Survivor: Cook Islands- Survivor Live, Episode 2by Brian Towers -- 09/26/2006
It’s time for the second episode of the season of Survivor Live, CBS’s Internet interview show that features the most recently eliminated contestant from Survivor: Cook Islands. Hosted by Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly and Survivor: Amazon winner Jenna Morasca, this week’s guest is heavy metal rocker Billy Garcia.
Were you wondering what happened to episode one’s interview, with musician Sekou Bunch? I was wondering, too. You see, I was not available for the live broadcast, but fully expected it to show up on the web that night. That’s when I found out that CBS has reorganized their website yet again, and by the time I finally found where they now post this show, it was too late to justify the effort to do a proper article.
So, quickly, here’s the key points from that show:
Now we’re back on track!
Let’s begin, as usual, with a trivia question. Since I’m feeling extremely generous, I’ll start you off with an easy one. Here it is: Considering the four initial tribes, which one had the smallest age span from youngest to oldest? As usual, the answer will be near the bottom of this article.
Ok, let’s get this week’s show rolling. Right off the top I note there are new show graphics that are more professional looking. There’s also a new set featuring theme-appropriate lanterns, worn wooden beams and whatnot. It’s a bit dark for a broadcast, really, but the tinny microphones in the first segment are a bigger problem. Jenna’s hair is a bit different, and she’s still much prettier than Dalton.
It all begins with Dalton teasing Jenna about her “crush” on Ozzy. Jenna admits that it’s over. Not only does she not like the idea of throwing challenges, but also the “frat boy mentality” he and J.P. show are a total turn off for her. She noticed the editors interspersed lots of “rat imagery” around Ozzy this week.
Jenna has learned that Ozzy has appeared on some Playboy TV shows. She also feels that J.P.’s actions at Tribal Council were “totally uncalled for.”
Okay, Billy’s here now, wearing the same skull shirt we saw on the show. Both hosts feel bad that the others bullied Billy for no reason. Billy says they disrespected him and their ethnic group. “By throwing the challenge and making a farce out of the game of Survivor, they spat in my face, in Survivor fans’ face, and in our ethnic group’s face.”
Jenna speaks to the folly of losing a tribe member on purpose and Billy points out that sooner or later, you will lose a challenge without trying to. At that point he’d be the easy boot, or their “get out of jail free” card.
Dalton asks Billy when he knew for sure the others were tanking the challenge on him. He says he had suspicion before the challenge, but assumed he was just being paranoid. When it all started to play out, “a five-year-old could have figured it out.” Jenna is surprised Jeff Probst didn’t get on their case a lot harsher, as in recent seasons Jeff has been very direct in pointing things out during challenges when he feels the need to editorialize.
Dalton knows Billy is a big fan of the show, making charts and graphs (like me), and he was looking forward to playing the game. So, both know that in Survivor: Pearl Islands, when some folks on the game-controlling Drake tribe lost a challenge on purpose, suddenly they started losing regularly, including the next three immunities.
After the challenge when Billy knew the true nature of the situation, he wanted to get back at his tribe. He calls it “manipulating karma.” I like that phrase! He insisted on sending Yul to Exile Island, because he felt Yul had the best chance of finding the hidden idol, and it might come back to haunt his soon-to-be-former tribemates after Billy was gone! Ha!
Jenna hopes something can be done to avoid the throwing of challenges in the future, but I think that’s pretty hard to do. This time it was obvious, but had they been better actors, how do you tell the difference between massive ineptness and actually trying to lose? Sometimes, a tribe just “Ulongs.” Dalton hates it from a strategic standpoint as well, but admits it was good drama.
Caller number one is Rushmore, from New Orleans. He asks if Billy would have done better on a “metalheads” tribe. Billy laughs. He notes that all the tribes had an “oddball,” or as Flicka called them, “the alternatives.” There was Cao-Boi, Flica, Billy himself, and Sekou. If they’d been their own tribe, they’d probably have accepted each other and related well.
The caller also mentioned Probst’s reaction to Billy’s love announcement at Tribal Council. Everyone comments how unusual it is for Probst to be caught that visibly surprised by something at Tribal Council.
