saying they would be more fun to have around in the finale than Rob & Kim. It did not work, as Tyler & James, like any sane person, wanted nothing to do with Dustin & Kandice in a finale situation.
- Sex Sells: Godwin talked about how they had an advantage over him selling flowers in Vietnam due to their looks.
- She's Got Legs: Kandice, in particular, who was a Rockette.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: To Lyn & Karlyn.
- So Beautiful It's a Curse: At the beginning of leg 9, Dustin talked about how the two of them have to fight to be taken seriously a lot because of their looks.Dustin: A lot of people look at Kandice and I, and they just assume that things come easy, that things are handed to us, but the truth is we really do work hard.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Starting with episode 7 and lasting up until their elimination. Teams became increasingly obsessed with them in their last two legs, with both episodes revolving almost completely around them. Judging by how the fans reacted to the Final 3, this might not have been all that bad as fans either were rooting for the Beauty Queens by then, or it gave the fans that didn't like them someone to root against.
- This is a Race: The reasoning behind all their "evil acts."
- True Companions: Became this over the course of the season. Kandice was made a bridesmaid at Dustin's wedding because of their time together on the Race, when before that they were just roommates from Miss America.
- Villain Has a Point: Their anti-alliance stance sounded a lot smarter once the two teams who relied most on their alliance ended up getting hurt when they focused more on helping their alliance than on running their own race.
- What a Drag: In leg 2, Kandice was thrown from her horse, and was dragged for several seconds before her foot came free from the stirrup.
Erwin Cho & Godwin Cho (Cho Bros)
- Godwin: A bitter and cynical person might think we're keeping [Lyn & Karlyn and David & Mary] around because they're "weaker" than the other teams, but if we stick together we can be stronger than those who tend to fend for themselves only.
Korean brothers, they started started off the season as fan favorites and frontrunners, especially due to their naturally selfless and kind natures. However, this changed in leg 7, as they quickly lost a lot of fan goodwill when they made a number of boneheaded moves, including waiting around at tasks after they had completed them to wait for the other teams in their alliance. They made numerous statements in the ensuing legs that made it clear they cared more about coming off as good people than they did winning the Race. Their popularity plummeted, and they went from fan favorites to a team that many remember as one of the most idiotic to ever run the Race. In the 9th leg, they fell behind when they refused to follow Lyn & Karlyn when they felt insulted by the moms, and fell behind. They were ultimately done in when they turned onto a street closed down for pedestrian traffic while looking for the Pit Stop, and they were detained by the police, eliminating them in 5th place.
- An Aesop: Many of their confessionals sound like they're trying to deliver one of these, like at the beginning of leg 3, when Godwin said he was already a winner because of all the experiences he was getting to have with his brother. Now, most teams get these moments over the course of the season, but those are usually reserved for Elimination Statements and other special moments. The Cho Bros. seemed to deliver a speech like this at least Once an Episode.
- Batman Gambit: With David & Mary facing a Marked for Elimination penalty in Kuwait, the Chos wanted them to go for the Fast Forward. However, Dustin & Kandice also decided to go for it. Knowing that the Beauty Queens would not want to risk their race on the chance that someone else might get the Fast Forward before them, they pretended like they were going for it, discouraging Dustin & Kandice from taking it, and ultimately giving it up to David & Mary.
- Being Good Sucks: The episode 9 title quote from Godwin, upon him and Erwin waiting in line for a cab at the Helsinki airport while all the other teams jumped the line:Godwin: Being polite sucks sometimes.
- The Ditherer: At times they looked afraid to make their own decisions, or even to go off and race on their own. Karlyn accused Erwin of being this in their final leg when they kept stopping to ask for directions to Apartment 33 in Kiev, frustrating the moms into ditching them.
- Ditzy Genius: Despite both having grad degrees, they did a lot of stupid things. They brought squirt guns into the Seattle airport post-9/11, brought along a fake cell phone to prank the other teams into believing they were booking a flight during a train ride, inspiring Peter to do the same thing with a real cell phone, and then there was their tendency to freely give out whatever information they had to whomever cared to ask.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: They seemingly did not realize the whole point of the Race is to win. They were more preoccupied making friends, having a good time, and coming off as good people than they were competing.
- Follow That Car: Averted in their final leg, when they had a chance to follow Lyn & Karlyn (who had help from a local) to the Detour, they instead broke off on their own, still upset about Bama trying to ditch them earlier, and got lost on the way to their elimination.
- Hanlon's Razor: When the other teams saw how tight the Six Pack had gotten, they attributed the Chos' involvement in the alliance as them trying to drag two weak teams with them to the end. In reality, they actually thought it was in their best interest to have such a tight alliance with David & Mary and Lyn & Karlyn.
