Previously on TAR: Teams set out from New Orleans, Louisiana to Panama City, Not America For Once. They raced on the artificial canal. The Weavers insighted the Linzes. The Paolos raced the Gaghans to the Fast Forward and DJ Paolo faced his fear of heights. The Linz siblings and Godlewski sisters bonded at the detour. At the roadblock Bill Gaghan hit one out of the park and Sharon Godlewski went down swinging. The Paolos arrived first while the Godlewskis landed last. They will start tonight’s leg without money nor possessions. Only six families remain. Who will be mercifully executed from this season next?
– Intro time. I contemplate how I will run out of material to write within the next three episodes. The jokes are starting to get old.
– Phil introduces us to the Panama Canal. It is the largest man-made canal in the world. Right after Lisa Lampanelli’s. . .
It is a fifty mile long marvel of engineering that connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. At the edge of the Pacific is the Miraflores Locks. This gateway to the world’s largest body of water was the fifth pit stop in The Amazing Race.
PHIL: The Godlewski sisters were not eliminated because this was the first of several pre-determined non-elimination legs.
I am certain Phil had to say “several” because if the audience heard him say “five” they would likely skip out on watching the remaining episodes until the finale. TAR was better off having a Final Two this season.
Phil’s Questions: Will the Godlewskis be defeated by this obstacle or will they rebound from this setback?
– The Paolos who were first to arrive will depart at 822pm. DJ reads that teams must travel by charter bus to San Jose, Costa Rica. The buses leave thirty minutes apart and are first come first served. Once in San Jose they must drive themselves one hundred thirty-five miles to the top of the volcano Volcan Poas. This 1, 000 foot deep active volcano comes with its own unique soundtrack and hosts a clue box on the rim.
– Paolos are looking for a taxi to take them to the terminal. Marion says her team is appreciating her more as the race goes on. She acknowledges she is not as quick nor as strong but they understand that she can still do it. She wants her children to be proud she wasn’t a stay-at-home mom who did laundry and cleaning every day and taking everything for granted. Tony likes when things are going good and that the tiniest of things can set the team off.
MARION: DJ, please.
DJ: WHAT DO YOU WANT?
MARION: Can I read the clue?
BRIAN: I swear to god you guys better not fight–
DJ: I’m gonna kick ya upside the head!
MARION: WILL YOU PLEASE READ IT SO WE KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU’RE DOING!
For the third episode in a row the Paolos fight two seconds into the leg over who is in possession of the first clue. I never noticed it before until this re-watch.
– Anyways they pile into the biggest taxi I have seen. Nearly fifty minutes later the Weavers depart. The Fast Forward was not terribly advantageous. Rebecca prays 1.5 seconds into the leg. Rachel says she was raised to not trust other people and only to trust your family. Not trusting other people is also accompanied by being a complete and utter jack— to them too. Rebecca says that she cannot control what the other teams say about them.
RACHEL: We’re Christians. We’re above that.
You’re acting as if the two statements are related to each other.
– Five minutes later is the start for the Bransens. Wally wants to go to the hotel first but the daughters want to flag down a cab right away. Wally is outvoted. He knows the three daughters are close and have a lot in common. He feels like the outsider of the team. The Linzes are next to depart a minute later. Alex realizes they could be down to five teams real soon and have a one-in-five shot at a million dollars. Not the grandest of insights. Tommy sees the competition in other teams’ eyes. Oh. It’s that episode.
– Linzes flag down a taxi before Weavers and Bransens. Weavers are pissed. Six minutes pass and the Gaghans set out.
CARISSA: Do we have to run there now?
TAMMY: Yes, Carissa. We have to run to Costa Rica. Can you do it?
If you phrase it as a dare nobody can resist. You’ll need to rename your daughter Carissa Fox or Carissa Gump, Tammy.
– Bill says last leg all of their luck was bad. All he wants is a round either without luck or some good luck. They are in a taxi. Weavers get in. Carissa announces that the “powder blue team” just got in a taxi behind them. Good luck received. The Bransens appear to be lacking in the luck department so far.
The Click It or Ticket people have officially put Beth Bransen on notice. And what is with the snort at the end of her statement?
– Paolos grab a departure time. 1130am. Marion is not too thrilled to be staying all night. They hide upstairs so the Weavers don’t catch on they are in the right place. DJ sees the Linzes and shouts throughout the whole terminal exactly where to go. It appears the Weavers’ acts of jack—ery have alienated them from everyone else left in the race.
