TAR 8 episode 9 ranking

Ninth episode

Previously on TAR: It was a 2-hour episode so Phil recaps episode seven which I recapped in my previous blog. Tony nearly drowned then sang a tune. Linz family took the lead back to US. Godlewskis fell behind but a lucky break landed them first. The families raced Super Karts at the roadblock. The Weavers were nervous but Linda stepped up. Godlewskis kept their lead to the pit stop. The Bransens got lost and finished last but were saved by the all too prevalent non-elimination.

Families took flight. Brian Paolo struggled with the task. Then the Paolos lost direction. On the way the Weavers annoyed the Godlewskis by throwing Tostitos at the Godlewski’s car. Then angered the Linzes. At a watery detour the Linzes took a strong lead but a mistake put their lead in jeopardy. Then the Godlewskis put them in their wake and won their second leg in a row. The Paolos fought to the finish but ended up in last place. Now four families remain.

Who will be eliminated. . .eventually?

– Intro time. Char Schroeder looks hideous. I didn’t really notice that until now.

– Cacti. Canyons. Phil introduces us to Lake Powell. It was formed by the flooding of the desert after the construction of a dam it is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. It was the eighth pit stop.

Phil’s Questions: Will the Weaver Family’s continued alienation from the other teams affect their performance in the race? And can the Linz family break their string of second place finishes and finally win a leg?

– The Godlewskis who arrived first at an undisclosed time will depart at 545am. Whoa. It’s bright out there. Sharon reads that they must drive 136 miles to Monument Valley, Utah and travel to this spectacular Navajo tribal park famous in 1940s Westerns directed by John Ford. Although it was definitely not Navajo tribal land during the 1940s I can assure you. Teams must find John Ford’s Point to receive their next clue.

MICHELLE: Chrissy, relax.

It appears Christine wants to fill in the shoes of the Paolos and be the new person who argues .2 seconds away from the starting gate.

– Christine wishes that this trip would have led  the sisters to get to know each other on a more personal level but it has not happened yet. She thinks she fooled herself into thinking it could happen. Sharon is annoyed that Christine talks incessantly.

MICHELLE: I think she has a quota every day of words that have to come out of her mouth.

I think this is revenge for Christine calling her fat last leg.

– One minute later it’s the Linzes. Nick says they have had the lead the past couple legs but make a last second mistake that puts them in, well, second. Tommy says each time you fall short you want it more and more and try harder and harder. He thinks this is the leg where they have to get it.

– Godlewski’s tank is almost empty so they get on a road to get gas. Linzes catch on why the Godlewskis are on a completely different road. Weavers depart at 606am.

REBECCA: Coming into this it’s not like we’re ignorant ‘oh yeah everyone is going to be our friends’. But we didn’t think it would be like ‘only us against everyone else’.

I think it’s the fact that you ARE ignorant that you have no friends. Just sayin’.

RACHEL: The world we live in is not loving and kind. I think we’re sticking out cause we’re not as like crude.

Yeah. I hate a world where people throw garbage at my car, call my children retarded, and shun people when I try to talk to them in airports. The Weavers are too kind for this universe.

LINDA: It’s so against our beliefs to keep being treated so rudely.

Seriously. Just stop it editors. This is getting too much. We get it. The Weavers are so delusional about their own actions that it provides entertainment for the audience at home.

– Linzes joke that something is bound to go wrong because they are in first. Godlewskis pull into a gas station.

SHARON: Easy in easy out.

Oddly enough Sharon Godlewski’s last ex made the same remarks regarding Sharon.

– Weavers say they don’t want to know what other teams are doing and say their family bond is all they need. Godlewskis bought an amazing map and fill up quickly. Tricia tells Christine to stop talking. To no surprise her eyes have become watery. Bransens depart last at 627am. It’s a measly 31 minute spread from first to last this round. For whatever reason production refuses to have families more than 90 minutes apart from first to last with the exception of the lone Alabama leg.