Describing it as “one of the most uncomfortable Tribal Councils I’ve ever seen,” Dalton runs the clip of Candice saying “WE love you,” followed by the Tribal Council itself. All over again we see Billy’s love proclamation and Jeff’s astonished reaction. Ouch! The last time I saw anything that cringe-worthy on TV was Phil Mickelson plowing along the last hole of the 2006 PGA.
Dalton asks, “How hard is it to watch?” Billy admits, “It’s pretty hard to watch. At that point, I was spilling my guts because I had noting to lose. I didn’t think I was going to survive so I was just laying it all out there.”
Jenna commiserates, “At Tribal Council, it’s so emotional. You just say things and sometimes you regret it. We all have those moments, and it’s all amplified.” Billy says he was starved for affection and it was like crumbs to a starving man. He adds, “When I see her at the finale, I’m going to apologize, I didn’t intend to embarrass anybody. And then, you know… I still have feelings, I’m going to ask her out!” I hope someone who watched the segment or is reading this article gives Candice a heads-up.
Dalton thinks Billy made a mistake – he should have made his play for Pavarti!
Dana from Pittsburgh is our second caller. She wonders if Billy would have survived longer without Ozzy influencing the others to throw the challenge. “No question,” he says, adding, “Him and J.P. are like a tag-team, the two of them have control.”
Jenna is surprised the strong women of the Hispanic tribe haven’t taken over. Billy thinks Cecilia could have taken control, and to save himself he would have worked with them. Billy admits they did a good job of keeping him away from Cecilia and she didn’t much try to talk to him, except for basic day-to-day work talk.
I actually don’t see this. I like Billy, but at this stage of the game Ozzy’s wilderness skills and J.P.’s strength are too important. Billy just hasn’t shown his value to Cecilia to the degree that she would decide to turn away from the more obvious strengths of the others. J.P. and Ozzy may cause more trouble in the endgame, but first you have to get there.
Right before Tribal Council, Billy got the word from Cristina that she couldn’t save him and he told her not to stick her neck out. I don’t know, I think it’s already way out there, and stomping off after the Ozzy caught chickens didn’t help her cause any.
We next find out than Jenna only initially liked Ozzy because he looks a bit like Ethan. Hmm, maybe Ethan will turn up on the Playboy channel?
Steven from Long Island is next, and he’s a Jenna fan. He wonders if, had the tribes been reorganized in the second episode like last season, would Billy have changed alliances from his current tribe (like Judd did). Billy re-mentions “the alternatives” as one option and adds that he’d also have been glad to work more with Cristina. He says he wouldn’t have gone along with Ozzy and J.P. because of the way they treated him as a person, right from the start of the game.
Jenna starts bad-mouthing the “unpleasant” ways of the boys again, but Dalton jumps in to jokingly call Jenna, “The “Queen of Pleasant” on her season of Amazon.” Jenna insists she was only mean “out of necessity.” Dalton reminds her, “We’re the hot chicks!” Jenna is adamant she made many attempts to talk to Christie. Sorry, I think I’m with Dalton on this one.
Dalton was there in Cook Islands, from pre-show until the day after Sekou’s elimination. He relates that there was a brief moment he saw involving Billy and Candice, and he reported it as part of a six-page article in Entertainment Weekly magazine… but won’t repeat here. Boo! You stinker! I have since learned what it was… when Candice was looking for a place to sit at dinner, Billy made room for her. Aha, the seeds of love were planted early! My thanks to fellow RNO staffer Jenn Brasler for the details on that article.
Brett from California likes the new set and Billy’s website. He wonders if Billy regrets his too-laid-back approach. Billy says that he was on Plan “J” or “K” by that point. He notes Adam is doing the same thing on his team, not wanting to waste energy enhancing their shelter. Jenna notes that the same actions are received in different ways on different tribes. Billy says it’s a common strategy and he didn’t invent it, he just used it, and Jenna reminds us that you can win with that strategy.
The next phone call is from Jonathan from Illinois. He calls in to ask whom Billy did and didn’t like, any why. Cristina was “my only real ally.” The other two are hard to choose between, but at least Ozzy had some skills to back up his arrogance. J.P. was just in Ozzy’s back pocket. Jenna calls J.P. “Ozzy’s lapdog.”
