Season 8 Episode 10: The Family Christmas Card

Previously, there was driving, an uneventful hot air balloon trip, more driving, some more driving, a railway Detour, yet more driving, some cattle, and yet more driving. Somewhere in there, there were about five bunching points. The episode ended on a... okay, let's call it "cliffhanger". So this episode is a continuation from the previous episode. Anyway, who wants ice cream? I may as well get fat while watching this episode because I need ice cream to soothe the pain away.

The Blandsens run, the Whining Weevils run, all towards the mesmerizing package of TLC that is Philo, until he tells them that they have risked cardiac arrests for nothing. The leg of the Race isn't over yet. Here's the clue! The Blandsens, the first to reach Philo, are told to travel some 49 miles to Dubois, Wyoming. At the ranch called the Turtle Ranch, they will find their next clue. Ah yes, we're heading straight to cowboy country. The Blandsens run back to their vehicle, followed closely by the Whining Weevils. In their vehicle, Mr Blandsen thinks that the whole fake Pit Stop thing is "ridiculous" while one of the daughters threatens to freak out on everyone else. I wait for her to do something that will top their desperate attempt at getting attention - you know, that mooning thing - but they are still the Blandsens at the end of the day. Oh well.

The Godawfukshrieky Sisters aren't sure where to look for the ranch so Christine suggests that they stop and call up the fire station to check. However, while Christine is waiting for someone to pick up her call, the Lunzes whizz past the Godawfulshrieky Sisters. Nick Lunz decides to operate on the world famous "Just drive... worry later" principle that is genetically encoded into the male genome from the moment of conception, and this causes his siblings to cheer him on so much that Bone's half-chewed Cheetos dribble from his mouth to land on Megan's arm. She is disgusted. Not me, I've seen all these antics since I made the huge mistake of becoming a camp supervisor at a kiddie camping program. I still have memories of being splashed in the face with vomit soup once a particularly horrendous food fight started. I think I encountered at least seven of Bone Lunz's distant relatives that day. The other Sisters, fearing elimination, shrieks at Christine to get back inside the vehicle. She does, but that means she never managed to contact the fire station as they've planned. Michelle complains that they are eliminated. Christine tells her that she is always being negative without offering any suggestions of her own. Michelle goes, hello, she suggested that they looked into the telephone book and that is an idea, so there. This leads Christine to accuse Michelle of "shutting down" when I'm actually seeing Michelle's mouth open wider to make some more noise.

The Blandsens, on their way to Dubois, discuss their being hungry and how being angry apparently makes them moody. Next they will be telling me that they close their eyes when they sleep. Elsewhere, the Whining Weevils stop by a gas station because Rebecca wants to get directions to Turtle Ranch. I guess the hotline to God is a little busy today because God has to field calls from people asking Him to kick the butts of the Whining Weevils out of the Race. In a brief moment of actual sensibility, Rachel - yes, how shocking, I know - suggests that they get gas too because their vehicle is running low on gas and they are already at the gas station. However, Rebecca thinks that it is a stupid idea to get gas and her mother sides with her so Rachel is reduced to sulking to about Rebecca gets to be the boss just because Rebecca is the driver. Rebecca tells Rachel to shut up about the gas. Ahead, the Lunzes discover the ranch and run out to meet Philo, all the while yelling that Philo is a dog. They are actually happy to learn that the Race isn't over yet and they have time to make up for lost ground. Of course they have time! It's already about ten minutes into the show. It's about time for a bunch to show up, right?

