Now, The Paolo Family. Feel free to warm up your booing lungs right now. Their patriarch is father Tony, who came from Italy at the age of 12 and has apparently been paying some kind of karmic price ever since, though I'm not sure what for. Something very bad, one assumes. He works for the sanitation department and picks up six tons of garbage a day, which I'm sure is by far the most pleasant part of his routine. He tells us that he's "living the American dream," apparently referring to the one where you wake up screaming at what has become of your existence. He's racing with his wife Marion, whose hair seems inorganic somehow, and his sons DJ and Brian, 24 and 16 respectively, about whom you should trust your instincts that they are sort of awful. Marion complains that her kids don't appreciate her, and DJ says that he's sick of his father making him feel guilty for not walking uphill both ways to school and so forth. I really look forward to spending time with them. Also, Mama Paolo's little neckerchief and pedal pushers do not suggest that she has thought this racing thing all the way through.
And then it happens. Phil says, "The Black Family!" And this is where casting really is out to get my recapping ass, because did you absolutely have to choose only one family of color and have them named the Blacks? It's...I mean, first of all, it's not like any of this is original. These people have heard this their entire lives. I was working with a group that was auditioning new members once, and the first person to come in was named Noelle. And she was first. Get it? Get it? And yes, I made the joke, and I have literally never, ever forgiven myself, so you know what I'm getting at. At any rate, the Blacks are all wearing coordinated tie-dye, and they include dad Reggie, mom Kim, and totally adorable boys Kenneth and Austin. Austin is eight, making him the littlest racer of all time. Not emotionally, since Wil was no more than seven, and...you know, Flo...but chronologically, Austin is younger. Kim lays out a "we just want to be everyone's friend" racing strategy that probably makes her, as a racer, a really good mom. Kenneth expects to be underestimated, meaning that the old and the young really do have something in common. Austin anticipates that people will help him because he has a good personality, and he's cute. Which he says out loud, which kind of takes away from both the good personality and the cuteness, but he is eight, so, whatever.
Next, The Bransen Family. This is a father and his daughters, and I hope you're paying attention, because after a two-hour episode, I still had very little idea who these people were. Dad Wally tells us that Beth, Lauren, and Lindsay will always be his "little girls." They are all blonde. I will never learn to tell them apart, ever, because they all look exactly like Tonya Harding. One of the girls tells us that they make fun of their dad a lot, like the hilarious way they call him "Wal-derrr" instead of "Wal-ter." If that's their idea of making fun of their dad, they are truly amateurs. As mentioned previously, my father and I have much more colorful nicknames for each other than that.