This season has me completely turned around. In the beginning I was rooting for the Black family, and sadly, they were eliminated the first episode. I had deep empathy for the Weaver family, but they have quickly worn on my nerves. I’ve kind of scrambled for a favorite, and I now find myself rooting for the unlikeliest of heros. The Paolo family. They were so irritating with their arguing, yet also highly entertaining, and somehow deep down, we knew they cared about each other. We finally saw it this week. I have to root for them now. For a mother that is out of shape, but refuses to give up and for a father that is quiet and loving, hugging everyone every time his teams comes into the pit stop, even if it’s in second to last place. Okay, the older son can still be irritating, but he’s young, and gets to slide a little on that. He loves his mom; we know he does.
The time has finally come. The teams finally get to the leave the country. The Bransens are the first to leave New Orleans at 12:40 AM. They find they need to travel to the airport, then fly to Panama City, Panama. Once there they will take a boat to the island and find the the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute for their next clue. Wally Bransen says he’s not used to he and his girls operating as equals. In their taxi, one of the daughters borrows they driver’s cell phone to check on flights. She finds there is a flight out on Continental arriving in Panama at 6:40 PM and another on American arriving much later at 9:10 PM.
Just one minute later the Paolos leave. Marion says the ideal situation at the end of the race would be for DJ to put his arms around her and say, “I love you, Mom.” As a mom myself of preteen son, I understand. They are, of course, arguing shortly after she says this. As the Linz family leaves at 12:49, Megan admits she’s not as strong as her brothers and knows that the physical side of her is her weakness. They look for a big van taxi, but a driver in a standard-sized taxi assures them he can squeeze them in there.
The Godlewskis leave at 1:39 with Christine saying she may be bossy, but her ideas are the best. If you say so. Leaving at 1:52, the Weavers believe they are their own team. Rebecca says alliances might help, but they’re stupid. I might need awhile to ponder that one. They help, but they’re stupid. The Gaghans, leaving just two minutes later, are the last team out of New Orleans. I hope they shut off the lights. Along with everyone else, they are excited to finally leave the United States.
Everyone gets bunched up at the airport and winds up in the line to catch the earlier Continental flight. The Linzes and Bransens arrange their tickets first. The Godlewskis are behind the Paolos listening to DJ and Marion argue. The sisters joke that if they’re going to argue, they should step out of line. Marion tries to help DJ by telling him what to say to ask for the tickets. He tells her he’s not stupid and can do it. The Godlewskis continue, telling Marion her son is absolutely cruel to her. As DJ leaves the counter, they yell out, “Be nice to your mom!”
The Paolos do arrange tickets on the Continental flight, but as the Godlewskis approach, they find the flight is sold out. The remaining teams in line rush to the American counter. The Godlewskis, Gaghans and Weavers are all able to get tickets for this flight.
The Continental flight lands and the Paolos are arguing once again. DJ says on the way to the Panama Canal that if anybody had told him he would be in Panama with his mother crossing the canal with alligators, he would have told them they were crazy. The teams all arrive to find the place doesn’t open until 7:00 AM, so everyone camps out in what looks to be the vestibule. The second plane arrives and everyone is struggling to use the Spanish they know. Rolly Weaver uses the most interesting term to the cab driver, “El Speedo.” I’m thinking there isn’t many on the race I want to see in a Speedo, save for a Linz brother or two. The remaining three teams all camp out in the same vestibule as the earlier teams.
All catch boats across the canal at 7 o’clock, with the Paolos leading. Behind them are the Linzes, Bransens, Godlewskis and Gaghans, with the Weavers bringing up the rear. Soon all the boats are racing, trying to pass each other and get to the Institute quickly. The Gaghans’ driver appears to be turning the wrong way, and they find out he is planning on picking someone else up! They convince him to wait until they are dropped off, explaining they are in a race.
Reaching the Institute, the teams are to find Ricardo Diaz for their clue. They walk up to every local man they see, asking if they are Ricardo Diaz. Perhaps they should have also asked if the sky was blue. The Paolo sons decide this search is “nutty.” Linda Weaver prays, “Lord, please lead us to Ricardo Diaz.”
The Godlewskis find Ricardo first and receive a Detour clue. They are to choose between Rhythm or Coos. In Rhythm they are to board a red devil bus and visit locations where they must pick up four band instruments. They will then take the instruments to a jazz club and pack them away in their respective cases. In Coos the teams also need to ride the red devil buses, but for this one they go to a rainforest canopy and identify five wooden replicas of local birds by circling them on a bird chart.
This is the first time in the Race that the teams are given a choice of Fast Forward, which only one of the teams can use. Both the Paolos and the Gaghans decide to go for the Fast Forward. The Paolos reach the Fast Forward first and find they need to tandem bungee jump over the Pacific side of the canal. DJ is afraid he’ll pass out, and Marion tells him he better not, or she’ll kill him.
