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After watching a player he admired be blindsided the previous week, it almost defies logic that Jason Siska, the gymnastics coach from Illinois who seemed to give Ozzy a run for his money in physical challenges, would fall prey to the same scheme. Unlike Ozzy, he didn’t have a greater friendship with the people who were pulling the wool over his eyes, but with a trusting nature and a firm belief that the Fans wouldn’t desert him, Jason found himself on the wrong side of the torch with his hard-won hidden immunity idol. We caught up with Jason by conference call, where he explained what exactly happened to the idol that night.
Did you actually bring the hidden immunity idol to tribal council?
Yes, I did, and it’s still sitting at home on my desk to remind me of the mistake that I made!
That’s be worth a lot on eBay.
I think I’d rather keep it as a keepsake.
So why didn’t you play it?
I just thought at that point it would have been in Natalie’s best interest to keep me around. It would have been better with us four Fans against the three Favorites that were left. I wholeheartedly believe it should have been Fans until the end. If I had played the idol, and Natalie was like, “Play the idol”, we could have gone to the final four, no problem. Right now I don’t think there’s any hope for any of the Fans, and Natalie is totally naďve to think that she’s going to make it with the alliance between Amanda, Parvati, and Cirie that’s so strong.
Did any of the girls tell you that James and Amanda and those guys were going to blindside you?
Nobody mentioned it at all. I’d have played the idol!
Did you talk to James and Eric and Amanda and see if you could get in an alliance with them?
I talked to Amanda, and we got along really well, but James did not like me. He though I was some kind of hot shot little white boy, and couldn’t get over the fact that I was confident and competent, and I don’t think he was ever going to budge. Eric was just a pawn. He didn’t think for himself the whole game.
Did you see the girls’ alliance forming?
I should have been more, but I wasn’t. That’s all I can say about that.
You were still thinking Fans vs. Favorites.
I would have liked it to be that way, I may have blinded myself.
You seem to be an Ozzie fan, you made the comment about him being god-like.
I loved Ozzie! He was a really cool guy, and awesome to compete against, because when you compete against the best, that’s when you perform at your best. Upon returning, getting to Ponderosa, it was totally cool, I had a guitar there, he busted out a harmonica, so we were playing music, and the next day we went surfing. In the game, there was naturally going to be that arch-rival competitiveness, outside of the game he’s just a cool guy and I’d totally be friends with him.
When we went to eat out with Eric, Ozzie and Amanda, I wish I could have tried to get into their alliance to mix things up, but they were just so set with what they already had going that there was no possibility.
Way back in the beginning, in the Fans’ tribe, the young vs. old thing: how did that come about?
It wasn’t really young vs. old, it was the people who really wanted to be there and give 110%, versus the other people who were just there. And it really threw my game off in the beginning when Joel sided with the weaker players. Mary, Mikey, and me were pretty close; I though we were close with Alexis too, but it threw things off, and it’s a shame, because we loved being out there. Mary loved being out there. But we had these two other people who stick around. It’s really sad. These people shouldn’t be out there in the first place. There was a reason why Kathy had applied god knows how many times, and never made it—she was not supposed to be there.
Do you have any comments about Chet?
The fact that he quit the game—I was there the whole time, standing next to the doctors; it was not a life-threatening injury. Compared to Jonathan, who had a hole in his leg, but was begging and crying to stay in the game, Chet was like “My foot, my foot!” With these people, who didn’t even want to be there, it was tough.
Tracy, Kathy and Chet were the outsiders, but they said, out of the seven, you were the meanest, and that you would take palm fronds off of the shelter, and hide the machete. Is that accurate?
I wouldn’t say so. I mean, obviously, some of them are a little bit crazy, and may not see reality the way it is. We had gotten a fire built, and I thought it would be a good idea to build a rain-protecting shelter over the fire; I was going to stay up all night with the fire and keep it going, because it was a pain in the butt to get the fire restarted with the flint. There were no palm fronds on the beach – all the palms were too tall, so picking a spare couple of palm fronds so that I could make a semi-shelter for myself and the fire. I think during that moment Chet kind of blew up at me and said I could go stick the machete up my a-s-s.
When you were on Exile Island with Chet, did he tell you that Ozzie had probably found the idol?
He hinted at it, and I was watching his interviews, and he was like, “I knew Ozzie had it,” and he was asked “How did you know Ozzie had it?” He was all, “I have my ways of finding things out.” Sounded like total B.S. to me. I wasn’t going to sit around and not look for it. He was just lazy, and he didn’t want to go look for it. I found it, and even if it was a fake one, that’s more than sitting on the beach complaining about your foot.
Did you tell anyone that you found the idol?
No, I did not, and I wish that I would have, and the incident of the fake immunity idol sending Eliza home could have been avoided. When I found the idol, honestly I was skeptical at first, but then thought, “Maybe they’re going for a different kind of idol this year, or inconspicuous.” And when I got back to camp I hid it, and we kept just winning the challenges, so I didn’t think about it for about another ten days, and I didn’t even look at the idol during that time.
It was generous of you to give Eliza what you though was the real hidden idol, but why do you think that was better than keeping the idol for yourself?
Just because it could have turned the tide. If we could have gotten rid of one of the Favorites at that point, it could have been been us Fans down to the end, instead of the way things seem to be going right now.
Do you think you got a fair edit?
Totally! I think CBS did a great job editing this show. People find fault when they’re embarrassed by the things they did, but I don’t have any shame over anything I did.
Is there anything that wasn’t shown that you wish was?
Just some of the cooler things that were going on, like I remember the day after the merge, Ozzie, Amanda, Eric, James, we all took the boat out to the reef, and Ozzie and I were spear-fishing for a couple of hours, and that was a really cool moment.
