Disappointing. That’s my reaction to Marty Piombo’s elimination from Survivor: Nicaragua on CBS. Although he’s not completely gone from the show since he is a member of the jury, it will be tough to watch the rest of the season without one of the best strategists battling for the top prize. In a conference call with reporters, Marty discussed his reasoning behind giving away his Immunity Idol, the problems with Jane and how he was selected to be a contestant on the show.
Question: Do you regret giving Sash your hidden Immunity Idol?
Marty Piombo: No absolutely not. The result speaks for itself. If I had been voted out that night, that would be a very different answer for you. I got everything that I wanted out of giving him the Idol. If I burned the Idol and given it to Jeff (Probst) that night, it would have incurred the wrath and hatred of that tribe. It would have for certain guaranteed that I was leaving at the next Tribal, and you can’t bet on when the tribes are gonna merge. It’s always probability and risks and gambling in this game, and if there was even a two or three percent chance that I could buy some goodwill by doing that as emasculating as it was and as humbling as it was. It was worth the risk. In this case I would argue, I don’t know how anybody couldn’t, that it did pay off.
Question: Do you think if you would have asked for your Idol back he would have given it to you?
Marty Piombo: I don’t think so. We talked about it because when Alina was going out, they portrayed me as being a lot more paranoid than I was. I probably was on some level. There was way too much talking going on between people for it to look as easy as Alina going out. When you see the episode, my paranoia was justified because there was a contingent that was desperately trying to get me off that day. My instincts were right, and I was justified in being paranoid. I talked about getting it back from him, and Sash said something to the effect, “Hey if we’re at Tribal, and it looks like things are going sideways, I’ll give it you.” I never believed that for a second.
Question: Let’s get to the root of the Marty/Jane hatred. Where did that all come from?
Marty Piombo: Let’s be clear there. There was no hatred from me to Jane whatsoever, and I thought it was very clear always in the show. Jane started out this whole game in the first five minutes by introducing herself to me, Jimmy Johnson and one other person in the woods. She said, “My husband just died. I need to the money. Please don’t vote me out.” That was a huge red flag for me. Personally, I’ve got more human tragedy and loss in my life than her and Chase combined, but I would never bring that into a reality TV show. It set off something in me that said, “Careful.” Red flag. Then she aligned herself with Wendy and Jimmy T. — two more red flags in my book because they were just weak players that didn’t know what was going on. That’s it. We tried to warm up to her, both Jill and I did. I don’t know what the issues were on her side. Whether we were apparently more educated or something just didn’t jive with her background or something that really set her off. But at the end of the day, I put a huge target on her back, but I was very pragmatic. Not emotional. It was not a personal thing. I didn’t say she was a bad person, or hateful or I hated her. It was just very true. This woman had every single ingredient for winning the million dollars, and people were letting her get too far in the game to the point where you can’t unwind it. …
There was never any hatred or resentfulness. I’m really taken aback by the level of hatred that I’ve seen in the episode. Even by Survivor standards to throw kids under the bus, and talk about my parenting is, I find it to be, despicable. It talks to her upbringing, where she’s from. It’s below the belt, even by Survivor standards.
Question: What do you make of Fabio?
Marty Piombo: I really enjoyed my time with him, and I like him. I don’t see how you can’t like the guy. I personally thought there was a lot more going on upstairs than he lets on. That’s my personal opinion.
Question: How did you get cast on the show?
Marty Piombo: It was the first and only time that I ever applied to Survivor although I’ve watched every episode since it first aired. It was through the Sears promo video process.
Question: Just like Jimmy T. did?
Marty Piombo: Yes. Except I didn’t mount a multi-global campaign to win it. I just threw it up there, never looked back and got the call six weeks later.
Question: You said in your exit interview after getting voted out that it was frustrating playing with novices. Do you think playing with people like Russell Hantz or Boston Rob would make this game more difficult for you, or is that something you would appreciate?
Marty Piombo: I think it would definitely make it more difficult, and it would be intimidating. I just had this vision in my mind: “Oh my God, I’m gonna be on Survivor.” It would be intense, and really challenging. I felt like in the beginning, it was almost as if through the first three or four episodes, there was really no game playing going on. I know that probably came off badly, and I probably shouldn’t have even talked about it at Tribal. It was like sort of being caged, and we weren’t playing. When you spend days out there between challenges and things aren’t happening, it’s nerve-wracking. You just kind of want to get on with it, and get things going. It was just not happening. It was kind of nerve-wracking. But if I think about playing with a bunch of strategic people, it would be intimidating in a completely different ball game. I’m sure I would have to adapt to that.
Question: Do you think you will be asked to play again? If so, would you do it?
Marty Piombo: I have no idea. That’s all pure speculation. I don’t know whether I’d get asked back or not. Do they like me? Do they hate me? I have no idea. But, would I? I’ve gone back and forth. I don’t know if I would. My gut instinct tells me yes. When I was in the game I said I’d never do this again, because it was so incredibly arduous. As soon as you leave the game, you’re like “Gosh I would do that in a second. I want vindication.” Then you see some of the nastier parts of reality TV like Jane throwing my kids under the bus. Saying things like that it really makes you think twice about whether you want to be exposed to all that part. The actual pure game-playing part is absolutely fascinating. It lived up to everything I thought it would be, and more. That part I would love to do again.
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