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The Amazing Race 8, Episode 5 First and Cargo Class Awards: A Man, A Plan, A Canal- Pamama!by Betsy Wasser -- 11/01/2005
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The Amazing Race is now out of the United States, and I know a lot of viewers are just as happy about it as the racers are. I have to say again that I actually enjoyed the race being in the U.S. There are still plenty of cool settings I would love to have seen, whether it was the Grand Canyon or DisneyWorld. I know a big part of the appeal of the show is getting to see different, exotic locales, but I don’t think the race has begun to tap the interesting locations that could be found in the United States. Besides, I feel like we’ve been to India and on those nasty buses a million times. Middleburg, Virginia, on the other hand, was a first. For better or worse, the racers left the country and are now in Panama.
If you were to ask most of the teams on the show who they’d give the Cargo Class award to, it seems clear that they’d choose the Weaver family. As Jenn said in her recap, I really wish I knew why. I’m not their biggest fan, but the other teams really seem to hate them. The Schroeders were really focused on them last week, and this week the Linzes and the Godlewskis formed an alliance of sorts to take them down. Linda’s telling the Linz’s boat driver to go slow was obnoxious, but fairly harmless. At the same time, the Linz boys doing some chatter at Rolly when we was up to bat was also harmless- heck, I remember doing it when I played t-ball, and we weren’t exactly competitive. It was a bit out of line for Linda to lecture them about being supportive. Where do the Weavers go this week? I think their performance was pretty neutral. Not Cargo Class like the other racers seem to think, but not First Class like they were last week. I’ll put them in Coach until I can see a real reason why the other teams consider them villains.
Who are the villains this week? Once again, Cargo Class is better known as Paolo Class. Marion’s statement that what she wants out of the race is for D.J. to hug her and tell her that he loves her was just depressing. This family has serious issues. D.J. continued to be a total jerk for most of this leg of the race. He sniped at his mother about losing the route information – not completely unfounded, but a really negative way to start things off. He then acted for the rest of the leg as if he were the only one who could perform simple tasks, like talking to cab drivers and booking airline tickets. I’m not sure what he thought would happen if his family didn’t let him “do the talking,” but I can say that if I were to choose someone with diplomacy and tact to handle basic human interactions, D.J. would be low on my list.
The family opted to do the Fast Forward, and D.J. was really nervous about it because he’s afraid of heights. Lots of people have that phobia, so I won’t fault him for that. In this situation, it was Marion who handled things badly. D.J. was scared, and instead of being sympathetic, she was threatening – you better jump, or you’re in trouble. The two ended up jumping, and poor Marion consoled herself with the fact that, when scared, D.J. clung to his mom. I know Marion is desperate for some form of affection from her son, but I’m afraid this just doesn’t count as a breakthrough if he continues to treat her like crap in the next leg of the race, which I’d be willing to bet he will.
So, the Paolos are in Cargo Class, but wait – is that an empty seat? That’s right, I’m taking Brian out of Cargo Class. Now that I know the Paolos better, it’s become clear to me that the lion’s share of the disrespect aimed towards Marion comes from D.J., not Brian. And this week, Brian told the world that he is proud of how hard his dad works as a garbage man. He can join the Weavers in Coach. As for Tony, as long as he lets D.J. treat his mother with such disrespect, he’s staying in Cargo Class.
Before I give out the First Class award, there is one family I’d like to put in Business Class- the Godlewskis. First of all, thank you, Sharon Godlewski, for speaking for the rest of America by telling D.J. that he better be nice to his mother. We’ve all been yelling it at our TV sets, but you actually had his ear. It might not have done any good, but it was nice to hear someone say it to him. Second, the Godlewskis showed some great spirit and a real sense of fun when they suspected they were going to come in last. They didn’t cast blame or complain; they just piled on layers of clothing and hoped for a non-elimination leg. And wow, I have never seen so many neon-colored thongs in one place. Not one of these sisters is a cotton bikini girl. Enjoy Business Class, Golewskis!
The First Class Award this week belongs to none other than the Gaghan family. These people are really good to each other and have a great attitude about the race. They aren’t preoccupied with winning legs – they just want to come in second to last. Right now, that’s a good way to play it. As long as they aren’t too far behind in time, they just need to stay in it and hang on. During the task, they handled themselves very well. It had to be frustrating for them when their boat driver told them that he was going to pick someone else up before taking them to the island. Bill and Tammy handled it well, telling him fairly calmly that they were in a race. Can you imagine the tantrum that, say, Jonathan from last season, would have thrown? Bill and Tammy showed a lot more class and decorum. More than anything, I admire the way they treat each other. Bill thanked Carissa for running so hard. And while the parents are constantly praising the kids, I’m happy to see that it works both ways. Billy’s pride when his dad had that great hit in the baseball challenge was really nice to see.
The Gaghans did make one move that I thought wasn’t too smart. They followed the Paolos to the Fast Forward and hung around, hoping they’d chicken out. I didn’t think it was smart when Rob and Amber did it last season, and I didn’t think it was smart this time. Pretty much the best way you can guarantee that another team will complete a scary task is to make it clear to them that if they don’t get the Fast Forward, you will. That’s what happened in this case, and the Gaghans really wasted some time. Nevertheless, even with that one misstep, the Gaghans really deserve this week’s First Class award. Well done!
Next week, the contestants have to cross a really scary looking rope bridge. If anyone quotes Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom by jumping on it and saying, “Strong bridge,” they’re getting an automatic First Class award.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments or First and Cargo Class nominations at sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! For more news about The Amazing Race, be sure to check out SirLinksALot’s Amazing Race page!
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