Michelle is now turning into a bitch when the Godawfulshrieky Sisters spot the ranch and realize that it is so obviously marked with red and yellow flags that they shouldn't have stopped to call for directions. Since she's the one who spotted the ranch, she thinks that it gives her the right to kick Christine while Christine is down in the crazy pit: "Remember, I'm not contributing anything, Chris." Because she thinks that they will surely be eliminated, she says sarcastically, "Well, girls, it's been fun!" Christine decides to liven up the atmosphere by predictably sobbing and wailing that she doesn't want to be eliminated. Tricia diplomatically tells her that everyone loses it, sorry, loses at some point in life. The Sisters wearily walk towards Philo, wondering where the other Families' vehicles are. Michelle bitches that it's obvious that the other Families are long gone by now because they are so behind the others. They are relieved when they realize that the Race is still far from over but they aren't so happy when they realize that they still have to spend more time with each other in close quarters. They humorously accuse Philo of torturing them as they leave and Philo readily agrees. How about me, Philo? How about me being tortured? Don't anybody care? Christine tells the camera that she learns a valuable lesson from this faux Pit Stop: she must never give up. Not even when everyone else has given up on her as a crazy crybaby! In their vehicle, Christine wonders aloud whether they will have to eat turtles. Oh please, as if this show will dare to serve up anything interesting!

The Blandsens reach Turtle Ranch. It's about 7:40 pm. The Ranch is closed and will only open for business at 7:00 am the next morning. Thanks for playing, ladies and gentlemen. You can throw up into the toilet bowls. The Whining Weevils show up and declare with disgust that bunching is stupid. You'd think they'd appreciate a little, seeing how their butts were saved by an equally stupid bunch in the previous episode, but if you really think that, you must have just tuned in a few episodes ago and are not familiar with the Whining Weevils' absolute lack of self-awareness. Hello, newbie! I hope you haven't been scared off by this season from tuning in when the next season begins. Back to the Ranch, the Whining Weevils isolate themselves in their trailer, with Mrs Weevil declaring that those heathens aren't people that she wants to see. One of the daughters announce that they don't want to get together with those infidels. I hope the Whining Weevils keep up this attitude the next time I happen to be in the same neighborhood as them because I don't want to see them either.

As the other two Families show up and the three Families have fun talking, snacking, laughing, giggling, and generally having G-rated fun for the cameras, the Whining Weevils continue their self-imposed isolation. Because they can't stop talking about how mean the other people are to them because Those People probably see the Whining Weevils as a "threat" to them - that's true, really, in a "threat to sanity" way - I suspect that the Whining Weevils actually do care about how those other Families are treating them. It's just that they are too stupid and self-righteous to acknowledge that they could have made the first step to repair rifts if they want to. I mean, I don't think the Lunzes are generally the kind of people to really hold grudges over petty reasons. Nick Lunz speaks to the camera - he is The Lunz Lughead of this Family because the other two Lugheads don't seem to make any impression on the camera anymore - about how the Whining Weevils believe that they are being treated like pariahs by the other Families and while he may not believe that this is the case, he really can't be arsed to make the first move to befriend the Whining Weevils. My sentiments exactly. The other three Families bid each other a fond goodnight as they return to their trailers. Goodnight, everybody!

Morning. I'm disappointed that none of the Lunz Lugheads had thought to draw the sign of the devil on the side of the Whining Weevil trailer during the night. The Families enter Turtle Ranch where they are told to get into vehicles waiting for them across the field. The Families dash to the vehicles. Once they get seated inside their vehicle, the driver will take them to who-knows-where. Mrs Weevil prays for wisdom. I have a hunch that she has been praying for wisdom for a long time now, along with a brand of anti-wrinkle cream that works, and God hasn't been answering these prayers for quite some time now.

The Families are taken to this place where a guy in American Indian regalia stands outside a single teepee. It's now time for a Detour. For "Pioneer Spirit", the Family must run around and collect four color-coded wheels, attach them to a wagon, round up the horses, and drive this carriage around for a quarter of a mile. For "Native Tradition", the Family must assemble and paint a teepee according to the instructions provided. The Lunzes and the Blandsens decide that they are mighty pioneers while the Whining Weevils and the Godawfulshrieky Sisters decide to embrace the native tradition. After all, as the Sisters wonder aloud, how hard can setting up a teepee be?

