Great American Road Trip
The Heartland

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It Gets Worse

Previously on The Great American Road Trip: NOTHING. It's the most boring reality show ever with the worst prizes and the lamest, puffiest host. The Faverey family opens this week's installment with Dee saying she was relieved not to be eliminated last week and hopeful they won't be eliminated this week. Duh, Dee. The Pollards read that they'll be heading for THRILLING Kansas, and Silvio actually makes a legitimate funny when he says he'd like to avoid Kansas because "they got flying houses that land on people." Reno's in his pick-up truck that we're supposed to believe is an RV and tells us that Laura Ingalls is from Independence, Kansas, where the families are headed. This show is such a fourth-grade field trip. Doesn't the Oregon Trail start there, too? I am all about the Oregon Trail. The videogame, that is. Shootin' buffalo, fordin' rivers, gettin' cholera -- that is a great time. Someone should make a reality show about that. Call me, Mark Burnett!

Someone thought it would be a good idea to have Anslie Pollard read the directions again, even though she failed at that task just last week. Although that might have been Dad's fault. We still don't really know. Either way, those two are a bad combination. Amy DiSalvatore, meanwhile, reads the directions way too loudly. Shut up, Amy. No, it gets worse. Now she's singing "Home On The Range." The Ricos sing, too, as instructed by the tour book. The Cootes make a rare appearance just to refuse to sing. Meanwhile, Amie Pollard has totally confused Little House on the Prairie with The Waltons. Anslie can barely read directions and even she knows that's wrong. Dad Ron weighs in in a rare moment of paying attention to anyone in his family to agree with Anslie. Amie can't admit that she's wrong, so she just says that The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie were alike enough. WRONG. One show had a mime raping Sylvia, and the other one didn't. That's a big fucking difference.

The RVs enter Kansas, and both the Cootes and the DiSalvatores can't get over the fact that there are tornadoes in Kansas. Silvio is obsessed with staring at houses and trying to guess which one has been hit by a tornado. He's supposed to be driving, so this makes Amy anxious. And when she's anxious, she's even louder than usual. The Ricos can't stop reading all about Laura Ingalls in their tour book, and Mom points out that Laura started working at the age of 15 to help her family. "What have you done, Danny?" she asks her daughter. Danny: "...[closes eyes, micro-naps, opens eyes] ... uh ... " I think she's stoned. Over in the Faverey RV, no one is impressing me with any intelligence, as usual. Ashley asks if the Ingalls family are still alive. Dee explains that they lived in the 1800s. "They died?" Ashley still asks.

The RVs arrive at the Little House site, where I see they've got people in costume doing 1800s pioneer activities. Amie doesn't think her children would fare well in the 1800s. "My kids are rotten," she says. Whoops! She meant "spoiled rotten." I think. But also, Amie? Whose fault is it that your kids are spoiled rotten? That's right, it's your fault. Then some asshole fires off a rifle without warning anyone. This is the second episode in a row where something like this has happened. Why so many surprise gunshots going off in close proximity to the children, show? While Amie is interviewing, another gunshot goes off. "Wow, they just killed another possum," she says, licking her lips. Just kidding, Amie! You're cool. The DiSalvatores arrive at the Little House site to wreak havoc on these poor simple folk and remind them all that they're from New York and it's so awesome. Son Blake disapproves of the raccoon stew the actors are making, saying that in New York, raccoons can be found in "garbages." Do they eat the garbages with their teeths, Blake? Do they count sheeps when they're trying to fall asleep at night? The settlers try to recruit Silvio to help them with some manual labor, but his sons quickly correct them that Amy does all the work in this family. That's not really something that you should be proud of, Silvio.

Apparently, no one else got to see the Little House site, as after the break, we're suddenly heading for a "good ol' Kansas cookout." That doesn't sound good at all. The Montgomerys pretend to be excited about this. The overnight stay at some ranch brings up unpleasantness in the Faverey RV, as Dad Lenny reveals that the last time he stayed overnight at a farm, it was with a woman he almost married. No one wants to hear about this, least of all me. And the DiSalvatores are having a fight over whether or not the RV is running out of gas. I know the parents like fighting with each other and all, but their sons seem to really hate it, so maybe shut the hell up for their sake. The Rico family enjoys the view of Kansas. Ricardo asks when they'd ever get a chance to see "the heartland." Dude, you guys are from Katy, Texas. You're not all that far away from this stuff. Anyway, Husband and Wife Rico hold hands and talk about how much they love each other and how much fun they're having on this trip, so I'm sure they won't get eliminated this week or anything.

The families arrive at the ranch, only to be greeted by Reno with his little cookout chef outfit on. Put as many aprons on as you want, Reno -- you're still gross and free of charisma. Reno says he loves "spending some quality time with fire and meat." Yeah, no shit, Reno. I could have guessed. "Yay FIRE," Tyiler Montgomery says. Uh oh. Keep an eye on this kid, Alecia. And hide the matches. Reno does annoying demonstration of how to BBQ a burger before revealing that this is today's challenge: each dad has 30 minutes to cook and dress burgers using a variety of provided ingredients. I see they've got hummus there, because that's what people love on their burgers. Everyone else will eat and rate the burgers in a blind taste test. The family with the best burger wins a barbecue grill from the product placement people. That is better than a night at the Best Western, but not by much. These are the worst game show prizes since the Silver Snakes won tuna on Legends of the Hidden Temple. Also, it's freaking sexist that the dads are the ones making the burgers. Moms make burgers, too. Okay, not in my family, but I'm sure it happens. The bottom three burgers will compete in the elimination challenge, where hopefully someone will be eliminated so that this show isn't on my TV any longer than it has to be. Blake DiSalvatore asks if his dad has to do the cooking for the family, because Silvio is useless at everything. Reno says that it has to be the dad. Sexism! This show gets an F just for that. It probably would have gotten one anyway, but still. Amy gives her husband some last-minute advice: "don't overspice it" and "don't overcook it." As annoyed as I am with this show for insisting on making its contestants follow conventional gender roles, I'm more annoyed with Silvio for being such a freaking man-child that he's never, ever cooked and thinks that's something to be proud of.

The contest begins. While the dads look around the table for burger dressing, Silvio finds and eats an apple. Why was there an apple there in the first place? No one puts apples on burgers! Lenny says he's determined to win this. Father Coote says he isn't worried about winning this contest because he can find a way to cheat. Darius Montgomery says his only competition is Ron Pollard. Sure enough, Ron's got a whole system worked out for his burgers: onion powder, mustard, Italian dressing. That sounds gross, but it's probably good. Reno starts the five minute countdown, and that's bad news for Rico, who used all five pounds of the burger meat allotted and made gigantic monster burgers that took way too long to cook.

After the break, it's time for the taste test. Reno unveils a plate of burgers for the families to try. Burger A is the Montgomery burger. Alecia hopes it didn't come from her husband because there wasn't much seasoning. Burger B is Silvio's.

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Great American Road Trip

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