Previously on TAR: Four families set out from Lake Powell, Arizona. With trailers in tow they raced out of Arizona into equally scenic Monument Valley, Utah. Teams took a ride to an elephant’s butt and then repelled down a canyon. Third episode in a row with canyons, might I add. Then they encountered a grizzly bear. The Linzes targeted the Weavers and yielded them at the roadblock. After a wild splashdown they arrived at the mat first. The Weavers came in last but were not eliminated because this is the third of an excessive number of non-eliminations on the race. Now four families remain.
Who will be eliminated. . .at some point?
– Intro time. If I have to see one more canyon or a giant tower of rock I am going to puke. We get it. There’s some crazy s— in the Grand Canyon. We have known that after three bloody episodes of it.
– Phil introduces us to Salt Lake City, Utah. Founded in 1847 along the biggest salt sea in the western hemisphere. It is at an elevation of 4, 000 feet and the capital of Utah.
Phil’s Questions: Now that the Linz Family has finally claimed the top spot, can they maintain their momentum for the rest of the race?
Oh that’s it. Even Phil is bored with asking questions this season. He could have said something about the Weavers but eh, we know the story there.
– The Linzes who arrived first at 1246pm will depart at 1246am. Nick reads that they must drive to a high school that Phil doesn’t bother to explain. Megan is sick and can’t run. She gives a boring confessional that alludes to her being the only woman.
Did you know that? She is the only one with a vagina on the team? Less testosterone than others? Huh huh did ye? Well you f—ing know now.
– Bransens depart at 123am. They recap that the tension between Godlewskis and Linzes against Weavers may be to their advantage. Moving on. . .the Godlewskis depart at 130am. Christine thought the race would make them closer and that it is inappropriate for her sisters to diss her. Who knew talking while they are trying to sleep would make them diss you.
– Linzes get to Park City High School. Wow. A high school as a route marker. So exotic. Is it a Mormons Only School? The Linzes grab a ‘1’ and a clue. Production has been obsessed with teams grabbing numbers off a sticker board lately. Phil emerges and tells us that teams will help a crew inflate a hot air balloon. They will get inside and ride into the countryside to receive their next clue. Shuttles leave for the hot air balloon site starting at 600am and leaves every 10 minutes. One team per shuttle.
– The four players cram into the trailer and THE MYSTERY TO WHO IS NICKNAMED ‘BONE’ IS OFFICIALLY SOLVED!
Tommy Linz thought he could hide his identity but he’s ‘bone’d. Yipee! I got it! Unless he borrowed the shirt from Alex or Nick. Then we are back at square one.
– Tommy makes mock prayers as Nick and Alex giggle during the process.
The upset stomach, indigestion, and diarrhoea has gotten in the way of Megan enjoying the prayers. How much did Pepto have to pay for that one second flash advertisement?
– Bransens are at the high school. They are stoked to be riding in hot air balloons. I bet Megan’s stomach cramps are ready to be thrust hundreds of feet into the air.
LAUREN: That is awesome you guys. A hot air balloon!
BETH: That is going to be so cool!
Meanwhile, 99 percent of everyone else couldn’t disagree more. Their youth TV commercial advertisement won’t change our minds.
KID #1: Family Edition? Climbing up LADDERS?! FINDING LES AT BP GAS STATION?!
KID #2: AWESOME!
(Kids high five.)
– Godlewskis are next to the high school. They sleep in the camper for the third episode in a row. At 502am the Weavers depart. This more than doubles the biggest spread we have seen all race. Production must have believed it would be impossible for a team to fall four hours behind on Family Edition. Linda says being yielded twice was such a shock to her because she has never been treated like this in her whole life. You mean strangers don’t stop you from driving on the road for a predetermined amount of time occasionally? Rebecca takes the opportunity to whine about not having a map and asks for directions.
– The most annoying beeping noise ever in the history of TAR plays as the Linzes wake up to their alarm. Please never use that alarm again. Megan talks about how the Pepto-Bismol and sleep has made her feel much better. The Weavers pull into the parking lot and cheer as loudly as possible and honk their horn. Rebecca drops off Rolly and Rachel off at the high school and says Linda will pick them up when they are done at the end of the day.
