The Amazing Race Season 36 Wrap-Up

As of this post, I actually have not watched the finale of TAR36 yet. But what I want to talk about in this Season Wrap-Up really does not hinge on whatever happens on the final episode.

This has been one of the most fascinating and infuriating seasons of The Amazing Race I’ve ever watched and experienced. Perhaps even the most exhausting. And no, not because of alliance shenanigans. (Which thankfully lasted all of one episode.) But because of the incessant whining and complaining from TAR fans which started all the way back when the season first started filming and was still known as season 35.

That whining and complaining persisted throughout the airing of the season too. And for some truly frivolous and superficial things. Most of them nitpicks that even I wouldn’t think of mentioning. And my pessimistic self has nitpicked plenty over The Amazing Race in recent years.

I’m one to nitpick, but not to the level of fans this season. And especially not with the kind of vitriol that was hurled against this season and its teams from day 1 of filming to this finale night airing.

Back when it was clear this season would feature mostly South America, I had no problem with it. When I’ve watched (and sometimes suffered through) other TARs which never leave their own countries, for better or worse, a season that actually features several different countries does not sound bad all.

Then there came criticism that Legs were barebones with limited Route Markers. Umm… what else is new? Have these same people been watching the same Amazing Race US we’ve all watched for the past 10 seasons? Barebones Legs are nothing new. Heck, even TAR36-turned-35 had short, repetitive Legs. And those were Legs supposedly tailored to fit 90-minute episodes.

Then there was wild speculation that production was a mess, CBS didn’t want this season, everyone wanted it thrown away, it rained. All these warrantless, baseless speculation running rampant even before anyone outside of Bertram & Co. had even seen single second of recorded video from the season.

The charter plane backed out? Okay. That doesn’t automatically mean the show should be burned and never see the light of the day. Which is what some overzealous fans actually wanted to happen. (And despite denials to the contrary, those posts are still online and not-deleted for anyone to see.)

The strange need for some people to tear this season down before it even aired, again, based on speculation and whatever other nonsense they wanted to base their prejudiced opinion on, cast a dark shadow over it long before it eventually saw the light of day.

Going into the season as it began airing on CBS, I gave it a chance. Any by “it”, I actually meant the criticism. Maybe the whining during production ends up being warranted.

And now after, for now, nine episodes, I can say it was not. Not warranted at all.

But what’s worse, that negative, dark cloud hanging over the season before it aired continued to fuel sentiment during its airing. And it only seemed to get worse, week after week. More wild speculations. More baseless claims of cheating or rigging. More vitriol being hurled at the production and the teams. Even some overtly racist comments oo. And more pretentious know-it-alls thinking they know every single detail of the show’s production and its dealings with CBS.

No, there does not need to be an asterisk next to the winners’ names. No, there is no conspiracy in traveling to Spanish-speaking countries. No, there is no excuse to harass people involved in the show. A television show.

The route was fine. Task were typical. Casting was actually above average.

And it is a wonder that this season was able to use its longer episode runtimes a lot better than TAR35 (which had Legs supposedly designed for 90-minute episodes). Pacing was much better this season. TAR35 still didn’t know how to best fill its longer episodes. I think this season found a better balance of stretching out tasks, inserting more navigation drama and better integrating teams’ personal stories.

I could say more, but I’ll might hold off until watching the finale. But even so, is this a season I’m going to be rewatching anytime soon? Absolutely not. But then again, there isn’t an HD Era season I would actually do such a thing except maybe TAR25.

Overall, this was a perfectly middling HD Era season. Very much in line with modern TAR. But far from the burning dumpster fire some people tried to make it out to be.

Team Thoughts

I actually think this is relatively one of the more stronger casts in recent seasons. And by that, I mean personality-wise. Yes, Ricky & Cesar absolutely dominated this season. But by the end, I actually remember most of this cast. And that is not something I can say for other recent seasons.

