Randy Bailey: “I am going to sit back as best I can”

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with Survivor Heroes vs. Villains cast members.

Randy Bailey Randy Bailey was, in some ways, different than the Randy Bailey I talked to in Gabon just over a year earlier. He admitted that: “I do remember your write-up on my last year; you fell for my song and dance the first time, and you thought about it a little bit, and you realized, this guy’s playing me a little bit. He’s not as big an asshole, and your realized that after a couple weeks. Kudos to you. This time I’m not playing you. This is the one you figured out who I was after thinking about it for a few weeks.”

You’d think I’d like ass-kissing Randy better than asshole Randy, but not really, because he wasn’t as open; at one point, he said, “I completely avoided your question; I know that.” There were even a few moments when Randy came off as vaguely paranoid, like when I asked him how his relationship to the game has changed since he last played it, and he said, “you’re definitely more interview savvy than you were because I know what you’re thinking about but I’m not going to say it.” That’s too bad, because I have no idea what I was thinking about, and it would have been nice to know.

At least he was able to acknowledge his unwillingness to discuss certain things. “It’s amazing how media savvy you become from going through this once. I’m not going to say anything that I regret: I love everybody,” Randy joked. That kind of quasi-sarcastic, awkward humor was still there, like when he said, “Fans I don’t care about. Fans can’t vote me off.” He paused. “I guess they can vote for fan favorite. I love my fans, I love every one of them.”

On Survivor Heroes vs. Villains, Randy has to grapple with both being a villain and facing off against someone he didn’t exactly get along with (Sugar). Of course, he’s not concerned. “I was edited a certain way in Gabon and that carries some baggage with it, but I know from being me for a bunch of years that you’re with for 10 minutes and you’re going to like me,” he said. As to Sugar, Randy said, “I haven’t seen Sugar since our reunion. And of course I’m not tight with her; you know better than that. … I’m worried that someone may believe her–she may put on seminars every week saying what an asshole Randy is, and yeah, there could be a hit squad out there now and I have three days left in this game, and if that’s the case, there’s nothing to do about it.”

Overall, he’s hoping the other 19 approach getting to know him in the same way. “There are alliances right now in this building; nothing I can do about it. Not my alliance; I don’t have any,” he said. “If people are going into this game with an open mind like I am–there are some people here that I hated from watching their season, but I know the magic of television, and I have told myself that I will make up my own mind. Not everything you see on television is true,” he said. However, he is hoping that the “lot of baggage” between other cast members works to his advantage; “there’s got to be bad blood,” he said, citing Jerri and Colby.

Last time he played, “I didn’t know anything,” Randy said. “It’s a complicated game and you gotta play the game once and lose like I did to really know how to play the game.” The biggest problem he had, though, was that “the confessional Randy creeped into the game Randy, which was a mistake; it hurt me, I couldn’t recover once things started going south.”

So for season 20, his approach is going to be to lay low. “I know using the word Randy and the under-the-radar in the same sentence doesn’t make sense, but I think if there’s ever a season to do it, this is it. I think I am going to sit back as best I can.”

Randy is 50, and thought he is he’s the oldest person (he is), but that doesn’t worry him. “Any preparation physically will make you look better in a swimsuit,” he said. “If you’re fit and 25 and strong, you might be the hero that wins the challenge on day nine that keeps you out of Tribal Council. Big deal. Knowing what I know, I’d rather lose. He did do some preparation, watching episodes on DVD and researching past seasons. “I boned up a little bit on my trivia,” Randy said, but added, “I’m not even sure how much that helps. People would be disappointed if I didn’t say something arrogant: I know that I’m smarter than everyone else in this building.”

At another point, he said, “I got eighth place. What do you need to win challenges for? It’s not even about a social game. I know for a fact that I’m a better player than Bob, Susie, or Sugar. I’m positive; not a doubt in my mind. But the best player doesn’t always win Survivor.” He added, “This time, I know that I can win.”

Hear Randy talk about being in “casting mode” in Gabon (and throwing me out the window), and the “freak show” of his fellow cast members:

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.