In its twenty-plus years on TV, there have been many great seasons of The Amazing Race, but few have been as game-changing as season 7.
The Amazing Race is one of the longest running reality competition shows ever, but few of its 33 seasons match season 7’s greatness. The seventh season of the show aired in the spring of 2005, following one of the more unpleasant seasons of the Race. Season 6 is often discussed as one of the show’s worst iterations, as it featured several teams who were in toxic romantic relationships and one couple whose arguments were so intense that many viewers characterized the relationship as abusive, not to mention a slew of racist comments made by some of the contestants.
All in all, the cast of The Amazing Race 7 was a departure from the toxic conflicts and general unlikability of season 6. The casting team put together a group of competitive, mostly good-natured teams to compete for the prize. Among the more notable cast members included Survivor couple “Boston” Rob Mariano and his then-fiancée (and current wife) Amber Brkich, as well as brothers Greg and Brian Thomas Smith, an actor who went on to have a recurring role on The Big Bang Theory. Of all the teams, Rob and Amber entered the Race in season 7 as the biggest targets. They came in fresh off of their Survivor season, which showed Rob lie and manipulate his way to the end, forming a relationship with Amber along the way and making it to the final two with her. Amber beat Rob in the jury vote, giving her the million dollar prize, but Rob proposed to her at the finale, and the newly engaged couple were huge stars by the time they joined the Race.
What makes The Amazing Race 7 such a stellar entry in the show’s extensive catalog is a combination of casting, intrigue, and the evolution of the game that took place during the season. Several of the season’s most intriguing moments centered on Rob’s innovative maneuvering, including when he bribed a bus driver to let him and Amber out of the bus before the other teams when they arrived at their destination. He also convinced several teams to sit out of a food-centered Roadblock he knew he couldn’t complete, staggering the teams’ four-hour penalty for not completing the task and giving him and Amber a major time advantage, one of the most strategically brilliant moments in the show’s history.
Though some reality television fans may have Boston Rob fatigue due to his many appearances on several reality shows, including six Survivor seasons, two Amazing Race seasons, and a televised wedding special, his impact on the evolution of the Race is undeniable. Rob’s performance made the season must-watch television. He revolutionized the strategic components of the show by bringing in Survivor-esque tactics that helped him and Amber overcome the massive target on their backs and remain in contention until the very end.
The season was made even more compelling by the fact that Rob and Amber weren’t completely dominant and faced major competition from several other teams, especially then-married couple Uchenna and Joyce Agu, who ultimately beat “Romber” in a tight final leg to be crowned the victors of the Race. The season did feature a couple of unlikable teams and a few ugly moments, but overall, the cast was very competitive and memorable. Teams like Rob and Amber, Uchenna and Joyce, and Greg and Brian made season 7 of The Amazing Race a joy to watch and an unpredictable ride from start to finish.
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