Previously on TAR: Four families set out from Salt Lake City, Utah and didn’t do all that much. The Weavers confronted the Linzes. They rode in hot air balloons and toured the countryside. A close call kept them on their toes. At the detour three teams laid railroad tracks while the Weavers filled the steam engine with coal. And left the Godlewskis behind. The Bransens and the Weavers had to wait for Old Faithful to erupt before they sprinted to what they thought was a pit stop. But were greeted that this entire leg had been pointless. Four families remain. Who will be eliminated. . .finally?
– Intro time. This agony is almost over. I have noticed the episode recaps are longer than any other season.
– Phil introduces us to. . .oh wait. No introduction. The Bransens are in their car as they get ready to sprint. Holy crap. We are rewinding a full minute? Is there absolutely nothing to show this episode? Wow. It is a full minute of pre-existing footage. Teams must drive 49 miles to Turtle Ridge and find Dubois, Wyoming and find Turtle Ranch where they will receive their next clue.
WALLY: That was ridiculous.
At least Wally shares the same view as me regarding To Be Continued legs.
– Linzes pass Godlewskis and keep driving. Godlewskis come to a full stop, read a phone book, and make a call at a phone booth. Christine and Michelle argue. She wants Michelle to come up with ideas rather than complaining that they are last. Michelle yells that she suggested she grab a phone book. Christine does not like Michelle shutting down like this.
– Lauren complains about lack of food. Beth says lack of food is never good in the Bransen family. Is it good in ANY family??? Wally says on the race he is fine but everyone agrees that at home he gets cranky if he is not fed.
– Rebecca does not fill up gas when they pull over at a gas station to ask for directions. Rachel freaks out at Rebecca for not filling up the tank considering it is half empty. Or half full depending on your perspective. Rachel hates that Rebecca is making the decision when she is not the smartest one on the team and does nothing but stomp the gas pedal. Linda says tomorrow they will get gas.
– Linzes celebrate finding 5200 and are excited that they are third. They scream all the way to the mat.
TOMMY: It’s the Philinator. The Phil Dawg.
PHIL: You’re still racing.
TOMMY: You dog!
MICHELLE: 5200! Couldn’t be brighter in broad daylight! See Chris. I’m not contributing anything. Well guys. It has been fun.
why do you guys have to make fun of me all the time wah wah wah wah wah.
– Suspense music plays as they slowly pull in and casually walk to the mat.
wah wah wah we’re about to be eliminated and they think it’s allll my fault. wah wah wah wah.
– They grin and take the clue right away. There is a newfound spring in their step back to the truck.
TRICIA: Bye Phil.
PHIL: You’re still in it guys! Don’t stop racing!
MICHELLE: You’re just torturing us Phil.
PHIL: I know. I’m torturing you. See you at the next pit stop.
Oh, and by the way you guys will be staying at another state park tonight so I have enough time to beat you guys to the next pit stop!
And how do I get off this mat? Anyone there? The cows have gone home and the trucks and trailers are gone. Guys?
– Christine thought it was over but realized that you cannot give up. Ever.
CHRISTINE: Let’s go to Turtle Ridge. Maybe we have to eat some turtles.
And making his first appearance on TAR, Bullwinkle. It will be his last appearance too I imagine. Not much you can do in territories that have moose.
– Bransens get to the Turtle Ranch. Hours of operation is 700am to 430pm. That’s important because it is 730pm. Bransens continue their tirade of everything being bogus because of the numerous equalizers that have interrupted their lead. Well at least they don’t have to stay at a state park for once.
Kevin Aiello may want to take note that reflecting pools do exist outside of Washington, D.C.
– Weavers speculate what’s at a Turtle Ranch. They head into the trailer to avoid the type of people they would never hang out with. Linzes have officially gone crazy as they randomly shout and yell. Megan eats Lay’s chips.
Nick’s veins will pop out in 5, 4, 3, 2. . .
And Tommy Linz shows off a mouthful of chewed potato chips. How Megan continued eating those chips is beyond me.
