Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Amazing Race Family Edition – Sink, swim, fly and bail

Teams started out from Costa Rica early in the morning and had to swim out in the Playa Maracas to retrieve the next clue from a floating buoy. The Paolo family sends Papa Tony to swim out (instead of one of his younger sons, for some reason) and he can’t find the strength to swim back to shore. He calls for the rescue swimmers and some Baywatch lifeguards help him back. During this time, the Linz and Bransen families pass Tony and I’m waiting to see what penalty the Paolo family will incur for failing to complete a task: a half-hour? Four hours? As it turns out, there’s no penalty at all.

What’s up with that? It seems unfair to the other teams to assist one team through a task, but maybe there’s some pre-determined agreement on certain challenges. Anyway, all teams swim out and retrieve the clue which directs them to a relocated Belgian church in Costa Rica. Detour: Brush or Barrel. Teams must either drive to an ox-cart farm and paint two ornate wheels for a cart or head to a sugar cane farm and load a ton of sugar cane. The Paolos and Linzes load cane while the others paint wheels; the next clue directs them back to the U.S.A. and Phoenix, Arizona.

Considering there can’t be many flights out of Costa Rica, this presents a “bunching” scenario and it looks at first like all the teams are going to arrive in Phoenix within a couple of minutes. Before the flights can leave, however, Team Florida confronts DJ from Team Joisey and asks why he Yielded them in the last leg. He lamely says something like “it’s a race” and Mama Weaver responds: “We have a Yield to play now and you don’t.” All teams arrive in Phoenix pretty close together. They must find a marked car at the Phoenix airport and the Paolos who can’t take a single moment to stop bickering walk around the parking lot while the other teams drive away. Teams must find a go-kart track and the Roadblock: race around the track 50 laps.

The Godlewski sisters arrive first and start right away, putting in a dozen laps before the next team arrives. Team Florida arrives and Widow Weaver wastes no time in telling the driving instructor that her husband was killed in a racetrack accident. (So we’ve heard.) Teams finish up pretty much as they started and head to the Pit Stop at Fort McDowell’s Adventures. Although the Bransens were third off the go-kart track, they get lost on the way even though they stopped at a hotel and then a liquor store for directions. The Paolos believe they’re last (they can’t count how many cars are at the Pit Stop?) and start putting on clothes in case it’s a non-elimination leg. The Bransens pull up and the panicked Paolos race for the mat where they arrive as team #4. Team Powerpuff starts for the mat, but the Paolos warn them to put on clothes before stepping up as the last place team. Good advice: the Bransens are last but they are not eliminated. On the next leg, they start with no money and only “the clothes on their back.” (This peculiar penalty has been a source of much humor in the past two seasons of The Amazing Race.)

Leg #1 final standings

#1 – Godlewski family – Team Scream – Prize: Travelocity trip to Belize
#2 – Weaver family – Team Florida
#3 – Linz family – Team Cincinnati
#4 – Paolo family – Team Joisey
#5 – Bransen family – Team Powerpuff (and Wally) – NON-ELIMINATION LEG

Leg #2

Teams who had arrived around noon in the previous leg leave around midnight in this next stage: head to Mesa, Arizona and Fighter Combat School. Right away, you can see the teams are going to be bunched up waiting for the airport to open in the morning. That doesn’t mean there can’t be a little sex and drama: the Bransen girls head to a nearby casino to beg people in the parking lot for cash. Meanwhile, Team Cincinnati gets pulled over by the police while asking for directions. They tell the officer they’re “in a race” and need to find an airport, only realizing afterward the humor in telling a cop you’re racing in the middle of the night.

At the airport, a Roadblock and teams must go up in a fighter and perform a 360 degree loop. A pilot takes them up, does some tricks, then turns control over to the Racer. The Linz famly dubs Megan as “Air Biscuit” for some reason; they’re easily having the most fun in this Race while the other teams argue and snipe at each other. The Weavers finish first and head to the next route marker at Lipan Point at the Grand Canyon. This is just a “go here” stop before they have to continue on to Page, Arizona and the Glen Canyon Dam.

On the top of the dam, teams find the next Detour: Bearing or Bailing. Teams may either find a clue box and follow a series of compass directions until they collect markers, or find a partially-submerged boat, bail it out, and lift it onto a sandbar. The Weavers, who never miss an opportunity to belittle other teams in private, can’t understand why everybody is so impolite to them while getting this clue. Here’s a hint, Weavers: “character” is what you do when nobody’s watching. I’m starting to see why all the other teams dislike them. But I still want the Paolos to face elimination tonight, so I’m happy to see them fall far behind on the drive from the Grand Canyon.

At the bailing Detour, the hale and hearty Linz family finishes first and heads to the Pit Stop at Lake Powell where they need to find a particular houseboat. Meanwhile, the Weavers complete the compass points, followed by the Godlewskis and then the Bransens. Team Powerpuff is heading back on the river to their car just as the Paolos are heading out to the Detour. Once there, the frustration of last place leads the Italian family to say hateful and ugly things that seem almost unimaginable (e.g.: “It’s a big river, Mom, I could kill you and they’d never find your body.”) Nice.

Once at Lake Powell, Team Cincinnati gets temporarily disoriented and heads to the wrong set of boats at first. This is all Team Scream needs to pull ahead: although all the teams are provided with similar boats and outboard motors, the Godlewski’s boat is carrying much less weight and they zip ahead of the Linz family. They arrive at the houseboat as Team #1, followed immediately by the somewhat chagrined Linz siblings. The Weavers and Bransens follow soon afterward and the Paolos, in last place, are eliminated. We’re treated to the mandatory “I love my family” speech. Hey that’s great: all I can say is that after the Baywatch moment in the beginning of tonight’s two-hour show coupled with their bottomless capacity for shrill criticism, karma finally caught up with the Paolos.

Final standings:

#1 – Godlewski family – Team Scream – Prize: an RV camper
#2 – Linz family – Team Cincinnati
#3 – Weaver family – Team Florida
#4 – Bransen family – Team Powerpuff (and Wally)
#5 – Paolo family – Team Joisey – PHIL-LIMINATED

Extra – This space reserved for updates from Kris and Pat; check out their TAR reviews.

P.S. – I miss the Gaghans.


Pat said...

I was wondering if the Linzes damaged their prop by hitting stones. It doesn't seem like they would be that much heavier than the Godlewskis.

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