Jump to content

10-Year Rewatch: TAR9: Couples, Hippies, Nerds, and a Heck of a Lot of That Guy


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.

18 replies to this topic

#1

Arlo Rowan

Arlo Rowan

    Video Archivist

Posted Jun 18, 2011 @ 7:46 PM

Taken from the forum's description of "The Racers," which was actually used to describe this season's teams. (When is that gonna be changed? TAR9 was nine seasons ago.)

Season nine started with potential. It returned to the basic, two-person-team, race-around-the-world format, for starters, and the feel of a global journey was present again. It had a pretty solid first two episodes, and probably an okay third and fourth, too.

The route was actually not bad. Only stayed in South America for two legs, and it had a surprisingly early TBC point when it went to Russia. Also, there were the first visits to Greece, Sicily, Oman, and Japan (even though the tasks in that last one were well under par). There was also the last visit to Australia for a long time -- nine seasons!

The tasks didn't seem to be all that horrible, either. I actually enjoyed the Motor Head/Rotor Head Detour on leg one, and the rappelling vs. distilling sugar Detour on leg two. Nesting dolls vs. cleaning a bus on the first half of leg three was also quite amusing. Some of the later tasks were also fun and interesting to watch, like the Herculean Effort vs. It's All Greek to Me Detour choice in Greece and the Camel/Watchtower choice in Oman. There were also some very fun Roadblocks like the stair-climbing/rappelling one in Brazil, the statue puzzle in Sicily, the water polo in Italy, the satchel dig in Oman, the prison search in Australia, and the monkey one in Thailand. And of course, the final, country flag Roadblock in Denver, CO. That one started the trend, I think, of having memory-based final tasks. (I know TAR3 had one based on animals, but they didn't start appearing regularly till after this season.)

However, there were also some bad points, and they probably outnumber the good ones.

First of all, the casting. While it was good that none of the teams contained actors or models (all eleven teams applied!), some were more interesting than others, and those teams, sadly, were the ones who fell out sooner than the later-booted teams. Miss Alli said it herself at the start of her recap of season ten's premiere. It was basically two teams of arrogant young assholes stomping nine teams of more pleasant cannon fodder (though the exaggeration is slight, because some of them weren't that cannon-fodder-ish). She was right. B.J. & Tyler and Eric & Jeremy, two teams of young, fit alpha-males, continuously and anticlimactically dominated the season, practically alternating who won legs and who came in second (save for a few times). And even worse, also like Miss Alli said in quite a few of her recaps, it seems like they just got lucky more than they were actually strong. Physical tasks and navigation were pretty much the only things they did well on their own. By a certain point, it seemed all but inevitable that the whole race would come down to the two of their teams in the end, and sure enough, it did.

Honestly, I think I liked all nine of the teams they beat more than the ultimate top two of the race. I thought John & Scott seemed interesting and would've been fun to watch if not for their incompetent driver who a.) had ZERO clue where he was going, and b.) didn't even seem to care. I also liked Lisa & Joni (they were Mama Rowan's favorite team!), but they actually looked like clear cannon fodder, so it was no surprise they left second when, by all rights, they probably should've left first, and would've left first were it not for John & Scott's bad cab driver. Wanda & Desiree, who'd be the last mother/daughter team seen on the show till Andie & Jenna's appearance eight seasons later, started out so strongly on the first two legs, and then fell apart in Russia and even more so in Germany.

Danielle & Dani were a mixed bag for me. I started out thinking an early elimination was in store for them. But then, they got to the airport first and asked about the right flights correctly, getting themselves onto the first one. But then, they picked a bad Detour and stuck with it too long on that first leg, picked Danielle for a heights-related Roadblock she shouldn't have done on the second leg, and then, when it looked like they had a glimmer of hope of getting toward the top on the third leg, they forget their fanny pack at the Russian pool. After that, I pretty much wrote them off. However, Dave & Lori were a team I really thought could go far. But numerous factors, some their fault, some the race's fault, knocked them out in seventh, and that was sad. I quite adored their "nerd" hook, as well as the "nerd theme" the show gave them. (Somehow, it didn't bug like the Globetrotters' and the Cowboys' would when their seasons came along.) And Lake & Michelle were . . . Lake & Michelle. I swear Lake had to be a closeted bigot since he could only identify Ray & Yolanda by their color. And Michelle was a wuss, wimping out of Roadblocks because she was afraid of being naked? Really? Sigh.

