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'Kart Life' fan recap: Parental oversight

Season 1 | Episode 6 | “Risky Alliances” | Aired Mar 4, 2015

Last week on Kart Life, JP Southern Jr. and Jason Welage were battling for first place in Indiana. Someone’s airbox fell off, meaning an automatic disqualification. This week, we learn it was Jason’s. JP Jr. takes the checkered flag and Greg Welage self-flagellates because this is his fault: “I forgot to tighten it after tech.” Jason has a conniption in the pits, sobbing.

Consolation comes from the unlikely duo of Phil Tavella and JP Southern Sr., who tell Jason they are proud of him. This is both touching and surprising because it means JP Southern Sr. has another personality setting besides “murder everyone.”

We now meet the Lemkes. Brandon Lemke, 14, and father Bill shoot shoot guns at targets with “Top Kart” written on them. (“Top Kart” would be David Malukas and teammate Zach Holden.) Mom Sharon shows us that Brandon has too many trophies and the Lemkes literally are running out of space. It will take Sharon an hour just to clean all the trophies in one room! Poor Sharon. She’s competitive, attributing it to her Type-A personality, and demonstrates this by screaming at her son to win. Sharon wants more trophies to polish. Bill says they don’t have “money for a circus tent like Top Kart does,” though Sharon thinks this forces Brandon to win by focusing on driving skills.

The Juniors compete. It’s Brandon, David Malukas, Savannah Fitzgerald, and Zach Holden, who may not have a family since we don’t ever meet them. Zach, David, and Brandon are in a fierce battle for the lead, while Savannah runs 11th before careening off the track. Brandon bumps Zach off in the final turn. Sharon and her Type-A personality scream at Brandon to go faster, but Zach ekes out the victory. David finishes third and Savannah takes 13th, which Derek calls awful. “What can we do?” Derek asks his sullen offspring. “I don’t know!” she snaps. Derek does: “Savannah needs to bring it.” Someone’s been watching Kirsten Dunst’s oeuvre!

In the next race, Zach and Brandon gap out quickly, which pleases Sharon. Splitting up the Top Kart teammates means they can’t work together to pull away from the field. David moves to get behind Zach for drafting when David and Brandon collide. David zooms off the track and Henry Malukas channels Rain Man, saying, “He lost, we lost, we lost, hello, we lost, we lost.” Definitely true. Definitely. It’s a photo finish between Brandon and Zach, with Brandon taking top honors. Sharon and Bill Lemke celebrate with ultrasonic squeals that would rupture a dog’s ears.

JP Jr. wants to move up to Junior class; the Southern team sits around in matching ensembles to discuss this. “Guess what? You’re going to get your ass kicked in Juniors,” one unhelpful coach offers, without allowing Jr. to guess. “No, I’m not,” says Jr. “I don’t think you can be top three,” the tuner counters while Jr. stares at him with contempt. Careful, tuner man, lest the Southerns karate-chop you into compliance.

Henry Malukas admits that their dick of a tuner, Wes, hasn’t been terribly great over the past few weeks. Gee, ya think? More on this later. JP Jr. is about to enter his first Junior-class race. Jr. informs us he’s not going to listen to the naysayers. He’s going to prove them wrong. Sr. thinks Jr. has got to race hard, but he’s also got to show respect to the older, world-class drivers. Cut to Jr. asking, “Why are you sucking this week?” to David Malukas, then barking, “Hey yo, hey yo. You. Move,” at a shocked Sasha Brun-Wibaux, because Jr. wants to sit where she was.

The Juniors race again. Zach Holden and David work together, pulling ahead of the packed field. In the pits, JP Sr. explains Jr. needs allies to take down the Top Kart team. Sr. approaches Bill Lemke and proposes an alliance. JP Sr. whispers this with his head down, like he’s trading national secrets, and a surprised Bill agrees to a partnership. Meanwhile, Jr. wins. Sr. screams and, in a move he must have mastered in the dojo, he punches his own fist.

It starts raining and everyone tweaks their karts. Wes asks David what he should be looking for on a wet track. “The best line?” David guesses. Wes sighs, then whacks David’s helmeted head with a golf umbrella. “Try again,” Wes commands. Henry Malukas, watching, does not look pleased that Wes has taken to hitting his child. We never find out the correct answer.

The track is soaked for the next race, and Savannah crashes hard after the first turn, drawing an “OH MY GOD!” from Derek, though it’s devoid of concern and rife with exasperation. However, it turns out this crash is Derek’s fault for forgetting to tighten a tire, which flew off during the turn. Derek offers a laconic apology: “My bad.”

JP Jr. and Brandon are drafting to increase their lead over the field. Brandon slips into first and everyone, even JP Sr., is hoping Jr. will do the “smart thing and stay behind Brandon,” continuing to work as a unit. David is running eighth because Wes didn’t change the gear for the rain. “I guess it was too much bother for him,” Henry sneers.

The Southerns and Lemkes are shouting at Jr. to not fight with Brandon. Mid-shouting, Jr. bumps Brandon off the track on a corner exit. “I should’ve known the Southerns were going to stab us in the back,” exclaims Sharon Lemke. On the final turn, a racer spins and slides out. Jr. can’t avoid a collision, and both fly off the course. Brandon wins, Jr. takes third, and David finishes seventh.

Henry Malukas is fuming. “Why you not change the gear?” he demands of Wes. “[The track] could’ve dried out,” Wes replies dismissively, further angering Henry. Mama Malukas says, “This isn’t the same Wes we had before,” and the Malukas family debates Wes’ fate. “[Wes] doesn’t want to do this anymore,” David says. “Wes has been messing up for a while,” surmises Captain Obvious Henry. “I’m fed up. I’m thinking of firing him.” Fingers crossed for fireworks in the Malukas tent during the next 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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