Jason's road from returning vet who was almost out the first week to the first Big Brother: Over the Top winner seemed too good to be true. And in the end it was.
The Season 17 alum and Big Brother superfan lost the $250,000 to Morgan on Thursday's finale, but he's not as inconsolable about it as you might think. "It's not exciting to not win, but it is exciting to have more money than I had before," he tells TVGuide.com of his $25,000 runner-up check. "I knew anything could happen with America voting."
Would he have won with an actual jury though? Keep reading to see what he thinks, if he wants to be friends with Shelby IRL, and if he'd do this all over again for the third time.
Big Brother: Over the Top's Morgan on her "underdog" victory
I think a lot of people thought you had this in the bag. Did you think you had this won?
Jason: I mean, no, because I am a career pessimist. I knew it was anyone's game. I was hopeful, but it is what it is. I was prepared to not win. I definitely thought I played a stronger game than Morgan.
You definitely made more moves and were a more strategic player. Why do you think America vote for her?
Jason: No shade on America, but I think they kind of fell into the classic bitter jury category. If you look at back, there have been juries that didn't really respect people who had played that hard and wanted it that badly. I'm like the Danielle Reyes of OTT.
That's kind of accurate. The jury went home and saw her DRs.
Jason: Yeah. "She's being too mean." That was her game. I understand I am not the most kosher personality at times, but it's all in the name of the game.
Do you think you would've won with a regular jury?
Jason: I think most of the other side of the house, just like when Julie [Chen] asked who [the evicted houseguests voted for], because because Kryssie and I were in the final, my side of the house was always in the minority, so that side had more people casting votes [for Morgan], so I'm sure I still would've lost. Everyone from Cornbread to Monte, they were all from the same side of the house. There were more of them out there on the stage so I'm sure they would've all voted for Morgan.
That's assuming the eviction order stayed the same. If there had been a jury, I'm sure you all would've tried to manage who was in the jury.
Jason: Right. And the other thing was these people went home and went on social media to campaign for people. It's definitely interesting the way it happened, but I don't know if there was a jury if anything would've been different.
How do you feel about all the power America had this season? They helped you out a lot, but not when it counted the most.
Jason: America definitely helped me out quite a bit with this power. There were definitely times I felt like America was on my side with that and there were times I felt like America wasn't on my side. I think it's interesting to give them so much power. I watch a lot of the foreign seasons and those are all sort of popularity-based. So I sort of knew how this could go and how America can be kind of fickle sometimes. But the BB purist in me likes it without America's input.
Do you think you and Kryssie shunning Justin this last week had anything to do with people voting for Morgan?
Jason: People were already very angry with me. It's Reddit vs. Twitter. I'm sure us shunning Justin was no help, but I think anyone who was a serious feed watcher would understand why we fell out with Justin. Justin gave a very arrogant speech to us, telling us that we were all basically trash and he did everything for us and he deserved to win. I don't believe that to be the truth. And the way he behaved on Thanksgiving might translate as, "Oh, he's just homesick," but really he was butt-hurt that I told him the night before that I was going to take Kryssie to the final three and not him.
I think a lot that translated into "Oh, poor Justin." I heard from an interviewer last night that because I didn't pick him, nobody from New Orleans [Justin's hometown] voted for me. I don't think this is the Olympics, where everyone in Massachusetts is voting for me or everyone in Texas is voting for Morgan. I mean, it's sort of silly. The public can think what it wants and do what it wants. I'm sure me and Justin will be friends outside of this. In the game, you definitely go through your ups and downs with people. You vent and vent. I definitely vented on Justin, but I needed to.
What about you and Shelby? Do you think you'll be friends outside of this? When I talked to her, she said she doesn't want anything to do with you.
Jason: I'm sure she wants nothing to do with me. Listen, I've been through this rodeo before. I know that sometimes the people you hate most in the house, you actually like them outside. I'm just going to say if Shelby wants to be my friend, I would be interested to see if Shelby and I would actually get along in the outside world. But I'm not dying for anybody to be my friend. If Shelby doesn't want to be my friend, that's fine. She can be other there and I'll be over here.
Why didn't you guys get along? It was almost from Day 1.
