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Thread: The Accidental TAR-ist, Part 7

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    The Accidental TAR-ist, Part 7

    Welcome to the Accidental TARist, a weekly article from the mods and writers of the FORT staff. Each week, teams will be dissected and analyzed for the good, the bad, and the ugly for each leg of the race. Join us in laughing at each team's triumphs, misadventures, and what just might keep them in the race another leg or send them home sooner.

    The Linz Family a.k.a Team Three Men and a Little Lady

    The Drive To Win
    The Linz Family kept up their near-the-top-of-the-pack ways by always working and looking for the quickest way for them to get things done…yes, usually by flexing their physical assets. They’re young, they have endurance, and they usually work well together. Sometimes, however, you have to wonder if there are any lights on in their collective attics. They gain a lead through sheer athleticism(piling sugar cane on a cart) and surrender that lead through total mental ineptness(trying to disassemble a barrel rather than simply “tapping” it). Tommy’s daredevil attitude surely helped at the go-cart roadblock too. He pushed the speed envelope on the race course and made up a ton of time to finish third in the first leg of this episode.

    Flyin’ High
    At least the Linz’s are having fun. They laugh, make jokes—Tommy’s “I don’t roll with the punches…I punch” line had me…and apparently all of them…bursting with laughter—and they truly enjoy each other’s company. The fact that the brother’s had Megan fly the fighter plane roadblock really shows how these boys have embraced their sister as their equal, and trust her with completing a stereotypically male oriented task.

    The Boat Is Still Floating
    If the Linz Family can have all of their positive points working at the same time, they would be unstoppable. Unfortunately, they always give back any lead they gain through superior athleticism by not always thinking. The fact that they sometimes have blinders on when reading the clues and following the directions is frustrating too. They left the boat bailing detour in first, arrived at Lake Powell in first, but flailed while launching their boat into the lake, and were soon passed by the calmer, more collected sisters. I can see the Linz’s as one of the top 3 finishers, but unless they have all cylinders firing in the last legs of the race, they won’t be able to close the deal.

    The Godlewski Family, AKA Team Desperate Housewives

    Better to Be Lucky Than Good
    What kind of freaky unearned karma have these ladies got? Despite flight difficulties that had them racing to Newark to catch a connection, they got to Phoenix first. They flew their plane fine, they drove their little go-kart fine, they even got their boat to pass the Linzes. All this despite their addle-brained manner of running around like bickering chickens, arguing about maps and directions and everything else. It sounds like they should be losing, but apparently under the sound and fury there's some substance. It doesn't hurt that they're blonde and pretty, and hey've done a good job of befriending the other teams -- alliances that pay off.

    Karma Eventually Bites Everyone in the Ass
    These sisters still seem to benefit more from some serious luck than from talent. They're also proving themselves to be followers, not leaders, which is fine for now but will doom them if they do it in the final leg. Their arguing apparently sounds worse than it is, but we've already seen it slow them down once or twice, and as tight as some of these finishes have been, it could really hurt them at some point. They don't have any room to breathe easy, much less room to sit and whine about who's reading the map.

    Instanbul to Constantinople
    Ok, we've been saying here for weeks that these women are gone as soon as the even worse teams get eliminated. Now we're looking at what, the final four? And there they are. So we're going to eat a little crow, and also point out that their competition includes one slow, plodding man (Wally Bransen) and three teenagers (the Weavers). Physically they're almost a match for the Linzes, and if their phenomenal luck holds, they could conceivably win this thing. Which would be deafening.

    The Bransen Family a.k.a. Team Almost Top Gun

    I Feel The Need…The Need For Speed!: Speed being a subjective word. Everything seemed gravy at the start of the race. Wally showed us his six pack abs and diamond hard pecs as he swam like a fish to recover the clue at the sea buoy. What would in turn be a good thing, Wally hung back to assist with Pappa Paolo even though it might have cost him and the girls a few extra minutes. The girls were able to show off their interior design skills by painting ox cart wheels. While their paintings weren’t nearly as cute as the other two teams, the girls gave the JedI-hypnosis-wave and a simple “Our wheels are done” and off they went to the U.S. Wally took center stage and did his fifty laps around the go cart track without losing nor gaining any lead. It was at the end of this leg that Pappa Paolo returned the favor and told the last place Bransen’s to put all their clothes on before they stepped on the mat. It worked and they were awarded in a NEL. Having three smoking hot daughter’s has it’s advantages after all. Wally sat back as the girls got money from drunken casino gamblers and after counting their collection, realized they had enough left over for some coffee, smokes and a few Twinkies. Once again it was the golden child of the family, Lauren, who did the loopty-loop in the airplane. Sure it took her two tries but that’s only because the pilot was flirting with her and was trying to score digits so he took the controls and messed it up for her. No problems bailing out the boat and getting their way to the Pit Stop for that leg. However, it was everything in between that screwed them…

    Take Me To The Mat, Or Lose Me Forever: Wally and gang, screwed up big time when they waited too long to get the cab driver to get her head out of her ass at Grecia. Had they not needed to catch a flight to the States, they very well could’ve been suckered in a big way. And then there are the problems with directions. This was initially a problem of theirs in the very first leg of the race, went into hibernation for a few legs and then resurfaced last week. They came out of the airport in first place (of their group) and ended up at the track behind Team WWJD. Wally almost raised his voice in dissatisfaction when the girls were too hurried to get on the road and didn’t get clear enough directions to Ft. McDonaldsMcDowell. After the elimination scare, they got clear directions the next time and managed to sneak in a fourth place finish. Amazing what a few minutes getting directions will do, huh?

