Linzes win The Amazing Race 8, which is finally, mercifully over

And it is over. Eleven weeks after getting our Amazing Race love crushed in the vice that was this family edition, the race finally ended after two more (relatively) lame hours. Although this season has been an utter disappointment, the casting saved it. Nearly all of the families provided us with amusement, even as they performed excruciatingly boring tasks, mostly inside the United States. Two of the most entertaining families, the Linzes and the Weavers, made it to the end; it was so long ago that we were amused by the Gaghans and the Paolos.

If you feel like torturning yourself and reliving the whole season, here it is, excluding the fake episode I made up:
episode 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 & 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

Otherwise, let’s get on with our final wrap-up of Funny/Stupid/Sad Things They Said While We Were Otherwise Bored:

  • “It’s French-speaking there,” Wally Bransen said about Montreal, the race’s next exotic international destination, after the producers probably slipped him a $20 to make the Canadian city seem much more daunting.
  • “I don’t really understand how we’re here,” Mom Weaver said. “We kind of wanted to go, ‘Ha ha ha, we’re in the final three.'” And I kind of wanted to go, “Ha ha ha, I hate my life.”
  • Mom Weaver said, “Rolly is the man of the team. He grew up quick this last year and a half. He’s assumed some awesome responsibilities, not just in the race, I mean just in life, and he’s handled them like a real man.” Just as I was feeling warm toward Linda Weaver, I realized: Oh fuck, they’re editing her to be human because the Weavers are going to win.
  • Alex Linz and Rolly Weaver raced toward a ticket counter, and Rolly won, even as they both fell over each other. “Don’t touch him!” mom Weaver screamed when Alex helped Rolly up and patted him on the back, or at least, that’s what it looked like. But there was bitterness on both sides. Alex said, “He’s lucky I didn’t break his arm. Well, it felt like he grabbed my bookbag. They suck.”
  • The Weavers got on an earlier flight, and mom Weaver told the attendant, “Thank you so much, ma’am. I really appreciate you helping us.” Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck the Weavers are going to win.
  • Rolly Weaver told an English-speaking cabbie in French-speaking Montreal, “El fasto.” The cab driver looked at him and, in a you’re-kidding-me voice, said, “I’m not gonna lose my life getting you there.” My new hero.
  • On a flight that was already scheduled to get in after the other two teams had arrived, the Bransens heard an announcement from the pilot. Except the pilot’s voice sounded like one of Trump’s lame ADR voice-overs in the boardroom, and in a thick southern accent, the “pilot” said, “We’re runnin’ a little late, folks!” At least hire an actor who’s done voice work for something other than Splash Mountain.
  • Asking their cabbie to wait for them, mom Weaver said, “Will you wait? Look at me! Look at me in the eyes.” He said, “I’m looking. I’m gonna wait for you, but you gotta come back.” Tragically, he did not drive away.
  • Phil untucked his shirt before telling us about both of the detours, thereby covering his massive package.
  • “It’s somewhere in here, I think,” a Linz boy said after he ran right by the clue box. Later the Bransens did the exact same thing.
  • It’s time to play, Which Family Had This Exchange? “There’s a lot of sexy babies here.” “I know, dude!”
  • “We don’t even know what ice is except for ice cubes,” a Weaver girl said, being completely honest about her ignorance.
  • Rolly Weaver read a clue out loud: “Montel…” His family corrected him: “Montreal.”
  • The Weavers cab driver, Ted, said, “First of all, I want to thank God.” Of course, the Weavers perked up. “Ted, we thank God every day, too,” Mom Weaver said. One of her daughters asked, “Are you a Christian?” He said yes, so they all cheered: even a heathen nation like Canada has Christians! “We prayed for the right taxi cab driver,” mom Weaver said. She kept saying variations of this, and we all know she actually believes that God intervened and literally sent this driver to them.
  • “I love this game,” a Linz boy said while curling. “I’m moving to Canada.”
  • I just realized that one of the Linzes is significantly less attractive than the other three. DNA is a finicky bitch.
  • “I say we ask old people,” Megan Linz said about finding a structure built in 1967. “Well, they were around during that time.” Her brother agreed: “That makes sense.”
  • “Thank the lord, sweet Jesus,” the Weavers’ cab driver said. As if it could get any worse, there is suddenly an extra Weaver on the race.
  • “Teams must now travel almost two miles,” Phil said. And he said the “almost” as if that was a huge deal. I hope you can sleep at night, Phil.
  • “Rolly is so weird. He can do anything he tries, and he does it perfectly,” his mother said. Perhaps he’s special? Anointed?