– The three teams all chat outside. Godlewskis ask where the Weavers are and we are told they are in their trailer. For the millionth time the Weavers say the other teams are out to get them because they are threats.
Nope. It’s because you are major jacka–es.
– Nick says it’s fine if the Weavers’ perspective is that everyone else is mean. They don’t need no stinkin Weavers.
– The ranch opens. They are told to run to their vans. Each van has a driver already inside. Linzes are first, Weavers are second, Bransens are third, and Godlewskis are fourth. The four teams have no idea where they are being taken. First Nations music plays and we see a chief.
I wore that same outfit to school every day when I was younger. It turned heads. The equivalent of wearing an Armani suit and Fendi shoes.
– Another sprint occurs as teams race to the clue box. It’s a detour. Two chores from the old west. Pioneer Spirit or Native Tradition. In Pioneer Spirit, teams have to properly attach four wheels to a covered wagon then hook up a team of horses. Drive the wagon along a quarter mile course before receiving their next clue. In Native Tradition, teams use the tools and materials provided to build a Tee-Pee. They use the same ‘Uuuuh-Wah’ at the end of explaining the task. It’s like Fei Long is the Native American voice on TAR.
– Weavers shall teepee. So do Godlewskis. Linzes and Bransens however build the wagon. They search the ground for wheels. Weavers make a wonderful observation of the First Nations clothing.
Ah yes. I am sure the chief wanted to be portrayed as an adorable little fellow in his second grade field trip costume and is waiting for you to rub the top of his head playfully. Yep. That’s exactly how this cultural exposure was supposed to make you react.
– Christine measures the distance between sticks with her feet. Bransens struggle carrying the wheels while Linzes muscle it. They nearly tip it over. Once again Megan Linz does nothing. Wally Bransen is doing virtually all of the work on the detour yet again.
ROLLY (observing the chief): He’s looking at me. . .
I wouldn’t trust him either. You and the other Weavers should spread your belief of the Lord to him and then all will be well. It’s a good ice breaker, I hear.
– The Linzes are done with the wheels. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly music plays. They go to hook up the horses. Weavers are progressing on the teepee. Godlewskis are still stuck at the sticks. The Weavers have wrapped almost the entire blanket around. Bransens are hooking up the horses too. Linzes laugh loudly as they hop into the wagon. The horses are moving fast.
MEGAN (waves): C’mon girls you can get it.
LINDA: She just waved at me real snotty so I smiled at her.
Oh if only the Weavers were truly at the centre of the Linzes’ universe.
– The Linzes receive their clue. Travel 221 miles to Cody, Wyoming. What are we still doing in Wyoming? Three ranches and now a tiny town? They must find The Irma. It is named after Buffalo Bill’s daughter. What is with all of this pioneering crap of the past few legs? This was cool in a fifth grade field trip setting. NOT on a primetime show that is meant to race around the world for a million bucks.
This is the type of snoozer material that belongs on PBS.
I’m just so frustrated. No wonder fans consider episodes 7 through 11 to be a huge black hole. It’s all one giant pioneering mess where teams experience an array of modes of transportation. State parks? Trailers? It’s one long summer road trip you took ten years ago. Does anyone want to re-live that?
This is the peak of my frustration. WHY DID I AGREE TO BLOG THIS SEASON?!
I HAVE HAD IT WITH THESE MOTHAF—IN LEGS INSIDE THE MOTHAF—IN STATES!
EVERYBODY CHANGE YOUR CHANNEL. WE ABOUT TO TANK SOME F—ING RATINGS.
– In Cody, Wyoming teams will find The Irma. Named after one of Buffalo Bill’s daughters. Inside they will meet Buffalo Bill, dress up, and have their picture taken with him. Once they show their clue to Buffalo Bill he will hand them their next clue.
This guy normally does Willie Nelson impressions but today he was hired to be Buffalo Bill.
I don’t think The Amazing Race existed in the 1800s. And I doubt Willie Nelson goes more than thirty minutes before rolling up the paper photograph to use as a joint.
