“[H]appy people don”t make TV, most of the time,” admits “Survivor: Worlds Apart” veteran Jenn Brown. “It's for drama. You want to see the fights. You want to see the people yelling. But the happy moments? There were so many great moments out there.”
You wouldn't necessarily know about those great moments based on how Jenn went out of the game. Two episodes after an Immunity Idol play that represented one of the “Survivor” season's most exciting moments, Jenn was ready to leave the game and tried to convince people to vote against her. Instead, the castaways took the opportunity to get rid of major threat Joe. But one episode later, Jenn was leaving after a decisive vote that saw even allies Shirin and Mike vote against her.
Don't worry, though. Jenn was in on Shirin and Mike's votes. But at the time, she definitely left with a bad taste in her mouth.
“A lot of people sucked super-hard,” she said at the time.
In her “Survivor: Worlds Apart” exit interview, Jenn sounds a bit more mellow about her fellow contestants, finding nice things to say about nearly all of them, though she definitely still holds a grudge against Will for his treatment of Shirin.
In our conversation, we talked about her evolving friendship with Shirin, her strategic frustrations with Joe and, most importantly, what the heck she won at the “Survivor” Auction, a giant concoction rendered unintelligible by the episode's editing.
Click through for the full Q&A with Jenn…
HitFix: Okay, compare the different senses of disappointment in going home at last night”s Tribal Council and in *not* going home at the previous Tribal Council.
Jenn Brown: [She chuckles.] I was so disappointed when they voted out Joe, because I thought I was going home. And then I was so happy last Tribal, because I had protected Shirin and kept her in the game and knew that I was gonna go hang out with my friends who weren”t crazy people.
HitFix: So okay, it sounds from that as if Shirin and Mike voting for you, that was not a surprise?
Jenn Brown: No, no. I told them to. They didn”t show that obviously but yes, we knew they were splitting the votes the other alliance so and then they were going to vote out Shirin when none of us played an Idol. And Shirin desperately wanted to be there. I desperately did not and I was like, “Guys, if you vote for me save Shirin, just do it and everything will be hunky dory.” And so they did and it was great. And then Shirin”s vote for me had hearts all around it.
HitFix: It was very sweet and that made it look as if it probably wasn”t a surprise, but we still saw no indication of that in last night”s episode so I wasn”t sure.
Jenn Brown: No there was no time. There”s too much good stuff going on.
HitFix: How strange was it for you to find yourself out there in an alliance with Shirin and Mike at that point in the game?
Jenn Brown: [Laughs.] We were the island of misfit toys. We were the people that everyone hated. So naturally we banded together. All the exiles eventually come together with each other. Shirin was exiled by the group. Mike was exiled by the group. I exiled myself on purpose, because I hated everyone. Yeah, it was interesting. But, it was like being on a sinking ship so we were having a good time with it. We”re all like, “Oh well. We're all doomed, whatever. Let”s be friends while we”re going down.” It was great.
HitFix: Were you really having a good time with it? I mean was there a switch that flipped in your mind that at least briefly made you want to stay in the game out there or not?
Jenn Brown: You know there was a good three days that they had a field day with last week where I was definitely stressed out. Everyone was horrible to each other and there”s a certain point where — Yes, it”s a game and yes it's for million dollars — but like nothing in life is worth how terrible some of these people were to each other. I don”t care if it”s a game. I don”t care if it”s for money. Just the way some of these people were treating each other, I wanted nothing to do with it. So I would just kind of walk around by myself and if people tried to talk to me I was like, “No, I”m good. I”m good. Don”t talk to me please.” But then after Joe was gone and after the whole Will incident – first off no one showed how excited I was for the auction because that was literally my favorite thing in “Survivor” ever. I would rather do the auction a thousand times than win because I get so – ask my roommate, ask anyone – I flip out every season when they do the auction. Like I almost start crying. It”s the best thing in the world. And I got to be a part of it. I was like “Oh my god!” So then I was all excited again. And then after the Will blowup I was like, “You know what? These people don”t deserve anything I”m going to stay in game and stir up as much things as I can for them.” So I did. But none of that was shown because, you know, there”s too much good stuff going on.
