Great news, everyone! The Amazing Race: Family Edition traveled from Salt Lake City to Yellowstone National Park this week! I know what you’re saying — that is an amazing race! Granted, thousands of people make that journey every year, and granted, it’s not a particularly fascinating trip to watch on TV, and granted, it’s difficult to get lost when you’re taking one highway somewhere, but still, kudos to CBS for providing us with this engaging lesson on how to destroy a perfectly great thing. Okay, okay, I’ll stop hating. Even though this season strives to put the “Amazing” in Amazing Race, we can still enjoy it on a certain level. I mean, the Weavers are priceless in their own pathetic way, and the Linzes, well, they’re just downright lovable — in a burp/fart sort of way. So let’s fire up the RV and take a ride back on the latest leg of our most beleaguered of reality shows.The episode began in Utah — that most derided state by the Family Weaver. (It’s less loved by God, according to Rolly and other uneducated children in America.) As the show revved up its engines, Phil reminded us that the Weavers, who had survived last week’s non-elimination round, have been stripped of all cash. It’s too bad. I was just thinking that Linda should really pick up another bottle of bleach. Her hair’s been looking only semi ridiculous these days.
Well, the Linzes headed out of the gate first and were directed to Park City High School for their next clue. Unfortunately, poor Megan was feelin’ a little sick. Maybe it was all that testosterone raging around her (they don’t call Tommy “Uncle Bone” for nothin’). Anyway, the Bransens left the Pit Stop next, and here’s a surprise. Oldest daughter Beth was not — I repeat, was not — wearing her giant, goofy hat. What gives? Maybe she gave it to the Weavers to use as a backpack.
Out next were the Oh-My-Gaaadlewskis who started this leg in insta-bicker mode. Poor, emotionally unstable Chrissy felt the brunt of this collective PMS-ing as her sisters harped on her for nearly every thing she said. Even that one quiet one — Tricia — snapped as she yelled “PARK CITY!” for no real reason.
“I just don’t think it’s, you know, polite for even my sisters to dis on me,” Christine said. Yeah man. Why you got to be dissing on my homegirl Chrissy? She don’t want to be put on blast, yo. If you gonna put her on front street, you better be ready to bring it, biatch.
Godlewski: The original G-Unit
Anyway, the Linzes finally arrived at Park City High School where they learned they’d be inflating a hot air balloon. Does this mean they’ll be rigging Beth’s missing hat to a basket and flying across the countryside? Well, as expected, the balloon experience wouldn’t begin for several more hours, which meant there’d be a nifty time equalizer. But it wasn’t a total loss. Basically, shuttles would take the teams to the balloon site starting at 6 AM and leaving every ten minutes. You know the drill: take a number, wait your turn, etc.
Well, with nothing else to do, the Linzes climbed into their trailer, and after a prayer from Tommy, they all went to sleep. The same went for the Bransens and Godlewskis, but not the Weavers. They actually slept at the Pit Stop. They were so far behind that they actually didn’t depart until about 5 AM. As the Weavers opened their first clue, Rolly read that one team had zero dollars for this leg of the race, causing one of the daughters to chirp, “I wonder who that is!” OH GOOD JOKE!!! I’ve never heard before from EVERY OTHER TEAM AFTER A NON-ELIMINATION LEG.
Nevertheless, the Weavers hit the road with more victimization as Linda told us, “We’ve never really been treated like this!” That’s right! Most people like them!!! And by “most people,” I mean “peroxide vendors.”
Well, the Weavers hit the road and arrived at the high school just as all the other teams were crawling out of their campers and embracing the morning sun (Megan sickness update: she felt much better, thank you very much). As Team Florida pulled into the parking lot, they welcomed the day with their own brand of annoying friendliness: “Your Yield didn’t work for us, SUCKER!” yelled Rebecca. Yeah, why do people hate them so much? Makes no sense.
After parking, the Weavers then scampered around for the next clue, which Rolly found quite easily. “Good job!” squawked resident cheerleader Linda, adding, “Rolly, you always find it!” Yeah, well, maybe it’s because he’s not a total IDIOT.
With a clue in hand and a fresh night of Jesus sleep under their belt, the Weavers then approached the other teams and tried some lame mix of passive-aggression and intimidation. “It’s great to have a good night’s sleep!” they bragged with exaggerated arms stretching (memo to Weavers: RVs have beds — with mattresses too!). Linda then adopted full-on crazy mode by yelling, “Are you sorry you wasted your Yield? YOU WILL BE!!!” And with that, she cackled and flew away on her broomstick, leaving just the odor of sulfur hanging in the air.
