TAR 8 episode 7 ranking

Seventh episode

Previously on TAR: Six families set out from Panama City, Panama and raced to San Jose, Costa Rica. There teams sprinted to the edge of a volcano. “Oh gosh!” The Paolos and four other families conspired together against the Weavers. But it was the Paolos who took the bullet and yielded them. The Weavers lashed out. At the roadblock Tammy Gaghan searched in vain and fell to the back of the pack. At the detour teams ventured into the rain forest. And New York City garbage man Tony Paolo outmuscled his sons. In the final run to the pit stop Marion Paolo struggled to keep pace with her family for first place. But the Gaghans couldn’t catch up and never recovered. Now five families remain. Who will be eliminated next?

– Intro time.

I should note that this leg was supposed to be in Belize but it was canceled because of Hurricane Emily. So if you wonder why this leg’s route sucked it is because of the hurricane.

– A silly instrument plays as Phil introduces Quepos. It’s a Pacific paradise apparently.

Phil’s Questions: Can the Paolos continue to capitalize on their newfound teamwork? And with only five teams left, will the Weavers survive being outcast?

– The Paolos who were first to arrive at an undisclosed time will depart at 727am. DJ reads (what a clue hog) that they will travel on foot to the cove of Playa Maracas where they will play uh the maracas. But seriously, one team member will swim down to the buoy to retrieve their next clue. They may as well call it a roadblock. Too scared to call it a roadblock, production? Teams had to climb a ten-step ladder and it counted as a roadblock.

– Marion is telling everyone she is trying not to think about the pain in her legs while she talks about the pain in her legs. I love that logic. DJ says his mother drives him up the wall. Oh. We didn’t notice. Really. DJ has told her mom to stop talking already. One minute later Linzes are happy to receive $110 bucks. Tommy says they like to think they are the strongest and fastest but it’s not all about being the strongest on the race. Alex says it’s tough to gauge what needs to happen. It’s a learning experience but he’d rather have a learning experience than be in first right now.

– One minute later it’s for the Bransens. Lauren says people need to take a step back and have it be an equal learning opportunity for everyone. This is coming from the person who wanted her dad to drive and ask for directions at the same time. Two seconds later Wally volunteers to get in the water. DJ wants to do the task but Marion points out Tony is much stronger so he should do it. Tony strips and into the blue he goes. Nick is doing it. Wally puts on his proper shoes so he doesn’t cut his feet on the rocks. He catches up fast but he is going the wrong way for a bit. Tony is first to the buoy. Nick has the clue and starts swimming back as Tony stays on the buoy.

*DJ: I wanna do it.
MARION: Let your dad do it. He’s strong and can swim.*

Two minutes later

*Facepalm*

Who does he think he is? Michael Ilacqua from TAR 3? Volunteer for a swimming roadblock then two seconds in you completely forget that you never learned how to swim? How can multiple people forget that they can’t swim? Boggles my mind.

– DJ and Marion are as puzzled as I am and tell Tony to not drown. They give him a lifejacket to swim back. Alex reads the clue as we can hear Tony yelling in exhaustion from the water. Teams must now travel sixty miles to the church known as La Iglesia de Metal. Ah. The birthplace of Christian Rock. It was a structure brought to Costa Rica from Belgium in the 1800s. Costa Rica are still repaying the debt from the line of credit they took out on the huge church. An altar boy will hand them their next clue. Tony is dragged back by the rescue swimmers slowly. Wally Bransen of all people pass him and the Bransens have gone. DJ reads the clue and carries his dad’s bags. They slip to third.

– Linzes have found a pay phone to call for directions.

12 people-1 phone. This should be fun. I bet Quepos never knew pay phones would be in such high demand at eight o’ clock in the morning. And why in the world does Nick Linz need help with a pay phone? You insert the coin then dial the numbers. Is that so complicated? Four different people dial the cab company. Tony Paolo gives it a try but gets an English speaker. The rotation system didn’t mean crap. The three cabs arrive together. They are all vans so Beth doesn’t have to sit on her dad’s lap. They are told the drive is 2 1/2 hours.

