GC would have stayed in the game if Sugar had been voted out

Besides Ace getting hit in the face during both challenges, and Marcus making out with Charlie’s shoulder, the big news from Survivor Gabon‘s fifth episode was GC’s elimination, because he seemed to give up, joining those people who essentially quit the game by asking to be voted out.

During the episode, and before Tribal Council, where he was unanimously sent home, GC (aka Danny Brown) said, “I’ve kind of had enough with these people here,” and also insisted that “this game is changing me, and it’s not for the better.” In his final words, he said, “For all the people who might say that I quit or I just gave up, call it what you want, the backstabbing and the lying, that’s the part I didn’t really agree with. I never expected it to be this hard.”

I just talked to GC, and he says that while he told others he was ready to leave, he didn’t quit, and would have remained in the game had the tribe voted out Sugar, who Crystal, Kenny, Matty, and Kelly knew had the hidden immunity idol after they went through her bag, which she nonchalantly left lying around.

“I knew that it was a toss-up between me and Sugar,” GC told me. “I’m either gone tonight or it’s going to be Sugar.” Although he told Kenny and Matty “I’m ready to just go,” had the tribe voted out Sugar, “I definitely would have stuck it out.”

So what beat him down, since he was extremely enthusiastic before the game started? As an avid camper, he said he “was cool with [the survival] part, but just dealing with the people, man, was really driving me crazy,” and that combined with the lack of sleep, eating, and losing at challenges was “making it very difficult for me around that place,” GC said. “I was wasting away out there.”

As to his dysfunctional tribe, Fang, GC told me it was “uneven from the beginning. Kota had a much stronger team, and that’s why we lost the first couple challenges,” and once they finally won, the switch “threw us off all over again.” He said that the tribe had a defeatist attitude going into challenges (“we pretty much knew we weren’t going to win”) although they still tried.

GC–who’s still doing maintenance work but is “working on a new CD” and web site to sell it–didn’t really get along with his tribemates. Randy, Dan, Susie “were kind of against me for whatever reason,” GC said, and although he had an alliance with Crystal, “we didn’t really get along.” Likewise, he had an alliance with Matty, “but knew I couldn’t trust him. The only person I really felt like I had was Kenny, and even Kenny, like, last night was ready to vote me out, so it just shows you, like, you never really know what the hell’s going on out there.”

Despite all of that, he said there were “a lot of good times. We had some funny conversations, some really in-depth conversations … I was certain they were going to show it. I was so excited and anxious to see them put it on there, but I was kind of upset to see that they cut all that out and just put all the times we did argue on there. It made it seem like that’s all we did, but that’s not at all what happened.”

Speaking of the editing, before the final immunity challenge, GC disappeared, and we saw his tribe screaming his name. On Entertainment Weekly’s web site, Jeff Probst writes that he and other producers at the challenge told the producers at the tribe camp “that if he wasn’t there when it was time to leave their camp for the challenge, they should just leave him behind. Secretly I was praying that would happen. You long for those ‘fresh’ moments when something happens that has never happened before. I’m not really sure if G.C. was playing games with his tribe or not.”

Here’s GC’s response from our conversation: “Yeah, I thought they were going to vote me out if we lost the challenge so I was just going to run away, man, I was going to escape and just go live out in the wilderness for good.” He was, of course, joking.

The real story, GC told me, was that he “didn’t go off to pout or go cry or anything, I went to go find food” at a creek 10 to 15 minutes away. He says he caught fish and came back when he heard everyone calling for him, arriving “five minutes before we had to go; didn’t even have time to cook the fish.”

Besides being central to this episode, GC was prominently featured in the first and second episodes, after Jeff Probst bullied the tribe into electing a leader: GC. He said when that was “forced on me,” it upset his plans to continue “flying under the radar,” as after being selected leader, “every little thing I did was going to be under the microscope, and it was.”

He seemed pretty upset at that first Tribal, and when I mentioned it looked like he had tears in his eyes, he said he did not. “I was upset, but I don’t know. I just don’t cry that much–I just don’t want you writing that down, that I was crying, because you are taping this. I wasn’t crying but I was upset. I knew that from that point, my game wasn’t going to work the way I had planned on it and the way that I had tried to strategize for all those months” before the game started.

That, of course, is a good lesson about how not to play Survivor, where you have to make the best possible decision in every moment as unpredictable conditions change around you.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.