As the Whining Weevils pass the Chief, Rolly says that the Chief is "cute". Someone please save the stupid boy from himself. Meanwhile, Christine decides to use her feet to measure the width of the teepee they are going to set up. Someone please save me from these stupid people. Meanwhile, the Lunzes have no problems lifting the wheels. Gee, I wonder why. The Blandsen daughters on the other hand encounter problems lifting those wheels. These two Families aren't too far from each other, progress-wise, and it's really a straightfoward process of fastening the wheels to the carriage where there is nothing much that can go wrong. On the other hand, the Families setting up the teepee are learning just how complicated their task can be as they attempt to figure out how to tie what to where.

Rolly, on the other hand, decides that it will be great to mug for the camera by jumping up and down and doing that "Whoo-whoo-whoo" warcry thing that have really gone out of style since people deemed that the folks behind Looney Tunes are moronic racist scumbags for portraying Native Americans as stupid villains in their cartoon shows. He even does a tomahawk chop thing with his hand that makes me cringe. How can anyone be so stupid, even at fourteen, not to realize just how offensive he is acting on TV? I sometimes worry for Mrs Weevils' kids. She is not helping them by allowing them to wallow in a brand of ignorance and stupidity that honestly make me cringe in embarrassment just from watching them. When the kids have to fend for themselves one day in the real world, how are they going to cope?

Meanwhile, Christine is surely and slowly annoying her sisters again by telling them that the beams for the teepee should be erected a distance apart that is equivalent to four of her shoes. Remember, she used her feet to measure the teepee's dimensions. The other Godawfulshrieky Sisters think that Christine is worrying too much over a small matter. In another location in the field, the Lunzes congratulate themselves on getting to fasten all four wheels to their carriage correctly. Now all they need is to fasten the screws in their brains. The Blandsens finish fastening their wheels too. Isn't it great how there is virtually nothing to talk about when it comes to the Blandsens even when it's just one episode before the finale? There should have been more Blandsens in this episode. The recap will be done after five sentences. Back to the Godawfulshrieky Sisters, Christine is bossing everyone around. The bomb is ticking, folks. Michelle goes, "Too many chiefs and not enough... what's the saying?" Too many bitches, not enough duct tape, perhaps? Oh look, the Sisters are yelling and shrieking at each other already. Yup, not enough duct tape, definitely. The Lunzes take off in their carriage, causing the Whining Weevils and the Godawfulshrieky Sisters to realize that the carriage Detour is probably the better one. Megan calls out to the Sisters, "Come on girls, you can get it!" I don't know what Mrs Weevil heard but she tells her kids that Megan was being mean to her and she just smiled at Megan. She sounds proud of herself, like it's cool to completely misread a situation and brag about it on TV. The Blandsens also take off in their carriage. And that's it about the Blandsens, really.

The Lunzes complete their carriage ride and learn that they can now head over to Cody, Wyomin in their vehicles. Philo explains that this is a 220 mile journey. At Cody, the Families must locate the hotel called Irma, which is named after Buffalo Bill's daughter. There's an actor dressed up as Buffalo Bill in Irma. Families must dress up in costumes of those times and take a photo with Buffalo Bill before getting their next clue. How dull. Can't we at least reenact some gunfight scene, or has all the budget of this season been spent on the Civil War reenactment? The Blandsens also get their clue. In their vehicle, the daughters Peebo, Perabo, and Piper talk about how proud they are of Mr Blandsen. Mr Blandsen gets invited to tea with the Pope.