Unlike most, I was never bothered by Fran & Barry and was interested in seeing the first crotchety old team instead of the usual sweet, nice oldsters. They were surprisingly resilient, beating out so many younger teams and winning the Oman leg (one of the only bright spots to the Hippie/Frat Boy-dominated season). Had their driver actually shown up in Perth, they might've made the F4 and possibly the F3, assuming MoJo still self-destructed in Thailand. And speaking of whom . . . Joseph & Monica were . . . fine enough. I think I only liked Joseph, though. Monica started out okay, but devolved into fits of hysterics toward the end, reaching her climax in Bangkok, Thailand. At least they're married now, so good for them. Ray & Yolanda I was honestly surprised to see make the F3. They had so damn many close calls and near-eliminations, it was unbelievable! But because it broke the norm of this season, I quite enjoyed their victory in Darwin, Australia. It just seems like they were taken out pretty early on in the final two legs because they were just terrible navigators. Honestly, I was rooting for them by default because the other two teams they faced were both hella annoying, but I kinda knew it wasn't to be.

So we were left with a team of fratty Frat Boys (Eric & Jeremy) and two camera-mugging hippie guys (B.J. & Tyler). Honestly, the latter's camera-mugging didn't bother me at first. It wasn't till they ran backwards to the mat in Germany that I started to get bugged, but their over-the-top, all-too-rehearsed declaration that they wouldn't Yield anyone in Sicily was when I definitely had enough of them. The former team I only liked on leg one, but then, it was all dislike and then hate from leg two and on. I was glad to see that Phil didn't particularly seem to care for either team, either, though that could've just been effort.

The one good thing about the cast was it was still a season in which each team still got fairly detailed portrayals of their dynamics. It'd last for at least one or two more seasons before that ended.

Secondly (in terms of bad things), this season suffers from the opposite of one of TAR6's bad things. While one could say that that season had too much bunching and equalizing, TAR9 probably had too little. In fact, not enough at all. At least not in the early goings. It made the chances of catching up for a few teams almost nonexistent a couple of times. That's also what contributed to B.J. & Tyler and Eric & Jeremy winning so many legs, I think. Just too many

On the whole, some good, some bad. But honestly, the elimination order and the utter predictability of the season knocks it way down in the rankings for me. One of my bottom five seasons, for sure. 4.5/10. An even 5, if I were to be generous.

#2

Pooki

Pooki

    Fanatic

Posted Jun 20, 2011 @ 7:27 AM

I enjoyed this season for the most part, but I agree that B.J & Tyler and Eric & Jeremy did dominate it a little too much. On balance I liked the Hippies more than the Frat Boys. The Hippies could be resourceful, despite their annoying side - they came back from having their money and possessions taken off them a lot better than most teams would have (oh how I would have loved to see MoJo have to cope with that).

Joseph & Monica were . . . fine enough. I think I only liked Joseph, though. Monica started out okay, but devolved into fits of hysterics toward the end, reaching her climax in Bangkok, Thailand.


I loathed Joseph & Monica, well, Monica mainly. When I think of her I just think of her many childish meltdowns, crying like a baby and whining "This is the hardest thing I've ever done!" For me, she was the most infantile Racer until Mika, or Luke.

Some of the later tasks were also fun and interesting to watch, like the Herculean Effort vs. It's All Greek to Me Detour choice in Greece and the Camel/Watchtower choice in Oman.


I laughed like a drain at BJ and Tyler's efforts at wrestling - I think I was laughing even more than the old guy judge! And I have to say, those young wrestler dudes were hot!

I liked Ray & Yolanda and the Nerds, but I guess they weren't likely to win. Fran & Barry seemed like on of the more capable old teams, although Fran could be annoying as all get-out, like when she complained that Lake didn't put the whole of their motorbike together for them even after he'd showed them what went where. And speaking of Lake, even years on, I still don't know what his deal was. That time when Michelle was reading a clue and he was all pumped up about walking or something has to be one of the oddest moments in TAR history.

#3

Vyk

Vyk

    Couch Potato

Posted Jun 20, 2011 @ 9:16 AM

Pooki
I loathed Joseph & Monica, well, Monica mainly. When I think of her I just think of her many childish meltdowns, crying like a baby and whining "This is the hardest thing I've ever done!" For me, she was the most infantile Racer until Mika, or Luke.

