The Amazing Race 16 Season Wrap-up

The Amazing Race 16 Wrap-Up
Wow.  Even after 16 seasons, I am still amazed and grateful that The Amazing Race has finished another round-the-world adventure.  I just can’t help but look back to TAR2, TAR3, and TAR4 when the series’ future was very much in doubt.

But seven-eight years later, the series continues to grow  and buck the trend for long-running shows, not to mention a reality show.  The show definitely has things it needs to work on moving forward, but you just can’t beat a Race around the world.

Season 16, though still very much enjoyable, was definitely a little lackluster and at times uninspired.  There were memorable challenges like the World War II Detour in France, but most of the Detours and Road Blocks this season seemed very simple, many of them tasks that could have easily been completed in other cities around the world.

The funny thing is, despite the easy tasks, the teams still managed to find ways to screw up, which may say more about this season’s group of teams than the challenges themselves.

Cultural tasks and tasks that are inherent of their destination that leg, like the drums or ice cream selling in Singapore, or the whole cowboys and bandits theme in Argentina, are always best.  The Amazing Race prides itself on being a travel show just as much as a reality show, so rappelling into a wine cellar or counting chain links at the dock are more generic especially compared to the other stuff they did get to do.

The changes to the Leg structure, like having two Road Blocks in a leg, are small but interesting twists that add different dynamics to the Race.  It was such a shock to have the Road Block before the Detour for the first time in TAR4.  The accidental creation of double/superlegs was another.  Having two Road Blocks, though maybe a budget measure just as much as a freshening up move, is simple, yet throws teams and the viewers off guard.  How about two Detours next season?

I prefer those kinds of tweaks than having to add things like the Yield or the U-Turn that causes drama that is more annoying than interesting. 

Speaking of things TAR should work on, I didn’t notice it until this season, but for a while now we’ve had the Final Leg take place entirely in the End City, which is great.  The early seasons had maybe one task in the End City at most, many times just random clues after already completing Detours and Road Blocks in the original port of entries of either Alaska or Hawaii.

One of the criticisms with the TAR16 finale was how it was a straightforward leg that was decided by Dan & Jordan’s move on the airplane, not allowing other teams to maybe catch up and pass them.  But I actually think the leg provided many opportunities for things like that to happen.  With the Coit Tower Road Block, look no further than TAR5’s penultimate leg in the Philippines where Linda & Karen had a pretty comfortable lead over Colin & Christie, until they came to the ascender.  With physical tasks like that, teams can either fall behind or catch up easily.  The virtual task was another interesting crapshoot with the spinning clue a nice curveball.  Add to that the riddles instead of straightforward clues and the mercy of taxi drivers, by the time they got to the incredibly simple final task, there have been plenty of passing opportunities. 

And that’s one of the big things in this season, bunching points and equalizers, or the lack thereof.  In the past, everyone hated Hours of Operation, bunching points, plane and train equalizers.  But this season, it seemed like they were gravely necessary.  The France legs were especially horrible because if it weren’t for the U-Turn of Joe & Heidi, there wouldn’t have been any change in placements leg-to-leg.  The Legs were designed as very straightforward with tasks that did not allow for teams to catch up.  Legs like that actually made you appreciate those equalizers that many have hated for so long.  The Race is leg to leg so maybe some better Leg design in the next seasons can avoid the forced bunching, but also allow for teams to catch up or fall behind based on their actions and task performances.

There’s also discussion about the use of taxis in the Final Leg.  If taxis are a part of every other leg, what makes the Final Leg so different?  I know Bert & Co. are hesitant at having teams drive themselves in the Final Leg for fear of reckless, fast driving in the heat of being this close to a million dollars.  That’s a valid concern, there were times in this finale where Jet & Cord were running into San Francisco traffic.  

Overall, this was an okay season. Phil mentioned at the start that this would be a “difficult” and “demanding” Race.  It was far from it.  I enjoyed it but wished it had a little more.  The teams were less than exciting and the stunt casting is really not necessary.  I definitely believe in Dan & Jordan as winners and that actually helps boost the season in my book.

1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR8
4. TAR1
5. TAR2
6. TAR4
6. TAR6
6. TAR11:AS
6. TAR12

6. TAR16
11. TAR10
12. TAR14
13. TAR15
14. TAR13
15. TAR9
*huge gap*
16. TAR7

(regardless of winner)
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR8
4. TAR5
5. TAR2
6. TAR1
7. TAR16
8. TAR15
9. TAR14
10. TAR6
11. TAR11: AS
12. TAR9
13. TAR13
14. TAR4
15. TAR10
16. TAR7

1. TAR3
2. TAR8
3. TAR5
4. TAR1
5. TAR11: AS
6. TAR2
6. TAR12
8. TAR6
8. TAR4
10. TAR16
11. TAR15
12. TAR14
13. TAR13
14. TAR10
15. TAR9
16. TAR7

1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
2. Teri & Ian (TAR3/AS)
3. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
4. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/AS)
5. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
6. The Linz Family (TAR8)
7. John Vito & Jill (TAR3/AS)
8. David & Margaretta (TAR1)
9. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
10. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
11. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
12. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)

