The already depleted Zhan Hu tribe had to vote off its third member on last week's Survivor: China (8 pm/ET, CBS) after losing yet another immunity challenge. And once again the tribe chose to keep the peace: This time, their self-styled leader, former model "Crazy" Dave Cruser, was given the boot for continuing to butt heads with Sherea and others. Here he shares why his tribe did what they did, how they'll get by now and why he wished he'd made it to the merge.
TVGuide.com: So, Dave, what went wrong?
Dave Cruser: I got put on the wrong tribe is what went wrong. [Laughs]I was the odd man out in terms of not being part of Generation Y Am I So Entitled. I definitely worked for their advantage and my disadvantage in [figuring out] how to subsist and persevere and get shelter. Unfortunately, there was too much ego at my camp and they didn't want to be humble enough to see that what I was doing was for the good of everybody. I wanted the free time to run around and laugh and socialize and swim and goof off, too, but those things don't really matter if you don't sleep well, if you're not hydrated, if you're not fed, and then you go to a challenge and tank.
TVGuide.com: Did being kidnapped have anything to do with it? It's interesting that the last two kidnappees were immediately voted off.
Dave: It's never good being away from your tribe. Also, Jaime observed how I was a bit "too happy" going over to the other side. I'm sure that played some part of it. We weren't getting along at my camp, and she could probably see that I was going to try to form alliances with the other one, which is exactly what happened. If the people around you aren't working, what are you going to do? You're going to find a new set of people who do like you or appreciate you.
TVGuide.com: If you had made it to the merge, you definitely would've jumped ship?
Dave: Oh, yeah, I would have sold my whole tribe out. [Cackles wildly] Getting ready to chop heads off! It [would have been] a raucously fun, good turncoat time if I'd gotten to the merge. That's probably the only bummer; I would've loved to see people drop like flies.
TVGuide.com: You seemed more outgoing and outrageous at Fei Long than at your own camp.
Dave: I'm crazy to begin with, whether it's me alone in the shower or doing yard work or out with friends.... I have a hard time containing myself. I like to goof off, and I'm pretty crazy across the board.
TVGuide.com: Do you think volunteering to lead your tribe put you in a vulnerable position?
Dave: Absolutely. But nothing was really different except that I took on a title. I was already doing a lot of that stuff. It was a very reluctant hand-raise, because leaders generally have the kiss of death about them. For whatever it's worth, I'm happy with my decision; if someone else was chosen to be leader, we would have butted heads, because when you've got the non-leader piping up about the better way to do something, that's going to put the bull's-eye on you.
TVGuide.com: You always worked hard around the camp, but you fell short during the competitions.
Dave: It definitely worked against me in the battering-ram challenge. You saw me careening — I was seeing spots, and I almost went down right there. I'm glad Frosti stepped up and took over. After that challenge, I pulled back a lot to conserve my own strength and energy. Then again, in challenges I was going up against James — I mean, that guy is Hercules. I felt like a Chihuahua biting a Great Dane's ankle.
TVGuide.com: You clearly had some conflict with your tribe mates, especially Ashley and Sherea.
Dave: While I was working the first few days, everyone else was having a coffee klatch and socializing. I wasn't able to be a part of that lest the camp come to a dead stop. No one else was cutting bamboo; they were all going for swims. I was already being ostracized just by working when everybody else wasn't.
TVGuide.com: Weren't you as irritated with them as they were with you?
Dave: Absolutely! Quit bitching and do something! [Laughs] They were talking about how to make something hold up the wok on the fire, and I just said, "Go grab a brick, do it like that. Boom!" They told me to rest, but I couldn't hear it anymore. I'm laying there listening to this crap and I just got up, got a brick and fixed it. In the three minutes it took me to do that, they hemmed and hawed for 30. I've got no patience for that.
TVGuide.com: You said that your tribe mates didn't listen to you enough. Why was that chemistry so off?
Dave: I don't know what their problem was. I don't lose sleep over it, but how did they tick? What made them think and act and behave the way they did? I have no idea. It was never consistent. There were ulterior agendas going on.
TVGuide.com: So how do you think they'll fare without you?
I'm pretty sure they're going to sink. They're lucky I tried to set up camp to hopefully run itself after a period of time. No more emergencies, no more flooding. It shouldn't really take too much just to maintain it, but whether they can or not? Who knows?
TVGuide.com: Did you learn anything from the experience?
It was a pleasure, even with the strife and the conflict. I'd do it all again in a nanosecond. It was 120 degrees, it was 100 percent humidity. It was harsh, it was extreme, it was a blast. It was a challenge. It provided me an environment to test out other behaviors. Some of those people I would have just walked away from — I don't like conflict, and at the same time I've got some pretty strong convictions. You've got to find a proactive and positive way to go about it. Unfortunately, too much is never enough.
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