Jason: I think it's because Shelby has a very passive-aggressive personality. She would sneak in little comments and everyone would get annoyed and she'd get away with it. And I can't really hold my tongue, so I was going to let her know on many occasions. And after I let her know the first time, she didn't do much of those things. But I think Shelby and I are similar. Maybe the things I don't like about myself, I see in Shelby. Now Shelby will never admit that because she's so self-absorbed and thinks she is the sunshine of the world. I'm sure she would just say I'm a terrible person. But I would say Shelby is probably a nice person I would probably get along with on the outside if she wasn't so self-righteous.
Do you think you went too far with some of your comments about her and the pranks your side pulled?
Jason: All I did was hide candy, which turned into a game that he whole house loved. And I hid a pineapple that I ended up giving back. I don't think those pranks are malicious or anything serious. I did not touch no belongings. I was not doing anything like that. I was taking stuff from the storage room that she wouldn't stop talking about. So if you're going to talk about a pineapple for 15 minutes, I'm going to hide the pineapple. I think it's not my shining moment. I was quite petty. But the thing is, when you're in there, you're really bored and something like hiding chocolate around the house seems fun. I don't think of it as, "I'm picking on her because I'm hiding chocolate."
What about the rubbing of the armpits and farting on the pillows?
Jason: Farting? See, I don't even know! [Laughs] Shelby's pillows eventually became my pillows, so if someone farted on a pillow, they were farting on my own pillow I'm sure. I don't really know. I remember wiping my armpit on a pillow, but I don't know if it was necessarily Shelby's. Things get very silly in there. I'm not going to regret or take back anything I said or did because I was myself, and I think that the people who know me in real life know that I'm not this cruel, evil person who's trying to do all this stuff to harass this poor girl. Things were shown as they are on the feeds and Shelby is no saint either.
You really came through in the clutch and won when your back was up against the wall. How stressful were those comps, especially the first Veto and the last Veto?
Jason: I would say all of them were stressful, but especially when you know your butt is on the line. That first week — if I hadn't won that Veto, I would've been out that door. Same with the last one. They're all stressful. When it's [individually timed] you have to sit in a room separately and wait your turn, you have come back into the room and wait and getting more stressed. I think for a lot of people, Big Brother is a fun opportunity and they're going to be happy with whatever happens. But for someone of my tax bracket, it's the only opportunity I will ever have of changing my life, so every competition was the most important thing that ever happened to me.
You said you were going to find a counterfeit Da'Vonne in the house. Was that Kryssie?
Jason: [Laughs] Yeah, I guess Kryssie was my new Da'Vonne. She does not have as much flair as Da'Vonne and she certainly did not make me laugh as much, but me and Kryssie have a brother-sister bond. Kryssie was loyal to me. I had played a super hard game that maybe did not look loyal and I wanted to show that I did have loyalty and it was to Kryssie. I did think I could possibly beat her at the end. I don't want to say it was blind loyalty like, "Oh, I'll bring Derrick with me!" I knew I wasn't bringing a Derrick, but I wanted to stay loyal to her because my bond with her was real.
Are you going to move out of your mom's basement?
Jason: With $25,000, I probably can't. I'm definitely going to try to and probably just move away from Massachusetts in general because clearly there's nothing going for me there. I'm just going to try to pay off my debt and take this money and run and try to build myself a new life. It would've been much easier with a quarter of a mil, but $25K ain't bad.
It's a starter check.
Jason: It is a starter check. That's right.
Would you do this again? Third time's the charm.
Jason: [Laughs] You know, someone said to me, "Oh, they will have you back again" and I laughed, thinking, "The only reason I'm on this version is because I'm never going to be CBS appropriate again." I think I'm a little more internet appropriate. I would be surprised if I were ever invited back again, but obviously I'm a Big Brother superfan. I love it, although it stresses me right out. I'm probably going to have PTSD and anxiety attacks for the rest of my life from it, but I will always come back here because like I said, there's no other opportunity that you're gonna get to pop and get that much money. But I don't know if I were to come back if I would do as well as I did this time because I really played my butt off and I outplayed Morgan by 40 percent, but America went with who they thought was nice.
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