Monday, 20 June 2016

The Amazing Race Canada 4 Teams

Don't you just love this time of year? Summer's here, network shows are done with their seasons, and The Amazing Race Canada takes over the airwaves. Now in their 4th season, it was become a summer staple.

The casting for our Canadian version always nails it. Well, usually. Okay, so they had that little hiccup last year. But I think they learned their lesson - don't cast a team unless you expect them to win. And with this cast, I think it's safe to say that any of these teams would make for a great win.

This year, we have ten teams to cheer. Of course, the first thing everyone has noticed is this is down two teams from last season. I'm not going to get into the reasoning behind this. I am just going to accept it and say I am glad. In my opinion, twelve teams last year were a little hard to follow in the first couple of episodes, with some teams getting overlooked in airtime and their story.

Besides, with such a fantastic cast this year, who needs two more teams? Yep, I am going to say it. I think this this could be the best cast producers have given us. Better than the cast of Season 2? Maybe. But then again, last year's cast looked good in the pre-season. Please, please, please don't let us down S4 people! Argh. I am sure they'll be okay. There are no Montani-types this year.

Here are a few things to mull over as you read my cast reviews:
  • Our 1st First Nations's about time!
  • Our 1st Chinese-Canadian team. Also the first Asian-Canadian female/female team.
  • The 1st visually impaired person from any TAR franchise.
  • Our 1st "crossover" team from another reality program. Yea, it finally happened.
  • Our 1st Mother/Daughter team. Eye-rolls, anyone?
  • And lastly, the female/male ratio is 13:7. How badly do TPTB want a female to cross the finish line first, I wonder. Especially after that whole Brothers Montani thing last year?
This is my NON - I repeat... MY NON-SPOILERY CAST REVIEW. Do not attempt to read anything, whatsoever in my reviews. Got it? And please consider how hard it is to accomplish this feat.

Joel Ground and Ashley Callingbull
Father & Daughter
Joel and Ashley
Official Bio:

Joel: 42, Automotive Mechanic, Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta.
Strengths: Hard worker, fast learner, and calm
Fears/Phobia: Heights
Favourite Travel Destination: California
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “When she swears too much.”
Twitter: @Joel_and _Ashley

Ashley: 26, Actress/Motivational Speaker, Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta.
Strengths: Confident, fast learner, and hard worker
Fears/Phobia: Bugs
Favourite Travel Destination: Walt Disney World
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “He can be annoyingly embarrassing at times.”
Twitter: @ashcallingbull / @Joel_and _Ashley
Instagram: @ashleycallingbull

My Take: Well, what can I possibly say here that hasn't been said elsewhere? Nothing really. Of course Joel and Ashley are our first team to represent the First Nations - we're all just wondering why it took so long. But they are also father and daughter and I love the dynamics of parent and child teams. Then you add in the fact that Ashley chose Joel to be her Dad. Don't dare qualify their relationship as stepfather/stepdaughter... a Dad is a Dad is a Dad. You better go to Costco and get the ultra large bundle of Kleenex, I have the feeling you're going to need it. If you're anything like me, these two are going to turn you into puddle of jello. Canada is already in love with Joel and Ashley and the show hasn't even started. Watch out Twitter, you're going to get broken, hard.

Anthony Limbombe and Brandon Campeau
Anthony and Brandon
Best Friends

Official Bio:

Anthony: 21, Server/Nursing Student, Windsor, Ontario. (originally Kinshasa, Congo) 
Strengths: Determined, smart, and friendly
Fears/Phobia: Feet
Favourite Travel Destination: Barcelona
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “He thinks he’s always right, but he’s wrong...a lot.”
Twitter: @AnthonyaBrandon
Instagram: @Limbombe

Brandon: 21, Server, Windsor, Ontario. (originally LaSalle, Ontario.)
Strengths: Knowledgeable, persistent, and determined
Fears/Phobia: Heights and spiders
Favourite Travel Destination: Guatemala
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “He is late, a lot.”
Twitter: @AnthonyaBrandon

