Commentary

TAR1 Moments

For those who have seen these episodes, these will be a walk down memory lane. If you are new to the show and don't know the outcome, these moments might give away the action, so tape the GSN repeat, watch the episode, discover your own moments and then come back and see if yours match up with ours.

(For each episode, click on the "+" button to see the moments. Click "-" to hide them again.)


Episode One


The Off-color Driver and the Big Stick - by Bill and Joe
It has been 4 years since the race happened for us, so when TARflies asked us to comment on a moment from the race....hell, we can't even remember what we had for dinner last night....but we digress. Contrary to the T-shirt offered on this website we don't blame anybody but ourselves for the way we came across on the show, although it seemed different when we ran it.

Hmmmmm. Our most favorite moment...there were too many to list here so let's just talk about the moment in the cab on the way to JFK (after leaving Central Park). We had the typical New York cabby of unknown descent. He told the most off-color joke, some things that are just not discussed in polite company, and we were still adrenaline-pumped from running across the park in full make-up. We looked at the camera and sound men, and they looked at us knowing full well THAT joke wouldn't make it on TV. The cabby went right on into the next joke all the way to JFK thinking it was HIS reality show!

The next moment of the first day was arriving at the airport and there were Pat and Brenda struggling with a walking stick that security would not let them bring into the airport. It was a very large, mean, menacing, metal-tipped stick, not your garden variety. So we breezed through security, having nothing scarier than clothes pins in our backpacks. After speaking to about five different South African airline personnel, we finally got hold of the supervisor, who must have been on a lunch break (at 10:00 in the morning!) and who knew about the super-secret TV show being filmed that day. She led us to the correct ticket counter, because there were no flags or signs posted for contestants to congregate for the limited number of seats. That was the first of several times we arrived at roadblocks or detours before production.

There were so many moments...watch our entrance at the airport and see if you can make out Pat and Brenda by the scanning machine at JFK. Who knows, they may still be there....and what did happen to that walking stick?

Cell Phone Plan - by Brennan
Right from the beginning Rob and I were thinking about using cell phones as an advantage. To save time, instead of stopping to use a pay phone to check flights I asked the cab driver if I could borrow his cell phone as soon as we got in the cab to head to JFK.

Jumping Safari - by Paul
Africa was by far our favorite stop, with Victoria Falls, which was absolutely breathtaking. And of course having a fear of heights came into to play when I was faced with "to jump or not to jump" off of the gorge. That was a very challenging and emotional moment for me…for Amie, though, "the higher the better."

We also got caught up in the Safari - it was so amazing to be surrounded by such beautiful creatures. And how many people can say they stared into the eyes of a rhino and politely ask him to "get out of the road!"? Being in this environment was very surreal, just yards away from antelope, giraffes, and zebras. But when we felt the ground tremble and looked up to see herd of buffalo, we knew it was time to get out of there.

Another memorable moment that unfortunately was not aired is when we were looking for the "big tree." While asking for directions we came across this small village. We met a little boy about 6 or 7 years old wearing nothing but a piece of cloth around his waist. He was whittling away at a tree branch making this amazing peace of art work, it was like his Gameboy. Pretty amazing!!!

Fearful and First (or not) - by emjaytee
I remember Paul's reluctance to jump off the mountain. I believe he said "I'm just a big puss." But he did it and little things like that have made me want to root for those racers who do things despite their obvious fear.

Also, from the same episode, Frank smugly thinks no one could have possibly beaten them to the airport where they will sign up for the pre-arranged charter flights and is suddenly looking at the backs of Team Guido, who have arrived just before them.

Facing the Unknown (and Phil) - by Tribefan
"Ordinary people in the most extraordinary adventure of their lives." I still have the original commercials on tape and this statement is the essence of this show. The teams we meet in episode one, season one, are ordinary people and they are off on an adventure so extraordinary they don't even know what's around the next corner. More than any season that follows, this is a cast of truly ordinary people - in the best possible definition of the word "ordinary."

