After entering an online Sears contest to become a Survivor, 49-year-old Gloucester, Mass., resident James "Jimmy T" Tarantino soon found himself voted onto the hit show. But after last night's tribal council, Jimmy T found himself voted out by his tribemates.
While Jimmy went into the game with intentions of going under the radar, his game soon changed after arriving in Nicaragua. “I lot of distracting things went on,” Jimmy T tells In Touch, “I went all-in physically and emotionally and that's not how you play the game.”
Throughout the game, Jimmy wanted to prove his worth in the challenges and be given a chance to shine, only to be thwarted by fellow Espada teammate Marty, who has been orchestrating the tribe to his advantage from the get-go. “Losing those challenges was particularly hard for me,” explains Jimmy. “Especially not being given a chance. If I had won a challenge, it might have changed the tribes dynamic and that would have changed things for Marty.”
With conditions at camp hitting rock-bottom following a thunderstorm, Jimmy’s attempts to bolster everyone’s spirits with song and dance were misinterpreted as annoying, and it soon became apparent his do-good attempt might be his undoing.
Still Jimmy is pleased with the game he played, though not so sure about how he was portrayed. “I have no regrets,” he says. “They make a great show and if I provided a little lunacy, I hope everyone enjoyed it. I was trying to be as helpful as I could — that's all. Survivor is all about self-preservation and I have no resentment toward anyone. I wish everyone luck, especially those that were sincere and real. I'm cheering for Jane, she played with her heart and I hope she goes all the way.”
Click here for the full interview.
Q: How are you feeling after watching last night’s episode unfold?
Jimmy T: It was tough to watch the episode last night. I think they portrayed me as a buffoon, but I knew that going in. Whenever you put yourself out there, you have to take it on the chin. I know I did the best I could and got a tremendous amount of support from family and friends and that is reward enough.
Q: Originally you said you were going to go in under the radar, but that didn’t happen?
Jimmy T: I am taking full responsibility for going off plan. A lot of things took place that took me off my game, but I went all in physically and emotionally and that's not how you play the game. I told people to take notes on how to play Survivor, and ended up showing them how NOT to. Here’s where you go wrong – being 49, and a hard worker has always worked for me. Take away nutrition and sleep and you become your base character. I, instead of playing a social game, went in emotionally. I busted my ass for the good of the tribe, and it weakened me in the long run.
Q: It seemed you were trying to bolster the tribes spirits, when it looked really miserable out there, but it came off as annoying. What really happened?
Jimmy T: Before I started singing and trying to distract people, there were people shivering uncontrollably, people on the verge of tears and questioning how long they could do this. Everyone was at an all-time low. The elements don’t bother me, so for the good of the tribe, I tried to bolster their spirits. Fifty percent of the tribe understood what I was doing, while the other were wondering what in the hell I was doing? I was just trying to provide positive energy and it ended up portrayed as me being a goofy jester, who just wanted attention.
Q: You called Marty the puppet-master, when did you figure out he was playing the game for himself?
Jimmy T: I figured Marty out early in the game in that he would be self-serving, telling me one thing and doing another. I could tell when he wouldn’t look me in the eye that he was thinking about something else. I’d express myself and he wouldn’t really listen. He’d deliberately ignore me. With Marty it’s all about him and you can see that. He looks like an evil scientist and did what was best for him. I did what was best for the tribe, and tried and get us on a winning course. If he’d have given me a chance I might have taken the wheel and that would have been bad for Marty.
Q: Overall was Survivor a good experience for you?
Jimmy T: If you like a challenge you will never experience a bigger one. I am so grateful for the ability to play Survivor. It was incredible. When you put that much stress on people it’s amazing what comes out. I actually watched ten seasons going into this game, and wish I had applied what I had learned (laughs). Still I learned from what I did and will apply that if I ever play again – check your emotions and take a seat on the back of the bus. If someone is that intent on driving the bus off a cliff, you have to just sit back and jump off before it goes over. I learned that much in the game.