November 30, 2005

The Neverending Leg (la la la… la la la…)


I really wanted to title this post TAR goes to the Moon! but since I already did the whole “Utah looks like outer space” bit last week, I decided that would be kind of lame. And just because The Amazing Race: Family Edition is totally lame-o, that doesn’t mean Just Us Moms! has to sink to that level, too. (Don’t worry, I will still sink to the level of incessantly bashing the Weavers. That is still fun.)

The race resumed in the middle of the night in Salt Lake City, Utah (for all our readers with as pitifully limited an awareness as the Weaver family, that’s where Mormons live!). Three teams will begin this leg with $87, and one will have $0. Oh, I hope someone makes the “gee, I wonder who that is?” joke. That one always cracks me up.

Fresh off of the high of their first first-place finish in the last leg, the Linzes were out of the gate first at 12:46 am.

Alex is either high on more than last week’s win, or he is doing his Barbara Bush impression.

As the Linzes begin to make their way to Park City High School where they will receive their next clue, Megan is complaining that she feels sick. Fortunately, this episode was creatively brought to us by Pepto Bismol, and after a gratuitous shot of the bottle on the counter and a little snippet of Megan singing the praises of the pink stuff, she is all better by the next morning.

Now this sly little bit of product placement got me thinking, maybe Just Us Moms! should get some sponsors, too! Well, I’m happy to report that this recap has been brought to you by OB Tampons. Visit their website, where you can learn the answers to important “frequently asked questions,” like “will I lose my virginity if I use tampons?” You know one of the Weavers submitted that question.

Anyway, back to the show. The Bransens were up next at 1:23 am, and they began by saying exactly what they said last week – that there is tension between the other teams and they hope that it works to their advantage.

They were followed by the Godlewskis at 1:30 am. Christine complained that she hoped that her sisters would get along better and that they were being too hard on her. Geez, did the editors just recycle the clips from last week or something? Maybe I should just call this damn thing TAR goes to the Moon after all.

Even in a still photo, you can actually see her accent. OMGaaaaad!

Last up were the lovable Jesus-freaks, the Weavers, departing a whole 3-and-a-half hours after the pink ladies. And remember, one team has $0. “Gee, I wonder who that is,” said Rebecca. HAHAHAHAHA. Oh Rebecca, you’re such a card. But fortunately (unless you’re anybody but them), the shuttle buses to the next task don’t leave until 6:00 am. This, of course, sends the Weavers into what I can only assume is a Jesus-juice-induced tirade, as they arrive on the scene honking their horn, screaming incomprehensible nonsense and doing the Waffle-house dance that Rebecca perfected earlier in the season.

“Your Yield didn’t work for us, sucker!” Rebecca screams out the window if their car. “Were you sorry you wasted your Yield?” Linda shrieked in a tone so annoying it could only be topped by the annoyingness of her response to herself: “YOU WILL BE!”

Um, FYI – the Linzes didn’t waste their Yield. The dumbass producers wasted it, by putting in in a non-elimination leg. Duh.

I was hoping at this point that Christine Godlewski would sneaaaap and cheaaaarge full-speed ahead at Linda (screaming AAAAAAAAAA!! all the way) and pile-drive her nasty birds-nest head into the pavement. Sadly, no beaaaaackpeaaaaack-esque breakdown-leading-to-assault took place. If only Carissa Gaghan had been there, you know there would have been a beat-down.

On the way to the next task, Nick Linz channeled Stuart Smalley for a moment: “nobody likes to be yielded in life.” Oh how true.

Upon arriving at the next destination, the Linzes happened upon an interesting sight:

Why is Michelle Godlewski lying in this field?

Oh wait, those aren’t Michelle’s Grand Tetons, they’re hot air balloons! In this task, teams will help inflate a hot air balloon and take it for a scenic ride over the Utah countryside.

If that sounds boring, never fear! CBS has been hyping a mid-air balloon-collision all week in their TAR promos! Unfortunately, despite the “something scary is about to happen” music and the masterfully-edited-together sound bytes of teams saying “oh my gosh!” it was even less exciting than the also over-hyped Linz-Weaver superkart crash a few weeks ago.

You see, hot air balloons are filled with lots of this hot, air-like substance, making them essentially impossible to “crash.” That obvious logic didn’t stop the Weaver-balloon pilot from saying, “bounced off of ‘em. He’s really lucky.” after the collision. God, is their stupidity contagious? Bouncing off of ‘em would only be lucky if the engineer behind the Hindenburg had filled up their balloon.

Farting in a hot air balloon is so rude and un-Christian!

Landing, however, appeared to be a little bit tricky, as the Godlewskis wound up on a big pile of rocks, and the Weavers touched down on the side of a pretty steep hill. Linda & Co. did manage to make it out of the big basket and “scooted” down the incline.


Why is Linda Weaver sliding down the hill on her butt, you ask? I wondered the same thing, but the obvious answer occurred to me later: her anal glands are infected. Linda, you should really see your veterinarian immediately.

After their scenic balloon ride, the teams headed to the historic Heber Valley Railway in Heber City, Utah for this week’s Detour: Spike It or Steam It. This was actually a pretty good Detour, I thought – a choice between assembling a twenty foot section of railroad tracks (“precision” work that required some skill) and hauling coal into a rail car (work that required no skill but could take a while).

All of the teams opted for Spike It except for the Weavers, in what turned out to be a good decision for them, who chose to Steam It. The Linzes worked through the spiking fairly quickly, maintaining their lead over the other teams. The Bransens, with newly-energized Superman Wally in charge, made quick work of the spiking, too. (I must say, Walder looked pretty foxy wielding that sledge hammer, with sweat and railroad dirt all over his face. Rrrowr!)

The pink ladies (now the pinkish-black ladies), on the other hand, had some difficulty with this one. The “stupid music” (that I unsuccessfully tried to explain in my recap last week) was playing again, and this time it was a variation of “I’ve been workin’ on the railroad! Very cute, producers!

Obviously, everything that went wrong was totally Christine’s fault. Poor Christine, her sisters were being a little mean to her this week. However, after they finished the task, a Texas-bound Amtrak train derailed on the section of track that Christine had bolted, killing everyone onboard. Way to go, CHRISTINE!

While the Godlewskis bickered, the Weavers made quick work of the coal-hauling and managed to take the third position, leaving the pink ladies suddenly in last place.

On the 140 mile journey to the Bonneville Salt Flats, Nick Linz boasted about his spike-hammering prowess: “three strokes is all it takes for me,” prompting Tommy to retort, “it’s all it takes in bed too.” I’m not going to ask how Tommy knows that. I’ll just leave that to your (dirty) imaginations.

Eventually, all of the families made it to the next destination: the Tree of Utah, an 87-foot high structure that was “built to bring color and beauty to this stark landscape,” and inspire lots of balls-related comments in this sexually-repressed state.

Since this thing has three sets of balls, it will take Nick nine strokes.

After stopping at the giant ball-tree / hemmorhoid / something about a poop that I didn’t understand, the teams began a 400 mile drive to Garden City, UT, home of Bear Lake Rendezvous Ranch. Despite leaving the “tree” in first place, the Linz family slipped to last place along the way. What happened? Did they get lost? Were they kidnapped by Mormon missionaries? Nope, just another mysterious car-battery-draining production error. God, this show frickin’ sucks.

Once in Garden City, the families got a chance to sleep, and the next morning, they departed in 15 minute intervals in the same order that they arrived. The Bransens were off first, followed by the Weavers. Rebecca Weaver complained that her “brain was fried, like she had been in math class all day,” noting that she had failed math (twice). In her defense, she failed because her Mom was her math tutor, and Linda was only schooled in “Intelligent Geometry,” where a2 + b2 = Jesus.

The next stop: Dunham Ranch, just past Big Piney, Wyoming. Amazingly, at the very moment that the Weaver car rolled over the Utah-Wyoming border, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir burst into a rousing rendition of “Hallelujah!” Coincidence? I think not.

The Godlewskis were next, and Christine was complaining that she had a stomach ache. Unfortnately, Pepto Bismol was not willing to pay for two sponsorships in one episode, so Christine had to go unmedicated. Poor Christine.