TOMMY: That means no peeing. For 2 1/2 hours.

Tommy is pissed that he doesn’t get to urinate for two hours. Maybe you shouldn’t have drank that soda right before the leg began!

– Christine says “rip!” as Sharon opens the clue. It’s 832am so evidently the Godlewskis lost a ton of time getting to last round’s detour. Tricia knows they argue and that they will resolve that otherwise they will be eliminated. Sharon swims to get the clue and comes back. She said it was exhausting. Evidently her cardio is poor. Weavers depart at 900am. It’s a 93 minute spread despite the yield.

REBECCA: It’s better to be hated for what you are than be loved for what you are not.

So you love to be hated for being a snotty jacka– to other teams, than to be loved for not being kind and generous people? Got it.

– Rolly is swimming on faith and Linda leads the prayer then thanks Jesus for getting the clue. Hey, I thought Rolly was doing the roadblock! Godlewskis run until they see a phone booth. Sharon calls for a taxi. The van arrives. Linda sees the same phone booth to call for a taxi and it instantly arrives. She prays inside the van to catch up to the other teams.

If this were the Internet Linda would have her account suspended for 48 hours because of prayer spam.

LINDA: What’s your name?
DRIVER: Arnold.
ALL FOUR: GOOOOOOOOOOO ARNOOOOOLD!!!!

Then Arnold drove his van off a cliff and him and the Weavers were never heard again. You can take the producer who planned out most of these Family Edition legs with you too. I’ll leave that to your discretion.

– Teams see a funeral going on outside the church. They try to walk as quickly and quietly as possible. They read the clue. It’s a detour. Brush or Barrel. In brush, teams travel by taxi ten miles to an ox cart factory in the town of Sargee. Once here they will choose two of the oddly painted cartwheels then follow the pattern from the painted section finish decorating the wheels. When the artisan approves of their work they will receive their next clue. In barrel, teams will travel by taxi over ten miles to a sugar cane plantation. Once here they will load a tractor trailer with one ton of harvested sugar cane. Then they’ll transport it approximately six miles to the rum factory. Then they must search the rum factory’s warehouse, Toneleria, and look for the marked drum barrel rack. They will search the barrel for their next clue.

– Linzes are unable to make a decision. Paolos decide to do the barrels because Tony is strong and DJ won’t have to do any work. Linzes finally decide to do the painting. Bransens want to paint it too. The Linzes are in the van. Nick wants to know why they aren’t doing the sugar cane factory.

NICK: We should always do the one that involves strength.

You puked pushing an Amish buggy, dude.

– Bransen daughters are not sure if their female cab driver knows where to go and asks their dad if they should giver her their map. The Godlewski daughters say Costa Rica is a nice romantic getaway but it’s too bad they are with the sisters. Respect reality. Weavers meanwhile are cheering as loudly as ever and clap in unison “go Arnold go”. Oh my. You better give your cab driver an extra tip. I think Arnold would have yielded the Weavers last leg if he had the choice.

– Paolos go from bananas to sugar canes. The Paolo Plantation will be opening soon at this rate. Them and the Linzes are together at the sugar cane factory. The rural South American music plays once again. Bransens have circled back to the church. They are not impressed. Wally asks if the driver knows where she is going. She brushes him off. He is confident he doesn’t know where she is going. She pulls over to ask a couple officers.

– Megan and Marion are on top of the tractor straightening the canes as the three males on each team toss them on. Godlewskis have the clue and are going to paint. Christine freaks out over how tough painting the design can be and starts overthinking it. Sharon brings her down to earth to tell her that all you do is look at the design and draw. Do it mindlessly. Bransens arrive and the daughters think the task will take forever.

– Weavers whine they are in last and shout all the way to the altar boy in the midst of a funeral. This is what I mean about the Weavers having blinders on.-_-

– Weavers agree to paint. Rachel prefers to paint rather than do the monotonous stuff. Back at the sugar cane plantation the Linz siblings are almost done.

Ten bucks says the supervisor wanted to squeeze into the shot just to show off his hat.

Or to get a front row seat at seeing DJ get punctured in the neck by a sugar cane. It’s his first day. Let the hazing begin.

