– Previously on TAR: Tony nearly drowned. Weavers say everyone is against them. Paolos work hard to get the Weavers out. Godlewskis complain about bad luck at airports but end up with the best luck of any team in the history of TAR airports. Fifty nauseating laps of Super Karts. Paolos step onto the mat wearing underwear and socks for no good reason. Wally’s Bransen’s daughters had ADD which led to them finishing last but saved by the first of too many pre-determined non-eliminations. As you can see this episode does not have a ‘previously on’ segment because this was the second hour of a two-hour episode.
– We are introduced to Fort McDowell’s reservation that is nestled in the Four Peaks of Arizona. Will the Bransens be able to overcome this loss and keep themselves in the game? And can the Godlewskis continue their success and remain in the lead?
– Godlewskis who arrived first at 1143am will depart at 1143pm. Drive yourselves thirty-three miles to Mesa, Arizona and find Williams Gateway Airport. Get out and find Fighter Combat International to find their next clue inside the building.
– It’s the bland “there’s only five teams so we need to funnel our focus to be unstoppable” confessional from Sharon. Weavers are next a minute later. Rebecca is happy to be leaving in second place and will not let other teams get in the way of their enjoyment.
REBECCA: They don’t like us because we are different from them.
THEY: Nice and generous people towards others.
– Three minutes later it is time for the Linzes to depart. Tommy does an impression of an Arizonan. I have no clue what accent that is supposed to be. Linzes say they have endured the hits they have taken on the race. What hits? They haven’t had their stuff taken away on a non-elimination nor is anyone injured. They are just pandering for the underdog edit that nobody is entertaining of giving them.
TOMMY: I don’t roll with punches. . .
That is the best quote you will hear all season. I guarantee it. From time to time I find myself quoting it without realizing it is something Tommy Linz said a long time ago. You do not have much of a sense of humour if you did not find it funny. I guarantee it.
– Paolos read they have $73 for this leg. They depart at 1206am. Teams are smooshed together more than ever. Marion babbles about the pressure being on. DJ hands her the additional information for the first time in several rounds. At 1214am it’s the Bransens turn to depart. They take over ten minutes to put on extra layers seeing as how they came in right behind Paolos but went back to put on clothes knowing they were last. Beth says they will do whatever it takes. Like kill a man.
– The Bransens are driving to the casino to make quick money. Wally hopes it works. He is probably less optimistic because I don’t think Wally has much of a target audience who he can manipulate into giving him money.
– Michelle cusses out Sharon for not turning. Sharon points out that the three need to be navigating while she drives. Michelle is frustrated and asks if Sharon wants to look at the map. I thought Christine is the brains behind the operation? Since when is Tom Nook mum in the van?
– Linzes stop on the road to ask a guy for directions. Then high-pitched beeping is heard.
ALEX: Aw nuts.
MEGAN: Oh shoot.
Oh no! It’s the Po Po! Floor it and scream “F— the po-lease!” as you speed away.
– NICK: It’s fine. Just tell him you were asking for directions.
(ALEX explains the situation.)
OFFICER: What you looking for?
NICK: Gateway Airport! We’re racing other cars to get there!
The officer is either going to slap you with a fine right then and there or the officer is deaf. Only two possible options. No way “we’re racing other cars there” will fly in the eyes of the law at midnight. The coffee and donuts can only do so much to maintain a cheerful officer.
– MARION: Airport huh? Maybe it will be a helicopter ride.
TONY: Yeah, a helicopter ride. That’d make it fun for you. What are ye nuts?
Oh don’t mind Tony. He’s just angry he didn’t get to go in his precious race car in Talladega.
– Bransens pull into a casino. The three Bransen daughters beg while Wally watches from a distance. The parking lot is not too packed and see their chances of success dwindling.
Mr. Franklin is lonely, Beth.
Is this not the creepiest guy you have seen in a casino parking lot? He tails three 20 somethings around a casino parking lot after midnight. Security is onto him. You’ll have to lift up your head and expose your eyes at some point! Unless you’re a hunchback, that is.
