Racer Reports

Meet & Greet

Team: Amanda and Chris
I chose this team because someone beat me to Jon and Kelly. Ok I jest...a little. Actually I chose this team because for some odd reason there's something about them I kind of like. Maybe it's the fact that they remind me (physically) of Paul and Amie from season one, and I loved me some Paul and Amie. Maybe it's the fact that I like the name Amanda because it always reminds me of the old joke "I need Amanda Hugginkiss", which still makes me laugh. Yes, I'm 12. Or maybe it's simply the fact that they were the first team I saw when CBS FINALLY put up the new racer information and just the site of a real live team put an Andrew-type grin on my face. Well, whatever the reason, I chose 'em and now I'm stuck with 'em.
Hey Chris? Buddy? That won't work here. All that'll do is get you a quick philimination and draw the ire of many a TWoPper.
So my prediction? Well, as far as I can tell, they are the youngest couple on the race, and also one of the least internationally traveled. I would say this might prove a hindrance, but Blake and Paige were in almost the exact same situation and we all know what happened there. They lost. BUT, they did get third place, which is pretty damn good. Then again, Blake and Paige weren't a couple claiming to hate each other in everyday life. Under the circumstances of the race, however, I feel that these two will work well with each other while royally pissing off the other teams in the process, given Chris' promise to "scheme, betray, plot and backstab more than any other contestant." Hey Chris? Buddy? That won't work here. All that'll do is get you a quick philimination and draw the ire of many a TWoPper. I think Amanda will be doing a lot of apologizing to other teams for Chris' behavior.

Still, looks to be a good, strong team, and if Chris can keep himself in check, they should make it a ways. I could continue this, but if I don't get back to work right now, my boss is gonna fire the hell outta me.
–– by Swimmerboy

Team: David and Jeff
Which team shares the characteristics that made Rob and Brennan the prototypical Amazing Racer? In seasons two and three, this is what I looked for in trying to pick the teams that I thought would be among the last teams standing. In season two, Chris and Alex showed those characteristics, although in many other ways so did Danny and Oswald. In season three, I settled on Derek and Drew, and they came a clue box short of a final three finish along the shores of a river bank in Ho Chi Minh City.

This fourth season offers several teams with a similar potential. Since Reichen and Chip are already taken, my next choice is David and Jeff. Why? They do fit the pattern of the Rob and Brennan prototype Racer team. They are competing as "best friends". Both of them are in professions that require an ability to communicate well with others (David owns a marketing agency and Jeff is a real estate broker). Their official bio at CBS.com reflects many of the same characteristics of experience, knowledge, and skills that a team ought to have to compete successfully in The Amazing Race. (And there's one other reason, David is a 'Cane --as I am-- with his MBA from the University of Miami. I don't want to be embarrassed as a 'Cane!)

David's bio shows some strengths that worked for other teams in the past ("entrepreneur" sounds like Blake; "fear of heights" sounds like Flo). Both Jeff and David are fluent in Spanish, and have a lot of travel experience in Europe and Latin America. David also speaks Swahili. Whether that will help this time around depends on whether southern Africa is on the route as it was in seasons one and two. Jeff says in his bio that he is more reserved than David. Is that Brennan-style "reserved"? Both Jeff and David are athletic, which is almost a pre-requisite for teams to last to the end in The Amazing Race.

This team has all the markings of a top four team. And in addition to Reichen and Chip, I also think Monica and Sheree, and Russell and Cindy are likely to be in the top four, and a couple of the other teams have a chance as well.
–– by theschnauzers

Team: Debra and Steve
My name is M. Darcy. I live in the Washington, DC area, am in my mid-thirties and have a cat named Smokey (who may fill in and also comment on the process of the Kentucky Colonels (temp nickname until I steal Miss Alli's - I steal from the best). I've been a fan of TAR since the final episode of the first season.

Steve and Debra - they are a married couple in their 40s from Louisville, Kentucky. Debra has two children from a previous marriage and they have a cat (which is why Smokey is a fan) and a dog. They do have some weaknesses that may turn out to hurt them in the end - neither speaks a foreign language, they may not be the strongest team physically and Debra has a fear of heights. However, they seem strong as a couple. They seem to compliment each other, have different strengths and weaknesses, have traveled a lot together and Debra has overcome a really horrific tragedy (many members of her family were killed in the I-40 Bridge collapse). Debra and Steve look like they will be a really fun couple to watch over the next few months and I hope that they do well.