I wonder if Weavers know the definition of obnoxious?
But seriously. Because this is episode ten and the rest of the episode is a snoozer, I’ll take the time right now to talk about the Weavers.
Some people may think I really hate the Weavers. I don’t. To me they are one of the most intriguing families this season because of their lack of self-awareness. Their ability to painting others in a bad light as they fail to see their own extreme acts of rudeness has been entertaining.
Linda says everyone loves her and the family in real life. I think that’s true. I believe friends of the Weavers have known the Weavers their whole lives and have context that whenever the Weavers are rude or ignorant that they aren’t trying to do it on purpose.
Now fast forward to the race. There are 36 strangers who have never met you before. Calling them names, shunning them in airports, spouting about your religion, insulting Mormons and calling fellow racers retarded comes off as extremely rude to strangers. However, if the other racers had some context that the Weavers have always lived in their own little world, I highly doubt the other families (like Kevin Aiello) would take any of it personally.
I think the Weavers try to be nice people but simply have zero social skills. Unfortunately their inability to be respectful towards others is playing out in front of millions of people. Or rather, by episode ten it is probably playing out in front of about two thousand people.
– REBECCA: HARREH HARREH EH! SO REFRESHED!
LINDA: IT FEELS SO GOOD TO HAVE A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP!
REBECCA: WE GOT TO SLEEP IN A BED!
MEG: They are freaks.
Cheers to the Weavers! For being the biggest group of pissants to disturb my Monday morning coffee! Hip hip hooray!
LINDA: ARE YOU SORRY YOU WASTED YOUR YIELD?! YOU WILL BEEEEEEEEEEE.
Jesus. At least use your 5:30am voice when you are in public and near a residential area. You’re louder than the cock-a-doodle-doo of a Mormon rooster.
SHARON: What is her problem? They’re psycho.
LINDA: Thanks for wasting your yield!
I have taunted you and sabotaged your race for the past ten rounds. Let’s high five?
ALEX: No problem dude. We thought you guys were right behind us, man.
LINDA: Are you sorry?
Alex is so emphatic with his ‘no’ that his eyes are ready to pop out of his head.
MEG: No we’re not sorry. Hell no.
– REBECCA: Even if we don’t win. . .at least we got to say.
LINDA: What we say.
– Linzes are the first shuttle and break up this awkward exchange. They immediately gossip about the Weavers’ strange entrance and how Linda doesn’t act like a mom. I agree. I couldn’t think of many parents who behave like Linda Weaver. She sometimes acts like an older sister to her own kids. Nick jokes that the Weavers are out for them.
– The Weavers still scream about how the yield didn’t oust them. The Bransens’ shuttle leaves ten minutes later. The Twilight Zone High School is a thing of the past. Instructor tells the Linzes that the hot air balloon weight seven hundred pounds. Bransens are next there. Then the Godlewski’s van gets there.
CHRISTINE: One. . .two. . .three. . .four!
If you don’t stop making fun of Christine right now, you’re going into time out. One. . .two. . .three. . .four! Stop it!
– LINDA: That’s the team we got to beat. Those snotty little ladies.
REBECCA: Their bottled blondes and implants.
Once again Rebecca goes for the implant jab. Whether any of the Godlewskis have implants is unknown. At least to me anyway.
– Nick does the strangest laugh when him and his siblings enter the hot air balloon. Bransens take a moment to watch the Linzes get into the air. The Bransens are finished and fly into the air followed by Godlewskis.
What’cha talkin about, Sharon?
Who knew a 700 pound hot air balloon could drag a 140 pound young boy.
– The three teams from the top get a prime view of Rolly being dragged along the dirt. All four teams are in the air and comment on the other teams. Bransens and Linzes’ hot air balloons collide in the air. The pilots say they are lucky. Michelle hates heights but the hot air balloon and The Amazing Race has cured that fear. Rolly has had a dream before that he fell through the wicker basket of a hot air balloon before. What an odd dream.
