‘Survivor’ Castaway Interview: ‘Boston’ Rob Mariano

The Boston Rob vs. Russell feud had it all. A fierce showdown between two savage competitors, the scorn of a beautiful woman, the betrayal of a conflicted Dragon Slayer, strategies, counter-strategies, and a powerful idol.

I’m not quite sure how Hollywood expects me to shell out $17.50 for a ticket to the remake of “Clash of the Titans” when CBS is giving it away for free.

Find Out How Boston Rob Got Creamed

Unfortunately for Boston Rob, in the end the Troll got the best of the Puzzle Master. I spoke with Rob Mariano the morning after he was voted out to find out why he has respect for Russell, why he lost respect for Coach, and what really happened when he passed out…

Gordon Holmes: Now that you’ve had a chance to see Russell play in both “Survivor: Samoa” and “Survivor: Heroes Vs. Villains,” is Russell someone whose game play you can respect or does he go too far?
Rob Mariano:
You know, parts of his game I do respect. He’s entertaining as can be, I’ll give him that. He made some big moves that wouldn’t necessarily be how I’d play the game. Some of the things I do respect, and part of the things I wouldn’t do.
Gordon: Which parts would you have veered away from?
Boston Rob: You know, the unnecessary sabotaging of his own team to try to make them weak. I don’t necessarily agree with that. It’s a strategy that’s never been done before. But me, I like to keep my team strong to try to win challenges and to keep my alliance strong.

Gordon: It looked like you knew your time was up. What was your first hint that you were in trouble?
Boston Rob:
The morning after Tyson was gone there were problems. We had a five-on-three advantage, and the three people, even thought they got away with one, were really cocky about it. I could pretty much figure out that something wasn’t right.

Gordon: It seemed earlier on in the season that you were annoyed with Coach. You were playing games with him, trying to get him to climb the tree. But then as the season progressed you seemed to accept him more. What was your relationship with Coach before the final vote?
Boston Rob:
I had a good relationship with Coach. I think he’s a good guy, he’s an interesting guy. His stories, you know, some of them I don’t know how true they are, but I give him the benefit of the doubt. Some of them may be embellished a bit.
Gordon: Maybe a bit.
Boston Rob: Yeah, but he was a good friend out there. He said he wanted to play this game with me, but at the same time I watched him in Tocantins and not everything he said was honorable.  But, in the game of “Survivor,” who is 100% honorable? So, we had a good relationship up until when I looked at him right before tribal council and I could tell he wasn’t going to do what he said he was going to do. I lost a little bit of respect for him. But in hindsight, now that it’s over I’m not going to hold it against him.
Gordon: When you were voted out, Coach got up to give you a hug and you didn’t give him one. You called somebody a “Little Man,” but I wasn’t sure if you were talking to Russell or Coach. I assumed you were talking to Coach, because Russell must know he’s a little man.
Boston Rob: (Laughs) I was talking to Coach. He wanted instant forgiveness and I wasn’t going to give it to him. It’s one thing to stand up on national TV and say you’re honorable and loyal, and it’s another thing to proclaim it over and over again and then do the exact opposite. He voted for Courtney, is that more honorable? No, I think he took the easy way out.

Gordon: Earlier in the season you passed out. Could you take us back and tell us what you remember?
Boston Rob:
That’s hard because I don’t remember much of it. I remember I was walking out of camp. I was aggravated because we were having trouble with the shelter. And I was dizzy, I was having headaches all day. I actually sat down, I didn’t actually fall down. And I felt out of breath, and I remember lying down. The next thing I remember is the doctors were around me and Probst was there. I don’t remember Jerri coming up to me, I don’t remember any of that. I don’t remember passing out because I was pretty out of it at that point.

Gordon: At the beginning of the show you jokingly stated, “I’m a Villain?” Everybody had a pretty good laugh at that, but as the show went on it seemed like you were taking care of your tribe and dominating in challenges like a Hero would.
Boston Rob:
I wouldn’t say that I’m a Hero, what you saw was really happening though. I was doing what I could for my team to help them to win. The contrast of that is Russell who is doing what he can to make sure the team doesn’t win.  The bottom line is you have to win immunity challenges to get far in the game. So yeah, that was me. Just because you’re a Villain doesn’t mean you’re not a competitor or a team player.

Gordon: There’s a sandwich place down the street that punches my card every time I buy something. I fill up my card and they’ll give me a free sandwich. Now, you’ve been on five different CBS reality shows. Does CBS punch your card every time you appear? Cause I’m thinking you’ve got to be pretty close to them just giving you a million bucks.
Boston Rob:
I think the true odds are one-in-sixteen or twenty? (Laughs) It depends on the amount of contestants there are. (Laughs) I’m doing the best I can, man.
Gordon: So it’s fair to say in the next ten or fifteen years at the latest.
Boston Rob: I hope so. I’ll play them till I win, and maybe even after that. (Laughs)

Gordon: Is it different playing the game now that you’re a dad? Do your priorities change at all?
Boston Rob:
No. Before I decided (to go on the show), there was a lot of talk within my family, between myself and Amber, but once the decision was made to go you have to put that to the side. Almost use it as a motivation to do well, but don’t let it change your decisions or how you play.

Gordon: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Sandra.
Boston Rob:
Risky.
Gordon: Parvati?
Boston Rob: Flirtatious.
Gordon: Coach?
Boston Rob: Coach is…I want to say honorable, but I think he took the easy way out.
Gordon: Randy?
Boston Rob: Angry.
Gordon: Tyson?
Boston Rob: Regretting what he did.
Gordon: Danielle?
Boston Rob: Who’s Danielle? Oh…Danielle…non factor.
Gordon: The glowing words you receive from Jeff Probst?
Boston Rob: Friend.
Gordon: Jerri?
Boston Rob: Conflicted.
Gordon: Russell?
Boston Rob: Opposite.

Gordon: Jerri brought up “Survivor: All Stars” which I’m assuming involved the situation where you asked Lex van ben Berghe to vote out Jerri over Amber. Did you think something like that could come back to haunt you?
Boston Rob:
Of course. I mean, everybody out there has a past. Everybody at some point, with the exception of maybe Danielle, was thinking they were a threat to go home because of something they’ve done in the past. Indirectly, I guess I’m the reason Jerri was sent home. Whether she harbors ill will from that, I don’t know. I’d like to think that she’s a bigger person than that, but everybody has a past.
Gordon: Did you give Amber grief about that last night?
Boston Rob: No, absolutely not.
Gordon: You’re a better man than I am, Rob.
Boston Rob: (Laughs) Thanks, buddy.

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