The ATC Report

In Control – Vol. VIII, No. 0

You would think that we might be able to come up with a better title for our column after all these years. Sure, the title might be lame, but it certainly isn’t as lame as the next incarnation of The Amazing Race looks like it’s going to be.
Come on, folks, you have a great show to begin with. Why mess with success?
Come on, folks, you have a great show to begin with. Why mess with success? You’ve already all but eliminated the Fast Forward, which is one thing many fans of the show seem to really miss. You’ve added the Yield, which has been used what, 2 or 3 times now? Now you’ve even added the “lose all your money and clothes when finishing last in a non-elimination leg” twist. That last one managed to make Rob and Amber look bad . . . errr . . . worse. Here’s hoping this time the producers have seen “The 40 Year-Old Virgin” and added a chest-waxing Roadblock. It could follow the new and improved head and back shaving Roadblock.

Now we’re going to get treated to the FAMILY EDITION of The Amazing Race. Is it just us, or does that sound as though it out to be the name of a board game instead of a television show? You know, Trivial Pursuit® Family Edition; or maybe Monopoly®, The Family Edition. The latter could feature things like “Go to Your Room” (instead of jail), and the big properties could be “401K Avenue” and “Retirement Boulevard.” But The Amazing Race Family Edition? Well, let’s wait and see.

Now that it’s almost upon us, let’s take a look at the teams. Right off the bat, we notice that we’re down to 10 teams instead of the usual 11 or 12. Of course, the amount of racers nearly doubles. We wonder how they’ll ever have room onstage for the next group to collect their Emmy. Of the 10, only 5 teams have members who are younger than 18. These are your actual family teams. The other 5 are two-person teams who had previously failed to make the cut for TAR, but who were able to scrape up two more people to meet the “family” qualification using extras from Craig’s List. (We might have made that last bit up.)

The Gaghan Family:

Dave: This is the little girl we’ve all seen fall over in the car during the commercials. Yeah, she’s the cute kid for this Race. After a couple legs, she will also be just a memory.

Steve: Cute is not going to cut it here (during prime time). She’ll chicken out during the monkey bar competition and have a meltdown . . . causing an elimination . . . causing a 30-minute “timeout” by Mom–who insists she and Dad must be “consistent in their punishments.”

The Schroeder Family:

Dave: They are from New Orleans, so they obviously get the sentimental vote. I gotta love the bio on the 15-year old though: “Several of Hunter’s teammates complain that he can be lazy at times–a trait not commonly found on the Race.” Several of his teammates complain? I’m guessing that’s Mom and Dad. And what’s this about lazy not being found on the Race? Doesn’t anyone remember TAR4 and those two ATCs?

Steve: The Race was run before Katrina, Daver, so no early points for geography–they have to earn them. And I wish you’d quit reminiscing about those ATC old farts. They’re has-beens, struggling to hold on to their ever-fading modicum of fame. Who, by the way, are now in RERUNS! On GSN! Check your local listings!

The Aiello Family:

Dave: Hmmmm . . . last name “Aiello,” from the East Coast, Dad’s favorite movie is “The Godfather.” Suddenly, I seem to be forgetting what I was going to say about this team.

Steve: The Dad is traveling around the world with his three sons-in-law. Perhaps to countries that may not have extradition agreements with the United States. Countries that look the other way as the Dad eliminates the men that have been doing his daughters all these years. Ciao.

The Rogers Family:

Steve: A former beauty pageant winner who is now in pharmaceutical sales? Hooked on Fen-phen is my guess. Nah . . . too mean, too early. Hooked on life! That’s it.
Too mean, too early? Have you actually read anything Iíve written so far?
Dave: Too mean, too early? Have you actually read anything I’ve written so far? I thought the whole point was “mean.” Anyhow, can I be the first one to make a “Mr. Rogers” joke here? Let’s see, their bios read “former Miss Louisiana . . . car business . . . workaholic . . . beauty pageant trainer . . . talkative . . . talkative and sassy . . . little patience.” Never mind, I won’t have to make the Mr. Rogers joke. These folks are going to be at each other’s throats before leg two–that will be entertaining enough.

The Black Family:

Dave: I suppose I ought to break bad on these folks as well, but I already kind of like them–despite the multiple references to Tae Kwon Do. They do have the youngest person on the race (8 years old). Depending on the challenges, this could be a good thing, but probably will end up costing them.

Steve: This group didn’t even have to take time off work to compete, two teachers and two students racing during summer vacation. But stopping to teach the kids the educational interests along the route will be their downfall.

The Weaver Family:

Steve: As a wannabe race driver, I remember the incident that took this family’s patriarch. He was a track worker who was hit and killed during a yellow flagged race. It was truly unfortunate. Nothing funny here. They get my sentimental vote.

Dave: OK, who was in charge of checking the clothing for this Race? Heck, on our Race, they made me put a piece of tape over the tag that said “Wilson” on my t-shirt. On this group’s photo I can clearly see a Nike swoosh. I vaguely remember the incident myself, Stever. But all sentiment aside, how many minutes into episode one before Mom talks about how tough it is to raise a family by herself? I’m guessing less than five.

The Linz Family:

Dave: This is a “family” team that shouldn’t have been allowed. Four members, all between 19 and 24 years old. Can you say, “Congratulations, you have just won The Amazing Race?” Also, what’s the big deal about 50 first cousins in the Cincinnati area? I hear that there are some families in the back hills of Kentucky with that many first cousins/wives under one roof.

Steve: Megan is studying “strategic communications.” Perfect. “Will you three asses shut up and LISTEN TO ME!” I agree this team is stacked but their combined ages do not even equal the age of that yogurt in your fridge.

The Bransen Family:

Steve: As Walt Branson and Tony Aiello settle in with their cocktails during a 36-hour Pit Stop, their kids run off to “see the sights.” “Hey, girls, has anyone ever told you that you three look like twins? Wanna see our scars?”

Dave: From Park Ridge (IL), which means I already like these folks. Did a Pert Plus Shampoo commercial together several years ago, which means I already hate these folks. Three cute blondes on the team, which means I already like these folks. Dad is really into Abraham Lincoln, which means I already hate these folks. OK–not really hate, but, man, am I torn about this team.

The Paolo Family:

God bless these folks for entering, but I donít think they have a chance.
Dave: God bless these folks for entering, but I don’t think they have a chance. Both Mom and Dad are 52, which means they tie for second oldest on the Race. The rest of the family embarrasses the youngest son, and both sons think mom won’t make it. Their bio also talks about their bickering and fighting. I sense an early exit (probably first out), but they should be good for a laugh or two.

Steve: Cocky, punk kids are going to learn a thing about their folks soon, I predict. I have a feeling we’ll end up rooting for them and against the spoiled spawn. But how spoiled can you be on a sanitation worker’s salary? Hey, the dad will have Eau de Amazing Race odor before he takes the first step.

The Godlewski Family:

Steve: If this group travels to India, they’re toast. It’s true that the Godlewski women contacted Steve & Dave before the Race began for hints on how to conserve energy. We told them to bulk up on carbs and start a strict regimen of ESPN and calling in sick to work. Good luck to our neighbors.

Dave: Another Illinois team, and four cute women to boot! However, I did notice that CBS spelled their hometown wrong. It is spelled “Des Plaines,” not “Des Plains.” I wonder if the Big Eye is going to make a habit of dropping all silent vowels from now on. That might mak ther web pag hard to red and wud caus reders to think that Se Be Ess wuz stoopid. I hope these gals do well, but no all-female team has ever won The Amazing Race. We can hope, though.