– Wally says more teams means you can play cautiously but now they must be aggressive. In other words, the game is on. Linzes pass a brown sign that nobody has read. Rebecca has the strangest laugh when she sees the Godlewskis behind them. Godlewskis can’t figure out how a team ten minutes behind them can pass them after standing still at a gas station.

– Linzes ask for directions knowing the brown sign could have been the signal to turn. It was. Linzes turn around. Weavers pass the road too. So do Godlewskis but Christine catches on that it was supposed to be the turn. Sharon says a U-Turn will be impossible on a road with a trailer, truck, and only one lone lane. Christine jumps out of the truck to direct her.

– Weavers see the Godlewskis turning around. Linda jumps out to direct Rebecca. Christine is doing a terrible job of turning Sharon around. Everyone in the car makes fun of her for it. The Weavers are much faster and cheer as they pass the Godlewskis on the road. The Godlewskis settle for turning around at a road up ahead. Linzes pass Godlewskis and wonder where the heck the Godlewskis could be going. Godlewskis eventually turn around.

– Beth talks about the tension between the Linzes and Godlewskis against the Weavers. She hopes it will distract them and let her and her team get ahead. Wally says they are neutral like Switzerland.

– Weavers are first to jump out of their car and look for the clue box. Linzes and Godlewskis take the time to park too. Weavers grab the ‘1’ then the clue. Rolly reads that two people will ride in a helicopter to Elephant Butte. The helicopter has room for two teams. The helicopter will land on top of the butte where they will find their next clue.

NICK: Fly to the top of elephant butt.

BART: An elephant’s butt?
LISA: Yes, Bart. An elephant’s butt.

– Linzes ignore the part about taking a number. Godlewskis sneak in to take a ‘2’. Megan Linz sarcastically grabs a ‘3’. From first to last just like that. Michelle, Christine, Rolly, and Rebecca are in the helicopter.

This is not the beginning to Sylvester Stallone’s Cliffhanger but rather The Amazing Race: Family Edition. Although I would much prefer watching Cliffhanger than Family Edition by this point.

– Christine screams that there is a clue box. Rolly grabs the clue first but it doesn’t matter because the two teams are in the same helicopter. Linzes and Godlewskis ramble on about how they overshot this place. Nick wants a Yield so bad so he can yield the Weavers. Sharon hopes it’s coming and they have a deal that whoever gets there first yields the Weavers.

– The four players safely made it out of an elephant’s butte. They read that they must travel 180 miles to Moab, Utah and find Gemini Bridges. Teams must find this ridiculous geological rock formation to receive their next clue.

NICK: This is a choppa.

I would squeeze in as many Arnold Schwarzenegger references that I could too. “The butte is ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuut”.

– Linda directs Rebecca on how to turn around. Godlewskis are faster at turning around but the Weavers cut in front. Alex and Nick are in the helicopter alone. I suppose the Bransens drove slow because the helicopter rides must be a minimum of twenty minutes between each round trip.

TOMMY (slams car window a bunch of times):UH UH UH UH UH.
ALEX: . . .We need to get you a helmet.

– Linzes drive away. Minutes later the Bransens are on the scene. They must have lost some ground from their initial flight. Beth thinks the view from above is much better than the view from the ground. Helicopter is back. Beth reads the clue. And they drive away. We are back in road trip mode.

– So it’s time for a lovely analysis by the Weavers.

REBECCA: I am not digging Utah.
RACHEL: Whoever says the world is overpopulated needs to come to Utah.
ROLLY: It’s like hundreds of thousands of miles of nothing. God spent a little less time on this state.

Hold that thought for now and we will return to you later.

– Linzes comment on the Mexican Hat Rock.

That is the greatest ratio of the largest hat to the tiniest head possible. It’s like Carmano from Sunset Riders.

– The Linzes point and yell as they pass the Weavers on the road. Rebecca is only driving 50 on the hills which lets Nick pass her easily. Rolly goes on to imitate the Linzes.

Well let’s compare.

That’s actually pretty close. Good work, Rolly. You’re clearly the best Rolly out there.

Step aside you fat piece of slob. You have been dethroned!

– Megan is happy that the Weavers are angry. Alex has labeled the Weavers as the Wicked Witch of the East with her two flying monkeys. He thinks someone will drop a house on her head.

