The fifth season of The Amazing Race, was tasked with reviving the series after a year off the air. With the show barely getting renewed (mostly due to winning the first Emmy for Outstanding Reality-Competition Programnote ), it had the challenge of proving that the show could get by on more than just critical acclaim and the support of its small, but dedicated, fanbase. The producers aimed to draw in a wider audience with larger than life personalities, with Stunt Casting featuring prominently for the first time, much of the cast being models/actors. It was the first to star a racer from another CBS reality show (Big Brother), and made the Amazing Race one of the only shows to feature a person with dwarfism.
The biggest changes, however, were to the format itself. The Fast Forward was reduced from Once an Episode to only two in the entire season, and the Yield was introduced, giving teams the chance to directly hamper their competition for the first time. Focus began to shift away from the travel portion of the game (getting from point A to point B) and more emphasis began to be put onto the tasks. Most of the Detours no longer involved the "fast, but scary" vs. "slow, but safe" choice that had been so predominant over the first four seasons, but instead two tasks that would require different skill sets. Also absent were the "Alpha Male" teams who had become so feared at that point, and for the first time the number of all-female teams outnumbered the all-male ones. Thanks to the changes and the memorable cast the season was a success, with the show drawing in its best ratings so far despite airing during the summer months, and as a consequence is considered one of the best (and most important) entries in the series.
Chip McCallister & Kim McCallister
- Chip: Colin has one flaw in that he needs his ego stroked. Kim and I are trying to build up his ego so he'll make a mistake. Colin will beat himself, but we will facilitate that for him.
Married couple who became both the first heterosexual romantic couple and non-white team to win the Race, and are still currently the oldest winning team in the seriesnote . They started off as an apparent Cannon Fodder team, barely scraping by for the first three legs. They would get brought into the spotlight upon Charla & Mirna's elimination, with their surreptitious plotting against Colin & Christie becoming the major storyline at the tail end of the season. They would fall behind in the final leg, which would ultimately give them an advantage when they were the first to discover that the first flight to Dallas/Fort Worth had been delayed, and were able to snatch up the last tickets on the second best flight. The ten minute lead that flight would get them was what they needed to pull out the victory over the dominant Colin & Christie. They would reappear on Battle of the Network Reality Stars.
- Badass Boast: Chip's, "It's on like Donkey Kong now, baby," became so memorable after they won, that it has been quoted by several teams in subsequent seasons. See Signature Line
- Bald of Awesome: Chip.
- Batman Gambit: In the later legs, they aimed to prey on Colin emotionally by encouraging his ego and ultimately burst it at an opportune time (which they accomplished by Yielding him), since there was no way they could triumph over him physically or mentally.
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: In the finale, they outmaneuvered Colin at the Calgary airport, an aspect of the game Coline had dominated up to that point, which won them the game.
- Big Eater: Chip's stomach single-handedly allowed them to steal two legs from Colin & Christie, passing them up first with the two pounds of caviar in Russia, then with the ostrich egg in Tanzania.
- Big Fun: Chip.
- Call-Back: Chip's famous line leading into the finale, "It's on like Donkey Kong!" was actually originally said by Frank in the Season 1 finale. Most people now forget that Frank ever said it, and when it's quoted now, racers are referencing Chip.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: They fell into this so badly in the last few legs that Brandon & Nicole did not trust that Chip was actually concerned for Nicole when she was having trouble swimming in the Philippines, but was instead trying to swoop in and steal the clue from the clam she had found.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: How their victory over Colin & Christie is portrayed.
- False Friend: To Colin & Christie. Prior to the Yield, Colin & Christie trusted Chip & Kim most out of all the teams, mostly because Chip did everything he could to endear himself to Colin.
- The Fool: When checking in at the Pit Stop in the Philippines:Chip: Like I always say, God takes care of his idiots, so I'm first on the list.
- The Glomp: Chip did it to Phil after winning the eleventh leg.
- The Gloves Come Off: After nearly getting eliminated due to refusing to use the Yield on Kami & Karli in leg 10, Chip realized he had to stop playing the nice guy if he wanted to win the Race.
- The Good Guys Always Win: They pulled off a seemingly impossible feat to beat the villainous Colin.
- Good Is Not Soft: For the first half of the season they seemed like just a normal friendly couple, but after Charla & Mirna's elimination, they were revealed to be a lot more than a couple of pushovers.
- Happily Married
- Honor Before Reason: Chip refraining from Yielding Kami & Karli in leg 10, because he thought they had a lead over the Bowling Moms that they did not, which almost got them eliminated.
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: Chip's reaction anytime the Bowling Moms beat them in a task was, "The freakin' moms beat us."
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Kami & Karli, though this was often strained during the race due to Chip's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
- The Load: Kim only did one Roadblock during the entire race. Strangely, before her sole Roadblock, she expressed concern that she was becoming this, but this never came up again.
- Nice Guy: Chip, to the point it became a character flaw. He decided against yielding Kami & Karli even though he was in danger of elimination, and got into money troubles due to his overly large tips. Eventually, he started to play more cutthroat.
- Oh, Crap!: After choosing not to Yield the twins, under the impression that they were still ahead of the Bowling Moms, then looking in the box to see only two clues left.