Once in Wyoming, two members from each team had to participate in this week’s roadblock: a totally boring version of the old “herding some small animal from one corral to another” challenge. Each duo had a professional cowboy to help them. So basically it was a ¼ mile horsey ride. Riveting.

Back on the road again (god how frickin’ long is this episode?), and this time, the producers used mother nature fairly creatively to create another bunching point. The teams had to find a fireman (who had obviously taken multiple Xanax) at Yellowstone National Park, where they would wait by Old Faithful until they saw an eruption (which occurs every 92 minutes).

The Bransens and the Weavers made it to the geyser in time for the 4:28 eruption, so they got a 92 minute lead on the other two teams who missed it by just a few minutes. As they passed the other teams on the way out, Rebecca Weaver said, “I hope the other teams have to wait.” I know you’re not a math whiz, Becky, but if the damn thing spurts once every 92 minutes, I don’t think you need to hope. Unless, of course, Nick Linz tries his patented “three strokes” technique, but that hasn’t been tested on an actual geyser yet.

The two leading teams are now making their way to another ranch, where, according to the episode summary on my TiVo, “something unexpected will happen.” I was hoping that the surprise would be that it was actually the Cheney ranch, and that a jeans-clad Dick C. would welcome the teams to Wyoming (using only one side of his face, of course) at the mat! But no. Phil was all alone in his rancher outfit.

I’m too sexy for this fence.

The big surprise: this leg is not over! Oh my god, please kill me now. I feel like I’ve been watching this leg for the past month.

Seriously, are they ever going to eliminate another team? I’m so bored I actually slipped into a coma while writing this recap. Please call 911, now.

What did all of you think? Is anyone even watching this show anymore? Or are you all so bored, you’ve become cybersex addicts, instead? If so, tune in to CBS 2 News at 11!


Posted by Linda Ruiz at 3:26 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (7)

November 23, 2005

TAR goes to Mars!


Teams must travel 120,000,000 miles via jet-propulsion spacecraft to Mars, the Red Planet. There, they will choose one of four GMC sport-utility Mars-rovers and drive themselves to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the universe (and the 2nd dumbest volcano Rachel Weaver ever saw).

Oops, wait. That’s not Mars, it’s Utah! But they look surprisingly similar, don’t you think? Hmm, I wonder if Martians have weird anti-alcohol, pro-polygamy lifestyles, too.

Anyway, back on boring ol’ planet earth (Lake Powell, Arizona, to be more precise), the Godlewski girls were off and running first, following their back-to-back wins last time. Phil’s offscreen voice mused, “will the Weaver family’s continued alienation from other teams affect their performance?” Let’s hope so! Yay, continued alienation!

The first clue directed the teams to drive themselves 136 miles to Maaaahnument Veaaaalley Neaaaavajo Triiiiebal Peaaaark (could they have picked a destination more prone to Godlewski-linguistic-massacre?), and find John Ford’s Point.

Before we could even get on to the road, the editors treated us to some classic Weaver delusions. “The world we live in is obviously not loving and kind, so I think we're just sticking out because we're just not as crude,” said Rebecca. Mom Weaver followed up with, “it's against our beliefs to keep being treated so rudely, but we can't let it bother us.” Yay, I guess we’re in for another hour of unbridled “Christian” hypocrisy!

Wally Bransen then explained to us that he wants to be more aggressive this leg. Unfortunately, uttering the word “aggressive” raised his blood pressure so high that he had a heart attack and died instantly.

Back on the road, the teams seemed to be having some trouble finding the Neaaaavajo thing, despite the fact that Utah has like 2 roads and is essentially nothing but a giant red sand pit. The Linzes drove right past the sign, followed by the Weavers and then the Godlewskis. Not a major problem, though, as everyone quickly realized this and turned around.

But the Godlewskis had some difficulty with the turning around part (did I mention that they were driving giant trailers?), and Christine left the vehicle to help her sister neaaaavigate the turn. Ever since the episode with the beaaaaackpeaaaaack incident the ladies have been extra hard on Christine, saying she talks too much and rolling their eyes every time she speaks. Even the producers joined in the game by playing the “somebody’s doing something dumb!” music (“dohm, DOHM, dohm, DOHM, deeedle deeedle duhhhn duhhhhhhh, dohm DOHM dohm DOHM…”) while she tried to get the trailer turned around. Poor Christine. She’s just a little high strung.

Meanwhile, Bransen Girl offered some thoughts on the inter-team dynamics. “There is obviously some tension between the Linzes and the Godlewskis toward the Weavers. We just hope it will benefit us.” “We’re neutral,” Wally added, comparing himself to Switzerland. A slow, chubby, doofy, Switzerland.

Next, two members of each team had to take a helicopter ride (aww, Marion wanted to go for a helicopter ride! Poor Marion.) to the top of a giant Elephant’s Butt! Whoa, cool. Actually, it was an Elephant’s Butte. Very different from Butt. (Butte = giant rock thing, while Butt = ass). It’s too bad that Lori & Bolo weren’t there, because you know they totally would have pronounced it Butté, and a joke about an Elephant’s Bootay would have been so much funnier.

The helicopters held a maximum of four people, and the Weavers and the Godlewskis made it on the first one. The view was breathtaking, but Rachel Weaver was not impressed (it was the dumbest Butte she ever saw).

Shanequa and Tashonda Weaver await the return of Rebecca and Rolly.

The Bransens had not yet arrived when the first ‘copter returned, so two of the Linz boys went next.

Sweet: one of the five words in the Linz vocabulary. FYI, the others are “dude,” “yo,” “girlies,” and, surprisingly, “tapenade.”

Next stop, Moab, Utah (Are you excited yet?). The teams would have to find the Gemini Bridges, a pretty cool-looking rock formation.

Note to producers: An abundance of cool-looking things does not make up for the lack of Indian subways and gross food-eating challenges. I want to watch Linda Weaver throw up on herself. Please? Some very spicy soup? Pretty please?

The teams were on the road again. Nick Linz took an opportunity to zoom past the Weaver-mobile on the highway.

Do not attempt to do the Macarena while driving.

After passing them, one of the Linz boys called the Weavers “the wicked witch of the east and her three monkeys,” and another replied, “someone’s gonna come and drop a house on her head!” Oh no he didn’t! That was so awesome! I didn’t even have to pretend Carissa Gaghan said it. You Linzes are such BITCHES! I’m starting to love them.

Wally wondered out loud what the next task might be. “I hope it’s something adventurous,” Bransen Girl said. To which Walder replied, “I could go for something tranquil and boring.” Oh Walder, don’t worry. This is the Family Edition. I’m sure it will be boring.

The Gemini Bridges were the site of this week’s Detour: Ride Down (ride 6 miles on a bike) or Drop Down (rappel 270 feet down a cliff). Um, try repelling UP a cliff. As Karen can attest, it’s a little bit harder.

All of the teams opted for the (obviously much faster) Drop Down, except for the Weavers who chose the bikes.

Wait, there’s an Alex Linz? When the hell am I going to learn everyone’s names?

While the rappelling was pretty easy, Christine Godlewski had a little difficulty.

Ouch, my Butte!

The Weavers were also having some trouble with the bikes. “I don’t think Lance Armstrong could make it through this,” Rachel said. Sweetie, I think Lance Armstrong could make it though a 6 mile course if he pedaled with his balls. And one of them is probably fake.

After the Detour, the teams had to drive 52 miles to Green River State Park, where they would be spending the night in their trailers. During the drive there, an obviously-edited-in-later Phil voice explained to us that “due to a production error involving the camera equipment, the Godlewski’s car battery was drained. A replacement vehicle was provided, but they have fallen into last place.”

OK, did that make any sense to anyone else? Because I did not understand what he was talking about at all. Did they have to juice up the camera battery with the car battery? I don’t get it. And why should they be penalized for a “production error?” Don’t they usually “correct” production errors (I remember teams getting extra minutes in the past)? Whatever, this season is so boring anyway. It might as well be illogical and unfair, too.

