The Amazing Race: Family Edition - Episode 7 Part 2
You Look Ridiculous
By Reagen Sulewski
January 16, 2006
We return to Arizona for our next leg of the race, with the Godlewskis still in front but leaving at 11:43 p.m., with their clue sending them to an airport in Mesa, and the Fighter Combat International flight school. This race is officially under the watch of several Federal agencies.
The Weavers are next out of the gate at 11:48, who for the umpteenth time play the martyr card, claiming they're hated because they're different. That's what all the families with no social skills say.
The Linzs are close behind, departing at 11:51, and seem to relish their role as the battlers of the race. Tommy offers these words to live by: "We don't roll with the punches... we punch." It's not quite the St. Crispin's Day speech, but it'll do for now.
The Freakin' Paolos are next at 12:06 a.m., with a goal of no near-death experiences this leg. Wait, flying school? Uh oh. Finally we have the Bransens, with the latest in Samsonite's plastic bag luggage brand in tow, at 12:14 a.m. (the Paolos' dilly-dallying nearly cost them dearly), and with no money for this leg. They're better off than other teams in this situation have been, as they have their transportation handy. There's also convenient casino gambling nearby, but I'm not sure you're allowed to bet the show's van.
The trip to the airport proves eventful for a couple of teams. In the Godlewski vehicle, sibling rivalry, a theme throughout the Godlewskis travels, pops up again as the sisters decide that who gets to tell who what to do is more important than making the actual exit that you're supposed to be targeting. Work out your hierarchies when there isn't a million bucks on the line! Meanwhile, the Linzs have the bright idea of stopping the middle of a road to ask for directions and are spotted by a cop. After proceeding to tell the cop that they are racing (it's a good thing they're pretty), they are then pointed in the right direction. Look for the planes.
Arriving at the casino, the three Bransen daughters start hitting up gamblers for money, with Wally hanging out in the parking lot pretending to kick tires and looking a little creepy while he's at it. Not so surprisingly, the trio of blondes is pretty effective at separating some cash from frat boys, and they are stocked up and on their way. As well-intentioned a rule as this is, this "make them beg" portion of the race is just not proving to be that effective. The producers should really start thinking up something new here.
The Weavers are first to the airport and claim the first spot in line for the next morning (only a small amount of bunching, at least), with the Linzs close behind. "Don't tell them where it is," says Linda Weaver, which might be a smart piece of gamesmanship were you not standing right in front of the door! Tommy Linz asks them how they found this place, with the Weavers' answer being "We're smart." The reply: "No." Exactly, Tommy, exactly.
The Godlewskis are in for third, having shed some time with familial bickering, and the Weavers openly wishing that this spot had been a yield. So much for just trying to be friends. All of the Paolos are starting to regret being in each other's company for so long a period, as they roll in for fourth with the Bransens bringing up the rear.
A very early start introduces us to what may be one of the best Roadblocks ever performed on the show, with the team member taking control of a fighter plane and performing a 360 loop midair (with assistance, but still). Rolly gets the call for the Weavers, who seem pretty enthusiastic about this (just to set the Weaver record straight, go-karts: bad and stressful. Death-defying stunt plane maneuvers: cool!). Megan gets volunteered for this for the Linzs by her brothers, and I'm sure she's just grateful they let her do something. Sharon gets the nod for the Chicken Lady sisters, Brian takes the hit for the Paolos, and Lauren goes for the Bransens.
Danger, danger, Maverick, you've got bogeys at 1 o'clock! They've got tone! OK, so it's not exactly Top Gun, but there are some pretty impressive-looking spins and stunts that they're taking these guys through, and it probably beats the hell out of a Six Flags. All three complete their loop-de-loop on the first go, with no unsightly upchucking. The teams' next destination is that oh-so-hard-to-find point, the Grand Canyon. Never missing an opportunity to turn their insecurity into an insult, however, are the Weavers, who when they don't see any cars behind them, call the other teams "stupid". Classy.
Brian messes up his first loop, pulling an astounding 7.2Gs according to the pilot (congratulations, you're now qualified for the space shuttle), causing much consternation in the Paolo camp, and likely providing ammunition for countless Thanksgiving dinners to come. Lauren also misses on her first shot, missing the point of the "loop" part. Both are more successful on their second attempts, however, and all five teams are finally on their way.
