It’s hard to believe that Spencer Duhm didn’t kind of get screwed last night on Survivor: Tocantins.  Is one sub-par challenge performance enough reason to vote a person out of your tribe?  If your tribe is Jalapao, then this appeared to be the case.  However, as is constantly the case with Survivor, last night’s episode didn’t tell the whole story.  According to Spencer, who we had the chance to speak with this morning, there was a lot more going on behind the scenes than the viewing audience was privy to.  That’s fine – CBS is working with time constraints and have to tell the best narrative available.  However, Jalapao has been portrayed as a go-with-the-flow tribe, filled with likable characters lacking in strategery.  Spencer claims this is absolutely not the case.  Read/listen to the below interview to find out why.

Below you will find the transcript as well as the full mp3 audio of the interview.

Hey, this is Oscar Dahl from BuddyTV and I’m here with Spencer from Survivor: Tocantins.  Spencer, how are you doing?

I’m great. I mean, it was really difficult being voted out on national TV, but no, I’m fine. Not bad at all.

Put us through your mindset while you’re watching the show last night.

I mean, I knew, obviously, what happened and I was wondering how awful I was going to look in that challenge.  I knew it it’d be really bad.  It wasn’t fun to watch it, but I wasn’t totally upset.  I was glad to see that the reward challenge went well, and I got my letter from my parents which I’m sure they’re happy that I cried and that I care about my family.  But, as far as getting voted off – man, I was really depressed at tribal council.

That immunity challenge, they edited it in a way where they didn’t key in on what you were doing until late in the challenge and it was really hard to notice what you were doing wrong.  Can you explain what happened and why JT was upset with you?

Basically, you know, I just couldn’t get the hang of it.  It was very hard to judge.  The two people shooting the balls for both tribes, you had low line drives, sometimes they would launch them really high and far, high and it would come to the first post where I was with Tyson. It was really inconsistent.  It was hard to get the hang of it.  And Tyson is really fast, he’s proven that in the challenges.  I didn’t want to let him run forward and get them, which he did a couple times early. He didn’t get the ball, but he got away from me.  He got away from me.  I’m thinking “All right, the guys behind me, Joe and JT and Taj, can handle back there, and I will make sure that Tyson doesn’t go forward and get low line drives that are coming in.”  So, I prevented him from doing that, but at the same time I had to get a running start, so you had to pretty much commit to doing that, then if it launched over your head, it looked like you didn’t know what you were doing and if Tyson happens to hang back one time, it looks like you’re just a moron.  I couldn’t get the hang of it, and that was what JT was frustrated with.  JT caught all of our points.  So, it’s funny – Taj got scored on by Brendan just as many times as I got scored on by Tyson.  It was kind of a bummer that I got the sole blame for that challenge, but it happened.  It was no big deal – well, it was, because I got voted off, but I’m not bitter or anything.

Was that the only reason that the charge to vote you out came to fruition?

No, they didn’t vote me off for that reason at all, actually, which is funny because that’s how it got portrayed on TV.  I figured that would be the case. We got back to camp and I knew they’d be upset with me.  Taj was frustrated because she thought that she was on the chopping block.  Based on up until that point, she was supposed to go after Sandy based on the alliances that were formed in our camp.  She was frustrated with thinking that she was going home and thinking that maybe I deserved to go home because of my performance in the challenge. So, she blew up and I knew she blew up, so when I went down there to talk to JT, knowing that he’d be upset, I was like, “Be calm, be receptive to his criticism, because he is going to criticize you.” 

So, I thought I handled myself much better than she did and I was hoping that would save me. But, what happened was we talked about our Guys Alliance which we had already made day two or day three and we talked about keeping that strong.  Once JT and I talked it out about the challenge, he got over it.  He was like, “Yeah I blew up, and I understand that you were giving it your all.”  We talked about re-upping the guys alliance and voting out Sydney soon, whether or not it was that night or we had to go again. Well, Joe was really fond of Sydney so even though he agreed with us there, he went up to Sydney and said “Hey, it’s either going to be you or Spencer.  So if you don’t screw him over, then you could be on the chopping block.” And Stephen had been putting the thoughts in Sydney’s mind for a week that I was untrustworthy, that I was manipulative, that I was not loyal to her and all this other stuff.  All those seeds that he planted were able to get her to switch on me, because I was also in an alliance with Joe and Sydney.  That is what happened.  That’s why I ended up going home, because Joe was close with Sydney, I guess, and didn’t want her to go home and told her about it.  I mean, obviously my neck was put on the line because of the challenge, but they got over that. 