The Whining Weevils are almost done with their teepee. Ditto the Godawfulshrieky Sisters, except that they can't seem to reach high enough to completely fasten the pegs at the top of their teepee. The Lunzes run for the vehicle with Megan complaining that her pants can't stay up. The Society of Hormonal Housewives Who Care shriek that it is disgusting that a gal can't get her pants to stay up nowadays and pause only in their neverending debate on whether Megan is fat or she needs another sandwich to sigh and wonder why Nick Lunz can't switch pants with his sister. In their vehicle, it turns out that the clue doesn't specify the name of the hotel that they have to go to because Megan is wondering whether they can ask people they meet the name of Buffalo Bill's daughter. This leads to the Lunzes' hopefully first and last attempt at intellectual discussion, with them wondering whether Buffalo Bill was real. Goo-Goo Eyes and Bone immediately sing, "It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again!" Okay, at least they've watched Silence Of The Lambs but... sigh. Megan thinks that Buffalo Bill is the guy with the ox. It turns out that she's thinking of Paul Bunyon. Lady, this is Wyoming. Paul Bunyan was said to live around Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Sheesh! Nick, if you haven't noticed, keeps his mouth shut all this while, the better to let people believe that he has inherited all the smarts in the family along with the (somewhat) maturity, photogenicity, and looks. He's a smart one, that kid. Oh, and the Blandsens are on the road too. The Blandsens... um... they are on the road. Never mind, let's move on.

Christine struggles to hold Tricia up so that Tricia can fasten the pegs at the top of their teepee. It's not easy. The show doesn't give me a clear idea of how the Whining Weevils, none of whom are physical (and intellectual) giants, get this done but get it done they do before the Godawfulshrieky Sisters. As they approach the Chief for their next clue, they call the Chief "Chief-o" and announces that he is so cute as if he is something on display in a circus. I know I must be sympathetic to the obviously mentally-handicapped folks out there but this is one time I won't mind seeing the Chief kick some Weevil butt. As Christine now tries one more time, this time carrying Sharon instead of Tricia, the Whining Weevils get their clue and Rolly thanks the Chief in his special way, "Thank you, Chief-wee-wah-wah!" For his own sake, I hope Rolly spends the rest of his life living in a ranch in some isolated backwood area, waving his gun to threaten people from trespassing his barb-wired land, because unless he gets a clue fast about how he should behave in society, he's going to have a miserable time growing up.

As the Godawfulshrieky Sisters finally manage to fasten their last peg, the Whining Weevils take off in their vehicle while congratulating themselves for beating the Sisters. The Sisters give Christine some props for carrying them high up to fasten the pegs. It can't last, this calm before the storm. They get their clue and leave. Ahead, the Lunzes arrive in Cody and quickly learn where the hotel is from a passer-by. The Blandsens overtake the Lunzes while the Lunzes are stopping to ask for directions but the Blandsens don't know where they are going. Oh, dear. So they stop to ask, and now the Lunzes overtake them. It isn't hard to find the Hotel, and there's this woman dressed up in costume - I suspect that she is supposed to be Irma - to check them in. The Blandsens are forced to wait while the Lunzes are done because this Race does everything in a neat and orderly way. No overtaking! Stay in line!

Behind them, the Whining Weevils catch sight of Pizza Hut and finally show sign of appreciating something they come across in the Race. They can't make themselves the butt of jokes any better than if they are characters played by actors according to a script, I tell you. They want to stop for a Pizza Hut buffet so badly and in the end Mrs Weevil promises that they will visit Pizza Hut in the future. The volcano sucked, the Grand Canyon was boring, but Pizza Hut gives the Whining Weevils divine holy orgasm without the aid of the racier scenes in the Holy Bible. That's so perfect, it's screaming for a South Park episode to be made out of the Whining Weevils. Behind them, the Godawfulshrieky Sisters are on the road. Sharon complains that her butt hurts. Is she blaming Christine for having unpadded shoulders or something? Tricia says that the Sisters must minimize their "pee-pee stops" if they want to catch up with the others. Oh dear, Christine is drinking deep from her water bottle. Either she has a wish to be strangled by Tricia or the water bottle actually contains liquor and she really doesn't give a damn anymore after the seventh sip.

