Think Like An Office Chair
The Amazing Race 8 : Episode 4


It's a plane! The show begins with a message informing viewers that this particular leg of the Race took place just weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and Mississippi. Therefore, the episode is dedicated to victims of the tragedy who are trying to cope as well as to the memory of those who lost their lives when the hurricane struck. Indeed, as the storm clouds gather over the horizon while the Families dash about doing their thing in this episode, I can't help but to wonder whether this is the most disquieting and hard-to-enjoy episode ever.

Previously... oh dear, I had to reread my last recap to refresh my memory on what happened in the previous episode, would you believe that? There were rockets, there were shrimps, there were mud runs, and there was waiting for one's turn to complete a Roadblock that took place just before the run to the Pit Stop. Because the Aiyoyos managed to pick the last number on the queue to ride on a centrifuge belonging to NASA, they were eliminated. Not because of poor racing skills, not because they got lost, but because they happened to pick the last number on the queue. Nice one there, isn't it? Thankfully this week's episode is a better designed one.

Credits. Am I the only one thinking that there is some naughty subliminal message in that scene where the Pablums are posing before a garbage truck?

Philo "My Waist Is Just An Inch Below My Armpits, Or So It Seems From How I Wear My Pants Sometimes" Koughie reminds me that he is standing at the US Space and Rocket Center of Hunstville, Alabama, where the Pit Stop of the previous leg of the Race was right there before the Pathfinder space shuttle. Philo calls the US Space and Rocket Center "a living tribute to America's exploration of space" - because the rocket models are actually alive; run, people, run! - as befitting its being one of "NASA's most prestigious research facilities". Philo wonders whether the Whining Weevils will continue to "distance themselves" from the other Families. Hmm, maybe if they start holding seances to contact their late father, I suppose, but I don't think they can top that hilarious running and dancing thing in the car park where everyone else just watched them from a safe distance. Philo also wonders whether the Gagglehams will ever get out of their "coming in second last, phew" pattern.

1:15 pm is the time when the Blandsens leave, thus kicking off officially this leg of the Race. They read their clue and realize that they have $51 for this leg of the Race and they have to head over to Anniston, Alabama, some 100 miles away, and locate the world's biggest office chair. The word "office" is probably very important because, according to my search on Google, the world's biggest chair is said to be located in Morzano, Italy. But I'll leave the Alabamans to sort that out with the Morzano Italians. Mr Blandsen talks about being slow but he isn't so tired when he opens the clue because the adrenaline gives him a potent rush to keep going. That's nice. All his daughters need to do for the rest of the Race, therefore, is to force him to drink coffee non-stop. In their SUV, one of the daughters says that she thinks of ugly things when she hears the word "Alabama", which leads to a round of chuckles among the others and Mr Blandsen to start singing some bits from Dueling Banjos. The Blandsens are sophisticated people, don't you know. In fact, judging from their affinity to the moon as they demonstrate later in this episode, they may even be those hoity-toity New Agey kind of people for whom we mere mortals have not much hope to even begin to comprehend their complex state of sophistication.

1:18 pm. The Lunzes leave. They insist to the camera that they are funny, they are loving, and they pass the time in their SUV whacking each other's legs and discussing significant issues making impact on sorority and fraternity houses all over the place. Megan seems to be having some difficulty catching up with her brothers when it comes to running, which reminds me of how her brothers and her mentioned her heart last week and had me wondering again whether there's any significance to that.

1:33 pm. The Shroepers leave. As they leave, Stassi tells the camera that she is used to coming in first all the time. She then goes on to announce that her Family are the underdogs. Says who? Shouldn't underdogs have at least one fan to root for them? Anyone out there apart from those with hometown loyalty and family members of these people rooting for them? Do I hear crickets chirping? In their SUV, Mr Shroeper tells Mrs Shroeper who is as usual driving to take the Interstate 65 South to Anniston.

1:44 pm. The Godawfulshrieky Sisters are off. Tricia tells the camera that Sharon, the bossy one who also always drives, and Christine, the bitchy one who sits always at the right side of the backseat, are always arguing because they are both stubborn. That's nice. There's nothing like more confrontations and conflicts on this show to make me look forward to the rest of the season. Who cares about where they are going, right? Let's just shove them all inside some gladiatorial ring and let them kill each other with broken bottles!

