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 Gaghan Family - AKA Team Mighty Munchkins
Hit Me Baby One More Time
This family had a rough time of it, but thankfully, Bill’s little-league experience came in handy as he connected with the first baseball pitched to him. However, this team is certainly living the credo, if it weren’t for bad luck, we wouldn’t have any luck at all. The team does continue to keep their upbeat attitude, but with the exception of the baseball field, it’s difficult to think of anything else they did right during this leg of the race.
Pepsi Joy Of Cola
Not only did Team Gaghan get the slowest boat in Panama, but they suffered a further setback when their driver veered off course to pick up another passenger not involved in the race (this same driver wasn’t even onboard initially for the return trip). Clearly not thinking with her head, but using it as a battering ram, Mom tripped and ran head first into the back of a parked van. Losing those few minutes was all it took for the Paolo’s to get to the FF first. Following that, their bus was literally road blocked in a narrow alley by a Pepsi truck. Even with all these obstacles, however, the biggest mistake of the evening by far, was once they saw the Paolos get to the FF first, they should have moved on, as they lost valuable time waiting to see if the Paolo’s would indeed jump, and if they did, if they’d survive (unfortunately, they did).
Oops, We Did It Again
They’ve got their positive thinking going for them, but it’s a positive thought that unless they change their decision-making skills, they won’t be winning the big pay-off. Once again they end the race just slightly ahead of the slowest team.
The Paolos aka Team D-I-S-R-E-S-P-E-C-T
A Prelude to a Kiss
Who is this family? If it wasn’t for Marion and DJ continuing to butt heads, I’d swear the Paolos that started the race were replaced by aliens. Despite having a little trouble getting a cab at the beginning of the leg, the Paolos were the last team on the Continental flight which arrived two and a half earlier in Panama City than the second flight. Once there, they managed to be the first team to reach the dock from which the boats were to leave. The Paolos took the operating hours equalizer in stride and even took time to enjoy the experience of being on the Panama Canal. They were the second family to locate Ricardo Diaz and quickly decided to attempt the Fast Forward. They beat the Gaghans to the Fast Forward location and despite DJ whining and balking, the Paolos successfully completed the tandem bungee jumps and finished a leg in first for the first time.
A Kiss Before Dying
DJ continued to try to prove to his parents that he is all grown up by attempting to take charge of the team and bullying his mother. A tearful Marion confessed that her dream is that before the end of the race DJ will give her a hug and tell her he loves her. How sad is that? While waiting in line at the Continental counter, the Godlewskis decided it was time to speak up and tell DJ to be nice to his mother. A clueless DJ was in complete denial and maintained that he hadn’t been that bad. For a moment, it seemed as if DJ wasn’t going to do the bungee jump to show his mother. In the end, he appeared to jump only because it would have been too embarrassing if his 52 year old mother was willing to jump when he wouldn’t.
Kiss It Goodbye? Or Hello?
A few weeks ago, the Paolos didn’t seem long for the race. Now they have finished consecutive legs in second and first. If they can work together the way they did this leg and continue to enjoy themselves, the Paolos may just make the final three. On the other hand, DJ and Marion could revert to focusing on torturing each other rather than the race and the family could be gone in the next leg.
The Linz Family a.k.a. Team 3 Boys and a Little Lady
The Smallest Violin
This team is the only team that really has that “odd (wo)man out” feel to it. Megan seriously doubts her ability to physically keep up with her brothers, but they aren’t as concerned as she is. They only ask that she do her best. She is the brains of the outfit, though, as one of her brothers thought they were going to Panama City, Florida. Mostly, the Linz Family is lucky to get by on their youth, good looks, and ability to get along with others. Those traits, thrown in with some foreign language skills, are very necessary for winning The Amazing Race. However, that’s not all they need.