– They aren’t told the name of the hotel. All they are given is to find him at his daughter’s hotel. Wally Bransen is given the clue. Once again the daughters hold Wally responsible for their victory. Linzes are back to their truck. So are Bransens. Christine Godlewski grabs a log so they can reach the top of the teepee. Tricia rests on Christine’s shoulders.
This is a signal that maybe you should switch tasks.
And the word ‘lift’ is not in Rachel Weaver’s vocabulary.
– Linda invites the chief into the teepee for dinner. They note the chief is smiling. He does indeed give up the clue.
LINDA: We are back in the race.
REBECCA: We were in the race.
LINDA: We’ve always been in the race.
How many different tenses can you use consecutively? And go.
– Christine says she is ready to drop and wants Sharon to hurry. Sharon is done. Christine is exhausted. Chief inspects it and says the teepee is dang fine. Christine reads the clue super fast and are in their van.
– Fast forward to Cody, Wyoming. They poke their head out of the car to ask for Buffalo Bill’s daughter. Meanwhile the Bransens pass them on the road and wonder if it would have been good to ask somebody. They take a turn to poke their head out of the car and are told it is The Irma as well. Linzes pass them again. Nick Linz parks. They proceed to run inside.
– Pioneering piano music plays. They register before entering the dressing room. The Bransens are next. They go inside but are told to hold up and wait outside the dressing room. Weavers are looking forward to eliminating the Desperate Housewives.
RACHEL: Pizza Hut looks real good.
REBECCA: All You Can Eat buffet.
Lays, Pepto, Tostitos, BP, Pepsi, GMC, Party Bikes, and now Pizza Hut? I suppose TAR needed a way to make money to make up for the lack of ratings.
– Godlewskis agree there is no urinating until the end of the leg given their last place state. Linzes have dressed up. Bransens make fun of them. Wally tells the Linzes to hurry up. Linzes have their clue and change. Drive 73 miles to Red Lodge, Montana. Once there they need to find the 10th tee at Red Lodge Mountain Golf Course.
Are the pioneer days finally over?
– The Linzes examine their photograph in the car. Weavers ask for the name of the bar on the road. They sit at the table as they watch the Bransens take their photo.
Megan isn’t in this frame but who cares.
LAUREN: This doesn’t do much for my figure.
Not like you have much of a figure to begin with. Just sayin.
LINDSAY: You were a pain in our a– the whole time.
LAUREN: I hate this picture.
WALLY: It’s the family Christmas card.
It’s no way to treat your father. He did railway and wagon labour for you guys in the past 48 hours. Show some respect. My goodness.
– Linzes see the golf course. They grab the clue. It’s a roadblock. Oops. I thought last episode was the only other one to feature two people. This round has a two-person roadblock as well. This round teams must choose a coloured flag and attach it to their Buick Lucerne golf cart. They must drive this course to search the back nine for four golf balls of their colour.
That’s right. They don’t even get to golf. All they get to do is look for four lousy balls. What a real treat. At least production saved money on golf clubs. The golf pro will hand them their next clue once they bring back the four balls. Nick wonders if the cart has On-Star. Nick and Alex are doing the roadblock.
MEGAN: That’s it?
Ah. At least I know I’m not crazy for thinking this roadblock is rather lame.
– Linzes have their first ball. Bransens drive in.
“Roadblock: Who’s up to par?”
Jesus. Production was really mean thinking they have to do the roadblock.
Beth and Wally are doing the roadblock.
(WALLY grabs the purple flag.)
LAUREN: What are you doing? Grab the blue flag! We’re blue!
WALLY: It doesn’t matter what colour it is!
By the Bransen standards, they are screaming at each other.
– Bransens find the first ball. Wally is driving.
ROLLY: There’s a snake in my boot!
– All of the Weavers think they are disgusting. Christine brags she spotted the sign for The Irma outside Michelle’s window. Inside they go. Linzes have three balls. Bransens have their third as well. Wally rambles how they haven’t found a ball in a hole yet. Linda wonders what the clue means by “tenth tee”. Rolly clues them into that it would be a golf course. Linda admits that Rolly is right.
