Season 14 of “The Amazing Race” ends Sunday (8 p.m., CBS). At the beginning of the season, I thought this might be the most likable group of teams ever. As the race has worn on, my like has waned for most of them (I can’t believe I was once a fan of the Stuntmen). Still, it got me thinking about my favorite — and least favorite — teams in the previous 13 seasons.
Here’s my Top 10 favorite teams. I’ll post my Top 10 villains tomorrow, so check back. (UPDATE: Here they are.)
10. Gus & Hera (Season 6). A great combo, the
headstrong daughter and lazy, ex-CIA dad. They got worn down by the
physicality of the race, but they were fun to watch while they lasted.
Gus always seemed like he wanted to take a timeout and
have a cold beer. Maybe not the best trait in a teammate, but he
cracked me up. Though they bickered, they both seemed like genuinely good, interesting people you wouldn’t mind traveling with in real life. They only lasted six episodes.
9. Brian & Greg
(Season 7). Who can forget the brothers’ spectacular crash in Botswana
and staving off elimination with a footrace to the finish, or wearing
every bit of clothing they had when facing the possibility of losing
everything but what they were wearing? They were lovable goofballs who
didn’t take themselves too seriously. They lasted seven episodes.
8. Ken & Gerard (Season 3). The Odd Couple brothers — the flamboyant
gay dude and the buttoned-down accountant. But they worked together so
well, and seemed to be having more and more fun as the race went on.
They were a breath of fresh air on a season dominated by annoying Flo
and grouchy Ian. They showed you didn’t have to be particularly young or fit to do well. They finished third — if only they could have caught a taxi in Seattle.
7. Chip & Kim (Season 5). A ray of light and goodness in an
otherwise super annoying season. Their God-speak didn’t bug me that
much, especially since they asked for strength rather than an outright
win (cough, cough, Brandon & Nicole!). Their win might have been the most satisfying conclusion to any season. I still get tense thinking about that drive through Dallas traffic.
6. Jon & Al (Season 4). The two professional clowns were always entertaining, good for a trick, a stunt or a well-placed quip. They were on the first season I watched,
and were my instant favorites. Their bickering was good natured and
they always had a positive attitude. I like that in my racers. They finished fourth.
5. Dustin & Kandice (Season
10). The Beauty Queens really grew on me. At first I dismissed them as
just another couple of pretty faces, but they had some serious racing chops.
Always calm and respectful toward one another (save one meltdown in
All-Stars), they broke my heart when they came so close, twice.
Plus, I had a huge crush on Dustin, who looked even better without
makeup and in a ponytail. They finished fourth in Season 10, and second in All-Stars.
4. Rob & Amber (Seasons 7 and 11). I admit it, I liked them.
Obnoxious? Manipulative? Fame-whores? Sure. But also ultra-competitive,
and the two of them brought out the best in each other. For sheer
racing skills, they were among the best ever. Love ’em or hate ’em,
they were always worth watching. They finished second in Season 7 (which I was fine with, since they had already won a million bucks on “Survivor”), and in
All-Stars were eliminated in the fourth leg by Charla & Mirna in one of the show’s all-time shockers.
3. Danny & Oswald (Seasons 2 and 11). Another highly
entertaining team, it was their performance in All-Stars that really
won me over. Always friendly, (almost) always enjoying themselves and
throwing out the most hilarious one-liners ever. Another one of my favorite teams to be cursed to fourth place — twice.
2. Kevin & Drew (Seasons 1 and 11). Forget those idiots
from last season, these were the true Frat Brothers. Always
entertaining, they bickered like an old married couple and were quite
possibly the funniest team in the race’s history. Not the most fit, not
the most travel-savvy, but perhaps the team most relatable to the
average viewer. They finished fourth — of course — in Season 1, and bowed out early
in All-Stars (Season 11).
1. Kris & Jon (Season
6). My all-time favorite team, these two were another ray of sunshine
in a season filled with awfulness. Respectful of others and genuinely
excited to go to new places. Kris was always perky and friendly, Jon
was always mellow and rolled with whatever came at him. They actually
seemed like a couple you’d like to travel with. Easy on the eyes too (Kris in a swimsuit — rarrrrrr!).
It killed me when a streetcar blocked their path and they lost a
footrace to the winner’s mat by mere seconds, ending up second.