As they stand atop the jump area Marion sees the Gaghans waiting and knows if they don’t do it, they Gaghans will jump in and do it instead. She knows they have to do it. Tony bungees down along with Brian, leaving Marion and DJ to bungee down together. After, Marion looks at DJ and tells him it was good and that she is proud of him. Maybe this is second best to him telling her he loves her. Seeing the Paolos complete the Fast Forward, the Gaghans race back to the Detour.
The Paolos receive a clue sending them directly to the pit stop, Mira Flores Locks, at the Pacific entrance to the canal. They reach the pit stop to take first place for their first time during this race. Tony hugs Phil once again. Phil informs them they have won a trip for four from Travelocity to come back to Panama City. Asked what it was like to bungee with his mother, DJ cracks, “I don’t even like going out to eat with my parents.”
Back at the Detour the teams scramble to get back on the boats to take them back over the canal to catch the Red Devil buses. The Linz family believes they heard Linda Weaver yell to the Linzes boat driver to slow down and are quite upset about it, calling her a bitch. The Linzes then pass the Weavers, with one of the brothers saying that Linda Weaver “needs to take her crazy pills.”
Getting on the Red Devil buses, Rolly Weaver calls it a pimp bus. One of the Paolo sons asks Tony if riding on the bus is anything like picking up garbage. The bus drivers not being very clear where they are going, the Godlewskis pay a taxi driver to let their bus follow them there and the Weavers get out and ask another car.
The Weavers arrive first at the Coos Detour and Linda claims she always wanted to be a bird watcher. Thanks Linda, now I have the O’Kaysions’ hit “Girl Watcher” going through my head, substituting Bird for Girl. The Weavers fail on their first attempt to find the correct birds, allowing the Bransens to swoop in for an attempt, but the Weavers pull it out, finishing first, with the Bransens right behind. They receive a clue sending them to a baseball stadium where they need to search the grounds outside for the next clue.
The Godlewskis and Linzes have joined forces on the Detour, picking up instruments together. The sisters are appreciative and say they will make Trista make out with one of the guys. Really nice to whore your sister out like that. They finish the task quickly and are on their way to the baseball stadium. The Gaghans decide to do the instruments as well and finish very quickly, as they begin to get caught up to the other teams.
The Weaver family reaches the baseball stadium first and find a Roadblock. One member from each team will get three chances to get a base hit or home run off a championship Little League pitcher. If they don’t get a hit, they need to go back to the end of the line to try again. The Bransens arrive just behind them, and Rolly Weaver will try his hand at batting first, with Beth Bransen waiting just behind him.
Nick strikes out and goes back to the beginning. Hmm, maybe this pitcher needs to go lend some help to the White Sox or Astros. As the World Series game tonight reached fourteen innings, and exhausted the whole bullpen of both teams, I think they could have used this guy. The Linz and Godlewski families arriving, Nick Linz and Sharon Godlewski will bat.
But first Rolly gets his second chance at bat. One of the Linz brothers does the, “Hey batter, hey batter, swiiiing batter,” and Linda Weaver gets upset with him, saying they are encouraging everyone. Has she never been to a baseball game before? That’s just what you do. Rolly ends up getting his base hit and he and his family are on their way, but not before Linda says again how rude the Linzes were to “yell” at Rolly.
The Gaghans arrive with Bill Gaghan easily taking first base. Beth Bransen finishes next, and Nick Linz takes first base off his first pitch. As they leave they talk about Linda Weaver admonishing them and they decide they should have told her to go screw herself. Hey, hey, remember, this is the Family Edition! However, Sharon Godlewski says in a separate conversation they can swear if they want as it’s baseball. After one of her sisters tells her to pretend the ball is the boss that wouldn’t give her a rise, she reaches first base, and they are on the last red devil bus headed to the pit stop.
The Weavers arrive at the pit stop in second place. The Gaghans find their bus stopped by a blocked road and are worried. The Godlewskis, knowing they are in last place are hoping for a non-elimination round. They put on as much clothing as they can, hoping Phil won’t eliminate them, but will just take away their money and possessions they aren’t wearing.
The Bransens, Linzes and Gaghans take third, fourth and fifth place. As the Godlewskis climb the stairs to the pit stop they joke about “Looking for Philster …. For the Philiminator.” While many of us online joke about being Philiminated, I just never heard a racer refer to it. This is indeed a non-elimination leg, and Phil takes all their money and possessions. He asks them if they have any idea how ridiculous they look with underpants on top of underpants on top of pants. Maybe it’s just me, but I had to giggle at Phil saying “underpants.”
While they are certainly on an emotional roller coaster at times, I do enjoy the Godlewskis. They’re fun when they aren’t stressing over something. Quite the contrast of the Weavers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them having fun. They are pushed so much by Linda to carry on and do this, it makes me wonder how badly they need the money. It’s different with the Paolos. They’re arguing, but you can tell there is a deep love between them all. I want, just as much as Marion, to hear DJ tell her he love sher. I just struggle to find anything like that in the Weavers because they come off so rude and unhappy all the time. They make it very hard to like them.
Who’s your favorite team this season? Email me at LauraBelle@realityshack.com