Boot number four and the latest casualty from the Espada tribe is Jimmy T., the commerical fisherman and Rupert fan from Gloucester, Mass. who described himself as "just as lovable" as Rupert. Hmm. Read on as Jimmy T. talks about what he thinks he did wrong and gets in one more dig at Jimmy Johnson...
You paused last night at Tribal Council and were kind of emotional for a second, what was going through your mind?
At that emotional pause, the harsh reality that I had failed to do what I so desperately wanted to do, and that's make America proud for voting for me.
So now that you're out and you've watched the show, what do you think you should have done differently?
There's no question in my mind, the next time I play this game I will play with my head and not my heart. I dove in 100% emotionally and physically, hoping that what had worked for me for 49 years to be successful would work and that's just be honest, genuine, and hard working and I wore myself to a frazzle. That part of the game, the actual survivor - shelter building, providing food, didn't mean anything to anybody except maybe Jane and Holly.
You seemed to be saying the same thing each week, about getting a shot to lead. Why didn't you just tell everyone, hey look, I'm going to take the lead next challenge, if we lose, vote me out?
Because that was even a more surefire way to get me out of there, to rebel against everybody. I thought about that, why didn't I say, "are you people all fools? You're blindly following Marty to the slaughterhouse like sheep, let's try something different, let's win a challenge." I can't believe that they didn't pick up after the sandbag tossing onto the barrel challenge that had they put me in earlier we win that challenge and nobody goes home. But it's amazing how paranoid people are and will do what they're told as long as it saves themselves.
What was the hardest thing about Survivor that you weren't expecting?
To not be appreciated for trying to do the right thing. And I could give you 100 examples but I'll give you one - showing somebody how to tie something. As I'm showing them, to actually make them better and improve the tribe's well-being, I thought that would be appreciated. But as you try to tell somebody something, they're looking around to see who's noticing that they're weak and they can't tie that thing. And that happens with fire building, with construction, with food providing, it happened a million times. It was very frustrating to try and be a good team player and just be resented for it, and actually targeted.
Everyone was very clearly against you taking on that leadership role that you really wanted to take on. Why do you think everyone else was so insistent that you be that follower?
I think there are two parts to that question. The leaders, obviously, because they knew I could succeed, and when I did that would diminish their role and possibly make them a target for the failures they had produced thus far. The followers, because they were doing what they were told. Several times you saw Jill say, "I think we should vote Danny off" and Marty says "no no, we've got to vote this way" and she would say "okay, you're the puppet master, whatever you say." Literally, he told her, let's not hear another word about it and she did what she was told. Yve did the same, and Danny did the same, because they were jumping on board keeping themselves safe. Marty tried to point the finger at me for being paranoid, but everybody there is really over-defensive and they can't see the forest for the trees.
That being said, Jeff pointed out to you at Tribal Council last night that the rest of your tribe clearly wanted you to be a follower. If you had stayed in the game do you think that you would have been able to adapt to that role, or how would you have reacted going forward?
It's real tough for my personality to sit on the back of the bus while the driver is driving it towards the cliff. I'm not that kind of person, I never will be that kind of person. That being said, when I play Survivor again I will sit on the back of the bus, I will keep my mouth shut, until I get my confessional interviews, but I will allow the person to drive the bus and I will jump off at the last minute.
You mentioned Marty sort of being paranoid about trying to get people out. What do you make of his gameplay? He seems to be operating on fear of someone taking over from him, so what do you make of how he's playing the game?
When you see Marty in his confessionals on TV you see the mad scientist in him, and you see him for what he really is. But Marty is an excellent Survivor player because he's used to being in boardrooms and manipulating people, which I'm not, he's good at keeping calm and lying, which I'm not, so he's excellent at the social game. And he may go far in the game because of that. But that's something that I still have to perfect and I will work on it, believe me. And that serves him well, so good luck to him.
Everyone has noticed that Espada was sort of falling apart and just feeling very disorganized, and you guys were trying to pick new leaders every week, so why do you think Espada, in comparison to the younger tribe, really struggled to stay together and be unified?
That's a good question. I'm surprised that a couple times after I had pleaded for a shot that some of the other members would say yeah, let's give him a shot. Holly did at the end, but it was too little, too late. I think in hindsight, we'll see where the game goes from here, but I'm certain because I've been contacted by some of the people, that I think they will have regretted their decision because genuinely, honestly, and truly I was out for the good of the tribe and not, as Jeff Probst says, an egomaniac that just wanted attention. That wasn't the case at all. And I think if you watch those films and see it through my eyes you'll see that I tried to remain calm and be the voice of reason, and Marty quickly squelched it and had his minions do the same.
