Tonight’s The Amazing Race showcased again my fears on why this might not be a positive thing for kids. While they are having “amazing” experiences and learning many things about the country they live in, at certain points the race becomes more important to the adults than the experience, and the kids are forced to see it the same way or else.
The Weavers are the first to leave the Wilbourne Manor in Middleburg, Virginia at 2:26 AM. They receive a clue telling them they will fly to Charleston Carolina, located in “The Battery” and are to find the gazebo. Daughter Rebecca says they’re out there trying to prove to everyone how strong they are.
The Linz siblings leave just one minute later with Megan getting angrier by the moment that her brothers aren’t listening to her. A few minutes later the Godlewski sisters leave, saying they haven’t even talked about who the “one big boss” is on their team.
Leaving at 2:35, Char Schroeder is happy her kids don’t see her as “the stepmom.” As they drive to the airport and Hunter hears they are traveling to someplace historical, he says he doesn’t know history. Char tells him to focus, to which Hunter answers with an eye roll and “What … ever.” Everyone is very bunched up on this leg as the Aiellos leave at 2:37 and the Bransens at 2:38. One of the Aiello sons-in-law, Matt, says they have been too “business” in this race and need to make things lighter.
Leaving at 2:43, Mom Tammy Gaghan says they’ve tried to raise their kids on the race to be little adults and not kids. I have to find fault with this. Let them have fun like kids! This is something they’ll remember all their lives. Maybe I heard her wrong, but I instant replayed it, and I swear that’s what she said. The Paolos leave twenty-two minutes after the second to last team and thirty-nine minutes after the first team. Dad Tony who has lived in this country since he was twelve, says he wants his kids to see this amazing country. Even if they fight a lot, it’s still a great opportunity. Why is it this verbally abusive family seems to have a better take on the purpose of being there?
The Linz’ notice the “Florida team” (The Weavers) going in reverse on the highway as they missed the airport exit. Some teams have borrowed their drivers’ cell phones to call and make flight arrangements. They find there are two flights into Charleston, one arriving at 10:04 AM and the other at 10:06 AM. The Bransens stop “Team Boston” (The Aiellos) to tell them of the info gained via cell phone.
Linda Weaver is very nervous about the flight and keeps going back to the counter to ask questions. This makes the Aiellos and Schroeders very suspicious, thinking she’s looking for a flight leaving sooner. They ask Linda what’s up and she refuses to answer. Stass Schroeder decides the Weavers are SBD – “Silent But Deadly.” I’ve never thought of comparing people to types of farts before. Does this make the Paolos “a juicy one”?
Hunter Schroeder and Rolly Weaver, close in age, hang out together while waiting for their flight. Char Schroeder gets upset that her stepson is talking with the enemy and goes over to tell him to “shut his pie hole.” She walks away, and he calls her a bitch. Perhaps she’d rather go back to him calling her the stepmom.
The Paolos arrive at the airport fighting. Nothing new with this clan. They miss out on both the 10:04 and 10:06 flights and take a flight arriving thirty minutes later. While they wait for the flight, they fight again. Son Brian says his family has many mood swings.
The first flight carrying the Linz, Weaver, Godlewski and Weaver families arrives in Charleston, with the flight carrying the Gaghan, Schroeder, Aiello and Bransen families right behind. As they drive to “The Battery”, one of the Linz brothers states that “Team Fruit Loop is in front of us. I’m not a big fan of hers.” He is referring to Linda Weaver.
The Schroeders arrive at the gazebo first and find a Detour – Forrest Gump or Muddy Waters. In Forrest Gump teams need to travel seven miles to a shrimp boat, Wando Shrimp, and like Bubba Gump, de-head 200 pounds of shrimp. In Muddy Waters they will travel to Ridgeville Mud Run and drive 4 x 4s through a 400′ mud bar. They need to make one complete trip around.
The Schroeders choose to de-head shrimp and Char complains she has shrimp juice in her socks. Megan Linz is upset again that her brothers aren’t listening to her. They eventually do listen and they find the shrimp boat with her directions.
Team Fruit Loop (I’m sorry, but I just may have to call them this throughout the duration of the race) decides on Muddy Waters and gets their 4 x 4 stuck right away, forcing them to have to start over. The Aiellos make it nearly to the end of the mud track and get stuck as well, forcing them all the way back to the beginning.
The Godlewskis, Bransens and Paolos all decide to do Forrest Gump. Marion Paolo directs her family to “cut their heads off.” She then either says “do it with your fingers” or “don’t lick your fingers.” Probably either one would apply.
Both Team Fruit Loop and the Aiellos start the mud track again, only to get stuck again. After the sixth try, Team Fruit Loop gives up and decides to switch to Forrest Gump. The Aiellos keep switching drivers and trying it again.
On the shrimp boat the Schroeder kids are arguing and one of the Linz brothers is making a shrimp into a finger puppet. The Godlewski sisters are getting competitive over who has de-headed more shrimp. The Schroeders finish their 200 pounds of shrimp and receive a clue sending them to the Charleston Visitors Center where they will need to sign up for one of two buses leaving at 3:00 and 5:00 PM, taking them to a mystery destination. The Linz’ and Bransens finish as well.