Out on the road, the Weavers have gone clinically insane. It's the only way I can explain them at this point. They start throwing garbage at the Godlewskis, and then decide that they are the cleverest people on Earth by devising a plan to have the park attendant give the teams behind them a history lesson. OK, point number 1: look in the mirror to find out who needs a history lesson of all the teams left. Point number 2: I'm sure the attendant is right up for that (I mean, it's just the Grand Canyon. How busy could it be?). Point number 3: You're idiots. Like they can't just drive on through. The attendant proves to be a poor confidant, letting the Linzs know they'd been targeted. Again, so much for making friends. "Now we have a reason to Yield them," says Nick. And the vicious cycle continues.
Upon reaching the cluebox, one of the Weavers makes the simply stunning remark of "Yes, it's another clue!" These guys are probably surprised when they open their refrigerator and the light turns on. So anyway, this is merely a dash-and-go stop, as the clue sends them to Page, Arizona and the Glen Canyon dam. I'm assuming this leg of the race was fully funded by the Tourism Board of Arizona.
The Linzs pull up right as the Weavers are leaving, and although they joke about blocking them in, do nothing. Meanwhile, the Weavers comment, "They play dirty." I'm... I'm just at a loss here. I've never seen a group of people with absolutely zero self-awareness like this before.
Reaching the dam, the teams have to pick a tour guide, although this proves largely pointless. The Weavers - for all their speeding to this point - blow their entire lead by taking a bathroom break, allowing both the Linzs and the Godlewskis to pass them. The clue they find on the dam is the Detour, which offers a choice of an orienteering task or bailing out a sunken boat by hand. Both teams here choose to bail, and are on their way. More cluelessness from the Weavers as Linda decides to stick out her arm in front of the Linzs as they pass each other. They all giggle then ask (I hope rhetorically), "Why are they so rude to us?" I will now shoot myself in the head. Famous last words as they choose the orienteering task: "I'm a good navigator." Meanwhile, I'm wondering if there are any crocodiles in this river. There aren't? Dammit. Really angry bugs, maybe?
The Paolos have managed to get lost on the route to the dam (how hard is reading a map, honestly?) and have handed a nice cushion to the Bransens. If the Paolos make it out of this as one group of four all intact, I'd call it a victory.
As the Weavers work on their Detour, the water-bailing task proves to be just so much splashing and flailing. I've seen kindergarten field trips that were more organized, though it does look like fun. Eventually the Linzs' brute strength comes in handy, as they've removed enough water to lift the boat and empty it completely. Finally we get the pit stop clue, which directs them to Lake Powell, Arizona.
Hot on their heels are both the Weavers and the Godlewskis, who are proving to be quite the competitive match against each other, even if the Weavers don't understand why the other teams don't just disappear when they pray to God. The Department of Instant Karma does good work here, as while Rolly claims the other teams "can get lost, trust me", the Weavers nearly instantly lose confidence in where they're going and have to stop for directions.
Both the Bransens and the Paolos chose the bailing task, but the gap between the two teams has widened to the point where the Bransens are on their way out as the Paolos are on their way in. At least they're in good spirits about the whole thing, with DJ remarking, "Ma, it's a big river, I could drown you here and no one would find your body." Some people just tell knock knock jokes to keep their spirits up. I sort of suspect DJ would rather be right and be eliminated than admit anyone else in his family had a good idea. The Bransens basically just have to not get lost at this point.
Although the Linzs had a good-sized lead heading into Lake Powell, they find it slipping away to the Godlewskis due to the overall bad transport luck they've had so far in the race. A slower boat (due in large part to their size?) lets the Godlewskis catch right up. Phil winces in anticipation of the screaming from the Godlewskis as they hit the mat, capturing first place for this leg. Their prize is a string of letters and numbers, or rather some very specific travel trailer, which they are all very good at feigning excitement over. I'm sure they'll ooh and ahh once they actually figure out what it is.
The Linzs are next, just seconds behind, which puts the Weavers in third. It's time for some drama, as they once again call the other teams "classless" and saying it's hard to "be the only team trying to live a Christian life". Right, because you're supposed to wield it like a club against other people and throw garbage at them. That's exactly what Jesus did. Get. Over. Yourselves. Would that Phil would call them on their crap.
The editors attempt to wrench some drama out of the ending, and even going to the extra step of trying to sink the Bransens with a slow boat (I think I'm kidding about this; I'm not totally sure), but they are able to beat the Paolos to the finish. For their part, the Paolos are bickering to the end, with DJ yelling at his father "Do you know what left is?!!", serving as a nice exclamation point to their adventures. Though as they reveal in their exit interview, this is apparently normal behavior for them. They're going to make for some special Dr. Phil episode, that's for sure.