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Characters / The Amazing Race: Family Edition

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What the hell are we going to Phoenix, Arizona for? I wanna go to New Zealand!
Marion Paolo (summing up the general feeling about the season)

Season 8 was initially planned to be an All-Star season, the same numbered season as Survivor. However, after seeing how Survivor: All-Stars ended up becoming bitter and personal, and wanting to avoid something like that happening on what was essentially a family show, the idea was scrapped and a radical idea was put in its place. Season 8 was billed as a Family Edition, where families of four could compete, and it would be the only season where children under the age of 18 could participate.

Unfortunately, for mostly insurance based reasonsnote , teams were confined to the North American continent proper, which meant that the vast majority of the race was spent exploring the United States. Couple that with an accumulation of other issues such as an extra family being cut at the last minute, having to fit 40 contestants into the same amount of airtime normally meant for 22, an extremely large amount of non-elimination legsnote , the difficulty of most of the tasks being reduced dramatically (the leg 4 Roadblock involved one team member climbing a ladder to the top of the world's tallest office chair), and the emphasis being pulled off of the international travel aspect and onto a bunch of family members arguing in the back of an SUV, and you are left with a season many people consider to be the worst.


Nevertheless, the cast was (for the most part) diverse and memorable, the season was very competitive with no dominant favorite, and, if you lived outside of North America, the chances were you found something enjoyable about it.

Thomas "Tommy" Linz, Megan Linz, Nicholas "Nick" Linz, Alexander "Alex" Linz (The Linz Family)

Three brothers and their sister. They spent most of the season in front of the pack due to being young and fit, and therefore were able to power their way through the severely reduced difficulty. Though technically the first sibling team and containing the two youngest competitors to win the Race (Megan at 21 and Tommy at 19), the unconventional nature of the season instead gives those designations to Nick & Starr.

  • Always Second Best: It was a big part of their storyline until they finally won leg 9. It came to a head when they stumbled going into the leg 8 Pit Stop, the Godlewskis passing them in their much faster motor boat to win their third leg. Phil teased them about this when they checked in second.
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  • Assumed Win: Discussed in leg 9. So many times they had gotten excited because they "knew" they were in first, only to get passed and drop to 2nd or 3rd once again.
  • Catch Phrase: "Harrumph," for Tommy.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Everyone did this, Meg included.
  • Global Ignorance: When told to fly to Panama City, Panama, Tommy got excited about seeing all the high school girls on Spring Break.
  • The Load: Megan could not run, got easily winded, and complained whenever the tasks started getting anywhere near physical.
    • Megan even admitted to being not being athletic and that she would know when to step down.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Megan mentions that she had six brothers and that she was the Only Girl.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: Megan as explained in the opening, being the only girl out of 7 kids.
  • Sibling Team: All of them are brothers and sisters.
  • Tempting Fate: See Assumed Win.
  • Trash Talk: Most of the teams trash talked the Weavers, but none did so much or to such extremes as the Linzs.

Lindsey Bransen, Walter "Wally" Bransen, Elizabeth "Beth" Bransen, Lauren Bransen (The Bransen Family)

Father and his three daughters. Wally quickly took a back seat, feeling like The Load next to his younger, fitter daughters. Though they had the most first place finishes leading up to the final leg, they lost when Wally got edged out on the giant puzzle of North America that served as the Final Puzzle for the season, although they did beat the Weavers to win the Final Amazing Challenge post-race.

  • The Load: Subverted with Wally. Though early on it looked like him being relatively out of shape would hinder his daughters, he powered them through several brute strength tasks later on, something none of his skinny daughters were much good at, and he was even able to beat the Weavers in a footrace to the mat at the midpoint of leg 10.
  • Mooning/Pixellation: In the fourth leg, Lindsay mooned the Linzes from her car window.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Starting with Kevin & Drew in leg 1, the collective attractiveness of the three girls is repeatedly brought up.
  • No Sense of Direction: They dropped from 2nd to last in leg 7 while trying to find the Pit Stop. Fortunately, they were saved by a non-elimination leg.
  • Read the Freaking Clue: They wasted lots of time in the second leg when they went to the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial instead of the one at the Capitol Building.
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All: Their leg 3 prize was free gas for life from from BP and ARCO. Considering how gas prices exploded some time after this season...

Linda Weaver, Rachel Weaver, Rebecca Weaver, Roy Holland "Rolly" Weaver IV (The Weaver Family)

Linda: I don't get it, most people like us. I've never been in a situation where we've been unliked in my life.