Because the race is brand new, and the teams don't yet understand the nuances (that a Fast Forward will not put you a day ahead of your competition, that it doesn't matter if you don't arrive FIRST everywhere you go), everyone is so "ramped up," you just know that they cannot possibly maintain this pace all the way to the end. The road race in Africa was incredibly intense for a first leg. It was downright scary!

Phil was practically a non-entity in this first episode (except for his dramatic intro high atop New York!), but I'll never forget his hair. Good lord. The hair.

The First Philimination - by TPorter2
One of my strongest memories of the first episode of The Amazing Race is of the first Philimination.

Eliminations make TAR greatness. No "three strikes and you're out." You come in last, and in most cases, you are gone. Race over. End of game. It makes the racing competitive.

We find out fairly early on in Episode 1 that Songwe Village in Africa is going to be the pit stop and elimination point. We see lots of teams arrive during the daylight. Matt and Ana are lagging quite a bit, and when they arrive and it is dark and Phil comes out to greet them, there isn't a lot of tension. They know they are toast. We know it, too.

And when Phil says that he regrets to inform them ... he does seem regretful, but he does his duty. Matt and Ana say what we have come to know as the usual things about being proud and grateful. But it is the first time.

Elimination provides such a sense of closure. The leg of the race is done, and everyone is moving on except these two racers.


Episode Two


Everybody Tchotchke! - by miri
After watching a lot of the other racers fumbling around in the dark, we see Kevin and Drew arrive at the Songwe museum in full daylight. They are obviously worried that they are trailing the pack and the tension they are feeling is palpable. They read the clue, choose a detour, and Kevin takes off. Drew, however, is still a bit worried that they might be missing something. He picks up a little elephant figurine that was on the clue table and asks Kevin if they should take it with them - what is it for? Kevin, obviously ready to be moving along, turns and says, "It's probably just a tchotchke!" Drew, still a bit worried and studying the figurine, turns to put it back on the table. And then you see it. He cracks into a smile and the tension leaves his face. I always felt that, at that moment, he had two thoughts: 1) "Why am I freaking over an elephant figurine? Just relax and keep going." and 2) "Kevin just said 'tchotchke'! Hee!"

European State - by Brennan
When Joe and Bill break our alliance, Joe says something about us having never been out of the States. That's not true. We had discussed never having been to Europe with Joe, and he somehow got mixed up.

The First Alliance - by Tribefan
This episode witnessed the formation of the first-ever Amazing Race alliance that lasted all the way to . . . well, it didn't make it out of the Paris airport.

Rob & Brennan, Frank & Margarita, and Joe & Bill formed an alliance while leaving the pit stop at Songwe Village. They saw each other as the strongest competitors and thought it to their best advantage to work together. The alliance rapidly falls apart and Joe & Bill decide that Frank is "uncontrollable" (accompanied by a very menacing shot of Frank). They later comment that Rob & Brennan have never even been out of the country, so what use could they be to Team Guido when Team Guido (as we learn for the very first time) Lived In Paris For Two Years!! By the time they all arrive at the airport, the alliance they intend to take "all the way to the end" has fallen to pieces.

Ironically, they would be together all the way to the end . . . just not in the way they intended.

Bitchy Wipe-out - by emjaytee
At the airport in Paris, Kim and Leslie steal a taxi from Paul and Amie. This causes Amie to scream in "Fat Bitch!" frustration. When Kim and Leslie get eliminated at the end of the episode, I get my very first little TAR schadenfreude thrill.

And also, my biggest laugh of the episode is when Bill totally wipes out on the wet mat at the Arch. He always did that goofy little jump onto the mat, and suddenly, he's GONE!


Episode Three


Fast Friends - by Brennan
The fellow that told us to "get off the train at Avignon" as a shortcut had called ahead to a friend who drove a taxi. When he led us off the train his friend wasn't there yet, so we had to wait an extra 5 minutes. Meanwhile, Frank & Margarita used the info we gave them and scooted off in another taxi. That's how they finished ahead of us. We thought about taking off, too, but knew we were ahead of the other teams, and since this man was so friendly, we decided to wait for his buddy.

