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Surviving the Early Show: Danni Gets Her Check, Stephenie Feels Like She Still Wonby David Bloomberg -- 12/12/2005
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It’s The Early Show, and time for Danni to get her million-dollar check. But first, some questions from the host. Did Danni know when host Jeff Probst started reading the names that she had won? Not until the third vote, then she was pretty sure. She had an inkling, but with all the blindsiding that went on, she couldn’t be sure.
Going back to her final two choice. How difficult a decision was it to pick Stephenie over Rafe? Danni says it was difficult because in the game, sometimes she was ruled by her heart, but she also had to think about her family – who would have killed her if she had taken Rafe instead of Stephenie (I wonder if Rafe’s family is ready to kill him for releasing Danni from her promise!).
So when she made the decision to take Stephenie, did she figure she had the money in the bank? No, just a better chance than with Rafe. Danni notes that Stephenie was a tough player and so many people were in awe of her from her previous time, so you never know how they might react. For example, whenever somebody won a reward, it seemed they always took Stephenie with them. She was very well liked in the game.
Looking back to the last immunity challenge, it was brutally hot and they all fell from the board. Then Rafe had a lapse of judgment and put his hand on the pole. That left the two women. The host says Danni looked really comfortable, but Danni says it was just a good acting job. She has scoliosis and had no meat on her backbone, so it was just grinding against the post. But she does note that she had a bit of an advantage over Stephenie because she’s taller than Steph.
Stephenie says she was just barely reaching with her toes and thought about how Lydia never would have been able to do it, darnit! She also says if she had won the challenge, she would have taken Rafe. “I didn’t really have that great of a shot against anyone.” Heh.
After the challenge, Rafe released Danni from her promise. The host asks the same question I asked in my recap: Was he being honest or just playing her? Danni really thought he was being honest, but it was the worst possible move he could have made and she knows he was really hating himself for it last night because she was really heavily weighing that promise – until he released her from it!
The host moves back to Stephenie, noting that people allied with her but then there was so much resentment. She says there are always feelings like that when you take on a leadership position. You’re in the final two and they’re on the jury. She doesn’t have any regrets, though she does feel bad that she didn’t get to repay Judd for picking her for the rewards, but she’s working on it.
After a break for weather, Dr. Phil, etc., it’s time for Danni to get her million bucks. The Early Show has brought fan favorite Rupert to do the honors. He walks in holding a giant million-dollar check.
The host asks what it feels like to hold a million-dollar check. She says the first thing that went through her head when she won was that it’ll be a good Christmas for her nieces and nephews. At today’s toy prices, that could about take care of the million!
Quickly going back to Stephenie, the host notes that she played the game with so much heart and people were excited to see her back (well, some people, I guess) – she got so close and yet so far, what’s it feel like? Stephenie says she wishes she’d gotten it but she technically never got voted out so she still feels like she won. Uh huh. Well, you feel that way, but you didn’t.
The host steals an interview question that I already sent in for both Stephenie and Rafe, asking who was really running the show. Stephenie says it was kind of both of them, with her thinking of some things and him thinking of others. They made big decisions, but he was pulling for Danni and he’s the reason Danni is sitting there.
But he voted for Stephenie? She says that’s because she wanted Danni to take him to the final two. All share a laugh at Rafe’s expense. Stephenie says she and Rafe played very similar games, but Danni beat them both.
Back to Danni again – when Judd asked the weird question about ice skating at the final Tribal Council, did she bristle at the implication? Danni says she didn’t skate through, but sometimes if you sit back and watch and wait for your moment, that’s the smartest move to make because it was Judd’s mouth that got him voted out. She repeats her Stealth Bomber comment from last night about how people didn’t seem to realize she was there until she did all the damage.
While some of the others might have thought she was a frail skinny girl who didn’t know what was going on, she was planning and waiting to make her move.
The host brings Rupert into the discussion by asking him if she played the game well. He says it’s such a social game that hanging back and looking for opportunities is the way to play. Being the leader, as he tried to do in Pearl Islands, puts a target on your back – just like Stephenie had at the beginning of this game.
Stephenie is asked to compare the conditions in Guatemala to those in Palau. Stephenie says Guatemala was much worse. There were no bugs in Palau, you could go into the ocean, etc. But in Guatemala, it was hot and buggy and just plain bad.
How does Rupert compare Danni to other women who have played the game? He says Danni didn’t lie and cheat and connive her way to the final two. Both played a great game, but it’s nice to see somebody with heart win. He liked watching both of them make it to the final two.
Would Stephenie do anything differently or play a third time? “Not right now, give me a year.” But she wouldn’t change anything.
As for Danni, how is she going to spend her money? She says she loves kids and wants to be a mom. She’s going to look into adopting next summer. She was originally thinking of adopting from China, but now she’s focusing on Guatemala.
With that, we say goodbye to Danni, Stephenie, and Rupert.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Survivor: Guatemala Finale articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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