HitFix: Okay, I want to go quickly back to the auction. What the heck was it that you bought because we could really not tell on TV last night.
Jenn Brown: [Laughs.] I bought a giant bowl of rum punch with fruit in it. We came actually with the steak that Sierra got, but I learned my lesson on another reward that we”d gotten that I cannot eat copious amounts of meat, because I will vomit for 10 hours. So I was like, “Hey Jeff, I can”t eat that.” So they put it up for auction. So I think they wanted me to have food with my like six or seven shots of rum in 10 minutes. But I didn”t. Watching the episode last night, I was dying laughing. We all were, just because every time they showed me I had more like umbrellas in my hair and I was just kind of having a good old time.
HitFix: You and Shirin had a really rough start to your relationship but by the end she gave you that big hug as you were leaving. What did you feel like the relationship was by the end?
Jenn Brown: I loved Shirin by the end. She was very close to me and she still is, to this day. I did have a rough start with Shirin that”s because her and Max came in and disrupted my camp life with doing nothing for a week-and-a-half and that upset me. I was like, “I can”t handle these people. They never stop talking.” And then once Max was gone it was like, “Okay,” she chilled out a little and then I really got to know her as a person because she talked to other people because she didn”t have Max to talk to. And then it was like ,”Alright, this is fine.” And then once the Merge happened everyone hated her so much, with no reasoning. I still to this day don”t know why. It was like, “Why? This girl”s really wonderful. Why are you guys treating her like this?” And it just made me like her more. Because no one else seemed to. And I was like, “Well, they”re all very s****y people so it”s probably good that they don”t like you. I wouldn”t want them to like me.”
HitFix: Well as things were getting awkward with Will and Shirin at that Tribal Council there was a sense that no one was really trying to get involved or coming to her defense. Why do you think that was?
Jenn Brown: Well no one came to her defense when it happened in person. I wasn”t there. I was not there. I didn”t know how bad it was. If I had been there I would have done something, I like to think. And at Tribal Council they were just yelling at each other and I wasn”t there so I couldn”t really put a dog in the fight, you know? But why no one else said anything I don”t understand it. And why Will, when given more than enough chances to apologize, he didn”t? It was very interesting to see that happen especially when he had been so nice to me and he still, was always nice to me. To this day he”s nice to me. And I don”t understand what happened between him and Shirin and why he acted that way towards her.
HitFix: You”ve had a couple of months to mull over this and you”re well-fed and well-rested and all of that. So give me your definitive suckitude ratings for the people you were with out there.
Jenn Brown: What ratings?
HitFix: Suckitude or sucking if you prefer.
Jenn Brown: Suckitude! On everyone?
HitFix: Sure. I mean you went through five people last night but give me the definitive ratings for who sucked the most.
Jenn Brown: [She laughs.] Yeah, I love Sierra. I said she sucked last night in this episode. Didn”t mean it. Obvious at the time I did but I love Sierra. She”s an awesome human being. I love Joe. He is like a dear brother to me. Hali Ford is one of my closest friends. I love her to death. I see her all the time. Shirin is an amazing human being. I love her too. I love Mike. Mike is an awesome person. He hangs out with my family in Texas like all the time. He”s wonderful. Who else was on the show? I love Rodney. I think Rodney is hilarious. Deep down, I think he”s a very good person. I don”t really have much contact with Carolyn. I don”t, you know… whatever. Who else is on the show. Tyler is fine. Will has always been nice to me, but what he did to Shirin is disgusting and I just can”t get past it. I don”t understand it. I can”t get past it but I think there”s something deep and dark inside someone if they”re capable of doing that and never realized, like never saying, “That was horrible of me to say. I”m sorry,” in any way, shape or form. And I can”t really get over that. And Dan Foley is… okay. He exists. He drives me insane. I don”t know. Dan”s always been nice to me but he”s been really terrible to some people so that makes me not like him because he”s so mean to good people.
HitFix: And where did Vince and Nina fit into that?
Jenn Brown: Oh I was just giving Merge people. Ummm… No comment.
HitFix: Being surrounded by all of that unpleasantness, I guess, did you feel like you did anything you regretted out there or did you really stay above the fray in your opinion?