1. Teri & Ian (TARAS)
2. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
3. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
4. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
5. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
6. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
7. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
8. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)
9. Mel & Mike (TAR14)
10. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
11. Zev & Justin (TAR15)
12. Toni & Dallas (TAR13)
13. Steve & Allie (TAR16)

1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
2. Teri & Ian (TAR3)
2. Charla & Mirna (TARAS)
2. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
5. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
6. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
7. Dustin & Kandice (TARAS)
8. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
9. Nicolas & Donald (TAR12)
10. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
11. Ken & Tina (TAR13)
12. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
13. Sam & Dan (TAR15)

WINNERS (subjective; as a team)
1. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
2. The Linz Family (TAR8)
3. Flo & Zach (TAR3)
4. Rob & Brennan (TAR1)
5. Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
6. Chris & Alex (TAR2)
6. Chip & Kim (TAR5)
6. Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
9. Meghan & Cheyne (TAR15)
9. Tyler & James (TAR10)
9. Nick & Starr (TAR13)
12. Reichen & Chip (TAR4)
13. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6)
14. BJ & Tyler (TAR9)
15. TK & Rachel (TAR12)
16. Eric & Danielle (TAR11:AS)

WINNERS (with respect to final 3)
      Winning Team
         Who I wanted to win
1. Dan & Jordan
        Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
2. Uchenna & Joyce
        Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
3. The Linz Family
        The Linz Family (TAR8)
4. Tammy & Victor
     Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
5. Rob & Brennan
       Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
6. Chris & Alex
       Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2)
7. Chip & Kim
       Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5)
8. Tyler & James
       Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10)
9. Flo & Zach
       Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
10. Meghan & Cheyne
       Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
11. Nick & Starr
       Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina (TAR13)
12. Reichen & Chip
       Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
13. Freddy & Kendra
       Kris & Jon (TAR6)
14. BJ & Tyler
       Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
15. Eric & Danielle
       Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
16. TK & Rachel
       Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
My Final Subjective Team Rankings
Daniel & Jordan Dan & Jordan – Seeing a superfan like Jordan, a real TAR fan win the Race is just awesome and fulfilling.  They were a team I’ve been rooting for from the beginning, every leg hoping and wishing they’d step it up and really show their strengths.  But it seems their strategy of being under the radar and just making sure to avoid elimination each leg worked as they stepped up tenfold in the final, most important leg.  They also give hope to real people who apply for TAR, that it’s not just scouted and recruited teams that do well.  Great winners and I am absolutely ecstatic they won.
Steve & Allie Steve & Allie – They were fun, especially Steve’s dunkeness.  Ever since TAR12’s Ron & Christina, I’ve wanted a parent-child team to do well on the Race.  They had a great opportunity and looked like a team to beat, but it only takes one wrong turn to cost you the Race.  They were a team with lots of potential, it was too bad they were out that early.
Jody & Shannon Jody & Shannon – Nice people, but they just couldn’t keep up with the other teams.  They also didn’t have a sense of urgency in the Race which can definitely hurt.  Hopefully this won’t be the last time we have a grandparent-grandchild team on the Race though.
Monique & Shawne Monique & Shawne – They always kept their spirits up which is a big plus on the Race.  And they could’ve been able to stick around, but they had a really bad leg in Argentina.  A nice team.
Dana & Adrian Dana & Adrian – They were good people, but what a tough way to go out and on the first leg too.  I think they would’ve lasted only a few legs anyway, but they gave it a good go.
Jordan & Jeff Jordan & Jeff – I hated Jeff and Jordan during Big Brother.  And I hated that they were cast for TAR16.  But I did warm up to them on the Race even if they weren’t good Raceers.  Another stunt casting move that ended up not helping the show at all.
Carol & Brandy Carol & Brandy – They were definitely very snobbish and high maintenance, plus they were a typical bickering couple.  But when they put all that aside, they Raced very well and could have easily made it further.  They may be no better than Caite, but at least they had their head in the game and never took things personal until they got U-Turned.  
Joe & Heidi Joe & Heidi – Joe has a brash and seemingly tactless personality and that won’t get you friends on the Race, which ended up being their demise at the hands of a U-Turn.  They were competitive, but the social aspect of the Race is definitely something you should stay aware of while focusing on the competition and physical aspects more.
Brent & Caite Brent & Caite – They started the Race with the potential to actually prove people wrong.  They ended up showing that they were just like any past bickering couple.  And their fued with Carol & Brandy was really just very lame and annoying as presented on the show.  Many times they would just fall forward into the next leg.  Too many mistakes, they were lucky to have survived to the final 3.  The stunt casting of Caite though is just really something TAR should avoid.
Louie & Michael Louie & Michael – Really did not like them.  They were overconfident, smug, and annoying.  They were not funny and just seemed like shady people the entire Race.  So sad they made it to the final four.
Jet & Cord Jet & Cord – I started the Race thinking they were a little smug and arrogant.  They started doing very well, and it would go away, but then randomly pop back up at different points in the Race, including that pouch throwing at the Mat in Seychelles.  They had magic powers that let them do well enough to pass other teams, but they didn’t have that magic in the last Leg.
Relive The Amazing Race 16!

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