You were the first person to ever get put on this show due to the fans voting in the Sears campaign, so was that ever on your mind out there, that America voted for me so I've got to try to do this to please America?
I believe that was, I wouldn't say a major role, my own personal character was a major role why I played so hard and went all-in like that, which was a big mistake, but part of the reason was because I wanted so badly, primarily for my family because if I had succeeded, the financial bailout would have been huge for me. But also, I took great pride in the fact that I won that contest, and I wanted desperately for everyone who voted for me to say "I helped get that guy there and he won!" So I really tried hard, too hard physically, to go into that game and make them proud.
So let's talk a little about Jimmy Johnson, because he said during the show he wasn't a big Jimmy T guy, so what were your conversations with him like when you were out there? It seems like what we've heard that there weren't many of them.
No, there weren't very many personal conversations. One time, I can give you a clear remembrance that another thing that put me on the outs with Jimmy was, we were going to a resting area. There were very few times in the day that I would actually take a break, but there was a cool pool that we would relax in, and Jane and I were heading for the pool, walking down the beach, and Jimmy comes up behind us. Now he was about 20 yards up the beach from us and continued to walk right by. So I reached out a hand of friendship and said "hey Jimmy, we're going to the pool, you going with us?" And he just kept on walking. And Jane and I looked at each other, she goes "I can't believe that" and I go "I don't know, did you say something to him? What's going on?" He just totally wanted nothing to do with us. So Jimmy had his agenda and he must have had a few people that he was willing to talk with and a few he wasn't. So that widened the gap between whatever comradery we might have had.
You've been watching the show so you've been seeing what's going on over at La Flor. Do you think that your leadership skills and hard work would have been more appreciated over there?
Yeah, I think I would have gotten a couple opportunities. There was no question that, and nobody could actually see this, but we had to call the stations pre-challenge, of what the strategy was going to be, and those call the stations largely took place between Marty, Jimmy, and Tyrone. I waited patiently and I said "can I just say one thing?" and Marty would go on and say another sentence, totally ignoring that. It was a definite effort to squelch me. I know that they know (and that includes Tyrone and Jimmy), that given the opportunity, I may have won a couple of those challenges. Certainly not the last one, I think we did the best we could with that, but the sandbag tossing one, unquestionably I would have won that challenge if given the opportunity. There were airballs that Tyrone threw that you never saw on TV.
Based on what you've said earlier about "when I play Survivor again" so you're pretty confident that you would want to go back if they asked you?
I'm 100% sure that I would go back if they asked me. I'm way less sure that they'll ask me to go back. Jeff Probst seems to find me an annoying character which saddens me because I thought I gave him good color and honest opinions. But if I get the opportunity I'll play and I'll win.
If you weren't getting along with Marty, and you saw him as the alpha male, did it ever come up to vote out Marty?
No because he had such alliances going. I knew he had Jill under his spell, I knew Yve was angry at me, we had a personal discussion and Yve's got a ton of personal issues which you'll probably see later on. I tried to help her and she got angry at me, so she was in his camp. So I had to try to gently sway people, I couldn't come out and say "are you people all fools, Marty's leading you off a cliff." I couldn't do that because that would put me even more on the outs.
Who did you feel the closest to out there? If you had stayed in the game, who would you have tried to align with further into the game?
Definitely the only person that I never felt was second-guessing, that I could have an honest conversation with was Jane. Jane keeps it real, she's true to who she is, much the same as I was. She's a little wiser, she's keeping her tongue and preserving herself. I hope she wins the whole thing.
Did you see anything in the editing that you were surprised by, whether it be other people and their comments, or how you were portrayed?
Yes, I definitely thought I would be portrayed more true to being honestly trying to be for the good of the tribe, but I feel like I was portrayed as a loudmouth who wanted a lot of attention. That was not the case. Loudmouth, absolutely, but wouldn't you be loud if you knew someone was driving the bus you were on off the cliff?
What happened with Holly and Dan's shoes? Did they ever find his shoes?
Nope! She must have buried them pretty good. I don't know what happened to them, nobody in the tribe ever found them while I was there.
And you guys never forgave her for that? How did that just get blown over?