– At 943pm the Godlewskis depart. That’s a 81 minute spread from first to sixth. It seems like the arrival spread has been rather fixed all throughout this season. They go to a poolside and use their feminine charm to beg for money.
MAN: I don’t have money. . .I have love.
GODLEWSKIS: Let’s go inside.
The Godlewski Anthem.
– They go to bars and flirt with the locals until they use the twenty-one dollars accumulated to pay for a cab. At the bus station the Weavers and Gaghans arrive simultaneously. Paolos shout at the Gaghans but none of them understand the directions until they see where the Weavers are running. It doesn’t matter because both teams are on the 1200pm bus. A bit of an anti-climatic race if you ask me.
– Bransens are there next and stuck on the last bus. They went from third to last. Godlewskis are happy just to be on a bus. Godlewskis begin to go to the other teams to beg for money. They start with the Weavers. Christine asks for five bucks. Linda complies then walks away. Tricia says they are being nice to Weavers and Weavers are being nice to them. Michelle says that will be true until a mimed backstab.
Whoa. Michelle can talk?
– The six teams sleep on the upper floor of the bus station. Paolos and Linzes wake up to share the first bus together. Refreshing South America soundtrack plays. Gaghans and Weavers are on the second bus. Bill says seeing poverty on the race will make people appreciate their own lives more. For about ten seconds. It’s a great gift to give to one’s children.
– Michelle gives a confessional for the first time all season. She wants to point out that they are tied for last rather than being lonely in last. I can see why she isn’t shown much. Oh. And here we are in San Jose, Not California. TAR is incorporating every South America soundtrack they have into this one episode. After a Tommy Linz yawn the race is on. They are directed to jog two streets to their vans. Paolos walk slowly.
MARION: I’m coming.
DJ: So is Christmas.
You’re on the naughty list, DJ.
– The Linzes and the Paolos work together to find the volcano. They hire a taxi and split the cost. Ah. Second bus arrives. It looks like a rough neighbourhood which is a perfect place for Carissa to wander alone in the streets. Tammy wants Carissa to keep close to her but Carissa says there are no hands to hold. Gaghans really need to sacrifice some of their luggage. All of these teams have so much luggage to carry compared to other seasons that I think production needs to pay them for chiropractor visits.
– The Bransens and Godlewskis’ bus arrives. Gaghans and Weavers work together. So much for Weavers’ anti-alliance policy. Nobody seems to know where it is. Bill has to multi-task where he wants Carissa to stay close but not get too close to the strangers he is talking to.
A nine year-old alone on a street corner in Costa Rica goes against every 20/20 special that I have seen in my life.
– They walk aimlessly in the streets until they see the Godlewskis. Both teams follow the Godlewskis with the Bransens appearing out of nowhere too. You would think buses two and three arrived simultaneously because all four teams pile into their vans at once. Rebecca Weaver calls the Bransens the Brady Bunch. I hope that is the first and last time that nickname is used for the Bransens. It doesn’t make any sense.
– It’s a stick shift so Bill and Wally are in the driver’s seat. Linda wants to drive but Rebecca is not confident Linda knows how to drive it. Sure enough Linda stalls a few times before figuring out how to drive it.
– Linzes and Paolos continue following the cabbie. Gaghans and Godlewskis see the sign for the volcano. Michelle loves going to a volcano. If this were Edgic, she successfully went from a string of INV1s to OTTPP5. Bransens are not sure where to go and are at a stoplight. Lindsay asks her dad to ask the man standing outside for directions. Wally asks her to go for directions because he is the one driving. Lindsay says it would be easier for him to get out but Wally says it is not.
LINDSAY: Dad, just get out of the car.
There are three people in charge of directions but yet not a single one of them wants to ask? I think the Bransen daughters are afraid of the dark.
WALLY: Can’t you get out of the car? I don’t get it.
This is the same tone he used with Lindsay when she left her bedroom and crawled into bed with mommy and daddy because she had a nightmare and refused to sleep in her own bed like a big girl. The Costa Ricans are scary, daddy!
LINDSAY: Cause I don’t want to.
WALLY: Then fine you don’t want to.
And Wally keeps driving. Congratulations Bransen family, this is what some of us like to call a “fight”. Welcome to the club. We’re happy to have you. Extra ratings are in the cabinet.
LINDSAY: Dad put your seatbelt on.
Real mature, Bradley.