The Lunzes dress up in clothes that I suspect are recycled from that riverboat Detour stunt a few episodes back and the Blandsen daughters laugh at how silly the Lunz Lugheads look. Poor Megan, she has only Mr Blandsen to show her costume off to. Mr Blandsen starts to tell the Lunzes to do their thing quicker and his daughters hush him up because they are all hoping to marry Bone, Goo-Goo Eyes, and Nick and have a dynasty of Abercrombie and Fitch model children to conquer the world and banish all imperfect people to China. The Lunzes' photo is exactly what you'd imagine it to be. Buffalo Bill hands them the next clue which tells them to the Red Lodge Mountain Golf Course in Red Lodge, Montana. It's a drive of about 73 miles. As the Lunzes take off in their vehicle, they admire how pretty they are. The Society of Hormonal Housewives Who Care sigh and clutch their pearls as they marvel about how well-behaved the handsome young men they want to shag, er, discuss intellectual matters with are. Megan, on the other hand, should eat another sandwich and her hair is ugly. She will be getting the memo from the Society soon. Bone announces happily that he looks like a pimp. That is before the real pimps beat the crap out of him for embarrasing them like that, of course.

The Whining Weevils show up at Irma, where I'm sure they will ask Irma where they can get those avant-garde clothes she is wearing. They have to wait while the Blandsens get their photo shot. And that's it, the Blandsens get their photo and that's just it for them. They are such a nice Family who don't make me waste words on them. They're just there! How adorable! In their vehicle, Mr Blandsen looks at the photo, ribs his daughters a little about their expressions in the photo, and declares that this photo is going to be the "family christmas card". The daughters Pringles, Promenade, and Petulia are suitably horrified. Ahead, the Lunzes reach the Golf Course without killing any cattle along the way and learn that it's time for a Roadblock. Philo says that it's time for two members of the Family to - don't hold your breath now - get into a Buick Lucerne golf cart to locate four golf balls of the Family's color. Well, at least they have a golf pro to hand out the next clue when the Family is done, I suppose. That's a honor, you know, a freaking privilege! I once shook hands with Nick Faldo and I refused to wash my hands for a year, doncha know! As Nick and Goo-Goo Eyes hop onto their Buick Lucerne golf cart - don't you want to buy one and fill it with BP gas, people? - Megan asks Bone incredulously, "All they have to do is search for balls?" The Blandsens are now here and Mr Blandsen and one of his daughter - Tina, Tuna, or Tana - go looking for balls. And that's it for the Blandsens. Back to the Whining Weevils, they dress up and pose with Buffalo Bill for the family "The Pimp And The Crackwhores (Oh, And That Boy Who Cleaned The Chimney Too!" photoshoot. And then, they're off, Rachel and Mrs Weevil in a competition to see who can complain the most about how they look in the photo. As they leave, the Godawfulshrieky Sisters reach Irma. Christine spots the hotel and starts singing in a horrid accent, "I spotted it! I spotted it out your window!" In a time when everyone's nerves are already taut, this woman obviously knows how to set her sisters off effortlessly.

The Lunzes search. The Blandsens search. The Whining Weevils debate about golf on their way to the Golf Course, proving that there is no end to the editors' attempt to shove down my throat the fact that the Whining Weevils are very stupid. Behind them, Christine and Tricia play around with their costumes while horsing around with Buffalo Bill as they wait for their photo to be ready. Sharon and Michelle don't approve. Then again, they probably won't approve of the other two women's very act of breathing at this point. And then the photo is ready and they are off. Ahead, the Lunzes' last ball is cleverly hidden in a hole and the poor Lunzes are going around trying to find it. The Whining Weevils show up and of course Rolly has to take the Roadblock along with Mrs Weevil. Mrs Weevil is good at searching out balls in the grass, after all. Rolly describes the Buick Lucerne Buy One Today golf cart as "pimping". Somewhere, Offspring's Pretty Fly For A White Guy plays.