– The Linzes hot air balloon is put on the mountainside and they receive their next clue. Tommy reads that they must drive themselves 14 miles to Heber City, Utah and find Heber Valley Railway. They’ll search the grounds for their next clue. Nick applauds the clue. He loves visiting railway stations I guess.
– Linzes are in their truck and begin driving. Godlewskis set down on the rock pile. Christine is surprised they landed on a rock pile. Weavers land on a steep hill and scream in the process. Helpers come to ground the hot air balloon.
Rachel does her Silas Screws impression.
– Rolly tumbles out of the hot air balloon. Rebecca screams some more as she is not only taken out but sliding down the hill. Linda slides down the hill too. Rebecca cannot stop screaming.
– Linzes are at the railway. It’s a detour. Spike it or Steam it? In Spike It, teams use old time material and tools to complete a 20 foot section of railway track. Minus the Chinese labour. In Steam It, teams use buckets to fill the container of a steam locomotive with nearly four hundred pounds of coal. In both tasks teams must have a railway engineer to be proud of their work.
– Linzes spike it like they are a volleyball team. Bransens arrive shortly and look at the detour.
LAUREN: What is ‘using precision’? What does that mean?
BETH: It means you have to be accurate.
Someone buy poor Lauren a thesaurus.
– Bransens are going to spike it too. Linzes fails to figure out the task for the first little chunk. Megan stands on the sidelines asking if she should be doing something. The brothers tell her to just chill. Godlewskis are next to the detour and choose to spike it as well. My hatred for industrial noises would drive me nuts during ‘Spike It’. Even the audio bothers me.
– Wally swings the sledgehammer to spike the metal rod. Ugh that sound is annoying. Christine Godlewski messes Sharon up and results in Christine not liking to be treated as an animal.
LINDA: Let’s do the buckets.
REBECCA: Let’s pray and do it.
Praying isn’t part of the detour. Stick to the buckets or spikes, please.
– Lauren accidentally hammered Lindsay’s head. The three of them take an aside to ensure Lindsay is okay. She is fine and goes back to hammering. For two seconds. The three daughters stand and do nothing as they let Wally swing the sledgehammer. They say he is the only one who could swing the sledgehammer accurately.
CHRISTINE: I’VE BEEN WORKING ON THE RAILROAAAAD. . .
Whoa. That’s like Linda Weaver vocal levels. Tone it down Christine.
– Wally is happy that he gets to shine for once rather than drag the team down. Megan on the other hand is happy she did the bolts. The four teams do their task. Christine asks how many pounds of coal it is. Sharon instantly shoots down what she is insinuating. Railway engineer inspects the Linzes’ tracks and tells them it is not okay. Eventually Linzes are done and have their clue. They read they must drive 148 miles to the Bonneville Salt Flats. Here they will find an 87 foot sculpture known as The Tree of Utah. It was erected to increase colour and beauty for the stark landscape. Teams will scan the salt flats for their next clue.
– Alex wants to join a railway and build his own railroad.
NICK: All it took was three strokes for me.
TOMMY: That’s all it takes for men too.
MEGAN: Dumb a–.
You talk about that in front of your sister? Awkward.
– Bransens are done and say they couldn’t do it without dad.
But something tells me that the three daughters have to fend for themselves to complete the remaining tasks for this leg of the race.
– Christine gets in the way more than usual and annoys Michelle. Michelle wants a partner with a smaller mouth. Bransen daughters are about the only option remaining in this cast. Weavers are done! Although Linda has formed a Hitler stache in the process.
– Inspector tells Godlewskis that their bolts need to be tighter. Christine pushes everyone from the bolt tightening. The sisters wonder who wanted to do this task. They agree Chris did. However I think they are quick to blame because Christine made it very clear early on that she wanted to switch tasks. Christine cries in the car while Michelle eggs her on and roars at her.
– Megan comments on how there are big balls at the monument. Nick laughs. Tommy reads the clue. Phil isn’t around to elaborate further.
BETH: What is this? The tree of hemorrhoids?
If the first thing that pops into your head is hemorrhoids then you must have aged extremely fast, Beth.