What's even more pressing is that on leg two, she got dirty and said, "I'm filthy . . . and I love it!", but then started freaking out about getting dirty in Italy when she got all slimy carrying that swordfish. Still, I'd put her about on par with Luke and still better than Mika. She and Luke could at least go down a waterslide. . . .

Pooki
On balance I liked the Hippies more than the Frat Boys.

I was about the same way until the Hippies started crafting out their own storyline toward the end (starting around Australia, I believe) about things being between them and the "evil Frat Boys." After that, when I started seeing it was clearly the two of their teams who were the only true contenders, I threw my lot in with the Frat Boys because positing for the cameras just got to be way too much to me.

#4

Isuzu

Isuzu

    Fanatic

  • Gender:Male

Posted Jun 20, 2011 @ 10:25 AM

still better than Mika. She and Luke could at least go down a waterslide. . . .


Again, I don't want to be rude or harp on this, but this is crippling phobia, not childish behavior.

Edited by Isuzu, Jun 20, 2011 @ 10:26 AM.


#5

TheGrimRecapper

TheGrimRecapper

    Couch Potato

Posted Jun 21, 2011 @ 1:34 AM

More so than even the previous season, everything there is too like about the season is outnumbered by everything there is to hate about it. I'm sure the rest will come up at some point during the week, but the Germany episode is still hands down my least-favourite one of all time (yes, even worse than the panto cow episode), and the season never recovered from it.

#6

Vyk

Vyk

    Couch Potato

Posted Jun 21, 2011 @ 2:11 AM

Isuzu
Again, I don't want to be rude or harp on this, but this is crippling phobia, not childish behavior.

The way she handled it was childish, though, and in a way worse than Monica behaved this season (and Luke during both of his).

#7

Isuzu

Isuzu

    Fanatic

  • Gender:Male

Posted Jun 21, 2011 @ 5:04 AM

It may have appeared that way, but it wasn't. She was physically incapable of going down that slide. She couldn't, on a primal level. This has nothing to do with the attitudes of both Luke and Monica, or anyone else not suffering from crippling phobia. I feel like I've said everything I had to say about it, so I won't discuss it further. Sorry to Arlo Rowan for the off topic.

Edited by Isuzu, Jun 21, 2011 @ 6:41 AM.


#8

NotPatrick

NotPatrick

    Fanatic

Posted Jun 22, 2011 @ 1:24 PM

I think 9 is really the tidemark for me when everyone on the show starts acting in a really juvenile fashion, especially towards the end. It's not quite "you pushed my sports-bra off a ledge, prepare to die" levels, but the top few teams are all such kids. Sometimes it's hilarious (Fran & Barry's insistence on acting like the world's oldest teenagers - hauling themselves up waterfalls for no sane reason and checking into an Australian "love shack" ; "yo mama got a pattern going on", Monica's poo-face after BJ & Tyler get saved from elimination), sometimes it's borderline (Eric & Jeremy being All. About. The. Ladies. All. The. Time), but other times...well it's the Hippies. Screeching catchphrases and wearing novelty t-shirts and repeating your own gimmick over and over again, and going "oooh, Joseph, looks like Eric's trying to steal your giiiiiiirlfriend" and spouting on about honour and charging round bellowing "MAMA MIA I'M IN ITALY" in stupid accents and funny clothes and funny walks and crappy jokes (and even calling them "jokes" is being generous) and constantly talking about how ironic you are and really basic "brains vs brawn", "good vs evil" narratives and...blech, blech, blech.

It's not ALL cartoon characters and one-note characters and people with the emotional maturity of characters from Mean Girls from this point onwards, but it's a slide and I entirely blame the Hippies being fan-favourites. (A bit the Clowns from TAR 4. But mostly the Hippies).

A lot of the leg designs are lame as well. Germany (as mentioned). Italy 2. Oman. Japan. So many random luck tasks, alternating with long periods where nothing very much happens at all.

I will say that, for all their many faults, I think Monica and Joseph are, physically at least, the most attractive couple ever to race. So they have that, even if she is surely the earliest crier recorded in race history. The airport? The first airport? In America? Really?

#9

enlightenedbum

enlightenedbum

    Fanatic

Posted Jun 22, 2011 @ 6:29 PM

This is the only 2 person team TAR before TAR14 I refuse to re-watch. Just boring with a bunch of assholes.

#10

TheGrimRecapper

TheGrimRecapper

    Couch Potato

Posted Jun 23, 2011 @ 1:40 AM

A lot of the leg designs are lame as well. Germany (as mentioned). Italy 2. Oman. Japan. So many random luck tasks, alternating with long periods where nothing very much happens at all.


