Oh, the Paolo family. They fight like enemies. But when the chips are down, Tony, Marion, D.J. and Brian always manage to pull it together like best friends. TVGuide.com talked to the family from Carmel, New York, the day after they were eliminated from The Amazing Race: Family Edition.
TVGuide.com: You got eliminated just when it was starting to look like you could win.
Brian Paolo: We thought the same thing. I mean, we were in the final five and we were doing so great and we thought we actually might have a shot at this.
D.J. Paolo: The one thing you have to realize, though, is that being in first place doesn't mean anything. [The difference] between first and last is only a matter of 40 minutes, tops.
TVGuide.com: When you applied to the show, you told CBS you didn't think your mom would last very long.
D.J.: I didn't think she would last long at all. I mean, she's not a physically fit person. She pulled through when she had to, but she wasn't a great runner. If it came down to a foot race, in the end, no, I don't think we would have had a chance.
TVGuide.com: In the banana challenge, your dad threw bunches over his head whereas you and your brother could barely lift them. Did that give you a newfound respect for your father?
D.J.: I've always known my father was stronger. First of all, he lifts, like, 10 tons of garbage a day. And he's a much bigger guy.
Tony Paolo: It was a team effort. The boys and I carried the bananas, my wife set up the loop to hook them and it worked out perfectly. We did that pretty quick.
TVGuide.com: So you got lost in Arizona. Was that karma coming back to get you for yielding to the Weavers?
D.J.: Everyone thinks we got lost. We didn't get lost. We knew where the Grand Canyon was; we didn't know if there was a different entrance.
Marion Paolo: One of us knew there was more than one entrance! Three of us didn't listen to that one!
TVGuide.com: Marion, that seemed like that wasn't the only time your team didn't listen to you.
Marion: Gee, did you notice that?
D.J.: My mother did know there was another entrance. I didn't listen to my mother. But my reason for that was that the final run was between us and the Bransens. And it was either follow the Bransens and get the same directions or try to get ahead of them. It didn't work.
Brian: I was navigating and we took the most direct way to the Grand Canyon. We just didn't anticipate the half-hour wait in traffic. That's just how it played out.
Tony: That's what happened to us — little mistakes.
Brian: Even the second leg of the race, we ran great until we couldn't find a gas station and that almost got us eliminated.
Tony: I've got to say one thing: My wife said to get gas and we didn't listen to her. We thought we had enough gas.
Marion: [Had] enough gas? It was on E!
TVGuide.com: Marion, are they more considerate of you now that the race is over?
Marion: Well, at least they'll let me talk now. [More] than they did before.
TVGuide.com: D.J., you seem like the meanest son ever. Were there moments on the show where you saw yourself yelling at your mom and you regretted that?
D.J.: I don't know if I was saying mean things....
Marion: Yes, you were!
D.J.: The first two episodes were a little tough to watch. But let me explain: I'm very competitive. It was a high-stress situation, and I was trying to get things done quickly, and that's how I did it, by yelling. Also, they showed me yelling, "We can't flip the boat over!" but they didn't show my mom repeating that same question 20 times in a row. We argue, but we don't hate each other. To us, it's not a big deal, but to the rest of the country, I guess it is.
TVGuide.com: In his defense, Marion did say some mean things back.
Brian: How about when she punched me 20 times for no reason at all?
Marion: I was mad at D.J., but Brian was right next to me.
TVGuide.com: Tony, how is it that the cameras never caught you chastising D.J. for talking to his mother like that?
Tony: That's the way I am. My wife and D.J. get on each other's nerves. When they do that, I just stay out of it.
TVGuide.com: Marion, when the clue sent you back to the States, you said, "Why the hell are we going to Phoenix, Arizona? I want to go to New Zealand!" Why New Zealand?
Marion: Because when we filled out the application, and they ask you all these different questions, and one of them was, "Where's a place in the world you'd like to visit but would never go on your own?" I said New Zealand, and I kept saying that to see if they'd get the point. That didn't happen!
TVGuide.com: How much weight did you lose during the race?
Marion: When I started the race I was about 187; I went down to 183 and now I'm 178. I've got about 50 more to go. My husband lost a good 30 pounds since the beginning, though.
Tony: They tried to kill me on that race, you know!
TVGuide.com: The sugarcane, the drowning... I guess you could see it as an attack on your life! What happened when you were swimming?
Tony: I went out and tried to get to the buoy as fast as I could, but when I got halfway there, my body just shut down. I couldn't feel my arms, my legs. I stood afloat.
D.J.: Too much lactic acid!
Tony: You're not kidding. I'm not a good swimmer.
TVGuide.com: Brian, how nauseating was that loop-de-loop thing?
Brian: The pilot said I pulled 7.3 Gs and I was a little dazed. But it was worth it to fly an airplane over the Arizona desert. Reality hit me when the pilot said, "OK, you are now in control of the plane." I was like, "Son of a gun! I can't screw this up." I was really mad that I didn't get that first attempt down. I felt like I failed myself and my family.
Marion: I was just happy he came back alive.
TVGuide.com: You all put on extra clothes the first time because you thought you were going to be last at Fort McDonnell. Why didn't you do the same thing at Antelope Park?
Marion: We had a feeling that that was going to be a regular elimination round. When you think about it, we never really came in last place. We were close. The only time we actually came in last was when we got eliminated.
Tony: Yeah, the wrong time to come in last!
Brian: If it weren't for noneliminations, we'd be in the finals.
Tony: The Paolos in the final three — that would have been awesome!