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Tyson Apostol: “I figured I could squeak past”

Tyson Apostol was voted out of Survivor Tocantins last night in the show’s biggest blindside since last spring, and he truly had no idea that he was a target.

When we talked a few minutes ago, Tyson told me, “I figured I could squeak past” this Tribal Council. Had he known he was in danger, he said, “Debbie would have given me the immunity necklace” and “I could have saved myself.” When Tyson asked me if his was the biggest blindside ever, I said it was the biggest blindside in 50 weeks, since Erik’s elimination in Micronesia. Tyson qualified that, saying, “mine wasn’t a blindside based on stupidity; it was based on arrogance and awesomeness.”

Like that comment, Tyson seemed to be known on the show mostly for his sarcastic–and arguably mean–commentary. When we talked before the game started, he told me, “If I notice that I’m rubbing people the wrong way, I’m going to continue to do that, I’m not going to back off,” and nicknamed that strategy “mock one so the rest thrive.” That seemed to be what he did to Sierra, and although she is not my favorite person, he did seem to go too far last night.

Still, nearly everything he said seems to be in jest, however harsh it was, and I told Tyson that I’ve found myself occasionally defending him to people–not that he needs someone to defend him, but because people seem to be missing that his comments were obviously meant to be funny. But perhaps I’m reading them that way because I actually met him, and would find him loathesome if I only knew his TV persona.

Tyson said he “was mostly being funny” and the editors left out the fact that “after I all of the things I said, I would laugh for like a minute.” He said his critics “can’t conjugate verbs or form coherent sentences,” and noted that “the local press in Utah, they hated me for like the first four episodes, and finally they were like, ‘I think Tyson’s joking.'” And to make sure the Utah press loves him now, he said: “Jesus was loved and hated, too.”

He admits that he was “a little harsh with Sierra,” and although it was “funny it could be considered be a little bit mean,” he said. “I don’t regret it at all. I will admit I was harsh with her. But you met her. The person they portrayed was not the person that was out there,” Tyson said. “Being the saint that i am, I took it up myself to show her her weaknesses.”

Sierra got a complementary edit, he said, joking that she probably “sees the show and thinks she’s America’s sweetheart, so I guess I owe America an apology,” and said that although he found her to be “annoying and stupid,” Tyson must be wrong since she’s a “quiet sweetheart” on the show and “TV doesn’t lie.”

As to Coach, Tyson said the editing has not been kind to his ally. “I knew there were parts of him that were completely out there, but I think the editing has definitely capitalized on all those moments,” Tyson said. So while “in person, you definitely see traces of that in him … in general, I’d say he’s a really sincere guy” and was only the Coach we see for a few minutes out of every episode’s three days. Plus, Tyson said Coach was “honest and always straightforward with me, and in his eyes I could never do any wrong,” so he could nap while others collected firewood, for example.

Tyson said he found Survivor to be “way easier than real life” in part because “you don’t have to go into a job, you don’t have to pay bills,” and that’s “pretty much what heaven is going to be like except there will be salt for the beans.” And to continue the religious imagery, he said that now, “I’m a lost sheep, dude, waiting for someone to shepherd me.”

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