3:34 pm. The Whining Weevils are off. Once more Mrs Weevil talks about reaching down inside and finding strength to be strong, pull her family together, and live another day. No mention of the million dollar prize that must surely motivate her a little bit as well. Meanwhile, in their SUV, she asks the daughters and the son at the back to pray for a safe trip. The daughters, especially Rebecca, look quite embarrassed to be doing this on TV. Anyway, they all pray to God to let them catch up with the other Families. I have no problems with this scene like many people do, though, because they're praying in private (as private as it can be with TV cameras on them, that is).

Ahead in the Shroeper SUV, the Family say why they don't like the Whining Weevils. Hunter calls them "white trash", which is odd because I thought he liked being around that Weevil kid Rolly, or so the previous episode suggested. Stassi says that Mrs Weevil is a "witch". Mrs Shroeper takes time from paying attention at the road to add that they felt sorry for the Whining Weevils when they heard that the Weevils lost their father, but she says that that they now know that the Whining Weevils are "evil". Stassi says that the Whining Weevils will act like your friend only to "try and kill you". While there is a lighthearted if petty tone to the Shroepers' babblings, I wonder whether the Whining Weevils are really that bad. There are a few things that are certain, judging from what I see from the show: the Whining Weevils take everything too seriously, have a tendency to make mountains out of molehills, and can be rude and stand-offish at times. Still, calling them "evil" seems to suggest some undercurrent gravity in the situation. Perhaps there is some misunderstandings or even outright feuding going on between these two and the whole Hunter-Rolly issue from the previous episode is just the tip of the iceberg. Maybe Hunter and Rolly are the new Romeo and Juliet! Er, never mind.

3:50 pm. The Pablums take off, and as usual, DJ and Mrs Pablum are already at it. At this point there is no longer any use trying to figure out what triggered the argument because every little thing DJ does seems to set off Mrs Pablum and vice-versa. Brian, who looks bemused at the whole situation (lucky him, I wish I can be as oblivious as he), tells the camera that Mrs Pablum and DJ fight so much because they are both the same person in his opinion - equally bossy, equally stubborn, and equally batcrap crazy. He insists that his brother and his mother really do love each other. They have to, because there won't be many people out there loving them as much once this season is over.

3:53 pm. As the Gagglehams run down the street - it looks like the SUVs are parked a distance away from the the Pit Stop - Mr Gaggleham tells the camera that he can't imagine what the Race must seem like through the eyes of a "twelve-year old" (read: Billy). Carissa mugs to the camera enumerating her superior skills that will leave her opponents on this show eating dust. "Acting cute", naturally, is at the top of her list. Mr and Mrs Gaggleham urge Billy to hurry (he is trailing behind because he is carrying two small holster bags while Carissa is carrying none) as they try to catch up with and overtake the Pablums. Sheesh, people, does it matter to be first so early in this leg?

The Pablums get into their SUV where Mrs Pablum, because she's irritating that way, thinks that it is a sign of affection to swat Brian's face with the clue envelope. Brian squeals that she has given him a paper cut and she insists that she didn't. He says that she did and she mumbles that she is sorry. If Mrs Pablum keeps doing whatever she is doing, maybe Brian will start hating on her like DJ does and the show will be so much more entertaining! The Pablums take the Interstate 65 like the previous Families. Mr Gaggleham however tells Mrs Gaggleham to take the 431. Carissa wonders aloud why they are going a different way from the Pablums and Mr Gaggleham tells her that the Pablums may be "going faster" but they will also be "going a lot longer". I'm impressed that Mr Gaggleham will actually take the time to answer his daughter when most people may assume that she's just being annoying with her questions. In this episode, Carissa is laying the precocious cute princess act a little too thick for my liking but I still think the other three members of the Gaggleham clan rock.