– Beth, Lindsay, and Lauren have all successfully begged and hand in their money to Big Poppa Wally. He’s happy with the funds and they drive.
At least Wally Bransen didn’t have to choke a b—-.
– Weavers pull into the airport and take the ‘1’. They raise their arms and celebrate. That means Godlewskis are lost. Linzes jump out next and take the ‘2’.
ALEX: How’d you guys know it was here?
ROLLY: Cause we’re smart.
NICK (quietly): No.
Let’s heat up this rivalry a couple notches, shall we?
– Godlewskis are next and take a ‘3’. Rachel wishes it was a yield. You really want an equalizer spot to be a yield? I think the sand runs out before the place opens at 430am. Bransens take the last number.
– 430 arrives and teams run up to grab the clue. It’s a roadblock. “Who has the need for speed?”
In this roadblock one person will take off in a fighter plane and on orders from the pilot take control of the plane and perform a 360 degree loop in the air. Once they’ve completed the loop they will land to get their next clue.
Then do A BARREL ROLL!
– Megan Linz, Sharon Godlewski, Brian Paolo, and Lauren Bransen are doing the roadblock. Rolly, Sharon, and Megan are in the first set. So ‘1,’ ‘2,’ and ‘3’ were really one group with ‘4’ and ‘5’ in another. We hear the anonymous voice coach them to do some practice techniques. They giggle and believe it is awesome.
Sharon Godlewski tryna touch the sky,
Come up in the spot lookin extra fly,
Til the day she dies,
She’ll touch the sky
Until she runs out of money and is down to twenty cents for the ending to the music video of course.
– It’s attempt #1 for Rolly. Rolly does it in two seconds and asks if that’s it. The instructor confirms that is all. Sharon does it too. The Linz brothers keep referring to Megan Linz as air biscuit. It’s her new code. She finishes the task too. It appears to be extremely easy as the instructor holds their hand and tells them what to do in real time.
Note: I was so bored that I was falling asleep when this episode premiered seven years ago. I NEVER fall asleep. But this is the first time I can recall going to bed and waiting until the morning before I go to school to watch it. Something about watching people ride slow Super Karts and take their sweet time doing a bland trick in the air zaps me of energy.
– Brian is nervous.
ALEX: Do you know how scary it will be?
TOMMY: It’s just you and the joystick between your legs.
I’m surprised Tommy’s comment aired on TV, to be honest.
– Ou first three heroes land. Rolly opens the clue. Linda reads that they must drive 237 miles to the Grand Canyon and find Lipan Point. This is where they will receive their next clue. Kids direct Linda to 89 North. Alex Linz requests directions from Nick and only Nick. He says 89 North is the way to go. Godlewskis follow.
– Brian and Lauren are in the fighter jets. It’s the first attempt for Brian. He pulled on his joystick too hard.
DJ: He did it like a clown.
If DJ knows of clowns who fly fighter jets in the military, then the US Air Force is in some serious doo-doo.
– Lauren fails too. Brian tries again seconds later and succeeds. Lauren is done too. Paolos are clearly fourth and fifth for a reason.
INSTRUCTOR: They’re cheering for you out there.
LAUREN: They better be.
Lauren wants to be out of the cockpit immediately. The instructor was too eager to laugh at a terrible remark.
– Paolos are slow into their van so Bransens pass them. They are in a well defined race for dead last. However they roll down their windows to get directions from each other. Neither knows where to go. Bransens say they will stop and call. Marion and Brian think they should do the same. Unfortunately DJ is the driver and says they need to take a chance and wait until the Grand Canyon before they ask for Lipan Point.
And if there’s anything I know about the Grand Canyon, it’s that it is well known for its dense population and plenty of service stops around the area.
– Bransens get on the 229 exit. Godlewskis look up in the air to see hot air balloons. Linda Weaver notices the Godlewskis are about to pass them. The Weavers conspire to throw their garbage out the window at the Godlewskis. Christians can’t cast stones but they can cast garbage out of a window.
MICHELLE: Probably their apples.
How do you like them apples?
