“Biggest Blunder Ever” – An Interview with Survivor: Micronesia’s Erik
by David Bloomberg -- 05/09/2008
James and Parvati called him the dumbest Survivor ever. So what does Erik have to say for himself? Does he agree? Can he at least laugh about it? And what was he thinking?! Erik answers all the hard questions right here in this exclusive RealityNewsOnline interview!
As with Jason, I knew we had some tough questions for Erik. And I let him know up front that these wouldn’t just be softballs. But Erik handled the interview well and even laughed at times about what happened. Read on to see what he had to say.
RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Erik, and thanks for taking the time to talk to RealityNewsOnline! You seem like a nice guy, but as I told Jason when I interviewed him, I have a few uncomfortable questions for you, and people want to know. We’ll start with the obvious question: Why did you do it?!
Erik: Well, there is no one answer; there’s no genius answer that will make it all make sense. When I talked to James about his blunder after all of this was done, he said had this moment where he faded out and made an error. Mine was more trying to feel out people in terms of their emotions and strategy. It bit me in the ass in the end.
From a strategic point of view, my thought at the time was [I couldn’t win]if I made it to the end with two girls next to me because the girls had the majority on the jury. They didn’t show too much of Cirie talking me into this harebrained scheme – they showed a lot of Natalie – but they were talking to me about being a bloc of three because we had talked about Amanda and Parvati going all the way to the end. I thought it would have been beneficial from their point of view to come with me. That was one of the major strategy things I thought would happen – I thought it would be beneficial to them to do that.
In terms of what else was going on, they didn’t show a lot of this, but I was pretty emotionally distraught for a while. Amanda was livid with me, she was angry one day and driving me crazy the next day. All the girls were against me, which I hadn’t experienced until then. I was like, why do my friends hate me?
RNO: You saw what happened to Jason – he trusted the very same people when they told him he didn’t need to play his immunity idol, and was sent packing. How could you trust them?
Erik: A very good question. They didn’t show this either, but I had made an apology to Natalie and I had talked to her right before the immunity challenge, because she told me, “You are a dumbass – we could have done this together. You just spit in my face.” There was a huge scene where we were talking and I was apologizing and I thought we had made peace there.
Natalie is one of the most underestimated Survivors in terms [of being manipulative]. When she told me the plan, I said there is no way in hell. But by the end of the day she had worked me over and I had done a 180. I got played, she’s very good.
One other thing I have to mention is that with Cirie – those were the two people who I feel pulled this on me, Cirie and Natalie – I thought Cirie’s word was good, which is ridiculous watching the season. Up to that point, I had not seen Cirie lie; either I was in a different place when it happened [or I just didn’t see it]. She kept her word with Jason when I thought everybody would vote him out. Every time I talked to her previously, she kept her word, and she said she guaranteed she wouldn’t vote for me, “When have I ever done wrong on you?” And then she did wrong on me.
RNO: You’re a huge fan of the show, so what would you have said if you saw somebody else do what you did?
Erik:(Laughs) I would have been screaming. I was telling everybody before, I was the kid on the couch telling people on the screen, “You’re an idiot.” I turned into the idiot who’s doing that. It’s such a reversal. You could have never gotten me to do that if I were in my right mind. The game is totally different. Everyone who’s sitting on the couch saying, “I can play this game better,” you have no idea what you’re talking about until you’re out there.
RNO: What did you think of James’ comment that he was no longer the dumbest Survivor ever and Parvati’s comment when she cast her vote saying that you were?
Erik: (Laughs) I have to agree. Biggest blunder ever. I have the crown. And James yesterday gave me a big hug – he was like, “Thank you sir, thank you little boy, thank you for taking the crown.” You have to laugh or else you’re going to cry, there’s no other way to get around it.
RNO: Going back to the beginning, what was your strategy coming into the game?
Erik: My strategy coming in was you need to adapt to people and situations. You need to go in with a clean slate and not have any preconceived notions and look at what’s happening and adjust to it. It was a very passive, under the radar game, but it worked for a great deal of the game. And on top of that, I wanted to be friendly. That comes naturally to me and you have to go with that. Whatever you do naturally well, you should work into your plan when you’re on the show.
RNO: How did your strategy change along the way?