– Bransens have their clue too. We hear that the next clue is in Gordon City at Bear Lake’s Rendezvous Beach.
TOMMY: Renderver Beach. . .
Voulez vous couchez avec moi, ce soir?
– Godlewskis have their clue. Now Phil emerges to tell us teams are driving nearly 400 miles to Garden City, Utah and find Rendezvous Beach at Bear Lake State Park. Teams will camp in their trailer for the night and their departure times will be 15 minutes apart depending on the order they arrive. Bransens are there first and receive 830am departure.
Didn’t we do this “camp in your trailer and check out X minutes apart in the morning” for the third time in two episodes? This is driving me nuts. So unoriginal.
– REBECCA: I need you guys to keep your eyes open because my brain is like fried, like I’ve been in math class all day.
ROLLY: You failed math class, Bec.
RACHEL: No she didn;t.
REBECCA: Yes I did. Twice.
(LINDA face palms.)
Well that explains a lot.
– Weavers are the second team and check out at 845am. They take to begging for money from Mormons. The Mormons give them plenty of money and a map. Godlewskis are third and will check out at 900am. So what happened to the Linzes? Phil tells us that the Linzes’ car battery died because of a production error and have fallen to last place. Just like with the Godlewskis no time credit has been given.
TWO IN A ROW! TWO IN A ROW?! TWO IN A ROW?! THIS IS RIDICULOUS, BRO! LET’S CALL PHIL ON THE PHIL PHONE AND TELL HIM WE’RE READY TO CALL IT QUITS WITH THIS SEASON! TELL ME I’M WRONG BRO?! THE EQUIPMENT FAILURE IS BULLS— BRO!
– So 915am departure for the Linzes. It is bright outside so it’s a long wiat until the departure. Bransens open the clue. Beth reads that they must drive 137 miles to find Dunham Ranch in Big Piney, Wyoming at the headquarters of the Green River. Once there they’ll find their next clue. Lauren rests on Lindsay’s lap. Lindsay asks what her dad is doing. He wants to get refamiliar with the map. While he reads Lauren shoots an elastic at him. Dang she must be bored. This is the thanks he gets for hammering a railroad yesterday?
– Weavers are next to depart. Linda prays for God to bless their travels. Then the Godlewskis. It’s a long road. Christine has a big stomach ache. She must have caught it from Megan.
And Tricia plays a game of “Can I poke a Hole in My Cheeks?”
– Nick just wants to be ahead of one team. He doesn’t care who it is. The rest of the car gets pumped.
Can you guess who found the supply of bath salts in the trailer?
And the other supply?
– Bransens follow the really long road and see the clue. There are horses abound. Roadblock. This is the second of only two two-person roadblocks on the entire race. In this two-person roadblock teams will mount horses and take six cattle from a herding pen and take them a quarter mile down the range into a corral. Once they complete the round up they will have the next clue.
– It’s Beth and Lauren doing the roadblock. City Slickers music plays. Brand new soundtrack for the series. Billy Crystal wants his royalties. Weavers are next to the ranch.
LINDSAY: It’s so cool. This is City Slickers.
Apparently it is the only American urban cowboy movie ever made.
– Bransens are done. Now they must drive 190 miles to Yellowstone National Park and find Old Faithful. It’s a geyser. Pretty much the only exciting thing in all of Wyoming. It blows its top every 90 minutes. Once a team has seen an eruption they will be given their next clue by a fireman.
– Weavers come in as Bransens exit. Short roadblock it must be. Rebecca and Rachel are doing it. They have three horses at home. Linda says Rebecca and her dad Roy were supposed to be in a rodeo together but. . .you know. . .
– Godlewskis ensure they are going the right way. Until Michelle sees the sign for Dunham as they pass. Sharon tells them to get out of the car to direct her. It seems to take forever because Sharon cannot figure out how to turn and refuses to believe she is not straight. A truck approaches the Godlewskis. He gets in and turns it around as well as straightens it in two seconds.
SHARON: Why couldn’t I do that?
MICHELLE: Because you’re a retard.
SHARON (claps hands frantically): Because I’m retarded.