– Bransens are at a service stop and ask somebody for their cell phone. Wally receives precise directions. Weavers meanwhile are going to a Grand Canyon toll booth where they must pay twenty bucks.
REBECCA: We should tell the person to give a complete history lesson the Canyon.
LINDA: No, don’t.
LINDA: I will.
Oh Weavers. Your Christian beliefs have raised you to be so kind to others.
– Tony Paolo is the only person who thinks the route marker is on the 64 highway. Weavers are first to the toll booth and Linda instructs the person to give a nice long history lesson for the next car even if they don’t look like it. They laugh as they drive away.
(LINZ pulls up.)
RANGER: They were talking a ton of smack about this vehicle.
NICK: I bet they were. Now we have a reason to yield them.
– The teams take in the Canyon beauty temporarily. Rachel spots the clue box. They must drive 137 miles to Page, Arizona and find Glen Canyon Dam. Inside a smiling guide will take them to the top of the dam to receive their next clue. Linzes and Godlewskis are next to the clue.
DJ: I’m so excited to see the largest pothole in the world.
Again, Tourism Arizona does not sponsour TAR.
– Bransens get the clue. Paolos are stuck in traffic for a while before they snag the clue. It’s five teams on the way to the dam. Weavers and Linzes drive in to Glen Canyon. The Linzes laugh as them and the Godlewskis squeeze through the doors. Marcus is the tour guide for the Linzes. Kathy is the tour guide for Godlewskis.
(kathy tour guide)
Hi I’m Kathy. I’m your tour guide but you don’t give a s—, do you?
– Linda, Rachel, and Rebecca all need the restroom. Rolly throws his hands up in despair as his team strands him as they urinate. The number one and number two teams are taken down a long echo-y hallway. Alex and Megan take advantage of the echo by punching each other in the arms. As Tricia takes the clue Alex snags it from her. No penalty is given as everyone “oohs” and “awes” in the fun of the situation. Tricia takes another clue. It’s a detour.
– Teams have to choose between two tasks taking place on Arizona’s “majestic” horseshoe bay. In Bearing, teams travel by motorized raft to a flag where in a box they will find five colour-coded coordinates. Using a compass they will follow the coordinate to their next coloured card. They must find three locations in the same manner and maintain their colour until they find the ‘END’ card. Exchange these with the guide for your next clue.
In Bailing, teams travel by motorized raft to a section of the water and choose a submerged boat. Using their only hands and provided tools they must make the boat light enough to carry. Once they carry the boat across the line in the sand they will have their next clue.
– Godlewskis and Linzes pass by Weavers. Linda offers her hand but Linzes ignore her. Linda says they are so rude. Godlewskis who have been nice to Weavers until the garbage incident now refer to them as ‘the nasty’ team. Weavers fire back yet again that they are rude and are desperate housewives.
SHARON: If we can lift five wounded soldiers we can bail a boat.
The only person on the planet who finds carrying the wounded soldiers to be at all of a memorable detour task.
– Nick Linz that Weavers are doing the compass while the big dogs are doing the more challenging one. Some people can’t follow compasses, Nick.
NICK: Bone, keep your eye out on the left over there, buddy.
My first question is “Who is Bone?” Why would editors include a nickname that has not been explained to us? A mystery that plagues me to this day. Because well, it became a mystery today.
– Godlewskis and Linzes have yet to find a boat. Wally hopes the Paolos are behind them and knows it will all come down to the detour. Tony and Brian realize they are on the wrong highway and Marion was right all along. They switch highways but are optimistic they can catch up. Brian and DJ are anyway.
– Linzes find the boats and start bailing. Godlewskis are a couple minutes behind and spot the Linzes in plain sight. Both teams frantically bail. Weavers find the first of three boxes. Lauren Bransen meanwhile puts on more chapstick. Marion thinks they could be doing than they think they are and loves the beauty of the canyons.
– Alex Linz splashes the Godlewskis. They splash back. Linzes avoid the mistake Saboga made in the episode two immunity and flip it over the first chance they get. Megan reads the clue. Drive fourteen miles to Lake Powell and find Antelope Point. Once there they will choose a boat and search the waters for Phil’s houseboat. The Linzes flex their arms and cheer when they pass the Weavers to see how they react. The Weavers are confused as they see how their own screaming and random cheering looks from the other side for once.