During the overnight stay, the Weavers once again start complaining about their social predicament (that everyone hates them). “We go and talk to people, but they don’t reciprocate,” says Linda. Hmm, I don’t remember any talking. Maybe they’re referring to the time that they threw garbage at the Godlewskis. I hear that’s how monkeys sometimes attempt to communicate with humans.

The next morning, the teams are allowed to leave 15 minutes apart, in the order that they arrived. The Linz family was first at 7:00 am, followed by the Weavers, the Bransens and the productionally-challenged Godlewskis.

The teams had to drive themselves to Heber City, Utah and find Bart, a giant but cute bear. The 20 mile drive was an occasion for some positive Christian behavior on the part of the Weavers. “That’s so ugly,” one of the Weaver monkeys said of the Utah scenery. “You wish you were Lance Armstrong,” Rolly yelled at random cyclists on the road. So hypocritical. Oh wait, maybe not. I just re-read Linda’s comment at the beginning. “It's against our beliefs to keep being treated so rudely,” she said. So, their religion doesn’t allow other people to be mean to them, but they can be humongous assfaces all the time! It totally makes sense now!

After Bart the bear “gave” the teams the next clue, they had to drive 22 miles to Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. But caution, Yield ahead! OH HELLZ YEAH! I am excited now, because the Linzes are in the lead, and surely they’ll Yield the Weavers which will (a) cause them to go (more) insane, and (b) probably lead them to be eliminated. Yippee!

True to their pact with the pink ladies, the Linz family Yielded the Weavers. Tommy offered the following explanation. “Because they’re behind us, it will give us a good separation. Hopefully it will give us our first place spot.” In other words, “They suck. We hate them. Die die die.”

Fresh off of the high of sticking it to the Weavers, Nick Linz prepared to do this week’s road-blaaaahck: a ski jump down a 60 foot ramp into a pool of water. (No, there was no bobbing for bananas afterward.) Nick Linz tried to do a fancy 360 degree flip off of the jump, but undershot it by a bit.

Face plant!

They Weavers had not yet arrived when the Linzes left the park, prompting Alex to wonder if they had been eaten by the bear? Silly Alex, Bart won’t eat just anything. He does have standards.

Actually, the Weavers were late because they took the very scenic route to the Olympic Park, which provided them ample time to take in all of Utah’s stupid and crappy scenery. (Note to my Mormon readers: I actually think your state is quite beautiful! If only you would stop lynching the gays, think of how great it would be!) Their little “detour” landed the delusional disciples (I updated their team name, Karen) in fourth place when they arrived at the park.

The Weaver’s fate seemed to be sealed, and they knew it as they drove to the park. “Accept it, we'll be last today and we'll be eliminated,” Linda said. “The family who wins it will probably spend the money on a new nose and bigger boobs,” replied one of her daughters.

The last thing Michelle Godlewski needs is bigger boobs.

Mrs. Weaver then offered some advice on dealing with sadness. “When you’re sad, eat some ice cream. It revigorates and injuvenates you.” True dat, Linda. I just ate a whole quart and I feel emvitalized and repowered already.

Arriving at the Yield with their trademark blend of denial, delusion and insanity, the Weavers ran to the mat yelling, “We’re the first ones here! YAYYYYYYYY!” Um, no you’re not, monkeys! You’re in last place! Now cry, dammit!

While the Weavers sat on the ground and whined, the Linz siblings were already in Salt Lake City, the home of this week’s pit stop. They finally finished in first place (though they have been my pick to win on the “Fantasy League” every week. Maybe now I’ll finally win that $200 gas card!), and they were greeted by Phil and a special guest – Miss Latin Utah!

I am the most beautiful of all of the three Latin women in Utah.

As a reward for their first first-place finish, the Linzes won a trip for four to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where they will stay at Teton Mountain Lodge, just minutes from Grand Teton National Park. They were obviously excited, but I was hoping for the requisite reaction to Phil’s using the word “Teton” twice in 10 seconds. Hmm, maybe Teton Mountain Lodge forbade the obvious Michelle Godlewski joke.

The Bransens arrived in second place, followed by the Grand Pink Tetons, the Godlewski ladies. The Weavers were wayyyy behind in fourth place, and since (a) there was a Yield on this leg, and (b) they always make the second-to-last leg a non-elimination round, the Weavers were sure to be eliminated. Yay!

Overflowing with excitement, I was already doing the happy dance around my living room as Weavermonkeys arrived at the Pit Stop. “Weaver Family,” Phil began, “you’re the last team to arrive.” I was midway though a rousing rendition of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” when he followed that up with, “I’m pleased to tell you….” WHAT???? Oh for Christ’s sake, HOW COULD THIS BE A NON-ELIMINATION LEG? Damn you, producers!

So I guess the Weavers will live to see another day. And after Phil’s second pep talk in a row, they seem to be totally revigorated and injuvenated and ready for what’s in store next. Poop.

I hope everyone out there has an enlaxing Thanksgiving! See you next week!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 2:33 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (5)

November 18, 2005

Jim is invincible!


I’m not trying to feed his manic delusions or anything, but I’m starting to actually believe it’s true. Jim is invincible! Or at least he’s on a bit of a lucky streak.

Last week, Martha tasked the teams with a project that echoed en episode of last season’s The Apprentice: hawking crap on QVC. This time, it was fancy air-pump-things and retractable hoses.

Primarius definitely had the short end of the on-air-talent-stick, though, with Dawna (who is only modestly more exciting to watch than Alexis Stewart, who is actually modestly less exciting to watch than Henry Kissinger), and the trio of Jim, Bethenny and Howie (who have a tendency to scare old ladies and babies, which incidentally represent 99% of QVC’s viewership). The original plan was for Howie and Dawna to be on TV. But when it became apparent that Howie was going to be a total disaster, Project Manager Bethenny replaced him at the last minute with Jim, who surprisingly performed fairly well. At least he didn’t claim that the product cured skin disorders, or recommend massaging your wife with it. Hmm, air pump massages. Kinky!

Alas, fairly well wasn’t good enough, and Dawna, Jim, Bethenny and Howie were sent to the conference room, and ultimately Howie didn’t fit in.

Fast forward to this week and Dawna was having a mini-breakdown because she had to be “mean to Bethenny” in the conference room. Um, have you met Bethenny? I think she can handle your “meanness,” sweetie.

Amanda, in typical Burnett-esque-painfully-obvious-foreshadowing, said, “I’m just confused at this point what Martha Stewart is looking for, because I don’t know. If she likes Jim then she’s probably not going to like me, because we're very very opposite.” Oh Amanda, you and Jim are not that different! First, you both love to make crazy faces.

Jim’s Phil Koeghan impression

Amanda’s girl-with-no-legs-and-a-weird-face impression

And second… well, OK, that’s all I got. Yep, you’re totally getting booted today.

The following morning, Martha’s floating head delivered the next assignment. Actually, it was Martha’s floating upper body this time, as he had to hold a delicious hot beverage prepared using her Tassimo Hot Beverage System.

Mmmmmmm. Hot beverages.

The teams would be given $40,000(!) each to set up a retail space to sell the THBS (it is much more than a mere coffee maker, you know. I actually kind of want one. Must… buy… everything… Martha… touches…).

Leslie was so excited about the THBS that she threw up a little in her mouth.

The teams were off and running, and the newly-Howie-less Primarius came up with the (great) idea of hiring a promotional team with expertise in setting up retail spaces in very short time periods to oversee the task. They did have a $40,000 budget. What else could you possibly spend that much money on?

Apparently you could also spend it on a “celebrity pastry chef,” as Matchstick did. Now, the idea doesn’t sound totally bad. There are lots of celebrity chefs who I think could draw a crowd. Unfortunately, Matchstick chose someone who even I have never heard of, and I (a) love pastries, and (b) literally watch cooking shows almost 24 hours a day (with breaks only to bowl, pee, and watch other shows, such as this one). So, maybe this gal made some delicious cupcakes, but unless the goal was to attract the “oooooh free food!!!” crowd that was randomly wandering the streets in the middle of the day (which I would not imagine to be the most likely to purchase a $169+ hot beverage system on the spot), the idea wasn’t the smartest.

