Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.
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He was on the bottom since the fans’ first vote. She was pulling the strings of the favorites’ dominant alliance.
He knew his time was up. She was sent packing with an idol in her pocket.
He’s good at carnival games. She’s good at balancing on weird buoyant dog houses.
It didn’t matter that Reynold Toepfer and Andrea Boehlke were on opposite ends of the “Survivor” spectrum, because they were both eliminated in the same episode. (“It’s like rain on your wedding day.”) I spoke with them the next morning to find out about Dawn and Cochran’s alliance, Andrea’s blindside, and if Eddie is really a secret genius…
Gordon Holmes: Good morning, guys.
Reynold Toepfer: Good morning.
Andrea Boehlke: Meh…
Holmes: So rude. I know you have much better things to do today that talk to me.
Toepfer: And I don’t?! I’m hurt.
Holmes: See what you did, Andrea?
Holmes: Alright, we need to address last night’s shocker right off the bat. Reynold, what’s the deal with the mustache?
Toepfer: (Laughs) You never get a chance in your life to grow your facial hair for two months. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror, so I figured I might as well have some fun with it. We had a lot of laughs about it.
Holmes: That’s something girls can’t appreciate. When you lose a beard, you don’t have to chop it right off. You can go with crazy sideburns and a goatee and then whittle your way down. But, I did appreciate the pornstache.
Toepfer: (Laughs) It’s getting some rave reviews on the internet. But, my mother is pretty embarrassed by it.
Holmes: It seems like one of the big trends this season is that people don’t appreciate how close Dawn and Cochran are. Did it shock you how tight they were when you were watching it on TV?
Boehlke: Dawn seemed like she was close to everyone. She’d be crying, then you’d comfort her, then she’d say, “You’re my best friend in the game.” She did that to me and I believed her. Meanwhile, she’s plotting behind your back. She’s a great actress. I guess I should have realized that they were a lot closer. I knew they were close, but I thought Cochran wouldn’t want to be up against Dawn in the finals, so I thought at some point they’d have to turn on each other.
Toepfer: I knew they’d played together so I figured they were probably close. But, Dawn was playing everybody. She’d come up to me, and pet my ego and tell me all these things about how much she liked me. And then she’d totally dog me behind my back. People would come up to me and be like, “Dude, Dawn hates you.” And I’d say, “What?!”
Toepfer: It was too hard to tell with Dawn, she was playing everybody.
Holmes: See, I know that’s not true because Dawn is incapable of hatred.
Toepfer: Yeah…I don’t know, the jury’s still out on Dawn.
Holmes: Matt Bischoff made it sound like you were shocked that the game was as cutthroat as it was. Did you not expect everyone to be going for the jugular?
Toepfer: My point from day one was a helicopter came in and we’re playing against ten returning players that are really good. So, on the fan tribe, I thought if we don’t have numbers going into a swap or a merge, we are dead in the water. We’re going to get picked off and maybe one of us will be a goat that gets to the end. So, I was surprised that all of the fans wanted to play against each other so hard, so soon. I guess I was optimistic early on that people would see things the way I would.
Holmes: Andrea, you took a lot of heat early on because of the Francesca vote. Most former players will look at an elimination and say, “It’s just a game,” but things seemed to get really personal in that specific situation. However, when you were blindsided you seemed to have a good sense of humor about it.
Boehlke: I guess people are different. Being blindsided when I had an idol, I thought it was great. I mean, obviously it sucked, but it was a great move on their part. That’s the game. I love everyone that I played with. It was so much fun. It’s too bad that other people react differently. It was very shocking some of the things people said about me early on, but it doesn’t really affect me. It probably makes me stronger.
Holmes: At that point in the game, what was your dream final three?
Boehlke: I think it was probably Erik and Sherri. Erik wasn’t really doing any strategy. I’m pretty sure there’s a secret scene where he said, “No strategy is the best strategy.”
Holmes and Toepfer: (Laughs)
Boehlke: (Laughs) There were votes where I just pointed to a name on a flag. They showed it once, but I did it for four or five votes and Erik voted the way I said. That’s probably why I thought I was more in control than I was. That’s probably why I got overconfident.
Holmes: You played with Phillip and Francesca before. How does that come into play when you’re entering a game with someone you have a previous relationship with?
Boehlke: It’s so hard. If I was playing with my mom I probably wouldn’t backstab her, but anyone else is fair game. It’s a game. But, I knew at one point I had to choose between Phillip and Francesca. I didn’t think they could co-exist. We created an alliance of six, the Caramoan version of Stealth R Us. And when you have six on four, why would I go the other way? I hadn’t talked strategy with Erik, Brenda, or Brandon.
Holmes: If you take nothing else away from this experience, I want you to take away that you’re a better person than I am. Because I would vote my mother off in a heartbeat.
Boehlke: (Laughs) I would never vote my mom out.
Holmes: Reynold, you were really on the bottom from that first fans Tribal Council on. How was dealing with a month on the edge?
Toepfer: It’s a lot of stress. But also, when Malcolm finally was exposed as one of us, Eddie said, “Hey, it’s not that bad on the bottom.” (Laughs) And really, it wasn’t. Eddie and I knew what it was. We knew everyone was against us so there wasn’t as much work to do with running around and colluding. We could just kick back and laugh about it. I’m proud that I made it through that experience without any breakdowns.
Holmes: Last night my initial reaction to Eddie quitting the challenge in exchange for some donuts was, “This kid is the worst player ever.” Now I’m reconsidering. This is the fourth vote where he should’ve gone home. Malcolm saved him with an idol, then Malcolm was the biggest threat and he went home, Reynold last night you were the biggest challenge threat and you got the boot, then Andrea, you stick up for him and you were blindsided. So, is this kid the best player ever or the worst?
Toepfer: (Laughs) You know I’m going to say best player ever. If you think Erik is a good strategist, then you can say the same thing about Eddie. He has a really likable personality. I was much more abrasive. I think everyone really warmed up to Eddie. He was like this big stuffed animal, where I was someone they definitely wanted to kill.
Andrea: He’s definitely not the best. (Laughs) He’s not really doing anything. He’s always on the wrong side of the vote. But, he’s very likable. He’s this happy-go-lucky kid and you think you can always get rid of him later. But he keeps sneaking by.
Holmes: OK, word association. Let’s start with Dawn.
Toepfer: I’m ambivalent about Cochran.
Boehlke: Fixture. (CORRECTION: Andrea actually said “Trickster.”)
Boehlke: Fighter…but not like in a violent way.
Holmes: Andrea, a few weeks ago we saw two seconds of you taking down Brandon in some kind of side headlock. No context, no nothing. Just “Survivor” WWE-style. What was that all about?
Boehlke: (Laughs) I know! They just gave us a little glimpse of that. Brandon and I would do all of these weird games. We would wrestle, we would play the game where you try to hit each other’s knuckles. It was really fun. I actually really liked Brandon out there. We’d always be doing weird things together.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes