Last night on Survivor: Nicaragua, we said so long to James “Jimmy T.” Tarantino, the commercial fisherman from Gloucester, MA. Although his tribemates didn’t care for him, America sure did. He won a contest beating out thousands of people as America’s choice. Sadly for Jimmy T. he could never get over not being top dog around camp. He was always asking to lead but never leading by example.
I had the chance to talk to Jimmy T. this afternoon and get his take on what went down in Nicaragua. He also gives his opinion on Probst, Tyrone, his leadership skills, and how he felt he owed it to America to do well in the game.
Hi Jimmy, how are you?
I’m doing remarkably well considering recent events.
You had a pretty unique journey getting on Survivor. Tell us how you came to be on the show.
I was in this casting call contest that Sears sponsored. People submitted a one minute video and then CBS selected ten finalists and America voted for two weeks on who they wanted to be their representative.
So you went into the game as America’s choice?
I certainly did, out of that contest, yes.
How did winning that contest motivate you in the game?
It inspired me to go out there and do well. It may have actually hurt me in the long run, because I wanted so badly to prove everybody [who voted for me] right, that I kind of got off my game plan physically and mentally. I tried to give everything I could and it just wore me down.
You had mentioned that you weren’t much of fan of Survivor coming in.
The couple times I had seen it, I liked it, but I’m not really a TV guy. I’m pretty busy in my life but when I found out I was a candidate I started researching and became a huge fan.
Do you think your lack of familiarity with the show led to some of your social problems with the tribe?
Nah (laughs), I knew the right course I just couldn’t stay on it for several reasons. I went all in, and I wore myself down in the first week. I didn’t sleep much out there, and I was playing the part of the game that was actual survival, providing for the tribe, and I thought that would do me well. It turned out that didn’t mean much to anybody because the social game is what you really want to focus on.
This has been an interesting season because the Espada tribe doesn’t seem to have much of a strategy other than ‘let Marty do what he wants’.
Did you get a feel for me trying to oppose that a little bit by trying to point out Marty?
The show kind of perceives me as just crazy. Then Jeff in his blog says ‘Jimmy T.’s tough to be around, he’s annoying and he’s an egomaniac that just wants more attention,’ and that’s just not the case. I was genuinely trying put the tribe on a winning course and had I been given the opportunity we certainly would have won the bean bag challenge.
Speaking of challenges, what happened last night? Espada put in the time and practiced beforehand but at the challenge Espada was an absolute disaster.
You can’t pick it up on the TV but there was a lot of screaming and yelling going on. In the confusion of the game, Tyrone sent Holly and I in the wrong direction and we ended up with the other kids, and we could only hear them yelling. That doesn’t get shown of course, all we see is Tyrone saying ‘he don’t listen,’ I was listening as hard as I could, I just couldn’t hear him. It was a total mess.
I completely agree, the challenge was embarrassing. Well, sorry your gone but it was sure fun to watch you this season, and at least you got a lot of screen time in your only four episodes. That’s a good thing, right?
Well I hope people will pick up on that, I was genuinely trying to do the right thing, and that I’m not some self-serving egomaniac.
I think your reaction at tribal proved you were willing to improve and move on.
I hope so man.
Now that you’re no longer in the game, who are you rooting for to win the whole thing?
Jane! Jane! Jane! Jane!
Now I ask you, dear readers. What do you think of Jimmy T. now that you’ve heard his side of the story? Do you like him, or are you excited you don’t have to sit through another one of his songs? Let me know in the comments!
(Image courtesy of CBS)