- Read the Freaking Clue: Leaving Wild Wadi in leg 9, they did not read to drive themselves to the airport, and jumped in a cab instead. They had to turn around halfway to the airport to retrieve their car.
- Real Men Love Jesus: Not invoked as often as Brandon, but anytime Chip had to do a task involving his fear of heights, Chip would call on Jesus to carry him through.
- Sequence Breaking: In the first leg, they missed the Detour clue, stumbling upon the Roulette side by chance. When sent back to correct this, they dropped from 1st to 8th.
- Signature Line: Chip's, "It's on like Donkey Kong." Though he was not the first to actually say it, his use of it heading into the final leg is only slightly less well known than Colin's Ox line.
- Tears of Joy: Kim, at the finish line. Chip even mentions the trope name.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Post-Race. They and BJ & Tyler both openly complained about not being chosen for All-Stars, and were rather negative about some of the teams who were selected.
- Underdogs Never Lose
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Kim feeling like she was becoming The Load was brought up once in Egypt, and then never again for the rest of the Race.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Chip with heights.
- A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: In leg 9, while Colin was talking about how much he liked and trusted them, Chip & Kim talked about how their number one priority was to get Colin out of the Race.
- Worthy Opponent: Colin called them this at the Finish Line.
Colin Guinn & Christie Lee Woods
Former Miss Teen USA and her boyfriend. Colin lived up to his self-description of being "possibly the most intense person that's ever run this race", becoming infamous both for dominating most of the race with his shrewd understanding of the Metagame and his merciless gameplay, as well as his Hair-Trigger Temper, leading to his near arrest in Tanzania and his famous "My ox is broken!" outburst. Ultimately, his temper would be his undoing, as he lost a lot of his strategic edge after getting Yielded by Chip & Kim, eventually finishing 2nd due to a series of mistakes that left them unable to get on the same flight as Chip & Kim due to their flight being delayed and already having checked their bagsnote . Nonetheless, he is still considered one of the greatest racers of all time, and the team was thus cast for All-Stars until Christie got pregnant. And while many gave up hope on them returning, they surprisingly returned for season 31, a full fifteen years after their original season.
- The Ace: Colin. He dominated the physical game, the mental game, and the travel game. The other teams were scared of him for a reason.
- Anti-Villain: Despite the ego, the temper, and the other negative behavior, Colin was actually social with the teams that were not Charla & Mirna, and even helped and shared information with them. Nor did any of the teams particularly dislike him, save for Charla & Mirna, they just really feared him. They even gave one of their free trips to Dennis & Erika after the season was over.
- Berserk Button: For Colin, if anything happened to make him feel like he was being unfairly wronged, he lost it. His two biggest tirades were after he felt he was being fleeced by a cab driver at the beginning of leg 8, and after getting Yielded by Chip & Kim in leg 11.
- Call It Karma: Christie said karma would hit Chip & Kim for Yielding them.
- The Chessmaster: Unlike teams in previous seasons, Colin would willingly let teams follow him, and even book or buy tickets for them, because (a) he would then know where exactly the other teams were and what they were doing, (b) they would be reliant on him for their directions/tickets instead of doing the work themselves, and (c) when there were a limited number of tickets, it let him decide who would be on the same bus or plane with them. In the fourth leg, he even got the other teams to voluntarily let him and Christie take the only tickets on the earliest flight to St. Petersburg.
- Chewing the Scenery: Colin became famous for this with memorable phrases such as "I'm packing it!" and "My ox is broken!"
- Cluster F-Bomb: Colin, during his Ox-inspired meltdown.
- Comically Lopsided Rivalry: With Charla & Mirna. The cousins beat them in the first two legs, before the two started feuding, then never again for the rest of their Race.
- Competition Freak: Though Colin's was more apparent, both of them were competition freaks. Part of what made them so effective is they were always competing full speed all the time.
- Crazy-Prepared: Colin seemed ready for anything. Among other things, he anticipated that the final leg usually comes down to cabs, so he arranged for a fast driver who, among other things, was willing to drive on the shoulder of the road waiting for him in Dallas.
- Create Your Own Villain: Inverted with Chip & Kim. The married couple were not the most competent team at the beginning of the season, and even when they did get going, Chip was too nice for his own good. But after spending a good portion of the season allying with Colin, Chip learned how to play the game like Colin, leading to them winning when they started "thinking like Colin".
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Between legs 3 and 10 they won six legs, and finished second twice behind Chip's iron stomach. Then the Yield happened.
- Death Glare:
- Colin gave one to the camera at the Cairo airport in leg 7 when Charla & Mirna were telling the Gulf Air ticket agent not to help them.
- Colin gave another one to Chip & Kim after the Yield.Chip: Colin is standing at the Yield sign, watching me. That was so uncomfortable.
- Et Tu, Brute?: They took the Yield by Chip & Kim very personally, and while Colin begrudgingly admitted it was a good move, Christie refused to make amends after the leg.
- Fatal Flaw: Colin's ego. Chip was aware of Colin's need to impress/be better than everyone else, and that he tended to make mistakes when frustrated, and combined the two to take him down.