– Weavers pray to be shown to the route marker for the fifth time in ten minutes. Paolos and Linzes are at the volcano but the taxi was money well wasted. Sure enough the gates are closed. That means it doesn’t matter what the other four teams do because there is plenty of time to get to the route marker. The charter buses were pointless. They could be on one bus or six different buses and it would have the same effect.
Now you’re just taunting the equalizer, Carissa. She can catch up to the other teams at the volcano with her eyes closed. She’s that good. Gaghans, Godlewskis, Weavers, and Bransens are all there. Morning comes and the teams wait in their vans. The second the gates open they’re allowed to run inside. Tommy Linz is first one to the clue box. Bill Gaghan congratulates him. All other racers are way behind in the mist of the volcano. Teams read that they must travel seventeen miles to Doka Estate and find the coffee plantation. Caution: Yield Ahead. And a Fast Forward.
– Teams have the Fast Forward in their pamphlet but no one takes it. I guess nobody wants to use the Fast Forward. Rolly thinks the volcano looks cool. Linzes, Weavers, Gaghans, Paolos, Bransens, then Godlewskis pull out. Bransens run into the information centre to buy a map. This lets the Godlewskis pass them. The tires of the Bransen vehicle screech as Wally expresses his road rage from last night’s events.
– Alex instructs the others on his team to stand on the yield mat and say “we will not be yielding anybody”. Nick challenges Alex if they will yield someone. Megan agrees with Nick and wants to yield the Weavers. Tommy says it’s a good idea because they are good and sneaky. Alex asks everyone if they are okay with sucking it up and being mean for a day. He breaks down and laughs. I think his day of meanness has already commenced as he sprinkles in the most ridiculous laugh I have heard in a while.
– Weavers pull over to ask for directions. Gaghans drive around Weavers. So do Paolos. Then Godlewskis. Sharon Godlewski wants to yield Weavers too. Bransens pass the Weavers too. Three teams are looking to yield the Weavers who are already in last. It will work. Unless of course this leg is the second of five non-eliminations.
– Linzes, Gaghans, Paolos, Weavers, and Bransens all jump out of their vans and run to the yield mat in unison. Before we find out who grabs which sticker Phil explains to us that this is the first of only two yields on the race. There were really three yields but there was one on the first leg that was not used. When you have a format with only three yields there is about a 0.001% chance that a team will completely alienate another team only two hours into the race.
– Phil is still giving the redundant explanation. Ugh. I wish this would be put on every leg. I really need a job as a producer for The Amazing Race and straighten them out. Paolos somehow outrun Tommy Linz and the Gaghan runners to grab the first sticker. If I were the Paolos I would not yield anybody because I know how much the teams behind me want to yield the Weavers. In fact maybe the Weavers will give you information throughout the remainder of the race if they think you are their friends.
– Christine Godlewski high-five’s DJ. DJ complies and opens up the clue. It’s a roadblock. Find a red coffee bean amongst eight hundred pounds of coffee beans. Once they find that bean teams will exchange it for their next clue. In other words, I hope you brought all of your good luck charms with you because you are going to need it to survive this round. That yield really isn’t going to matter for this task. They should have told them to look for a scarab just to confuse them as much as the cast of TAR 5.
“What’s a scarab?”
– Marion Paolo, Tammy Gaghan, Lauren Bransen, Megan Linz, and Tricia Godlewski are doing the task. The teams scream from the sidelines. Lauren Bransen screams from the sidelines. Tricia Godlewski is done immediately. She reads that teams must now travel ninety-four miles to the town of Jaco. Once there they will enter a local surf shop. Once inside they will need to find Ozzy Lusth to retrieve their next clue. Godlewskis to find Ozzy.
– Marion Paolo is done next. They are ecstatic to be out of there before the Weavers’ arrival. Marion cannot wait for the love she will receive from them. Finding the red coffee bean must be stinkin’ easy if Weavers aren’t even there yet when the drive was only twenty miles.
– The Weavers are there. They see the ‘yield’ sign. Linda wants them to forget it and turn the hourglass over. Linda is not impressed.
Rachel points out that the Paolos are in front of a garbage truck and says they look retarded. What happened to claiming that your Christian beliefs force you to be above acts of ridicule? This is the work of the red devil bus and Mr. Potato Head.
– Rachel pounds the ‘yield’ board in frustration.
– Megan Linz has the red coffee bean. Rebecca meanwhile flips through the pictures inside the box of the other teams. First up are the Godlewskis
REBECCA: Those boobs cost a lot!