But let’s start with the stars of the season. There is no question Ricky & Cesar steamrolled their competition. No, there does not need to be an asterisk by their winner titles. If so, then there should be asterisks for winners of the COVID seasons. Heck, TAR Canada and TAR Australia winners should be getting asterisks for not even Racing the entire Race in recent years.

But Ricky & Cesar had the right combination of skill and talent that made them a strong team. They weren’t always in front, but they always found a way to get themselves there. And it had nothing to do with knowing how to speak Spanish. Good navigation. Doing well at tasks. Both being calm and focused. If any future team wants a template for a successful TAR team, just look at Ricky & Cesar.

I’m sure many TAR fans won’t even consider them as one of the top all-time teams. But I don’t see anything from their time on TAR36 that would make me believe they couldn’t do just as well on any other season too. A well-deserved win for a team that you can actually root for and enjoy watching.

Juan & Shane would have been fine winners too. Some TAR fans just hate seeing a fit male team come close to winning. But Juan & Shane were a consistent team who may not have dominated the Race, but still did very well and more than deserved a spot in the finals. And they were good guys as well.

I don’t think we’ve had a team like Rod & Leticia in a while. The sort of big personality couple that isn’t a bickering dysfunctional couple or one that is, I guess, syrupy sweet or something. Kim & Penn maybe, but I think they’re a different type of couple. Both good couples in their own ways. But Rod & Leticia were a great team who did very well when on their game.

I wish Amber & Vinny all the best. And I hope all the hateful, racist vitriol from TAR fans doesn’t affect them. They were your typical bickering TAR couple. I don’t understand the hyperventilating from some TAR fans out there. Because, yes, we definitely have seen worse on TAR. And no, you cannot diagnose someone or their relationship based on what you see on a TV show. As a team, they had a rough first Leg. But they were able to move themselves up to the front. The most offensive thing they did this Race was Amber doing Angie’s Road Block puzzle. Otherwise, TAR fans need to get off their high horses and leave them alone.

Angie & Danny are such an interesting team. At some points, a great parent-child team we don’t get enough of. At other times, the most cringe team you could ever ask for on TAR. I’ve already talked about the alliance shenanigans this season. And again, it only lasted a few Legs and ended after that one horrific Leg that was a repeat of TAR32. So alliance nonsense aside, Angie & Danny were a dynamic team. More than capable of going far this Race. Yes, it was a tough way to get eliminated. But that’s how the rules played out. It only takes one wrong turn to end your Race. But during the run, they showed that with just a bit more drive and determination, they could’ve easily found themselves closer to the Final Leg.

I sadly kept mixing up Yvonne & Melissa and Sunny & Bizzy for most of the Race. I think that’s partly because the show didn’t really give them much screentime. And the two teams were usually in the back of the pack most of the season as well. They did offer some memorable moments in the few times we did see them though. From the alliance reaction to the crazy guesses at the rebus puzzle.

Derek & Shelisa were such an awesome team. Lots of fun and had been doing very well. I wish we saw them longer on the Race. Kishori & Karishma too were hilarious to watch.

Michelle & Sean were a dynamic team that sadly were not able to get themselves out from the back of the pack. Twins Anthony & Bailey were kinda loveable goofballs. Chris & Mary fought hard on their one day on the Race. And Maya & Rohan delivered one memorable moment in their one Leg that some teams can’t even deliver in 12.

To be honest, every season, I just add on to these lists. But I haven’t truly gone back and taken a good long look at whether or not these rankings are still valid for me. Especially when I haven’t watched most of these seasons in years. Some even 10 years ago. So my rankings here now are pretty loose, though as close as I will ever get to my overall thoughts of them.


The last major update as December 11, 2015, unless otherwise noted. Otherwise, I simply add in the current season to the list without changing any other rankings.