- Genius Bruiser: Colin not only could beat everyone physically, but he could run circles around them at the mental aspects of the game as well.
- Global Ignorance: Colin called himself an ignorant American for not knowing what the flag of the Philippines looked like in leg 12. None of the other teams knew either, but Colin was the only one to call himself out for not knowing.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Colin's is legendary, right up there with Jonathan's and Jaime's, and nearly got him arrested.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: After spending the entire race scouring the airports for any advantage he could get, maxing out three credit cards in the process, Colin rested on his laurels in the final leg, allowing Chip & Kim to get the last tickets on the second best flight to Dallas-Fort Worth when the best one got delayed, and ultimately win the race.
- Invincible Villain: Up until the Yield they appeared to be untouchable (with even the other teams seeing them as some unbeatable force). Even during their downward spiral after the Yield, they remained one of the scariest teams in Race history, and Chip & Kim were barely able to squeeze out a victory.
- It's the Principle of the Thing: During leg 8, Colin became furious at a cab driver in Tanzania for making them lose their lead by driving on a spare tire and having a blowout. He refused to pay the full $100 fare, instead offering only $50. Despite the urging of Christie, the other teams, and the airport staff to pay the fare, he continued to refuse, getting the police involved, and coming perilously close to becoming the first contestant to be arrested during the race. He finally paid the fare just because he didn't want to miss his flight.
- Jerkass: Colin, mostly due to his Hair-Trigger Temper and insane Competition Freak tendencies.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- During the infamous ox detour. While he handled it very immaturely, to say the least, he wasn't wrong about Christie just standing around and not helping.
- Also during his infamous break down about the taxi driver, he was very much right that the taxi driver broke their promise. He said that if the driver got them their in the same order they arrive, he'd give him 100 dollars, if not 50 dollars. Their falling behind was entirely the taxi drivers fault for driving 200 miles on a spare, and it was only Kami & Karli's generosity that kept them from arriving last. So in accordance to their deal, Colin only owed the driver the 50 dollars.
- He was also 100% right to be pissed off about the taxi driver endangering them by knowingly embarking on a two hour trip on a donut.
- Lack of Empathy: Colin comes off a lot of the time as if he is unable to see anything from anyone else's point of view (how much of this is Manipulative Editing is in question). The biggest example is during the taxi driver incident in Tanzania, where he completely lost it on a cop who was just trying to explain to him that he had just as much of an obligation to protect the cab driver's rights as he did Colin's.
- Legendary in the Sequel: Colin & Christie were listed as the biggest snub from All-Stars, even over such fan favorites as Kris & Jon and BJ & Tyler, with 10 of the 11 teams naming them as a team they were surprised not to see (Charla & Mirna being the lone exception, and even they expressed regret at not facing him again in a post-All-Stars interview), as at the time they were widely considered the best team to run the race. Even egomaniac Rob Mariano named Colin as the one racer he wanted to test himself against.
- The Load: Christie did only one Roadblock and often only irritated Colin with her constant nagging. During the ox plow Detour in leg 11, every other contestant drove the ox as a team, while Colin had to do it by himself. His meltdown was partially caused by the fact that Christie just stood around not wanting to get her feet dirty while mocking his inability to drive it. However unlike Kim and Nicole, Christie got a shot a doing the show again where she had to split the roadblocks and proved herself an admirable partner.
- Loophole Abuse: They maxed out three credit cards booking multiple flights, so that they would always have a back up if a flight got delayed. Failing to do this in the final leg cost them dearly.
- Manipulative Editing: According to the two of them in an interview about season 31, their relationship was volatile at this point but wasnt as volatile as the editing would suggest. Essentially their fights were played up for drama. They had only been together a year at that point so they didnt know how to work together in stressful situations which made them the designated fighting couple team. Christie said that she had clients from work whod call her worried she was in an abusive relationship. They both admit that theyve grown and matured in their relationship a lot since this season but neither one of them was quite what youd think from watching.
- Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe, they inspired this in the other teams, especially in the last several legs. After the Yield, the other teams were all convinced they were going to find a way to get ahead regardless, with every single team convinced they were about to finish last that leg. And in the penultimate leg, when Colin & Christie had fallen behind on a task for once, the other teams kept anxiously checking to see if they had caught up yet while waiting for their teammates to do the lengthy ascender Roadblock..
- The Power of Hate: For the first half of the season, they were able to focus all their anger and aggression onto Charla & Mirna, giving them a common enemy to despise. It was once that outlet was gone that they started fighting more with each other.
- Precision F-Strike: Colin's, "My ox is broken! This is bullshit!"
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: Despite reaching LAX first in the first leg, they wound up on the second flight due to (1) not knowing to look for the marked ticket counter that is always set up for teams in the first leg, and (2) not checking to see which flight got in first. Considering what he would do later, it's shocking to see Colin make such basic mistakes early on.
- Rejected Apology: Chip tried apologizing after the Yield, and while Colin would eventually begrudgingly admit it was a good move, Christie would not accept the apology.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: They went into this after the Yield. Unfortunately, this distracted Colin from the game, causing the mistakes that cost them the game.
