‘Survivor’ Castaway Tyler: “Had I Known, I Would Have Blown It Up”

"Survivor: Worlds Apart" (CBS)

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Every “Survivor” bio has a question that annoys me; “Which ‘Survivor’ Player Are You Most Like?” Now, the reason I hate this question is because the answers are usually terrible. It tends to be something like, “I’m a mix of Parvati’s flirting, “Boston” Rob’s social game, and Ozzy’s challenge skills.”

I was so busy hating the answers that I’d never really thought about which “Survivor” player am I most like? When I finally sat and tried to figure this out, it was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated.

Until I watched Tyler.

Based on what I saw on my television, Tyler is a solid representation of how I’d like to play the game. While others were exploding, he was quiet and reserved. He kept an eye on everything. He kept lines of communication open with many people.

It wasn’t enough to blow up and be someone people would want to take to the end. It was about getting in front of the jury with a chance to take the whole thing.

Unfortunately for Tyler, this gameplay made him a target. And when his alliance was forced to boot someone, he was considered the biggest threat.

I spoke with Tyler the morning after his elimination and asked him about his gameplay, Carolyn’s blindside, and Will’s explosion…

Gordon Holmes: What happened last night? I wasn’t shocked to see you go out, I was shocked to see who voted for you.
Tyler Fredrickson: So was I, dude! So was I! She did me dirty. But good on her, she was able to get me before I was able to get her. So, I can’t blame her.
Holmes: Everyone is saying, “Tyler’s a threat”…which is true, but Mike’s the biggest threat to win out there. It makes sense to me to keep my challenge competitors on board until Mike’s gone. Was that ever part of your pitch to stick around?
Fredrickson: Honestly, I didn’t know they were coming for me. It was a complete #blindside for me. Looking back at the edit, were the signs there? Were they pointing to me? Yeah, but you’re not a part of that. From what I knew we had a core four. And we were going to rock and roll and push forward. We had to throw some votes at Mike in case he doesn’t play the idol. Of course he’s going to, but you don’t know that completely. We throw a few votes at Dan, then we move forward. Had I known, I would have blown it up. Gordon, I would have blown everything up. “The advantage is this, idols are here…here’s the core four. Mike, what do you want to do, bro? Let’s go. Let’s go the end. Me and you, two strong players.” Mike’s a strong guy, but Mike’s not unbeatable. I feel like I’m a pretty competent player too. I just hate stupid endurance challenges.
Holmes: (Laughs)
Fredrickson: It doesn’t play to my strengths as an athlete at all. Especially after I’ve lost almost thirty pounds. Looking at it now? You’re right. Will’s not going to do anything in challenges. Rodney is challenge kryptonite. Sierra has proven to be completely inept. And Dan’s just…Dan. So, Carolyn is going to compete against Mike? She’s great, but no offense, my money is on Mike. I’ll take that every step of the way. But, you’ve got to think eventually he’s going to lose and they can get him out, but you never know.
Holmes: Did you ever ask Carolyn to play her idol for you?
Fredrickson: It came up. We talked about it. I kind of beat around the bush about it. I didn’t want to say,  “Yo, if this happens, you need to hook me up. You need to play this.” I never wanted her to feel pressure. It got to the point where I wondered if she was avoiding talking about it too much. And she even said that she did not bring her idol to the Tribal where Mike and Shirin blew me up. When she didn’t throw it out there, I said, “Yo, if we’re in this together and you’re not willing to play this at that point, are we not in this together?”

Holmes:  You gave Carolyn kudos for getting you before you got her. How close were you to pulling the trigger on her?
Fredrickson: I knew she had to go, she had the idol, we’ve gotta make our move. Rodney’s pissed at her for not taking him on reward. Will’s wants her gone. Dan’s over it too. We’ve got all these people on board to get Carolyn, and then she wins immunity. Then I have to pull back. I’ve got to continue to trust our core four, get past this vote, then I’m going big. I’ve reworked the scenario in my head so many times. Do I tell them, “I’ll tell you something after Tribal that will blow your mind?” Everybody would say, “Tell us now or you’re going home.” All six of them wanted me gone and not a single person said anything about it. What can you do?

Holmes: You looked through Dan’s bag. You knew about his advantage. The game has never had something like it. What were you worried he might do with it?
Fredrickson: Because I didn’t have the extra vote, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about what I might do with it, or how I would get in Dan’s graces and then try to maneuver with it. Our core group was big and strong. What I tried to do was build it up to be something extremely powerful. “We don’t know what it is. It could be a vote doubler, it could let him rip up a vote, he could immediately send someone home. We don’t know what it is, all we know is it’s scary. And you don’t have it, right Will? Right Rodney? OK, so we’ve got to think of targeting this dude sooner than later.” But, when you’re dealing with people who are rather reactionary, things like that aren’t in the forefront of their mind. It’s more about being hungry and not having a reward.