Oh the irony. Linzes are sharper than I thought.
– Weavers the second sticker. Bransens are now on the scene. Godlewskis are not heavy enough. Christine is on one side but whines about not being heavy enough.
Michelle Godlewski will go on Weight Watchers when she finishes the race. That hurts, Christine. That hurts.
– Weavers have the clue box in sight and run past the Godlewskis who are stuck pushing a boat. Godlewskis finally succeed. Tricia misses grabbing a clue and needs to try a second time. It’s a neat little editor’s joke. The episode slows down as the Linzes talk about being first and they direct the Bransens where to look for the boats as they pass. Weavers greet the Bransens too. Bransens recap who they passed. Real compelling stuff.
– Bransens bail of their boat to bail a different boat. Linzes pass by the Paolos in their van. Godlewskis and Weavers pass the Paolos too. Teams are all driving on 98. The three teams are in a caravan. Weavers make a U-Turn not thinking that it is the right way. Linda hops out to ask a red truck and the truck instantly agrees to take them to Antelope Point. Linda prays to be taken to Antelope Point.
– Paolos are at the detour. Bransens finish bailing the boat and grab their clue as a loud hissing noise is on the soundtrack. There was a loud hissing noise when the Weavers did a chunk of their detour too. I suppose deep in the caverns is where there are a ton of noisy bugs who can carry sound real well. An editing crew’s nightmare in post-production for sure.
– Paolos pass by Bransens who have finished the detour already. This means the Paolos are a solid fifteen to twenty minutes behind. Tough to make up when the pit stop is a mere fourteen miles away. Bransens have one of the most messed up group high fives I have seen. Paolos opt to bail.
MARION: How much water do we need out of this freakin’ thing?
MARION: Don’t be yellin’ at me. I’ll take your frickin’ head off.
DJ: Ma, this is a big river. I can drown you here and no one would find your body.
MARION: Just try, buddy.
TONY: C’mon, bail.
Oh c’mon Tony. It’s not like this is a do-or-die situation. Couldn’t they just be assuming that one of three remaining non-eliminations will occur this round? It’s not like production would want three non-eliminations with only one pit stop elimination before the finish line. That would be Crazy Talk. You know, Crazy Talk? He lives on the reserve in Fort McDowell.
– Bransens are on the road. Wally does not see Antelope Point on the map. Maybe there is suspense after all. Marion wants to flip the boat over but DJ, Brian, and Tony say they already tried. You do know you have about five to ten pounds less of water compared to the last time you tried? Marion is frustrated. DJ slams his bucket down saying they already tried.
Yep. Same soundbyte. We don’t get to see Tony’s face when we hear it so I imagine production loved using the soundbyte whenever the Paolos are at the back of the pack. I don’t know who says “sonofab—-” more:
Tony Paolo or Jack Bauer?
– The hissing is really loud a couple times as the Paolos complete the task. Linzes park their car and run down to the docks. Not a boat in sight.
NICK: “Linz Family, you’re team number one!” YOU DAMN RIGHT WE ARE PHIL!
I suppose one gets a bit loony after finishing second or third in every leg for the past six rounds.
– Nick reads the clue and points out that it clearly states “the marked path”. So they run up the hill and find the yellow arrow. How do you miss a yellow arrow? So they run down the downhill rocky path and fire up their own boat. Godlewskis are parked and appear to have no trouble finding the huge yellow arrow.
– The boat barely moves. Nick fiddles around with it some more before their boat moves. Godlewskis seem to struggle with it for a shorter amount of time than the Linzes. Weavers’ escort drops them off at the parking lot.
– Boat race between Godlewskis and Linzes. Tommy wonders why the Godlewski’s boat is moving so much faster. Nick denies that it is. Megan thinks Nick is crazy and that Godlewskis are clearly gaining. Sure enough the Godlewski’s boat goes around the Linzes and takes the lead in the final turn before the houseboat. Rough. All because the Linzes are heavier overall than the Godlewskis. The Godlewskis could have moved faster but Michelle really held them back.
The pit stop greeter for this round is Phil’s newly adopted son.
Hey Dad, what’s my line again? “You are team number. . .no, that’s not right. Welcome to. . .oh I forgot what town we are in! Maybe I’ll play it safe and say “welcome to Arizona”. Or maybe “welcome to my houseboat?” No, that just sounds like I am desperate to have friends.
– Godlewskis jump onto the houseboat. Phil announces they are team number one and screech and scream as they high five each other. They have won a travel trailer. Because of course the first thing that the sisters will want to do after driving themselves across the United States for three weeks is to get in that trailer and have a road trip.
– The Linzes stagger onto the mat and drag their feet in shame. Phil shakes their head and tells them that the Godlewskis keep beating them.
NICK: Maybe if we be nice they’ll treat us to one of their prizes afterwards.
Wink wink nudge nudge.
– Weavers land on the mat with no screaming. Phil wonders why his ears aren’t ringing around the Weavers and ask if something is wrong. Rachel complains she is all alone and can’t seem to figure out why teams would dislike her after throwing garbage at cars out the window.
I am stumped.
RACHEL: The other people are classless.
Did they ever throw apple cores at you from their car windows? Just checking.
RACHEL: It’s hard being the only family trying to live a Christian life.
Nothing says a good Christian like shunning people in airports when they want to have a conversation with you.
– Bransens are at the boat launch. Paolos walk down the path and claim they are flying in their boat. Tony has them riding the waves while the Bransen daughters are extremely nervous by how slow they are moving.
MARION PAOLO: We’re coming, Phil.
That’s Teri’s line! It is trademarked. You owe her royalties.
– Bransens are fourth after Tony claims he can see a boat up ahead. Paolos waste no time yelling at each other after their fate has been sealed. DJ calls his dad an idiot for not knowing which direction ‘left’ is, and everyone freaks out at Marion to not tip the boat when she stands to climb the ladder onto the houseboat.
– Phil gives them the news that they are last and eliminated. Tony says he had a ball the entire time and shakes Phil’s hand rather than tackle the Philiminator for once. Phil asks if the yelling is normal. They say it is and that they will remain together as a family forever. It’s a great bond. DJ is impressed with his mom. Tony is proud of DJ, too. The experience will never be taken away from him and it is worth more than the million bucks. DJ wishes they could have gone further.
Next time on TAR: It is down to the Final Four. However there is still three non-elimination legs to go. Because there cannot be more than one non-elimination at Final Three, the suspense as to when a team will be eliminated next is gone. What a slow grind it will be until the next elimination.
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 Paolo Family 4.13
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:
6) 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.
5) 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.
4) 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.
3) Paolo Family
SCREAM SCREAM YELL YELL SCREAM SCREAM YELL YELL -#westilloveeachother- SCREAM SCREAM YELL YELL – #momiloveyou – SCREAM SCREAM YELL YELL – #djlovesme – SCREAM SCREAM YELL YELL – #sonofab—- SCREAM SCREAM YELL YELL – #whosgottheclue – SCREAM SCREAM YELL YELL.
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) Fort McDowell -> Paige (Traveling within the same state back to back legs? That is brutal. The only saving grace for this leg is the absolute stunning scenery that is replicated nowhere else in the US. It beats the heck out of landscapes like New York or Virginia. The cavern in Lake Powell is one of a kind. Did you see how big the Glen Canyon Dam was? My goodness. This is the first leg as a viewer where I feel like the season needs to end. There is only so much “Everyone vs. Weavers followed by ironic Weaver quotes” that we can handle. Even the Paolos yelling at each other and losing a clue at the beginning became stale. The Bransens do nothing. Godlewskis look like a boring mess that suppresses their true emotions which prevents compelling television. The Linzes are the only ones igniting the other teams to have more of a personality and have fun on the race course. Like telling a police officer that you are racing other cars or creating your own cliches? Linzes have the season on their shoulders.)
6) 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.)
7) 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.)
8) 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.)