Hello, Anniston. Hmm, there really is a large office chair by the roadside! It doesn't seem to be the center of activity though - not even pigeons drop by to use it as a toilet, hmm. The Blandsens are the first Family to show up. One of the daughters has to tackle the scary task of going up the chair to collect the clue. The Blandsens now learn that they have to turn back and head over to Talladega 18 miles from here and locate the Motor Sports Hall of Fame. In their SUV, Mr Blandsen points out that there is a race track in Talladega, causing the other three daughters to exclaim that the Whining Weevils won't like that. Meanwhile, the Whining Weevils drive past the road sign to Talladega, causing Rebecca to wonder whether they will have to go there. The other daughter Rachel assures her that they are driving past Talladega. This leads Mrs Weevil to tell the camera about you-know-what, although she also clarifies that you-know-who went to the big garage in heaven not in Talladega. Rachel tells the camera that since you-know-who did you-know-what, the Whining Weevils have never gone to or listened to or read or watched anything related to car racing. That is fine with me, because I will never assume to understand the depths and extent of their grief, much less tell these people the "correct" way to grieve, but I have to wonder: what are these people thinking when they sign up for the Race if they are an aversion to anything remotely related to fast cars and speed?

The Lunzes show up, get the clue, and head around to Talladega. The lughead with the scary possessed-by-demon eyes announces that he's going to make a bigger chair when he gets home just to prove that he has a bigger one. That explains the sudden surge in penis pump orders from this Family whenever this goo-goo eyes lughead watches some dirty movie. Come to think of it, that probably explains the goo-goo eyes as well. The Shroepers show up next and Mr Shroeper thinks that the chair is quite "lame-o". Not as "lame-o" as the folks who waste money making the chair, I suspect. Rounding up the first batch of Families that took the early bus in the previous episode are the Godawfulshrieky Sisters who show up and take their clue next.

The Blandsens show up at the Motor Sports Hall of Fame in Talladega where they receive their next clue and are told to head on down to the Talladega Super Speedway where they will have to make one lap before receiving their next clue. Philo says that what the Families don't know is that they won't be in race cars but instead they will all be using party bikes on which four people will sit like they are on some playground merry-go-round thingie and pedal together. How lame, really. The Whining Weevils are already going to hit the roof and people will accuse the show of being cruel when it comes to exploiting their grief - as if casting them isn't a form of exploitation in itself - so why not bring in the NASCAR babies? Philo says that this place is the "biggest motor sport facility in the world" so it's not as if the Race is dragging the Whining Weevils here just for the waterworks show. If the Whining Weevils are willing to whore their Dead Daddy sad story to the camera in order to get on the show, I don't see why the Race shouldn't do the same and exploit them all out. Put them in a race car, I say!

It is hard for me to describe the ensuing scenes of people on party bikes without boring everyone to sleep with dry "first so-and-so go, followed by so-and-so" but that's what really happened. It is hard to muster any excitement at the sight of four people on a party bike pedaling around a race track, especially when these people feel as foolish as I think they do. The Blandsens get on the track first and they try to justify what they are forced to do by suggesting that perhaps the party bikes are half-time entertainment on NASCAR events. I feel their pain, I truly do.

Back at the World's Biggest Office Chair, the Gagglehams' taking another route pays off as they manage to beat the Pablums and the Whining Weevils to it. They then take off. I know, I know, yawwwn. The Whining Weevils show up next and I have a hunch that Rebecca has been practising her whine inside her head all this while because the moment they all realize that they have to go to Talladega, she cries that she doesn't want to go there. After she grabs the clue from Rebecca to read it herself to make sure that they really have to go to Talladega, Mrs Weevil tells her that she can sit in the car and wait. The Pablums finally show up after the Whining Weevils have left. Somehow the world's largest office chair doesn't have the same exotic kick as the world's largest wine cask that the Race went to back in Season Six, methinks.

The Blandsens pedal. Soon they finish up and receive their next clue that tells them to look for a "Southern colonel" in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Philo explains that the Southern colonel in question is actually the Southern Colonel Homes, a trailer-home dealership where you can go down to and buy a trailer-home in order to experience what being a full-blown Mississippi folk is like. Or something. Honestly, why a freaking trailer-home sale, of all the things to be found in Mississippi? The Lunzes are now on the track as well and the lughead who doesn't tell body function jokes or has wild goo-goo eyes (see, I am telling them apart now!) rings the bell like crazy while screaming at nobody in particular to get out of the way. The Godawfulshrieky Sisters show up at the Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, the Shroepers try to feel better about having to sit on that stupid bike and pedal hard like they're representing the country in the Special Olympics by wondering how the Whining Weevils will react when they get here. Oh, I don't know. Maybe Rebecca will drop the shocking revelation that her late father was actually run-over by a bike just like this one during half-time at a race event.