I highly doubt any of the Godlewskis have had any work done. If so, they need to fire their plastic surgeon ASAP. Perhaps their plastic surgeon was Greg ‘Tarzan’ Smith. Rolly proceeds to call Brian Paolo a squirrel and retard.
– They pretend to act happy and sing as the Linzes pass by. Megan decides to be classy and wish them luck. Weavers disregard this kind gesture and whine everyone is against them. Who knew calling teenagers retarded based on their looks and insulting sanitary commissioners would result in people not liking you.
– Lauren Bransen has the red coffee bean. Bill, Billy, and Carissa are frustrated on the sidelines as Tammy continues to search. Linda is on the ‘yield’ mat says they won’t play the game of doing sneaky things such as yielding. However letting your kids call other kids retards and making fun of perfectly nice women such as the Godlewski sisters is fine.
– LINDA: We’re responsible to a higher authority.
I love how Linda doesn’t see how that kind of thinking and giving yourself excuses to make fun of other teams but faulting them for making fun of you is what makes for fascinating television.
– Tammy Gaghan is stuck at the roadblock still. She has the entire bag of coffee beans spread out.
BILLY: C’mon mom. You’re under absolutely noooo pressure.
Only a million dollars and a kicka– jet ski and a XBOX 360 are on the line for Billy.
– Godlewskis look behind to Paolos in their van for directions. DJ shrugs. Marion cusses out DJ for telling everybody what they know. DJ said you have to work with other teams to stay in the race. Once it hits Final 3 is when you tell everybody to go to Hell (or to spend a weekend at the Weavers’ house. I hear they are both the same place). DJ understands this race better than I thought his incessant shouting made me think he would.
– The Linz brothers say Megan has proven herself and that she is an official Linz boy. In that package comes the ability to flirt with flatulence in an Amish buggy, flash a 20 year old Bransen, and make jokes about wide loads. Welcome to the fraternity, Megan Linz.
– Weavers’ sand has run out. Rachel Weaver is doing the roadblock. It’s Tammy versus Rachel.
LINDA: You need to pray, Rachel. Pray, Rachel, pray!
How “find the red coffee bean in the eight hundred pound pile” translates to “stop raking and pray” is beyond me. Linda Weaver’s reading comprehension is as poor as her geography.
– The Godlewskis go inside a drugstore and ask for directions. Brian Paolo gets out to ask for directions. Never have I seen somebody so timid when asking for directions. He asks somebody who has clearly been drinking at a bar. The guy has no idea where Jaco is and rambles on about the main drag. DJ Paolo screams at him to get back in the car. He says Brian’s directions were so redundant that a monkey could figure it out.
Don’t go, Brian. You are the first company I’ve had at this bar in weeks.
– The Costa Rican proceeds to wink at the camera in the creepiest way possible. The camera erases this from our memories as we cut to the coffee plantation. Rachel Weaver has found the red coffee bean. Tammy Gaghan has fallen from second to dead last at the task. This task seems like a much milder version of the ‘needle in the haystack’ and yet there is still the one team who finds it to be brutal. Weavers are in pursuit of the “retarded garbage picking” Paolos. Tammy has found the red coffee bean. Carissa wished it was a two-person roadblock. Paolos are right behind the Bransens. Tony spots a tiny sign. Brian and DJ are impressed. They get the clue from Javier. Yeah, I fooled you that it was Ozzy.
– It’s a detour. Their choice is between two cultural tasks. Relic or Ripe. In relic, teams drive to a nearby rain forest and traverse six precarious road bridges while searching for four relics of the Mayan civilization. Once they deliver each of the four relics to the archaeologist they will receive their next clue.
What do you think of my Indiana Jones cosplay? I might switch to ‘contacts’ instead of these ugly glasses.
– In ripe, teams travel to a banana plantation where they must gather fifteen bushels of bananas. They will hang them onto the hanging tracks. Then using a locally devised pully system teams will haul to the distribution centre where the foreman will give them their next clue and twenty cents per hour for their hard labour. Who is the foreman you ask?
Like you didn’t see this reference coming. I mean, what reasonable person wants FIFTEEN bushels of bananas?
– Bransens are doing the relics. Paolos are doing the B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Linzes are going to find the relics. Gaghans are lost but pick up a man who will ride inside the van with them to Jaco. Bill proclaims he is a very good man. Godlewskis find Javier. They are doing the relics too. Sharon and Christine shout at each other for a few seconds. Michelle thinks she can do a better job. Sharon blows up and pulls over to let Michelle drive if she can do a better job. Michelle nearly runs somebody over at a crosswalk. Sharon makes fun of her for it and sits silently to pout for the rest of the drive.
