"What the hell are we going to Phoenix, Arizona, for? I want to go to New Zealand!" Well said, Marion Paolo! Amazing Race 8: From Here to Costa Rica and Back, made a turn north and returned to the United States, to the exotic locale of Mesa, Arizona.
Let's begin the recap in Costa Rica, where the families take off for a beach and a roadblock in which one member will swim out to a bouy. In the ocean. Not. As. Easy. As. It. Sounds. (And I'm a swimmer.) Pa Bransen dives in for his girls; NickAlexTom goes for the Linz bruisers; and Pa Tony Paolo volunteers for his family, but quickly finds he's in over his head. Literally. He's helped back to shore by the rescue team.
"Oh, thankya, Jesus!" Ma Weaver intones as her son Rolly successfully swims to the buoy, then adds, "Dear God, maybe weíre going to catch them," as he makes it. Hey, call me crazy but, um, maybe it might be that your gorgeous strapping young buck of a son did it all by his self without divine intervention? Just a thought.
Completing the roadblock, the teams take taxis and drive 2 1/2 hours to a metal church and get a clue from the altar boy. The clue is a detour of Brush or Barrel. In Brush, the families go to a boxcar factory where they paint part of a wheel; or they could chose Barrel, where they go 10 miles to a sugarcane plantation, and load up a wagon with sugarcane and take it to a rum factory. "Am I in hell?" Brian Paolo asked as his parents began singing in Italian as they ride atop a truck full of sugar cane stalks. AlexNickTom exclaims, "I have a pole going up my butt!" I don't know which brother is which, but the Linzes are the guys to hang with when you want to have a good time.
Tasks completed, the teams are off to the airport ... to -- Arizona! Yes, back to the U.S. of A. But for some reason, you can't get to Arizona from Costa Rica - you gotta make a connecting flight in New York or Newark. Oh, the horrors of air travel.
Once they arrive in Phoenix, the families are back in SUVs burning up gas, as they go off to the Roadblock at a Super-cart track where one team member had to drive 50 laps around a track. Yes, in some sick twist of fate, the Weavers find themselves at yet another racetrack. Ma Weaver "spares" her teenage children the awfulness of driving a go-cart and does it herself. One of the Pinks tries to be nice to the kids and says "Your dad would be proud of you guys. Just think about that." A nice gesture. No harm, no foul. Yet, moments later Rebecca Weaver hisses to her equally skank sister, "I hate the desperate housewives. Theyíre just so annoying, and they lie." Holy attitude, babe! Lighten up!
After the roadblock, the teams headed for Fort McDowell and the Weaver girl (who else?) proceed to throw garbage out of the SUV window at the Godlewski sisters, and then tell a toll attendant to delay the Linz siblings. The toll attendant tells the Linzes the car in front was talking smack about them.
Now I wasn't planning on pointing out any more Weaver shit-talk but then they had the audacity to point out a garbage truck and asked if the Paolos were inside it. Then they made fun of the guy driving the garbage truck, who they don't know from Adam and called him "Arizonaís finest." What the f**k? Just because their father who died had a cool job and got to be around million dollar race cars every day, doesn't give you the right to mash on blue collar workers, who you think are worth less than you. Most un-Christ like. (Except for Rolly who doesn't seem to hate anybody. Good for him.)
The Godlewskis arrive at the pit stop in first place. Much clapping and jumping up and down. The Linzes and Weavers pull in. The Paolos got lost and think they are last but they hope it's a non-elimination, so they TAKE THEIR TIME pulling on extra clothes in the parking lot -- when suddenly! The Bransens pull in! Now it's a footrace to the mat and the Paolos make it, looking ridiculous but hilarious as both ma and pa Paolo are wearing tidy-whities over their pants. I mean, extra-large size, tidy-whities. Who knew underwear came in that size.
Since the Boom-Boom girls and dad were last, but not eliminated, Phil took all their money and possession. As they set out for the next leg, the dad pimped the girls to go beg for money at a nearby casino while he stood in the shadows. "Older men are not a real turn-on for people to open their pocketbooks, so I just try to keep a nice distance." Smart guy, dad.
The next day's Roadblock actually seemed dangerous, as one member from each team went up in stunt plane with a pilot who did barrel rolls and loops and all sorts of stomach content-emptying stunts. It looked awesome! And it was so cool to see that Rolly Weaver, 14, and Brian Paolo, 16, (another cutie) were elected by their families as the ones to take the airplane ride roadblock because one small opportunity like that can literally change your whole life. I wouldn't be surprised if Brian or Rollie became a pilot just because of that 15 minute AR stunt.
The next clue instructs the teams to drive to Page, Arizona and find Glen Canyon Dam where they'll chose between bailing out a boat, then dragging it on to shore, or using a compass to criss-cross the river picking up cards. "This is a big river. If I decided to drown you in this freakin' thing, ma, no one would ever find you," DJ Paolo tells his mom as they bail water. The scenery in Arizona is spectacular and the Pinks and Paolos express the wish that they could stop and enjoy it. But this is a race, and the next clue sends them all to Lake Powell to find Antelope Point. Once there, they'll hop on a boat and search for the next pit stop: a houseboat on the lake.
The Godlewski sisters take off minutes after the Linzes but roar past them in their boat, since the heavier Linzes seems to weigh about 200 pounds each (Remember the jeeps?) and the little outboard engine is straining to putt-putt across the lake. The Pinks reach the mat first and this time they win a travel trainer. (Yeah, a TRAILER. They looked a little surprised.)
The only thing I can say about the Linzes -- Alex, Megan, Tommy, and Nick -- is I can't tell them apart. Megan's the one with the boobs but otherwise, the brothers are so alike it's hard to tell who is who. Ditto for the Pink Sisters. I know which one Christina is, she's the crier. Her sisters are mean to her. And the oldest sister is Sharon, who's like 42, which is only 4 years younger than Mama Weaver, but Linda Weaver at 46 looks like a generation older than Sharon, who's obviously having a blast with her four little sisters.
Speaking of the Weavers, the second they reach the mat safely they start ragging to Phil about how "mean" the other teams are to them. Huh? Rachel Weaver, in tears -- TEARS! -- tells an amused Phil, "Itís really frustrating because those people are CLASSLESS ... weíre the ONLY family thatís trying to live a Christian life and itís really hard." Phil tries to comfort them, despite the fact that they are STILL IN THE FREAKING RACE!
The Paolo family is last to the mat and they know their race is over. They are eliminated. Nooooooooo! The family from hell who showed their humanness and gentleness and became fan favorites are gone. Regarding his mother, DJ says, "My mom really did surprise me. This race really showed me a different side of her and maybe next time weíre in a situation, I wonít be so down on her." Papa Tony adds the final nice touch, "This is more than I expected. The experience and the friendship that we made on the race, itís going to last a lifetime and thatís more than a million bucks."