The Whining Weevils manage to beat the Gagglehams to the Motor Sports Hall of Fame - like them or not, navigation is admittedly one of their strengths so far - and Mrs Weevil tells her brood that they will all run in, get the clue, and get back out as fast as they can. Of course, they can't, so when they read the clue telling them to head on down to the welcoming Talladega Super Speedway, the predictable scene of disbelief and "We can't do this!" yammerings ensue. Eventually they walk down the track anyway, with Mrs Weevil telling them that their father loved the race and they should all "let it go" as they are all "above all this". For all her wackiness, Mrs Weevil says the right thing here because as any regular viewer of Oprah can testify, it is not healthy to cling on to the past and work ourselves up into hysterics for too long.

Mr Shroeper cause some minor - if loud - drama among his Family members when he decides to stop in order to adjust his seat. Maybe the seat is poking up in all the wrong places, oh dear. The Lunzes complete the lap and receive their clue. Out of their way! They take time to high-five the Godawfulshrieky Sisters. The Shroepers finish. The Whining Weevils finish, leading to the predictable announcement from them that they have emerged stronger than ever from the experience, yadda yadda yadda. For all the sugar they are pouring forth, they could have at least get into a race car to make the whole "I triumphed over my inner demons" saga more heartrending. After all, that's the only way this season is going to get an Emmy, Bonghammer, and oops, you guys blew it. How sad! Oh, and the Gagglehams show up, where they learn that Carissa's legs are too short for her to be of much help, and then the Pablums, where DJ is so disappointed to learn that he's not going to be in a race car. The Gagglehams finish up and Carissa tries to act cute. She's starting to annoy me with her "My legs are not sore!" As they run for their SUV, storm clouds begin to gather and lightning streaks across the sky. I'm sure I'm not the only one chilled by that scene.

The Lunzes overtake the Blandsens on the road, causing one of the Blandsen daughters to pull down her shorts and moon at the Lunzes. The comparatively normal lughead - the one with the bandanna - pulls up his shirt to flesh his puny nipples and then asks the Blandsen Gone Wild lady to do the same. Mr Blandsen looks like he's enjoying the exchange as much as his daughters. I wish I'm as sporting as he is when I'm his age. It's a good thing that DJ isn't witness to this scene because he'll be wondering why no one is mooning at him. Anyway, the Pablums finish and leave as the dark storm clouds surge closer. Under better circumstances, some joke about the Pablums and storm clouds hovering over them may be in order. Ahead, the Blandsens and the Lunzes decide to stop and ask at a gas station together about the Southern colonel that they are looking for. They learn from the phone book that they are supposed to head over to Southern Colonel Homes. They then show up at the trailer-home dealership where they learn that they will spend the night in one of the trailer-homes that have their departure time for the next day. Two trailer-homes have 7:20 am, two have 7:40 am, and three more have 8:00 am. Of course, the Families don't know the exact three departure times and once they claim a trailer-home, they can't give it back, so to speak.

Elsewhere, the Shroepers stop a sheriff to ask about the Southern colonel but laugh off the sheriff's response that it's a trailer-home dealership. They think that a trailer-home dealership will be too easy. Maybe they are hoping for something related to Kentucky Fried Chicken? Anyway, Mr Shroeper shoots down Stassi's idea of looking into a phone book as well, saying that there is no way that things will be so easy on the Race. Well, not in the previous Seasons, perhaps. The Godawfulshrieky Sisters stop by a cybercafe where they have this kind fellow helping them look up the Southern Colonel Homes and its location for them. The Whining Weevils stop at the gas station for directions. It is noteworthy that the Whining Weevils, who started out in the bottom three with the Gagglehams and the Pablums, have at this point not only overtaken these two Families but are neck-to-neck with the Families from the early bus in the previous episode. They may be prone to dramatics and they are often moronic (or just plain crazy) but they are definitely doing a lot of things right on this leg of the Race! Oh, and after going around and around without really going anywhere, the Shroepers with a recalcitrant Mr Shroeper finally stop at the gas station where they look into the phone book and learn about the Southern Colonel Homes. As they leave, Mr Shroeper rips the relevant page out of the phonebook and takes it with him. That won't be so bad if it's his phone book. Jerk! Oh, and in the SUV, Stassi is having a mini-meltdown, saying that they are running behind and therefore everything sucks. Eh, and here I am thinking that she loves being an underdog?

