HitFix Interview: Liz & Marie talk ‘The Amazing Race’

Often, Non-Elimination Legs can offer a welcome reprieve, allowing teams to race through the inevitably easy Speed Bump penalties, catch up to a straggling rival and remain in the game.
That was not the case this week for twins Liz and Marie Canavan. After struggling with wind-blown umbrellas in a Detour only to be spared by host Phil Keoghan and the producers, Liz & Marie struggled through a leg that found them alone for alone for nearly the entire time, often hours behind all of the other teams.
In a circumstance that might have led to panic or frustration for more than a few pairings, Liz & Marie had a surprisingly positive leg. The Twins were jubilant when their Speed Bump required them to clean up after Thai elephants. They were optimistic and refused to beg for money when they found themselves in Bangkok without any currency. And they were properly grateful when they caught a few lucky breaks with generous cabbies. Even though they reached the Pit Stop knowing they’d almost certainly been eliminated, they were upbeat when they arrived at the mat.
In our exit interview, Liz & Marie discussed keeping the proper attitude, even in the face of defeat, their favorite Race moments and why they don’t want people to think they’re clones.
Click through for the transcript, in which I’m pretty sure I correctly distinguished between Liz and Marie at least 95% of the time…
HitFix: I’d like to start by suggesting that I don’t think anybody in history has ever been quite so excited about the prospect of shoveling elephant dung. Could you guys discuss the Speed Bump and the importance of keeping positive and enjoying that moment?
Marie Canavan: Well, elephants are like our favorite animals of all-time and so once we saw the baby elephants and all of the elephants in the river in that rain forest, we just didn’t care at all and we were like, “Let’s just do this!” We were so excited. Literally, what you saw on TV, I think we were maybe even more excited than what they showed. We just ran in that water so fast.