Ryan, incidentally, had the idea to get a non-food-related celebrity to attend the event. For some inexplicable reason, however, when given a choice between Mary Tyler Moore and Vincent Pastore aka “Big Pussy” of the Sopranos, he got totally excited about the idea of inviting Big Pussy, which, of course, totally got shot down.

Side note: I wanted to title this post “Everybody Loves Big Pussy!” but I thought that might be a little too dirty-sounding. Would you have been offended?

Umm guys, FYI. Who loves Mary Tyler Moore? Who is very likely to buy a fancy kitchen appliance like the THBS? Who has their National Headquarters in Manhattan? If you answered gays for all of the above… ding ding ding, you’re right! Duh, it was the perfect marketing strategy.

In any event, the pastry-fest flopped magnificently, with Matchstick selling only 9 units of the THBS (I’ve started calling it the “thibs” in my head), while Jim led Primarius to a decisive victory with 36 units sold. Booyah! That means Marcela is 0-2 as project manager. She barely escaped dismissal last time, so now we can assume she’s totally done for, right?

The whole team seemed to be against her, and she was sobbing away and moping around, so it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion. I was sad, because I do like Marcela (mostly because she’s obviously the biggest Martha-maniac among the group, which I can totally relate to.) FYI Martha, my sugar buns are even better than Marcela’s, and they are much more satisfying.

But then, in comes Jim to console a distraught Marcela. Well not console, exactly. He actually prepared her conference-room offense for her in exact word-for-word (crazy face-for-crazy face) detail. Why would he do this, considering she’s on the other team? I actually have no idea. But it was definitely a good thing.

In the conference room, Alexis hit Matchstick with some stinging criticism.

You guys were like, dead. The most morose… (Sorry, I missed the rest. I fell asleep during her sentence.)

Oh, Alexis, I kid you. I still love you (and your recipe for Brown-Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies). Mmmmmmm.

Marcela decided to bring Ryan and Amanda back into the conference room with her. Martha asked Amanda why she wanted to work for her, and she gave some long-winded, totally incomprehensible answer about loving to garden (not work in the garden, just garden. It’s much more fun.) and being “flawed.” Um, yeah, your flaw is that you make no sense. I don’t think that’s a plus.

Marcela, on the other hand, talked about bringing MSLO to the Latin American market (i.e., actually buying the products, not just making them), and called herself the “Mexican Martha Stewart.” Linda Weaver then popped in to translate: “that’s Martha-o Stewart-o, for my Spanish-speaking amigos.”

Martha apparently liked the idea, and by the end of Marcela’s spiel, she had already constructed a beta-version of the Martha Stewart Everyday Tortilla Press (aka the MSLO hot flat wheat-or-corn-based meal system) underneath the table using only her toes (she is a multi-tasker, you know).

In the end, Martha said that Ryan was an upright young man, and Marcela was passionate about her work. But Amanda was not a “team player” and “that sort of behavior has no place at MSLO.” She wrote her a very cordial note where she informed her that perhaps she should stick to her gardening. Ohhh was that a dis? I think so!

So last week Jim escaped another conference room firing. This week, he led his team to victory, and then basically orchestrated the ouster of the person he wanted fired from the other team! JIM IS INVINCIBLE!!! Mwahahahahah.

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 12:31 PM | Category: - Martha -

November 17, 2005

Tainted Love (of Jesus)


Can't get enough of those wacky Weavers? Well, if you love crazies like I do, you're in for a treat! Linda Weaver's (even wackier) sister Marguerite made her TV debut last week. Watch this (really crazy!) Just Us Moms! exclusive video!

Alright, like every other Just Us Moms! exclusive, the part about her being Linda's sister was totally made up (but you know those Weaver kids have an "Aunt Patsy" just like that, right?). But the video was 100% real. That delightful modern-day disciple is Marguerite Perrin of Louisiana, recent subject of the Fox reality series, Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy. Oh I just wish I had set my TiVo to record that episode!

If only CBS had included the Perrin Family in this season of the Amazing Race, it could have been so much better. "God Warrior" Marguerite would have totally lost it when she saw Sharon Godlewski's Skinemax-esque romp in the ocean. "I REBUKE YOU JEZEBELS IN THE NAME OF JEEEEESUUUUUUUUUUAAAHHHHHHS!"

UPDATE: Marguerite, the extended version. (via Reality Blurred).

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 9:43 AM | Category: Gosh! | Comments (1)

November 16, 2005

There's a tear in my beer


Cuz I'm cryin' for you dear... Sigh, there was no Amazing Race last night because the Country Music Awards were on instead. Poo! Get your priorities straight, CBS! I know this season of TAR is lame-ish, but it's still better than watching a bunch of rednecks in jeans so tight I don't know how they have functional sperm croon about their trailer park sweeties and bein' poor.

So alas, there was a tear in my beer apple martini last night as I realized I'd have to go another week without my Philzy-poo and my pink sistas.

But I awoke this morning and, hooray! Reality Blurred had recapped a lost episode! Actually, it was a fake episode, but it was so great, I'm pretending it really happened. Yay, the Weavers are going to hell!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 9:48 AM | Category: That's a turkey!

November 15, 2005

Congratulations Gabbie!


On becoming the newest woman of Reality TV! Sorry you didn’t make the Top 10 List, but I think you deserve at least an honorable mention!

Actually, Gabbie has always been a woman – she just had the unfortunate experience of being born with a penis. But, as chronicled on the Sundance Channel series TransGeneration, the young lady formerly known as Andrew traded that pesky appendage for her very own vagina, and for some inexplicable reason I can really relate to her struggle. Don’t you agree, Karen? It must be the bond of womanhood that we ladies share.

You go girlfriend!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 10:41 AM | Category: Womanspace

November 12, 2005

The many faces of Martha

Yes, the witch below is none other than the queen of Halloween (and everything else), Martha Stewart! I just love Halloween, but who has the time to put together a costume every year? Well, since Martha doesn't sleep, she does... and I've assembled a sampling of some her spooky incarnations below.


Gosh, all of these creative costumes make me want to dress up next year! Maybe I'll go as Michelle Godlewski... I wouldn't really even need a costume, just a funny accent and a silk-screened t-shirt! Now, if I can just convince Karen to go as Marion Paolo.... holy crap!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 4:47 PM | Category: - Martha -

Name that witch!


Who is she???

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 8:59 AM | Category: - Martha - | Comments (2)

November 10, 2005

Faith in God(lewski), Part Two


Fast forward through the 9:00 pm commercial break and 12 “real” hours have passed. It’s now 11:43 pm and the teams are ready to resume their race around the world Arizona. The first-place (and hopefully unsteaaaapable) Godlewski gals get to depart first, followed by the Weaver and Linz clans.

Bringing up the rear, of course, are the Paolo and Bransen families. Thankfully, they have changed into something a little more respectable, because, you know, the underpants on top of underpants on top of pants look is just soooo episode 5, and it really only works with pink underpants anyway.

The Bransens were forced to beg for money, so they headed off to the casino where Wally pimped his daughters out for cash. “Can you give us some money? You might lose it anyways,” Bransen girl said to some casino patrons. Actually, I think they may have been prostitutes. Begging for cash from prostitutes at a casino – who said TAR:FE was watered down?

“Drive yourselves 33 miles to Mesa, Arizona,” the first clue reads, “and find Williams Gateway Airport.” Yay, an Airport! Where to next – India? South Africa? Maybe Marion will actually get to go to New Zealand? Um, no. The airport is the destination. Screw you Bertram Van Munster for getting my hopes up. I think we can safely bet that the remainder of the race will take place inside the U.S. Too bad, I was still holding out hope that the teams might travel to India and take the train. Can you imagine Marion’s reaction?

You expect me to cram my ass into that frickin’ thing? What are you, nuts?