Didn't you see the episode where I said "if you're gonna play it straight from here on Holly, then I forgive you? And Dan said, hold on a minute, I don't forgive her!" So I moved on from it.
And Dan seemed to, nothing ever happened after that?
Well the game is still early so who knows where we'll go from there. Dan is quite a character in that he provided very little worth. I'm not trying to diss the guy, but he's going to do whatever serves him another week. To me, it's amazing that, even if the people didn't like me, they shouldn't have wanted to risk losing another challenge and somebody going home. So they definitely should have voted Dan because the man can't even stand up successfully without a great deal of pain.
How would you describe Tyrone? What's his play in all of this?
Tyrone I got to know, I had several conversations with him. He's another one that surprised me at Tribal Council. I thought that because we had a couple of real conversations and we're both very street wise that he had been kind of an ally of mine. But apparently, even in the pre-tribal vote he was going to vote for Dan but someone got to him and made him change his vote. I don't want to badmouth Tyrone because I do think he's a good guy, but he's got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder and he doesn't want to come out of the game, he's kind of a ball hog.
Let's go back to the very first day when they split you into the old vs young. What were your thoughts that day when that happened?
It happened so quickly and you don't really have time to form immediate opinions but what I did say to myself was I'm as strong and able as any of these older people and the fact that there's going to be a lot of weaker people is going to benefit me.
What haven't we seen on TV that would surprise us the most?
First I'd like to say I certainly wish all the contributions I made to the actual survival were shown. They showed none of that. None of the food providing, none of the shelter building, they showed my attempt at comforting the people that were shivering miserably on a cold night and ready to pack it in, and I tried to give them strength, but even that they showed in a way that made me seem creepy and on the outs, like they didn't appreciate that. But most of them actually did.
So what would surprise you? Maybe the phoniness of Jimmy J when he gave a locker room speech before one of the challenges. It was so obviously phony to me because all the tribe was gathered around and he said "we're going to win this challenge because we've got Marty here who's strong, and Tyrone's strong, and Jimmy T, and then we have Jill...." and then the last three girls, he didn't know their names. And he struggled to come up with their names, and I know it wasn't just forgetful. He didn't take the time, he didn't know Jane's name until maybe after he got voted off. So as he's giving his speech it was so humorous as he's saying "we've got this young lady here" that he didn't know their names, when I could have told you their children's names, their occupations, and it goes to show who actually cared about the well-being of the tribe and who was just there to put on a good show.
What did you think when Marty revealed that he had the hidden immunity idol?
That's when I should get my Academy Award because I knew that he knew nobody could use it unless he gave it to them. I knew he was out against me so I tried to strengthen the bond by saying "way to go Marty! You're the man, that just helped this tribe tremendously!" I was pumping them all up to hope that they'd come around but he wasn't buying it, he's too clever.
Did you know before Tribal Council that you were going to get voted off?
No. I definitely thought Dan was going, and I thought Tyrone was going to vote the weakest, which was his original intention, I thought Jill was still preaching voting the weakest, but Marty told her she couldn't do that. So I thought it was going to be Dan. They were still publicly preaching that they needed to keep the tribe strong.
So what can you tell us about Jane? We saw her start the fire at the beginning but we haven't seen much of her since then.
I'll give you a typical Jane dialogue. It's genuine, it's from the heart, and she'll go [said in strong country accent] "well during haying season I get up at 4 in the morning and you know my day don't get done till about 9 o'clock by the time I bring in them critters" and she would go on and on and what she talked, she brought to the tribe. She may have been the only person that contributed more to the actual survival of the tribe. She would dry out clothes, she was a worker, and you didn't get to see any of that yet but hopefully you do get to see it. She was a genuine, real, lovable, hard working person.
We saw an attempt of you, being a commercial fisherman, trying to show other people how to fish. Now, it didn't make you look very good at what you do for a living, what's your take on that? Was that just creative editing?
I won't say creative editing, but certainly your perception was that I was trying to show people. All I was doing at that point was just like several of the other tribe members took 3 or 4 casts with that thing to see if we could make it work and then quickly abandoned it, and I went out and got the food for the tribe, but you didn't get to see that. Apparently they wanted to show me failing at fishing. I was a commercial fisherman, that's when you're on a boat, set a trawl net, and it uses physical and nautical skills on a large fishing vessel. I was not a cast-net fisherman in the Philippines so I wasn't trying to show anybody, I said let me give it a try to see if I can make this work. Several members gave it a shot. Jimmy had probably three successful tosses and he caught two sardines. So I would come back with five pounds of crabs later on while he spent the day catching two sardines. You tell me which better supports the tribe.