Now I hate to break this to Linda, but the Linzes really didn’t waste their Yield. If memory serves me correctly, there were only two Yields on the race. So basically, it was now or never for the Linzes. Is it really wasting a Yield if it’s the last possible time you can use it? That sounds like smart conservation of Yield powers to me!
Nevertheless, the stringent demands of logic were clearly too much for poor Linda, and instead, she continued to yap at the Linzes, asking, “Are you sorry???” I’m not sure, but isn’t bragging like, uh, not a very nice, Christian thing to do? Well, soon enough, the Weaver spectacle was cut off by the arrival of the shuttles, and then we were off to a good old-fashioned balloon-inflating montage. And you know what that calls for: jazzy horns! Cha cha cha!
Actually, the balloon inflation montage was quite amusing, especially once the Godlewskis attempted to haul the wicker basket around. As they gathered ’round to lift it, one of them called out, “1, 2, 3… 4!” to which another asked, “4?” It was hilarious. Eh, I guess you had to be there.
Meanwhile, those bastions of strong morals and not-rudeness known as the Weavers seethed at their competition, calling the Godlewskis “bottled blondes and implants.” Yeah, damn them and their bottled blonde hair — as opposed to Rebecca’s natural streaks or Linda’s explosion of bleach perm madness.
Rolly gets pulled by the balloon, or as his mother calls it, a “Jesus Bubble.”
Eventually, the Linzes took off first and were followed by the Bransens. Aw, what a beautiful day in the balloon! Tra la la! But lo! The fun turned scary as the Bransen’s rogue balloon collided with the Linzes’. Oh no! I’m sure this was supposed to be a mildly tense scene, but instead, I just wound up snickering — those balloons look like they’re kissing! Ew, gross!!!
Over in the Our Balloon of the Lord, Rolly Weaver revealed that he once had a dream where he fell from a hot air balloon; so now he was freaked out. Wow, Jesus just loves toying with this family, doesn’t he? You know they’re gonna wind up touching down on a race track.
The Linz family finished their balloon ride first and headed off to the Heber Valley Railway for the next clue. They were followed by the Bransens and Godlewskis. As for the Weavers, they were last to land, and in an amusing twist of fate, it looked like their balloon might settle down right in the middle of a state road. It wasn’t a race track, but it would do. Luckily for them (and not for us), their balloon wound up on a hillside where it had difficulty touching down. With each lurch of the basket, the Weavers completely freaked out, screaming as if they were about to topple to their deaths. Yes, they were only about two feet above ground, but for some reason, this experience seemed about ten times more hair-raising to them than just five minutes prior when they were coasting high in the sky. Maybe being close to heaven comforted them.
Anyway, the Weavers shrieked and screamed a few more times (the balloon staff, by the way, was silent and calm in the background), and finally they hopped out onto the hill. But the terror was far from over. Now they had to actually descend the slope, and as they walked/slid on their butts, the girls let out a whole new round of caterwauls. They have heard of gravity, right?
Over at the Heber Valley Railway, the Linzes encountered the Detour: Spike It or Steam It. In the first option, teams would have to use precision to assemble a twenty-foot piece of railway track. In the second option, teams would have to dump many pounds of coal into a locomotive. Now even though last week they had settled on a strategy of always doing the strength challenge, the Linzes opted for “Spike It” and got to work building. Arriving shortly after were the Bransens who also chose “Spike It,” and as Lindsay read the clue, she asked, “What is ‘using precision?’ What does that first one mean?” Now, I’d like to think she was confused at the context of the phrase, but considering official “dumb music” (à la Survivor or The Apprentice) was playing, I feared that she might not actually have known the definition of “precision.” C’mon Lindsay. I like you! Don’t act Weaverish.
Showing up third were the Godlewskis who also chose “Spike It.” You know what that means: time to bash Chrissy! “OH COME ON! MOVE! GET OUT OF THE WAY!!” yelled the dependably surly Sharon. If you ask me, I think someone’s got to work on her rage-lewski. Christine did stand up for herself though, barking back, “Don’t talk to me like I’m an animal or something!” Yeah, you stand up to your evil sisters!
Surprisingly enough, when the Weavers showed up, they chose “Steam It.” Yup, that’s right. The Weavers opted for the strength challenge. “Let’s just pray and do it,” one of the daughters suggested. No offense, Weavers, but I really don’t think The Lord has the time to help you through your shoveling-coal challenge. For some reason, I just think it’s probably a low priority next to, I don’t know, famine?
In minor injury news, Lindsay Bransen took a nice header to the face when her sister bonked her– with a sledgehammer. Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark. But it was okay. She survived. Meanwhile, Chrissy began singing “Working on the Railroad,” which was only the most predictable tune for that moment EVER. I would have chosen something more interesting like “Casey Jones” or maybe the Quad City DJ classic, “C’mon N Ride It (The Train).” It’s a choo choo train! (sorry, dance party has already begun).