- Rubber-Band A.I.: They suffered from this worse than any other team. Twice they started a leg with leads of over an hour, but both times the other teams caught up to them within a few clues. Leg 6 in Egypt, they had a seven hour lead to start the leg before hitting an operating hours equalizer, and in leg 11, a missed connecting flight to the Philippines allowed Chip & Kim to Yield them.
- Their long stretch of dominance had this effect late in the season, most obviously with the Yield, but also with the way the other teams (Chip in particular) adjusted their games to think the way Colin would think, and make the moves Colin would make.
- Satellite Character: Christie; though she was not outright ignored like some others, it became abundantly clear that even the other teams just saw her as Colin's prerequisite teammate, and that Colin was pretty much their whole team (see Chip's quote above, for one example). It did not help that she only did one Roadblock.
- Signature Line: "My ox is broken! This is bull***!" My Ox Is Broken even became the name of a tie-in anthology book.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: With Charla & Mirna, this all came to a head during the showdown at the Cario airport in leg 7, where both teams scrambled to get the other teams on their side as they tried to book tickets to Kenya.
- Slouch of Villainy: The opening shot of Colin in their intro is him slouching back in his seat, glaring non-nonchalantly into the camera while Christie introduces the team.
- Smug Smiler:
- While driving to the Buenos Aires airport in leg 3, Colin stopped to talk directions with Bob & Joyce and the Bowling Moms, telling them to follow him to the airport. Cut to him back in the car smiling smugly while, in a voice over, talking about how he is willing to help other teams so that they would be more inclined to help him down the road. This also doubles as Foreshadowing, in that, after two legs at the back of the pack, they were about to take control of the Race.
- He would later do this after leg wins, where, instead of happily celebrating like every other team in the series, he would just look at Phil with a smirk that said, "of course we won."
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Starting with leg 3, the season began shifting away from Charla & Mirna and onto the rivalry the two shared. After the cousins' elimination, the season became more and more about Colin's dominance, and Chip & Kim's efforts to beat him.
- Tall Poppy Syndrome: By the time they got to the eleventh leg, the other teams were so afraid of Colin that they were scrambling over each other Yield him. If Chip & Kim hadn't Yielded them, one of the other teams would have.
- Values Dissonance: In-Universe, Colin came close to punching someone on the train in India when Christie kept getting groped.
- Villainous Breakdown: Colin did not take getting Yielded very well, leading into the infamous "My ox is broken!" breakdown at the following Detour. They survived because of a non-elimination leg, but Colin made several mistakes over the next two legs that led to them losing the race, mistakes that both he and the other teams believed he never would have made before the Yield. Even Christie herself took a blow after the Yield as well, as she was acting dangerously calm while directing their driver in the Philippines. When the task was reused in Season 25, Phil called it, "Possibly the biggest breakdown ever."
Brandon Davidson & Nicole O'Brian
Former Miss Texas and her boyfriend. They were dedicated Christians, repeatedly praying for God to help them win. Solid racers, they were repeatedly overshadowed, lost behind the big personalities and storylines that made up the season. They made the Final 3, where they finished third due to being stuck on the same flight with Colin & Christie, but not having an aggressive driver to help them keep pace.
- Big "WHAT?!": Brandon, following their being saved by non-elimination in leg 9.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Nicole worried that they were getting in the habit of screwing people over after ditching both Charla & Mirna and Marshall & Lance after agreeing to work together, and failing to go through with a promise to book tickets at the airport for Charla & Mirna, all in the third leg.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Due to their Christianity, they refrained from swearing at all.
- Holy Backlight: The editors had fun with this, using it on a Departures board at one point, and having them getting tickets on a better flight punctuated by an escalator full of nuns. Averted in the finale, when they were praying for a way to catch up to Chip & Kim, and the camera cut up to the cloudy, overcast sky, with no light breaking through.
- The Load: Like Christie and Kim, Nicole only did one Roadblock and generally made Brandon do everything. In the giant clam task in leg 12, when she found the clue, she just tread water over it, calling for Brandon, rather than diving for it herself.Nicole: I feel bad, I don't do anything. I won't feel so bad when I have that check in my hand.
- Mr. Fanservice: Mirna spent her entire Race drooling over Brandon.
- The Millstone: Aside from his inability to stand up for himself (see Nice Guy), Brandon several times cost them time by directing them towards the slower Detour path because he was afraid to do the quicker one (like with sledging in new Zealand) or because it went against his religion (drinking vodka in Russia).
- Nice Guy: Like with Chip, a common complaint Nicole had about Brandon was that he was too quick to appease people, would not stand up for himself, and was far too willing to throw their money around instead of trying to barter.
- Nobody Touches the Hair: They initially went for the Fast Forward in leg 9, but turned it down when they realized that it would involve shaving their heads, and, as models, their hair is an important part of their job. This would put them so far behind that only the fact that it was a non-elimination leg saved them.
- Oh, Crap!: When they reached the Fast Forward in leg 9 and saw they would have to shave their heads to win it.
