“Don’t Vote Off Your Allies”: An Interview with Survivor: Exile Island’s Dan
by David Bloomberg -- 03/10/2006
What does Dan think of Terry’s decision to avoid a tie by voting him off? Hint: see the title. But there’s much more than that in this interview with Dan, including a rundown of how he did in every challenge, including some things we didn’t see.
While we saw Dan accept responsibility for the challenge loss and leave the game with his honor intact, Dan didn’t just throw himself on his sword. What does he have to say about Terry’s decision to vote him out? Read on to find out this and some of Dan’s other thoughts on the game.
RealityNewsOnline: Hello, Dan, and thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for RealityNewsOnline readers. What was your original plan coming into Survivor, and how did it change when you were first put on a team of all “older” men and then quickly shuffled up after that?
Dan: My plan was to find an ally that had already established good long-term relationships in their real life, so that they understood how to form a tight bond. Then the two of us would find three others to make a strong group of five.
It worked well, for a while. Terry was the obvious choice at first, we recruited Nick and Austin and Ruth-Marie when the tribes merged.
RNO: You’ve probably reflected on this quite a bit – what do you think happened in the puzzle portion of your final challenge?
Dan: Hey, some days you do well, some days you don’t. Just the day before that puzzle challenge, I was diving to underwater coffins, holding my breath forever, and we established a huge lead over Casaya.
RNO: If the tables had been turned and it looked like the young guys were going to target Terry, would you have gone with them or would you have tied it up and risked getting yourself booted?
Dan: I would have tied it up, since it is so important to go the merge with strong allies. Also, a tie would have resulted in a Tribal Council challenge between the two tied players (you only pull rocks if there are more than four people establishing a tie), so if they were voting against Terry, causing a tie would not have endangered me. It didn’t matter anyway, since Terry had the hidden immunity idol.
RNO: Did you make an attempt to debate against the idea of voting you out, or did we see a representative sample of the discussions on TV, with you taking responsibility and accepting that you’d be voted off?
Dan: We talked all afternoon about it and I was surprised that Terry didn’t see what I thought was an obvious strategic situation (don’t vote off your allies, particularly when they have a friend on the outside of the other team’s alliance).
RNO: Do you feel there was anything you could have done to change the voting outcome?
Dan: It was a very difficult spot because Terry had the hidden idol. That meant that Austin and Nick would have to risk their own safety to vote against him and they were smart enough to not do that. I was surprised that Terry did not see the strategic picture that with me gone, he was on his own in the merge and that’s a tough spot to be.
RNO: If Sally hadn't been taken out of the equation, would voting her off have been as obvious a choice as everybody was saying?
Dan: Yes, the men’s alliance was solid on that score.
RNO: Twice now we’ve seen Terry ditch allies when it became inconvenient for him – first Ruth-Marie and then you. What are your thoughts on that?
Dan: I thought it was very poor strategy to vote against your allies. Furthermore, Ruth-Marie and Cirie were good friends. Bruce and I were also friends. With Ruth-Marie and me in the merge, we very likely would have had Cirie and Bruce on our side. Finally, if you look carefully at the challenge performances, Ruth-Marie and I did well compared to others. Let’s go through them:
Cracking skulls — Ruth-Marie beat Danielle.
Paddling and puzzles — I found the directions in the sand to solve the puzzle.
Obstacle course — Ruth-Marie figured out how to get us over the big ramp fast, we did it by climbing up Sally’s and Ruth Marie’s backs, turns out that’s a cheerleader move. Also, I am the one who found the final snake that led to victory as La Mina and Casaya were in the leaf boxes.
Shoot the balls — Ruth-Marie and I each shot three balls (it was edited for the show) and all the ones we shot were caught and scored points.
Wrestle in the sand — Ruth-Marie was the only woman who scored a point for our team. I was initially tossed down by Shane, but then I held Aras down for the duration of the point which we won when Austin pulled Shane over to our target.
Puzzles floating in the water — we lost when Terry brought back a duplicate puzzle piece, so our puzzle was not solvable.
Balance beam – I fell off the beam once, but hey, at least I was trying. Nick felt too woozy to be on the course.
Fish toss – Sally had trouble catching the fish.
Coffins underwater — I dove with Terry (he had the mask) and we got a huge lead over Casaya.
Jigsaw puzzle – Sally and I just couldn’t figure it out. It was not good timing to be off that day!
RNO: Do you think telling the others that you were an astronaut ended up hurting you at all?
Dan: No, I waited to tell people until they knew me as “Dan” first.
RNO: On a non-Survivor note, what can you tell us about your Space Shuttle missions – what did you do?
Dan: I was a mission specialist, a career astronaut responsible for shuttle systems, payloads, doing spacewalks, and operating the shuttle’s robot arm. I was fortunate to fly three shuttle missions, do four spacewalks, and visit the International Space Station twice. It was a childhood dream come true for me and was wonderful! Someday I hope that spaceflight will be something everyone can do. The view of the earth from above the sky is something you should see!
RNO: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your time on Survivor?
Dan: Every day was “another beautiful day in paradise.” I would get up at dawn and say that each morning and it became a theme for us. The animals on the island were so tame, you could pet the iguanas. Getting to live with nature was a fantastic experience.
RNO: Thanks again, Dan!http://www.realitynewsonline.com/cgi-bin/ae.pl?mode=4&article=article6049.art&page=1