We are only a tassel away from this being The Amazing Race: Burlesque Edition.
Nope. I spoke too soon. Tricia has it covered.
Hidey-ho! Let’s swing dance to celebrate our dead last placing!
And show some leg! So scandalous, Tricia. You’re making me blush behind my computer screen.
– Linzes are back where they started. They failed to find the lone ball in the hole. Wally Bransen was onto something. Weavers are now at the golf course.
Rolly was onto something. Nothing spells “pimping” like getting into a golf cart with your mom and riding around at a slow speed for an hour in Montana. All you need is Pimp C and B-U-N B.
– Bransens found the fourth ball in the hole and return the balls. Beth reads the clue. Drive 43 miles to Absorkee, Montana and find Larry Arnold’s Green Meadow Ranch.
The Amazing Race: Ranch Edition. We’ve had ranches in episodes one, two, seven, nine, ten, and eleven. You think production would catch on that a quarter of all route markers are ranches.
– The ten thousand acre cattle ranch is the pit stop. Last team here will finally be eliminated after a nauseating delay.
– Bransens get into their car and Megan compliments them on their good work. Nick finally checks the hole and has the fourth ball. He calls himself an idiot for not checking the holes. Nick is confident they will catch up on the road. Godlewskis pull into the parking lot and see Rachel and Rebecca sitting on the grass. Sharon and Michelle are doing the roadblock. Godlewskis have the first ball. Weavers have three.
– Michelle makes a sharp turn as Sharon is standing and nearly throws her off.
SHARON: Shelly, wait. We got to go back down baby.
SHARON: Oh my god. You almost set me off.
MICHELLE: Shut up. Playing the game is not constantly b—-ing at people, Sharon.
SHARON: Well you know driving away when people are barely in. . .
MICHELLE (inflection): Sharon you said okay!
SHARON (inflection): I did not!
MICHELLE: You did too!
SHARON: I did not!
It’s either five year olds or a couple in a ridiculous fight.
SHARON: Hold on. I’m walking.
MICHELLE: What are you doing, Sharon? Where you going to?
I’m sorry, baby! Just get back in the car. Honey? Just get back in the car. It’s cold outside. What are you doing walking? Get back in the car and I promise it will be all better, sweetie.
MICHELLE: Sharon! Drive, look for a ball, look for a sign, how can you do everything? Hasn’t that been your motto all along?
SHARON: I can’t do everything.
MICHELLE: C’mon smarta–. How far can you walk?
SHARON: You can just keep being your sarcastic self and go look for a ball.
MICHELLE: You’re wasting too much time. Get on this thing!
I love it when everything comes out in the open prior to a team’s demise.
– Bransens enter Absarokee and ask for directions to Green Meadow Ranch. It’s just up the street. Linzes are told it is across the river and seven miles away. Rolly checks the hole for the fourth and final ball. They exchange it for the clue. Onto the pit stop they go. Godlewskis have found three. They see the fourth ball in the eighteenth hole. They exchange the balls too for their next clue.
– Bransens slow down and pull into the ranch. They search for Phil on the ranch. Linzes pull in too. Suspense music plays. Bransens park and run out of the car. They run in a direction suggested by Beth. Linzes jump out of their car and run out too. The Linzes see Bransens in their sight but Bransens land on the mat in a decisive first place finish. Phil informs them they will be one of the three teams running for the million dollars and putting the nail in the coffin to end the season for good.
PHIL: Did you enjoy those golf carts?
WALLY: Buick is a great vehicle.
– As the winners they have won a brand new Buick. A new car accompanied by the free lifetime of gas. How environmentally green. Linzes step on the mat in second. Linda doesn’t like the position they are in. Rachel tells her to cheer up and they all laugh.
Then the police siren comes on. Rolly quickly clicks his seatbelt. Mama Weaver is promoting a very unsafe habit. Traffic cops will be educating the Weavers on the importance of seat belts soon enough.
