Joel Anderson, Survivor: Micronesia
He may have seemed like a bully and a brute on Survivor: Micronesia — Fans vs. Favorites (Thursdays at 8 pm/ET, CBS), but Joel Anderson comes off as more sweet and sensitive after the fact. The Phoenix firefighter opened up about the newly reconfigured tribes, his problem with Chet, his real motivation for playing so hard and whose game play he found "stupendous."

TVGuide.com: Did you have any idea you were going to be leaving?
Joel Anderson: I was slightly blindsided; I had a feeling, but I was fairly secure that we were going to be voting Chet off. About halfway through tribal council, the lightbulb went off. Tracy said a few things about me being a bully and my lack of communication, and the fact that no one else would go, "You're off-base with that" made me realize there were conversations going on around camp that I wasn't part of.

TVGuide.com: What did you think of the tribe's decision?
Joel: Actually, watching the show last night, it made a whole lot of sense to me. Looking at me, Erik and Ozzy sitting there saying we were going to keep the tribe strong and vote off the physically weaker people.... Cirie, Tracy and Chet — Cirie especially — worked very hard to sway other people's votes. I applaud her for what she did.

TVGuide.com: So you can appreciate Cirie's strategy?
Joel: As far as the game goes, it was stupendous. It was very smart, very quick. She was thinking on her feet — she basically got wind that there were going to be eliminations of weak people, and she knows where she is in that category.

TVGuide.com: She also managed to get rid of Yau-Man from the original favorites tribe.
Joel: She's playing hard. She and I have some things in common; she's there because she's got family at home who could really use that money, and that's why I was there. When that's your motivating factor, you're going to pull out all the stops.

TVGuide.com: What did you think about the rearranging of the two tribes?
Joel: I hated it; I wasn't ready for it at that moment. We had just as a tribe gotten rid of two people who we felt were causing dissension. There's a lot of speculation as to why the first two votes went the way they did on Airai, but we wanted unity within our tribe, and that morning prior to the shuffle was the first time we all really felt unified. We were going to all sleep in one shelter — we were finally on the same page. It was my intention to take these three people [Chet, Kathy and Tracy], who had basically been told they were useless, and encourage them.

TVGuide.com: Why did Chet irritate you so much?
Joel: I like Chet as a person. I think he's a decent guy. But I wouldn't pick him on my football team. He went on and on about what a good diver he is, and then we had a water challenge [in the second episode] and he couldn't get more than two feet down — and if that's the case, get out of the water, don't sit there like you're in a hot tub. That's why I got so irritated. And I explained it to him.

TVGuide.com: You were really dragging him around in that last reward challenge.
Joel: It felt like he was running in the other direction. I was just trying to get him to stay on his feet. In the moment immediately after the challenge, no, I didn't feel bad that he bumped his head. I was more concerned that we'd just lost. It was pretty brutal, but it is what it is — a very physical game.

TVGuide.com: In retrospect, do you think it was a mistake to come gunning for Mary and Mikey B.?
Joel: There was probably an aspect of it that was my idea, but I didn't have to twist anybody's arm to get them to vote that way. I think I had a target on me the moment I stepped on the island. It's pretty hard for someone like me to fly below the radar. I'm vocal and a very active person. If you're sitting on your butt and not doing anything when everybody else is, I'm going to say something. But if you do a hell of a job, I'm going to pat you on the back.

TVGuide.com: Now that the fans and favorites are combined, do you think the fans stand a chance against the favorites?
Joel: I think the favorites definitely had an advantage right out of the gate. If there was any group I did not want to play against, it was people who have played already. These people have done it before, strategized before, lived in those conditions before.

TVGuide.com: Anything you regret from your time in Micronesia?
Joel: The only regret I have is being so competitive that I really didn't enjoy some aspects of the environment around me because I was focused on winning, period. Just the beauty of it. Saying, "Hey, I'm going to put down some of the strategy for a minute and go for a hike or look at this island." But that just wasn't on my mind because I was competing.

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