– Tony gets hit too and DJ dodges Tony throwing around the canes. Canes. Nature’s physical comedy. The Linzes are done and sit on the sugar canes. Tony complains that there are canes sticking up his butt. They scream “Who Dey?” and compare it to aunt Susan’s house looking for pumpkins. DJ is frustrated and wonders how the Linzes can finish already. Marion wants him to focus.

– The Bransen daughters want Wally to draw faster. Wally insists to go at his own pace. Godlewskis are next to the painting and are excited to see oxen. They are eager to paint and greet the Bransens who don’t acknowledge them. It’s like they are busy with painting or something.

– Paolos are done. Tony serenades with a language that is definitely not Italian, Spanish, nor English. DJ is embarrassed to say the least. At least I think so.

Yep. He is indeed embarrassed. And are you in Hell? Let me check. . .

Yep! You’re definitely in Hell. You died from a sugar cane to the neck. Venom from a snake, household fires, tsunamis, broccoli, and sugar canes, they’re all equally deadly.

– Weavers are at the ox place and are ready to design. Wally compliments them for making good time. They thank him. At least they have enough sense to be nice to Wally. Rebecca and Rachel waste no time shrieking during the task as they argue over how the design should be. Michelle and Tricia work as a pair. She curses out Tricia for not staying in the lines. Tricia replies in her Palin voice that she is staying in the lines. Michelle presses the issue by saying she isn’t. This argument goes nowhere as expected and wants to switch partners.

– The Linz truck is at the Toneleria. They search the warehouse for one of five marked barrels. They roll a rack of barrels out. Nick sees tools and starts hammering the barrels with them. Alex does the bright thing and sees the lone cork in one of the barrels and pulls it out to take the clue. They laugh at themselves for trying to smash open wooden barrels. Alex reads that they must fly to. . .
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PHOENIX
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ARIZONA.

My first reaction:

And my next reaction:

– Teams will re-enter the United States by flying to Phoenix, Arizona. Once teams land they will choose a marked car and drive themselves fourteen miles to Bondurant Super Kart School where they will find their next clue.

Tuition costs five thousand mushrooms per year.

Megan Linz celebrates while the other three could not look less excited. Alex tilts his head to ensure he read the word “Arizona” right. Or maybe Megan is throwing a fit of anger. I don’t know. And don’t care.

– MEGAN: Back to English.

Two days away and you already speak in syntax errors. Excellent.

– Linzes are back in the taxi and head to international departure for perhaps the last time of the season. Paolos argue over who has the clue. The victim this time is DJ. Marion is off the hook for once. They might be the worst team to handle the additional information for their clues in the history of TAR. Tony Paolo is inside the toneleria and finds the cork in a barrel without using hammers to smash it. Tony reads the clue.

MARION: What the hell are we going to Arizona for? I want to go to New Zealand!

Phil sheds a tear. So does the audience at home.

Also, Tourism Arizona is not a sponsour for The Amazing Race. In case you did not notice.

– Wally wants Lindsay or Lauren to finish the white part of the painting and not to worry about him. Lindsay or Lauren chime in that they do worry about him. Yeah, I have yet to tell the difference between Lindsay and Lauren. As soon as they read the clue they talk about how slow Wally and Beth were at the task.

– Godlewskis are bent over painting. So are Weavers. The Weavers complete the task and pass the Godlewskis. Rebecca is annoyed they re going to another racetrack. It’s like producers want to scrape any ratings together that they can.

– Linzes buy tickets on a flight that gets in at 935am. They direct the Paolos to the counter but the agent says the flight is full. Tony says he is an idiot and so does DJ. Marion wishes they would talk nicer to improve their chances of getting on the flights in crucial situations. Instead the Paolos trek onwards to the long line at Taca Airlines.

– The first flight has already taken off. It connects through Atlanta. Bransens are at the Taca counter. The Weavers see the Paolos for the first time since the yield incident. Rebecca Weaver starts hopping through the airport like it’s three o’ clock in the morning at a waffle house.

Look at all two inches of air that Rebecca Weaver got!