– Bransens wonder what they will be doing at Gemini.

BRANSEN DAUGHTERS: We like to be doing things that are more adventurous.
WALLY: I can settle for something tranquil and boring.

Well Wally certainly got his way considering he is on Family Edition.

– Godlewskis settle in for the long drive. Christine has a question to break the silence.

I suppose it would be. Numerous tourist info centres, Internet accessibility, detailed highway system. Yes, I would agree Christine.

Maybe if we pretend we re sleeping she will give up on speaking.

– Linzes are first to Gemini Bridges. Way to go from third to first. It’s a detour. Drop Down or Ride Down. In Ride Down, teams ride bikes six miles into the canyon to receive their next clue. In Drop Down, teams must complete a two stage repel 270 feet down into the canyon. Once at the bottom they will follow the marked path to their next clue.

It’s the classic “Do something cool and fast that will look good on camera” or “Do something slow and tedious because you’re a wimp” detour.

– Linzes are going to drop it and lock it down. Tommy does get his helmet after all like Alex requested minutes ago.

NICK: If we lose a teammate it’s going to be Tommy. God rest his soul. Then we’ll turn around and do the bikes.

Losing a kid then doing a completely different task? The Faghans considered doing the same in Treasure Hunters. Wait. You don’t know Treasure Hunters? Find the key-find the treasure-find the key-find the treasure? Watch it ASAP. Only one season but it is very good.

– RACHEL: I haven’t heard one thing about Utah.

Not even Karl Malone?

LINDA: I have.

So has Coach.

LINDA: Mormons live here.

Mormons live here???? Really. I live on the west coast of Canada and have been bombarded by Mormon missionaries twice in the past week. But that doesn’t mean that my town is defined by Mormons living here. I understand Mormons are more of the Utah stereotype, but seriously? That’s the ONE thing you know about the state of Utah? That there’s a plethora of Mormons?

RACHEL: For real?!

Oh no. Rachel is scared of the Mormons. I love where this conversation is going.

LINDA: Utah is the Mormon State.


“Well you’re ugly too!”

– Weavers run to the detour. Rachel says the repel would be too scary so they take the slow road on the bikes. Rachel squeaks that the bikes are fun. Linda says she always wanted to bike with her kids. You know what other activity would be more fun to do with your kids?

Repelling down a canyon!

Rebecca is unable to ride her bike and can’t figure out the gears. She slows them down. Tommy, Megan, and Alex are done repelling. Nick is last to go. The Christian (and definitely not Mormon) Weavers continue biking. Bransens run to the clue. Evidently Godlewskis must be really lost.

– Lauren hates bikes and Wally wonders if he can repel. I think biking will be much more physically exhausting than repelling. Wally’s weight alone will make him sink to the bottom of the canyon.

– Linzes are done the repel. Wally hates heights but his daughters want the experience and he wants them to have the experience. So Wally will be experiencing the experience that his daughters wanted to experience experiencing.

– Linzes are finished following the marked path. Tommy reads that teams must drive 52 miles to Green River State Park where they will be spending the night. Their departure the next morning will depend on their order of arrival. The departure time next morning depends on the order in which they get to the park.

RACHEL: If anyone says ‘I am from Utah’ I will say ‘I am so sorry’.

If anyone says ‘I am related to the Weavers,’ I will say ‘I am so sorry’.

– Bransens are nearly done the repel. We see the Godlewskis pull into Gemini Bridges. Then Phil has an announcement.

PHIL: Due to a production error involving the camera equipment, the Godlewski’s car battery was drained. A replacement car was provided but they have fallen into last place.

No time credit for a production error? That’s a bit harsh.

– Godlewskis instantly declare that they will repel down. Wally is happy to be done repelling. I doubt he enjoyed one iota of the experience. Weavers are done the bikes and have their next clue. Off to Green River. At least it’s not Washington State’s Green River. That place isn’t safe enough for Family Edition.

– Christine starts to repel.

Her pestering voice shall echo loudly throughout the canyon.