Certainly not having a dance party was Wally, who was toiling away with the sledgehammer. But that’s okay. This was Wally’s big moment, and we weren’t gonna take that away from him. “This is my chance to shine as opposed to dragging them [his daughters] down like I do most legs,” he told us. Wow, that went from inspiring and happy to intensely sad very, very quickly. Does anyone else feel like crying?
Anyway, the Linz family advanced first and headed off to the Bonneville Salt Flats where they’d have to find the “Tree of Utah,” which was in fact a giant sculpture. I guess the best way to describe it is giant billiard balls hanging off an oversized popsicle stick. Or as one of the Bransen girls later said, the “Tree of Hemorrhoids.” As the Linzes headed out on the open road, they talked about how wonderful working on the railroad was, with Nick Linz noting that when it came to using the sledgehammer, “Three strokes is all it took for me.” Of course, this led Uncle Bone to quip, “It’s all it took in bed too!” Rimshot! C’mon, you had to see that coming. You just can’t mention strokes without an obligatory masturbation joke. But for all you people offended by this juvenile humor, don’t worry. Megan Linz was right there with you as she scoffed, “Dumb ass.”
Most suggestive tree EVER.
Back at the Detour, the Godlewskis continued to heap scorn-lewski on Chrissy, with Michelle and Sharon being intensely evil. They spent so much time bickering that the Weavers actually managed to sneak into third place, and what’s this I spy? A splint on Linda’s finger? Now why would that happen? I thought Jesus was guiding her. Looks like someone forgot to pray for half a second.
Well, now that they were in dead last, it was time for the Godlewskis to play the blame game. Out of nowhere, all the sisters falsely blamed Christine for the Detour choice, which I thought was pretty obnoxious — especially since Chrissy wasn’t even the one who suggested it. Man, these ‘hos just can’t stop dissin’ on my bitch. If they’re not careful, Chrissy’s gonna get her homies in the Crips to bust a cap in their asses.
Later, in the the car, Chrissy engaged in her most favorite of pastimes: crying out the window. “Are you crying??” asked an incredulous Michelle, causing Christine to bark back, “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
“Grrrrrr!!!” Michelle retorted. Who would have thought someone in a hokey, family-portrait t-shirt could be such a bitch? Eh, check that. I’m sure everyone who wears those sort of t-shirts is a bitch.
Over at the Bonneville Flats, the Linzes found their next clue, and we learned that the one thing Tommy hasn’t channeled his excess energy into is vocabulary. “Find ren– rendever?” he started before his brothers corrected him with “Rendez-vous.” Oh, Uncle Bone. Clearly you’re unfamiliar with Karyn White’s seminal early ’90s song, “Secret Rendez-Vous.” (Yes, people. I really am a pop cultural sponge.)
Well, the next location on the route was actually a campgrounds where teams would be spending the night. Their departure time the next morning would depend on the order of arrival — you know how that goes. For no particular reason, the producers then decided to throw in a random travel diagram, which would have been really cool had it been more than just a small line quietly stretching across an inch of the map.
Anyway, the various teams picked up their clues at the salt flat, and then we caught up with our old friends the Weavers as daughter Rebecca complained about her stress. “My brain is like fried. Like I’ve been in math class all day,” she said.
“You failed math class, Bec,” Rolly countered.
“No, she didn’t!” Rachel then added.
“Yes, I did. Twice,” Rebecca replied, happily alerting America that she really was as inept as she seems. Anyway, the Bransens arrive at the campgrounds first and were followed by the Weavers, but hey? Where did the Linzes go? Maybe they stopped at a Dairy Queen or something. After the Weavers settled in at the campgrounds, they set about begging for money, and much to their luck, they not only scored some cash, but one woman even donated an official Utah highway map. Hmmm… God must have spent a little less time on that map, right Rolly? Right??
The Godlewskis arrived third, and then finally — FINALLY — we found the Linzes. How did they fall so far behind?
“Due to a production error involving the camera equipment, the Linz’s car battery was drained. The battery was fixed, but they have fallen to last place,” Phil’s disembodied voice said. WTF?? This is the second week in a row. What are these camera crews doing anyway? Don’t they know not to tap into the car battery when the car is off? JERKS.
The next morning, the teams learned they’d have to head East to Wyoming and find a ranch. The Bransens left first, and in an amusing little moment, we saw two of the daughters toying with Wally as he studied a map to get “refamiliar.” I really like this family, even if they’re not as funny or as outspoken as the Linzes. You know, the Linz brothers should totally go on a triple date with the Bransens girls. That kind of leaves Megan out of the mix, but hey, she can always have a go at WalDER. Mmm… sexy.