–– by M. Darcy
She’s a dancer for the show and gets the responsibility of firing her husband out of a Cannon every night. And you always heard that going to bed angry could be bad for a relationship.
Team: Jon & Al – Team Clown n’ Ball
So where to begin with these two? Yeah they’re clowns. You’ve got that much I’m sure. So we can dispense with all the "clowning around" jokes, right? Yeah, I thought so too until I read that Jon was a featured act in Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, or RBBBC for the insiders "in the know." Yeah, he’s the Clown n’ Ball, a guy in the full makeup who gets shot out of a cannon. If that’s not enough to give nightmares to everyone with Coulrophobia, I don’t know what will. From their picture on the official CBS site, sans the makeup, these two have the whole "could appear in a Miller Lite commercial because we’re manly men" mojo going on. Maybe they’re just overcompensating. If you ask me, Clowns are just Drag Queens who got help, just the wrong help.

Jon always was the class clown, so he figured he’d get paid to do it and ran off to join the Circus. Oh, and he dragged his High School sweetheart along for the ride. No, she’s not a clown too, so don’t even go there. She’s a dancer for the show and gets the responsibility of firing her husband out of a Cannon every night. And you always heard that going to bed angry could be bad for a relationship. If I were Jon, I’d make sure that the garbage was out and the toilet seat down and in locked position at all times. Just saying… He’s been to Clown College, (no, not the Phi Gamma Delta house – the real Clown College), and appears have successfully mastered his trade and has over "5000 notches" in his belt. The best quote from him? "If I can pick it up, I can balance it on my nose/chin." Ladies, get in line, he’s motivated.

Al is a Special Ed teacher by day, but dons his cape and makeup for his true love at nights and during the summers. At one point he spent a year and a half traveling through Europe on a train working as a clown. And the TAR2 Racers thought they had it bad for that measly 18-hour jaunt through Thailand. Whenever I try to picture this whistle stop tour I see a Letterman Skit with Al jumping off a train, in full makeup and shoes, in front of European landmarks with Paul Schaffer redoing the Beach Boys with “Clown, clown, clown around, I clown around, (yeah), woo-ooo-hoo, Clown, clown, clown around, I clown around.” Yeah, that could be enough to give me Coulrophobia. He’s one of twenty-four racers who fear heights, so apparently he’s never been shot out of a cannon. Oh and, um, he’s a motivator, just what Jon needs.

Overall, these two appear to be fit, funny, fairly grounded (both have families), understand grueling never-ending travel, seem to be in synch, and look to be personable. My guess is they’ll be around for a while. Heck I’ll really stick my neck out and predict these two will win it all – and we’ll love watching them do it.
–– by MJMarble

Team: Kelly and Jon
I chose this team for one reason only… Jon’s phobia. As Tribefan said when she informed me that they would be my team, “you are now the proud parent of a little red head girl and a fat-phobic asshole”. Being a full-figured, voluptuous woman myself, I knew I had to take this team. It’s my destiny. Now watch them become my favorite team and I won’t be able to jab them. Or not.

I think they will be a strong team, both having some travel experience, although I don’t see the correlation between traveling as a model and traveling stinking, exhausted and having to pee.

Another minus is that Kelly was at a VIP Texan party with the Bushes. Add to that Kelly’s favorite places are the hot and humid ones. We could never be friends.

Jon wants to go to the Galapagos Islands. There’s a Darwin joke in there somewhere and I’m confident it will present itself during the season.

I think this team will make it to second place for two reasons. One, I’m afraid my snark abilities will be limited and I’ve gotten in over my head and will be writing to the end. And two, Jon’s wants the final leg to be in his hometown in New Jersey. Foreshadowing?
–– by Emjaytee (Mary Jo)

Team: Millie and Chuck
This young couple could be a strong contender for a top-four position. Millie has traveled internationally and speaks a few languages beyond the typical high school French or Spanish. Chuck claims to have taken a number of road trips, which, in my experience, tend to be a bit more grueling than the Caribbean cruises that constitute other teams’ "international travel experience. " Chuck is described as being a good navigator, which tends to come in handy on TAR. Of course, claiming proficiency in this area is a sure indication that he will have trouble finding his way out of the stadium’s parking lot.

Potential liabilities for this team include Millie’s indecisiveness – what a surprise in a couple that’s been dating for *twelve* years without making a commitment. This could come to haunt them at Detours ( Ken and Gerard, I’m thinking of you! ). While I share this team’s belief in abstinence until marriage, I am declaring a strict quota on the use of the v-word. If Millie and Chuck (or those wacky editors) exceed a three-mentions-per-season limit, they run the risk of becoming an Annoying Team.