A widow and her three children. Linda's husband, a safety worker, died during a Daytona NASCAR race when he was struck by a car while picking up debris. Though seen as sympathetic at first, their random bouts of insanity and Holier Than Thou attitudes quickly turned the other teams and the audience against them, and made them the villains of the season. Despite all the other teams gunning for them, they managed to make their way into the Final 3, where they fell behind while driving to Niagara Falls, finishing over an hour behind the other two teams.

  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: All of the kids' names started with the letter R.
  • Break the Haughty: At first, they took some pride in the fact they weren't here to make friends, but by leg 8, the hate they were getting from all sides was getting to them. In leg 10, after being Yielded for the second time, they were actually hoping to be eliminated. Phil noted they were the least enthusiastic last team to find out they weren't being eliminated in the show so far. He gave them a Rousing Speech that restored their spirits.
  • Doting Parent: Linda, especially towards Rolly, as she described her son as being the best at everything.
  • El Spanish "-o": While asking for directions in Costa Rica, Rolly asked a local "On righto or lefto?"
  • Enemy Mine: The other teams despised them, they were Yielded twice because of their attitudes, and in the finale the Bransens and Linzes didn't care which of them won, as long as it wasn't the Weavers.
  • Evil Matriarch: Linda, who sat at the head of the villains of the season.
  • Global Ignorance: Constantly.
    • In leg 1, when told to go to Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania:
      Linda: Pennsylvania may be a state, I don't know. I'm just totally confused.
    • In the next leg:
      Rebecca: Where's Washington D.C.? What state is it in? Washington?
    • In leg 4, while driving into New Orleans:
      Linda: Lake Pontchartrain. It's one of the five Great Lakes.
  • Holier Than Thou: They believed they were the only team who deserved to win because they were the only good people on the Race. Everyone else, on the other hand, found them insufferable and were pulling for any team but them to win.
  • Hypocrite: At the beginning of leg 6 they talked about how they could hear the other teams talking about them, but they were above that because they were Christians. They spent the rest of the race badmouthing the other teams. Like in leg 7, when the Godlewskis tried to comfort the kids during the go-karting Roadblock, and then the kids immediately started talking about how much they hated the sisters.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Early on they talked about not believing in any Alliances, in the same leg they would start getting hated.
  • In-Series Nickname: Florida.
  • Jerkass: Yeah their complaints about all the other teams ganging up on them had complete justification, but it didn't help that they were constantly and unbearably nasty.
    • Their reaction to being Yielded in Leg 6 exemplifies this. They all made fun of the other teams photos (particularly the Paolos and the Godlewskis). Even Rolly partook in the insulting.
  • Laughing Mad: During the mystery bus trip on the third leg, through a combination of exhaustion and frustration, Rebecca Weaver absolutely lost it as she recounted their day. When the bus stopped for them to eat at a Waffle House, she started dancing in the parking lot with her mother while all the other teams looked on in shock. Then they got on the bus and Rachel joined in as she started singing. You know things are bad when the 12-year-old looks afraid for his life.
  • The Load: The women of the team usually let Rolly do all the difficult work, with the 14-year old almost single-handedly dragging his family through the final leg.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Ostracized very early on and to the end of the race. They were even called "freaks" on more than one occasion.
  • The Nicknamer: With most of their nicknames being the titles of television shows. Desperate Housewives for the Godlewskis, Rugrats for the Gaghans, The Brady Bunch for the Bransens, the Cleavers for the Paolos, the G. I. Joes for the Linzes.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Rolly
  • Only Sane Man: Rolly was the only member of the family who didn't come off as a raving, Holier Than Thou lunatic, but he also almost never talked.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe. Linda was uncomfortable with air travel, so in leg 3, when flying for the first time during the season, after booking their tickets the entire family walked up to another counter to ask a few questions, causing the Aiello and Schroeder Families to suspect them of plotting something.
  • Pet the Dog: One small instance of this. After the Godlewskis finished last in the non-elimination leg 5 and lost all their money, they asked the Weavers for five bucks, and they gave it to them.
    • In finale, they were uncharacteristically polite to their cab driver, Ted.
  • The Quiet One: Rolly as explained in Only Sane Man.
  • Rage Quit: All three women fell to Killer Fatigue at the Stade Olympique in the finale, Linda even going off and falling asleep, before Rolly managed to convince them to keep looking for their clue amongst the seats. Rolly could not do it on his own as the task required them to stay together.
  • Sanity Slippage: At least if you don't think they were already crazy to begin with.
  • The Scrappy: In-Universe to the other teams because of their attitudes.
  • Villainous Underdog: None of the other teams saw them as that great of a threat, despite hating them.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Naturally, two of the tasks on the race involved racing stadiums, and the kids freaked out both times.
  • X Must Not Win: They felt this way about all the other teams and vice versa.

