Great American Road Trip 7/13 Recap: Gateway to the Western
Hey, all 4 of y’all who don’t watch The Bachelorette! Welcome back to another episode of Great American Road Trip. Last week 6 of our original 7 families made a successful journey from Chi-town to St. Louis. This week, they’re heading for flyover country’s own Vegas. Branson, baby! Where’s Nelson Muntz?
Custard, Cutting Up, and Caves
So we’ll get to that, but first dairy confections! Our families make tracks for the landmark of deliciousness otherwise known as Ted Drewes in STL to partake of their famous frozen custard. On the way, Amy DiSalvatore tells her kids to wave bye-bye to St. Louis, because it’s probably the last big city they’ll see. Silvio sneers at St. Lou being called a big city. Well, they can’t all be as massive as Yonkers, Sil. (Missouri Pride!) (Also he is an idiot!)
Over in the Pollard van, young daughter Anslie is attempting to give her father directions, and he is apparently attempting to make her smack him. Hey, Ron, hey. Nobody likes an interruptasaurus.
They end up at Ted Drewes and marvel over the stay-putness of concrete custard, until one of the Montgomery boys flips his cup full over and it falls right into the camera shot. Fun times!
Now everyone’s refreshed and driving off to somewhere else. Along the road, Mason DiSalvatore decorates the face of his sleeping little brother with cat whiskers and a banner for Great American Road Trip. Young Blake is not amused when he awakens. And then they’re at Meramec Caverns! Oh, I always wanted to visit there. Thanks for nothing, school field trips. Even Silvio seems impressed at real live caves like they don’t have in the Tri-State area. The Midwest thanks him for his support.
The caverns look impressive and stuff, and everybody is gawping and saying “ooh,” and then! Our families are accosted by a rough looking rough who claims to be Jesse James. I don’t know why I’m sharing this, but I almost lost my breath laughing at how scared everyone was when Jesse appeared in a hailstorm of ringing gunshots. I don’t usually laugh at pain, or fear, but watching these folks scream in shock was hilarious. I don’t even know, but it was funny.
But anyway. Jesse appears to have been domesticated into a tour proctor; he tells things about the cavern and little Ashley Faverey is duly impressed. She also seems interested in how the caverns “smell like old people’s houses.” Give this child some more gummy worms.
After the afternoon of education, Big Darius Montgomery decides to take his family fishing, because his sons have always asked to go and now here’s the chance. Aw, family. Tiyler Montgomery catches his first fish. Then we segue to a big roaring campfire, so, poor fish?
Up and fresh like daisies the next morning, the families file out of their RVs to find 1) rain and 2) Reno plucking a banjo. Neither thing is pleasant. But Reno uses his lack of talent to talk about how much talent he hopes the families have, because Branson. Each family is going to have to put on a 4 minute show there for three judges. Amy Di looks fit to plotz at the news. They’ll be scored, and the bottom three scorers will of course be subject to elimination at the End of the Road.
Back in their respective vehicles everybody’s groaning and looking dejected, except the Montgomerys and the Pollards. The Montgomerys because they know they have it in the bag, and the Pollards, because they look a bit lost. Silvio DiSalvatore says his family’s talent is that they have no talent. Well, they could always go for a magic act and saw you in half, Sil. Just trying to be helpful. The Montgomerys are breaking out clarinets and violins and carrying on, and I’m not excited at how that sounds. The Favereys are whinily trying to decide between 70s disco and 80s rock; the son puts in a whiny vote for disco because his parents don’t know nothing bout no rock and roll. But I guess he knows disco?
Amie Pollard is gung ho, but she’s having a bit of a time trying to get her family in on her plan of doing a rousing chorus of “Old MacDonald,” because then they can pull an Auto Tune and not really have to sing. Pollard son Aaron is especially reluctant (poor teenaged bb), but some loving maternal threats combined with some reassurance that nobody can do “Old Mac Donald” like the Bama Pollards seem to bring him around. The Ricos are working on a historical skit around Route 66, because father Ricardo is a big geek that way.
The DiSalvatores are still struggling. Silvio suggests they do a rap, but Amy nixes that because Branson is a country town. Also maybe because a DiSalvatore family rap would be an abomination before hip hop, but she doesn’t say that part. All their arguing devolves into a family chant somehow. (“DiSalvatore! DiSalvatore!”) And then they start to “rap,” and then I die inside. Also there is much ear-splitting screeching and arguing amongst them. Where the devil is a banana peel when you really need it?
America’s Got Talent
We eventually pull into Branson, and you can tell by the larger than life billboards of Yakov Smirnoff and company. Amie Pollard is excited because Branson is a big ol’ country destination. Silvio is worried about getting outfitted and properly propped. They’re all doing each other’s makeup and slapping wigs on and such, and then, it’s showtime.
Also, there’s a live audience, and nobody knew. Stakes is high, all of a sudden!
The judges? The Branson-ubiquitous Yakov Smirnoff and Andy Williams, and also Raeann Presley, mayor of Branson and proud owner of a red sequined pant suit.
Up first are the winning DiSalvatores. They made Silvio their MC for Lord knows what reason; he says some stuff about bringing “New York, to youse!” And then they “rap.” Amy and younger son Blake both flub their lines hardcore. Older son Mason is like a corpse in a clown suit. Silvio is himself. I think you can feel how much they sucked, because this suckage has a texture of its own. It feels something like crushed velvet. Andy Williams sputters for some feedback to offer, and then just decides to say they were really enthusiastic. Yeah.
Next the Ricos come out. Ricardo and Erica have switched hubby wife roles because cross-dressing is always funny, and their two kids are dressed like greasers. The skit is about, get this: a family on a road trip down Route 66. It’s pretty entertaining though, because the kids ham it up and are really cute. Andy Williams says pretty much that exact same thing.