On the way to Mesa, the Linz car was pulled over by the police, but one of the boys deftly avoided getting a ticket by explaining to the officer that they were “racing other cars.” (Linda’s travel tip of the week: You see, in Arizona, traffic laws only apply to cars that are not racing each other. You’re also allowed to steal things if you’re on a “scavenger hunt,” and kill people if you’re “hunting humans.”)

At the airport road-blaaaahck, the teams have to grab a number to determine the order of the next task, which will begin at 4:30 am. Despite departing first, neaaaavigational difficulties cause the pink ladies fall to third place during the 33 mile journey, and the Weavers giddily snatch up the number one spot.

Of course, it made absolutely no difference, since the first three teams began the task simultaneously. Perhaps Jesus just got sick of their nagging and granted them a little “victory,” albeit a meaningless one.

On the way to the airport, Marion hoped that the roadblock might be a helicopter ride! “Yeah a helicopter ride, that’d be fun for you. What are you nuts?,” Tony quipped. Please, I think Marion could handle a little helicopter ride – she had no problem with the bungee jump (despite being tethered to her shrieking son). You need to slap that wise ass husband upside the head, Marion!

The roadblock this week was actually pretty cool – one person from each team had to take control of a fighter plane and perform a 360 degree loop in the air. Rolly Weaver, Megan Linz and Sharon Godlewski were up first.

Nick farted in Megan’s plane before she got in. I think it’s safe to say the sugar scent is gone.

All three completed the task on the first attempt.

Holy creaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!

Next up were Brian Paolo and Bransen Girl. Brian was visibly nervous, but he looked cute in his little fighter pilot costume.


These two both had a little trouble the first time (something about overshooting the parameters which I didn’t understand), but were successful on attempt #2. And nobody barfed. What would happen if you barfed on a 360 degree loop? Sadly, we may never know.

Next, the teams had to drive 277 miles to the “largest pothole in the world,” the Grand Canyon! 277 miles means a lot of hours on the road. Plenty of time for highway hijinks like the Weavers throwing garbage out the window of their car at the Godlewskis! You might think that would violate the “Christian lifestyle” they hold so dear, but since there is no commandment that specifically outlaws garbage-throwing, I think they’re in the clear. I have a call into the Lord’s Director of Policy to clarify – I’ll keep you posted.

While fast-forwarding through the commercial break, I happened to notice that there was some sort of election going on in the “real” world.

Why are they showing the NYC election results on my TV? I live in Palmdale, CA! Weird.

The Grand Canyon trip turned out to be more of a stopover than a layover, and the teams got to spend all of 5 seconds viewing one of the great wonders of the natural world before heading off on another 137 mile road trip. This was a major disappointment for all of the teams except the Weavers, of course, who thought they were visiting yet another one of the Great Lakes. “This is the dumbest Great Lake I ever saw,” Rebecca exclaimed! “It’s totally dried up.” “Yeah, like your Mom’s face,” Carissa Gaghan retorted. OH NO SHE DIDN’T!! Seriously, Carissa. That was way over the line. (I’ll stop now. I promise.)

“Retards,” Carissa muttered, before sprinting off to finish the Grand Canyon Marathon 2005.

(Seriously, I’m done.)

After an ascent to the top of a giant dam, which was kind of pointless (except that it provided some cool aerial shots of the teams looking like tiny ants running across it), Phil explained to us that this week’s Detour would take place at Arizona’s majestic Horseshoe Bay while standing precariously close to a huge cliff overlooking that majestic wonder.


Personally, I love it when Phil flirts with death for no apparent reason whatsoever. Perhaps before the season is over, we’ll be treated to another tethered-to-the-top-of-a-skyscraper stunt? Pretty please?

Unfortunately, on the way to the Detour, the Paolos made the most common of TAR mistakes – not stopping to ask directions because it might waste time. Oh why does nobody ever listen to Marion?

While the Paolos drove aimlessly around the southwest, the rest of the teams started arriving at the majestic Horseshoe Bay. This week’s Detour was a choice between Bearing and Bailing. In Bearing, the teams have to use a compass to follow several coordinates by boat to get to the clue. In Bailing, a semi-submerged boat must be un-submerged and carried ashore.

The Weavers chose Bearing, while the rest of the teams all opted to Bail. The Linz family made up some ground here, and they were the first team to head off to the Pit Stop, which was 14 miles away on a house boat on Lake Powell.

Update: Just got a clarification from the Lord’s office. Apparently garbage throwing is OK, but only while “racing other cars” in Arizona. Otherwise it’s a mortal sin punishable by eternal damnation. Whew, close one Weavers!

When the Linz kids arrived at the lake, they had some trouble starting up their motor boat, but eventually got it going. “The [pink] ladies are going to take forever to figure out how to do this,” one of the boys said. “And they might not,” replied Megan.

Boy was she right. Despite Trish nearly capsizing the vessel, speed-demon Sharon got that boat started in 2 seconds flat and somehow they managed to pass the Linz boat on the lake (while all four of them chanted “woo woo woo nyah nyah na na na nyah” and bounced up and down)! OMG the pink ladies are so awesome.

For the second leg in a row, the Godlewskis finished first! Yay ladies!! As they arrived on the mat, Phil told them they as the winners of this leg of the race, they had won a Jay Flight 27BH !!! Their reaction was the same as mine, and I think this picture captures it perfectly.


The Linz crew arrived next, and Phil reminded them that they had again been whooped by a group of pink-clad blondes. “Maybe they’ll be nice and treat us to one of their prizes after,” one of the boys responded. Hah, nice try guys. They’ve already ordered the pink custom-detailing on the Jay Flight 27BH (with a vanity plate that says OMGAAAAD).

Next up was the Weaver family, who seemed quite unhappy with their third-place finish. Phil asked them what was wrong, and to the sound of sad piano music in the background (which was supposed to tug at our heartstrings, I guess?), they told Phil how they were all alone in the race, and it was hard being the only family who was “living a Christian lifestyle.” Even the random kid at the mat could tell they were idiots.

Who let these buttheads on my houseboat?

With three teams on the mat, once again it came down to the Bransens versus the Paolos. The Bransens were finishing the Detour as the Paolos arrived, but remember what happened last week… err… one hour ago! Anything could happen!! (But I know they’re probably going to get eliminated. Sigh.)

While “Bailing,” the Paolos expressed their love for one another the way they do best.


Thankfully, nobody was actually murdered at the majestic Horseshoe Bay, but the Paolos never were able to make up the time they lost on the road, and the Bransens beat them handily to finish in fourth place.

The elimination of the Paolos was definitely a sad moment (the second half of my recap was late because I spent the better part of yesterday a fetal position, bawling. I’m OK now, though. I’ve moved on.) Now I can just look forward to watching Marion mop the floor with Linda Weaver in a wrestling match in Battle of the Network Reality Stars 2007! Yay!!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 6:12 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (4)

November 9, 2005

Faith in God(lewski), Part One


Whew, I am tired today! Was it really necessary to make last night a TAR-doubleheader? You kept me up way past my bedtime, CBS!

This week, the race resumed in sunny Costa Rica where the Paolos led the pack. “I’m trying not to think about the pain in my legs,” said Marion. No, she was not referring to DJ (he is a pain in another body part). I think she just overexerted herself during the mad-dash-to-the-finish last time. Poor Marion.

The first clue directed the teams to travel on foot to a beach where they would have to swim out to a buoy with the next clue attached. Frickin’-Monster Tony volunteered, but despite his impressive performance in “Bananas,” he ran into some difficulty with this one.

“Daddy can swim, he just takes his time,” said Marion. He certainly did take his time, clinging to the buoy and screaming for help until a team of swimmers sailed out to his rescue. Poor Tony. Thankfully his sons were there to offer some helpful advice: “Dad, don’t drown!”

Bransen girl offered an equally helpful suggestion as Wally (or Walder... can someone please explain that one to me? I don’t get it.) dove into the ocean. “You’re a fish! A skinny fish!” Ladies, I tried that one with Karen when she was climbing that big rock. (“You’re a spider! A skinny spider!”) It didn’t work.

My favorite advice, though, was offered by the Godlewski ladies. Even better – it was nonverbal (screams of “come on Sheaaaaaaron” literally made my dog cry last week). Afraid that their sister had forgotten how to swim, the pink ladies demonstrated for her.

