A Dose of Reality: The Amazing Race: Family Edition - Episode 4
by Rachel Jaffe
Published: October 19, 2005
Hi, there! This is Molly Bishop, filling in for Dan Weltin on this week's episode of The Amazing Race: Family Edition.
Leg Number Four kicked off in Huntsville, Alabama, at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. The Bransen Family got a good start time of 1:15 p.m., and the Linzes, Schroeders, and Godlewskis were close behind. The remaining four teams were also bunched with one another, but were approximately two hours behind the first four, with the Gaghans being the last to get their clue at 3:53 p.m. The teams got $51 for this leg.
The first challenge for the teams was finding "the largest office chair in the world," which is located in Anniston, Alabama, more than 100 miles from Huntsville. Once there, someone from the team had to climb a ladder to the seat of the chair to get the next clue, which directed them to the Talladega International Motor Sports Hall of Fame, just 18 miles away. In the Hall of Fame, teams received a clue directing them to proceed to the Talladega Super Speedway and make a lap.
While many teams were excited at the idea of making a lap around the track, one team was traumatized at the idea. The Weaver Family had lost their dad at a race track, and they didn't even watch track races, much less want to participate in one. They weren't happy to go to Talladega's Hall of Fame, and upon finding out they were going to the speedway they became even more upset. Mrs. Weaver encouraged her kids, though, and they headed out.
And, as Phil explained to us in a recorded segment from the track, the teams would not drive a race car, but instead pedal a "party bike", a bicycle built for multiple people to ride at once, centered around a central hub. All the teams made it through this physical challenge (which apparently stood in for the Roadblock on this episode), including a determined Weaver Family.
The next destination was 260 miles away, in Hattiesburg, MS. There, the teams would need to find "the Southern Colonel" (or, as one of the Godlewski Sisters and Mrs. Weaver called it, "the Southern Colonial") -- which they needed to figure out was the Southern Colonel Homes, Inc., a trailer home dealership. They needed to choose a trailer which they'd spend the night in -- and which would tell them what time they'd be leaving in the morning. The departure times were 7:20 a.m., 7:40 a.m., and 8:00 a.m., and while the teams could look at as many trailers as they wanted to see what the departure times were, once they chose one they would have to keep it.
The first two teams to arrive were the Linzes and the Bransens (who'd had fun on the way, what with one of the Bransen daughters mooning the Linzes, and one of the Linz boys lifting his shirt back in return), and they found 7:20 time slots. Next-arriving Godlewskis got a 7:40 a.m. departure, and the Weavers quickly settled for 8:00 a.m.
The major trauma was the Schroeder family, who were third leaving the race track. They asked a sheriff for "the Southern Colonel," and when he told them about "Southern Colonel Homes," they laughed it off. Then, once they figured out that it really was the Southern Colonel Homes, the family quickly settled for an 8:00 departure time even though a 7:40 departure was still available. Poor Stassi, the Schroeder daughter, was in tears. She'd been frustrated at her dad's rejection of "Southern Colonel Homes," frustrated when he got lost, and frustrated that no one listened to her when she advocated looking more for the 7:40 departure time that the Godlewskis said was available. The Godlewskis tried to calm her down once the decision was made, pointing out that she was only 20 minutes behind them. But Stassi wailed that "one minute makes the biggest difference."
The Gaghans also quickly settled for 8:00 p.m., and the Paolos, with the luck that's taken them this far, wandered into the remaining 7:40 a.m. departure slot -- and, without noticing, vaulted from last place to an effective tie for third.
In the morning, the teams had to drive 84 miles to Richland, MS, and get their next clue from a man named Les at a (product placement!) BP gas station. From there, the teams had to travel to "the Pelican State" (Louisiana), and go to Fairview Riverside State Park in Madisonville, 151 miles away.
At the park, the teams were confronted with a Detour. This time, the choice was between Work (cutting four slices off of a log 12 inches in diameter using a two-person saw) or Play (playing blackjack on a riverboat casino). Each task involved "appropriate period clothing" -- flannel shirts for the workers, or fancy shirts (and boas, for the girls) for the players.
Unsurprisingly, many of the teams who opted for Play (or, as I like to call it, "Luck") were stranded by bad luck. Surprisingly, the hapless Paolos were not one of those teams, having opted for Work, and they were the first to leave the Detour! The Gaghan Family also surprised me by giving up on Play and circling back to do Work even though only two of their team members effectively would be able to saw.
Next up -- the Pit Stop! The teams needed to drive into New Orleans and park on Esplanade Avenue, then run through the French Quarter to Preservation Hall.
While the Paolos were first to leave the Detour, the Bransen Family was the next to leave (and the first to finish the Play option). When it came time for the finish line, they managed to catch up and barely pass the Paolos. The Bransens once again won a prize for first place -- this time, a trip for four to Florida (heck, the Paolos probably aren't going to want to travel together for quite a while anyway). They were followed by the Linzes, the Godlewskis (who were in severe meltdown mode at that point), the Weavers, and the Gaghans (with a hopeful Carissa staring wide-eyed at Phil while waiting to hear if they were eliminated).
The final team to arrive -- and the team eliminated -- was, ironically, the Schroeders, who came from Louisiana. Despite being locals, they'd had trouble finding the park, and had been the last to arrive at the Detour. They simply weren't able to catch up. Stassi's earlier prediction that one minute could make all the difference came true.
This was an exciting but haunting episode for me to recap. At the beginning of the episode the Weavers were haunted by the death of their father, and at the end of the episode we were all haunted by seeing New Orleans as it was only a few months ago. In looking at the streets, the jazz band in Preservation Hall, and the greeter standing with Phil on the mat, I couldn't help but wonder what had happened to that place, those people. I choked up when Mr. Schroeder said in the interview at the end that he'd found out that his family was tough, "so whatever situation comes, they can take care of themselves. They can deal with real stress, and I'm glad to see that we all can deal with hardships when they may arise." The Schroeder Family did have to deal with hardships -- they told Reality TV Magazine in a September 2005 interview that they lost their home in Hurricane Katrina. As it happens, they stayed with the Rogers Family, another Louisianan Amazing Race team, for two weeks after the hurricane.
|1st Place||Bransen Family
|2nd Place||Paolo Family
|3rd Place||Linz Siblings
|4th Place||Godlewski Sisters
|5th Place||Weaver Family
|6th Place||Gaghan Family