Exit interviews for Survivor contestants are always hit or miss, and depend upon a lot, such as how introspective the contestant is, how much the publicist monitoring the call will let them say about behind-the-scenes events, and the kinds of questions the interviewer asks. Remarkably, so far this season, exit interviews have produced amazing answers from the first four eliminated contestants–answers that are at best head-scratchers and at most completely insane.
Let’s start with the insane: In the most recent and most shocking interview, Russell Swan told The Hollywood Reporter (the emphasis here is mine) that at Tribal Council, when he realized he was going home,
“I had been down this road before. The experience was just, Wow, this is really culminating into being a complete nightmare. There is no scenario, including me dying, that would be worse than what happened. Although I wouldn’t want to go away from my daughter or wife, this is the worst-case scenario I ever imagined happening.”
Um, WHAT? Dying wouldn’t be worse than being on a losing tribe that voted you off of Survivor? Russell needs some serious perspective. To his credit, he acknowledges that in his next answer, saying, “I’m not in an intellectual phase of looking at the show. I’m still emotional in terms of my view of it.” Yes, insisting death is equivalent to being voted out of a game is the definition of an emotional response.
Meanwhile, Angie, who was clapped at by Jeff Probst after giving a particularly baffling, if amusing, answer at Tribal Council, told XFinity’s Gordon Holmes that her answer as to what she’d change–”cookies”–was intended as a joke:
“Everyone was freaking out and the tension was just so much. I did it as a joke; I wanted to lighten the mood. And I don’t think ‘cookies’ is a worse answer than ‘do less work around camp.’ I think that’s worse. And who wouldn’t want cookies?”
That does make some sense, but her delivery did not make it seem like a joke; that seems like an after-the-fact excuse. However, she does make a good point that her answer was probably better than Roxy’s, which is what she was referring to with the “do less work” comment. (Update: The original version of this paragraph failed to acknowledge that Angie was referring to Roxy’s Tribal Council comment, so I have reworded it.)
Earlier, Roxy told Reality TV World that Denise voted against her instead of Angie because of Denise’s alliance with Malcolm, and also because she thinks Denise wasn’t “a Jesus lover” like Roxy:
“One, she personally just doesn’t like me. Unfortunately, I saw her as someone who, as a psychologist, was able to separate her personal emotion from strategy. And I think that it’s just clearly obvious that she just doesn’t like me.
She never called herself an atheist, but from the things that she said, she doesn’t pray to God for anything or ask God for anything — she doesn’t believe there’s a God. She believes in her own efforts and her own efforts only. And that’s her stance and that’s her right.
And so, I’m a Jesus lover. It’s obvious. And if you ain’t gonna like Jesus, or even be open to having someone express that in an environment, you’re not gonna like me. And that’s — I make no apologies for that. So I think she just personally didn’t like me.”
It’s certainly possible for a contestant to make a decision about whether or not to keep someone, or whether to like someone, based on their religiosity. But what’s weird about this is that Roxy points out that Denise wasn’t a self-identified atheist, but insists Denise must be because she doesn’t interact with God in the same way that she does.
In other words, Roxy has such a narrow perspective on God that she can’t even entertain the idea that someone else might still believe in a higher power, just in a different way than she does. She just classifies that person as a non-believer. And don’t even get me started on the way she dismisses the idea that an individual’s effort has any meaning.
Finally, Zane, the first person voted out, who told Russell to drag him during a challenge and later made alliances with everyone on his tribe before being unanimously voted out, told HitFix,
“This is my season! I ain’t trying to sound cocky or big-headed, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen somebody come in and make a mark off of one show.”
If you’d like a definition of “big-headed,” it’s in that first sentence. And ironically, the question that elicited this answer said Zane is “a student of the game”–and he can’t think of one person who made a big (or bigger) impact in the first episode? Please.