The Lunzes discover a 7:20 am departure time and inform the Godawfulshrieky Sisters to look for a 7:20 am departure time as well. Both Families then stand around and joke about "the full moon". If this is how one befriends these people, I suggest that Mr and Mrs Pablum moon the Lunz lugheads at the earliest opportunity. The Godawfulshrieky Sisters show up and take 7:40 am without hesitation and the Whining Weevils take an 8:00 am trailer-home, hoping for the best. It's late, they have had a tiring day, and there are so many trailer-homes out there with only a few of them with departure times. It's understandable to me that they just don't feel like hunting around anymore, although that's not exactly the smartest thing to do either. The Shroepers have to endure Stassi's incoherent "Oh, we suck, therefore you all suck!" spoiled-brat whinings during their drive to the Southern Colonel Homes. When they show up at the trailer-home dealership, one of the Godawfulshrieky Sisters inform them of the 7:40 am time. The Shroepers locate an 8:00 am trailer and Mr Shroeper wants to take it and just forget everything else. Stassi whines in her most irratiting manner that every second counts and she doesn't want to be last anymore, eeeeee-eeee-eeee. I am having Flodungka flashbacks here. The Gagglehams finally show up and with them having two very sleepy kids at tow, I can understand why Mr Gaggleham will just take the first trailer-home with a departure time - 8:00 am - that they come across. The Pablums show up finally, causing the Shroepers, who are hunting in vain for a 7:40 am trailer-home, to decide to just take the 8:00 am one and be done with it. Stassi wails that they are now leaving at the same time as the Whining Weevils. Their best friends the Godawfulshrieky Sisters try to calm her down, saying that 20 minutes most likely don't make any difference at the beginning of the day. Stassi will not be placated. She will not shut up. Nobody listens to her. WAAAAAAA! EEEEEEEEE-EEEEEEEEE-EEEEEEEEEE! The lucky, lucky Pablums, therefore, get the last trailer-home and they will leave at 7:40 am the next morning.

7:20 am. The Lunzes and their new best buddies the Blandsen take off. They realize that they must now travel some 84 miles to Richland and locate a BP gas station and find a guy named Les to get their next clue. "Find" is not an accurate word to use, I admit, because it's not as if Les is hiding at the bottom of the ice cream freezer or anything, but it will have to do since this show is now being held hostage by their biggest sponsors. In their SUV, Mr Blandsen considers mooning the Lunzes but his spoilsport daughters talk him out of it. In the other SUV, the Lunz lugheads talk about the "hot bodies" of the Blandsens, although I have a hunch that Mr Blandsen isn't included as the object of their juvenile spring break fantasies. Mr Blandsen really should have just mooned them and be done with it. 7:40 am, the Godawfulshrieky Sisters and the Pablums take off. 8:00 am, the Whining Weevils, the Gagglehams, and the Shroepers take off. Sometime inbetween, my mind takes off to better seasons in the past where there are much more to talk about that "Time A, Team B takes off, Time C, Team D takes off, et cetera".

Les doesn't even have the creativity to hide under the counter so there is no problem for the Lunzes and the Blandsens to locate him at the correct BP station and learn that they have to now head on down to the Pelican State (Philo explains that this will be Louisiana) and locate the Fairview Riverside Park, which is in Madisonville. I don't even get any suspense from the Families not figuring out what the Pelican State is and ending up on a flight to Maui because really, it isn't that hard for them to figure out that they have to go to Louisiana. The Godawfulshrieky Sisters manage to completely miss the gas station, driving past it and, when they see in the rear mirror the Pablums pulling up at the gas station, rationalizing that the Pablums are probably there to pick something up. Yes, their clue from Les! After some arguments from all around, the Sisters decide to turn around after wasting time driving on and on to who-knows-where. Stassi moans that the world is collapsing around her because nobody listens to her. The Godawfulshrieky Sisters stop at the BP gas station and meet Les before leaving, followed by the Whining Weevils, the Gagglehams, and the Shroepers.