- Out-of-Character Moment: After spending twelve legs as the nice religious couple, who, despite the occasional spat here and there, clearly adored each other, all their negative traits got magnified once they hit Canada in the finale. Brandon couldn't stand up for himself or make a decision to save his life, Nicole became a Flo-level Load and whiner, and Brandon all of a sudden wasn't sure if Nicole was the girl for him. Then everything was magically back to normal once they hit the Finish Line.
- Out of Focus: They were the least focused on of the top 6 teams, most likely because they were overshadowed by the over-the-top personalities of the other teams, while they were merely the normalish, religious couple. In the finale, Chip focused so solely on beating Colin, that it was almost as if he'd forgotten there was another team he was racing against. Despite finishing third overall they were not even featured on the Season 5 DVD cover.
- Prayer Is a Last Resort: After wasting tons of time at the mud pit Detour in leg 10, Brandon started praying out loud... and immediately found the clue.
- Real Men Love Jesus: They constantly discussed their faith, and prayed for help with tasks.
- Shirtless Scene: Brandon, inside the Great Pyramid at the beginning of leg 6.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Brandon, who did well with physical tasks, but tended to drag behind when it came to the mental aspects of the game.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Brandon with heights.
Linda Ruiz & Karen Heins (Bowling Moms)
Stay-at-home moms who eagerly leaped at the opportunity to be a good example for their kids. Though not the strongest team, they were fan favorites who persisted to reach the penultimate leg, where they were done in when Colin zoomed by Karen on the ascender Roadblock, finishing 4th (the highest finishing all-female team until Season 10). This was the last season before the rule limiting the number of Roadblocks each team member could do was implemented, and as such, the moms were the only team in the top 4 to share a roughly equal number of Roadblocks between them (the three women who made the Final 3 completed only one Roadblock a piece). Many believe that if the rule had been in place during this season, the Moms would have easily been in the Final 3 (and call it "The Bowling Moms Rule" as a result).
- Action Mom: Karen more so than Linda, as she had to be talked into doing several of the tasks, in particular the water sledging in leg 10, but both women had no trouble doing most of the tasks on the Race.
- Big Eater: Despite not being as emphasized as Chip (as, while Chip & Kim won both legs involving eating Roadblocks, they were fighting to avoid eliminations in both those legs), each one of them destroyed one of the eating Roadblocks (Linda the caviar in leg 4, Karen the eggs in leg 7).Linda: Big surprise, we beat the twins at an eating contest.
- Bittersweet Ending: Their happy, yet tearful, Elimination Statement, where they had a big Friendship Moment and talked about what they meant to each other as Karen was going through her Empty Nest Syndrome.
- Conflict Ball: At some point during the ferry ride to Argentina in the second leg, the moms apparently told Jim & Marsha that they needed to exchange their money, as Argentinian cabs would not take American money. This ended up not being true, and Jim & Marsha were the only team to exchange money, dropping them to last place, and they complained about the moms' dirty play for the rest of the episodenote . However, not only do we never get to see the actual moment when this lie was told, the moms' point of view on the whole incident is never shown, and, as Jim & Marsha were gone the next leg, nothing ever comes of it, and this one minor incident instead stands in stark contrast with the moms' characterization for the rest of the race.
- Empty Nest: During their Elimination Statement, Karen talked about how she was fretting over her kids growing up and getting ready to move on, and how going on the Race with Linda helped her deal with it.
- The Everyman: They were representing middle aged moms everywhere. This was the key factor to their popularity.
- Failed a Spot Check: They left their fanny pack (with their passports) at Wild Wadi at the beginning of leg 9, and had to go back to retrieve it.
- Follow That Car: Inverted in the penultimate leg, during the Philippines flag task. After their first choice was wrong, they decided to go for the flag Colin & Christie didn't choose, as they felt it would be the only way to possibly get a lead.
- Friendship Moment: Their Elimination Statement was a big one between them, with Karen talking about how much their friendship meant to her as she was going through Empty Nest Syndrome.
- Iconic Outfit: Their "Bowling Moms" t-shirts, which are probably the single most recognizable pieces of clothing in the show's history, despite the moms only wearing them during four legs (plus a cameo appearance during a Confession Cam), preferring to sport a pair of bowling shirts instead.
- In-Series Nickname: The Bowling Moms.
- Obi-Wan Moment: Linda telling Karen to take a break after climbing the ascender, and splashing her with water, while rowing them to their elimination.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: A lot of things to Linda, heights in particular, and Karen had to talk her through completing tasks several times.
Kami French & Karli French (Twinkies)
Blonde twins, their bumbling ways and their inability to Read the Freaking Clue repeatedly pushed them to the back of the pack, but never quite far enough to eliminate them, as they finished last or second-to-last in seven out of their ten legs. It would take eight years before any team on any version of the Race survived more bottom-2 finishes than them (Brent & Josh survived seven straight bottom-2 finishes before winning Season 21). They would finally be eliminated in New Zealand, when a combination of bad navigation early in the leg, followed by choosing the longer Detour choice (searching the mud pit instead of water sledging) left them in 5th.
- Dumb Blonde: Both of them made a number of bonehead moves, such as completely disregarding their clue in Egypt (See Reality Show Genre Blindness).
- Failed a Spot Check: They repeatedly missed clue boxes.