Germany would have sucked anyway, and Oman really wasn't that bad (I'd say Darwin's leg is worse -- a triple bunch at the start with the Swan Bells-flight-Croc Farm combo, a you-are-ballast Road Block, a Detour where one option was basically "walk over there" and the other wasn't really much better, and RENTAL CARS as the prize -- but the footrace saves it), but the other two could have easily been fixed. In Italy 2, make the Detour a choice between Big Fish (swordfish carrying) and Small Pond (the kayak polo, with both team members having to score a couple of goals each), then put in a new Road Block and it would have been a good episode as long as the Road Block wasn't a stinker. In Japan, ditch the maiden task and the rollercoasters, make the bike messenger the Road Block, and then have a Detour between, like, video games and Sudoku/Sudoku-style logic puzzles (maybe even naming the tasks Nintendo and Nikoli after the two biggest names in each industry in Japan), and that would have been good too. Wasted opportunities, I say.

So they have that, even if she is surely the earliest crier recorded in race history. The airport? The first airport? In America? Really?


Did those yoga twits cry when they got booted at the start line? It's been so long since I pretended to care about that season (15?) that I no longer remember.

#11

NotPatrick

NotPatrick

    Fanatic

Posted Jun 23, 2011 @ 8:14 AM

Oman really wasn't that bad


I have to say, and no offence to them, but any leg designed such that Fran & Barry could win it has to have had more than a touch of the crack-monkey about it. Going the easy out of throwing camels at it because camels are always gold isn't enough to cancel that out.

I don't think Eric & Lisa cried, although...I probably wouldn't remember if they did. At least if they did it was because the show had epically wasted their time rather than because the soap dispensers in the ladies lavs weren't working or whatever set Monica off.

#12

Vyk

Vyk

    Couch Potato

Posted Jun 23, 2011 @ 9:22 AM

Monica get set off at the first airport because she found out it was likely she and Joseph would be on the last flight getting into Brazil.

NotPatrick
I have to say, and no offence to them, but any leg designed such that Fran & Barry could win it has to have had more than a touch of the crack-monkey about it. Going the easy out of throwing camels at it because camels are always gold isn't enough to cancel that out.

Fran & Barry certainly weren't the best or most likable team, but they did earn their win on that leg, on the whole. Besides, Joseph & Monica came within a whisker of taking that leg instead, so anyone could've won it.

Though then again, I'm a bit biased because that was the first leg NOT won by either of B.J. & Tyler or Eric & Jeremy.

NotPatrick
I don't think Eric & Lisa cried, although...I probably wouldn't remember if they did.

Lisa may have just sniffled a bit in disappointment, but definitely no crying that I could detect. Monica, however, definitely cried.

#13

graytex

graytex

    Fanatic

Posted Jul 6, 2011 @ 3:17 PM

The hippies destroyed this season for me. Eric & Jeremy were added pain.

I actually liked Monica & Joseph. The older I get the younger and less mature 23 seems. Monica cried but in the end she never gave up. She showed her fire in one of the most exciting races to the mat, where the hippies were miserably saved by a non-elimination. And I love that Monica made a face when they were saved. I did much worse at home.

At the 10 year reunion, BJ was even more determined to make the event all about him...sitting alone in the group picture. And he looked even more hygenically challenged.

#14

Zach808

Zach808

    Loyal Viewer

Posted Jul 29, 2011 @ 5:53 AM

There was WAY too little bunching this season. The only real equalizer I can remember during the first 7 episodes or so was the flight to Russia. After that, it was just the Hippies and Frats getting lucky at the dolls, thus pretty much securing their place in the top 2 for the next 4 legs or so. And as for the bottom teams, it seemed like the race designers were trying to pick them off 1 by 1. So as much as I hated to see Wanda/Desiree be eliminated so early, they probably wouldn't have lasted much longer anyways with 2 legs to go without an equalizer.

Also, is it just me, or did this season's course seem kinda rigged in the Hippies' favor? At the beginning, they were allowed to stay way ahead for several legs at a time due to the lack of bunching, and once they started sucking, they kept getting saved repeatedly by non-eliminations. Not to mention that leg in Greece where they fell 9 hours behind and survived due to Lake/Michelle getting lost. If this was any other season, they would have been told to go to the pit stop during the middle of the next leg. But of course, the producers make the other teams wait for about 8 hours for a bus, and even longer for a flight, cancelling out that epic fail of a leg the Hippies ran.