1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR17
3. TAR8
5. TAR11:AS
5. TAR12
7. TAR2
7. TAR4
7. TAR10
7. TAR1
7. TAR6
7. TAR25
13. TAR9
13. TAR14
15. TAR18:UB
15. TAR13
17. TAR15
17. TAR19
17. TAR27
20. TAR21
20. TAR16
20. TAR34
20. TAR20
20. TAR30
20. TAR33
26. TAR7
27. TAR29
27. TAR22
27. TAR23
27. TAR36
31. TAR35
32. TAR31
33. TAR28
34. TAR26
35. TAR32
36. TAR24:AS
(regardless of winner)
Not overhauled until a full rewatch of each finale
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR21
4. TAR8
5. TAR30
6. TAR5
7. TAR2
8. TAR1
9. TAR16
10. TAR15
11. TAR14
12. TAR25
13. TAR34
14. TAR29
15. TAR20
16. TAR6
17. TAR19
18. TAR17
19. TAR22
20. TAR23
21. TAR27
22. TAR33
23. TAR11: AS
24. TAR4
25. TAR26
26. TAR36
27. TAR35
28. TAR18
29. TAR9
30. TAR13
31. TAR10
32. TAR28
33. TAR7
34. TAR31
35. TAR24
36. TAR32
(Updated 2/21/18)
1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR4
3. TAR8
5. TAR11
6. TAR6
6. TAR10
6. TAR17
6. TAR12
10. TAR25
11. TAR33
12. TAR1
12. TAR2
14. TAR9
15. TAR18
16. TAR14
16. TAR13
16. TAR15
16. TAR16
20. TAR20
21. TAR27
22. TAR21
23. TAR19
24. TAR30
24. TAR34
24. TAR36
24. TAR31
24. TAR22
24. TAR29
30. TAR7
31. TAR35
32. TAR32
33. TAR23
34. TAR26
35. TAR28
36. TAR24
*did some trimming after TAR34*
1. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/11)
1. Teri & Ian (TAR3/11)
1. Ron & Christina (TAR12/18)
4. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
4. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
4. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
4. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
8. Michael & Kevin (TAR17)
9. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20/24)
9. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
9. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
9. Dustin & Kandice (TAR10/11)
9. Gary & Mallory (TAR17/18/24)
9. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
9. Dave & Margaretta (TAR1)
9. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
9. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
18. David & Mary (TAR10)
18. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
18. Emily & Molly (TAR34)
21. Michelle & Victoria (TAR32)
22. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
23. Max & Katie (TAR22)
24. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
24. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
24. Pam & Winnie (TAR22)
updated 12/11/15
1. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
2. Rachel & Elissa (TAR31)
2. Janelle & Britney (TAR31)
4. Michelle & Victoria (TAR32)
4. Lena & Kristy (TAR6)
4. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
7. Teri & Ian (TAR11)
8. Ron & Christina (TAR18)
9. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
10. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
11. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
12. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
13. Gary & Mallory (TAR17)
14. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
15. Michael & Kevin (TAR17)
16. Dustin & Kandice (TAR10)
17. Nancy & Emily (TAR1)
18. Tian & Jaree (TAR4)
19. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
20. Nathan & Jennifer (TAR12)
21. Bopper & Mark (TAR20)
22. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR21/24)
23. Pam & Winnie (TAR22)
24. Tiffany & Krista (TAR27)
25. Jocelyn & Victor (TAR35)
26. Glenda & Lumumba (TAR34)
27. Tim & Te Jay (TAR25)
28. Amanda & Kris (TAR13)
29. Misa & Maiya (TAR20)
30. Dennis & Isabelle (TAR25)
31. David & Mary (TAR10)
32. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)