  • As Alex, the uglier Linz, climbed up to swing on a trapeze, his brothers called him “fatty” and “fat ass.”
  • “Imagine if I had to do this,” Wally Bransen said about the trapeze Roadblock. “God, you’d be horrible,” one of his super-supportive daughters said. Another added, “I know, Dad’s flabby body flying through the air.”
  • Megan Linz kept pronouncing “stade” as “staid” or “stand.” Every time she said it, her brothers corrected her, marking the only time they’ve demonstrated any intelligence this entire race.
  • “This is just so unfair,” mom Weaver said as they searched tens of thousands of seats in a stadium for a departure time. No, what’s unfair is a race full of challenges so lame that you think playing an elaborate game of hide-and-go-seek with a clue is difficult.
  • “I don’t think Thunder Thighs can scoot over any more,” someone said as the Linzes and the Weavers passed each other in their golf carts. I’m not exactly sure who said it or about who has the thunder thighs, but the Weavers were, as always, upset.
  • The stadium search even bothered the normally unflappable Wally Bransen. “Shut up,” he said to one of his daughters. Then to no one in particular, he said, “I can’t get enough of this. It’s going to take all frickin’ night. I’m gonna kick somebody’s ass.”
  • Rolly Weaver got annoyed with his family’s utter laziness and refusal to look for a time. “Can we please just go look up there? That’s all I’m asking. They’re walking around like zombies.” Then his mom fell asleep. “I just think that it’s just stupid,” Rachel Weaver said about refusing to continue to search. “It’s over. We’re not coming back,” Rolly Weaver said. Oh please oh please oh please!
  • “We’re going to give our very, very best this next leg,” mom Weaver said, just hours after almost giving up. I guess when you have God on your side, “very, very best” isn’t all that much.
  • The “mystery destination” was Toronto, where the teams had to go up into the CN Tower and search for their next clue with binoculars. “Oh, dad, it’s all sweaty. You’re disgusting,” a Bransen said after her dad handed her the binoculars.
  • “When you give, it will be given back, I promise,” Linda Weaver said to a store owner after telling him she didn’t have money to pay for a map and wanted it for free.
  • “Mommy, don’t start on that,” a Weaver said when her mother started her endless goddamn bitching yet again. Bless the children, for they have wisdom.
  • “I hope the Weavers don’t win. That would just not be okay,” a Bransen girl said. Her sister agreed, “The mom’s a whacko. She really is.” Go Bransens!
  • The final roadblock: a team member had to assemble a puzzle of North and Central America. Yes, the final task was a puzzle. And this is what it looks like when I bang my head against my keyboard in frustration: yuhj bnhnjyuj
  • Wally Bransen and Nick Linz assembled their puzzles simultaneously; the Weavers were nowhere to be found, thank God in heaven, and the almighty Jesus, too.
  • Somehow, with the music and all, and the fact that “a million dollars is at stake,” as a Bransen said, watching people assemble puzzles was quasi-dramatic, but only because, while cheering on their family member nervously, the other six racers were doing the pee-pee dance.
  • The finish line: There’s Carissa Gaghan! The Paolos! And the black Black family! As the Linz family bounded onto the mat, Phil took a deep breath and said his biggest line of the season–and, naturally, even it sounded lame, as Phil had to cite hours instead of miles: “25 days, 50 cities, and more than 600 consecutive hours together as a family, Linz family, you are the official winners of The Amazing Race.”
  • I was unmoved by all the crying and loving family talk, at least until Wally said about the Linzes, “As a parent, I was just very proud of them.” Aw.
  • One of the Weaver girls summed up their race experience: “Our dad was the main leader. We really relied on him, and now he’s not here. It’s been special just to, like, work together and know we can get through life without him here.” I’m happy for them, truly, and thankful for the hours of amusement they provided to me.
  • “Five continents, 60,000 miles, and 11 teams of two,” Phil said, teasing next season, which starts in February. Hey, it sounds like it won’t be another suck-race.
  • In their final interview, all four Linzes did some freaky chant that it’s hard to transcribe, but it sounded like this: “Ooh rat! Who ret! Who ret ding gonna beat dem Linzes?!” Tommy then said, “Nobody, because we won $1 million,” and his brother hit him upside the head. (Update: Readers report that this was a variation on the Cincinnati Bengals chant, which I still maintain is ridiculous and incomprehensible.
  • The season is over. My prayers have been answered. Good night.
  • Oh crap, I just realized they’re torturing us even more with an exclusive online challenge. I’ll try to watch it later today, when I need to punish myself for some reason.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.