- Felony Misdemeanor: They were not happy with Chip in the second leg (calling him an ugly person) when he would not let them take the only cab at the San Antonio de Areco train station in Argentina, instead sitting in the back seat until another cab showed up. This is despite Dennis & Erika getting eliminated for letting Colin & Christie take a cab in the previous leg.
- Follow That Car: In leg 8, Kami cost them 45 minutes at the sky diving Detour by insisting that they follow Brandon & Nicole's cab, who had overshot the turn into the airport, even though Karli kept telling her that she had seen the flag, allowing Brandon & Nicole to get to the "first come, first serve" Detour first. This would have cost them the Race had it not been a non-elimination leg.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: Their tattoos. Kami also wore a pendant around her neck.
- Informed Ability: Several times other teams mentioned wanting to get a lead on the twins because they were fast runners. We never got to see this, as they were constantly so far behind they never got a chance to use said speed.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Chip & Kim, though is was constantly strained by Chip's Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
- No Sense of Direction: They weren't the best navigators, and poor navigation put them behind in tenth leg, contributing to their elimination.
- Read the Freaking Clue: Kami even admitted that they would often times be confused by the clue, and would be unsure what to do even after reading it.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: In leg 5, when given a puzzle to show them the location of their next clue, they immediately discard the pieces (saying that they must be for "something else") and started wandering around randomly looking for the clue. The only reason they found the clue was because Chip directed them towards it.
- Sequence Breaking: In the first leg, they missed the Detour clue, stumbling upon the Roulette side by chance. When sent back to correct this they dropped from 2nd to 9th.
- Sibling Team: The first team of female twins. note
- Tank-Top Tomboy: It didn't take much provocation to get the twins to take their shirts off and go long stints in just their sports bras.
- Theme Twin Naming
- There Was a Door: Their most famous moment was swimming to the third Pit Stop when, as Phil pointed out, everyone else just walked across the shallow water to the island. A Pit Stop in the following season, which had the racers swim across a pool, was likely inspired by this incident.
- Twin Threesome Fantasy: They exploited this while begging for money in leg 9, following their non-elimination mugging penalty.
Charla Baklayan Faddoul & Mirna Hindoyan (Mirna & Schmirna)
- Mirna: Initially, everybody wrote us off. Slowly, but surely, each team awoke to the idea that we are a strong, competitive team, and started going ballistic because they became so jealous.
Armenian achondroplastic dwarf and her loud cousin. As the show's first Inspirationally Disadvantaged team, Charla aimed to break stereotypes about little people, but instead they became known primarily for their (mostly Mirna's)... outspoken nature, making them many fans and haters among other teams and the audience alike. Mirna's expert handling of the airports and Charla's surprising toughness gave them many respectable 2nd place finishes. In leg 7, their rivalry with Colin & Christie reached an explosive high, with the two teams scrambling to get them and their allies the better flight into Kenya. Though the cousins initially seemed to win, their flight was delayed, putting them and the Bowling Moms on the last charter flight into Tanzania, and as the leg relied so much on traveling by foot, Charla's lack of foot speed proved to be their undoing, as they fell behind and finished 6th. Nonetheless, their unique dynamic earned them a spot in All-Stars and the separate Battle of the Network Reality Stars.
- Abomination Accusation Attack: A favorite tactic of Mirna's, who would try to get people to help her over other teams by saying what horrible people they were. In particular towards Colin & Christie, and at one point she even called Colin an abusive boyfriend.
- Achilles' Heel: The biggest physical drawback of Charla's dwarfism was that with her short legs she really couldn't run very fast or do well on long walks. This would prove to be their undoing (combined with their flight getting delayed) in their last leg, when the Detour required walking a long distance. By the time they reached the Roadblock, they were so far in last place they couldn't catch up.
- Always Second Best: They had three 2nd place finishes, but wouldn't win a leg until All-Stars.
- 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 competitive, and willing to tear apart anyone who got on her bad side.
- Bittersweet Ending: Their tearful, but proud Elimination Statement. Phil even choked up while saying goodbye to, the only time he's ever done so.
- Comically Lopsided Rivalry: With Colin & Christie. The only legs that they beat Colin & Christie were the first two legs, before they started feuding, then never again for the rest of their Race.
- Decoy Protagonist: Their rivalry with Colin & Christie hid Chip & Kim's plotting for the first half of the season.
- Driving Stick: This was a problem they would suffer on both their seasons. With Charla's dwarfism, Mirna was forced to do all the driving, and she was not the best with a stick shift.
- El Spanish "-o": Mirna was so notorious for mangling the language of whatever country they were in that it was dubbed, "Mirnish," by the fans.
- Failed a Spot Check: During the meat carrying task in the first leg, after struggling to carry their meat and dropping out of the top pack, they went four blocks past the butcher shop before discovering they had to turn around.
- Fangirl: Mirna was so enamored with Phil, that she would hug him at each Pit Stop.
- Felony Misdemeanor: They tended to blow any little thing another team did that they disagreed with way out of proportion. Mirna called Colin a "criminal" in the fourth leg because of a disagreement about line order at a bus station. Colin decided to circumvent the issue by buying all the available tickets on the best bus for the teams of his choosing to specifically exclude Charla & Mirna.
