Don’t Be Afraid to Ride Him, Lauren (Episode 8-9)

Phil pulled the old switcheroo on the teams tonight on The Amazing Race: Family Edition. Tonight’s episode was the first half of a two-part elimination leg. After next week, viewers will know which three teams will make it to the finale.

Half of the remaining teams are from the Chicago area, and if there’s one thing Chicago teams know how to do, it’s lose. Sure, there were the ’85 Bears, the Jordan Era Bulls, and this year’s World Series champs, the Chicago White Sox. But Wally Bransen is no Coach Ditka, and the Godlewski sisters yell at each other more than Ozzie Guillen does when asked about Magglio Ordonez.

Sources tell me that Wally isn’t able to complete the race and is replaced by Cubs’ legend Ron Santo and his two fake legs.

Tonight, teams arrived at a ranch where two team members had to herd cattle on horseback. Based on their riding skills, the only horses the Bransens or Godlewskis have ever seen were at Arlington Race Course. Fortunately for them, everyone had to wear the same ugly cowboy hats, making their riding look pretty by comparison.

A visit to Old Faithful split the teams into two packs. Teams had to witness an eruption of the geyser before receiving their clues. The front pack was lead by the Bransens, who were followed closely by the Weavers. The second group, comprising the Godlewskis and Linzes, just missed the first eruption and had to wait another 90 minutes before they could depart.

This setup puts the Godlewskis at a serious disadvantage. Not only are the Linzes younger, stronger, and faster, but they are still working well together. Christine is the Godlewski family version of Steve Bartman. Sharon and Michelle share the role of Moises Alou, throwing their metaphorical gloves of contempt onto the outfield grass. That leaves Tricia playing Dusty Baker, doing her best to stay out of it and reading the notes written on her wristbands.

Perhaps the 2003 Cubs don’t exactly parallel the Godlewskis, but the end results will be the same: the Godlewskis are going to choke. Fourth place may be as far as they’ll get before team chemistry breaks down and their winning season falls apart. Michelle, Sharon, and Tricia are reportedly offering to trade Christine to the Oakland A’s for Barry Zito because “Ohmygahd, he’s so cute.”

That would leave the Linzes, Weavers, and Bransens to fight it out for $1 million. If the Linzes and Weavers can’t control their feuding, the Bransens may just be able to sneak by both teams. Wally and the girls also have the advantage of being the only team with any navigation skills. And maybe when they win, the Bransens will celebrate with a few Superdawgs.