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“I Was Playing a Rational Game”: An Interview with Survivor: Cook Islands’ Jonathanby David Bloomberg -- 12/08/2006
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Jonathan had a reputation for talking a lot on Survivor, and he holds to it in this interview. But here, it’s a good thing! Read on to find out his thoughts on strategy, the play of his fellows, mistakes he made, and much more!
RealityNewsOnline: What was your strategy coming into the game?
Jonathan: My strategy was to play harder and faster than anybody else. If a move was going to get made, I wanted to be the one to make it. I did not want to get played. If I was going to think of something, somebody else was going to think of it, so I was going to do it faster. One part of the strategy was my mindset going in. I had thought there were going to be 16, but there were 20. Pretty good odds for winning a million dollars, but I realized I had a 100% chance of having a fantastic time, so I said I’m going to have a ball. I did it for the experience more than the money. I was looking forward to the survival aspects of it. I tried to make the most of every day and play as big a game as I could to really enjoy the experience.
One of the reasons I stepped off the mat, it was an informed decision and maybe it was a mistake, but the mistake was before that. The thing that really let me do that was [the thought of] how often do you get an opportunity to change your fate in a relatively safe and benign situation? I didn’t want to hurt anybody, of course, but when somebody says you have a chance to change your fate, it was too irresistible a proposition.
RNO: That leads directly to my next question. Why did you follow Candice in the mutiny?
Jonathan: Candice was my closest ally. I liked her and Yul the most. But Yul was closely aligned with Becky and the two of them were not going to split up. I didn’t know he had the idol. I thought Adam had the idol. I knew Yul and Becky had to get split up somehow. This was really my mistake in the game, saying to him something like, “You don’t have the idol, right,” instead of asking him if he had the idol. I heard what I wanted to hear, as I think people do. I didn’t really probe deeper and got ahead of myself.
I realized that in the post-merge situation, Candice and I were going to have to go back to our original Raro people, and that was a realization we had soon before the mutiny came up. I didn’t know Candice and Adam had a romantic relationship – they didn’t make it public. I had no intention of stepping off. I said, “Oh crap, there goes my closest ally, she’s heading to the idol.” I saw the numbers shifting very quickly and I wanted to be with the numbers. You have to be with the tribe with the most people at the merge, I thought.
Probst made an offer to change your fate. As we went into the game, we had this whole “Mutiny on the Bounty” thing, and I thought there was going to be some sort of mutiny scenario. Beforehand, I planned to be the Bligh character. I think history has shown, he comes across better. Christian was much more impulsive, emotional, driven by his passions. But in the long run, the guys who followed Christian for the most part got screwed over and died on a rock.
When given the opportunity to do it, I took the opportunity to be more like Christian, which I said I wasn’t going to do! I don’t know why that is, I played such a careful, deliberate game. I really still did believe I was tight in that Aitu tribe and that Ozzy would have gone next, and then Sundra. I think we would have been a pretty solid foursome. But I saw my closest ally step off, the idol was on the other mat – I thought, stupidly. Unfortunately, about four seconds after I stepped off, I thought, “Moron, you’re the last one on this team. If we lose anything, you’re the first one to go.” I beat myself up for a couple days.
The grass was not greener, and it got dirtier and dirtier. They would not work and had no game plan, they were not interested in winning. I couldn’t understand it, they kept killing their own people while keeping me. So I thought, “Just keep your head down.” While that was the hardest time for me, it was the most exciting. And I got to act like a provider and show them how to do some things, and really hoped they would turn around. But I couldn’t really be too overt.
Nobody would have suspected we would lose four challenges in a row. I have to hand it to Aitu, they kicked our buts. They stayed alive and did what they had to do. The mutiny didn’t hurt them, it hurt Candice and me more. That’s my choice and the bed that we made. But it was a mistake, clearly, and I played an endgame way too soon.
RNO: Before my next question, I just wanted to mention that there are several fans of The Tick on our staff, and they wanted me to bring up your role in the TV show.
Jonathan: I loved doing The Tick! One of the main writers on that was Larry Charles, who did Borat. It was one of the most fun jobs I had. To play a villainous superhero (“Champion”) was like a dream come true. Patrick Warburton and I had worked together on another series. He’s one of the funniest, nicest guys in the world.
RNO: So then, how much of what we saw of you was the real Jonathan and how much was Jonathan the actor?
Jonathan: I guess I can’t separate the two of them. I am an actor, have been an actor, though I’m not exclusively one. I’ve really made my living as a writer/producer for the last five years. I think what you saw was what you got. You’re talking to me now – what do you think?
RNO: I don’t know, you’re not trying to stab me in the back right now!
Jonathan: I never went out of my way, certainly never took any pleasure in hurting anybody’s feelings. It was always a rational game, a strategic game. I can’t just say that’s the only reason I went back to the Aitu, because I always wanted to be aligned with the idol and I saw my best chance of winning with Yul and those guys – and I still believe that was my best chance. I never trusted Nate and never believed I could work with them. I was given an opportunity to help affect the outcome of the game. I was an outsider in both fivesomes. I was in a position at that time to help decide which of these foursomes were going to get further in the game. I believe in my decision, if only to be able to say the Aitu four worked so much better as a team. I think I made the right decision. I really would have been much more upset with myself if I had stayed with Raro, gotten the chop, and helped the Raro four move further and been played by them. Then I really would have felt like a schmuck.1 2 Next-->
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