    Maverick and Goose Say: Had the Bransen’s stopped for better directions to the Fort, this would’ve negated their last place finish on the mat which would’ve in turn set them up for a top three arrival to the fighter school which would’ve then set them up for a possible first place finish. Woulda’s, coulda’s, shoulda’s don’t win races. Clear thinking and knowing when to seek help do. The Weaver’s will self destruct next leaving this family vying for a spot in the final three.

    The Weaver Family: AKA Team WWJD

    I Think I Can, I Think I Can
    The Weavers continue to make strides in their ability to cope on their own after the death of the Weaver patriarch. While life must go on, it has to be painful to relive memories of Dad at the racetrack, and the Weavers have been forced to confront those memories not once but twice during the show thus far. Although tears threaten they’ve emerged stronger and even more cohesive as a family. Now if they could just remember the Golden Rule - and what state Phoenix is in.

    Aaall Aboard!
    The Weavers are always the last stop for the Clue Train – they can’t understand why the other families don’t like them. Prime examples: Throwing food out their SUV window at another family, and telling a toll booth operator that the Linz family behind them want a complete history of the Grand Canyon. The Weaver family motto is, “It’s greater to be hated for who you are, than loved for who you’re not.” Mom Weaver’s attempt at friendship to DJ Paolo is scarily menacing, and when the Godlewski sisters offer words of comfort at the racetrack they are soundly rebuffed by the Weaver girls, who called them annoying liars. Their friendship skills are a little rusty.

    Homeward Bound
    If the other families could vote a team off, the Linda and her crew would be going home tonight, right this minute. The Weavers work well together: Rolly does a good job on most of the physical challenges, and Linda is adept at facing her fears. And after all, this is a competition. But the Weavers have no respect for anyone outside their scary cult close knit family, and they may find they’ve been yielded permanently before too long.

    The Paolos aka Team D-I-S-R-E-S-P-E-C-T

    Swimming with the Dolphins
    Few things went right for the Paolos during this double leg. They left the pit stop to walk to Playas Maracas with only a slim lead on the next two teams. That lead disappeared at the beach. Tony’s language skills did come in handy in town and he was able to get taxis to come pick them up after the Linz family and Bransen family failed to communicate with the operator. The Paolos also chose the faster Barrel detour during the first part of the leg. Despite DJ’s embarrassment, Marion and Tony enjoyed themselves singing a Spanish folk song while they rode atop the sugar cane to the Tonelaria to find the barrel. The Paolos were also the first team on what would have been the first flight to Phoenix if not for the Godlewskis luck in finding a flight from Newark that ended up arriving early. The Paolos were also able to arrive at Fort McDowell before the Bransens despite leaving the super cart track last because Brian knew where Fort McDowell was after having looked at the map earlier. The Paolo parents also provided comic relief by layering underwear over their clothes when they thought they were the last team to arrive at the Fort. Despite knowing the odds were long that they wouldn’t be eliminated, the Paolos preserved and finished the bailing task at Lake Powell.

    Swallowing the Ocean
    The Paolos reverted to their early bickering form. DJ again appeared embarrassed by his family and Marion nagged constantly. The lowlight was either Marion telling her older son that she hoped he never married or DJ informing his mother that he could drown her at Lake Powell and that no one would ever find her body. The Paolos consistently helped every team during this part of the race except for the Weavers. They might have been able to survive if they had been more ruthless. It’s hard to isolate one fatal moment for the Paolos. It could have been Tony choosing to attempt the swim at the beach where he had to be helped by the rescue swimmers, the Paolos inability to find their truck at the Phoenix Airport until every other team was ahead of them, or their choosing to enter the Grand Canyon through the backed up main entrance off of 64 instead of through the less crowded entrance off 89 which was closer to the clue.

    Going Under for the Last Time
    The Paolos couldn’t overcome some bad luck and their own family dynamics. Frankly, if you’d asked the Paolo boys before the race started, they would have never guessed that their mother would last long enough for the family to finish in fifth place. Hopefully, the boys’ flashes of new found respect for their parents will last long after their race ended.

    Special thanks to the contributors, in alphabetical order: Dinahann, Lucy, Mariner, Miss Filangi, mrdobolina, roseskid, speedbump, suncat7 and totoro.

  2. #2
    Leo
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    Everything was spot on. Thanks everyone.

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