Out of the people left, who would you like to see win?
I would really like to see Alexis go to the end, she’s a really beautiful girl inside and out, and I absolutely adore her, and I have my fingers crossed that she can pull something out of her hat. Right now though it’s looking pretty bad for the Fans. I wish I would have played the idol, and it would have been Eric, Alexis, Natalie, myself, four Fans remaining, and the three Favorites. The whole time I was out there I though it should be Fans vs. Favorites to the end. Parvati did a good job of getting Natalie and Alexis to think that they could be inside of the alliance; if that works out for them the more power to them, but I just can’t see that happening. The alliance between Cirie, Parvati, and Amanda is too strong, and they would never take a Fan to the final two or three with them.
Were there any Favorites that you wanted to be aligned with?
Yeah, I would have loved to align with Amanda and Ozzie. Ozzie’s a really cool guy. When we’re competing against each other, of course we’re both going to go 110%, but it was great working with him in the challenge where we won and went to Yap, but they were all just so set in their alliance—at that point in the game they just didn’t need to make a change, they didn’t need to take me on or anything into their alliance. They were just doing what they thought was best for them in the game.
Did it occur to you that they might be trying to keep you from playing the idol?
In hindsight, of course! But I’ll emphasize the fact that I really thought it was going to be in the best interest of Natalie to be honest with me, and for me to stick around, because then it could have been four Fans vs. the three Favorites—we could have gone to the final four together, and duked it out from there. But right now it’s not looking good for any of the Fans. I think that’s sad, because the Favorites had their chance once already; it really should be a Fan in the final who wins a million dollars. Natalie’s got to be pretty naďve to think that they would really take her to the end with them.
Didn’t you feel like everyone was looking at you to see if you were going to play the hidden immunity idol?
You mean like during tribal council?
Right—it seemed like all eyes just turned to you?
Yeah, it was probably just the editing.
It seems like this group of Survivors is pretty cutthroat.
I would say so, especially the girls, listening to some of the things Natalie said last night, I was just blown away. Right from the beginning. I was thinking of Yao-Man, we had Mary gone, we had Mikey B. sent home – all of these moves that were real serious, especially in the beginning of the game. To vote out these players that loved the game and really wanted to be there, and keep Chet and Kathy around is tragic.
Do you think on another season with a different crop of people your trusting nature would have fit in better and wouldn’t have been exploited?
I would hope so! I like being a genuinely honest person. I felt like in the beginning of the game when I was aligned with Mikey B., and Mary, and I though Alexis was with us too, I liked that feeling of openness and we got to get rid of the weak players, and with Joel it went in another direction, which I thought was dumb, and it turned out being his downfall.
Do you feel like there’s anyone left in the game who’s more like you, who’s more—because you do seem to be a little trusting, that’s your nature.
Erik might be a little trusting, maybe a little naďve, like myself. I would say that all of the Fans, at this point, especially if they’re believing the B.S. that comes out of the Favorites, like “It’ll be us girls to the end”—you can not trust the Favorites in this game; they’ve played the game, they can play you, and you can’t trust anything they say.
I’m just curious--after you found out the immunity idol was going to be put back on Exile Island, why were you apprehensive about going back?
I was just like, “Oh man, they’re sending me to Exile Island again, Natalie’s taking my five hundred dollars, I was going to keep it, I could go on a nice little vacation when I got home with that” —but shortly after her saying that, I was like “This ain’t so bad, it’ll be sweet, I’ll find the idol; hopefully Natalie was doing it as a strategic move”—obviously that was a dumb though.
Do you think you’re too trusting to play this game?
Maybe. Maybe I need to be more cutthroat, I guess.
How do you think the five girls are going to end up cutting each others’ throats?
I think the Favorites are just going to eliminate the Fans. Cirie, Amanda and Parvati are a force to be reckoned with, and Alexis and Natalie really need to pull something out of their hat if they want to make something happened, because Eric is just floating along.
What did you think of the stuff Natalie said last night? Because up to now, she had been kind of nonexistent.
I was blown away by the things she said and did. I guess that’s what happens. You get cold-hearted when you’re a cocktail waitress in L.A. for ten years.
Do you think that immunity idol will go back on the island?
Yeah I think it will always go back until there’s five people left in the game, and then there will be no more immunity idol.
Did James say anything to you at all?
No, James did not like me. I wish we could have gotten along. When I watched him in China, I thought “James is awesome,” and I couldn’t wait to meet him, but I think he thought I was some little white punk and couldn’t get over the fact that I was confident and competent in the game.
That’s funny because we didn’t get to see that at all.
I think James gets a really pleasant edit. He’s really kind of an abrasive, vulgar man—and he didn’t like me at all.
Did you apply for this before or was this the first time?
This was the first time. I applied back in July. My friend called me up a few days before open casting, he said “You gotta go”—I was a bit hesitant, but I slept on it, decided I would go, woke up at four in the morning on Saturday, drove down. They had cameras on, said you have three minutes to make an impression on us, and I guess I did a good job.
Would you do it again if they gave you a chance?
In a heartbeat. It’d be a dream to come back and be a Favorite.
What did you learn about yourself?
I wouldn’t say it was totally life changing-experience, it was definitely life-altering, and it made me more aware of what is really important in life, like family and friends and people you can trust. It was really sick coming home, and I ran out to Target one day, and I was disgusted how much excess we have in our lives, the whole American culture of consumerism—there’s so many things that we don’t need, but we really think that we do. It was incredible getting to live out in the wild for thirty days, having very little, but still being totally content and happy with life.