– The officer informs Rebecca that she was speeding and that the speed limit dropped when they entered town. The officer picks up license and registration then walks over to his car. Godlewskis continue their pursuit of the ranch. Officer gives them a warning. I love how the first time Rebecca speeds in the whole race is when police stops her.
– Linda asks for directions from a red truck across the road. It is seven miles outside of town. She re-enters the vehicle. Godlewskis have yet to pass meaning there is little room for suspense. Sharon must have wasted too much time walking on the golf course.
– Meanwhile back in the Weaver car. . .
Looks like Rachel Weaver was right. Could the Weavers possibly run out of gas only minutes away from the pit stop? Would that be the biggest blunder in TAR history?
– Rolly says he will run if they run out of gas. I’m not worrying about Rolly. It’s Rebecca, Rachel, and Linda’s slow legs that are of concern. However they park. And then there’s a cut to the Godlewskis parking. Suspense music plays but we know what’s going to happen. If Godlewskis passed Weavers on the road or saw them on the way to the pit stop we would have been shown that footage.
– Weavers are told they are third. Somehow they slipped into the Final Three. Phil congratulates them on overcoming the alliances.
– Godlewskis arrive next. Nobody is tearing up this time around. They are ready to accept their fate. Godlewskis are not surprised by how they bickered with each other and how everyone attempted to be the boss. Christine was shocked how poorly Sharon treated her throughout the race. Sharon responds that she loves Christine but they never click. The race won’t change that and their relationship will be the same when they get home. Tricia thought they would learn to be more accepting of each other but it never happened. They will love each other because they are sisters.
Delete the Godlewskis from your memory.
– For the first time all season we get the Final Three UFC hype. You can fill in the blanks for yourself what they said. Dust off all the cliches in the book as they are ready to be used this instant.
Next time on TAR: For the fourth season in a row TAR is scheduled for a 2-hour finale. How short will leg twelve be in preparation for the finale? And who will be stripped of all of their bags and cash right before the finale when cash is of the utmost importance? Will the Weavers come from behind and pass Freddy & Kendra for the least likable team to ever win? Will the Bransens’ maintain their neutrality leave everyone satisfied with who wins? Or will the wacky Linzes claim victory and stick it in the face of the Weavers’?
Soon it will all be over.
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 FF
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
4th Godlewski Family 3.18
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:
7) 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.
6) 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.
5) 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.
4) Godlewski Family
This is where the Godlewskis shall fall. Right in the middle of the pack. Primarily because no one thought this dysfunctional group of sisters would dominate the first half of the season. Look at their first place finishes and you’ll know what I mean.
This team is proof of why the Family Edition 4-person dynamic can work. If Godlewskis were two separate teams they would be very forgettable teams. But as a quartet? You get to witness Michelle and Sharon air out their frustrations with Christine, Christine’s very Sarah Palin-like naivety and not exactly knowing what she was getting herself into, and no resolution at all for Christine with the other sisters.
Then there is the awkward outsider in Tricia. The only time we notice her prior to episode eleven is when Tommy Linz talks about how attractive she is. In the eleventh episode she seems to be the only true sister to all of the sisters as well as flirt with Buffalo Bill.
I for one don’t regret the idea of Godlewskis being cast at all. It’s very three-dimensional for a team to go from frontrunners into the most dysfunctional group of people possible. Something that could not be done in any other season of The Amazing Race.
Plus the fact the Weavers chose the Godlewskis as their target for no apparent reason is also amusing.
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.
11) Some random ranch in Wyoming -> Absarokee, Montana (When the episode finished I honestly couldn’t distinguish between legs ten and eleven. I am serious. I originally wrote that the Buffalo Bill task was in episode ten but had to double check to see I JUST WATCHED IT. Seriously. Is there anything remotely memorable about this episode? Because I have forgotten half of what happened already. By this point in the season the stretch from legs seven to eleven are simply becoming an increasing blur. Anyone in the world who can form the exact timeline of tasks from legs through to eleven needs to sign up for Norway’s Memory Olympics ASAP. Let’s be thankful though that production avoided draining another car battery.)