Bret LaBelle and Chris Hammons earned another shot at Survivor

Photo: CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

After watching both Bret and Chris fight their way through The Amazing Race 31 tooth and nail, they reminded us how insanely fun they can be on Survivor.

I know we’ve been talking a lot about the Edge of Extinction cast a lot over the past month, asking whether or not the 18 players should get another shot in a future season, but another source of Survivor conversation over the past few months has been The Amazing Race 31. Slight spoilers ahead.

If you haven’t been caught up, this season’s format saw five All-Star teams from the show compete against three duos from Big Brother and three from Survivor. While the show’s casting has focused primarily on modern teams, we did get legends like Colin and Christie from TAR 5 and the Bonehams in Rupert and Laura from Survivor.

However, perhaps to the least fanfare going into the race, the breakout stars of the season have been Bret LaBelle and Chris Hammons from Millennials vs. Gen X. Entering the game as alternates with just a few days to prepare compared to the rest of the cast, this ragtag duo makes more sense the more you watch behind-the-scenes Survivor content.

While they were on the same page voting wise, they weren’t that much of a dynamic duo as edited during their Survivor season. However, once Bret arrived at Ponderosa and was able to open up with a couple of beers, the diametrically opposed gay, conservative Boston cop and straight, liberal Oklahoma lawyer became something of a buddy cop outfit. They love busting each others’ chops, whether it be on podcasts or social media.

The rust had started to settle in by the time The Amazing Race 31 began in Japan, with Bret and Chris finishing progressively worse and worse across the first three legs. They even managed to finish in last place in Vietnam but were saved by the good graces of the first of three non-elimination legs of the season, giving them hope.

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From adversity came determination as, during the fourth leg (still in Vietnam), Bret and Chris had to carry the burden of Survivor bragging rights on their own. Rupert and Laura had been eliminated on the second leg while Corinne Kaplan and Eliza Orlins (Team Villains) had just been eliminated. They were the only representatives left for their show.

It was the kick in the butt they needed, as they finished in third place that leg; the highest placement of any Survivor team after four legs. That came after a speed bump task, too, as Bret and Chris were determined to raise each other up at their lows and crack each other up at their highs to keep humble. Never did they get flippant nor angry with each other; they were among the most friendly teams in The Amazing Race.

Amazing Race 31 episode 5 Survivor's Chris Hammons Bret LaBelle
Photo: CBS ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

They were perhaps the most hilarious team of the bunch, heavily leaning into how silly each competition was. Whether it was a one-attempt dance-off in Vietnam before changing Detours, running around in gigantic dinosaur outfits in the UAE or rappelling down the of a mountain as Bret hooted and hollered in fear, they were the most rootable team on The Amazing Race.

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One team that did manage to get on their nerves? The Reilly sisters. Chris especially felt that the Big Brother team treated them as others because they didn’t have enough Instagram followers, so he pulled a Survivor spy shack maneuver by stretching near the Reillys as they got into an argument with the Afghanimals, listening into their conversation to stay Switzerland … in Switzerland.

They had so many subtle cracks at others and, while bumbling their way through some of the more cardio-centric parts of the race (hard to prepare for just four days in advance), managed to get better and better at The Amazing Race, securing second place on a leg twice.

Bret and Chris did everything in an over-the-top fashion, including their demise. I won’t go into too many details if you haven’t watched the season (watch it!), but even as they fumbled about, they managed to provide as many laughs as possible. I don’t think there was a team out there that didn’t like Team Bromance, and I can’t imagine anybody at home thinking otherwise.

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If the two don’t make it back to The Amazing Race again in the future, they each deserve a shot at another second chance in Survivor. Both provide very chaotically good energy to reality competition shows, and with this established history together now have a dynamic the editors can lean into when telling their perspectives going forward.