– Paolos see the plantation. Inside they go. Marion says she cannot lift it but Tony volunteers he will lift it. Brian and DJ struggle to lift the bushels over their head too. These boys never had to work a hard day in their life. The Bransen daughters ask their dad what a relic is. Wow. Not only did the education system fail you but you must have never played a round of Age of Empires either. Linzes are directly behind the Bransens. They see a ‘Beware of Snakes’ sign at the rain forest before getting onto the first of many bridges. What would make this more exciting if production cuts the ropes for the bridge right as the teams stand in the middle. Family Edition would have its highest ratings ever.
– Megan Linz wants to run on the narrow wobbly bridge and Lindsay wants to sway the bridge. Brilliant. Weavers ask for ‘Xavier’ in the shop. ‘Javier,’ ‘Xavier,’ it doesn’t matter. Paolos have done nine bushels. Virtually all done by Tony Paolo. The Finishing Point music from TAR 4 plays as the Bransens pick up the four relics. The Linzes follow suit. Gaghans find the shop. They are doing the relics too. Although the foreman of the banana plantation would prefer the Gaghans come to him because he gets to pay a smaller amount for child labour.
– DJ is impressed with his dad as they finish the task. He knows he couldn’t do the job that his dad does. He doesn’t have that strength. He is proud his dad is a garbage man. Paolos have this endearing sense of appreciation for each other. It’s what makes them a refreshing team to watch. They shout and shout and shout but are able to do so by teasing each other in a light manner in the process and still knowing when to put everything aside and co-operate. DJ reads that they must drive twenty miles to Quepos and find a specific beach. The sandy retreat at the edge of the Pacific Ocean is the pit stop.
– Bransens pass Godlewskis at the entrance. Lindsay tells them where the relics are and get into the van. Linzes are right behind. Godlewskis are done the task too. Weavers are inside the rain forest. Gaghans are seven kilometres away. Carissa wants her dad to drive faster. Bill says it’s a mud road so they can’t drive too fast.
BILLY: C’mon dad is that all you got?
Nothing like your own son trying to dare you and intimidate you into catching up to the other teams.
– Weavers are already done the task which means the Gaghans are a solid twenty minutes behind. Gaghans get to the rain forest and chat with the Weavers on their way out. Aren’t you in dead last? How come trailing teams do not feel a sense of urgency this season? Weavers say they haven’t seen the Paolos anywhere. Bill tells his kids not to give up but yet on the bridges it appears the Gaghans are taking a leisurely stroll. If I were in last for a million dollar race I would run as fast as I freakin’ could across the bridges. Especially if the people with me were fifty pound kids rather than two hundred pound Aiellos on a bridge.
– Gaghans have a shot after all. Linda Weaver is drained and figures out the van is stuck in the mud. Rachel, Rebecca, and Rolly get out to push the van. The tires spin but don’t move. Gaghans have the relics and the Weavers are still stuck in the mud. They honk at a guy who is about twenty feet away but he looks at them in a confused manner. Do vans not get stuck in Costa Rica? Are Costa Rican drivers smart enough to not fall into the mud trap?
Maybe if I look away they can’t see me.
– Linda is frustrated and says she will give up. Her kids yell at her to not give up and to calm down. Suddenly out of nowhere Linda’s van starts moving and drives wildly through the grass. She breaks down crying as the van drives in circles. The kids pile in and Linda apologizes for her loss of sanity. The Gaghans have delivered the relics. Fast drivers and fast feet will catch up. Unfortunately I have never seen the Gaghans walk so slow. Paolos don’t know where the road is exactly. The Bransens are lost too and the Linzes creep up and ignore the direction that the Bransens are driving in. The Paolos jump out to run. Bransens drive by Paolos who say they need to turn around and park in the marked area. The Paolos’ mega alliance against the Weavers have resulted in a ton of information being given away to the other teams. The Linzes and Bransens agree to catch up to the Paolos.. They see Marion Paolo slowing down and are prepared to catch her. Marion wants to quit. For the Linzes Megan is complaining she is out of breath but does not want to give up.
I don’t think you guys are catching up to Paolos. Sorry. And I don’t see Tony willing to slow himself down and carry over two hundred pounds of Marion.