Erik: At certain times I needed to be more aggressive, obviously when the Ami situation came. I had a few days where I was going back and forth and looking at options with Ami. Ozzy was a major ally with that. The women wanted me out and he didn’t. Ozzy was the one who kept me in the game, he was the one who saved me.
RNO: On your final episode, when you were telling all the different stories to the different women, what was your actual plan at that point?
Erik: Everyone came to me and I didn’t want to tell them nothing because they’d assume the worst. So I told them each what they wanted to hear, which was probably the dumbest thing I could have done. I wanted to take Natalie or Parvati to the end, because I thought Parvati would get no votes, and Cirie would get fewer because of whatever reason at the time.
RNO: Why didn’t you think Parvati would get votes?
Erik: She screwed over James pretty bad and made him feel like a fool because he found out after Ozzy was gone that Parvati didn’t give a $#!t for him. And she screwed over Ozzy very bad. And Amanda felt like she was out in the cold too. I thought Parvati was a good choice because she had a lot of enemies.
RNO: Why did you take Amanda with you on the reward, especially after your discussions with Natalie?
Erik: Natalie wanted to go to Exile Island. She said, “If I can’t go to Exile Island, I’d like to go on reward.” But I didn’t do any of that – I totally messed up in terms of Natalie. Amanda really had an emotional hold over me, she played me very well. We were in the alliance with Ozzy and over the days, she just had an emotional hold over me and she was one of my best friends out there, which is why I ended up taking her.
RNO: Looking back, why do you think the women were able to manipulate you the way they did?
Erik: I was going crazy. There’s no one answer that can explain it, but I was stuck on that island with those women and it was driving me insane. I was on an island full of beautiful ***y Survivor women and then it all started to go to hell. I thought if I won immunity I could hang out ‘til the end – but then everyone came at me. I had to change from my defensive position to be aggressive and make choices and be the leader. I started making huge dumb mistakes because that’s not what my game was at the time. It just destroyed me.
RNO: How did you feel watching the show last night?
Erik: I was a little concerned about what the women were saying about me. I had no idea that Natalie was behind me the entire time [when I was talking to Cirie]. Shame on me. I had no idea she was back there. There was a feeling of, you had everything, you could have gone all the way. It just sucks. I had to laugh at it and say, “Oh my god, you pretty much built the worst failure ever. We’re just going to throw it all away.”
RNO: What do you feel you learned as a fan of the show that you took with you into the game?
Erik: Before the show, I pretty much learned you have to try to not judge people and not have any preconceived notions that will alter your ability to play the game. You have to be open to new possibilities and new paths to choose and talking to new people. The people who are out quickly are usually very aggressive and very domineering, with some exceptions like Tom from Palau. You just have to… unless you’re the absolute best at manipulating people and winning, you’re going to be seen as a threat and targeted. I was just trying to be unthreatening.
RNO: Who was the absolute best at manipulating people this time?
Erik: I would say it’s a very close call between Cirie and Parvati.
RNO: In your final words, you talked about rubbing shoulders with previous Survivors who acknowledged you. And before that, you excitedly pointed out Jeff Probst to your brother. Do you think hero worship negatively affected your game play?
Erik: There’s no question it affected my game play. These guys are like gods to me. When Jeff Pobst called me, that was like, it’s crazy. It definitely put blinders on me for certain things. Like I took their word more than the Fans at times – you can especially see that with Natalie. You have Natalie who’s just a Fan with me and Amanda from China. Obviously that skewed my judgment.
RNO: What was the most eye-opening thing you saw on TV that you didn’t know about while you were there?
Erik: I would say the way Parvati played the game. In general, the way she played and manipulated, I didn’t get to see that a lot because I was on Malakal, which was losing out of its mind. I didn’t see that there were a lot of women over there [that she was controlling] once Jonathan was gone – it was crazy, she’s doing amazing.
RNO: Do you have anything else you’d like to tell us about your time on Survivor?
Erik: I just want to say – I’m from a small town. People just don’t understand how much this game means outside the strategy. I just had a great time. I had an amazing time out there that I can’t explain. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had, the most difficult experience I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
RNO: Thanks again, Erik, and good luck when Jeff Probst is certain to bring up some of these same questions in Sunday’s live reunion!
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com