- Honor Before Reason: The entire motivation behind the Six Pack alliance. At the beginning of the ninth leg, they even had a chance to get a flight to Finland hours ahead of Lyn & Karlyn, but gave them the flight information that they would not have had time to discover for themselves (they got to the airport 10 minutes before the flight was supposed to close).
- Upset with Lyn & Karlyn for trying to ditch them in their final leg, they decided to not follow them to the Detour, saying they had too much pride to tail them at that point. This decision led to their elimination.
- Honor Is Fair Play: They said it was more important for them to be able to look at themselves in the mirror after the race than it was to win it.
- Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Joked about.Godwin: To the homeland... although we're not Chinese.
- Informed Ability: They were supposedly really smart. Erwin even went to Harvard. Little of this intelligence ever actually showed. Tyler & James even called them out on this in their final leg.
- No Sense of Direction: Lyn & Karlyn kept complaining that they would stop every five minutes to ask for directions in Ukraine, which ultimately led to Bama ditching them, and their elimination that leg.
- Odd Friendship: With Lyn & Karlyn, David & Mary, and Tom & Terry.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: They seemed to lose any and all sense the moment they formed the Six Pack. The way they would do things within the alliance, such as wait around after they completed challenges instead of worrying about their own game, or making their Detour decisions based on what the other teams wanted to do, would eventually bite them in the butt. Lyn & Karlyn, on the other hand, had a much more pragmatic approach to the alliance, which is why they were the last ones standing.
- Running Gag: Them stopping to ask for directions every five minutes in their final leg, followed by Lyn & Karlyn getting annoyed at them stopping again.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: They said it was more important to be able to look at themselves in the mirror after the race was over than it was to win the money.
- Shoo Out the Clowns
- Sibling Team
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Dustin & Kandice during the Intersection. While the Beauty Queens were happy to have them as partners, they did not like having to compete against the rest of the Six Pack, nor did they care much for the string of put downs about their allies' racing abilities.
- Water Guns and Balloons: They brought water guns with them and started squirting other teams with them at the Seattle airport... until they were confiscated by airport security that is.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: They made the decision not to lie to the other teams, which meant they gave out a lot of their information they did not want to simply because someone asked what they had found.
- What the Hell, Hero?: With their reputation as two of the biggest boneheads to run the Race, it's easy to forget that for the first six legs they were nearly as popular as David & Mary. It was in leg 7, when they waited for the rest of the Six Pack to swim back from the boat where they got their first clue in Mauritius, that the audience turned on them. In their final leg, Karlyn called them on this, questioning their tendency to wait for them after the Chos had waited around at the tank Roadblock despite them being in last.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Heights for the both of them. This led to the hilarious face forward rappel at the beginning of episode 10, where, instead of walking down the building like everyone else, Erwin slid down the building with his helmet scraping against the wall.
David Conley, Jr. & Mary Conley (Kentucky)
- Mary: We've made friends in this race, and it's well worth a million dollars or more. In a heartbeat, I would sacrifice this race for the friends I've made.
Coalminer and his wife from Kentucky. Many expected them to be Cannon Fodder and completely overwhelmed by the Race, as they had never ventured far outside their hometown, but they ended up being one of the most open-minded teams the Race had ever seen, and they managed to hang on past mid-season for a 6th place finish. Though they would get eliminated in Madagascar when the Intersection chained them to Lyn & Karlyn too long for them to make up for their Marked for Elimination penalty, their open-minded attitudes and fan favorite status earned them an invitation back for All-Stars.
- Backseat Driver: Mary almost go them eliminated in leg 7 when she forced David to drive in the wrong direction looking for the Pit Stop. Only the non-elimination leg saved them (temporarily, though, because the Marked for Elimination penalty would knock them out in the next leg).
- Brutal Honesty: Dave described Mary this way.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Like the Cho Bros., they would have given up winning the race for their friends.
- Failed a Spot Check: They left their fanny pack at the coal Detour in Vietnam, and Dave had to run back to get it.
- Fish out of Water: Their story as a whole. They'd had limited travel outside of Kentucky prior to the Race, and Mary had never met an Asian or gay person before.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Mary sprained her ankle while running to the second Pit Stop, which slowed her down from there on out.
- The Glomp: Mary did this to their cab driver in Vietnam.
- Good Ol' Boy
- Henpecked Husband: Mary constantly nagged Dave and forced him to make decisions she wanted him to.
- Honor Before Reason: Mary was willing to give up the Race in favor of her friends.
- In-Series Nickname: Kentucky.