In the Gaggleham SUV, Mr Gaggleham looks for his pen, causing Carissa to sing some disgustingly perky tune to the line of "Where's my lucky pen!" She's seriously making me reconsider my goodwill towards her because she's crossing the line from being precocious to being outright obnoxious to watch here. The Shroepers in the meantime have to stop for gas. Mrs Shroeper wonders why they, who live in Fairview, have never heard of Fairview Riverside Park before. As Shroepers wait for their SUV tank to fill, the Whining Weevils leave the BP station, causing Stassi to wail and bitch once more that they are beaten by the Whining Weevils. What is with her and the Whining Weevils anyway? When Mr Shroeper has had enough, that's how annoying Stassi is. He tells her to stuff it because she is "being nasty" and "it's ugly". Stassi snaps back that he is "looking ugly too right now". She is channeling the spoiled and immature primadonna daughter big time here and if she is a little more self-aware, she would be embarrassed when she watches herself on TV. On the road, the Godawfulshrieky Sisters start their descend into Batcrap Crazy Valley that has claimed a few Families already when Christine, not happy with Sharon's complaining that she is always too slow in giving Sharon directions, asks the other sisters to "give her validation" and they oblige along with plenty of eye-rolls. Back to the Shroepers, Mr Shroeper tells Mrs Shroeper to take a different route from the ones the others are taking (55 South). Hmmm.

The Lunzes and the Blandsens show up at the Fairview Riverside Park where they learn that it's now time to dress up in clothes dating back to the 1800s (which apparently means plenty of feathers and boas) before choosing to "Work" or "Play" in their Detour. In "Work", Families must saw in pairs four slices from a log that is about twelve inches in diameter. In "Play", Families must paddle out to a riverboat (which is so authentic that they even have an African-American dealer behind the counter, just like the old days!) and play Blackjack with a "professional dealer" (as opposed to you and me playing an amateurish game of Blackjack at home). Only when the dealer goes bust for three rounds will the Families get their next clue. Both Families decide to play.

Mr Shroeper realizes that he's given Mrs Shroeper the wrong directions. Oopsie. Back to 55 South they go. The minutes are ticking by, as I'm sure Stassi will remind them at every opportunity.

The Pablums decide to work. The Godawfulshrieky Sisters decide to work too because, as one of them says, twelve inches can't be that long. Hear that, guys? Now we all know why the Lunz lugheads move on to the Blandsen sisters. At the Riverboat, the Blandsens manage to win their first round. The Gagglehams show up at the Park and deciding that the two kids can't do much when it comes to work, head over to play. The Pablums make good progress, cutting off two slices, with Mrs Pablum minimizing the movements of her mouth and therefore keeping DJ quiet as well. Meanwhile, the Lunzes have one bust too many and drop the Blackjack for the sawing of the log. I'm sure the lugheads will be very good at sawing the log from what I've seen of them on this show. The Gagglehams reach the Riverboat and start to lose.

The Pablums finally finish up and they get to leave just as elephants fly out of my backside. No, really, the Pablums finish up first. They are told to drive across Lake Pontchartrain using the world's longest bridge to get to New Orleans. There, they will locate the Preservation Hall in the French Quarter, and the Hall is the Pit Stop for this leg of the Race. The Blandsens trump their dealer shortly after for the third time and they too are allowed to take off. As they leave, they tell the Gagglehams to hang in there but the Gagglehams are becoming increasingly impatient and even frustrated as they keep losing again and again. Hmm, Mr Gaggleham is really looking fine in that scene despite wearing some ugly tablecloth. Ahem, anyway, the Whining Weevils now show up and they decide to play. The Lunzes and the Godawfulshrieky Sisters finish up their sawing and take off after the others. When the Whining Weevils are excited because the dealer has the same name as their kid Rolly, the Gagglehams are still fine. When the Whining Weevils cheer when they win their first round, the Gagglehams have had enough and run over to saw logs instead.