It’s becoming apparent that J.P. will be Jenna’s person-she-loves-to-hate/lackey this season, the hated alpha male character that can do no right. Well, maybe Adam is catching some of that flak as well. Last season it was Terry and before that, Tom Westman were her targets. We’ll see whom the fans respond to. Right now, Yul and Cao-Boi are the clear favorites at CBS.com’s “Popularity Poll.”
Finally, the clip of the challenge is run. Again, the disrespectful attitude of Aitu as they so obviously throw the challenge doesn’t earn any esteem from the hosts. Ozzy is the ringleader, but all of them were laughing and grinning.
Dalton notes the white tribe laughed at the black tribe for celebrating so heartily after barely beating a tribe that wasn’t even trying. Jenna says, “Whoa, we’re crushing those stereotypes there!” I dunno, I admit laughed as well because they were trying so hard and working so furiously, they never even realized the Hispanics weren’t actually trying. Watching at home, I bet they were a little sheepish seeing that boisterous celebration.
Jenna says, “Making a mockery of the tribe and the game is disgusting,” and the others agree. The hosts know that throwing a challenge never works out. Billy remembers last season, where “the most dysfunctional alliance ever” stuck together and won out in the end. Jenna says, “You just learn to ignore people who annoy you,” and Dalton says, “I’m going to ignore you.”
The next caller is young Allie, skipping school in Maryland. I can’t hear her question clearly, but Dalton interprets it as “When did you know your team was throwing the challenge?” Billy says that when J.P. announced he would sit out, he had some suspicions, but when the others prevented him from trying to untie the clue answers from the poles, that cinched it.
After all three jokingly support truancy in Maryland, Dalton brings on the next caller, Harold from Michigan. He wants Billy to identify his most memorable and least favorite moments in the game. His most memorable moment was jumping off a 16th century ship. Billy says he and Candice didn’t puke on the ship, but several did. He stared at Candice for hours to keep his focus off what the others were doing.
His least favorite time was a segment not aired, where he and J.P., who were in an brief, early alliance together, got into a big argument about booting Cristina first if they lost a challenge. He says, “he literally got right in my grill,” and adds, “That was not my first experience of J.P. being a bully.” Billy goes on to relate that during this, Billy was sitting on the raft and J.P. “literally stood over me.” He concludes, “The game was not fun, and I just walked away because I didn’t want to get into a fistfight. Reality hit, that I’m stuck on this island with this jerk.”
Dalton asks about the physical toil the island took on Billy, informing us that when he saw Billy on day two or three he was dragging already. Billy says they did a poor job of boiling water, and he got some bad batch that really took it out of him. Initially he was active and social and participated in activities like hut-building, but when he got sick he had to adopt a less active strategy because he could not keep up.
Dalton tells us that after the press met with the contestants (pre-show), they decided that Billy was one of their favorites. They also agreed he would not go very far. Jenna adds, “He’s a sweet guy.”
Dalton next introduces “Probst’s Thoughts,” where Jeff Probst records a message to the departing player. Probst also found Billy an enjoyable guy who would be great on the show. He was amused he compared himself to Kirby Puckett, saying that his stomach was all muscle. Jeff didn’t really buy that argument, but he hopes Billy had fun.
Billy says that in this game, you can’t be too much of any one thing – too weak, too outgoing, or too quiet. He says he was “too non-Latino.”
Jenna is afraid all the interesting people will be gone before the jury is formed. I think that’s a definite possibility. Dalton says he’d refer to them as “outcasts,” but that name has a very negative connotation in Survivor. Billy thinks he’d have done better in a non-ethnic version of the show.
Jason from South Carolina notes Cristina told them she was a cop, so did Billy ever mentioned he was a Marine? Yes, but by then he was already an outsider and at that point J.P. and Ozzy didn’t listen to him, interrupted him, or just walked away when he talked. He didn’t even get to finish his story.
The next questioner is aimless (about Candice) and Dalton cuts it off to defend Billy, saying, “Emotions are so amplified,” and Jenna gives the example, “Heidi was my best friend in the world by day two.” Billy adds, “It’s so extreme that you can’t help but have big emotions.” Jenna says, “Those of us who have been there, we totally get it.”
The third segment begins with a new feature, called “minus 10,” complete with a graphic introduction. Dalton will read ten categories for Billy to comment on in less than ten words. Here’s how it played out”
Dalton accuses him of throwing the “minus 10” challenge. Ha! Dalton then accidentally calls Billy “Ozzy.” Lightheartedly, Billy quickly sets him straight, saying, “Do NOT mistake me for HIM!”