– The Paolos are first to the mat. Marion announces she cannot do it anymore despite being first to the mat. I have never seen someone so discouraged after winning a leg halfway through the race. Tony sticks to a hug n’ shake of Phil rather than the occasional tackle.
If only there was a way to eliminate these f—ers.
– Their prize is a wild ride for each of them courtesy of the Wild Bean Cafe from BP Gas. They can choose between a Segway, a vespa, a jet ski, or an all-terrain vehicle. They will have to wait until after the race to use them. DJ thinks Marion has exceeded his expectations and Tony chimes in that it is the best thing that could have happened to them in terms of bringing the family back together again. He tears up at how proud he is of Marion.
– Phil waves in the next couple out of breath teams onto the mat. Linzes are second for the millionth time this season. Bransens are third. Phil says they look bad and smell bad. Well hello to you too Phil. Jacka–.
– Godlewskis park with the other cars and land on the mat. Phil announces they are fourth without giving the usual acknowledgment to their recovery from having everything stripped from them. I suppose needing only thirty bucks for the whole leg isn’t much to beg for compared to the past where teams have to beg until they have two hundred bucks before they continue racing.
– Bill tells everyone in the car to not give up. Linda Weaver stops to ask for directions but no one knows exactly where to go. But Weavers see the other vans and start lazily running. Gaghans park too get a decent jog going. Weavers finish fifth with no suspense. They are relieved. Rolly gives his usual high five to Phil. Carissa thinks the place is nice and wants to go back there on vacation. Bill says they will. Heck, it beats better than the noisy and migraine-inducing nature of Disneyland. If your kids cheer for Quepos louder than Disneyland then pack your bags and head directly to Quepos.
Plus Splash Mountain is the creepiest place on Earth. Bill Gaghan would rather avoid that at all costs. What are the creepiest things you’ll find in Costa Rica?
Yeah, infinitely better than Splash Mountain.
– Sad dreary music plays as Gaghans are on the mat. Billy is already wiping the tears. Carissa’s water works flow too. They say the usual ‘you keep trying, you never give up’ and then we wait for the episode to end. Poof. The Gaghans are done. What a road it has been.
Next time on TAR:
5 teams + 4 non-eliminations + Production’s worst decision since the hay bale task = I expect 0 readers until The Amazing Race 9 premiere.
Tony.DJ.Brian. Marion 126.96.36.199
12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th Ryan & Chuck 11.0
11th Team Seinfeld/Avi & Joe 11.0
11th Dennis & Erika 11.0
11th Deidre & Hilary 11.0
11th Matt & Ana 11.0
10th A Black Family 10.0
10th Megan & Heidi 9.5 (Wow. They sucked.)
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0
10th Meredith & Maria 9.0
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF
10th Russell & Cindy 8.33
8th Don & Mary Jean 8.2
10th Kim & Leslie 8.0
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33
8th Aiello Family 7.0
8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0
9th Lena & Kristy 7.0
10th Hope & Norm 7.0
9th Rogers Family 6.5
8th Susan & Patrick 6.5
6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43
7th Paul & Amie 6.2
8th Steve & Dave 6.2 FF
11th Amanda & Chris 6.0
6th Andre & Damon 5.86
5th Kami & Karli 5.8
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8
9th Heather & Eve 5.75
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67
6th Gaghan Family 5.5
10th Alison & Donny 5.5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF
4th Meredith & Gretchen 5.36
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33
9th Debbie & Bianca 5.33
7th Gus & Hera 5.29
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25
7th Silver & Gold 5.17
7th Ray & Deana – 5.0 FF
9th Steve & Josh 5.0 – FF
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF
7th Schroeder Family 4.75
6th Brian & Greg 4.71
3rd Adam & Rebecca 4.69 FF
5th Lori & Bolo 4.6 – FF
2nd Teri & Ian 4.53 – FF
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF
4th Linda & Karen 4.17
6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.)
5th Lynn & Alex 4.11
3rd David & Jeff 4.00 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF
5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF
2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85
4th Jon & Al 3.73
6th Charla & Mirna 3.71
3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF
5th Millie & Chuck 3.67 FF
6th Jonathan & Victoria 3.56
1st Freddy & Kendra 3.46
1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF
1st Chip & Kim 3.38
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF
3rd Brandon & Nicole 3.31
1st Reichen & DK 3.15 – FF
1st Uchenna & Joyce 3.15 FF
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF
3rd Ron & Kelly 3.00
4th Hayden & Aaron 2.92
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – FF
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF
2nd Kris & Jon 2.38
2nd Rob & Amber 2.31
Rank the Teams:
5) The Rogers Family
One of the few teams I was looking forward to analyzing again in their short run. My analysis leads me to conclude they are not only the least entertaining team all season but also in the bottom tier for least likable. Denny seems like a man straight out of a 50s TV show where he expects dinner the moment he comes home from work, Brittney plays the “I’m just a girl so I can’t do _____ card, Renee plays the role of Donna Reed where she just wants everything to be perfect for everyone around her, and Brock is saturated with angst and hates rules.