My Take: Well, at first I thought this was just your typical buddy/co-worker team, which barely triggered a yawn from me. Then I found out two things. First of all they are from Windsor. My condolences, guys. Get outta town. Really. I mean, really get outta town. I can say that because I too am a Windsorite. Nothing ever happens here. So the fact that we will have a team repping us on the race is pretty big news. But an even bigger reason to get excited about this team is their inspiration and purpose for running the race. They want to purchase a specialized van to help a co-worker's niece Zoey.
And now for a brief message directed at our sponsors...
Hey, Chrysler Canada, you have a Pacifica plant in Windsor, right?
Knock, knock!!! Are ya listening? 
These two Windsor guys need a van to help out a little girl. 
You make vans. These guys are going to be in a show that you sponsor. 
That's a match made in heaven, don't you think? 
Please, just do it, okay?

Rita and Yvette Yakibonge
Twin Sisters 

Rita and Yvette

Official Bio:

Rita: 23, Account Representative, Edmonton, Alberta (originally Montréal, Quebec.)
Strengths: Determined, creative, and people skills
Fears/Phobia: Heights 
Favourite Travel Destination: New York City
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “Her stubbornness.” 
Twitter: @ritayakis
Instagram: @ritayakibonge

Yvette: 23, Service Canada Agent, Edmonton, Alberta. (originally Montréal, Quebec.) 
Strengths: Perceptive, good communication skills, and driven 
Fears/Phobia: Large bodies of water 
Favourite Travel Destination: North Carolina 
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “Her stubbornness.” 
Twitter: @yyakis
Instagram: @yvetteyakibonge
My Take: Sister teams are always a source of drama on the race, but when they're twins, you can expect double the trouble. Rita and Yvette even say they aren't afraid to hurt each other's feelings, and with four other sisters in their family, I believe it. So hold on tight...we may be in for a bumpy ride. And these twins are fresh out of university. That means they are old enough to claim they have had life-experiences, yet still young enough to not give a damn. So this could go either way. Are we going to love them or wake up the next morning shaking our heads? Don't know. But just look at those sweet faces. There can't be anything unlikeable there, right?
Steph LeClair and Kristen McKenzie
Dating Couple

Steph and Kristen

Official Bio: 

Steph: 27, Lawyer, Toronto, Ontario (originally Kitchener, Ontario) 
Strengths: Athletic, problem solving, and quick thinker 
Fears/Phobia: Snakes 
Favourite Travel Destination: Aruba 
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “When she doesn’t put her clothes away and when she gives me the silent treatment.”
Twitter: @sleclair09
Instagram: @sleclair09

Kristen: 25, Sales Account Executive, Toronto, Ontario (originally Guelph, Ontario) 
Strengths: Endurance, quick learner, and attention to detail 
Fears/Phobia: Sharks 
Favourite Travel Destination: Costa Rica
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “Sometimes she needs to know too many details, like about how my day was, exactly how many meetings I had, and what I had for lunch!” 
Twitter: @krlstenmckenzie
Instagram: @kristen_mckenzie
My Take: Steph and Kristen are very reminiscent of season 2's Natalie and Meaghan, and I am sure it is no coincidence. They are both athletic, confident and intelligent. I'm not going to pull any punches here. It's pretty clear from looking at the cast breakdown the show wants a woman to win this year. And I will bet you they are counting on this team to stop the all male trend over the last three seasons. (especially last year...ugh) But just remember one thing. Even Nat and Meg's dominance of season 2 was totally waylaid by two dudes from Muskoka who were lucky enough to win the one leg that counted. Can Steph and Kristen triumph where Nat and Meg failed? Lets see them in action first, but I am sooo counting on these two!
Julie and Lowell Taylor
Married Couple

Julie & Lowell

Official Bio:

Julie: 33, Speech and Language Pathologist, Lethbridge, Alberta. 
Strengths: Outgoing, sense of humour, and napping
Fears/Phobia: Snakes 
Favourite Travel Destination: New Zealand 
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “When he steals my puns and gets a better reaction!”
Twitter: @JulieLowellCAN
Instagram: @julielowellcan