- The Gambling Addict: In the first leg, they eagerly took the blackjack option in the Detour task because they played blackjack every other week. Upon completing the task, Mirna even wanted to stay behind to play another round.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: They lived and died by the airports. Though several times they were able to get an advantage due to getting onto faster flights the other teams didn't even bother to look for, a delayed flight through Dubai was what eventually brought them down.
- Holier Than Thou: Mirna frequently condemned the other teams for being untrustworthy and backstabbing them.
- Hypocrite: They condemned the other teams for playing dirty, but weren't above telling an airport ticket agent that Charla was sick and needed, "El Doctoro," to get placed high on a waiting list for a fully booked flight they wanted to be on.
- In-Series Nickname: Mirna & Schmirna, which was used in particular by Marshall & Lance due to their general dislike of the cousins.
- Informed Ability: Marshall & Lance, in their letter to the cousins in All-Stars, said that Mirna, while claiming to speak five languages, barely could handle Englishnote . This was because she was always shown speaking English in a bad accent to locals.
- Insane Troll Logic: When hitting the Roadblock at an Argentinian cow ranch in the second leg, they took the clue asking for the team member with "quick hands and quick feet" to mean that they would have to stick their hand up a cow's ass.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Played perversely at times. They played up Charla's dwarfism to gain help from the locals and preferential treatment on flights, then said other teams were jealous of them.
- Just in Time: Two examples:
- They were the last team to reach the ferry to Buenos Aires, just as the ramp on the ferry was being pulled up. With a little pleading, they were able to get on it.
- At the pyramids in leg 5, they reached the Detour marker just three minutes before the Hump & Ride Detour was going to close. They managed to reach the camel team right at the minute it was closing, becoming the only team able to do this Detour task.
- Large Ham: Mostly Mirna, though Charla had her moments ("I got electrocuted!").
- The Load: Mirna became this during most of the tasks, forcing Charla to carry her, almost literally in the case of the beef in the first leg. In the MADtv parody sketch The Amazing Presidential Race, Mirna pawned off a Roadblock consisting of the tasks Charla had to do combined into one onto her, with Charla resignedly saying "Yeah, yeah, big surprise."
- Conversely, Charla's lack of foot speed cost them in footraces, and her short stature meant that Mirna had to drive in all the time.
- Manipulative Editing: In My Ox is Broken, Marshall & Lance talk about how Mirna got such a positive edit that they could not even convince their own mother how rude and obnoxious she could be in real life, but would then go on to admit that, in comparison, they had also gotten a fairly good edit.
- Motor Mouth: Mirna, though not as badly as she was on All-Stars.
- The Napoleon: Not Charla, but Mirna, who on both this season and All-Stars was loud, aggressive, pushy, and picked the biggest Alpha Dogs around (Colin and Dustin & Kandice) to constantly harp on and feud with. She even hypocritically accused Colin of having a Napoleon Complex at the Karnak temple complex in leg 6.Mirna: I think Colin's jealous of me, and he has a Napoleon Complex. This crazy person is trying to assault me. His girlfriend is submissive, and he's able to dominate her.
- No Indoor Voice: Mirna tended to yell everything at Charla.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Their 6th place finish, combined with Colin & Christie's complete domination of most of the season, caused people to forget that the cousins were a major threat. This caused them to surprise everyone when they pulled back-to-back leg wins on All-Stars.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Charla, most evident by her carrying the slab of meat on her back in the first leg..
- Positive Discrimination: They bragged about taking advantage of this, using Charla's dwarfism to get people to help them.
- Say My Name: "Charla!"
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: With Colin & Christie, this all came to a head during the showdown at the Cario airport, where both teams scrambled to get the other teams on their side as they tried to book tickets to Kenya.
- Small Name, Big Ego: They were a solid team, but never managed to win a leg, yet during their last few episodes Mirna constantly spouted about how the other teams feared them and were jealous of them.Mirna: People don't underestimate us anymore, maybe they even overestimate us. Maybe some of them are so scared that they think we're too capable.
- Sneaky Departure: When they managed to wrangle up a pair of faster tickets to Egypt in leg 5, they waited at the gate for their original flight until the other teams fell asleep and then snuck off as to not alert anyone else to their better flight.
- Spiteful Spit: Mirna, after a fight over a cab with Colin & Christie in Egypt.
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: At the very beginning they were the main focus of the season, and only Colin's aggressive domination of the game (and their elimination midway through they season) could steal focus away from them. They would even displace Brandon & Nicole on the DVD cover for the season.
- Weak, but Skilled: Mirna, particularly with airports.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: When talking to locals they would slip into these odd accents that made them sound like they had trouble speaking English. Even better, they would use the same accents no matter what country they were in.
Marshall Hudes & Lance Hudes
Brothers who own a pizza parlor together. As the only male team on the season, they were much closer in physique to Kevin & Drew than the Alpha Male teams that had dominated the first four seasons. Though they started off as solid racers, Marshall's knees gave out in Egypt, greatly hindering their performance. They have the dubious honor of being the first team to quit the race when, already far behind the other teams and with his brother unable to move at even a regular walking pace, Lance gave up on the scarab Roadblock at the end of leg 6, and they dropped out in 7th place.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Marshall suffered from acute tendonitis, which flared up after they walked miles through the streets of frozen St. Petersburg. His knees eventually gave out in Egypt, forcing them to quit.
