Brandon Hantz’s post-episode interviews: more disturbing than the episode

Brandon Hantz’s conversations with reporters yesterday may be more illuminating and are definitely more disturbing than what aired on Wednesday’s disastrous episode of Survivor Caramoan. Brandon seems incredibly proud of what he did, views himself as a hero, and demonstrates that he still feels compared to his uncle, Russell Hantz, who he’d return to Survivor to compete against. (It goes without saying, but that’s the worst idea ever.)

Let’s start with The Hollywood Reporter’s interview, in which Brandon says that he watched the episode with Russell and others:

“It was a big party. I love it. It was awesome. I feel like a man, not a little boy, anymore. … [Russell has] never been prouder of me. He actually said that to me. He wants me to compete against him on Survivor. I’ve always wanted to have his acceptance. He’s such a big deal for Survivor; it’s cool to have his respect.”

Oh, Brandon.

Worse, there’s this:

“I’m the first Survivor to ever turn from hero to max-hero. I’m the biggest hero to ever play Survivor.”

Oh, Brandon. If it’s not clear that Brandon is very, very proud of what he did, in his conversation with Gordon Holmes, he said,

Hantz: Yeah. Did you enjoy watching it? (Laughs)
Holmes: Honestly, I didn’t.
Hantz: Well, it happened and it was amazing. It was really liberating.

Earlier, when simply asked how he was doing, Brandon said,

“I’m perfectly fine. Don’t feel bad for me. I’m happy. I enjoyed my edit. And no, I don’t need to go to a hospital. I am perfectly mentally stable. I have three beautiful babies, a beautiful wife. I’ve put it in perspective that Survivor is Survivor and life is life. Now we can continue with the interview.”

With the exception of enjoying his edit, that sounds good. But he goes on to say even more horrifying things:

“My thing about playing again is I wouldn’t play unless Russell was there. This season, I didn’t know who was going to be out there and I wanted Russell to be out there. Number one, I could beat him. I think as far as challenges, he’s an old man. He can’t hang with me. I can beat him as far as going farther, because even after what I did, he’s still going to be a bigger threat than I am. Which is good for me.”

There’s clear evidence that he really has issues with acceptance. As to his behavior, interestingly, Brandon said the rice and beans punishment was directed at the whole tribe and came after they decided to throw the challenge to vote him off. The edit suggested it was just directed toward Phillip, which didn’t make much sense.

“They cost me a million dollars, you don’t think that’s worse than going without rice for a couple of days? I think it was pretty even. They got it and I got it.”

He reiterates that in the video below, in which he says that dumping the food was his “best moment in the game” and insists he is proud because “I came out of this like a man, not a little boy.”

The only thing he seems to regret is that this could affect his chances to play again. When asked by Drusilla Moorhouse if he regrets anything, he said,

“Honestly, no. Other than the fact that I wouldn’t want it to affect me not being able to play again.

…People can respect it or not, but most likely you’re going to have to see me again.

What makes you believe CBS would have you back?

What makes you believe CBS would have me back?

I don’t believe they would.

Oh. OK. We’ve got some mixed reviews on that. It makes me believe it because I’m just me — I’m real. CBS believes in me, I truly believe that. Jeff stressed he does care about me. Love’s a strong word, and I think there’s levels of it, I’m not saying the guy loves me like family, but he does care for me.

I think they would need some proof that everything was OK. And I respect that, even though I know everything’s fine. They’d definitely need some backing, but I think a lot of people on TV are crazier than me. That’s what keeps you watching TV.”

So yes, he’s proud of his behavior, loves his edit, wants to go back to prove he’s better than his uncle, and is mentally stable. But hey, at least he understands why last night’s episode was the highest rated episode of Survivor this season.

Oh no.

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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.