A Concerted Effort
During this leg of the race, they had no clue which of the 2 flights arrived first in Panama. Luckily they chose the Continental flight, which arrived first. They quickly found Ricardo Diaz at the compound, and then made quick friends with the Godlewski’s to team up and complete the Rhythm detour. Obviously the boys are very comfortable working with women who aren’t their sister. At the roadblock, their physicality shined through when Nick easily got a hit off of the little league pitcher. Still, for a team with 3 young guys on it, 4th place seems slow.
Although The Linz Family works well with most of the other teams, this race is not about that. They were merely lucky to choose the line for Continental and thus the first flight to Panama, as no one knew which flight actually arrived first. And they were lucky they were with the Godlewski’s who thought to ask a cab to guide their buses to the Rhythm detour. With their apparent lack of drive, their lack of knowledge of the game, and their relying on other teams too often, I could see them making a costly mistake soon.
The Weaver Family a.k.a. Team WWJD
The Weavers don’t rely on anyone else. They stick together as a family with no infighting, and whatever Mom Weaver says, goes. They didn’t make the first flight to Panama City, but managed to make it to boat dock along with the others, and quickly decided on the bird – finding mission. They don’t give up easily, and they made up lost time this week, coming in second.
Rebecca says she understands alliances but thinks they’re stupid. While the other families are helping each other out, the Weavers are called "that Florida family” and Mom Weaver names like bitch and crazy lady. What aren’t we seeing? Telling the Linz family to hush when they engaged in a little good natured heckling during Rolly’s turn at bat was a little over the top, and bombarding their Spanish-speaking driver with phrases like burrito and conquistador was downright ignorant.
The Weavers rode a wild roller coaster of luck this week, managing to go from last place to second and back to last with a little help from a bat-out-of-hell boat taxi. Rolly made a surprise base hit when the baseball pitcher at the detour let the grounder roll right between his legs, and, although Mom Weaver isn’t any better at ornithology than she was at geography, the Weavers ended up in second place. Whether it’s God being called upon for every little thing (Lord please lead us to Ricardo Diaz) or just good karma, the Weavers are riding high, for now.
The Godlewski Family, AKA Team Desperate Housewives
This team may behave like a flock of chickens, but you've got to admit, they work their assets -- namely, their blonde woman-ness. The sisters wisely enlisted the brawny Linz brothers to carry their musical instruments, and even offered up youngest sister Tricia as a reward. Hey, if you've got it, use it.
All Up In My Koolaid and Don't Know the Flava
Still, after all this time, these women display no sense of urgency. They squawk a lot, but still keep losing any lead they gain. They walked up the steps to the pit stop, when for all they knew they could have been in a footrace against the Linzes. And they wonder why they were last.
Sippin' on Gin and Juice ... Soon
We've been saying these women are only in the race until the teams that are worse than them get Philiminated, and this week was proof. Only the fact that it was an NEL saved them, and they're still not long for the race. They'll probably do fine at scrounging money at the beginning of the next leg, but their scattershot style of racing isn't doing them any favors. No word on whether they'll leave Tricia behind as a favor to the Linz brothers.
The Bransen Family a.k.a. Team Birdhunter
Look At All The Neat Colors: A safe race by the last remaining bland team. The girls did good by using the cab drivers cell phone and catching the first flight to Panama. If it wasn’t for that meddling “equalizer” that caused all the teams to begin the next morning on equal footing, this happy go lucky family might have possibly landed on the mat first.
Fruit Loops: Variables of mishaps on this leg were mostly contributed to outside influences: the equalizer, slow boat driver, etc. There could be an argument for why Wally didn’t hit the softball. Surely he’s had a few at bats at the company picnic. However, Beth faired well and led them to a solid third place finish.
Tucan Sam Says: No reason to get alarmed. The girls will keep dragging pops to all the various stops on route to a solid placing.
Special thanks to the contributors, in alphabetical order: Dinahann, Lucy, Mariner, Miss Filangi, mrdobolina, roseskid, speedbump, suncat7 and totoro.