- Jerkass: They were possibly cast as the comic relief team, in line with the other Expies of Kevin & Drew that had been popping up since Season 1, but their humor came off as mean-spirited, including referring to locals as "useless foreigners" and a drive-by "Bitch!" to Mirna.
- The Load: Marshall became this due to his knees. He was completely useless once they hit Egypt.
- Non-Gameplay Elimination: As the first team to quit.
- Sibling Team
Bob Barron & Joyce Nicolo
Dating widowers who met online. They were doing incredibly well for an elderly team, staying mostly near the top of the pack though the first three legs. Unfortunately, at the beginning of leg 4, a ticketing agent in Buenos Aires mistakenly booked them business class tickets to St. Petersburg, dropping them to last place with no hope of catching up, and they were eliminated in 8th place.
- Friend to All Living Things: They were the only team not to have trouble with the dog walking Detour in leg 2, as the dogs just naturally cooperated with them.
- Genki Girl: Joyce at times was very energetic.
Jim McCoy & Marsha McCoy
Military dad and his daughter, the first father-daughter pair on the race. Jim tore his knee open during the opening dash at the Starting Line, needing 25 stitches before he was allowed to continue the Race. Though his leg did not hinder them too much, they were done in on the third leg when they made a mistake booking tickets, booking one ticket and three standby tickets on the early flight, but only three tickets on the later flight, meaning, despite being first in line, they failed to make either of the flights. They were unable to make up the time deficit once they reached San Carlos de Bariloche, and they finished in 9th place.
- Dad the Veteran: They used this to explain why Jim was able to plug on despite slicing his leg open.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Jim fell and hurt his knee at the Starting Line and was gushing blood. He essentially shrugged it off, though the medical staff at the airport would not let him board his flight until he got stitches, almost causing them to miss the first flight as a result. He needed 25 stitches and almost tore his tendon.
- Read the Freaking Manual: They wandered around the blue and white hotel in the first leg because they failed to read the instructions on how to get up to the zip line for the Detour.
Alison Irwin & Donny Patrick
The runner-up from Big Brother 4 and her boyfriend, the first of many imports from other CBS Reality Shows. Despite their constant bickering and arguing, they finished 1st on the first leg. However, their ever increasing arguing, along with their decision to take a bus instead of a cab to the Roadblock in the next leg, sharply dropped them to last place for an overall 10th place finish.
- Ascended Extra: Alison is the only alumnus of another CBS Reality Show who came on the race with someone from her/his normal life, (a boyfriend who briefly appeared on Big Brother 4 to talk about Alison's cheating) instead of someone she/he met on the show.
- Brains and Brawn: Self described, though never proven.
- Disqualification-Induced Victory: They won the first leg because of Chip & Kim and Kami & Karli not picking up the Detour Route marker.
- Dog Walks You: During the dog walking Detour in leg 2, they had issues controlling their dogs, leading to Alison's infamous "Mine keep having sex!" line.
- Jerkass: Alison, mostly to Donny. She did cheat on him on national television while on Big Brother after all.
- The Masochism Tango: They said even they don't know why they continue to date each other.
- Reality Show Genre Blindness: It was bad enough that they took a bus instead of a cab to the Roadblock the second leg, but they didn't even take a direct bus, getting passed up by two other bus riding teams who got to the bus station later but got to San Antonio de Areco sooner.
- Snowball Fight: Featured in their introduction & opening credits.
- Wolverine Publicity: Alison was used by the show to try to get Big Brother fans to migrate over to the Race. This would not be the last time the producers or CBS attempted this.
Dennis Frentsos & Erika Shay
Formerly engaged couple, looking to re-explore their relationship. In reaction to a confrontation with the other teams at LAX, Dennis tried to show that he wasn't a scumbag by giving up their cab to Colin & Christie outside the meat warehouse, allowing the latter team to survive and thrive, but dooming them to an 11th place finish. Erika nonetheless has become very successful in her own right as she now casts for the show itself, as well as Survivor. In addition, she runs the ESP Wellness Center in Santa Monica with Survivor winner Parvati Shallow. (She is, in fact, Parvati's "friend in casting" that Survivor fans like to bring up.)
- Amicable Exes: The first team to be this, unlike Frank & Margarita, & especially Tara & Wil. They were trying to reconcile after all.
- Failing a Taxi: Partially voluntary in this case, as Dennis allowed Colin & Christie to take the last cab, while another one was called for them.
- Honor Before Reason: Dennis voluntarily put them in last, and didn't even try to fight for the cab.
- Loophole Abuse: At LAX, Dennis tried holding tickets for Kami & Karli and Alison & Donny at the American Airlines counter, even as the other teams stacked up behind them and began calling him a scumbag. He responded by saying that nothing he was doing was against the rules. (Meanwhile, Kami & Karli and Alison & Donny had already booked tickets on the United flight, as it arrived sooner.)
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The cab. Though at least his niceness impressed Erika.
- Working with the Ex