DJ: The Weavers. Over my dead body that team is not going to win.

Say your prayers, DJ.

– Paolos go to Phoenix via New York. That connection is very out of the way within the US borders. It gets in at 920am. Fifteen minutes earlier than the Linz’s flight! Tony informs Wally about the flight. DJ is stoked. Weavers have joined them.

DJ: Team Florida is on the same flight.
TONY: Sonofab—!

That is about the fifth or sixth time that production has used Tony Paolo’s “sonofab—-!” soundbyte from episode one.

– Brian makes a joke where DJ tells him to shut up. The Godlewskis finally finish. The Weavers corner DJ in the airport.

What DJ Paolo is singing in his head:

There’s no way out of this one for you, DJ! Weavers are ready to pull out the pitchforks. Good luck finding an escape.

– DJ says they were the last team to the yield. The Weavers screech. DJ says they are doing whatever it takes to knock a team out. The Weavers screech some more. Linda whines that she has been nothing but nice to DJ and wants to be friends. DJ says that it is the Final Five and it is the game.

*Flashback*

DJ: Hey Bransens, this is the best flight.

*End of flashback*

LINDA: Well we have yields left and you don’t sweetie.

Ouch. I think Linda successfully cornered you and intimidated the fear into you to make you scramble, DJ. There is pressure to beat the Weavers to every single yield mat.

– Godlewskis are on the New York flight and are ecstatic that they caught up. The Linzes who were on the flight four minutes ago are now the last place team. So the second flight flies to New York and where this season all started. How uninspiring. The Atlanta flight lands which means Tommy Linz barks after they hunker down. DMX barks less than Tommy Linz. The Godlewskis are in New York. They ask to switch their seats to the front of the plane. Good thing they ask because the woman says there are no tickets for any of them in the system and the flight is full. The four sisters are not impressed. None of them think they will be on the flight. Michelle says they always have the worst luck. Commercial.

– The agent books them on a 700am flight departure from Newark to Phoenix. The broke Godlewskis enter a cab at JFK and transfer to Newark. It’s the FRIENDS finale all over again. Tell Rachel Green to not go to Paris! Or start being funny.

– Weavers, Paolos, and Bransens hang out in the terminal wondering where the sisters are. The Godlewskis book tickets on an America West that lands at 920am. They will arrive simultaneously with the JFK flight. The two New York flights take off. Then Atlanta. This cues Phil to remind us of the Super Karts route marker. Apparently eight minutes is too big for the dull mind of a viewer. We suck at retaining information.

– Phoenix, Arizona. Desert. Canyons. Cacti. Cowboys. Tony Hillermna’s paradise. Godlewski’s flight lands forty-five minutes early. Michelle is forbidden to complain about having bad luck anymore. I cannot recall a time a flight has landed 45 minutes early in the history of TAR. It must be a record. Christine asks for perfect directions at the toll booth. They counted all of the cars before to ensure they were first.

CHRISTINE: We are smart women.

Smart, lucky, same thing really. I mix those definitions up all the time. Smart women have a tendency to not know the definitions of words. It takes true intelligence.

– JFK flight is in. Weavers, Bransens, and Paolos run. Marion runs much to her chagrin. She says the airport does not like people running. I think running through airports is encouraged on TAR. Linda thanks god for putting them on 10 East. Bransens then Weavers are in the cars. Paolos take forever to find their cars. They still do not find a car.

NICK: We feel like we’re in a good position.

Heh. Dramatic irony.

– Linzes are in a car. Brian sees the car. Marion says DJ will not get married because no one will put up with him and she is ready to slap him upside the head. Marion asks for DJ to have a talk with him.

CHRISTINE: Bah-Hah!

From Tom Nook to Waluigi, Christine Godlewski’s impressions take us through the course of video gaming history. Next she will grow a Tom Haggar moustache.

– After Christine channels Waluigi when she sees the Go Kart school she opens the clue. It’s a roadblock. In this roadblock one person will suit up and has to get behind the wheel of a super kart. Like we didn’t see that coming. Then they will have to complete a gruelling fifty lap race in sweltering Phoenix heat to receive their next clue. Wow. That’s a draining task. The days of climbing ten steps on a ladder for a roadblock is over.

