The race heads out of New Orleans to Panama, where for the entire first half of the episode, absolutely nothing occurs to affect anyone's placement that is the result of anything other than pure luck. Finally, after several bunches and unbunches that have nothing to do with anyone's performance, there is one significant decision in the form of both the Paolos (in first place) and the Gaghans (in last place) deciding it is most advantageous to go for the Fast Forward, in which bungee jumping will be involved. By the time the teams reshuffle, the Gaghans are tighter on the Paolo tails than you'd think, but they're still beaten to the FF, and DJ and Mama have a disconcerting bungee jump together, leaving the Gaghans to scramble back into the mix. But scramble they do, until they manage to catch up to the Gabbleskis at a baseball roadblock. When Sharon takes forever to get a hit and Papa Gaghan smacks one out of the park without too much apparent difficulty, the Gaghans once again pull their fannies out of the fire and finish in second-to-last place, while the Gabbleskis are predictably saved by the season's first non-elimination round. You don't necessarily want to know how, but this is also the episode where we discover that the Gabbleskis brought a large quantity of really, really impractical underwear.
This week, we start with a walking, talking disclaimer by Real Live Phil, rather than the last week's very severe black-and-white screen, although we see even less of New Orleans than we did last week, as almost the entire episode takes place somewhere else, so I'm not sure why the decision that this is the real episode where we're really sorry about how creepy it all is. Not that we're not all plenty sorry. We love you, Louisiana and Mississippi. We really, really do! And not just because you are a lovely place for a pit stop. I notice that because they want the disclaimer to be dignified, they only show Phil from the shoulders up. Someone has figured out that Phil's gravitas is always impaired when you see whatever is going on with his pants.
Previously on In My Own Little Corner, In My Own Laughably Oversized Chair: Talladega challenged all the teams to retain their dignity in the face of being required to ride party bikes, perhaps the most embarrassing form of transportation this side of a Nash Metropolitan. It also challenged the Weavers to get on with the task in spite of the fact that their dad was killed at a racetrack. (Though, thankfully, not by a party bike. That would have been...awkward.) Mark Schroeder finally started reaping a little of what he's been sowing for quite some time when Stassi had a meltdown in the car on the way to the mobile-home dealership. (Don't you hate it when that happens?) It wasn't clear what precisely flew up Stassi's nose, but her dad was upsetting her so much! Papa Schroeder's karma continued kicking him in the keister when his family couldn't find a state park in the very area where they live, and they were eliminated after being edged out by the battling Gaghans, who are getting really good at barely not coming in last. The Linz boys and the Tonyas started a little flirtatious Thing, which involved the pixelizing of an ass that did not, surprisingly enough, belong to any of the boys. A baffling blackjack Detour option discriminated against the knowledgeable, and in equally shocking news, the Paolos didn't seem quite as determined to self-destruct as they had previously. They may just be getting bored. There's only so much you can screech at your mother before you have to switch over to, like, crossword puzzles. Six families left. Can we get rid of another one tonight? I know, I know. Probably not.
Credits. Dear Whoever Makes The Credit Sequences: We are all really, really over the creepy head-turning thing. I swear. We really are. If we ever want any more creepy head-turning, we'll be sure to tell you. Everyone looks uncomfortable doing it, it makes everyone's smile look dead-eyed and soulless, and you really must stop. Make them put on a puppet show. Make them do the Macarena. I would prefer anything to being further terrorized by all the head-turning.
Commercials. I can't believe they chose Colin and Christie passing the Bowling Moms on the climb as an Amazing Achievement. That was more like a bitter, horrifying disappointment. It's like picking a monsoon as an Amazing Day For Picnicking.