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The Amazing Race 8, Episode 1: A New Yorker Lost in Manhattanby Jenn Brasler -- 09/28/2005
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First things first: let’s dispense with the “are we there yet?” jokes up front. Here goes: are we there yet? I promise never to say that again.
We start out in New York City. Water taxis are speeding down the river. There’s Phil. Hi, Phil! He talks about freedom and cultural diversity. This season will mark a first in the history of The Amazing Race – ten families of four members each will compete. We’re starting out in Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn, and it’s time to meet our ten teams. For a full overview of this season’s contestants, you check out my preview article.For now, I’ll ease you in with a brief summary.
The Gaghans are dad Bill, mom Tammy, son Billy, and daughter Carissa. Tammy thinks that the other teams will underestimate them. People say that every year. The whole family runs a lot, and Carissa, who’s nine, can run a seven-minute mile. Yikes. Carissa declares that she can outrun any of the adults on the race. I don’t doubt it. Billy, who’s 12, says that he and Carissa can spy on the other teams. Carissa says that she may be small, but she’s not stupid. She can trick the other players.
The Linzes are siblings Nick (24), Alex (22), Megan (21), and Tommy (19). Nick says that they’re close because they don’t take each other too seriously. Megan worries that her brothers won’t listen to her. Alex and Nick banter about leadership, thinking that Megan and Tommy won’t be able to exhibit much of it because they don’t have as much life experience. After Alex talks about experience for a while, Nick shuts him up by pointing out that he still lives at home. Hee.
The Paolos are mom Marion, dad Tony, and sons D.J. (24) and Brian (16). Tony came to America from Italy when he was 12 and is living the American dream. Marion says that she and Tony both work hard but their sons don’t appreciate them. That will become abundantly clear very soon. D.J. says that he has no guilt over having a privileged life.
The Blacks are dad Reggie, mom Kimberly, and sons Kenneth and Austin. Austin is eight, which means that he’s the youngest contestant ever to run this race. Kimberly says that they’ll run the same way they live their lives – with respect and without hurting anyone. Kenneth thinks that the family will be underestimated. They have a drive to succeed. Austin says that people will help him because he has a good personality, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s cute.
The Bransens are dad Walter and his three daughters, Elizabeth (25), Lauren (22), and Lindsay (20). I’ve already given up trying to tell them apart without help from captions. Sorry. Walter says that his daughters will always be his little girls. One of the sisters (again, sorry) says that the three girls like to joke around and tease each other. They call their father Waldur. Walter thinks they’ll have fun.
The Weavers, one of my sentimental favorite teams, are mom Linda (a widow), daughters Rebecca and Rachel, and son Rolly. Rachel explains that their father died when he was hit by a race car while going onto the track where he worked to pick up a piece of debris. Millions of people just cringed. Linda says that they’ve been very sad and scattered because they’ve been dealing with the loss in different ways. Rebecca thinks that the race will be a way to unite them.
The Aiellos are dad Tony (who I will call Godfather Tony, after his love of The Godfather, in order to distinguish him from Tony Paolo) and his sons-in-law Matt, David, and Kevin. They’re my other sentimental favorites. Godfather Tony says that family is very important to him and he’s happy to get to spend some time with his sons-in-law in a different way. He’s interested to see how they’ll react to stress and pressure. Matt jokes that there will be no spooning.
The Schroeders are dad Mark, stepmom Char, daughter Stassi, and son Hunter. Char says that it’s them against the world. Stassi is a daddy’s girl. Mark thinks that he intimidates people and they think he eats small animals. He promises that he’s really a sweet guy, he just likes the taste of small animals. I’m scared already. His kids are embarrassed.
The Godlewskis are sisters Christine, Michelle, Tricia, and Sharon. If they stop wearing pink shirts, I might have a chance of telling them apart. They think that people will expect them to be ditzy princesses, which will lead to (everyone say it with me) underestimation. They have strong personalities, but they’re first and foremost sisters.
The Rogerses are dad Denny, mom Renee, daughter Brittney, and son Brock. Denny wants to be in control; it’s partially a male thing and partially a Biblical thing. Oh, dear. Brock says that he and his father fight when he doesn’t listen. Brittney thinks that because the family is southern, people will stereotype them and… what’s the word… oh, right. Underestimate them.
Phil wonders if the families will be able to handle the stress of traveling together. He also wonders which family will exhibit the right combination of brains, brawn, and teamwork necessary in order to win. Here we go! I always love the beginning of the race. You never know what might happen.
The families gather in the park for what Phil says will be the ultimate family adventure. No kidding. He tells them that their success will depend on teamwork. He explains some of the rules (getting clues and money, all that good stuff) and tells us that seven of the pit stops will be elimination points. The teams’ clues are sitting on their luggage, and when they get them, they can hop in GNC Yukon Excels and head over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. They all cheer over the $1 million waiting for one family at the finish line.
Phil gives his shtick (which I always love) about the world waiting. He gives the go ahead and everyone takes off running. A couple of people fall and one loses a shoe. The clue tells them to go to Soho and buy camping equipment at Eastern Mountain Sports. They have $150 for this leg. Marion thinks she pulled something. That was quick. The Gaghans are the first to pack up their car and head out. Billy says that Soho is nice… he thinks. The Weavers head out second, with Rebecca driving.1 2 3 4 5 Next-->
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