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The Amazing Race 8, Episode 7 First and Cargo Class Awards: Red Beans and Niceby Betsy Wasser -- 11/04/2005
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This week, not only did The Amazing Race take us to Costa Rica, the home of some of my favorite coffee, but they even had a task at a coffee plantation. If I were a contestant in this episode, I would have spent part of my time in searching for the red bean scooping up the rest of the coffee to take home and roast. Also featured in this episode was the always controversial Yield. How players use the Yield often factors into whether they’re riding in First or Cargo Class, and this week was no exception.
Let’s give out the Cargo Class award first. Last week, I wondered why the other teams disliked the Weavers so much. This week, we got some big clues. You can tell a lot about racers from the way they react to stressful situations. The Weavers had one this week when they were Yielded, and the way they reacted was ugly. A lot of racers – and fans- don’t like the Yield, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s part of the game, and there’s nothing wrong with using it. The Weavers certainly didn’t take this setback with grace. Let’s look at several of their Cargo-Class worthy reactions.
The family kicked things off by making fun of the Paolos, who gave them the Yield. One of the girls mocked the fact that the Paolos were standing in front of a garbage truck in their picture. Well, yes they are, and that’s because Tony is a sanitation worker. That fact should be pretty obvious, since he also wears a t-shirt from the department he works for. It is totally wrong to make fun of Tony’s job, which is good, honest work. No, it’s not the most glamorous job in the world, but so what? Making fun of Tony’s job was snotty, disrespectful, and downright mean.
The family then started going through the pictures of the other racers, making fun of them. First they said that the Godlewski sisters all spent a lot of money on breast enlargement. Is that true? I seriously doubt it. The women are well-endowed, but that doesn’t mean they’re well-endowed with silicone. Making fun of someone else’s body is just petty, and again, mean.
Just when I was thinking that their mockery of other racers couldn’t get any lower, the Weavers took at step down from making fun of someone’s job or someone’s body. They said that Brian Paolo looked like “a retard.” I find it exceptionally objectionable to make fun of someone by comparing them to someone who has a disability. The Weavers spend a lot of time talking to God, asking Him for help in finding a route marker, or asking Him to keep them in the race “if it’s Your will.” Maybe they should spend less time praying for victory and a little more time reading the Bible, which would teach them about patience, tolerance, and forgiveness. I imagine that a lot of Christians watched this episode and cringed at the Weavers’ behavior.
The truly ironic thing is the way the Weavers claim that everyone in the race is against them. Well, it’s true – the Godlewskis, Linzes, and Paolos all wanted to Yield them. The Paolos tried their best to help every team but the Weavers find the bus. But this dislike of the Weavers didn’t come from nowhere. Rachel Weaver revealed that they were raised to trust their family and God and no one else. That attitude, along with an apparent willingness to be unkind about the other teams, is probably exactly what makes the other teams want nothing to do with them. The Weavers can ponder that from the confines of Cargo Class.
This week, I have two teams deserving of First Class. One is an obvious choice. The second is a bit of a surprise. The first team is, of course, the Gaghan family. I know a lot of viewers were sad to see them go, and I was certainly one of them. As they have been throughout the race, the Gaghans stayed positive and were kind to each other, even when they knew they were in last place. Bill and Tammy cheerfully let Carissa sleep in the car, knowing that she’d be awake and ready to go when they needed her. Later, it had to be frustrating for Tammy to watch all of the other teams pass her while she watched for the red bean, but she stayed upbeat. It had to be frustrating, also, for Bill, Carissa, and Billy to watch it all happen. We’ve seen other racers lose it in a situation like this, but Bill told the kids to just be quiet and let Tammy work. The Gaghans continued to work well as a family and to stay positive when they completed the Relic task. Bill teased Carissa that he watned to carry the dog, the littlest and lightest piece. At the end of the leg, as they walked to the pit stop in what they knew was probably last place, Tammy told Billy to hold his head high. He did, and he and the rest of the family deserved to. They worked hard, and more importantly, demonstrated fantastic family teamwork. The Gaghans may be headed home, but they’re riding in First Class.
As for that second family, well believe it or not, the Paolo family will be joining the Gaghans in first class. They really seem to have turned a corner in the way they treat each other, and I was really happy to see it. D.J., in particular, was almost like a different person. The family got to the van, and he checked to make sure everyone was okay. He was supportive of his mother as they arrived at the volcano. It was absolutely amazing. The family really came together in the Ripe task. Tony was incredibly tough. The strength he obviously gained over years of working in a job that the Weavers disdained really paid off, as he was able to shoulder much of the burden of carrying the bunches of bananas. He also led the family in a group effort to get the task done. When they were finished, D.J. said that he admires his father’s hard work. The family ran to the mat and D.J. encouraged his mother in a positive and respectful way. Then when they all got there, the three men talked about how well Marion was doing. I could hardly believe this was the same family.
Now to be fair, the Paolos were not 100% First Class in this leg of the race. The boys tried to work against the Weaver family, which was obnoxious. And when Brian was asking for directions, D.J. was totally rude to him, as if Brian couldn’t possibly handle getting directions on his own. And in the same spirit of fairness, the Weavers weren’t 100% evil. They were kind enough to give the Godlewski sisters some money. But that one moment of kindness wasn’t enough to bump the Weavers out of Cargo Class. As for the Paolos, they weren’t perfect, but I have to reward that kind of improvement. I hope this ride in First Class encourages them to continue along this path.
That’s it for another week of First and Cargo Class Awards. We’ll miss you, Gaghans. And Weavers, if the Paolos can claw their way out of Cargo Class, you can too.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments or First and Cargo Class nominations at BetsyWasser@Gmail.com.
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