What's the French Word for "Hubris"? - by Tribefan
One of the very first laugh-out-loud moments in TAR happened in Episode Three. Joe and Bill are headed to the Roadblock and Paris and congratulating themselves about how smart they are, walking to avoid the traffic, instead of taking a cab. "Everybody else got caught in traffic," "they don't know Paris," "they don't know where they're going." Seconds later, they're standing at a street corner, still crowing about their Paris superiority when they discover Rob & Brennan standing right next to them with "hi, how're ya doin'?" grins on their faces. Team Guido takes off at a full run, and Joe is visibly rattled for most of the rest of their time in The City In Which They Lived For Two Years.

Also in episode three was, I think, the first sad elimination. I didn't care about Matt & Ana - we just didn't know enough about them - and was glad to see Kim & Leslie eliminated. But Pat & Brenda's exit was the first time I cared enough about a team to be sorry to see them go. I felt myself getting seriously invested in these people and their fate!


Episode Four


A Fond Farewell - by emjaytee
This was the episode where Dave and Margaretta are eliminated. They put their sword in the scabbard and are eliminated, and we see that everyone else has waited around to applaud them and give them hugs and kisses goodbye. First TAR lump in the throat. Damn! Not only was this new show exciting and stressful, but it also had heart and emotion. Dave and Margaretta set the standard by which all future "older couples" would be judged.

The Express El Jem - by Brennan
Since we were told the train was the fastest way to El Jem and Lenny and Karyn were the only other team on the train, we thought for sure we were the first team to the ampitheater. Man was I surprised when I walked in and other teams were sitting there having already checked in.

Friction, Factions, and More Friction - by Tribefan
This episode gave us lots and lots of inter-team friction (and some intra-team friction with Lenny & Karyn). Rob & Brennan and Frank & Margarita get into a fight over cabs, as do Paul & Amie and Nancy & Emily. And by the time everyone is at the port in Marseilles, everyone is annoyed by Team Guido. This is the episode where Bill & Joe really start to separate themselves from the pack. They even eat their meal on the boat apart from everyone else.

In contrast to the friction, we start to see the formation of inter-team relationships. Kevin & Drew and Nancy & Emily grow closer, and their relationship is heartwarming. Slowly but surely we're getting a strong sense that this is a reality show like none other.

Another memorable moment for me in this episode is the marketplace in Tunis. It's chaotic and exotic and really takes the teams out of the familiar and throws them into a truly foreign culture. And the images of Paul's uncomfortable, dry massage (in contrast to the lovely, relaxing massage that Amie gets) still make me laugh.


Episode Five


Tense Wait - by Brennan
The hours that Paul & Amie were lost in the desert really were tense. When I saw that the producers were panicking I realized that it was a serious situation. The way it's edited actually makes it look less tense than it was.

Then What's the Arabic Word for "Hubris"? - by Tribefan
There are lots of vivid memories for me of this episode…..shots of racers riding camels across the desert…..Amie puking in a ziplock bag.

Best of all though, is the best (to date) example of the humorous editing that will become a hallmark of the show. Bill & Joe are making their way through the desert to the oasis, convinced again that no one could have gotten ahead of them. Where are Kevin & Drew? "The fatties got lost," says one Guido. Cut to a quick shot of Kevin & Drew whooping it up at the oasis pit stop with the dancers. Brilliant!


Episode Six


Airport and Taxi Drama - by Brennan
In the Tunis airport, Drew mentions that Kevin got flights for three teams. However, I actually butted in and begged my way onto the flight once I heard the other two teams had gotten seats. Kevin and I had quite a heated argument as I almost caused all three teams to miss the flight. We finally just worked together to get it done. Who knows, maybe Team Guido wouldn't have had the chance to block us all if I hadn't delayed all three teams at the ticket counter.