Production initially scheduled two people to do it but a lawsuit from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! was bound to occur. Seeing Marion hug onto DJ as she threw red shells and pizza pies at other teams would have been a sight to see. Linda could have laid down crosses on the track, too. Oh well. Maybe Family Edition: All Stars.

Powerslide that corner, Phil! Snake it, snake it, snake it!

– The three sisters say Michelle had been talking all season to do a roadblock. Nothing like driving in the Arizona heat for your first roadblock. Have fun! Only time she has to check in the pit stop is at lap 25. It’s a To Be Continued leg because nothing happens if you check into the pit stop. Get it? Bad joke. DJ Paolo would not be smiling.

– So Michelle is set to begin.

A type of weather a Phoenix citizen has never seen in their life.

– Bransens are next to the roadblock. The daughters volunteer Wally because it is one where he won’t slow them down. All he has to do is sit on his butt.

REBECCA: What state are we in again?

Even if I tell you the correct answer will that change the situation at all? Regardless, you’re in Pennsylvania.

– Linda announces to her children that if it is a roadblock that involves driving round a track that she will do it. The daughters are happy about it. Linda goes inside to get her instructions and tells the instructor that she needs compassion because her husband died in a race car accident. The instructor couldn’t care less as he keeps going on. Rachel and Rebecca cry on the sidelines. Don’t worry. Nobody has ever died from a Go Kart accident. It’s impossible. I was struck by lightning four times in the race and managed to do three laps in less than four minutes flat.

– Rachel does not want her driving.

If that finger was any further into her mouth she would be anorexic.

– Instructor catches on that Linda is relaxed and insists she relax. Rachel tells her to be careful. It’s freaking Go Karting. Michelle has done 25 laps. Bransens and Weavers are surprised to see the Godlewskis.

Wally Bransen starts his race.

CHRISTINE: Michelle overtook Wally!
TRICIA: She’s probably so much lighter!

Wow. When Wally sees this at home his diet will crumble as he buys a bucket of Ben & Jerry’s and cries himself to sleep. He is so self-conscious.

And then Linda Weaver

– Rachel says no matter how fun Go Karting may be to other people it is not fun to them. They say Linda is doing her role as a mom. Then the Linzes comment on how you could cook bacon on the road because of the heat. Temperature update is around 37 degrees celsius. Car pulls in and they are shocked to see three teams there before them. The earliest departure does not mean earliest arrival for future reference, Linzes.

Michelle – 31
Wally – 6
Linda – 4

– Lindsay says she feels bad for the Weavers. So are the Godlewskis.

SHARON: Just remember your dad would be proud of you. So proud of you guys. Remember that. Just think about that.
TRICIA: He’s watching you.
(They walk away.)
REBECCA: I hate the Desperate Housewives. They are so annoying. And they lie.

Way to respect a team that is taking the time to comfort you, Rebecca. Classy.

– Tommy prepares to do the roadblock.

Tommy’s kart may be faster than the other teams. And may not be an actual kart. The place ran out. It’s all they had left.

Michelle – 36
Wally – 9
Linda – 6
Tommy – 2

– Paolos are on the road. DJ pulls over and shouts for Marion to move it. He volunteers himself for the roadblock.

Michelle – 46
Wally – 20
Linda – 18
Tommy – 15

– DJ is ready to go.

Did you get all five references? I worked hard on this.

– Wally is at the pit stop before the actual pit stop. Daughters tell him Tommy is flying. Wally shrugs it off and says he doesn’t want to make a mistake. How do you make a mistake Go Karting? Drive in the wrong direction and force Lakitu to annoy you until you turn around? Geez.

– The first person is done. We have a winner!

I knew it was a foregone conclusion when Michelle picked the grey Go Kart!

The other four racers and Michael J. Fox opt to continue.

– Michelle reads that teams must drive themselves to the real pit stop. It is thirty-two miles away in Fort McDowell. It is a 25, 000 acre reserve home to a Native American peoples. Boy am I glad we came to Arizona to Go Kart and drive to a ranch. Godlewskis ask a local in the parking lot. He has a map and gives it to the Godlewskis. Christine hounds Michelle to help with reading the map. Michelle’s face is beet red and you want her to work immediately? What a sister.