Not to say it was actually rigged, but it seemed like it sometimes. :/

#15

The Australian

The Australian

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 4, 2011 @ 9:35 AM

After the critical flop that was TAR8, the trailer for TAR9 was hurriedly attached to the end of the finale. And boy, were we looking forward to it - it slickly promised that the show would be returning to its roots in high style, and we were all so excited to see it.

And then it aired.

To put it plainly, I consider TAR9 to be the nadir of The Amazing Race. Other seasons may be even worse at face value, but none fail so spectacularly to live up to their potential as this one did. Everything that seemed so promising in 45 seconds just dissolved.

That's not to say that there aren't some crumbs amongst the ashes. The legs in Moscow, Sicily 1, Oman and the Northern Territory all stand up very well.

But apart from that, the route does have long stretches of dullness. The opening leg in Sao Paolo puffs itself up a lot, but isn't really a patch on the ones that had come before. The German one is poor, and the Thailand/Alaska bit near the end seems very derivative and nowhere near as entertaining as previous visits. And after waiting for so long to go to Japan, the tasks there are nothing short of pathetic!

And of course, a disastrous cast. Never before had the "cannon fodder" seemed quite so foddery. While I don't really have any real dislike of the first six teams eliminated, it's plain very quickly that none of them are remotely good enough. I think Fran & Barry are somehow the most likeable team in it (despite not being all that likeable!), and are responsible for this season's only classic moments - Barry reversing straight into an olive tree ("OH MY GOD!!!"). and Phil's priceless reaction when they come in first at the Oman pitstop.

But the F4 here are simply dire. Joseph & Monica's bickering has a really really nasty undertone to it that makes me very uneasy. Ray & Yolanda couldn't navigate their way out of a paper bag and were easily the weakest team to make the F3 to date. I didn't mind Eric & Jeremy as much as some did - Eric in this season is right up there with Colin as the best racer ever, but the juvenile cracks and being allowed to cancel cabs and get away with it take the gloss off.

And there, on top of everything else, is BJ & Tyler. Without question my least favourite winners ever. While it could be argued that Zach & Flo got a helping hand by Lady Luck, these two were surely born with a horseshoe up their backside given the jaw-dropping number of breaks they are granted throughout.

Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if not for Tyler's non-stop jabbering of unfunny catchphrases and commentary, and the incredibly inane bits of business the two conspire to throw in for no adequately explained reason. Despite all the talk, they are not hippies - they are just the most annoying duo in TAR history and something I wish we could erase. But we can't.

Oh, and after waiting years for them to come to my lovely Perth, that was the best they could do?!?

5.5/10.

#16

Nalan

Nalan

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 4, 2011 @ 2:21 PM

The Australian
Ray & Yolanda couldn't navigate their way out of a paper bag and were easily the weakest team to make the F3 to date.

. . . You haven't seen TAR13 yet, have you?

#17

The Australian

The Australian

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 4, 2011 @ 6:10 PM

Oh, I meant "to date" being to this point in the show's history. Don't worry, there was worse to come!

Edited by The Australian, Sep 4, 2011 @ 6:10 PM.


#18

TheGrimRecapper

TheGrimRecapper

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 20, 2011 @ 5:31 AM

To put it plainly, I consider TAR9 to be the nadir of The Amazing Race. Other seasons may be even worse at face value, but none fail so spectacularly to live up to their potential as this one did. Everything that seemed so promising in 45 seconds just dissolved.


That is exactly the problem with this season. The other bad ones, we could guess were going to be bad. This one? Looked good until it started.

The opening leg in Sao Paolo puffs itself up a lot, but isn't really a patch on the ones that had come before.


I often wonder if the season would have improved in my eyes if Seven hadn't done what they did with the episode. Already the emptiest of the extended premieres, it didn't help that they decided to split the two hours into two separate shows... then made us wait two weeks for the second part! Especially after ignoring TAR8 entirely, that was fucking ridiculous (but, given Seven's track record with TAR, not unexpected).

Oh, and after waiting years for them to come to my lovely Perth, that was the best they could do?!?


I know, right? I'm almost dreading the day they finally bring the race to Melbourne.

#19

TDWT Kristen

TDWT Kristen

    Couch Potato

Posted Apr 28, 2012 @ 9:50 PM

Oh, and after waiting years for them to come to my lovely Perth, that was the best they could do?!?

I don't know. I liked the visit to the old prison, at least.