You've been talking about Marty throughout, talk about that incident with the sea urchin.
Italian fisherman, primarily Sicilian, will go down to the waterfront with a 5 gallon bucket and catch sea urchins and eat them with a loaf of bread and a lemon. And that's a family outing for a nice Sunday afternoon. So I knew that they were edible, and I shared that with the tribe. Every time I would go down and gather up a bunch of them and bring them back, I would open them and share with whoever would share it. I never took one. Anytime we caught crabs, nobody took them for themselves. Nobody prior to that experience had selfishly indulged on their own. My failed efforts to try to get the tribe to see that Marty was leading them down a path of failure for himself, this was an opportunity to show that Marty's not so much about the tribe and more about Marty. I’m like, “What are you doing Marty? We’re gathering up for the tribe.” I tried to point that out, and of course it flipped his switch. It probably got me out of the game because it might have been Danny up until that point. He called me paranoid, but as soon as I tried to out him a little bit there, he snapped and started pushing the buttons.
You mentioned trying to keep people warm that night after you guys voted Jimmy Johnson out, because of the tough weather conditions. Talk about the drain that impacts you guys when you're out there struggling through the weather. We saw the day after what happened to the beach. What's that like, living through that?
Well, you know one of the worst forms of torture in the military is the Chinese water torture, so imagine trying to get some sleep when the shelter at that point was dripping and there was no place to go where the water wasn't dripping on your head. You get cold, and you lose body temperature, and people are physically shaking uncontrollably, and morale was dropping fast. I saw that, and I was a little less affected by the weather cause I got plenty of fat on me so again, for the good of the tribe, I started to say well, what could I do to distract these people from their suffering and I thought I'd entertain them for a little while. I know I'm not much of a singer but I hoped that they would find the humor in that and take their minds off their own suffering for a while. And that got contrived as me just being a fool by the fire.
You mentioned you were concerned about disappointing America because they had voted you into the game. You have a very unique story behind how you were put on the show, one of a kind in fact. Can you explain how you got involved and how you ended up getting on the show?
My sister told me about this casting call contest that Sears was doing online. You submit a one-minute video, which I did, and I made a pretty good video to get in. CBS selected 10 finalists and once those 10 finalists were selected then America got to vote for two weeks. So we went to work, me and my family and friends. We knew, being the character that I am ... the winner of the contest didn’t get to be a cast member, you got a trip to California to interview with the producers. That was in my mind a sure thing, that if I could get out there and sit down with the interview, I could convince them I’m unique enough a character and the type-A personality that they’re looking for, that I would be good for the show, and I certainly was. I went out there and actually dominated the finals. They had several tasks, I can't get too much into it but I did very well in the process and got selected. I can’t stress enough how genuinely I really wanted to make people proud that they voted for me. That probably hurt me in the long run because I tried probably too hard when I should have sat back and let things take their course and stay safe. Personally, I strived to make the tribe proud and make America proud for voting for me.
Did the other people you were playing with know that's how you were cast?
A couple of them did. I don't think that played in that much. It may have been in the back of the mind of Marty and others. I know a couple of them knew, so I don't know how far that traveled through the tribe. It didn't come up a lot in conversation, just briefly, but I don't know if anybody used that as a driving force and a reason to put a target on my back because it didn't show that strongly, so I'm not sure about that.
What's your take on NaOnka?
Having been there, again, working so hard against all these pressures and starvation and exhaustion, you get your back up against the wall and you really feel like you're alone on the island. I don't know what NaOnka's background is but she's just lashing out trying to protect herself. Everybody's paranoid, everybody's scared, and she's doing the best she can to stay strong. Granted she might be the most hated, even above me, but I think the poor girl is just trying to survive in her way and she's probably going to end up regretting some of the things she's said. But she's just trying to stay strong and survive.
What song were you singing around the campfire that night? Was that American Girl?
Yeah. I actually sang probably 472 songs all night long. I asked for requests and I would do anything I could. I do a lot of Springsteen, Beatles, cause those are my favorites, but Tom Petty is another one of my favorites and the clever producers decided to go with the line "make it last all night, she was an American girl" so the "last all night" part was something they wanted to stress, like I was annoying people and it would last all night.
*Big thanks to Mariner for sitting in on the interview and TheIrishEyes for transcribing!