I chose to recap this team’s progress as they seem to be the type of people with whom I’d get along in real life – they have an interest in international travel, are open to adventure and challenges, and they seem to be “nice people” in their CBS bio, at least. I’m looking forward to seeing this team compete in the Race (as well as wanting to see the Race, period), and discovering whether they deserve the pre-like designation.
–– by Kanuck
So, why did I pick these two? Well, in a word, style.
Team: Monica and Sheree
RLB, checking in as the better late than never adoptive writer/mom of Monica and Sheree. Me? A lifelong New Yorker with a killer job, a new house, and great legs. A friend who knew Karin and Lenny and was trying to encourage folks to watch the show introduced me to TAR a way back in the first season, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I think I’d make a damn good racer, but I can’t find a decent partner so I’m living vicariously through Monica and Sheree.

So, why did I pick these two? Well, in a word, style. How can you not love a team that cites as their necessary item lip-gloss? At the same time, they don’t take themselves too seriously, which usually translates into a calm and relaxed team. They have traveled together before (and as we learned last season that is important since you’d like to know if your partner is prone to meltdowns at the thought of riding a slow train through Vietnam). Finally, the dynamic of two women who are best friends being in stressful situations is always good for a couple of interesting moments.

My prognostication? These women are the ones to watch. I am picking them for a top three finish, and if the taxi gods smile upon them I see them in a battle to the finish.
–– by RLB

Team: Reichen and Chip
Reichen and Chip are a married couple from Los Angeles. If you look up overachiever in the dictionary, you could probably see a picture of these guys. They are both well educated, athletic, very well traveled (and not just the usual places - Chip has trekked in Nepal!), seem to have common sense and look like they will work well together (they understand each other's strengths and weaknesses). Just reading their information on the CBS website makes me tired. I have a feeling that these guys will do very well - if CBS were going to build a TARBOT, it would have the same characteristics as these guys. But, are they too perfect? Hopefully, they will have fun during the race and it won't be too much been there, done that.
–– by M. Darcy (filling in this week)

Team: Russell and Cindy
I watch very little television, but I never miss The Amazing Race. Despite having had some wonderfully challenging travel experiences, I would make a lousy racer because sleep deprivation causes me to have meltdowns far worse than anything we’ve seen on TAR. Seriously! So I’m looking forward to racing vicariously through Russell and Cindy.

But before I discuss the team, here’s the answer to everyone’s question: a bike helmet. I think. At least one is named after her. And the question? Has to do with Cindy’s description of herself as an inventor. There’s been lots of speculation as to what exactly she came up with. The best guess I know of was a beer hat. I imagined something like a garlic press. The bike helmet is just what came up on Google. If she’s invented or designed other things, she’s probably going through a corporation that isn’t easily searched by we unknowing TAR fans.

Anyway, I chose to follow Russell and Cindy for a silly reason, because pre-race there’s not much more to work with. See, Cindy strongly reminds me of one of my friends – Suzy, an awesome, super-competent former model. Suzy is excellent at everything she does, whether it be starting a new business, cooking a gourmet meal for twenty, running a marathon, or getting someone to the ER. Cindy not only gives off the same vibe as Suzy, she also exudes self-confidence and determination, which can take a racer far. I expect her to kick butt. Russell? Is with Cindy. I imagine he'll reveal more about himself as the race progresses. Revealing a great pair of stompers would be just fine, by the way.

I’m projecting Russell and Cindy for the final four, although I could see them in the middle four if something goes terribly wrong. I also expect Monica and Sheree and Reichen and Chip to make the final four. Other teams I look forward to seeing include Debra and Steve, Jon and Al, Steve and Dave, Steve and Josh, and Tian and Jaree. The CBS site interviews for the remaining teams gave me neutral or negative feelings toward those teams, but I'm hoping at least one of them will win me over once the show starts.
–– by Daria
What’s not to love about Steve and Dave at first glance? Bowling! Chicago sports! Pizza for breakfast! Creaking knees! Less-than-perfect physiques!
Team: Steve and Dave
Tribefan here, known more commonly in non-cyber circles as Monica. As a lifelong Clevelander I have an affinity for all things Chicago – in fact it’s practically my second home. For those who don’t know, the cities are very similar in their ethnic makeup and their not-quite-Eastern, not-quite Midwestern mentality. Chicago’s just bigger. A LOT bigger. Primarily for that reason, I’ve adopted Steve and Dave as my TAR Team to Watch. I’m also highly impressed by the fact that they’re middle-aged and showing it. None of these model-types for me, nosiree. (Riker Twins and Rob Frisbee excepted; there isn’t much I won’t forgive Mr. Frisbee, short of hats.)

What’s not to love about Steve and Dave at first glance? Bowling! Chicago sports! Pizza for breakfast! Creaking knees! Less-than-perfect physiques! Big fans of reality TV and The Amazing Race! (Many extra brownie points for that one) These are real guys, guys that probably lived in the neighborhood of my youth. Hell, guys who live in my current neighborhood, if that neighborhood were actually in Chicago. They both describe themselves as “funny.” Let’s hope this means naturally witty and self-deprecating, and not of the THUNK variety.