Oh, and HAT UPDATE: Beth Bransen’s dumb, puffy, oversized hat has returned. I repeat, Beth’s dumb, puffy, oversized hat has returned. Approach with caution.
Elsewhere on the open road, Linda Weaver kicked off the day with another message to the Lord. “Please bless our travels today. Please God,” she prayed, adding, “Also, please bless my perm. Please let it find the natural lilt and jubilance it once so proudly displayed. Amen.”
The Bransens arrived at the Wyoming ranch first where they encountered the latest Roadblock. Two people from each team would have to mount horses and corral cattle into a holding pen. You know, like City Slickers, except without all the Bruno Kirby magic. And honestly, is there really any better sort of magic? Beth and one of her sisters opted to take on the challenge, and as they changed into proper outerwear, Wally told Beth, “I got your hat.” Quick, Wally! Burn it! Burn it!
Alas, the puffy hat persevered, and the Bransens completed the Roadblock fairly easily (of course. The Roadblocks this season have yet to pose any significant challenges). The next stop was Yellowstone Park where teams would have to find Old Faithful. However, they’d only receive their next clue once the geyser erupted. So as the Bransens zipped off to see that great natural metaphor for the most intimate of male experiences, the Weavers showed up at the Roadblock, ready for more God-fearin’ good times. Rebecca and Rachel opted to ride the horsies, and sadly, they actually performed quite well. I was hoping they’d become frustrated with the mighty beasts and complain that “Horses suck!” and “Jesus made horses out of God turd!” Alas, the Weavers actually have three horses back at home, and as Linda said, “Rebecca and her daddy were going to be in a cattle pinning contest one time, but they weren’t able to do it.” Great. Just when I was in full Weaver rant mode, they’ve got to remind me that dad’s dead. Total joke killer.
Out on the open road, the Godlewskis shot past the ranch driveway, which meant it was time for another disaster U-Turn with the camper. “You guys, this is impaaaaassible!” one of them yelled, causing cracks to appear on my television screen. Luckily, the girls received help from a random dude-lewski and were able to barrel down to the Roadblock where Michelle wound up bouncing around the countryside on some hyperactive steed.
Meanwhile, the Linzes pulled into the ranch as the Weavers were heading out, and as the two vehicles narrowly passed each other, Linda rolled down her window and yelled, “You’re supposed to move for outgoing traffic!”
“I apologize,” said Nick, clearly biting his tongue.
“They’re so icky; I can’t stand them,” Linda later said as Rolly mocked, “I apologize.” But the real winner of the great driveway showdown was Alex Linz who impersonated Linda by squawking, “God, my face is so wrinkled!” Look, just because Linda’s face appears to have been exposed to the sun for the latter part of the 1970s doesn’t mean that she’s wrinkled. Just finely ripened.
Over at Yellowstone, the Bransens arrived at Old Faithful first, but there were still ten minutes until the next eruption. The Weavers showed up not too long after, but because the Bransens really didn’t care, they simply ignored them and kept their eyes on Old Faithful. “Are they retarded? Do they not see us?” Rolly asked, once again displaying that friendly spirit that Jesus would be so proud of.
Well, the geyser eventually erupted just as the Linzes and Godlewskis pulled into the park, which meant that the Bransens and Weavers could move on, but the other two teams would have to wait another ninety minutes for the next money shot. As the Weavers sped by the Linzes, mathematically challenged Rebecca sneered, “I hope they have to wait!” Well, uh, yeah. Of course they’re gonna wait. It’s not like Old Faithful is gonna give them some special eruption.
Ninety minutes later, the geyser did finally go off again, and as the Linzes and Godlewskis drove off to the next stop, we caught up with the Weavers and Bransens who were now surveying a ranch for Phil. Where could he be? Oh there he is! We then cut to Phil chillin’ on a fence, looking bored out of his mind. C’mon Phil. Put some effort into it!
Phil Keoghan: Reality TV’s Lonesome Dove.
Nevertheless, FencePhil™ hopped off his perch and greeted the Bransens who arrived first, despite one of the daughters taking a nasty fall in the foot race with the Weavers. Okay Phil. Tell ‘em what they win!
“This leg is not over. You’re still racing, and I have your next clue,” he said, causing the Weavers to immediately complain, natch, about this never-ending leg. Of course, this was no surprise to us viewers. In fact, I had predicted such an outcome last week. Oh well. I guess that makes it two episodes in a row without an elimination, and factoring in the CMA’s two weeks ago, by the time the next show airs, it will have been a month since anyone’s been cut from Family Edition. Don’t worry, folks. It’s almost over…
What did you think about this episode?