The Blandsens find their last ball and they get their next clue. They can drive some 43 miles to the Pit Stop at Green Meadow Ranch. I jump in the air because yes, the episode is ending and I can go back to downloading Spanish movies off the Web featuring tall,dark, and obscenely handsome men who aren't afraid to get naked and show everything in the name of art. The Lunzes finally locate the last ball and with some rueful regret about not checking the holes in a golf course earlier, they get their clue and take off. The Godawfulshrieky Sisters show up as the Whining Weevils are looking for balls. Balls, balls everywhere! I just have to say that, sorry. Anyway, Christine and Tricia watch in terpidation as Sharon and Michelle take off in the golf cart. Christine wonders just how much fun Sharon and Michelle are not having out there and is glad that she isn't the one out there right now with Sharon. Indeed, Sharon pulls the craziest bitch-mad stunt of all the passive-aggressive bitch-mad stunts the sisters have pulled on each other when she falls twice after Michelle fails to control the vehicle. She gets out of the vehicle and proceeds to walk around on her feet while Michelle yells at her to cut that off and get back inside the vehicle. Sharon takes the opportunity to call Michelle sarcastic. Finally Sharon gets back in where Michelle tells her to tell her to drive only when Sharon is really ready. Sharon responds by telling her, "I think you know when I'm in, Michelle. You don't have to be a smartass!" Michelle angrily steps on the gas pedal and Sharon nearly falls out of the vehicle for the third time. This scene will be funny if it isn't tragic at the same time because Sharon and Michelle are cutting off their own noses here just to spite the other sister.

The Blandsens drive and ask for directions. The Lunzes are, too. The Whining Weevils finish the Roadblock and leave, after which Mrs Weevil prays for the Godawfulshrieky Sisters to take a long time to complete the Roadblock. At this point, I'd fall off my seat if she doesn't pray for such a thing. Finally, the Godawfulshrieky Sisters are done as well. As they leave, Michelle tells Tricia and Christine that she and Sharon had a "meltdown" back there in the Golf Course. They hope that the Whining Weevils experience car troubles or get lost. Ahead, the Blandsens and the Lunzes are at the Green Meadow Ranch. Where are Philo and the VIP? There! Footsteps approach, Philo looks ahead, and look-ee here, the first Family to arrive are the Blandsens! They get a Buick Lucerne. The Lunzes come in second and they get a big package from the Society of Hormonal Housewives Who Care containing sandwiches for Megan and thick letters for the Lugheads filled with bullet points about why the Housewives think that the Lugheads are like their sons or brothers and therefore they'd like to be best friends with the Lugheads.

Oh no, the Whining Weevils are stopped by a cop! It turns out that they don't wear seatbelts. Don't mock them, people, life is so cruel to them and they just want to see their darling father in heaven again, that's all! The cop is actually more interested in the fact that Rebecca is speeding. Speeding with no seatbelts and one leg on the seat - Daddy oh Daddy, here they come! Still, conscious of the cameras on him, the cop not only just gives Rebecca a mild warning but also gives them directions to the Green Meadow Ranch. Some more drama ensues when the gas finally runs out. "That's what I said from the beginning! No one listens!" says Rachel. But hey, they are already at the Ranch. They come in third and Philo calls them awesome. Yeah, awesomely nerve-grating. So here are the Final Three, people: the Lunzes who will most certainly win unless they screw up majorly, the Blandsens with three daughters whose name I can't remember, and the Whining Weevils who I already know more than I want to at this point of the show. I honestly can't wait for the finale, if only to see the credits roll and be assured that the season is finally over.

The Godawfulshrieky Sisters come in last and are eliminated. Michelle tells the camera that she is relieved that the Race is over. Christine says that she is disappointed at the way this leg turne dout but she is also disappointed in how Sharon spoke to her during the Race. Sharon says that she loves Christine but their personalities will always clash. Tricia says that she hoped that the Race would bring them together but oh well, we all know what happened. Still, she says that they will love each other even if they don't get along well all the time. That's true, really. I love some of my in-laws as long as I only see them once a year and listen to their insipid yammerings about how much money they have and how successful they are compared to other members of the family.

The three Families still in the Race try to talk about how I should tune in next week, but oh well, I gotta go. Latin hunks await and I have already killed enough time with this recap.