Liz Canavan: Yeah, we just jumped in the water after the elephants and threw ourselves at them. It was like, “This is great!”
HitFix: And was it everything you hoped it would be?
Marie: Oh yeah! That was our favorite part of the whole Race.
HitFix: How long did the Speed Bump take you guys to do?
Marie: Like 20 minutes.
HitFix: That was the only time during the entire leg that you guys saw another team. What was the experience of doing that entire last leg basically alone?
Liz: Yeah, after we saw Bill & Cathi and we went to the Roadblock and we didn’t see anyone, we knew we were dead last. We were running our own Race,  pretty much, we felt like. We got to the bus station and we thought maybe we’d have a chance to catch up, but then we knew after we had to give all our money to the cab driver and we had nothing left, we were like, “What are we gonna do?” We never had the moment to catch up, we felt like. 
HitFix: Did that help you get perspective on the experience, or was it depressing to know that you were that alone and that isolated?
Marie: I think that made us more able to enjoy it. We just knew we were gonna be last. We just knew it. So we were like, “Alright. Why not spend this time enjoying the race and just having a good time, even though we’ve got nothing going for us.”
HitFix: Could you talk about about what that allowed you to do, being in Bangkok and just being able to take that step back?
Liz: I think that because we were dead last and just enjoying it, we didn’t want to waste the time or the energy to sit there and cry and just be miserable, because who gets the chance to go to Bangkok and to do the things that we’d done? We were so lucky already to run the Race as we did. We were never going to give up. We were going to try our best just to finish it out the way we wanted to and just enjoy the surroundings and all the cool things that were around us.
HitFix: Many teams under those circumstances would have attempted to panhandle or beg for money. You guy made the decision not to beg for money in Bangkok. Why not?
Marie: When we started off leaving that bus station, we had asked several people how far away where we needed to be was and we got so many different answers and by the time we figured out, it was literally 20 miles away and so we started walking in the right direction down the highway and the only people around us were people literally fighting for their lives or trying to get money for things that they barely had, so we just knew immediately that that’s not not the way we wanted to operate. We’re not gonna beg people who are barely getting by themselves. So we’re just like, “We’ve gotta walk. We’re walking.” So we would ask several cab drivers to give us a ride for free and no one would and then finally this one guy did.
HitFix: What we saw on TV basically made it look like you walked up and the first cabbie you approached gave you a free ride. So obviously that wasn’t the case. How hard was it, really?
Marie: Oh, we had been walking for four hours.
HitFix: That’s… a long time.
Marie: Oh, we know.
Liz: It’s not like we didn’t ask people for rides. We asked everybody for rides. The thing we wouldn’t do was asking people on the side who were selling things on the side of the road just to feed their families for the week. That’s why we weren’t going to panhandle. That would have been awful. But we had been walking already for four hours when we found that guy.
HitFix: It didn’t look like you guys got around to flirting to get rides, which has occasionally been an “Amazing Race” strategy in similar circumstances. Was that another line you just didn’t want to cross?
Liz: Oh, we’re just not like that. We’re not gonna be like, “Oh, heeey.” No no no. 
Marie: That’s just not in our personalities. We would ask politely and we asked a lot of people, but no. It’s not us.
HitFix: I was still wondering if this was maybe easier for you two than it might have been for a couple of the other times in the same situation.
Marie: No WAY! And it probably seems like, “Oh, they’re two blonde girls, so it was probably easy,” but no way. It wouldn’t have been easy for anybody. We’d been walking for hours.
Liz: And just because we were blonde and girls… The second guy who gave us a ride, he helped us because we were cute or whatever, but some people said “No” to us and some people laughed at us and some people were like, “Get away from me.” They just thought we were crazy.
HitFix: The editing on Sunday’s episode made it look as if Sandy & Jeremy had troubles and maybe they were also in jeopardy. Do you have any idea how far you actually were behind in the end?
Liz: I think it was like two hours.
HitFix: Do you guys still have nightmares about wind-blown umbrellas?
Marie: I think we have more nightmares of that frustration of not getting a simple umbrella into sand. We just didn’t have the muscle for that because of the wind and we needed that manpower to shove it down there, because we just couldn’t get it in.
Liz: And once we would get it into the sand, we’d look over and it was flying out and we’d be like, “This is the biggest nightmare of our lives.”
HitFix: Was there a moment in that task when you first realized how hard it was going to be?
Marie: Getting all of the chairs and umbrellas out was really hard, because we needed to go through all of that stuff. But we really knew when we saw all of the guys putting the umbrellas in and they were struggling. We knew that we were in so much trouble.
HitFix: Did you contemplate going and trying the other side of the Detour?
Marie: We did the other thing. After an hour or so of doing the umbrellas, we ran over to the coral side, but our problem was putting together the rack.
Liz: There was no one there.
Marie: There was no one with us. Another team, I know, would have helped us a little, but we couldn’t put it together fast enough.
Liz: So we were like, “Screw it.”
Marie: Yeah, it was wasting so much time, so we just went back to do the umbrella.
HitFix: How much time do you think you put into the coral task?
Liz: A half-hour maybe? And then we were like, “This is not getting us anywhere.” It was just panic mode on that island, running back and forth.
HitFix: We saw a little crying there, but how well do you guys feel like you kept your composure in that moment?
Liz: I was the first one who started crying, because literally the umbrella hit me in the head so hard. I think anything, even if it just scratched me, I was just so frustrated and that sent me over the edge. But then when I was crying, I was like, “Why am I crying? I don’t have time for crying. It doesn’t do anything.”
Marie: We were looking at each other like, “It’s over umbrellas. How stupid!”
HitFix: One of the disappointments about you guys going out relatively early is that we got to know you as a unit, but maybe not so much as individuals. If you guys had lasted a bit longer in the Race, how do you think we would have seen that Liz and Marie are different from each other?
Liz: Well, Marie’s crazy.
Marie: I think you would have seen that I panic a lot more than Liz does and I freak out over the little stuff and I think Liz can’t take it. 
Liz: They didn’t show it, but we did argue and stuff and I’d be like “Calm down. What are we gonna do?” But she would freak out and just jump to so many conclusions and I’d be like, “Chill out.” So I think you would have seen that for our different personalities, but yeah, obviously they just showed us… I mean, we’re similar.
Marie: But we are different.
Liz: And I’m sure people know that we are different. I don’t think people think we’re clones.

HitFix: Give me a favorite moment from the whole “Race” experience that we didn’t get to see on TV.
Liz: Mine was in Indonesia when we were with the trains and we got to see all of the people at night sitting on top of the trains going by. There was a moment where we were on the train going through Indonesia and the lifestyle there is so different. Trains would go by and people would be sitting on the trains and pouring out of the trains and I’ve never seen anything like that in my life.
Marie: Mine was probably when we got to Indonesia. We got to this little hotel-restaurant and we slept on the restaurant floor and it was all open and so all through the middle of the night, you would hear the religious chanting every two hours and it was a really cool way to stay up all night.
HitFix: And you both talked about how this was an experience that was about proving things to yourselves. What did you learn about yourself that you how to remember going forward?
Marie: Probably to just take every situation and not panic and that if you just stay calm and don’t go straight to the bad, everything will turn out OK. You’ll be able to figure it out.
Liz: It’s never as bad as it seems. There’s always a solution and you’ve just gotta think about it. We probably should have paid more attention to detail, I guess. Something like that.


Previous “Amazing Race” exit interviews…

Ethan & Jenna