Previously on The Amazing Race: Uchenna and Joyce decided that their morals, not to mention this small detail of not being thrown into jail for stiffing a cabbie on a fare -- something which probably still hasn't occurred to Colin -- were more important than winning a million dollars, and so resorted to asking people for help. And money. And help. But mostly money. After an impromptu begathon that would have made Jerry Lewis proud, they ran the last hundred yards to the mat in plenty of time to become millionaires. Not that they used the money to pay any of those people back, mind you. Do you have any idea what a new hair weave costs these days?
Next on the The Amazing Race: eleven teams of two set off on a journey that will cover 60,000 miles, touch down on five continents, and eventually bring three teams into a final leg where they'll race for a million dollars. And Phil's eyebrow will be set to kill.
Unfortunately, we still have to finish dealing with what came in between. It was not the Race we've come to know and loathe. There were thrilling scenes of ticket scrounging at airports. We did get extended Bus Rides From Hell (Thanks To The Envoys From Something That Isn't Quite Heaven, At Least Not Until They Get Barred From It). The bunching? Showed up. It always does. There were teams to bash -- oh, were there ever teams to bash. But we were stuck on a single continent. We had Yields that did nothing, Fast Forwards that went nowhere, and people who were struggling with the local language when the local language just happened to be English. We did have the usual dose of idiocy, forty-eight times our recommended annual allotment of religious hypocrisy, and there may have been a sighting of the Festers at the start of the thing just to give us Hope, which is the greatest of all treasures. Second-greatest would be for Bruck to declare this season as never having existed. I'm told this is called 'retconning' in the science fiction industry. It stunk? It's gone. Any film record is just the byproduct of a massive collective delusion, much like the Weaver support on the board. For further details, I'm told you should see Star Trek V, the Logan's Run TV series, one whole season of Dallas, and any issue of any comic book ever written, as long as it isn't the first. And sometimes not even then.
So let's pretend. There was no Season 8. There was just a little work of fan fiction. Someone said 'What would happen if the race sent off ten families of four to tour North America for no apparent reason?', and then wrote in characters who couldn't possibly exist in real life. Or maybe that's 'shouldn't'. Or possibly even 'should stop existing right now'. We're just writing the last chapter in a piece of complete speculation about what would have happened if, for some strange reason, our beloathed Race had chosen to not only jump the shark, but marry it, produce three offspring, then sent the wife and kids to see how much of our collective patience they could chew into tiny shark-bits, at least during those moments when they weren't chowing down on the scenery, the locals, and every McDonald's on the course. Hey, Phil! Supersize them! And don't forget about the liver failure!
It's all just a dream. A bad, bad dream. And I'm going to walk you through the last parts of it before you finally get to wake up to the real TAR, our TAR, the one, the only, the original, the thing we would have canceled after the first season if we'd gotten the chance. Possibly even during the first season.
So: Previously on This'll teach you to eat the week-old pizza just before bedtime, we started out from Brooklyn, New York, the biggest little city on the planet. There were ten teams of four at the starting line, each with a pre-existing family relationship of blood, marriage, legal requirements, and the raw fact that divorces are just so expensive, but staying together and trying to kill each other on national television is really, really cheap! In an attempt to prove that God does in fact exist as a benevolent entity, Linda Weaver was nearly run over by a buggy. (Sadly, the proof completely fell apart the instant we hit the word 'nearly'.) The Paolos argued, and we recommend you start getting used to that. The Godlewskis shrieked, and that too. And the Black Family, which also happened to be the Black Family, which is not to be confused with the White Family, or The Other White Family, Or The Seven Other Other White Families, got sent home early because no summarizer wanted to deal with that series of linguistic jokes more than once. The second jump then aimed itself for Washington D.C, where the teams went to the reflecting pool. Also the reflecting pool. Some of them even went to the reflecting pool and the reflecting pool, and really, what were the odds? (The Paolos argued about the odds. Weren't you paying attention?) We visited a Civil War reenactment, which, although we didn't know it at the time, gave us the real theme of the season: North vs. South Florida. Papa Rogers gave his son the wrong directions, then gave his son the blame for following them, and finally gave the camera a Biblically-ordained leadership role as he brought his family into Sequesterville, or at least we think they reached Sequesterville, because Phil told Papa Rogers to hang a left going out of the battlefield and he couldn't have possibly followed the right he took instead for more than a thousand miles before driving into the ocean and drowning.
