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''Amazing Race'': The season finally takes flight

At last! ”The Amazing Race” finally takes the families to a foreign country, Panama, where the Paolos stop fighting and the Weavers remain annoying

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The Amazing Race
The Paolo family: Robert Voets

The Amazing Race

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Phil Keoghan
Jerry Bruckheimer
Current Status:
In Season

”Amazing Race”: The season finally takes flight

Yes, I know, I’m not Josh Wolk. No, that doesn’t mean you can stop reading now. Besides, he’ll be back next week and will be sad to learn you didn’t keep up. And I know you want to talk about the action, since it really started this episode.

After four legs in the States, the Amazing Race teams finally got the chance to get out of the country. Hallelujah! We all know the only reason to watch this show is to marvel at how our fellow Americans make fools of themselves in foreign lands. At least, that’s the main reason I watch. The show also provides many examples of what to do and what not to do while in other countries. This time it was Panama, but the following is true in any Spanish-speaking country:

1. Adding ?o to the end of every word doesn’t make it Spanish. Please-o go-o faster-o past-o that-o car-o. (Weaver and Paolo families, this means you.)

2. Locals can’t always be trusted; sometimes they just want a ride to work and don’t know where the park is. (Let that be a lesson to you, Bransen family.)

3. Speedy Gonzalez is not from Panama. (Don’t make me count how many times ”Arriba! Arriba!” was uttered.)

4. Tipping is a good thing. (Good job, Godlewskis.)

5. Streets are narrow, with random Pepsi machines on the move. This kind of thing happens more often than not. Yelling at your driver won’t make the car blocking your way move any faster. (Write that down, Gaghans.)

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about all the love dripping out of our TV screens. We finally got to see that DJ Paolo doesn’t want to skewer his mother over a flaming pit as we all once thought. (This after one of the Godlewski sisters called him out at the airport in New Orleans for the way he berates his mom.) He sucked it up and showed the world he can scream like a little girl while bungee jumping in the season’s only fast forward. Brilliant! Let us not forget the kiss on his mom’s forehead while they were dangling above the Panama Canal. And we got to hear Brian Paolo say how proud he is that his dad is a garbage worker. It brought a tear to my eye — seriously!

While the Paolos were reveling in their newfound family love, the Weavers stuck to their ”Holier than thou” double standards. Yes, we know they pray to God every five seconds to help them find Ricardo Diaz, and birds, and the ability to hit baseballs and part the Red Sea. Oh, wait, that was Moses. But is it really okay for them to tell the Linzes’ boat driver to ”go slow” but not okay for the Linzes to taunt the Weaver boy, Rolly (Rolly?), while he’s at bat? (Guess the Weavers have never been to a real game.) I think the Linzes had it right when they said, ”That lady needs to take some crazy pills.”

The Gaghans had the worst luck this leg, starting with their boat driver wanting to stop to pick up another passenger. And of course, there was that soda machine, but they still managed to end up fifth.

In any case, a nonelimination round was expected. The Godlewskis seemed to know that it was coming and that they might be asked to surrender everything in their backpacks. It was amusing to see them put on the equivalent of 18 outfits while still on the bus. Was one of them wearing a beekeeper’s mesh on the mat with Phil? I really couldn’t tell.

The change of scene may have prevented you from noticing how lame the tasks were. Looking for a guy in a hammock? Looking in the forest for birds that weren’t even real? How about collecting musical instruments and putting them in their cases? Or, wait, hitting a baseball! It seemed even the producers were a tad bit bored.

But the rock-star moment of the episode had to be when Mama Gaghan tripped over daughter Carissa and did a face plant into the back of the van. Ten points!

What do you think? Were you relieved to get out of America? Are you liking any family more than before? And, tragic backstories aside, are you rooting for any family to be eliminated?