Michelle Godlewski, Christine Godlewski, Sharon Godlewski, Patricia "Tricia" Godlewski (The Godlewski Family)

Team of four sisters. They were the first all-female team to win multiple legs and back-to-back legs, two seasons before Dustin & Kandice did both. They also made up an hour deficit to win the first leg, and had the best finishing average for most of the season. Unfortunately, just like with the Linz Family, no one cares about the Family Edition, so they're mostly forgotten in discussion of strongest female teams. They fell in 4th place when they couldn't stop bickering, mostly due to Christine's mood swings and inability to cooperate with her sisters, and struggled with the teepee building Detour.

  • Broken Tears: Christine would often break down into them, although how much of that is just trying to make her sisters feel bad is up for debate.
  • In-Series Nickname: The Weavers coined them the Desperate Housewives. Also the Pink Ladies.
  • Motor Mouth: At the first Pit Stop, Phil asked if it was normal for them to constantly talk over each other. The sisters also has this complaint about Christine.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Michelle, Christine, and Sharon. Tricia, being 11 years younger than her sisters, mostly stayed out of the bickering.
  • Sibling Team: It's a team of four sisters.

Anthony "Tony" Paolo, D.J. Paolo, Marion Paolo, Brian Paolo (The Paolo Family)

Dysfunctional Family from New York. Even though they scraped along the bottom for the first part of the season, spending most of their time in last, the fighting between D.J. and Marion became one of the few entertaining parts of the season. They seemed to pull it together when they finally left the country, winning the legs in Panama (via Fast Forward) and Costa Rica, but everything fell apart again when they got back to the U.S. They were eliminated in 5th when they took the longer route to the Grand Canyon.

  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Marion and D.J. after they bungee jumped together, also their entire family during their Elimination Statement.
  • Call-Back: On their way to their elimination, Marion called Ian's Catch Phrase, "We're comin', Phil."
  • Catch Phrase: Tony: "Unbelievable!" (mildly accented)
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Believing they were in last place at the end of Leg 7, they began donning their extra clothes to prepare for the non-elimination penalty (being stripped of all belongings except the clothes they were wearing), then realized they could still beat the Bransens, which resulted in them running to the mat wearing underwear over their outer clothes. Phil summed it up by telling them "you look ridiculous" (which ended up being the episode title).
  • Directionless Driver: Marion wanted to stop and ask for directions to the Grand Canyon, but D.J. refused to stop when the Bransens did, putting them in last when they took the longer route.
  • Dysfunctional Family: They even admitted it upon their elimination.
  • The Glomp: Tony did it to Phil on almost every leg when they checked in.
  • House Wife: Marion according to the pre-game bio. In Leg 6, Marion talked about being glad that her kids didn't view her as just this.
  • It Runs in the Family: According to Brian, Marion & D.J. both had the same stubborn personality.
  • The Load: Marion was neither strong nor fast, constantly fought with D.J., and loudly complained when people didn't listen to her.
  • Satellite Character: Brian mostly stayed out of the spotlight.
  • This Is A Race: When being confronted by the Weavers after being the first team to Yield them, D.J. tried to explain that, yes, he was trying to knock them out with the Yield because the whole point of the game is to win. The Weavers naturally didn't get it.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Tony, who picked up heavy garbage cans for a living, was able to deal with carrying large banana bunches far more easily than anyone else, both in his family and the other teams.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: D.J. and bungee jumping.

Carissa Gaghan, William "Bill" Gaghan, Tamara "Tammy" Gaghan, William "Billy" Gaghan, Jr. (The Gaghan Family)

Parents and their two children. As one of two teams with a child under 10, they naturally went in with distinct disadvantage to the other teams. They also became obscenely popular with a small section of the fanbase. They were eliminated in 6th when Tammy struggled on the colored bean Roadblock in Costa Rica. Billy and Carissa would write intros for the My Ox is Broken anthology.