Your aaaaarms Sheaaaaron! Use your aaaaarms!

The Weavers were bringing up the rear, and Rolly volunteered to swim to the buoy. Of course, his family didn’t need to offer any advice, since they have a direct VIP link to you-know-who.

Who loves short shorts? The Lord loves short shorts.

The underwater clue told the teams to travel by taxi to La Iglesia de Metal (the Metal Church). I was really hoping it was a reference to this scary band, and that the teams would have to do some sort of metal-band-Satan-worship challenge, like putting on black makeup and biting the heads off of small animals.

Sadly, it was just a church made of metal. But the teams were greeted by an altar boy with special powers.

Go go gadget clue-hand!

“Holy crap, we gotta go all the way to town,” Marion exclaimed! Poor Marion. Wait a minute, you’re taking a frickin’ taxi. She’s complaining a bit much, but I do love it when she says “holy crap” and when Tony says “unbelievable!” They use them sort of like “Aloha,” you know – they can mean almost anything: hello!, goodbye!, hooray!, go to hell!, whaaaa??!?, fuggetaboutit!!, etc. It’s all about the context.

Side Note (to the editors): Dear editors, Can you please stop splicing in that sound byte of Tony Paolo screaming “son of a bitch!” in every episode? The camera always pans away at the moment he says it. We like creative editing, but we’re not stupid. Cordially, Linda.

The Paolo-isms are certainly better than the Weaver-schtick of adding a frickin' “o” to the end of every word. Wait-o for me-o, yelled Rolly as they raced toward the taxi. Holy crap-o, that’s getting old.

60 crappy frickin' miles later, the teams reached this week’s Detour: Brush or Barrel. In Brush, the teams had to travel 10 miles to an ox cart factory (factoria del cart-o ox-o) and finish decorating two partially-decorated cart wheels with paints. In Brush, they had to travel the same distance to a sugar cane plantation, where they had to load one ton of sugar cane onto a tractor-thing and haul it to a factory a few miles away. Then they had to find the clue hidden in a barrel inside a nearby warehouse.

What the teams didn’t know, was that choosing Barrel had an added twist: a sugar-scented butt. The bumpy tractor ride caused... let’s just say... a very intimate experience between Tommy Linz and a sugary stick. On the plus side: Megan could now look forward to his farting in enclosed spaces. Mmmm, candy farts! ‘Tis the season!

The Paolos also chose Barrel, and strongman-Tony redeemed himself after the swimming fiasco. Hauling huge armfuls of sugar cane, he reminded is that he is... the frickin’ monster. I love his guttural screams as he tossed each pile onto the tractor. So manly. Rrrrowr!

“I’ll have more muscles than I have brains in my head when I’m done with this race,” said Marion. Oh, was she right. Just Us Moms! has obtained this exclusive photo of Marion after the race.

The other three teams (the estrogen majority) opted for Brush, which seemed the sensible choice to me. The pink ladies were having a little too much fun playing with all the pretty colors and trying to make them look perfect, and their twenty minute lead over the Weavers evaporated as the Disoriented Disciples arrived after but finished before them. Come on gals, it’s not a frickin’ art project! Holy crap!

After the Detour, it was back to the aeropuerto and off to... Phoenix, Arizona? Unbelievable! To which Marion Paolo remarked, “Why the hell are we going to Phoenix? I wanna go to New Zealand!” Oh, I so want you to go to New Zealand, too, Marion. But this is TAR:FE (The Amazing Race: Frickin’ [lame] Edition).

The Linz family made it to the airport first and got the very last seats on a Delta Airlines flight that would land in Phoenix at 9:35 the next morning. Lucky them! Except that there was another flight that got in 15 minutes earlier and had plenty of seats remaining. D’oh!

The Weavers seized the opportunity to confront DJ Paolo in the airport about the decision to Yield them, leading to a fun exchange. Rather than giving an honest answer (everyone hates you), DJ told Linda that they chose to Yield them because they were in last place, and it was an effort to “definitively knock a team out.”

The Weavers response:


Linda then said, “well let’s just be friends, we’ve been nothing but friendly to you.” (Hmmm... I seem to remember otherwise, unless in Florida, “retard” is a term of endearment.)

DJ responded, “Well, right now it’s the final 5...” but Linda cut him off, saying, “Well you don’t have any Yields left and we do, sweets!”

Carissa Gaghan then gave three snaps up (in Z formation), and said, “Oh no she DIDN’T!” Oh snap snap snap!! (I know she was eliminated last week. Shut up. You know she was at home, snapping in her living room.)

While the Linz team was changing planes in Atlanta, the other four families had a stopover in New York. No problemo, except that the connecting airline had no record of the Godlewskis' reservation (which we watched them make on the chaaaarge caaaard just moments in TV-time earlier). Uh oh, major problemo! Actually no, they just hopped over to New York’s sixth borough, Newark, to board another flight that arrived at exactly the same time. Whew!

So all of the teams made it to Phoenix (where incidentally, it was hotter than snot. I need a Dan-Ratherese to English dictionary to understand that one, but I guess snot = hot?) within 15 minutes of each other. Next stop: another raceway! No party bikes this time. Supercarts, instead!

The pink ladies got there first, and the lovely Michelle made quick work of the road-blaaaahck.

Only 23 more leaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaps!

Obviously, the Weavers were unhappy about this one, but Linda stepped up to the plate. Seeing that the Weaver kids were having a hard time, the pink ladies approached them to try to reassure them that everything would be OK. “Your dad would be proud of you,” Sharon said. As soon as she left, Rebecca Weaver said, “I hate the desperate housewives. They’re so annoying, and they lie.” Oh Rebecca. If they are so awful, why did Jesus name them GODlewski? Hmmmmm?

Despite the best efforts of the editors to make us think that Tommy Linz’s supercart might crash into Linda Weaver (the oh-so-popular dramatic pre-commercial-break shrieking slow-mo bit) causing a fiery explosion that would kill everyone within 50 feet, nothing really happened, and Linda completed the 50 laps with virtually no problem.

The exciting news, though, is that the Godlewskis surged ahead, from near-elimination two weeks ago, to first place! Unbelievable! To my delight, the resulting shrieking and perfectly synchronized bouncing up and down was even pinker and more animated than usual. Holy crap, indeed.

The Weavers finished second, and after making up substantial time at the raceway, the Linz family finished a close third.

The battle for fourth place, though was a truly amazing moment. In fact, I’m sure it will be one of the “Amazing Achievements in Race History brought to you by GMC” (or whatever the heck it's called) that they’ll show during a commercial break for TAR 17. (Of course, by then, no one will see it, because everyone will have TiVo. Screw you, GMC!)

The Paolos arrived at Fort McDowell (the Pit Stop) after finishing the roadblock last, but what they didn’t know was that the Bransens got semi-lost on the way there (the Bransen girls have the Kami & Karli disorder of running around really fast but not knowing where they’re going. You should listen to Walder, girls!) and they had not yet arrived at the Pit Stop.

Assuming that they were last, the Paolos began performing the “underpants on top of underpants on top of pants” ritual, only to be interrupted by the sight of the Bransen car arriving (my screams at the television of “HOLY CRAP! RUN TO THE PIT STOP MARION!!!!” went unheard, except by my neighbors).

The Paolos made a mad dash to the mat (like last time, only sillier looking), and arrived in a triumphant, very-tighty-whitey-clad, fourth-place finish! Unbelievable!


The Bransens arrived last, but the Paolos reminded them that it might be a non-elimination leg. After donning all of their (much smaller) underpants, they arrived at the Pit Stop in last place.

Women in underpants do not cry, my dear.

In his best “pretend to look very sad” fakeout voice, Phil greeted them by saying, “Bransen family... You’re the last team to arrive. I’m... PLEASED to tell you this is non-elimination leg!” Oh joy! The ladies and Walder are still in it!

But will they be able to catch up? Find out next week... err... holy crap! Two episodes in a row! I’m way too tired to write another recap, though... so this is all you’ll get for now. Part Deux coming soon, I promise!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 5:09 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (2)

Let’s get soakin’ wet!