If it were up to me I would eliminate them round one.
4) The Black Family
Ever wanted to see a crossover between The Cosby Show and The Amazing Race? What would be produced is the Black Family. They don’t scream or yell. The family works together to do fun little tasks. If an issue does come up they deal with it calmly and say it is all about trusting their family bond. They are not nasty to any teams.
In addition it plays out like a Cosby Show episode. At the beginning nothing happens to any of them and by the end nothing has happened to any of them. The 90s G-rated urban sitcom has officially played out.
P.S. Thanks for giving me a ton of material to work with in the first episode.
3) The Aiello Family
Kevin Aiello is such a drama queen. His ability to screw up directions in his hometown is a great storyline for episode two. Matt’s extremely goofy nature sets himself apart from the other in-laws. David Aiello barking at a 4×4 in the mud for hours may be one of the funnier moments in race history.
Just the fact it is three in-laws racing with their father-in-law is an intriguing dynamic. Tony is extremely protective of his daughters which forces the new sons to kiss his ring throughout the race. Add in all four having an extreme fear of insinuating eroticism and you have a very entertaining squad.
2) Schroeder Family
Mark has some of the most eccentric quotes in the history of the series.
Char fills the role of Queen B—-y Stepmom.
Hunter gets away with groin slaps and calling his stepmom a b—- on TV.
And Stass is well. . . . <333333333
But seriously, this team is one of the reasons why viewers were willing to put up with TAR Family Edition for the first few episodes. Mark wanted to throw handicapped people in traffic to block the other teams and gets away with it on national TV. If Colin Guinn said it there would be an official complaint filed against the show.
Char reiterates throughout the season that she likes being a friend to her stepkids rather than filling the stereotype of “THE stepmom” but is in for a rude awakening as the kids viewing her as a friend is thrown out the window. Most families would be fine having their kids play with the other teams. But the Schroeders? Not so much. Hunter plays with the Weaver boy at 4am and gets a scolding from his stepmom. His team ostracizes him for the rest of the episode all because he wanted to make friends. Shame on you for making lifelong relationships on this race, Hunter!
Then there’s the Mark-Stassi relationship. It is the first time we see a daddy’s girl relationship play out in front of us on TAR. How well can a daddy’s girl bond do on TAR? Not very well. Stassi moans, whines, and cries whenever Mark failed to agree with the strategic moves she wanted to take. If this were home I am certain Mark would do whatever Stassi wanted but because they were playing for one million dollars Mark had to assert his authority. That’s when the fireworks began and were cut way too short.
Hunter insulted his mom in episode three and was ostracized. Mark and Stassi blew up all throughout round four. We are left to speculate how much more they could have crashed and burned by episodes five and six.
1) Gaghan Family
This is probably what everyone pictured when they originally heard about the concept of Family Edition. A mom, dad, and their two young children racing around the world. They have prior experience globetrotting and all run in major races. The physical endurance of the children and their history of traveling allows them to handle what the audience expects for a Family Edition of the world’s biggest competition.
But it’s the other teams who proved they are not capable of racing around the world and force production to confine everyone in North America. Bummer.
So why do I rank the Gaghans this high?
Because this is what the audience wanted. Two little kids with their parents who possess the physical endurance to run around the world. Think of all the little remarks that Billy and Carissa brought to the table throughout the course of the race. Now picture the chance of any of those remarks being uttered in the other twenty seasons of TAR. It can’t happen, right? That’s exactly what could have made a TAR Family Edition so fun. Carissa saying trailers are evil, inquiring about spraypaint rules, and falling asleep during the middle of navigation couldn’t happen elsewhere. Neither could anyone else get away with quoting Rob Schneider like Billy did without getting hit.
It’s too bad the race ended for them because Tammy couldn’t see the colour red for quite a while. I doubt anyone would have predicted that the team would go down not because of the children but rather because mommy slowed them down at the roadblock. The season really needed a team with young kids to sneak their way into the last stretch of the race to support the idea that this season wouldn’t be owned by fit teenagers and adults.