Lowell: 34, Registered Psychologist, Lethbridge, Alberta. (originally near Carstairs, Alberta)
Strengths: Determination, sense of humour, and listening 
Fears/Phobia: Not being able to help his wife and kids because of his disability 
Favourite Travel Destination: New Zealand 
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “How she doubts her superpowers.”
Twitter: @JulieLowellCAN
My Take: The first images of Julie and Lowell seen on social media led everyone to believe they would fill the token married couple slot in the cast. Maybe they were this year's Bickersons, or maybe they were the almost-villains (Canada doesn't really have full-fledged villains, don't you know). And like Holly and Brett, the worst they will do is hide a map or two or U-Turn the fan-favs. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. But THEN... we noticed a white cane. Wowsers. Everyone went crazy over the fact that TPTB had set a new franchise record by casting a vision-impaired person. This is all true. But really, why not? Lowell has Retinitis Pigmentosa, meaning he has no peripheral vision, reduced central vision, and cannot see in low-light conditions. This is doable, especially when you have a partner such as Julie who knows you inside and out. Lowell has also been training for Para-Triathlon and Para-Cycling, hoping to compete in the Paralympics. 
Anne Morrone and Tanya Muzzatti
Best Friends

Anne and Tanya

Official Bio: 

Anne: 40, Certified Executive Coach/Opera Singer, Toronto, Ontario. (originally Woodbridge, Ontario) 
Strengths: Confidence, organization, and running 
Fears/Phobia: Spiders and snakes
Favourite Travel Destination: Europe
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “She is always late!”
Twitter: @annemorrone
Instagram: @annemorrone

Tanya: 40, Advertising Executive, Toronto, Ontario (originally Woodbridge, Ontario)
Strengths: Organization, physical strength, and great driving skills
Fears/Phobia: Heights
Favourite Travel Destination: Scandinavia
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “She cannot sit still.”
Twitter: @tanyamuzzatti
Instagram: @tanyamuzzatti
My Take: Anne and Tanya are the true BFF team of this season. You just can't beat 35 years of friendship through thick and thin. Hell, they probably have a stronger relationship and know more about each other than most married couples out there. They are both high-powered Supermoms who describe themselves as strong, confident,  organized and inseparable. I suspect Anne might be a tad more A-type than Tanya: Anne complains of Tanya's tardiness, while Tanya says Anne can't sit still. 
Stéphane Tétreault and Antoine Tétreault
Father and Son

Stephane and Antoine

Official Bio:

Stephane: 51, Entrepreneur, Montréal, Quebec (originally Saint Hubert, Quebec) 
Strengths: Passionate, friendly, and young at heart
Fears/Phobia: Heights 
Favourite Travel Destination: “Anywhere hot!”
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “When he talks over me.”
Twitter: @StephTetreault 

Antoine: 25, Business Financial Analyst, Montréal, Quebec (originally Saint Hubert, Quebec) 
Strengths: Fearless, perseverant, and ambitious 
Fears/Phobia: Snakes 
Favourite Travel Destination: “Anywhere far from home, off the beaten path”
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “Anytime he thinks he’s being funny, but he’s not…at all.” 
Twitter: @antoinetet
Instagram: @antoineOtetreault

My Take: Like I said before, I love the parent and child pairings on this show. It doesn't seem to matter if it's father/mother/son/daughter. Sure, there are going to be some aggravating moments, but they will always stick up for each other if another team gets in the way. It's what they do and we all love it. Some of the best moments in The Amazing Race Canada have been supplied by parent/child teams. Tim & Tim running over the bridge at Centre Island to win season 1. Cormac supporting Nicole when things went bad on the shooting range. Or Neil attending to Kristen's hypothermia. Look for the same from Stephane and Antoine. Their first day on Twitter after the cast reveal said a lot about this father & son pairing. They love to joke around and tease each other. And I love them for being like that. 