1. Charla & Mirna (TAR11)
1. Teri & Ian (TAR3)
1. Ron & Christina (TAR12)
4. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
5. Emily & Molly (TAR34)
5. Brendon & Rachel (TAR24)
7. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
7. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
7. Dustin & Kandice (TAR11)
7. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
11. Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
11. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
13. Kristi & Jen (TAR30)
14. Max & Katie (TAR22)
15. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
16. Blake & Paige (TAR2)
17. Colin & Christie (TAR5)
18. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
19. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
20. Jaime & Cara (TAR14)
WINNERS (subjective, as a team)
(updated 3/3/22)
1. Amy & Maya (TAR25)
1. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
1. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
4. Rob & Brennan (TAR1)
4. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
4. Chris & Alex (TAR2)
4. Flo & Zach (TAR3)
4. The Linz Family (TAR8)
4. Colin & Christie (TAR31)
10. Kim & Penn (TAR33)
10. Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
12. Derek & Claire (TAR34)
13. Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
14. Chip & Kim (TAR5)
15. Tyler & James (TAR10)
16. Kisha & Jen (TAR18)
17. Ricky & Cesar (TAR36)
18. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6)
18. Meghan & Cheyne (TAR15)
18. Nick & Starr (TAR13)
18. Rachel & Dave (TAR20)
18. Brooke & Scott (TAR29)
18. Jason & Amy (TAR23)
18. Bates & Anthony (TAR22)
18. Matt & Dana (TAR28)
18. Kelsey & Joey (TAR27)
18. Greg & John (TAR35)
28. Reichen & Chip (TAR4)
29. Eric & Danielle (TAR11)
30. Cody & Jessica (TAR30)
31. Laura & Tyler (TAR25)
32. Josh & Brent (TAR21)
33. Will & James (TAR32)
34. TK & Rachel (TAR12)
35. BJ & Tyler (TAR9)
36. Dave & Connor(TAR24)
WINNERS (with respect to final 3)
Winning Team
> > Who I Wanted to Win
1. Colin & Christie
> > Colin & Christie (TAR31)
1. Amy & Maya
> > Amy & Maya (TAR25)
1. Ernie & Cindy
> > Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
4. Dan & Jordan
> > Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
5. Uchenna & Joyce
> > Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
6. The Linz Family
> > The Linz Family (TAR8)
7. Tammy & Victor
> > Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
8. Nat & Kat
> > Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire (TAR17)
9. Rob & Brennan
> > Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
10. Chris & Alex
> > Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2)
11. Chip & Kim
> > Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5)
12. Tyler & James
> > Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10)
13. Jason & Amy
> > None (TAR23)
14. Flo & Zach
> > Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
15. Brooke & Scott
> > Tara & Joey, Brooke & Scott or London & Logan (TAR29)
15. Kim & Penn
> > Kim & Penn, Raquel & Cayla, Ryan & Dusty (TAR32)
15. Ricky & Cesar
> > Ricky & Cesar, Rod & Leticia, Juan & Shane (TAR36)
15. Greg & John
> > Rob & Corey, Joel & Garrett, Greg & John (TAR35)
19. Kisha & Jen
> > Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
20. Meghan & Cheyne
> > Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
21. Dana & Matt
> > Sheri & Cole (TAR28)
22. Nick & Starr
> > Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina (TAR13)
23. Derek & Claire
> > Emily & Molly (TAR34)
24. Reichen & Chip
> > Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
25. Freddy & Kendra
> > Kris & Jon (TAR6)
26. Rachel & Dave
> > Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
27. Bates & Anthony
> > Max & Katie (TAR22)
28. Kelsey & Joey
> > Chris & Logan (TAR27)
29. Dave & Connor
> > Brendon & Rachel (TAR24)
30. Will & James
> > Hung & Chee… maybe (TAR32)
31. Tyler & Laura
> > Hayley & Blair or Jenny & Jelani (TAR26)
32. Cody & Jessica
> > Kristi & Jen or Henry & Evan (TAR30)
33. BJ & Tyler
> > Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
34. Eric & Danielle
> > Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
35. TK & Rachel
> > Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
36. Josh & Brent
> > Trey & Lexi or Jaymes & James (TAR21)

4 thoughts on “The Amazing Race Season 36 Wrap-Up

  1. I had only 22 days I first watched TAR 36 from Mexico and Uruguay, then returned to regular basis in Barbados. Restarted my TAR craziness back last month that the cast was announced in February and one team (Yvonne & Melissa) revealed on that same date as being unspoiled for over a year. This season turned into lame and boring with the majority are Spanish-speaking countries and mostly taking in outdoor setting throughout daytime.

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