The Gaghans decide on Muddy Waters as Billy says it sounds like fun to play in the mud. They complete the track in their first try and one of the Aiellos says the Gaghans are passing them up once again. Surely it must have been easier to drive the 4 x 4 carrying a father, mother and two young children through the mud than driving the 4 x 4 carrying four adult men.
The Schroeder, Linz, Godlewski and Bransen families get the only four spots on bus number one. It’s not clear what will happen if the other four teams don’t get to the second bus by 5:00 PM. The Aiellos finally finish the track and are on their way, and the Paolos and Team Fruit Loop finish with the de-heading. Those three teams, along with the Gaghans, all get there in time to catch bus number two.
What none of these teams know is that they are in for an eight hour bus ride. They are on their way to Huntsville, Alabama, to the Edward O. Buckbee Hangar at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center where they will face a Road Block. On the family version, Road Blocks will sometimes be done by two people, and sometimes by one. This particular one is to be done by two members of each family. They will board a centrifuge and ride it until the gravity inside reaches 3.2G.
Megan Linz reports being at the Rocket Center once before in sixth grade for Space Camp. Beth and Lindsay Bransen choose to ride the centrifuge with two of the Linz brothers warning them not to puke. The Godlewskis are still on their way to the Rocket Center. An argument actually ensues between them on what a hangar is. One of the sisters says, “A hangar is an airplane,” and is answered with, “No, it’s what an airplane is in!”
The Bransens finish the Road Block and are sent to Rocket Park on foot to the Saturn 5. There they will find a computer inside the space museum where they will log on to AOL and receive the next clue.
Inside the centrifuge Tommy Linz says to his brother, Alex, “Dude, I gotta fart. ” Alex answers, “Dude, not necessary.” They finish and Mark and Stassi Schroeder enter. I’m sure they appreciated Tommy’s little present waiting for them.
The Bransens arrive first at the space museum and find a video message from Phil telling them to race on foot to the pit stop at the Space Shuttle Pathfinder. The Linz’ arrive shortly after.
Arriving first at the pit stop, Phil has quite the prize for the Bransens. Each licensed driver on their team will receive free gas for life from all BP and Arco stations. With the price of gas right now, that’s an awesome prize. The Linz’ arrive just behind them.
On the second bus Linda Weaver is nervous. Not knowing where she and her children are headed, she feels like a prisoner on a bus. The Aiellos notice Team Fruit Loop beginning to lose it. Rebecca Weaver is next to lose it, actually having a breakdown in the bus, laughing nervously. The bus stops and the teams go inside for a bathroom break. Rachel Weaver is heard from inside the bathroom saying, “I can’t take it, Mommy.” Linda advises her to lie and says they’ll have to completely fake it. Remember the good Christian woman that Linda is, now advising her child to lie and forcing her children to go on when they are clearly losing it. They come out of the bathroom and look like Stepford Wives. They dance maniacally back to the bus. I just have to point out here that when they Paolos have to point out you are losing it, you are far too gone.
The Schroeders and Godlewskis finish with the centrifuge and are on their way, coming in at the pit stop in third and fourth place respectively. Rebecca and Rolly Weaver are about to enter the centrifuge and Mom Linda prays, “Dear Lord, please give us wisdom.” I’m hoping the Lord will advise her to stop lying and allow her children to quit when they are clearly not doing well. It looks to be too much for them too soon after their father’s death.
After Team Froot Loop leaves the centrifuge, Tony Paolo and one of his sons take on the gravity, followed by Bill and Billy Gaghan and two of the Aiello sons-in-law. The Weavers arrive at the pit stop in fifth place and the race is on between the last three teams to see who will be eliminated.
Bill Gaghan is upset with his son not being able to keep up and they note how Carissa is sprinting. She was the one they said on the first episode that could do a seven minute mile. This is nothing for her. The Paolos reach Phil first and come in sixth place. Tony moves to hug Phil, and Marion tells Phil not to hug him because he’s full of shrimp.
The Gaghans come in seventh, leaving the Aiellos to come in last and be Philiminated. Tony says his sons-in-law are definitely part of the family now as they put everything they had into each challenge. The sons-in-law say they have learned to love each other and now feel like brothers. This reinforced that they are a family.
I just have to wonder what price the kids on the show are paying. Char is telling her son to shut his pie hole, but I’m guessing if she does it being filmed in an airport, she’s also doing it at home. Billy Gaghan is forced to keep a quicker pace than is comfortable for him. But worst of all, the Weaver daughters and mom are clearly not well. Their mom encourages them to lie and pretend life is good. It will only get worse, way worse, for them next week. One of their challenges sends them to the Talladega race track. It was only a year and a half ago that the Weaver father died on the Daytona race track. It could end up being one of those shows we have to watch with one eye closed.
How do you think this season with families compares to the usual show we know and love? Email me at LauraBelle@realityshack.com