– Christine wants them to take 60. Michelle snatches the map and says to take 202. Tricia elbows Christine for good measure. Further proof against Christine having the best ideas. Back at the track Wally is on lap 32. This Go Kart race does not play out too well on TV. DJ is a responsible driver and looks over his shoulder. Tommy taps Linda’s vehicle which triggers a scream from the Weavers. Although we never see them actually scream. It is very edited.

– Linda enters the pit stop as her and Tommy nearly crashed. Linda takes a drink of water admits she feels like throwing up. Away she goes to continue. Tommy Linz is done lap 25. He keeps raising his eyebrows for whatever reason. Christine Godlewski recaps that they are looking for the pit stop. Michelle asks a driver in the other lane to ensure they are on the right track. Looks like Christine has the best ideas after all because they are told to make a U-Turn and head to 87 North.

This is the first U-Turn we will see until TAR 12.

– Michelle Godlewski sticks out her tongue at Christine behind her back followed by Wally Bransen finishing the task. He wants to get out and ask the first chance they get. Linda Weaver is done and says it was really tough. She takes out the map and directs Rebecca onto 87 North. Tommy Linz finishes a short time later. The Linzes brag that they made up a ton of time yet remain in fourth. They see it on the map. DJ eventually finishes. Tony thinks it is unfreakin’ real. Ten laps to go for DJ.

– Godlewskis have found 87 North. The Weavers trash talk Tommy for passing a 46 year old woman. I thought age was just a number? What do they say for cussing the other teams who are supposedly nasty?

They trash talk the trash man. Huh.

– Megan says Tommy was going the fastest and Nick adds he was “El Fuego”.

My rant on Facebook:

I am about two minutes away from finishing episode seven of Family Edition. The Go Kart task may beat out the hay bale task from TAR 6 and “Climb the Ladder” from episode 3 this season as the worst roadblock ever.

“Hay Bale Push” was the worst in terms of production planning. Sure there was physical exertion in terms of pushing the hay bales after a long day. It failed in that a team could push 250 hay bales without finding a clue and having absolutely nothing they could do about it except be eliminated by Phil ten hours later.

“Climb the Ladder” was just silly. It was essentially designed for Austin Black and Carissa Gaghan to climb ten steps if they were in the race for the sole purpose of giving them a roadblock to do.

But Go Karting may take the cake. You get to the task and drive around in a Go Kart for fifty laps. The Super Karts have a capped speed. Therefore teams cannot maneuver for a better position or use any skill to catch up. Teams finished the task in the same order they arrived and the one person who cut the corners perfectly made up a total of about five minutes.

In addition the roadblock took over ten minutes of the forty minute episode. Fifty laps of Go Karting makes me wonder how somebody can watch three hundred laps of NASCAR.

– Bransens go inside a hotel. They ask for directions. The lady only knows of Fort McDowell Casino (a First Nations reserve only known by a casino? I won’t go there).  So she calls somebody who would know specific directions. The phone is ringing and Wally is ready to talk. The lady has only said to go on 87 North. The three daughters scramble to the vehicle worried about losing precious time and yells for Wally to run and join them. Wally looks at the phone then his daughters and sighs. Wally voices his frustration wondering what the heck they were doing running out the door. I suppose he did not catch on that the daughters merely wanted to follow the highway number.

– DJ is done and reads the clue. He is out of breath. Brian claims he knows where it is on the map. Who knew Brian Paolo would be the uber navigator. The Godlewskis see the sign and clap in excitement. The Weavers look right behind to see the Linzes and pull into the ranch. Rebecca has caught up to the Godlewskis at the ranch. All three teams are running around the ranch.

– Sure enough the Godlewskis are first to nobody’s surprise. They cheer in a high-pitched voice. Phil informs them they have won a trip to Belize after the race is over. This prize is offered because a leg was canceled in Belize this episode. The Go Karting was not supposed to happen at all. Dang you Hurricane Emily!