Jenn Brown: I mean the only thing I really regret is, you know, not playing the last episode. The last two episodes I was just kind of like, “You know, I can”t do this anymore. You guys are awful people and I have tried every single thing I can do. Shirin has tried every single thing she can do to get one of you guys to come over with us and they refused to.” And it was so frustrating. And there”s only so much you can do. Like there”s only so many times I can say, “Please do this, here”s why. Here”s a logical reason why you should do it.” And when no one does it, it kind of is like, “Well what”s the point anymore. I”ve tried everything I could do. I”m not gonna find another Immunity Idol. I can”t beat Mike at challenges. Apparently I can”t beat an NFL kicker”s [Tyler] calf muscles believe it or not?] It”s just like what am I supposed to do. And it gets frustrating and so it”s like, “F*** it. F*** it. I know what Ponderosa”s gonna be so let”s go there.”
HitFix: You mentioned the Immunity Idol and that was a great moment for you. Were you able to still take pride and to have the glow of that moment when it happened or could you only think of what came afterwards?
Jenn Brown: Oh I didn”t even think about what was going on afterwards. I was like so, so – because I didn”t know it was gonna be Hali or I and I was playing it at Tribal but then context clues for the like whole hour and a half of Tribal, I like, “It”s totally gonna be me. Like waiting for me and it was awful. Actually the only thing I regret is I orchestrated the Kelly vote-out and I wish I would have voted out Mike.
Jenn Brown: Oh, we voted off Kelly with that Immunity Idol and I don”t know, I honestly, to this day, I can”t figure out why we did that. That was so stupid. She was not a threat in any way, shape or form. She didn”t do anything. She didn”t even strategize. It was like why did we vote her out?
HitFix: Is that really a thing where because you”re so tired and exhausted and starving out there that you literally can”t remember how that decision came to be?
Jenn Brown: Pretty much yeah. I”ve asked Hali and Joe like, “What were we thinking?” And both of them are like, “I have no idea.” Like none of us can say why we did that.
HitFix: When I talked to Hali she expressed a little bit of frustration about Joe and his need to be doing an individual game and maybe his not being strategically enough involved out there. Did you feel the same way about him?
Jenn Brown: Yeah. Yeah. I didn”t like Joe like right after the first Merge episode. Hali and I were both like, “Man, Joe”s kind of being a dick.” He didn't take us on that Reward, which I thought was one of the more strategic moves ever. Like, “Hey let me be super-obvious about trying to get everyone on my side.” Like… Dude! No. Pick like two people. Don”t pick five people that aren”t with you. Like that”s insane. Bring some people that are with you, establish a little bit of trust. Like that was ridiculous. Yeah I was really frustrated with Joe. He wasn”t playing a strategic game at all. He was like, “I”m just gonna win.” I”m like, “No you”re not Joe. You”re gonna get voted out.” And that's what happened.
HitFix: Last week we saw the footage of Rodney”s impressions and everybody was laughing at it and it was sort of surprising because what we”ve seen this season has been much more bickering and talking behind people”s backs and less the kind of happy moments. When you think back, how do you view that experience in terms of the unpleasantness versus things that were actually really kind of fun out there?
Jenn Brown: Well happy people don”t make TV, most of the time. It's for drama. You want to see the fights. You want to see the people yelling. But the happy moments? There were so many great moments out there. I mean Dan taught me how to skip rocks like despite what he”s done to other people. There was like two hours of me learning how to skip rocks from Dan. He”s incredibly good at it. It”s weird. He could hit something like 100 yards away on like a pinpoint. It”s crazy. But why would they show that? It”s not relevant to anything, especially in the space that I was in in the game. Like why show the happy moments when there”s all these like, “Oh my God!” moments, you know. And they”re never gonna show of it. Like they showed a little bit of Rodney”s impressions. He had so many. There was one night, vividly, where I will always remember for the rest of my life. We were all in the shelter. He”s doing impressions [phone drop out]. It was the funniest thing I ever heard in my life and to this day the entire cast jokes about it. I mean no one really dislikes Rodney that much, as much as they”re showing it on television. No one really hates him that I know of. He”s a good guy, he is.