After that, the next leap brought us down South, starting with the Carolina of the same name, where a lot of teams found their natural home (the mud) or their natural intellectual superiors (the shrimp). The Weavers lost their minds, or at least made it completely, utterly, publicly clear for the first time that they'd completely lost their minds -- clear to the other teams, because most of us figured that one out ages ago. The Racers were doing a good job stinking up the place, but the ratings didn't like them and we shot the Aiellos into space. This was followed by a trip to Alabama that was made for the express purpose of traumatizing the viewers by watching the producers traumatize the Weavers, and if you think I'm joking, you try watching a six-person circular bicycle (occupied by only four -- or occupied by four and powered by two -- sorry, Carissa, but your legs are too short to race with the Chosen of God) go around a racetrack at two miles an hour and see if you find it exciting. But the whole thing was just a setup for the Hometown Jinx to find a target again, because the Schroeders went home and then, naturally, the Schroeders went home, still angry about Cindy's refusal to give them a new car. And the Godlewskis shrieked, just in case you'd managed to block that from your memory, forcing all the teams to flee the country (with the Pink Ladies in hot pursuit) -- cue up some Van Halen? Thank you -- to land in Panama, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh! Mama Paolo got to fulfill the second-greatest dream of all the viewers by making her son fall from a great height. First-greatest would have been to do it to the Weavers. Headfirst. With no bungee cord. And there may have been a non-elimination in here somewhere, but we're pretending and so any non-elimination never happened, understand? Never. Happened. What did happen was a jump to Costa Rica, where the Paolos argued (and finished first), Megan Linz slowed down her brothers -- physically, not mentally, 'cause 'mentally' isn't happening without benefit of coma -- and for want of a bean, the smartest, most likable person on the course was sent home: goodbye, Carissa, but at least we got to see the rest of the Gaghan family go with you.
Everyone else went to Arizona so the Weavers could be traumatized again, which led the Godlewskis to try and comfort them, which led the Weavers to use their special Jesus Minutes -- more on this later -- and demand the Godlewskis be sentenced to an eternity of having to watch this season, because only evil people try to talk to and/or comfort others, which explains most of their behavior this season, doesn't it? There was something I'm blocking out that involved the unwelcome words 'Paolo panties', and then there was something else that involved the Paolos arguing. And being eliminated. And arguing about it. (By the way, at this point in the race, Rolly Weaver had done six hundred and fifty-eight Roadblocks. Kim, Kim, and Kim Weaver: zero.) The teams headed for Utah, which traumatized Linda Weaver again because she was surrounded by people who weren't (Weaver) Chrrrrisssstians! They were evil! They may have even been slagkikes, whatever those are! But no one understood why she was so upset because there's only four (Weaver) Christians in the world, all of whom are named 'Weaver', and they're always surrounded, so what's their problem? The confusion over this forced the Weavers to stop at McDonald's to worship their favorite false idol, and there was something else involving the phrase 'non-elimination' that we're going to skip over because it's just too depressing to talk about twice.
Look! Up in the sky! It's a complete waste of the first hour! It's a total elimination of all time differences between the teams! It's an exercise in futility! It's Suuuuuperleg! Yes, it's Superleg, stupid visitor from a previous season with the power to bring the entire Race to a crashing halt, blessed with strange Detours and Roadblocks beyond those of mortal men, here to save us from having anything of consequence happen for roughly ninety-five minutes. Things that happened of no consequence included Wally Bransen not slowing his team down -- trust me, that's never going to be of any consequence -- the Weavers receiving exactly what they deserved for having been so good this year: several hundred pounds of coal -- and, once we entered the Phil Zone, the Godlewskis leaving the race from a cold mat in Montana, which was still of no consequence because there wasn't anyone here who thought they could win anyway. But my, could they ever shriek.
