Nick and Starr Spangler win The Amazing Race 13 with “a horseshoe stuck in their rear end”

After covering five continents in 23 days, The Amazing Race 13 concluded last night in Portland (where fake teams raced), and sibling team Nick and Starr Spangler defeated Ken and Tina Greene to win the $1 million prize. Frat boys Andrew Lappitt and Dan Honig came in third, apparently far behind everyone else.

Toward the end, Ken and Tina were leading, but Nick and Starr caught up, and it seemed to come down to cab rides, especially since Dan and Andrew were in a slow cab. Once the finish line arrived, Dallas and Toni were missing from the finish line because they couldn’t get out of Russia with Dallas’ missing-but-eventually-recovered passport, but clearly they reconnected with the rest of the cast since Dallas and Starr are now dating.

As always, the tension led the final three teams to say–and do–some hysterically stupid things.

  • Phil’s introduction said Ken and Tina “came on the race in hopes of repairing their broken marriage” and that “they rediscovered each other.” Thankfully, there was no footage of that.
  • Phil said that Dan and Andrew “overcame huge odds as they bumbled and marched their way to the final three relying on a lot of brutal tenacity and a little bit of luck.” The “marched” was inserted just to have one last excuse to show Dan marching like a squirrel that fell off an electric line onto its head and was trying to get out of the way of a semi.
  • Dan said, “For people who just think we’re going to be chicken feed for [the other teams], they’re severely mistaken. It’s first or nothing.” Nothing it is!
  • For no discernible reason, Tina said at one point, “I’m about to lose it.” Ken suddenly turned on his baby/dog owner voice and said, “you did, great, you good girl.”
  • Nick and Starr started in Moscow wearing normal people clothes, but magically had their lucky camo on once they arrived in Portland.
  • Ken described the Spanglers’ good luck with perhaps the most descriptive metaphor of the season: “Nick and Starr got a horseshoe stuck in their rear end.”
  • “If we win today, it would be the biggest win in the history of the Amazing Race,” Andrew said. Then he and Dan all but evaporated from the race.
  • Ken and Tina said “one million dollars” while putting their little fingers up to their mouths! Ha! You go with your 11-year-old pop-culture reference!
  • The Austin Powers reference was significantly less annoying than Nick saying “million dollars,” “million dollars” over and over and over again. Aren’t camouflaged people supposed to be quiet?
  • The final task involved remembering various legs of the race, as it usually does. But this time, teams had to both recall details from every leg of the race but had to then find photographs that matched them in 150 clue boxes that were lined up in a field. In other words, it was the most insane version of memory ever.
  • “You look like Peter Pan,” Starr told Nick as he went down a zip line.
  • “I just don’t want it to come down to a freakin’ cab ride,” Starr said, panicked that Ken and Tina would beat them.
  • Searching for a location based only on clue, Starr started yelling, “Does anyone know where the magic is in the hole?” Amazingly, that strategy actually worked, and someone directed them to a donut shop. Earlier, when Nick and Starr asked a woman the same question, she rudely suggested they check a phone book. But when Ken and Tina showed up, she suddenly had all kinds of knowledge and guided them there. She’s either a camouflage-wearing super-sibling-phobe or realized that she get her face-stuffing face on camera.
  • Ken yelled into an open cab window that he’d pay the passenger $50 to get out. “This is a customer!” the driver screamed and pulled away.
  • “You okay?” a cab driver asked Nick and Starr, who essentially hyperventilated their way through the race following the Detour.
  • Once they finally showed up at the finish, Dan said, “I think any frat guy watching would be proud of our performance,” calling himself and Andrew “beer-guzzling idiots.”
  • On the final mat, Ken said, “I’m asking you to start this thing over again.” He wasn’t talking about the race, since they placed second, but instead their marriage, so he pulled out their wedding rings and totally stole Nick and Starr’s moment.
  • Except for being occasionally arrogant and impossibly cute, Nick and Starr were so consistently strong–they placed 7th out of 11 legs, never mind pulled ahead at the end after being behind–that they deserved to win. Now maybe they can buy something to wear other than camouflage.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.