What have you found surprising while watching the season from home?  Is there anything that shocked you in terms of gameplay, in terms of people’s allegiances?

They haven’t really shown any strategy on our tribe.  So, allegiances on our tribe, nothing was really surprising. I already knew that Stephen and Taj were close.  I didn’t know that Taj had the Exile alliance and I don’t think many people, if anybody else, in our tribe knew about that. We all thought she probably had the idol because they’re really easy to find but we didn’t know about the Exile alliance, that’s probably the only really surprising thing we’ve seen.  Other than that, I thought I had a pretty good handle of what was going on in our tribe. 

Last night, we saw your conversation with Sydney where you alluded the fact that you weren’t going to tell the tribe that you were gay.  Was that something you came into the season with as your game-plan, or did you make that decision based on the make-up of your tribe?

No, no – that was something I planned on doing when I came into the show. I thought maybe if they seemed really, really accepting or something, if I just felt, like, on a whim someday telling them, I will, but I was pretty set on not mentioning it because sometimes people can have a prejudice or something stupid and want any reason to vote you off.  If there’s something that was a subconscious problem they have with homosexuality they could just say “Hey, you know, it’s a coin flip tonight, I kind of have to make it Spencer,”  you know, subconscious – “So get rid of him.”  So, that was the only thing.  Honestly, just cause it was a game, I didn’t want to give anyone a reason to separate me from the group.  Because whether you’re a leader or an outcast, that’s a reason to target somebody, so I just wanted to blend in as much as possible.

So, there’s a story that has come up this week about you and Survivor: China winner Todd Herzog maybe being something of an item.  Would you like to talk about that at all?

Actually, I appreciate the question, but I would rather avoid that topic.

That’s just fine.  You know I had to ask that though, right?

Yes, that’s understandable.  I’ve been asked that a few times today.

Was there anything edited out over the course of the season that you wish CBS had thrown in there?

Well, I think all the people on my tribe were probably frustrated with this too.  They don’t show any strategy on our tribe whatsoever.  And it makes us look like, we just vote out the crazy lady, and we just vote out the girl who was annoying at the challenge and we just vote out the kid who was terrible at the last challenge without any rhyme or reason. That’s not the case at all.  Alliances were formed, I think, on Day 2.  I had two on Day 2.  Other people, Taj and Stephen, were playing the game.  They just don’t show anything and last episode when Sandy went home, they showed Sandy, Taj, and JT in the water and they were talking about targeting Sydney and wanting to get rid of her, but Spencer would be mad, is what Stephen said, and the reason he said that is because they knew we had an alliance, but they dont show that in the show, but it probably came across that I’d be mad because I was really good friends with her.  But, it’s because we had an alliance and they were trying to take us out before we got to three on three, so to say.  Not because the other three of them had an alliance, but because they were afraid.  They figured that the three of us were together, Joe, Sydney and I, that they would obviously would have to vote together or they would be picked off.

Jalapao was, at least to me, portrayed as the more harmonious tribe.  It seems like you guys got along for the most part.  Was that actually the case?

Absolutely.  We all got along really well.  I was surprised. I thought, “Spencer you’re goign to have to hold your tongue, you’re going to have to watch what you say, because anything you say on camera is going to be shown and could make you look liek a jerk,” but the only people that I got really frustrated with were the first two who got voted off.  But, even them I enjoyed being around them most of the time.  Their personalities just didn’t click at all times, but for the most part we got along.  And then everybody else left when I was voted off I had a great relationship with, and I think everybody else felt the same way.  We were all pretty laid back, absolutely competitive, all about wanting to be as strong as possible so we could go into the merge with numbers, pick them off, all this other stuff, so we got along really well and it’s funny to watch Timbira with all their in-fighting because we were the exact opposite.

Last question: What do you have in terms of future plans?  Anything coming up in the pipeline?

No.  I’m going to school, taking summer classes this year to make up for the time I missed in the fall.  I’ll be going to grad school after I graduate in a year and a half or so or whenever that happens. Nothing is changing, going back to regular, boring life.

Thanks Spencer, I appreciate the time.

No Problem.

-Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl
(Image Courtesy of CBS)

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