Three teams remain. They are:
The Linz Family. Three frat boy brothers (Alex, Tommy and Nick), who form the Clotho/Lachesis/Atropos link of the Race: between them, they have exactly one brain and they pass it around to whoever needs it. They're accompanied by their sister Megan, about whom they have had no more than one discussion on 'If she wasn't related to us, would you so totally do her?', and it only lasted sixteen hours. They excel at anything physical involving raw strength. They have exactly the same capacity to finish a mental puzzle as Stephenie has to finish eating: it happens, but mostly via falling asleep. (To be fair, Megan is a lot smarter than her brothers and would probably charge through anything intellectual, but they don't have the brains required to stand aside and let her step up.) They want to stay near the Bransens, not because they want to keep a close eye on their competition, but because there's always a chance of another full moon shining over Broadway. This family has a collective education that could have only been taught by Linda Weaver, a collective heart as big as all outdoors, and a collective desire to seduce everything they see one infinity larger than their chances of actually doing it, because that's what happens when you divide by zero.
The Bransen Family. Meet Dad Wally and his three daughters (Elizabeth, Lauren, and Lindsay). The Linzes probably don't want to sleep with more than three of them, although this may be doubly unfair. They were caught by a Phil Mugging in a prior episode, which means the family has been going around in a very limited wardrobe for several legs. This only serves to turn the Linz boys on even more, but we're talking about people who are still entranced with the scent of their own methane, so make of that what you will. The father has some scant ability to follow a map. He's also been observed to walk without assistance (for short periods) and complain a lot. The daughters can do all of the preceding even better than their father, especially the complaining part, and have been carrying him through most of the course. It's not that he's Kim, you understand. He isn't even Flo, and aren't we all glad for that? It's just that having their hands supporting his back is the only way to keep their hands from pulling down their pants. Again.
The Weaver Family. The greatest cause of Christian sins in the history of the Race, because lying is a sin, and once the Weavers showed up, roughly sixteen million Christians of all denominations, when questioned about their faith, paused, looked awkward, and said 'Ummm... I just converted to Wicca...' Just by existing, the Weavers have forced all those innocent souls into eternal torture in the afterlife. Or they would if the Weavers weren't the only (Weaver) Christians on the planet and the other six billion of us weren't going to burn anyway. I said that already. Weren't you paying attention? This family consists of Linda (the mom), Rolly (the son), and Rebecca and Rachel (the spawns of the Dread Portal, which breeds monsters.) They hate you. No matter who you are, they hate you, because you're not a (Weaver) Christian. Have you been supporting their actions? Then they hate you too. (See the Godlewski incident for details, and by the way, they hope you really enjoyed the plastic surgery, because everyone who isn't a Weaver has had plastic surgery, and isn't that going to smell interesting when it starts melting into the brimstone?) Linda is a hypocrite whose words, actions, and faith are locked in a triangle of perpetual opposition. Her daughters are exactly the same, only with weaker vocabularies, and that's being compared to a mother who didn't get to visit the Great Township Of New Zealand. And then there's Rolly, who is probably just as rude, just as crude, and every bit as insulting -- but he's the only one who does any actual work, so some people can just barely stand him. Plus he's the youngest and there's a chance he's salvageable. Donations to the Have Angelina Jolie Adopt Rolly Foundation can be made via Phil's favorite sweater. Just pin it somewhere and he'll get back to you.
Where (in North America) will the teams travel on their final leg? What (in North America) will they have to do? Why (in God's name) is anyone still watching? And who (cares about who) will win the million dollars?