People often question why Kevin & Drew and Rob and I took the cabs and left Nancy & Emily behind. Well, the reason those cabs were waiting for us is because Rob and I borrowed a cell phone from a girl on the train and called ahead. There were only two cabs in the town, so we had to make a decision before we even got there who should get them. Since we called for the cabs and Kevin & Drew got the plane tickets for Nancy & Emily, we all agreed that our two teams should get the cabs first (yes, chivalry is dead ;^).

Guidoversy - by Tribefan
This one's easy! The "controversial" security gate incident at the Tunis Airport, of course! This one is still debated to this day, although we all know that it was Team Guido's fault! One of the best sequences was when two separate conversations about the incident are spliced together, illustrating both "sides" of the argument. Of course, we all saw the incident by way of Bill & Joe's own crew, so we know darn well that the truth is not "somewhere in the middle!"


Episode Seven


Taj What? - by Brennan
Except for Joe and Bill, none of the roadblock performers noticed that the clue box was a little Taj Mahal. Rob said that he barely opened it and Rob was in such a hurry that he just reached in, grabbed the clue, and left. That's why no one knew right away that they had to go to Agra.

Gliding Into First - by Tribefan
This episode showed us the most fortunate use of a Fast Forward ever. Not only did Frank & Margarita get to go straight from Italy to the pit stop in India, thereby gaining a pretty large (although brief) lead on the other teams, but they avoided the chaotic marketplace that was the site of so many meltdowns by the other teams.

One of my very favorite moments in the episode though, was Drew's experience in the glider with "Uncle Junior" and his explanation of the string compass that didn't work because it was-a wet. That was so funny!

Role Reversal - by miri
One of the things that makes TAR special is that it's about relationships. You certainly see this in the scene with Nancy and Emily in the car after getting the clue to go to Agra. Both are tense and feeling completely overwhelmed by their surroundings. Emily, the daughter, responds by lashing out while Nancy, the mom, simply breaks down. The scene ends with Nancy crying while Emily cradles and soothes her - a complete reversal of roles. Emily has been forced to grow up a bit, to be the adult and comfort her mother. It's a paradigm shift and I can't help but wonder if it had a lasting effect on their relationship.


Episode Eight


Train in Vain (Not) - by Brennan
The train ride from Jaipur to Bikaner - Kevin and Drew literally got on the 3:00 train at 2:59. At first Rob and I were disappointed, but in the end we were glad to have the company. That train ride is where Kevin and I first started to get to know each other on the way to becoming close friends.

Not the Tourist Train - by Tribefan
This show has so many layers and as the first season wore on, we saw that it was so much more than people battling for a million dollars. The show has so much heart. The sequence on the long train ride to Bikaner where Rob and Drew are shown interacting with the locals was great. These untraveled Americans are seeing so much more than they would as regular tourists and their lives are being changed forever. Just one more reason to love this damn show!

Wise or Wizened? - by Drew
When Kevin and I went to see the Wiseman and the wise man got up to give us the clue, he almost fell over because he was drunk and far from a real wise man. We had heard later on that a bunch of locals that were hanging around doing nothing lined up to earn some good American money just to pretend to be a wise man.


Episode Nine


Speak English? - by Drew
In India you all saw Kevin and me at the train station trying to find out what time the next train leaves. For some reason the ticket guy was not understanding me or did not want to answer me. I thought he didn't speak English. So I turned to an Indian kid next to me and said, "Can you ask the ticket guy what time the next train leaves?" The Indian kid promptly turns to the ticket guy and says "What time does the next train leave?" At that moment, you will notice the cameraman zoom in on my face and show the comedic frustrated look on my face.

Fast Forward Frenzy - by Tribefan
The exciting face-off for the Fast Forward was so nerve-wracking! For the first time, two teams are fighting for their very lives, to stay in the Race, by battling for the one Fast Forward pass. How many of us were crossing our fingers and rooting for Nancy & Emily to triumph over Team Guido, just this once? But, again, the "good luck fairy" came through for the boys. Later, as they "sipped an iced tea in air-conditioned splendor," their good luck very nearly deserted them, though. If only Nancy & Emily had just taken the damn bus!