- The Load: Mary was very slow, and they got passed up a lot when traveling on foot, not to mention all her nagging of Dave.
- Manly Tears: At the beginning of leg 3, when Dave read they were going to Vietnam, he started tearing up while talking about how his father was affected by the war there. Subverted when Mary started yelling at him for letting people pass him, and they started fighting, forgetting all about Dave's dad.
- The Millstone: Mary forced Dave to make the decisions that gave them both of their Marked for Elimination penalties, first when she forced him to take the rice powder Detour over the crocodiles, then when she told him to drive in the wrong direction two legs later.
- No Indoor Voice: Mary.
- Odd Friendship: With Erwin & Godwin, Lyn & Karlyn, and Tom & Terry.
- Popularity Power: They were popular enough that Post-Race they received numerous gifts from The View, including a new house, and got invited back for All-Stars despite their generally subpar performance. They later displaced Rob & Kim, the 2nd place team on the DVD cover.
- Shoo Out the Clowns
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: David's cousin actually threw him out into a lake when he was five, and it traumatized him.
Peter Harsch & Sarah Reinertsen
"Dating couple" (who weren't really dating). Sarah was the first amputee (left leg) to complete the Iron Man Triathlon, but any goodwill the team had due to her disability was immediately destroyed by Peter's behavior, as he turned into a complete Jerkass who constantly berated Sarah to tears. Though they were the favorites for the first half of the season, they got dreadfully lost while looking for the Detour in Kuwait, and finished 7th.
- Action Girl: Sarah as expected of someone who ran the Iron Man.
- Artificial Limbs: Sarah's left leg.
- Break the Cutie: Sarah's whole storyline. Between her leg leaking fluid, and Peter being a Jerkass to her, she slowly broke down over the course of the season.
- Broken Pedestal: At the beginning of leg 5, Sarah talked about how, after seeing Peter's behavior on the Race, she no longer held him on the pedestal she had before.
- Cast Speciation: They were actually Just Friends and not a couple. While going through the casting process, they were told that there wasnt a spot for another friends team but they needed another couple. They agreed to say they were friends whod just started dating to get on the show. Ironically enough, Sarahs actual husband is named Peter.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Not an injury in the traditional sense, but Sarah's prosthetic leg started leaking hydraulic fluid in the first leg, making it impossible for her to run properly after that.
- Handicapped Badass: Sarah. She was the first amputee to complete the Iron Man Triathlon, the most grueling physical competition on Earth.
- Hope Spot: When they were lost driving around Kuwait, they randomly came across a Race arrow. When they followed it, they discovered it led to the Fast Forward, which had already been taken.
- Horrible Judge of Character: After seeing the alliances that had formed in leg 5, Peter approached the only other team not in an alliance, Dustin & Kandice, and started sharing his information with them. He thought that meant they were now in an alliance, even though the Beauty Queens' actions constantly showed they had no intention of ever working together. It took Dustin literally covering her taxi driver's mouth before he took the hint.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged
- Jerkass: Peter. Despite their "dating" hook, he seemed utterly callous towards Sarah, most infamously in the shot of him running ahead of her to the Vietnam Pit Stop while Sarah crawled across the rice paddy behind him.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Kandice theorized in leg 5 that the reason Peter was so willingly sharing information with them was that he had a thing for Dustin.
- Manipulative Editing: Their relationship was created by the producers when they were actually Just Friends.
- No Sense of Direction
- Non-Gameplay Elimination Of the Mercy Kill variety. They finally showed up at the Detour after dark, and were sent immediately to the Pit Stop.
- One Head Taller
- Plucky Girl: Sarah. She took it very hard when Peter threatened to quit during the pearl farming Detour in Vietnam.
- Positive Discrimination: Very much averted in the first leg, when both Tyler & James and Lyn & Karlyn got upset at Sarah for pre-boarding with other disabled passengers (which is particularly ridiculous considering they were all getting on the same plane, so who boarded first didn't matter).
- The Snack Is More Interesting: After missing a bus in India that would have put them alone in 1st, Peter completely dismissed Sarah's breakdown while they waited for the next bus, ignoring her pleas to be nicer to her, as he was more interested in eating his snack.
- Tempting Fate: At the beginning of their last leg:Peter: I'm confident that we're gonna continue to do well. I think even on our worst day we're still better than some of the teams in the back.
Thomas "Tom" Rock & Terrance "Terry" Cosentino
Boyfriends, they were the fourth member of the Back Pack alliance (which would become the Six Pack upon their elimination). Though they started off leg 4 rather well, and were even in 2nd heading into the Detour, but their inability to row their sampan allowed everyone to pass them, and even though Tom had a hugely heroic moment where he jumped out of the boat and pulled it back to their junk, they were eliminated in 8th.