Kelly Xu and Kate Pan
Best Friends

Kelly and Kate

Official Bio:

Kelly: 25, Fitness entrepreneur, Toronto, Ontario (originally Jiang Xi, China)
Strengths: Fast learner, risk taker, and patient 
Fears/Phobia: Ghosts and haunted houses 
Favourite Travel Destination: Southeast Asia 
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “She likes garlic in everything.” 
Twitter: @kelly_kateTO

Kate: 25, Fitness Entrepreneur, Toronto, Ontario (originally Shandong, China)
Strengths: Easy going, go-getter, and optimistic 
Fears/Phobia: Heights, as well as fish/birdy animals 
Favourite Travel Destination: “Anywhere sunny!” 
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “She’s always on her phone.” 
Twitter: @kelly_kateTO
My Take: Yes, I know this is our first female/female team from any Asian ethnicity. I am happy they are changing opinions in the Chinese community and are able to fulfill their dreams professionally. More power to you. BUT. Please don't hate on me when I say this is probably my least favourite team. The reason is that damn team pic. I mean, that pose is just screaming self-absorbed 20-somethings, isn't it? I am very well aware of the methods used by production to influence our impressions, but hell, come on. They just look so damn... perky. I hate perky. Ugh. Okay, but having said that, maybe I will give them a chance to change my mind. You never know, right?
Frankie Gassler & Amy Gassler
Mother and Daughter

Frankie and Amy

Official Bio:

Frankie: 41, Hair Stylist, Aldergrove, British Columbia 
Strengths: Communication, intuition, and ability to get people to open up 
Fears/Phobia: Small spaces 
Favourite Travel Destination: Tropical Beach 
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “When she rolls her eyes at something I say or do.”
Twitter: @FrankieFenix74

Amy: 25, Barber, Aldergrove, British Columbia 
Strengths: Intuition, seeing the big picture, and being a true friend 
Fears/Phobia: Heights 
Favourite Travel Destination: Austria
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “She’s crazy!”
Twitter: @amygassler 

My Take: Our first Mother and Daughter team... and I couldn't be happier. I almost want there to be an exchange of eye-rolling along the way. Please??? I am counting on Frankie and Amy to be my and my daughter's surrogate racers, and it just wouldn't be the same without the occasional random eye-roll. It happens. You know why? Because they are more alike than either would care to admit. And just look at these two. Both of them are in the same business. Both are tatted. I bet they even wear each others' clothes. And I know I am not the only one to say, "Who's the mother? Who's the daughter?" I mean, come on! I am not even sure of what's real anymore. Oh well, let's do this. (Oh my, I am going to have some fun with this.)

Jillian MacLaughlin & Emmett Blois

Jillian and Emmett

Official Bio:

Jillian: 30, Teacher, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia 
Strengths: Adaptable, hard worker, and a quick learner
Fears/Phobia: Heights 
Favourite Travel Destination: “Anywhere warm.” 
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “He is so stubborn!”
Twitter: @JillianMcLaugh

Emmett: 28, Dairy Farmer, Gore, Nova Scotia 
Strengths: Strong, problem solver, and driven 
Fears/Phobia: Heights 
Favourite Travel Destination: New Zealand 
Pet Peeve about Teammate: “She tells me when it’s bedtime.”
Twitter: @EmmettBlois 
My Take: Normally, I am NOT a fan of these crossover teams. Normally, not many people are. Normally, I don't really care for the whole "exes" thing. But once again, TPTB for this show have hit the target with Jillian and Emmett. When they break new ground - either for the Canadian version or across the entire franchise, they go big. And they couldn't have gone any bigger than with this team. Jemmett are going to bring it and trust me, it doesn't matter if they are broken up or not. My best advise - and please heed my warning you naysayers out there who complain about casting of celebrity teams, IS... DON'T EVEN! Don't be going on Twitter and saying crap like, "They've had their 15 minutes". You are going to get trolled. So hard. You don't have the Twitter creds to compete with the Big Brother fandom. They're voracious. It's a fact. Just sit there in front of the TV, in your little chair of condemnation and take it, okay? Besides, I guarantee Jemmett is going to win you over. 

That's all folks. What do you think of this year's cast? Who are you cheering for? Who do you think will be the first-out? 

Don't miss the season 4 premiere on Tuesday, June 28 @ 8 PM ET. 

And just FYI, I will post previews and recaps for each episode. That's when the fun begins for me.

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