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'Kart Life' fan recap: Big dreams, bigger egos

Season 1 | Episode 1 | “Big Dreams” | Aired Jan 28, 2015

John Bromante is a boss. He’s the boss of his Long Island landscaping firm, the boss of the racetrack, the boss of anywhere he goes—and also the boss of life. We know all of this because John Bromante tells us within the first minute of truTV’s Kart Life pilot. John’s the kind of guy who calls everyone “baby” and fist-pumps whenever he is excited, which is often. He’s got a deep tan, nearing Oompa Loompa orange, and he’s got a lot of money. “I’m blessed financially,” he says, all boss-like.

This is good because a go-karting career is a very expensive proposition. We’re talking tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. While this seems astronomical, these are not typical “Hey, it’s summer, let’s go go-karting!” go-karts. These karts top 70 mph. These karts require pit crews, tuners, coaches, and trailers of equipment. And they’re the entry into professional racing. Kart champions get sponsorships and move up to NASCAR, Formula One and other pro motorsports. Few make it that far, but John Bromante thinks 10-year-old son Gio has what it takes—and is willing to spend heaps of money to see if he’s right.

Next we meet the Tavellas, also from Long Island. Patriarch Phil helps 12-year-old Dylan, a four-time national champion, pack for a race. Phil lists things Dylan will need to bring. Much to Dylan’s chagrin, one of those necessities is little brother Ryan, age 4.

“He upsets my track maps and he calls me names. I don’t want him near me,” Dylan complains while Ryan stands beside him, oblivious. “I got two cookies!” Ryan shouts to no one. Phil counters that the family “spends 95 percent of our energy on your karting and only 5 percent on Ryan, so he’s coming.” Dylan thinks this sucks. Ryan is unfazed. He’s channeling 100 percent of his energy into eating those cookies.

Both families pack up expensive vans, campers, and mobile homes and head to South Bend, Indiana, for the Pro Kart Series race. Everyone is getting ready, but Ryan has wandered off somewhere. Dylan informs us this is normal behavior. Phil confirms with a dad joke about LoJacking Ryan, while mom Shirley chortles, “Of course, we’re kidding!” She adds that they prefer to track him via an iPhone in Ryan’s pocket. It’s unclear whether this is also a joke.

It’s the first qualifying race for Dylan Tavella and Gio Bromante, and the kids head to the starting line while the families gather in the stands. The Tavellas and Bromantes are “longtime” friends off the track, but Phil hints that once it’s race time, all bets are off. Ryan nibbles cookies near the starting pit. The green flag snaps, and the karts are away. John paces, shouting “Yeah, baby!” over and over and over. He sounds like an older Justin Bieber.

Dylan and Gio are neck-and-neck for the lead when Dylan careens off the track while Gio takes the checkered flag for the win. John Bromante celebrates in a very boss manner by climbing a fence and fist-pumping. Phil fumes, accusing Gio of purposefully bumping Dylan off the track. Upset, Dylan expresses a strong desire to punch Gio Bromante, but Phil and Shirley explain that life isn’t fair and driving clean is the best revenge. Dylan counters: “What’s the point in racing clean if you’re not going to win?” Meanwhile, Ryan has disappeared again. Presumably in search of more cookies.

Now we meet Sasha Brun-Wibaux, one of a handful of female racers. It’s obvious the 15-year-old is here not for the sport but for the “cute race guys.” Those cute boys tease Sasha for being more concerned with her appearance than her lap times. Her crush adds, “I think of her like a sibling.” “Do NOT friend-zone me!” she shouts back.

Sasha’s father, Francois, is acutely aware of his daughter’s raging hormones. “I’ve spent too much money on her and karting for her to socialize like a butterfly with boys,” he laments. Considering Sasha can’t recall how many races she’s completed, Francois has quite the uphill battle.

Sasha’s competitor is David Malukas, a 12-year-old who stands the best chance of turning pro. His father, Henry, is a Lithuanian immigrant who came to America with pennies and built a vast fortune. Henry is a TV producer’s dream because he says things like “I’m here living the American dream!” and is willing to do burnouts in his own driveway with a Corvette. Henry likens himself to Rocky‘s Ivan Drago, and says he and David “run through mountains and do crazy stuff.” Henry may have spent the most on David’s kart career, as their paddock looks like it belongs at an F1 race.

Sasha and David hit the tarmac for the 12-15-year-old Juniors division. All goes well until Sasha turns late and crashes into her teammate, knocking them both out of the race. Francois is not pleased. David wins, and Henry Malukas goes nuts. Sasha, embarrassed, finds her dad. Neither speaks while somber music swells. Francois breaks the silence with some tender words: “What was the deal there, man?” These are more tender than his words when she crashed.

The next day is Dylan and Gio’s second-to-last race for the title. Little Ryan is nowhere to be found. Shirley panics until she sees Ryan coming back with track officials who found him looking for (drumroll, please) cookies. Ryan really, really likes cookies.

The race begins and Dylan is first when a crash brings the race to a halt. During the stoppage, all the parents notice that Dylan’s carburetor has come off. John Bromante informs us that karts may not be fixed right now. Phil, however, tells Dylan to push it back in. Dylan follows orders and is disqualified. Phil feels like crap.

Dylan has one last chance at besting Gio in the championship race. John Bromante takes this time to explain his particularly boss outlook on karting: “Some days you get bumped and some days you bump others. You can’t get into this housewife drama.”

The final race begins with Dylan in first and Gio in third. With four laps left, Dylan still has the lead, but Gio is now in second, jockeying for first. In the blink of an eye, Dylan is off the track and Gio is in first. The last moment of the episode is Phil screaming about Gio, “He did it AGAIN!”

It’s unclear who will win the championship, but little Ryan Tavella and his obsession with cookies won this episode.

Kart Life airs Wednesdays at 10/9C on TruTV.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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