  • Badass Adorable: For as far as Billy and Carissa made it in the race, they certainly qualify. They even placed 2nd in the first leg.
    • In the introduction, Tammy claimed that Carissa can run a 7 minute mile.
  • My Greatest Failure: Tammy Gaghan uses the screenname "banredbeans" on online forums.
  • Read the Freaking Clue: They wasted lots of time in the second leg when they went to the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial instead of the one at the Capitol Building.

Mark Schroeder, Char Schroeder, Nastassia "Stassi" Schroeder, Hunter Schroeder (The Schroeder Family)

Two children, their dad, and stepmother. They started off strong, but got lost in the fourth leg looking for a park five minutes from Mark's place of work, and half an hour away from their house, which ended up making them the only team to be eliminated in their hometown, New Orleans. Months later, their home was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.

  • Big "OMG!": Stassi after finishing fourth at the end of leg 2.
  • Daddy's Girl: Stassi, which she admitted to at the start.
  • Epic Fail: The only team to get lost in their hometown and got eliminated for it.
  • Jerkass: The entire family was intolerable, with Mark saying he hoped a handicapped kid get hit to cause a traffic jam and the entire family badmouthing the Weavers before they started acting villainous even calling them "white trash". Char even disciplined Hunter for so much as being nice to Rolly even though Hunter was just happy to have someone his age to talk to. It's especially telling given how Stassi was eventually put on the show "Queen Bees".
  • No Sense of Direction: Probably the most embarrassing instance on the Race.
  • Read the Freaking Clue: They wasted lots of time in the second leg when they went to the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial instead of the one at the Capitol Building.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Stassi would go on to being one of the lead stars of the reality show Vanderpump Rules and before that, appeared on Queen Bees, a reality show meant to rehabilitate Alpha Bitches.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Discussed at Leg 3, Char was thankful the kids liked her and did not view her as this.

Anthony "Tony" Aiello, Kevin Kempskie, Matthew "Matt" Hanson, David Alverson (The Aiello Family)

Dad and his three son-in-laws, and the only team with no blood relations. The finished 8th when they ended up on the second charter bus in leg 3 after repeatedly getting bogged at the Detour, then were the last team to make it to the "first come, first serve" Roadblock in the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, and didn't have enough time to make up the deficit.

  • Tempting Fate: At the beginning of their last leg, Matt talked about how they had been all business so far and needed to have more fun with the Race.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: The centrifuge Roadblock could only be done by one team at a time, and as it was the only task after the charter bus ride, and teams were sent by foot to the Pit Stop after completing the task, they were done as soon they lost the mad dash to pull their number at the Roadblock.

Brittney Rogers, Denny Rogers, Renee Rogers, Brock Rogers (The Rogers Family)

Parents and their two kids, they got lost repeatedly in the second leg and wound up in 9th place.

  • As the Good Book Says...: In his introduction, Denny said that being the patriarch of his family is biblical.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Renee suffered a concussion when she fell at the starting line.
  • Hypocrite: Denny. Note below how his Elimination Statement contradicts his behavior.
  • It's All My Fault: Denny, during his Elimination Statement, as he said he should take all responsibility as the man of the family.
  • Never My Fault: Denny was the one who told Brock to go the wrong way on interstate 30, yet berated his son and put all the blame on him for missing the exit until his daughter corrected him.
  • No Sense of Direction: They were eliminated due to issues finding the reflecting pool in Washington D.C.
  • Read the Freaking Clue: They wasted lots of time in the second leg when they went to the reflecting pool at the Lincoln Memorial instead of the one at the Capitol Building.

Reggie Black, Kenneth Black, Austin Black, Kimberly Black (The Black Family)

Parents and their two young sons, with Austin being the youngest person to ever compete in any edition of the Amazing Race. They were remembered mostly for the Unfortunate Implications of their last name. They were the first team eliminated when they had issues with the watermill building Detour, then were edged out by the Linz Family when looking for the Pit Stop.

  • Kiai: The Opening clip includes them practicing martial arts with an audible kiai.
  • The Load: Eight-year-old Austin, the youngest racer on the season, was not nearly as fit for the race as nine-year-old Carissa Gaghan. He had trouble rowing the boat across the Delaware, and had to be pulled out of the creek during the watermill Detour.
  • No Sense of Direction: The Linz Siblings were tailing them out of the Detour, but split off and were able to find the Pit Stop before them.
  • Token Minority: Taken to a ridiculous level with their last name being "Black."

Alternative Title(s): The Amazing Race 8


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