Mumbling Monk - by Brennan
When Rob and I checked in at the Tiger Cave Temple we had no idea what the monk said. So, we didn't know what place we were in until one of the producers told us about 10 minutes later.


Episode Ten


Pai Plong Beats Ping Pong - by Brennan
Pai Plong Beach was my favorite pit stop of the entire Race. It was absolutely beautiful.

They're Not All Bad - by Tribefan
The one thing about this episode that really stands out in my memory (besides the growing sense that three teams will NOT be running for the finish line, side-by-side) is the incredible support that Bill and Joe show each other. After seeing them play the villains to perfection for so many episodes, viewers finally got a chance to witness the great and loving relationship these two have. They weren't cardboard villains after all!


Episode Eleven


Kickin' - by Brennan
People often ask what I'm holding in my hands during one of my interviews in the Bangkok airport. It's some kind of Thai soccer ball/hackey-sack type thing. One of the cameramen and I kicked it around during downtime.

Nail-Biting, Ass-Kicking Tension - by Tribefan
The entire second half of this episode is such a nail-biter. We know that Kevin & Drew and Joe & Bill are battling for the one final spot in the final three, and they are neck-and-neck throughout the leg. The whole thing is edge-of-your-seat tension, dramatic music and all. And no happy ending as a payoff. Such a sad, sad moment in the race.

Also? Brennan's "good old-fashioned ass-kicking" at the hands of the tiny ping pong champion is just damn good TV.

The Crying Game - by PepeNY
Ah, TAR 1, episode 11. The first time I cried over The Amazing Race. Certainly not the last.

Drew and Kevin can best be described as "everyone's best friend." When Drew and Kevin were eliminated, I felt like I lost a friend. I remember sitting in my living room watching the episode by myself. Until it actually happens, you don't realize how emotional you are going to be. I can still picture Drew wearing a black turtleneck even though I have not watched that particular episode since it was first on. I also clearly remember the look on Phil's face. He too looked like he was losing a friend.

As much as I loved Rob and Brennan, loved (to hate) the Guidos and loved Frank and Margarita, I always felt the race was missing something after Drew and Kevin's elimination.

Since that night I have had other moments where I have cried over TAR, but you always remember your first time!


Episode Twelve


Rollin' - by Tribefan
The Guidos gave us all an important lesson in packing for travel: ROLL, never fold, your clothes. Thanks, Bill & Joe!

Wall Race - by Brennan
While starting up the Great Wall we ran into one of the security guys hiding in one of the turrets. He said that he had made it to the top in 15 minutes and that he was timing us. So, Rob and I stepped it up and made it up in 14 minutes. We still give him a hard time about it.


Episode Thirteen


Final Nerves - by Brennan
When reading the final clue, I was so nervous that my hand was shaking. If you watch closely you can see it.

A Moving Finale - by Tribefan
I could watch this episode three hundred times and still cry at the run to the finish line. By the time Rob & Brennan get on the 7 train and we know that Frank & Margarita didn't make it, we're aware that Rob & Brennan are, in all likelihood, the winners. I didn't want to get my hopes up too high, though - with their luck, the train could have broken down or fallen over or . . . something. The juxtaposition of an excited Frank & Margarita on their later train, convinced that they're out ahead, with Rob & Brennan's run to the Unisphere is so moving. I know that it's all about the music, but I've always felt that the editors outdid themselves with that sequence. The ending wasn't even really close, but they built an ending so satisfying and moving that it didn't matter. It really was a thing of beauty.

Oh, and the icing on top of this most perfect cake was the edit to the Guidos, stranded in frozen Alaska, surrounded by yapping sled dogs, finding out that the Race was, in fact, over. No scripted television show could have had a more perfect ending.