The Families who are ahead drive across the bridge and marvel at the beautiful sight of sunlight sparkling over Lake Pontchartrain. Sigh, this is becoming a tough episode to watch when scenes like this one are juxtaposed with photos of destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Godawfulshrieky Sisters aren't enjoying the view so much though because Sharon announces that they should just ditch their backpacks and run to the Pit Stop, causing Christine to start sobbing like they've just eaten her puppy before her own eyes. She says that she wants her backpack with her, boo-hoo-hoo. To the camera, Christine explains that she cries as a form of release from stress and what-not. Boy, this lady would be a hoot to have at bingo tournaments. In their SUV, Christine is blaming the others for making her cry and another Sister tells her that she's doing it to herself, this sobbing. Christine shouts at them to shut up so that she can pull herself together before she reaches the Pit Stop. Well, it's not as if Philo or anyone else won't see her sobbing like a complete lunatic on this show. Who is she trying to fool with her "give me validation" and "NOOOOO! YOU CAN'T TAKE MY BACKPACK AWAAAAAAY!" moodswings? Christine is batcrap crazy and she takes turns ringing the bells in the belfry with Mrs Weevil.

Speaking of Mrs Weevil, her Family manage to get three wins so they are off. Such is the way things are when luck plays such a big part on a Detour, I suppose. The Gagglehams begin sawing, with the Mini-Gagglehams taking one saw and the parents another. Carissa hits her face with the handle of the saw in her first clumsy try with Bill and says, "Okay, that wasn't good." Her parents are sawing like they have been doing it for a long time. The Shroepers finally show up at about this point and the Whining Weevils spot them as the Weevils are leaving. They are thrilled that they have beaten the Shroepers. There has to be something between those two Families that the TV show isn't telling me because these two Families really don't like each other at all. Mrs Weevil cautions her kids against feeling too cocky because they should keep in mind that the Shroepers are very familiar with New Orleans. Why not? The Shroepers live there. The show then tries to present a suspenseful montage where every slice of log cut off by the Gagglehams is followed by the Shroepers winning a round at the Riverboat but I am never this naive since I was five, so really, try again later, editors. The Gagglehams finish earlier than the Shroepers and they take off, as usual always complimenting the kids for a job well done. The Shroepers are hot on their tail.

In the Whining Weevil SUV of Enlightenment, in a scene that will always be remembered as a classic in the "You learn something new on every episode in this show" Hall of Fame, Mrs Weevil informs her kids that they are driving over Lake Pontchartrain, "one of the five Great Lakes". I don't know what to say. Billy is so much smarter than Mrs Weevil when he asks his father whether this lake is bigger than the Great Lakes, although he's not that smart (or idealistic in a kiddie-gullible way) if he doesn't wonder why this lake isn't considered a Great Lake if it is bigger than the Great Lakes.

In New Orleans, the Pablums and the Blandsens pull up and start running. In their SUV, Stassi is saying that it probably isn't fair to the other Families that the Shroepers know where they are going, blah blah blah. The Lunzes pull up and run. Oh, there's Philo and the VIP guy and they see someone coming. Who is it? The Blandsens! They win a trip to Orlando. Yay! (Come on, guys, the show is ending. Feign some excitement, at least!) The Pablums are second and they are pleased that they ran a faultless leg this Season. I won't go as far as to say that - they also benefitted tremendously from luck at several points in this leg - but it's still a good job on their part. The Lunzes are third and Philo jokes about a full moon out on the Race. The Godawfulshrieky Sisters come in fourth. The Whining Weevils fifth. I am amazed at how tightly controlled this leg has been to the point that there is virtually no change in positions among the Families apart from the dramatic shift between the Pablums and the Shroeders, an unfortunate dynamic on the Shroepers' part that began when they didn't ask for directions and ended up handing the 7:40 am trailer-home to the Pablums.

Oh yes, the show tried to stage a suspense montage with a close run between the Whining Weevils, the Gagglehams, and the Shroepers to the finish but it's the Gagglehams that pull in sixth, saved one more time, and the Shroepers are eliminated from the Race just a few streets away from their house. Karma is an overused word when it comes to this show but this is one time where karma strikes with style. Mr Shroeper blames himself for screwing up the directions, Stassi insists that everyone should have listened to her (maybe they will if she will tone down her Little Miss Thang act a little), and Mrs Shroeper bawls her heart out because she really wants to win, the poor dear. Or maybe they are bawling because they lost to the Whining Weevils, heh.


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