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The Amazing Race 8: Thinking Smart in Episode 6by Jeffrey Clinard -- 11/08/2005
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The Amazing Race went from Panama to Costa Rica, provided the first Yield of the race, and forced the Godlewski sisters to find ways to finance the leg, after losing all their money and possessions. In the end the Gaghan family finally ran out of luck and was eliminated, while the Paolo family retained their first place position.
While last time I challenged my readers to come up with ways in which a disliked team could be eliminated by the other teams working together, nobody had an answer, which means I don’t think I’m missing something. Teams certainly tried to get rid of the Weavers in this leg, particularly the Paolos, who directed other teams to the location where the bus tickets were reserved, and then by Yielding the Weavers. Neither tactic worked, though the Yield had the potential for it. No team in the history of The Amazing Race has ever been eliminated due to a Yield, though it has cost several teams position and generally stirred up ill-will.
Still, using the Yield to get rid of a disliked team is not a wise idea. It should be used on a strong team which has had a temporary setback, in an attempt to knock them out of the race. So while I think the Yield was used for the wrong reason, it was, ironically, used on one of the right teams. Liked or not, the Weaver family has done very well on the race, and before the last episode had the highest average placement. In addition, it’s to most teams’ advantage to have somebody to hate, just so they won’t be targeted themselves.
While I think the Yield is a poor replacement for the Fast Forward on a strategic basis, I have to admit it gets reactions out of the yielded team. No team has handled it well, and it seems to bring out the worst in strong Christians more than anybody else. In Amazing Race 7 Kelly defaced Rob and Amber’s photograph with childish drawings (and claimed “The Devil Made Me Do It”) while the Weaver family made nasty comments about the other teams. That’s the footage the producers wanted to get.
The Godlewski sisters did well in raising money for the next leg, particularly in going to bars. They also hit up the Weaver family, who gave them $5 when no other team was shown helping them out. Of course, the sisters were also planning to Yield the Weavers, which shows that charity is not enough to save a disliked team.
The detour provided a choice between finding and moving relics, or putting 15 bunches of bananas on a pulley system. Which was faster? Well, how strong are you, and what is your team composition? With a team of strong adults, the “Ripe” option seemed to be faster, as the Paolo family took another first place. If the team didn’t consist of several strong people, or had children, the “Relic” option was preferable. The roadblock had one team member looking for a red coffee bean. While it had a luck element, the best approach was to spread the beans to a reasonable thinness, then get down on hands and knees to do the search.
Half the teams are eliminated; half are still in the race. Which teams were thinking smart in Episode 6?
Paolo Family: First place, yet again. They got the first bus to Costa Rica, did a stellar job of navigating, and completed the detour quickly because they worked together as a team. Marion was able to secure the banana bunches while Tony and the Brian / DJ combination transported them. At the bus station they aided the Linz family, guiding them to where the tickets were, hoping to knock the Weavers back in position. It didn’t work due to the hours of operation in Costa Rica, but they then used the Yield on the Weaver family. It was an attempt to knock one of the stronger teams out of the race, and if things had gone a little differently it might have worked. They are doing a much better job than they have in the early legs, and if they keep it up they may be one of the teams to beat.
Linz Family: The Linz siblings can’t seem to kick their game up a notch and finally finish in first place. They were able to beat the Weaver family to the bus station, and obtain the earliest bus. They also decided to try to Yield the Weaver family, though the Paolo family ended up doing the dirty work, leaving the Linz siblings with the option in the future. They did a fine job at the detour, and came in second place.
Godlewski Family: The Godlewski sisters started the leg with no money, but made good decisions on where to go to find people willing to assist them. They also weren’t shy about asking the Weaver family for money, and actually received some from them. Of course, they didn’t let that act of kindness blind them to the fact it was a race, and planned to return the favor by Yielding them. They did decent enough job in the leg, even if they do look a bit strange carrying around their possessions in plastic bags.
Bransen Family: The Bransen family had their share of problems at the beginning of the leg. They were passed up en route to the bus station because for some reason they blew off going to the hotel to get a taxicab and instead elected to flag one down on the street. This put them on the last bus, though it ended up not mattering much. There wasn’t much to distinguish them in the leg, and they ended up in the second tier of teams.
Weaver Family: The Weaver family struggled during much of this leg, beginning with their problems getting to the bus station. They were the second team to leave the pit stop, but ended up on the second bus because they didn’t figure out how to get a taxi right away. Linda Weaver also struggled with navigating, and ended up getting to the Yield mat in last place - and found themselves Yielded. Next their vehicle got stuck in mud, and though Linda eventually got it free, they didn’t take the right approach, such as using floor mats under the tires for traction. Still, at the end of the day they avoided elimination.
Gaghan Family: What went wrong? Well, a number of things. At the roadblock, it seemed like Tammy spent too much time spreading the beans thin and not enough time getting down and dirty with them. It was a luck-based task, but not really an unfair one (unlike those hay bales in Sweden during Amazing Race 6). It put the family in last place, and they never recovered.
Jeffrey Clinard has been writing about The Amazing Race since the first edition, writing over 80 articles about it for RealityNewsOnline. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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