– Weavers arrive shortly thereafter in second. Rachel says every day they conquer new things and accomplish togetherness after doing things and goals together. Her words not mine.

– Linzes are third. Phil teases Tommy if he even has a real license. Philimiburn. So it’s a foot race between Paolos and Bransens. Marion tells DJ to put on extra clothes at the pit stop because it may be a non-elimination. DJ doesn’t want to look like a jerk. Marion doesn’t care. DJ is going to put on extra clothes and hang out at his cousin’s birthday party whether he likes it or not.

– Bransens pull over at a liquor store. They are yet again told to go on 87 North without a street name for reference. Tell me something I don’t know. Paolos see the sign and pull in. Bransens have yet to see it. DJ asks how many cars are there but Brian assumes the cars are all there. Everyone is well prepared for their bags being taken away ever since Meredith & Gretchen originally suffered that the team who thinks they are last puts on extra clothes.

There’s nothing great about granny panties. I can assure you that.

– The Paolos keep layering extra clothes in the 105 degree Arizona heat. Please note they are not wearing shoes at the moment. Suddenly the Bransens appear. Marion is forced to run in her socks.

PHIL: Paolo Family. . .you look ridiculous. You are team number four.

A man in a sweater, toque, and underwear over his pants hugs you in the 110 degree heat? Phil would do anything to push the guy away from him. Smells worse than the trash he handles!

PHIL: I had no idea what kind of support you had on this race. Now it’s very evident.

– Bransens are ready to check in but the Paolos stop them. They say they are last and to go put clothes on in case it is a non-elimination. This works out well for the Paolos because they may score a crucial five minute advantage next round if this is one of four remaining non-elimination legs. Anything to push a team further back in the event there are not any equalizers on the horizon.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Paolos pull over to put on clothes to keep as much as possible for a non-elimination but then the Bransens beat them in a foot race to the mat and Marion is stuck with no shoes and ultimately less than what she had on? All in the name of wanting extra clothes? Too bad that didn’t end up happening.

Even his Back to the Future 3 outfit looks less ridiculous than the Paolos right now.

– So the Bransens take their sweet little time to put on extra layers. They are crying. What if this is an elimination and the sequence for the rest of the race is 4-4-4-3-3-3? The audience would be bored to the same tears Beth is leaking.

Fortunately this leg is a non-elimination and there is three more to go. All of their money and baggage is taken. No money next leg. The usual. Beth says they don’t need clothes or money to win this race. I suppose they will do the whole pilgrim thing and hijack trains across the midwest to get to the finish line.

Next time on TAR: This was a 2-hour episode so we head immediately into the following leg. You thought the move to Arizona was a last second change to make up for the cancelation in Belize? Nope. We are just getting started in Arizona. Joy.

Megan.Tommy.Nick.Alex 0.1.1.0
Tony.DJ.Brian. Marion 1.0.0.1
Lauren.Beth.Wally.Lindsay 1.0.0.0
Linda.Rachel.Rebecca.Rolly 0.2.2.0
Michelle.Christine.Sharon.Tricia 0.0.0.1

Team averages

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) Quepos -> Fort McDowell (The first half of the episode is typical TAR. Swim to a buoy to get a clue. This was entertaining thanks to Tony wanting to swim but not being able to swim back because he forgot he can’t swim. The 4-team alliance against the Weavers was a big storyline yet again. The detour featured two tasks to show off further Costa Rican culture. Then we have the scrambling for airline tickets that put five families on three different flights. It is perhaps the best airport strategy session we see all season. DJ and Marion’s screaming reaches its biggest heights since round one.

But then we are back in the United States. Over ten minutes of the episode features Go Kart racing. I already covered why this is perhaps the worst roadblock in the show’s history. The only memorable thing to occur in the second half was the Paolos wasting valuable time putting on extra layers then seeing a team behind them come in and be forced to run in unfortunate clothing to the mat. This would be the only time such an event occurs in TAR which means it is a highly underrated moment. But still. The return to the United States prematurely. -_-)

4) 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.)

5) 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.)

6) 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.)

7) 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.)

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