Sharon Godlewski, too hot for TAR:FE

Nick Linz, still under the impression that they were headed to Spring Break, prepares for the “wet pants” contest.

Full recap coming… I promise!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 11:13 AM | Category: Oh no they didn't!

November 7, 2005

Top 10 Men of Reality TV

Reading Linda's delightful Top 10 Ladies of Reality TV list the other day got me thinking about all the members of the not-as-fair sex on all my favorite shows! There have sure been some characters, and I think they deserve a little Hall of Fame just for themselves! There is something they all seem to have in common, but I can't quite put my finger on it...

Anyway, ENJOY, and please let me know if you agree or how you would rank them differently!

Love, Karen

10. Bobby Trendy, The Anna Nicole Smith Show [bio]


I never saw Anna Nicole Smith's show, but I just love Mr. Trendy's cute sparkly leopard print throw blankets! They are adorable! It's interesting to think that a young social butterfly like Mr. Trendy could have exactly the same taste as a 42-year-old mom like me!

9. Jay McCarroll, Project Runway [bio]


Mr. McCarroll was the winner of his reality show, which is quite an achievement! While I did have a soft spot for Austin Scarlett (that dress made out of corn was SO CUTE!), you have to give Jay his due credit for making it through and competing with that cheating girl who got alll those designer shoes for free!

8. Ted Allen, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy [bio]


Ted is just such a charmer... I mean, if he weren't gay and I weren't married... Phew! We could make such beautiful arugula salads together!

7. Reichen Lehmkuhl, The Amazing Race [bio]


Reichen and his husband Chip won their season of The Amazing Race, and I give them all the props in the world. Looking at those big naked biceps of his, I don't doubt for a second that he could haul himself up a cliff in two seconds flat (I'm SORRY Linda, I'm SORRY! I said I'm SORRY, okay?? GEEZ!).

6. Brian Corridan, Survivor: Guatemala [bio]


Brian is so smart (he is, after all, in the IVY LEAGUE!), but ended up being cleverly played by his tribemates, one of which was a "more masculine" lady.

5.Danny Roberts, Real World: New Orleans [bio]


Remember this guy? He had so much to teach the world (i.e., Real World viewers) about being a homosexual, and to think his boyfriend was in the army and couldn't show his face on national TV! Danny now has a website with his partner, Paul (who isn't in the army anymore), but I couldn't look at it for long because it kept playing awful music and it gave me a migraine. I know you love Josh Groban, Linda, but he just rubs me the wrong way.

4. Paw-Paw, Martha Stewart's Chow-Chow dog [bio]


Paw-Paw always tries to be there for all the important moments in Martha's life, and was even featured in the introductory shots of her new daytime show until it was cut for time. He continues to be Martha's inspiration behind the scenes and I suspect he will make an appearance on The Apprentice before the end of the season, hopefully to bark, "GoodBYE, Bethenny."

3. Richard Hatch, Survivor: Borneo [bio]


Also large and furry, but slightly less cuddly than a Chow-Chow dog is first-ever Survivor winner Richard Hatch. He really is an unlucky guy... After spending his prize money on "not liposuction," he then got arrested (twice)! However, he is so brilliant and tricky that he even weasled his way into my Top 3! Well done, Richard.

2. J. Alexander, America's Next Top Model [bio]


Even though he is called Miss J., he is still TECHNICALLY a man, and boy does he do everything right! He can walk, dress, style, move, and most importantly: nurture all the poor skinny girls that are put into his care. And even though it bugs me when Tyra uses this word, J. Alexander is truly one of the FIERCEST characters on the airwaves!

1. Mark Burnett, Reality TV Pioneer [bio]


He is the man who started it all. Linda and I owe our Amazing experience to Mr. Burnett and we are very grateful (even though I do feel that rock climbing challenge so late in the race was PRETTY UNFAIR, and I just hope it wasn't his idea, even though I suppose it helped the larger narrative arc somehow). Anyway, congratulations Mark Burnett! You are the clear winner of the Just Us Moms! Top 10 Men of Reality TV competition!

Posted by Karen Heins at 9:44 PM | Category: That's a turkey! | Comments (3)

November 4, 2005

Blondes do it better


It's true what they say! Unless, of course, the blondes in question are the two ladies pictured above, and the "it" that they’re doing is anything that requires leadership, creativity, rapping, and/or stain-removing pens.

In this week’s episode of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, we witnessed the worst Apprentice defeat since that time a team built a batting cage inside Dick’s Sporting Goods with the goal of boosting sales, and instead caused a 30-something percent decline in revenues. Oh wait, wasn’t that last week? Yeesh.

This week, Martha phoned the teams to say, "I’m sorry I can’t be with you today. I’m on my way to an important business meeting." (Translation: "I'm sorry I can’t be with you today. I haven’t figured out how to take off this damn ankle bracelet yet, so I’m in the backseat of my car, parked in the garage, pretending to be on my way to an important business meeting.")

The latest task challenged the domestic-divas-in-training to advertise "Tide To Go" (a pretty amazing little "pen" that "erases" stains instantly) by creating a "live action mobile billboard." What on earth is a "live-action mobile billboard," you ask? Well, it’s basically a truck (mobile) that you dress up with some advertising props (billboard), and then you park it in Times Square and have people in costume harass passers-by with obnoxious advertising "skits" (live-action).

Sounds cool, huh? Because if there’s anything Times Square really needs it’s humongous vehicles that occupy 5 parking spots, and more advertising (that screams at you!).

Primarius was led by bumbling-blonde Sarah and her second-in-command, blown-out-blonde Carrie. While Jim designed a fairly professional-looking backdrop for the truck mobile live-action billboard and Howie came up with the obviously ridiculous idea of creating a boxing character, the fair-haired leadership conceptualized this marketing scheme: "Tide To Go – It’s on the go!" I’ll just let the brilliance of that concept sink in for a bit. You really need to think about it for a minute to truly "get" it.

Little known fact: Carrie and TAR:FE’s Weaver Mom share the same hairdresser.

Matchstick, on the other hand, under the leadership of better-blonde Dawna, created "Tide To Go Joe," a (gasp!) boxing character who was a cross between a superhero and a detergent stick.

Side Note: The best part about The Apprentice this season: lots of cute guys in unitards! (I know Karen would agree with me, because anyone who knows Karen knows that she loves a man in a unitard.)

A few weeks ago, on Donald’s show, we witnessed Mark dress up as Ginny the Blizzard Genie in an advertising task for Dairy Queen. Then, on Martha’s show this week, Ryan donned orange spandex to perform as Tide To Go Joe! Who was cuter? My vote goes to Ryan, but maybe the playing field wasn’t exactly level, what with Mark wearing fake boobs and all. What did you think?


In the end, Matchstick’s spandex hero won over the ad execs, while Primarius’s very uncreative slogan, "Tide To Go... Tide To Go... it's time for Tide To Go!" which was made even worse by rapping it at the top of their lungs while each team member pantomimed a 4 hour seizure on top of the truck, was a complete flop. Imagine that!

UPDATE: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth... a million? I don't know. Anyway, check out TVgasm's video of this truly unforgettable (though I really wish I could) performance here.

Better-than-you-at-everything-blonde Martha was most pleased with Matchstick’s performance, rewarding them with a trip to her Bedford estate (Note to beautiful-bowling-blonde self: if ever sentenced to house arrest, get a Bedford estate). They were treated to a lavish breakfast, and Marcela was the very personal recipient of an unusually intimate bun-grabbing experience.

But back in the conference room, billionaire-businesswoman-blonde Martha was most displeased with the work of Primarius, calling their live-action mobile billboard "an embarrassment." Someone had to be fired, and despite bonehead-blonde Sarah’s best efforts to pin it all on Howie, boss-of-the-boardroom blonde Martha wasn’t buying her b.s., and she sent both of the blondies (sorry, I ran out of adjectives that start with a "b") packing.

Lessons learned: Blondes usually do it better, but sometimes even blondes have bad ideas. And, cute guys in unitards = always a good idea.