I am sure doing the splits upside down as you repel must be real comfortable.

– Bransens have the clue and are in their vehicle. The Godlewski sisters eventually finish and are beginning to walk on the marked path. Linzes arrive at the park and are told they will be departing first at 700am. Godlewskis grab their clue and begin driving. Weavers drive in and are departing at 715am. Bransens arrive next and are told their departure is 730am. Godlewskis are dead last at 745am but at least they have pop. No benefit from the production error clearly.

– Linzes play badminton without a net in the backyard. Weavers are in their car and say nobody talks to them and thus are on their own. Rebecca claims the other teams are immature. Linda says she has tried to talk to the other teams several times but they don’t reciprocate. It is incredible how dense the Weavers have been throughout the race. I find it fascinating.

– 700am arrives. Clue is on the dashboard. Nick reads that they must drive 20 miles to Heber City, Utah and find Bart. Weavers open clue next.

Not that Bart.

This one. Hi.

– Yep. Bart is an eleven hundred pound trained grizzly bear. He will give them their next clue. Linzes comment on the beauty of Utah while the Weavers say it is ugly and has a pimple in the mountains. Something tells me Weavers won’t be re-visiting Utah.

– Bransens are next to depart at 730am. Godlewskis read that they are not allowed to run or yell on the property. Michelle says they are screwed if that is the case. Alex Linz runs out for directions.

ALEX: I’ll ask this lady.
NICK: That’s a dude.


– Alex discovers he passed the road by two miles. Weavers pull over for directions too. Linzes show up to the house and say Bart is hanging out back.

He’s playing on his new bike in the back. It’s hot today so if you guys get thirsty come inside for some lemonade. I squeezed the lemons myself.

That bear stole a clue from our clue box! Another production error this round.

TOMMY: How about uh picnic basket?

The bear opens wide on his back with no shame. He intends to grace the cover of PlayBear.

– Teams must now drive 22 miles to Park City, Utah and find Utah Olympic Park home to the 2002 Winter Olympic games. Teams will find their next clue.

Caution: Yield ahead.

Tommy Linz squeaks at the notion of a yield but they quickly get focused and see which highway they need to be on.

– The Weavers see the Linzes driving on the street. What do they do when a team drives by?

DUCK! Duck. And. Cover.

Rolly remembers this well from what was shown in his ninth grade Social Studies class right before he went on the race. It is effective, right? It saved Bert the Turtle in a nuclear explosion.

Although I think the lone GMC Yukon dragging a trailer at 830am right by Bart’s house may give it away.

– Linzes are on the 40. Bransens pull over at a gas station to get directions to Bart. Weavers honk as loudly as possible when they pull into Bart’s. I am guessing they are not invited over to a friend’s house. They receive the clue and anticipate being yielded.

Rolly throws himself into the car. I suppose it is good he got into the car as fast as he could. Now it’s a matter of figuring out where Rachel, Linda, the camera and sound crew will sit in the vehicle.

– Bransens see the Weavers pulling out ahead. Weavers rush to get to the yield. Rachel thinks the 40 is too high up so Linda takes Rachel’s advice and directs Rebecca onto 92. Bransens find Bart where Bart stands up like a man. He should be calling himself Bartman.

Ah yes. Do the Bartman.

Although these people were doing the Bartman fifteen years earlier.

– Bransens drive out as Godlewskis drive in to get the clue. Michelle cusses out Christine for worrying about other teams as they are in last place. Weavers are on the narrowest road I have seen in the history of TAR. Rachel and Linda realize they are on the most scenic route possible and it will take a long time to get to the Park.

– Linzes are already at Olympic Park. They step on the Yield mat. Phil cuts in to explain to us about the Yield for first-time viewers. Although any first-time viewers who aren’t tuning into TAR until the second half of Family Edition will likely never return to watch another episode of TAR again.

– Linzes instantly yield the Weavers. Never has there been such a lack of suspense for a team yielding another team. They proceed to grab the clue. It’s a roadblock. In this roadblock that person has to put on skis and do a sixty-foot ski jump before landing in a pool of water. Phil says the word ‘pool’ in a strange way. It’s like Cool Hawhip. After they land they receive the next clue. Nick is doing it.

