Exclusive: Jonathan Penner talks 'Survivor: Philippines' (Part 2)
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/30/2012
Jonathan Penner was eliminated from Survivor: Philippines' merged Dangrayne tribe during Wednesday night's eleventh episode of the CBS reality series' 25th edition.
Penner, a 45-year-old writer and producer from Los Angeles, CA who previously competed on Survivor: Cook Islands and Survivor: Micronesia, was voted out of his tribe at the season's eleventh Tribal Council, which was also the fifth elimination vote for Dangrayne.
In an exclusive interview on Thursday, Penner talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: Philippines experience.
Below is the concluding portion of Penner's interview. Click here to read the first half.
Reality TV World: You made it clear that your original plan had been to go to the Final 6 with Carter Williams, Michael Skupin, Lisa Whelchel, Malcolm Freberg, and Denise Stapley. Where had you seen things playing out from there? Because you were shown turning down Lisa's Final 4 alliance offer, but you were only a couple of Tribal Councils away from the Final 4 at that point, so you must have already been thinking about the endgame and how things were going to play out, correct?
Jonathan Penner: That all happened within about a day, and quite honestly, I had just been worrying about how to keep myself alive until then. And that's why I passed on her, and it wasn't a Final 4. She wanted to make it a Final 3 -- although I guess the implication was Carter would've been the Final 4. I simply wasn't prepared yet to lie to her.
I hadn't lied to her yet and didn't feel it was fair to say, "Yes, I'll make that commitment to you," when I didn't feel like I could make that commitment to her. I thought that Skupin and Carter and I were in a lock and that Lisa actually was kind of on the bottom because we'd get rid of Denise. Malcolm would have his idol. It would either be Malcolm or Lisa, and then Carter and Skupin and I would go to the end.
Obviously the mistake I made was not lying to her when I had an opportunity to or shaking her hand or whatever it was she felt she needed from me. And I always said to her, I said, "I can give you my word, but what the hell is that worth? Is that worth anything to you?"
I mean, I treated people like adults. My mistake was people don't -- it's not that they don't want to be treated like adults -- of course they do. It's that I was playing a certain kind of game and made the mistake of thinking that other people were playing the same kind of game and everyone was, you know?
Reality TV World: At the Tribal Council where Jeff Kent went home, Jeff basically went home instead of "Pete" Peter Yurkowski because you decided to vote for Abi-Maria Gomes...
Jonathan Penner: Nope, that's not right. Jeff went home because Skupin did not vote the way he said he was going to vote. I voted for Abi because I wanted to be able to walk back into the camp with one person and be able to say, "I didn't vote for you." And I wanted to have the other person on the jury to say, "I didn't vote for you" -- and to piss Abi off a little bit.
Skupin had agreed that he was going to vote for Pete but he didn't. So between that and my voting for Abi, I did not want to see a tie. If I had voted for Pete, we would've been in a tie situation, which is not what I wanted to be in.
Reality TV World: Even though you planned to vote for Abi all along, I guess you're saying, everybody else in your alliance had the expectation you would be joining them and voting for Pete, right?
Jonathan Penner: They thought that I would vote for Pete. I went into the Tribal not knowing who I was going to vote for. Abi thought that I was going to vote for Jeff.
Reality TV World: The Tribal before Jeff went home, "RC" Roberta Saint-Amour went home because Jeff seemed to be so obsessed with getting you out of the game before him that he was actually willing to put himself into a weaker alliance. But when I talked to Jeff, he said the reason he had decided to vote RC off was because Denise wanted to stay in an alliance with Malcolm -- not because he was so focused on getting you out of the game. What are your thoughts on that? Did any of that surprise you and do you believe Jeff's take on that, that it was more about Denise than yourself?
Jonathan Penner: Yeah, no absolutely. I mean, we tried to get the numbers, you know what I mean? I had Skupin, I had RC, I believed that I had a Carter and Jeff and Denise. And had we had those numbers, then it would've been fine.
But Denise said, "No, I'm not going to split from Malcolm. I need to show Malcolm" -- whether she said this or not, she said to herself, "I'm aligned with Malcolm. He's going to vote this way, and I need to show him that I am in fact aligned with him."
Jeff tried to get the numbers. Skupin tried to get the numbers. They didn't have the numbers. It was going to be five to six against them. They did not want to be on the losing side of the vote, even though it obviously put them in a very weak position in the winning side of the vote, Jeff and Carter did not want to vote against me.
I think Skupin as well didn't vote against me. He voted for RC, I believe, right? So there were five votes for me, including Denise. And there were three votes for RC, which were Skupin, Carter and Jeff. And I understood that.
I mean, it's a shame and I didn't understand why Denise did what she did. And she said, "Well, I have my own plan," or something -- "I'm playing my own game." And you can't argue with that. And I was forced to play the idol and RC went home.
Reality TV World: The Tribal Council in which Artis Silvester went home, when I spoke to them, Artis and Pete both seemed to think they had convinced Carter to flip and you would be going home instead of Artis. Did that surprise you? Had you had any concerns that Carter was considering flipping and you might be going home?
Jonathan Penner: Well, I don't blame Carter for not wanting to say to them, "No dudes, you didn't get me. You're going home." It's much easier to tell a little lie to someone who's on their way out, "Yeah, yeah. I'm voting with you. It's going to be Penner, right? Okay, he's going home." Did I ever believe that Carter was going to vote me out? No.
Reality TV World: What are your general thoughts about Abi? Obviously she hasn't come across that well on the show. Was she really as bad as she's looks on TV or was that just the editing?
Jonathan Penner: Um, no, she was rather annoying out there. She was an annoying person out there. She annoyed us. And that's been fairly portrayed. I don't think she's a bad person (laughs) at all, but she just rubbed everybody the wrong way.
Above is the concluding portion of Penner's interview. Click here to read the first half.