- Accidental Misnaming: Kandice mixed up Tom & Terry while arguing with Tom at the beginning of leg 3.
- Camp Gay
- I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Invoked in their intro, though they did end up making friends rather quickly.
- Odd Friendship: With Erwin & Godwin, David & Mary, and Lyn & Karlyn.
- Read The Freaking Clue: They received a penalty in Vietnam for traveling by motorcycle in Vac, dropping them from 2nd to 8th.
- This Is a Competition: Invoked in their introduction and used word for word.
Duke Marcoccio & Lauren Marcoccio
Dad and daughter whose relationship had become strained ever since Lauren had come out as gay. Lauren was the first openly gay woman on the Race, and Duke was the first parent on the show to have yet fully come to terms with his child's sexuality. Though they started off strong, they got lost in the streets of Vac, Vietnam, stumbling upon the wrong Detour choice. Though they stuck out the birdcage Detour, it proved to be the longer of the two options, and they were eliminated in 9th.
- Daddy's Girl: A subversion, in that she once was one, but their relationship was strained due to her sexuality.
- Foreshadowing: On their way to the leg 1 mid point, Lauren, upon seeing the last team card, suggested that team would be eliminated. She immediately dismissed that thought.
- Hypocrite: Duke said he could accept homosexuals, until it came to his daughter, then it was much harder for him to accept.
- Manly Tears: Duke, during their intro, when he started talking about Lauren's sexuality.
- No Sense of Direction: They got lost trying to find the coal Detour in Vietnam, instead stumbling upon the birdcage Detour, which would prove to be their downfall.
- Older Than They Look: Invoked by Jamie towards Duke at the Seattle airport, where her first two guesses at their relationship were brother/sister and dating.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: In Vietnam, Duke tried the "get a local to guide you" strategy, much to Lauren's consternation. Not only did the woman take so long to get her bags that she put them in last, but she also got the taxi driver to go way out of their way to drop her off first, making them pay for her ride, all because Duke did not bother to lay down some ground rules before getting her "help".
Kellie Patterson & Jamie Hill
College cheerleaders. They got lost twice in Mongolia, on their way to both the Detour and the Roadblock, leaving them far behind the other teams. Already in last, Kellie gave up on the flaming arrow Roadblock when it got dark, and they were eliminated in 10th.
- Driving Stick: Kellie's issues with stalling out their car only compounded their navigation issues.
- Informed Ability: The cheerleaders lost the Taiji Bailong Detour, a task requiring balance, coordination, and learning choreography, to unathletic gay couple Tom & Terry.
- Ms. Fanservice
- No Sense of Direction
- Out of Focus: Like the teams eliminated in the second leg, they barely got any screen time.
Vipul Patel & Arti Patel
Married couple. Though they survived the mid-leg elimination in China, they started out at the back of the pack the next morning. This early deficit, combined with their inability to navigate the streets of Beijing, put them far enough behind that all the other teams had checked in at the Pit Stop by the time they reached the Great Wall. They were eliminated at the end of the first leg in 11th.
- Call It Karma: Erwin & Godwin called them Team Karma.
- Happily Married
- No Sense of Direction: Their inability to find North Bank Road caused them to fall behind.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: They had almost no airtime, despite the 90-minute episode.
Bilal Abdul-Mani & Sa'eed Rudolph
Best friends, they were devout Muslims to the point where they claimed they would not hesitate to stop to pray in the middle of a leg. We never got to see if they would really go through with that claim, as they were the last team to reach the mid-leg checkpoint in China when their cab driver got lost, and were the first team in Race history to be eliminated without completing a leg.
- Against My Religion: Bilal refused to shake Kellie's hand at the Seattle airport because of this.
- Badass Beard: Both of them.
- Born Unlucky: They somehow managed to get a taxi driver in Beijing who didn't know where the Forbidden City was, which dropped them behind Erwin & Godwin despite leaving the Roadblock before the brothers had even arrived.
- Paranoia Fuel: The other teams reacted to their elimination as if they just witnessed an execution.
- Public Execution: Instead of taking the other teams off to where they would be spending the night once they had hit the mid-leg checkpoint, the producers kept them around to watch Bilal & Sa'eed's elimination. While teams have been witness to eliminations before, this was the only time every single team was kept around, standing right next to the mat, to witness an elimination.
- Sacrificial Lamb: As the team eliminated in the middle of leg 1, their entire purpose was to make the other eleven teams super paranoid moving forward.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: They didn't even last a full episode or get an Elimination Statement. It's odd that in a leg with two eliminations, neither team got much attention.