Posted by Linda Ruiz at 3:14 PM | Category: - Martha - | Comments (2)

November 2, 2005

The dumbest family I ever saw


First, let me say that I really think this season has some potential now! Wasn’t last night’s episode great?

The teams started off at the Panama Canal, where last week’s victors, the Paolos (yay!) led the pack. The bickering literally began instantly, with DJ threatening to kick someone in the head if they start fighting (haven’t you already “started” fighting, if you say that?). Oh DJ, you’re all talk – but we all heard your girly-scream last week. I’m sure Marion could take you down!

Next stop: San Jose, Costa Rica! No aeroplano this time, but at least it’s not San Jose, California.

The Weavers were up next. One of the booty-shorts-loving girls told us: “we were raised not to trust anyone but our family and God.” Hmm, that explains a lot.

The Weavers heard the other teams talking about them, but it doesn’t matter because (hypocrisy drumroll please...) they’re Christian, and they’re “above all that.” Yeah sure, they would never call the Paolos “retards,” or make fun of the fact that Mr. Paolo is a garbage man, or say that Brian Paolo “looks like a squirrel,” or say that they hope the Godlewski’s boobs “cost a lot because they never wear a bra.” Because they’re above all that.

I am also above using conditioner. Jesus didn’t need conditioner!!

One of the Linz boys came up with a brilliant strategy for this leg: “hey guys, let’s get first this time!” Duh, why didn’t they think of that before? It’s much better than the Gaghan’s dumb “just pass one team each week” strategy. No wonder the Linz family is America’s pick to win it all!

Side Note: Why do my two favorite teams, the Godlewskis and the Paolos, have the lowest two scores of any of the remaining teams in the CBS popularity poll? What is wrong with you, America? How can 16% of you love the Weavers, but only 7% love the Paolos and 3% love the Godlewskis? I’ve voted about 50 times, but seriously, I only have so much free time on my hands. I’m a busy woman (as you can tell from my 75 paragraph recap). Help me out! It’s your civic duty, people!

Speaking of the ladies luck, since last week was a non-elimination leg, the peppy posse of pink was forced to begin this segment without any money. Remind me why they do this again? I think it’s kind of pointless. The only time it ever really matters is if a team starts off broke in Africa at 2:00 am and needs to get a cab. But four blond ladies hunting for cash in Central America isn’t much of a challenge.

The Gaghans were off and running, too, and despite Carissa’s idea to run all the way to Costa Rica (600 miles at 7 minutes per mile = only 70 hours. Wheels, WHEELS, WHEELS!!!), they opted to take the bus like everyone else.

Apparently the Weaver-hate is now unanimous. The Paolos got to the bus station first and began directing all of the other teams to the ticket counter in an effort to help other teams get there before Team Florida. Nevermind that it was pointless, because all the teams were going to be bunched together again at the (stupid) volcano. It was still fun.

Weaver-hate-fever didn’t stop the pink ladies from hitting the disoriented disciples up for cash, though, and the Weavers obliged (suckers!).

Jesus says to give me some ceaaaash.

Michelle assured her sisters that they would “backstab” them later. Ha! Didn’t I say Michelle was awesome (and gorgeous)?

Fast forward to Costa Rica, and we heard a new nickname from the Weavers: “The Brady Bunch.” Since there were no teams of 3 boys, 3 girls, their parents and a maid, I couldn’t figure out who they were talking about. Did anyone else understand it? Hmm, well, who cares. It probably made about as much sense as calling the Paolos “The Cleavers,” anyway.

The Weavers and Gaghans got lost for a bit, but a quick prayer followed by some angelic heavenly music and they found the way. Oh you zany sound editors, pulling out the old Brandon & Nicole effects. I love it.

But when they arrived at Heaven, aka the (stupid) volcano, the gates were closed. Oooh, a Christian metaphor. That’s deep. I think. I don’t know, I just don’t like them.

The stress of the Race drove Rachel to start smoking.

The Gaghan kids got in some shuteye on the way to Mount Stupid.

Proof that Carissa Gaghan is not a robot. Unless she is a very cute, sleepy robot.

Once the gates opened, all of the teams ran to the volcano to grab the next clue. The Weavers were unimpressed, as someone from their car exclaimed “that was the dumbest volcano I ever saw.” (And she has seen plenty of volcanoes, trust me!) To which Carissa replied, “um, have you seen your Mom?” Oh no she DIDN'T!!! Actually, she didn’t. Robo-Carissa was still snoring away in the van, but you know she dreamed it.

I guess I shouldn’t assume it was one of the Weaver daughters who called the volcano stupid. Maybe she was in the car. “Bitch, please! I don’t care about no crappy volcano!”

The clue directed the families to drive 17 miles to the Doka Estate coffee plantation.

Mmmm. A coffee waterfall!

The Weavers needed a little help with directions, because they weren’t sure if they should go “righto” or “lefto.” Yeah, that volcano was a total dumbass.

Caution, Yield ahead! Oh YAY!! Of course, everyone wanted to yield the Weavers, but the Paolos made it there first, so they got to do the honors.

This week’s road-blaaaahck was my absolute favorite type of TAR challenge. The “needle in a haystack” challenge, if you will. Some teams zip through it rapido, and others not so much. Frustration abounds, and more importantly, teams can truly make up (or lose) a LOT of ground here. Personally, I think this is what has been (mostly) missing from this season – challenges that really have the potential to shake up the order. But this one did.

The teams had to choose one member to hunt through a pile of 800 pounds of coffee beans to find the single red bean. The Godlewskis clarified the instructions for Tricia: “you have to look and see which one looks different.”

OMGaaad, I figured it out, girls! You have to find the one that looks different! Shhhh… don’t tell anyone!

Fortunately for Bransen Girl, her early-onset osteoporosis was an advantage in this task.

Later, the Weavers arrived to find out that the Paolos had Yielded them, and let’s just say they weren’t very “Christian” in their reaction.

Oh by the way, did you know that when the Schroeder’s home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, all of the families offered help except for one? Yeah, they’re “above all that” helping thy neighbor stuff. (via Reality Blurred)

Although I was hoping the Weavers would get stuck at the bean hunt, it was Tammy Gaghan that had a really hard time, forcing them to scramble to try to catch up afterwards.

Tammy will never drink coffee again.

At the detour, this week’s choice was between ripe and relic. “Ripe” involved hauling humongous bushels of bananas and transporting them by pulley. In “relic,” teams had to traverse a bunch of scary footbridges in the rainforest to find ancient Mayan relics.

The Paolos opted for the bananas, and thanks to the physical prowess of “frickin monster” Tony, they finished quickly. The other teams chose, instead, to go relic-hunting.

Trying desperately to make up some ground, the Gaghans scoured the rainforest for ancient relics as quickly as possible. Carissa thought she spotted one first:


Alas, it was only Gary from Survivor. Close, but no cigar.

Over in Quepos, the pit stop for this leg of the race, it was an intense footrace to the finish. “NO PAIN, MA!” DJ yelled, encouraging Marion to keep going. “I can’t do dis no more!” she moaned, but she did, and their first place victory earned each member of the family their choice of four vehicles that Marion would look equally hilarious riding. Seriously, I want to go to Carmel, NY just to see her whizzing around town on her Segway.


The Linz, super-smelly-Bransen, and Godlewski families followed behind in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place, respectively. We knew the Gaghans were out of it when they arrived at the detour as the Weavers were leaving, but we had a brief glimmer of hope as the Weavers’ van got stuck in the mud.

Sadly, my prayers weren’t answered, probably because Jesus was backlogged with similar requests, like getting Jim fired on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, or bringing back Paradise Hotel. Seriously, I think Jesus should consider hiring an Assistant Savior to respond to all of these reality-related prayers.

Ultimately, the Weavers finished in fifth place, and it was the Gaghan family that was sent home this week.

So what did everyone else think? Were you sad to see the Gaghans go? Are the Weavers as annoying as I think they are, or am I being too hard on them? Is this season getting better, or do all of you still hate it?

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 1:35 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (12)