Great American Road Trip
Gateway to the West

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Gateway to the Worst

After the tour, the Montgomerys go fishing, as Darius's sons have always wanted to but never been able to do with him before. Great. Now they can learn how much fishing sucks. You hardly ever catch anything, and then when you do, you feel like such an asshole because the poor thing has a hook through its mouth and it's suffocating. Hmm. I probably wouldn't do well on a deer hunting trip with the Pollards after all. Then it's time for s'mores with the other families and bedtime. That looks like a lot of fun, actually. Fun to live through -- not so much fun to watch on TV.

The next morning, it's raining outside. Horrible Reno wakes the families up with a banjo tune and is more obnoxious than Silvio, which I didn't think was even possible. When the families assemble around him, he says he has no talent for the banjo. No shit, Sherlock. He says he doesn't have to have talent, because he's the host of a crappy reality show. The contestants, on the other hand, will need talent for this week's first challenge. They're going to Branson, Missouri, which Reno calls "the Vegas of the Ozarks." For some reason, everyone is excited about this. Each family will have to perform a four minute routine (sketch, song, dance, whatever) that must be entertaining. Everyone balks, as well they should, because they are not entertaining. Reno says they'll be judged by three of Branson's "biggest and brightest" stars. Danielle Rico's jaw drops, because she doesn't realize that "star" in Branson is a relative term. For example, Reno Collier would be a star in Branson, but in the rest of America, he's that guy who looks like Andy Richter but sounds like Jimmy Kimmel but doesn't have the talent or charisma of either. With that, Reno offers the families a choice between setting off for Branson or listening to more of his banjo playing. Death is not an option.

Silvio takes over for the DiSalvatores, saying their talent is that they have no talent. Wow, an amazing show of self-awareness from Silvio there. The Montgomerys will be just fine, as Darius explains that they are talented. Darius Jr. brought his clarinet along and Tyiler brought his violin, and even if they totally suck at it, the judges aren't going to give them low scores because then they'll look like total assholes. The Favereys have narrowed their act down to two choices: "70s modern disco" or "80s rock band." So they're dancing? Singing? I don't understand what those categories mean. Lenny, of course, is all stressed out from having to drive and think at the same time. Dylan busts out the guitar and starts to play, and I just saw a possum outside. It walked along my fence, then went into the neighbors' yard. It was more interesting than this show. Lenny starts to sing along, which gets Dee all upset because he's singing too loudly for her to hear the music Dylan is playing. Lenny says Dee has stage fright, so this will be a hard challenge for her. I also think she might have trouble if the act involves any kind of memorization or reading. Dee suddenly gets all aggressive and says she won't stand for being in the bottom three again. The kids are scared.

Amie Pollard has had her hair wrapped in a towel for like six hours now. She says she's comfortable in front of an audience, but she isn't sure anyone else in her family feels the same way. The Pollard family is dragging Amie down! Amie proposes doing something to the tune of "Old MacDonald," because then they can pull a Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady and talk their way through the song. She threatens to stick her foot up Aaron's ass if he doesn't play along. Over in the Rico RV, Ricardo wants to do some kind of play while Erica does her makeup. Erica says that this will give Ricardo a chance to impress everyone with his knowledge of Route 66. He says something about demographics that confuses Ricky, who thinks his dad said "diaphragm." Ricardo hastily corrects him. Heh.

Then we go back to the DiSalvatores, because apparently the Cootes disappeared this week. Seriously, where are they? Silvio says he'll take full responsibility if the team loses. Amy is fine with that, but then Silvio says he wants to do a rap and she disagrees with him. Ugh, I'm starting to hate Amy more than Silvio. At least he seems to mean well. Silvio writes down some lyrics like he's Eminem in 8 Mile and recites his rap. Yeah, it's terrible. And it requires that Silvio tells us he's from New York like six more times. Amy can't get her lyrics down at all so she starts shrieking instead of working harder to memorize them.

The RVs arrive in Branson. Amie is thrilled to finally get a chance to see Branson. Amie also loves George W. Bush. The families arrive at their dressing rooms and have to get make-up, props, and a wardrobe for their routines. The Favereys throw a bunch of wings on, which Dylan isn't thrilled about at all even though he gets the best wig of all: a green mullet. "Everybody looks fantastic," Reno greets the families with a creepy chuckle. He then informs them that they'll be performing in front of "several hundred" people. It's the same crowd of people you'd see at a "Nunsensations" show. The entire front row, regardless of age and gender (I'd say race too, but we all know these people are white and whiter), are wearing trucker hats. Reno greets the crowd and introduces the judges. Grading the families on showmanship will be Andy Williams. Grading them on originality is Yakov Smirnoff. God, Yakov Smirnoff. Remember how much he made Night Court suck with his guest appearances? Hilariously, Anslie admits that she has no idea who Yakov Smirnoff is. And finally, judging family participation is some lady who isn't famous at all but is the mayor of Branson. What's up with the mayors being so important on this show? Like last week, when hanging out with the mayor was supposed to be a prize. Weird.

The DiSalvatores go first. Silvio is still wearing his pajama pants from the morning, which is weird. The only one wearing any kind of costume is Mason, who is dressed up as a clown and hates his life right now. The family begins. Silvio is so into this and even plugs NBC like three times for brownie points. He raps and then it's Amy's turn. All she has to do is say her name to the "Name Game" song that everyone knows, but she totally screws up and forgets everything and ends up saying "my name is Amy. Oh, that's my name! Amy from New York." She totally did that on purpose. She claims that she forgot her lines, but I think she just didn't want to say what Silvio wrote for her and this was her passive-aggressive way of getting out of it. Blake gets some feedback on the mic when he raps but keeps going and then Mason delivers the punchline: he's the only normal person there. And he's dressed in a clown suit. Crickets. Andy Williams weighs in that the enthusiasm was there. Yakov feels sorry for the "normal" kid. The mayor thinks Silvio's personality overshadowed everyone else.

Next up are the Ricos. Erica explains that they were trying to be funny, so Ricardo dressed as a woman. They do a skit where Ricardo puts on a woman voice and points out Route 66 attractions while the kids recite lines from Happy Days. Ricky gets to be the Fonz. That's about all we get to see, but it looks like it went well. Andy Williams calls it "amazing." Apparently, Yakov and the mayor had nothing to say.

Then it's time for the Pollards, who are dressed in farmer costumes, except for Anslie, who is dressed as a cow. Amie knows how to play to a crowd, so she welcomes them to their South Alabama hoedown and Ron starts playing the banjo. He's better than Reno, but so is that possum I saw outside. Although I don't know if he's actually playing it at all, since I hear banjo music playing but he's not strumming anything. Anyway, Aaron comes through with a flip in the air that is really impressive. Andy Williams loves it. Yakov thinks that the song was original, which it wasn't. In Soviet Russia, farm has Old MacDonald.

The Montgomerys are ready to win this event. Alecia looks really weird with the beard facepaint on. They take the st

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Great American Road Trip

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