These two are an interesting pair. They’re both air traffic controllers and will be expected to handle stress better than most. I expect no whiny cry-baby meltdowns from these two (although that notion does produce quite the amusing mental picture for me). Dave has little-to-no travel experience, while Steve seems fairly well traveled. I think, however, that the “2 planets” he’s traveled to will give him no edge in this race. But they have not traveled together at all, and that could be their undoing. While neither profess fluency in any foreign language, both claim the ability to swear in multiple languages. This could come in handy, as will Steve’s ability to differentiate regular fuel from diesel. Dave’s four marriages beg the question: Is this a man with relationship issues and the inability to play well with others? Or is this just a man with taste for crap in women? And, by the way? Dave apparently lends people money and forgets he did it. He’s my new best friend.

It’s hard to say where these two will end up in the standings. I suspect they’ll get bounced early or, in Ken-and-Gerard fashion, surprise everyone and go a long, long way. I’ve got my eye on you boys. Don’t screw it up.
–– by Tribefan

Team: Steve and Josh
I’m hoping that Steve and Josh prove to be as delightful as Dennis and Andrew of TAR3. I hope that they find a new way to relate as father and son, and that they grow closer than they ever thought possible. Truthfully, though? I’m guessing that their differences are being played up and amplified by CBS. Imagine that. I suspect that they’ll get along fairly well, with a little normal generational friction thrown in. But I don’t doubt that the race will bring them closer together. It has a way of doing that for people who already share a real bond. I can hear their parting words already.

If their differences do, uh, make a difference, it’ll make for fun TV. Imagine their conservative and liberal views clashing at a key moment. Perhaps Steve’s “controlling” nature will lock horns with Steve Jr.’s “fearsome temper.” Could be fireworks. Could be fun. Or tiresome. We’ll see. Without actually seeing them in action, I don’t get a strong sense of them as a team.

Josh is a geek. But that’s OK. We like geeks around here. We don’t even mind that he sat in line for days waiting for the latest “Star Wars” movie to open. Heck, he could be Brennan’s long-lost kin. But apparently Steve shares some of his son’s geekiness in their shared love of comic books and superhero models. I think that, deep down, Steve and son are more alike that they care to admit.

I’m hoping for a fast forward or detour task that involves eating a large amount of butter. I’m guessing that Josh wouldn’t have blinked at eating JVJ’s mass quantities of swiss cheese. It’s gotta be better than butter! I’d like to see a father-son team advance further in the race this time around. The family relationships are always interesting to watch, with a lifetime of shared history behind them. But I have a feeling (based on virtually no real information) that these two won’t be around for very long. They are free, however, to prove me wrong.
–– by Tribefan

Team: Tian and Jaree
In the adopt-a-team program, only Tian and Jaree ended up with two parents – Daria and MJMarble, who plan to alternate custody from week to week. We didn’t agree much on teams during TAR3, so it’s kind of surprising that we both like this one. And we don’t even know each other. I thought I saw MJ during TARCon 3, though. He’s a guy. With dark hair. [Apparently I’m but a rumor, an enigma if you will. But I’ll gladly step in and play the “dark hair” to Daria’s “light hair.” – mj] (How did he guess that? Do I type with a blond accent or something?)
Then again, the fear of math they both express is just so 1950s. Ick.
Tian and Jaree are models – like, who isn’t in this race? Other than the guys named Steve, that is. They have extensive travel experience and seem to enjoy taking chances. Oh, and Tian is a lesbian. But mostly, they’re pretty and blonde and eager and athletic. [So we know why I like them, what’s Daria’s excuse? – mj] If they fall apart, I could see it being a Heather-and-Eve type of meltdown, where they start the race thinking that they know each other pretty well and agree on everything, then find that one of them is a lot tougher and more competitive than the other. And that leads to conflict and stupid mistakes. On the other hand, people could be underestimating this team – if that happened during the race, it might have worked to their advantage. Tian says in the CBS Q&A that the most important item in her backpack is her set of night vision goggles. Cool! -- I hope we get to see her use them. Then again, the fear of math they both express is just so 1950s. Ick. Maybe they were trying to be funny and the humor just didn’t translate well onto the web page. At least neither of them is named Steve.

This team might have done well by making good alliances early in the race. The question is, with whom? Other models? Guys named Steve? The other female/female team, Monica and Sheree? I could see Tian and Jaree finishing anywhere, but my gut feeling is that they’ll be in the middle four.
–– by Daria

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