Perhaps nothing on Survivorthis season has more pointedly illustrated the difference between the Millennials and the Gen Xers than the challenge on Wednesday night's episode, in which the Millennials quickly figured out that they could blow through the balance beam portion by having one person carry everyone else's weighted bags, while the Gen Xers fell behind as they each (well, one person, really) strove to complete every portion of the challenge individually.
But Gen Xer Paul Wachter, who was voted off in Wednesday's Tribal Council, tells TVGuide.com that there was one key component to the challenge that viewers at home weren't privy to.
"What you don't see on TV is we had already all agreed not to do that," Paul says. "We had already all agreed that, if you couldn't do it, just drop the bag. I mean, I did it. I ran it, I got three-quarters of the way across the thing, I dropped the bag and Chris ran it across. So, we all agreed that to save time, we were going to do that ... for the good of the tribe."
For reasons that are unclear, CeCe decided to forego that part of the plan - but there's no hard feelings on Paul's part.
"CeCe felt that she had something to prove to herself about finishing that challenge," he says. "CeCe felt, to her credit, that she had to do it that way. Now, yes, it definitely cost us the time and the challenge. ... If we'd have had that extra three to five minutes, I think we would have won again, and I wouldn't be talking to you right now. (Laughs). That was a decision she made. She's confident with the decision. But CeCe, she's a bright lady. She felt she was doing the right thing, and afterwards she might have regretted it or not. I don't know. You'd have to ask her."
Check out the rest of our Q&A with Paul to find out his thoughts on the Millennials/Gen X "summit," what his reaction was to Ken's comments about his fishing skills, and whether he was tempted to pull out of the game after the medical crew was called to his rescue in Episode 2.
TVGuide.com: Was it difficult for you to watch last night's episode and see all the conversations that were taking place behind your back?
Paul: When you're not a Hollywood person - and I'm not a Hollywood person - you go on the show and you think you know everything, and you think you know what you're gonna see. In the premiere, when I first saw myself on screen, I almost couldn't watch it. I was kind of looking away. ... It's very surreal to watch yourself, because you don't look like you think you look, you don't talk like you think you talk. It was very surreal. (Laughs) It was really weird. And as the episodes go by, Tuesday was a day of no sleep for me, because Wednesday the show was coming on. ... What you don't see is the great conversations I had with Ken and David and all the friendships we made. Then when you turn your back, they're all talking bad about you. So, it's the game. It's what you sign up for. And anybody that says they got their feelings hurt shouldn't be on this show. You're going to get your feelings hurt.
Going back two episodes, can you take us through your health scare when the medical crew was called out?
Paul: As you saw on the show, I was very dehydrated. What happened that I did not anticipate - that I don't think you can - is, I went from being really tired and weak to being flat on my back and totally out of control. I was getting very bad cramps, very bad Charley horses. I was dry heaving. It was very eventful. But thank goodness for Jeff Probst and the crew. I don't know how they got a medical team there that quickly, but they did. I was dizzy, I was disoriented. I don't really remember falling backwards, when I lay back there. But when I looked up and I saw [Dr.] Joe, who I know from the previous episodes - I hadn't even met the man, but from the previous seasons - I said, wow. I'm thinking to myself, am I that guy? Am I the guy lying on the beach? It was a real out-of-body experience. But I knew I was in good hands. They take very, very good care of you. There's nothing unreal about Survivor. It's real, and they're not coming unless you need them. But if you need them, if it comes down to it and you need help, the time and the passion they deliver is incredible. It cuts right through all the crap. They are there to make sure you're ok. Once I saw Joe ... I was awesome.
Did it ever cross your mind to pull out of the game?
Paul: Oh, no. My biggest concern was when they were gonna hook me up to a heart monitor - all I kept thinking was, goodness me. I'm feeling better. I'm awake, I'm alert. My blood pressure was stabilized. From my old Coast Guard days, I was just kind of laying there like, wow, what if they find some stupid glitch or something and they go, "Well, you've got a glitch. We're gonna have to do this."? I really didn't want to go through all that. ... I warned my family about that episode, by the way, and we were sitting there watching it, and my daughter cried. I'm a 52-year-old guy. I'll be 53 on Monday. I'm a tough dude. But my daughter, that was enough for her. She said, "I can't see it anymore."
I would have fought and kicked if they would have tried to take me out of the game. But in retrospect, when you look at it, they could have. They could have pulled me, and they gave me the opportunity to say, "I'm good. Let me go. I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine." And they did.
Is there anything you would have done differently, or are you happy with the way you played the game?
Paul: I'd like to say that I would do things differently, but in reality, I don't think you can. Once you strip away the way you think you should play differently than someone in a season before you, your personality's going to come out no matter what. I don't think you can change it. I don't think you can alter it. You can for a very short period. You can be calm and quiet and try to lay back, and then that puts a target on your back. You can big a bigmouth like me and that'll put a target on your back. My biggest worry was that I was gonna get wrapped up in a situation that didn't have to happen, and in my opinion - yes, they voted me out, but [they] didn't have to. We had an alliance of six. We could have gone all the way to the merge with those six. We would have been just fine. I had very smart people around me. We knew exactly what we were doing, and we were all playing very strategically. So to do what they did on a knee-jerk reaction over a sound bite of a conversation was unnecessary. But hey, I'm the one that made the sound bite, so nobody to blame but myself. No, I wouldn't change a thing.
Were you glad that you got to go on the "summit" with the Millennials, or would you have preferred to stay behind and bond with your own tribe?
Paul: Oh, with the kids, yeah. It was awesome. I definitely wanted to go, because I thought we had a distinct advantage, being Gen Xers - and I still do - but I really wanted to play with the Millennials. I wanted to be in the game with the Millennials, because I felt that as a parent figure, I would be able to control more of my game. I thought I would be able to increase my alliance and hold onto it with a little less drama, and let the kids have their showmance and do all their stuff for TV. ... When we went to the [summit], I thought it was kind of neat, because once we jumped in the water, they all kind of gathered around me asking me all kinds of questions about how to sharpen a machete and all the different things they asked me. I really hit it off with the kids immediately. And I wish I would have had the chance to play with them. I really do. I think they're awesome.
You're a big, longtime fan of the game. What was the biggest surprise to you about actually being out there vs. watching from home?
Paul: The speed. When you see it on TV, things happen very quickly. When you're actually out there doing it, it takes forever. When you see the [season] premiere and you see everybody sitting in the shelter in the rain at night, you don't really get a sense of what that's like unless you did it for 12 to 15 hours straight. I mean, the Night That Never Ended, the first night we were out there, it was just incredible. Nobody knows each other. We're beat up from trying to make a crappy shelter, which we did. And it broke down on us, and we're just getting started. People don't realize that things take a long time. ... The time it takes to do everything, to get to Tribal, those are the things I was like, holy moly. This takes forever. There's much, much more to it than people think.
And when you get to the challenges, it's funny but, you see it on TV and you hear all the music and stuff. The first thing as you walk up and you look at a challenge and Jeff does the "Come on in, guys!" and you come walking in out of the jungle and there's this big giant field with all these hazards in the way that you're going to have to navigate ... but there's no music. There's none of that. It's just weird. The first thing I said was, "Where was the music, man?" It's the strangest thing.
Who do you think is the biggest threat on your tribe going forward?
Paul: The two biggest threats would be Chris and David. There's not one. There's two. I think David's a great underdog and he's got a great game, and I think Chris is a big, silent giant. He's a very smart man. I think he can go all the way.
Would you play Survivor again? Paul: I would definitely play again if I had an opportunity.
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS.
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