Holmes: If  I gave you the booking power to write out how “Survivor: Worlds Apart” should have ended, what was your dream final three scenario?
Fredrickson: It was me, Will, and Rodney. I think you ask a lot of people and Will and Rodney are going to be there. At least in the top four. Will was just sitting back, he hadn’t made a lot of moves. Rodney is talking a massive good game. But, it’s all talk. So much talk. Where’s the strategic mastermind? Where’s the subtle good game? Where’s the puppetmaster? Where’s that strategy? We have a season where there are big personalities and people like to fight.
Holmes: Hold the phone there, you’re telling me Rodney’s not subtle?
Fredrickson: (Laughs) Not subtle. We were on a season where people yelling and fighting and arguing was apparently much more interesting than strategic gameplay. Maybe I have myself to blame for that. Maybe I was boring in confessionals. It was difficult for me to get out of a quiet, more subtle kind of gameplay on the island. It’s hard when you’re immersed. It’s hard when you’re hungry. It’s hard when you’re exhausted and beat up. Rodney’s good TV. He’s better TV than me, I’ll give him that.

Holmes: It was portrayed that you were somewhat responsible for Will’s meltdown, being that you were the person who told him about Mike, Jenn, and Shirin doubting his snack story. What is your take on that ugly situation?
Fredrickson: These are pretty complicated issues. They’re layered issues. They require educated discussions from people who have more degrees than I do. All the bullying, the victim, the passive bullying…bystandering or whatever it’s called. Shirin and Will are two of my friends. I get the way they’re feeling and I want to respect that. Here’s what I’ll say, Gordon…there was an argument between two people and it grew pretty heavy. I believe that Will took it much further than it needed to go and I actually encouraged him to apologize to Shirin after that. At Tribal she mentioned that I was the only person to do so, but that was edited out for some reason. I really think it’s now up to them to work through. Hopefully CBS will give them the chance to do that.

Holmes: I was there on day three when the White Collars voted out So. It seemed like Max, Carolyn, and Shirin were a pretty solid group. When was the decision made to partner up with Joaquin?
Fredrickson: Max and I bonded really quickly, but I could never trust Max. Max makes a horrible first impression. He’s an incredible dude. A caring, great, freaking smart guy. But on the island it’s like, when is Max going to make his own thing? I can’t trust him. I wanted a Carolyn or a Sierra. Someone I could lock in to. So, when Carolyn came to me I thought, this is more important than Max. Max had Shirin because they were geeking out over the whole situation. When So departed, Joaquin realized that this game is bigger than him and he’s playing with fire right now. What was great about Joaquin is I could walk up to him and say, “All we’ve got to do is win. Forget the strategy. We win and we never go to Tribal again.” We had the best streak of first and second finishes. We never went back again until the mix-up when we threw the memory challenge. And we still would have won that…and they got rid of Joaquin. Joaquin and I were on a streak of like five or six in a row.
Holmes: In the early going, you made it seem like you didn’t want to strategize at all.
Fredrickson: It wasn’t that I didn’t want to strategize. I strategized consistently. But, the reality was if you acted like you didn’t want to strategize, you came across as less threatening. People were already going to assume I was a threat based on my size and because I carried myself more quietly. All I wanted to do was be a meathead and talk about winning, it’s us vs. them. Shirin is still befuddled about that to this day, which I chalk up as a really great response in my favor.

Holmes:  Alright, let’s do some word association…
Fredrickson: You’re going to hate me, dude.
Holmes:  You wrote yours out in advance too?
Fredrickson: …I did.
Holmes: You people are monsters.
Fredrickson: I’m sorry! And I did everybody like Shirin did.
Holmes:
Fredrickson: Think about it this way; people know your work. We all talk about it. We all anticipate really great questions like this.
Holmes:  Well, that I like. In order, let’s start with So.
Fredrickson: Spike.
Holmes: Vince?
Fredrickson: Discovery.
Holmes: Nina?
Fredrickson: Outdoor Channel…closed captioned…
Holmes: (Laughs) OK…I get it. Lindsey?
Fredrickson: BabyFirst TV.
Holmes: Max?
Fredrickson: Adult Swim.
Holmes: Joaquin?
Fredrickson: Playboy.
Holmes: Kelly?
Fredrickson: Bravo.
Holmes: Hali?
Fredrickson: CW.
Holmes: Joe?
Fredrickson: Netflix.
Holmes: Jenn?
Fredrickson: MTV.
Holmes: Shirin?
Fredrickson: Lifetime.
Holmes: Mike?
Fredrickson: Showtime.
Holmes: Sierra?
Fredrickson: CMT.
Holmes: Carolyn?
Fredrickson: Esquire.
Holmes:  Dan?
Fredrickson: History.
Holmes:  Rodney?
Fredrickson: Food Network.
Holmes: Will?
Fredrickson: BET.
Holmes: Alright, anything for that guy Tyler?
Fredrickson: Amazon. Because I’d be trying to be cool and mainstream. But in the end, not known primarily for good TV.

Holmes: So, five of your “Worlds Apart” buddies are eligible for the Second Chance season. Assuming that Mike and Carolyn remain eligible, rank the players based on who you’d most like to see play again.
Fredrickson: As a viewer…you’re putting me on the spot with my Dirty 30…I’ll go Joe, Mike, Max, Carolyn, and Shirin. That’s from most to least.

Holmes: The Second Chance is a huge topic of conversation now. If given a second chance, what would be your strategy?
Fredrickson: I have no regrets in the game I played. Relating to people and forming relationships was really key. Listening before speaking. I probably would have approached my confessionals a lot more aggressively. I’d try to be who I really am, “I’m running this show and everybody’s got to listen to me.” I’d have taken more advantage of that opportunity. For the actual gameplay, I’d try to play slightly more aggressive. Or maybe try to anticipate blindsides a little better. (Laughs)

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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