– Bransens drive in to the Park. Linzes cheer on the Bransens. They all think it is awesome that the Weavers have yet to arrive. Nick is doing the ski jump. He does a backflip but face plants into the water. The twenty second roadblock is over.

Instant Replay:

It’s going to take a lot of money to bribe the judges into giving you a good score.

–  Nick reads that they must drive themselves 28 miles to Salt Lake City Library. Mormons do love their ancestry. I know because my mom is a genealogist in her spare time and uses every Mormon-run website she can find. This library is the pit stop. How nerdy.

– Godlewskis pull into Olympic Park and Linzes think it is the Weavers. They are ecstatic that it is the Godlewskis and yell that the Weavers are not only yielded but have not shown up. Lindsay Bransen gets hit on by the instructor. She does zero tricks except flailing her legs.

I think that’s the ski jump’s version of a belly flop.

– Christine Godlewski is next to perform.

Christine Godlewski’s plan to land on top of the water fails. Who knew you could fall into water.

– Rachel whines that it is a huge waste of time. Linda tells them to accept it and that they’ll be last and eliminated. Of course that is not true because there are three non-eliminations left.

RACHEL: We’re already the last nice family and we’re gone. People who win will spend it on new noses and big boobs.

Yep. She managed to say that in back-to-back sentences.

– Nick Linz speculates if Bart the Bear ended up eating the Weavers. Godlewskis and Bransens both hope and think it will be an elimination. I guess Phil didn’t have the heart to tell them that there is still three non-eliminations to go.

– LINDA: Whenever you get sad you have to eat ice cream. It reinvigorates you and rejuvenates you.

RACHEL: I would cry if I wasn’t holding a Big Mac.

– Weavers cheer when they see their face plastered up on the Yield sign. So how do they pass the time?

Buh-duh-buh-buh, they’re lovin it

– Megan Linz asks for directions from her GMC Yukon. Bransens hope they can zoom in on the pit stop. Both teams scan. Beth knows it is one block down. Linzes pull over and run up to the mat. They cheer for Phil. Miss Latin Utah greets them. They are indeed team number one. Finally.

PHIL: No prizes. Just kidding. You have won a trip for four to Jacksonville, Wyoming.

Wyoming? That’s the equivalent of receiving ‘no prize’. How much can they sell that trip for?

– Bransens are team number two. They have made up a ton of time. Godlewskis are next and are team number three. Phil asks about the Yield. The Godlewskis are happy to see the Weavers yielded. Christine starts talking and Michelle chimes in that Christine has yet to meet her quota. Christine defends that she has cut down on how much she talks. Christine knows that it is a race and can control her talking.

– Rolly is doing the roadblock. Rebecca, Rachel, and Linda all want to get it over with and be eliminated. They walk into the mat. Phil says they are last and Weavers sarcastically respond that it is a surprise. Phil gives them the inevitable good news that they are still in the race. Weavers sarcastically cheer.

PHIL: That may be the most unenthusiastic reaction to a non-elimination in the history of The Amazing Race.

– Phil takes their stuff away and Phil questions if they have the hunger to win. They just hate not being liked and want to be done with it all. Phil says that teams have come from last place to win The Amazing Race. In fact it has been done three times already. Phil tells the Weavers they are a strong team and can survive. Linda agrees with Phil and now the Weavers are no longer quitting.


And am I the only one amazed that Linda’s hair is real? It looks like a wig the way it manoeuvres around the hat of hers.

Next time on TAR: The blandest location ever visited in the history of TAR. If the Weavers thought Utah was ugly then take a look at the next state.


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 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


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.)

9) Paige -. Salt Lake City (If you thought rounds seven and eight were boring then this leg is on a whole new level. More Weaver trash talking or throwing. People don’t like Weavers. Bransens wedged in the middle. A non-elimination everyone knew was coming. Repel, chopper, and a bear placed on highways in areas where there is no culture shock or nothing unique about the experience. And a pit stop at a library? For real?)

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