And another reason why it would be interesting to see the Gaghans make it far is what would happen when attrition makes its presence? In other seasons of TAR the attrition settles in at around leg nine or ten and some teams completely fold. How would the Gaghan parents and their children handle it? Would the double role of parent and competitor be too much? Would Carissa’s gas tank empty from the unorthodox sleeping times? Or would Billy and Carissa become progressively more adult-like as the race went on? There was so much to explore there that we would not have the chance to explore ever again.
However, regardless of not making it to the halfway point of the race the Gaghans somehow went down as the second most memorable team all season from the audience’s point of view. If you can last only six of thirteen rounds and leave your mark on the season, you must have done something right.
P.S. Billy and Carissa Gaghan will be of age to apply for TAR when season 25 comes around. No joke. Carissa was nine when she played TAR 8 and will be nineteen when the 25th cycle comes around. 25 or 26 is the next projected all-star season if the pattern continues, and TAR 8 has yet to have a representative re-cast in an all-star season. It may as well be the Gaghan kids who would be a testament to the race’s longevity.
Rank the Legs
1) New Orleans -> Panama City, Panama (Now this is how a real race looks! This is how a season of Family Edition should have done in round one instead of round five. Panama would have been a great opening leg. All six teams are revitalized by the idea of leaving the country like they thought would happen at the beginning. Teams humourously use their Anglespanol to get around town. DJ yells at Marion for being incompetent until he himself is ready to chicken out of a task until Marion sends him a death threat. Gaghans start the leg in last and manage to finish second to last yet again while a Pepsi truck and a concussion occurred in the process. Bransens tried to use a local for directions but the local tricked them into driving her to work. It marks the beginning of the Linz-Weaver rivalry. This leg deserves to be this high regardless if it is a non-elimination.)
2) Panama City, Panama -> Quepos, Costa Rica (The true beginning of the “Everyone Hates the Weavers and the Weavers Hate You” storyline. The rude nature of the Weavers had rubbed everyone else in the race the wrong way to where five families of four worked together to trump a lone family of four. We see the tone of the season change when one family yields another to show this game has been taken to a higher level. Weavers battled on their own through a yield and a Linda Weaver hysterical breakdown before squeaking out a fifth place finish. The tasks could have been better, but hey, just be thankful we’re out of the country.)
3) Middleburg -> Huntsville (Space camp! Teams finally book flights in an actual airport. Teams kept the screaming to a minimum this leg. Plus this leg looked exhausting with forcing kids to do the race at 1am to 5am in the morning. Mystery bus rides pinched the team’s nerves. David Aiello screaming rap lyrics at a 4×4 for thirteen attempts on a track is memorable when you cut it to Bill Gaghan who guns it on his first try. Bodies morphing in a centrifuge was a memorable experience. The 3-way sprint to the pit stop at the end makes it a memorable episode. Oh, and how can we forget the Weavers absolutely going bonkers in a waffle house at three o’ clock in the morning? And shunning the Godlewskis and Aiellos.
P.S. Groin slaps.)
4) Lancaster -> Middleburg (After viewers have grown accustomed to the disappointing nature of Family Edition, this episode breathes life into the season. Missed highway exits leads to screaming. Traffic congestion leads to screaming. An empty gas tank leads to screaming. Oh, and a government-based theme combined with the Civil War battle makes this leg very distinct like the Amish and NYC fusion of the season premiere. David Aiello’s errors were amusing as well as Papa Gaghan who refused to ask for directions at the reflecting pool. The big shoe gave me an excuse to reference Snoop Dogg so that was G double O D. And the Rogers were mercifully removed from the race.)
5) NYC -> Lancaster (The last time the race started in New York they flew to Johannesburg. This season they don’t even fly. They drive across a couple states. Viewers were extremely disheartened to see after two hours that the ten families only traveled a little over 100 miles from the starting line. The Gaghans have probably run from New York to Pennsylvania in less time than the several days it occupied in the show’s filming. This marked the first episode where Phil started became an Advil popper.)
6) Huntsville -> New Orleans (Sitting in an office chair. Party bikes. Go to a mobile home for the night. Find a BP Gas Station. Go chop wood or play Blackjack. This is not your cousin’s road trip last summer. This was a leg on a season of The Amazing Race. The production crew should be fired. The cast on the other hand should be given free gas for life because without them the ratings would have crashed faster than the 2029 great reality TV market crash.)