Back in 2005 it was okay to utter the R-word as well as do an impression of a mentally retarded person. Family Edition maintained its PG rating.
Now to score some cocaine to pass the time while living in a s—hole such as this.
– Godlewskis pass the Bransens on the road as they drive in opposite directions. Michelle comments on the Bransen’s big lead. Weavers complete the roadblock. They are stoked to go to Old Faithful. Godlewskis run to the clue box and pass Weavers on the way out. Michelle and Sharon are doing the roadblock. Michelle’s horse is moving extremely fast as it runs a few inches away from bushes.
– Linzes pass by Weavers. ‘Tis a narrow road. They get into a minor scuffle about Linzes not yielding to outgoing traffic. Alex makes fun of their wrinkles. Meg makes fun of their manners. Linda is annoyed. And Rolly makes fun of Nick’s voice. Godlewskis are done the roadblock and drive to Old Faithful. They run past the Godlewskis as they approach the clue box. Tommy and Alex do it. Bone’s horse is wild and brays quite a bit. Tommy imitates the horses and the cows. They’re done.
– Alex says they did it fast and are trying to get back in it. Bransens are at Old Faithful. The fireman is told the next eruption is not for another forty minutes. Weavers pull in and stand with Bransens. Beth says it would be disappointing to lose because a team caught up. Isn’t that the only way to lose when you’re in the lead? Wally would hate it if every team caught up.
– Godlewskis pull in. So do Linzes. They know the eruption can occur any second. The eruption does indeed occur. The Godlewskis watch it from their car and are bummed to miss it by only a couple minutes. Bransens and Weavers receive their next clue. Drive on Highway 287 and find the ranch at 15200. Once there search for Phil.
No pit stop? Just search for Phil? Then that means. . . -_-.
– Godlewskis say they missed the eruption by ten minutes. Lauren is so pissed that the Weavers arrived pretty much just as the eruption happened. Bransens make their most aggressive move of the game and tell the Godlewskis to run in the opposite direction of the geyser. As if the Godlewskis cannot solve their mistake in 82 minutes.
– Bransens see Linzes on the road and wave at them. Linzes are not too happy because they know the eruption must have just occurred. Godlewskis and the Linzes stand together to watch the geyser. It eventually erupts.
TOMMY: Thar she blows!
– Both teams are convinced an elimination is going to take place this round.
Some would say Nick Linz isn’t taking the road race for a million bucks too seriously.
– Bransens see Weavers in the rearview mirror. Lauren hates Weavers only had to wait one minute. She knows only Rolly is capable of out-running them but is certain Wally can run the daughters and Linda.
ROLLY: I’m going to take out Wally and you guys run up ahead. I’ll meet you there.
Take out Wally? Do you have a sniper rifle in your bag? This isn’t Goldeneye 007. You can’t just shoot Wally and have him fall off the truck onto the ground. I’d like to see Rolly trip a grown man.
In any other episode in TAR history before the finish line Phil has a greeter with him. However there is nothing about the citizens of Wyoming that is welcoming.
– Bransens win the foot race regardless of Beth tripping. Rolly didn’t get the chance to take out Wally.
In fact much the opposite happened.
– Phil tells them they are the first and second teams to arrive and that the leg is not over. He hands them the next clue. Yep. That means Godlewskis or Linzes get a free pass without any of their stuff taken away. So for the second round in a row the small crew of four teams stays alive.
Next time on TAR: Only one non-elimination leg remains. Could there potentially be three in a row? Christine Godlewski shoulders her sisters. The Weavers get in trouble with the law. And much of the same for the past few episodes will continue.
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.)
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?)
10) Salt Lake City -> Some random ranch in Wyoming (Go to class. Go in a balloon. Check in here and sleep in your trailer again. Check in here and sleep in your trailer. Again. Production equipment error prevails. Again. Ranches galore. Clue in the middle of an empty valley. Again. Weavers bicker with Linzes and Godlewskis. Again. At least ladders, party bikes, and BP Gas Stations are unique. This leg could not have been more generic and uneventful. The To Be Continued BS is the icing on the craptacular cake.