The Bama Pollards are bringing it now. Anslie’s dressed as a cow, her mother and brother are her famers, and Ron is apparently Willie Nelson? They launch into a pretty spirited rendition of “Old MacDonald,” with Daddy Ron on the banjo. They take turns making animal sounds, and then Aaron caps it off with a back handspring or something acrobatic. The crowd is thoroughly impressed. Also Andy Williams. Yakov Smirnoff loved the originality. Of “Old MacDonald.” In Soviet Russia, old song is new! Backstage, Amie pats her family on the back for working the southern charm on the Branson audience. ‘Twas truly a stroke of genius.
Meanwhile, the Montgomerys are still pumped and ready to win. Darius affirms thatthey will be the top team tonight. Mom Alecia has duded herself up, and everyone has found a hilariously ugly wig to wear. And then they come out on stage like a step team, for some reason. I guess they thought Branson was up on black greek culture? The audience looks … a little afraid. And they start off with “Old MacDonald” too! How sad for them. They quickly fade into the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and say some stuff about what awesome road trippers they are, but they’re reading from cheat sheets, which is not that awesome. And their rhymes are corny, (“On the road we got to see/Arches of St. Louie”) which is even less awesome. Crickets. Andy Williams sputters some more and then says, “Interesting.”
Mama Faverey is completely freaked by the live audience, and she may keel over. Stay tuned! Post commercials, we see that Dee made it through the act just fine. The act being a strumming disco tune about how they are the Favereys and they are on a road trip. Oh yeah, get your lighters up! Dee actually gets really into it once out on the stage; she’s dancing around and trying to feel the crowd. I see a little Sasha Fierce in you, girl. Please use it wisely. Andy Williams looks befuddled, says it was boring, but compliments young Dylan’s green rock mullet wig. Father Lenny, from a safe distance, takes issue with this and doesn’t know how the act could’ve bored anyone. He was wearing a wig and a hat, for crying out loud!
Last on deck are the Cootes. No idea what they’re planning because we haven’t seen them all episode long. I forgot they were here. Hey, y’all. On stage they’re all sparkled and spangled and disco-fied, so it’s no surprise when they give off with a … beatbox jam? That’s cool though. They’re also reading off of cheat sheets (that’s right, Jennifer; I said it.), and then all of a sudden the clothes come off; the boys are in cheer uniforms, and everybody’s waving pom-poms and talking about how awesome the Coote Family is. The ending is a pyramid with little Cassidy on top. Cute. Yakov loved everything about it. I think they’ve escaped the bottom three.
Not so fortunate: The Faveryes, the Montgomerys, and the DiSalvatores. I’m trying not to acknowledge Reno so much, but here it’s inescapable: he drops the bomb of there being no elimination this week. Crap. Everyone but me jumps in their joy. I’m stuck thinking about having to recap Silvio another week. Also, the top 3 families will be competing this go-round for a fabulous prize, even though the judges already proclaimed the Bama Pollards the ultimate victors.
Their handsome reward? A one-night stay at the luxurious Branson-area Best Western! Yay? Although I guess after a week camping out on the road indoor plumbing is more luxurious a luxury than usual. Amie Pollard agrees with me. Also they get a bumper sticker and a plush crown. Those are pretty handsome as well. The Pollards are super excited about the prospect of hot showers, and Amie especially so about she and Ron getting their own rooms. But they end up hitting those sacks early because there’s some other thing to do the next day.
Babies, You Can Drive Those Pas
Next morning, the dawn is golden and the Ricos are all smiles. They each read a clue alluding to movies, and then they get on the road to Carthage. Yay for places I know. They head for the historic 66 Drive-In, and all the champions from yesterday pile out into the parking lot dressed in color coordinated football gear. This isn’t the End of the Road, so they’re just playing for the aforementioned fabulous prize, which is an all expenses paid trip to Hollywood, complete with tickets to a movie premier. Do they have Best Westerns in Hollywood? Please clarify.
The challeneg has something to do with the kids controlling their fathers movements in a maze of classic cars, navigating them to the concession stand, and getting them back to the mothers with the noshables. Also the fathers have to wear some creepy kind of Captain EO looking masks.
So, they all get going. The kids are frantic and giggly and secretive and happy to be in power; they’re driving their bumbling fathers through the maze, and all the mothers are looking frustrated. The Pollards and Cootes hit the concession stand first, and then Ron Pollard seems to pull ahead, but it’s a photo finish. Ricardo Rico meanwhile is trying to use his sense of smell or anything that will lead him to the popcorn. He ain’t gon make it.
Post commercials, we find that the Cootes won, although from this angle it looks like Jen Coote stepped over the line to meet her husband. Not that I’m calling her a cheater or anything. So the Cootes rejoice, and father Coote expresses some delight over getting to stay in a nice hotel in Hollywood. Well, you know. Nice is relative. Free “nice” is much different from not free “nice.”
Rico finally finishes the course and everyone applauds. Amie Pollard declares it officially on between the Pollards and the Cootes for the win, and then everybody settles down for a night at the drive in for an aggressively placed movie whose marketers paid a bunch of money for Reno to mention a bunch, which is all part of what makes this a Great America.
Next week: more family business, buffalo (!), and someone getting run over by a bus? It’s not fully clear.
I’m sure the Best Western is a lovely establishment. I’d be happy to accept a free evaluation stay at any time. Reps can contact me here.
Last edited by MotherSister; 07-16-2009 at 10:33 AM.
Re: Great American Road Trip 7/13 Recap: Gateway to the Western
Right there with you in wishing that SOMEONE would have been eliminated. And is it just me, or does it seem like Amie Pollard is the only one who narrates, confessionalizes or whatever. Granted she's pretty well spoken.
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