Billy insists he would not have traded his experiences for anything. He played for the dream, not for the money. He’s wanted to do this for a long time, but he put the needs of his band first. Billy has seen every episode of every season, and his favorite is Survivor: Pearl Islands, because of the similar way they started out by jumping off a ship. He also liked Rupert stealing the shoes. Jenna mumbles something I cannot hear about it not being his idea – sorry, I can’t get it through these exquisite four-dollar speakers.
Maggie of New York asks Billy, why after resting up so he could save his strength, why did he initially volunteer to sit out the last challenge? Billy says he was “flushing out his suspicions” about possible sabotage. He calls J.P. “a coward” because he sent the women to do the dirty work of losing the challenge while he sat at the side.
Jenna talks of the Asian team dominating the game so far. They look solid in the challenges, united, and living in a good shelter. Billy saw them as “the tribe to beat.” When Billy’s tribe talked about it, it was very apparent Yul was the strongest member of the strongest tribe. Billy says, “He (Yul) is the total package – he was brains, brawns (sic), savvy… it was just apparent that he was the right guy to send (to Exile Island).”
Pre-show, Yul was Dalton’s pick to win the game. He was also the pick of every other RNO Roundtable writer but myself. I was going to choose Yul, but I changed my mind at the last minute or it would have been unanimous!
The clip is run of Yul finding the hidden immunity idol. Good on ya, mate! Dalton is impressed how Yul made finding it look so easy. Jenna calls him “the perfect Survivor,” admiring his strength and quiet leadership… and now he has the idol. Billy agrees that he’s very likeable. Jenna adds that he also has his hidden alliance with Becky.
Dalton notes that when Billy’s and Yul’s tribes were leading the challenge in the first episode, it fell apart at the puzzle. Billy says only Cecilia was trying to solve it while Billy was arguing with J.P. Billy calls the Asian tribe “a real team, in every sense of the word,” and Jenna calls them “a well-oiled machine.”
Jake from Texas asks Jenna and Billy about who their friends are from the show. Billy says, “We all know who I want to be friends with!” He adds that he really wants to keep in contact with Cristina, “The only one who stood by me when the chips were down.” He continues that she was not judgmental, which may have happened between a cop and a heavy-metal guy. For Jenna, it’s Rob C., Ethan, and Heidi. Jenna will be a bridesmaid at Heidi’s upcoming wedding at New Year’s. Jenna and Billy decide that they are friends now, too.
Jenna says she talks to a lot of the former Survivors, even Christie. Apparently they made up after the game. Jenna says, “Well, we’re not like sisters…” and Dalton jumps in with, “More like step-sisters?”
The last caller of the week is Michelle from California, who wonders why they don’t send someone to Exile Island who would be discouraged by the experience and unlikely to do a lot of digging and searching for the hidden idol. Billy agrees with everything she says, and that’s why he selected Yul, so he (Billy) could “still be a factor in the game and bite them in the butt later on.”
Dalton suggests sending stronger players early in the season to weaken them, then after clues three or four have been revealed, send the weaker ones to demoralize them.
It’s time for Jenna’s “Question Of The Week.” She asks, “What are you going to do now, and tell us your band’s website.” It’s www.Foresakken.com (yes, two K’s). He actually doesn’t tell us what he’s doing, but it has to be that he’s returning to his music.
The hosts note that many Survivors this time are musicians. Dalton suggests they get together and get a gig on the reunion show as the house band.
Dalton has the promo clip for next week run. Mother nature bites back, Pavarti works her assets, and Cao-Boi turns up the volume. Jenna loves Cao-Boi , the smart, untapped resource. Billy says Cao-Boi has a lot of savvy and leadership skills. Then Billy jokes, he hopes Pavarti steals Adam from Candice, to clear the way for him. Really, he WAS joking!
To the strains of Live’s rocking theme, Jenna head-bangs us out… even though she’s in danger of mussing her hair. And we’re done!
Everyone is invited to share his or her opinions at the eAddress below, and I’ll be back next week for more Survivor: Cook Islands interviews on Survivor Live!
Brian lives in Toronto where he can be reached at Uncle_bto@rogers.com. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email!