Exclusive: Rob 'Boston Rob' Mariano on 'Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains'
By Reality TV World staff, 04/02/2010
Despite being one of the most dangerous players in Survivor history, Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano had managed to emerge as the leader of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains' Villains tribe and the person in charge of its dominant alliance.
However that all changed when Tyson Apostol unintentionally saved Russell Hantz from being eliminated from the game at the Villains' Night 15 Tribal Council session and Jerri Manthey subsequently decided to join with Russell's alliance, resulting in Rob being voted out of Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains at the Villains' next Tribal Council.
On Friday, the former Survivor: Marquesas and Survivor: All-Stars castaway talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains -- including how he knew what was happening, if he feels he should have targeted Russell and ally Parvati Shallow earlier, and whether he feels getting to see Russell's Survivor: Samoa season before Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains was filmed late last summer would have impacted how the rest of the season's all-stars treated him.
Reality TV World: You called Coach a "little man" and blew off his attempt at a goodbye hug or whatever that was after he voted for Courtney instead of forcing a 4-4 tie between yourself and Russell. I know you said you "saw it coming" in your final words, but exactly what did you mean -- did you see Coach not willing to force a tiebreaker or what did you see coming?
Rob Mariano: Yeah, I knew I was going, because I could just tell by his demeanor, the way he was.
But what aggravated me was here's Coach, here's a guy who his entire M. O. week in and week out on national television is talking about how honest and loyal he is, and integrity and that's how he plays the game and everything. And then he gives me his word right there that he's voting for Russell and then goes and does something else, which I don't really have a problem with -- I get that it's a game and that there's lying and manipulation.
But what I don't get is how you can go on and on and on about how honorable you are and then do something completely the opposite [and then] stand up and expect me to shake your hand and be like "Good game."
I just wanted him to know that it wasn't "all right" in that instance. You know, you didn't do what you said you were going to do, you're not honorable, you're not loyal, and I wasn't having any of it.
But at the same time, I'm not holding anything against Coach, I don't have any ill will towards him. It's just he talked the talk and didn't walk the walk and I wasn't about to give him his forgiveness right there on the spot.
Reality TV World: Yeah, Coach seemed to make a huge deal out of keeping his word to Russell but he didn't seem really seem to mention keeping his word to you. Why was that -- had you guys never formalized your alliance beyond that "you've got to trust me" conversation you had had with him a few episodes earlier? Do you have any idea?
Rob Mariano: I think he's playing both sides of the fence. He's trying to walk in the middle and it was indicative with his vote last night for Courtney, he took the easy way out. He's probably playing it that he was loyal to me because he didn't vote against me but that's not what he said he was going to do.
He said he was going to vote for Russell and he didn't. So in a way, he took the easy way out.
Reality TV World: I know a lot of focus was put on the Villains' second Tribal Council visit and the showdown between Russell and yourself, but in hindsight it really seems that not voting Parvati off at that first Tribal Council was the biggest mistake you made out there. Do you agree with that?
Rob Mariano: It wasn't, I'll tell you why: there was no way Parvati could have gone home.
Reality TV World: Tyson seemed to think he would have had the other votes.
Rob Mariano: She didn't have enough votes to go home, there wasn't enough people. I mean Jerri wanted to join up with Randy, and Tyson and Coach and myself and Russell. But Russell never had any intention of voting Parvati out, Jerri was misinformed.
Reality TV World: You don't think you could have gotten Sandra?
Rob Mariano: I think Parvati and Russell, they're in cahoots together -- they had it going from the outset.
Reality TV World: Did you guys consider going after Danielle instead of Parvati?
Rob Mariano: Yes, we did. And you know what, I said that right before, because I could tell that Tyson was a little bit scared and I could tell like when I was explaining it to him how a tie strategy would be perfect, because nobody could go home from our tribe and it would flush out the idol.
I explained it to him in detail and I could just tell by the look in his eyes that he wasn't 100% sure if I was telling him the right thing. So then it occurred to me, I was like, "We'll just vote off Danielle. Nobody will ever see it coming, she'll never expect it. All we need is me, you, Courtney, and Sandra and she's gone."
And it just, at that time, it seemed like an easy thing, but this other plan [to split votes 3-3] is 100% foolproof too, and it eliminates one of the two biggest threats that I see, being Russell and Parvati. Additionally, it takes out the hidden Immunity Idol. So it seemed like the better play to go after one of them, but we did consider voting off Danielle.
And nobody would have missed her, she's a non-factor anyways. So like nobody would have seen it coming, nobody would have missed her, it would have cut her down. But to me, it made sense to get rid of one of the stronger strategic threats in Parvati and Russell with absolutely no risk involved so long as everybody does what they are supposed to.
Reality TV World: Why didn't you go after her instead of Randy the first time around?
Rob Mariano: You mean go after Danielle instead of Randy?
Reality TV World: Yeah.
Rob Mariano: Randy -- I've got to be honest, I feel bad for Randy a little bit. You know, he's just -- this guy, he's just not a happy person. He's not happy to be around, I don't know what it is. He obviously had a thing for me, whatever it was, but I never said anything bad about him.
I think he was just disappointed because I never gave him a shot to play with me. I wanted him to, but you know, he's on the wrong train and I'm telling him, "You're going the wrong way," and he just didn't want to do anything. Just a real negative person with a real negative attitude, and we didn't need that around camp.
So that's why it was easy. It wasn't because Courtney or Parvati were stronger. When I said "stronger to the team," I meant stronger for morale, stronger for the team morale-wise. Because he was just a really negative person. I wish the best for Randy, I hope he can get it together.
Reality TV World: When I talked to Tyson last week, he said that he thought the only reason Russell gave Parvati the idol is because Russell thought he had no chance and was beat and was just kind of looking to go out of the game on his own terms. Do you believe that was the case or do you believe what Russell was telling on last night's episode, that he knew exactly what he was doing all along?
Rob Mariano: No, I agree with Tyson. I really do. I think Russell saw the writing on the wall and he knew that it was him either this week or next week. I don't think for a minute Russell thought any of us were going to split off the vote [plan] we were supposed to do.
I really think the reason why Tyson changed his vote is because I think Tyson got scared with him being up there about the tie, he wasn't sure how it was going to work out, and he didn't think in a billion years that Russell would give the idol. I mean nobody really thought he would give it away. But if he did, the plan that I had, it [still] wouldn't have mattered, he would have gone either this week or next week.
I think Tyson was betting that he wasn't going to give the immunity away, so this way he way he could throw a vote to Parvati and Parvati goes home and still looks, in Russell's eyes, like he hasn't cast a vote against him. [So] in case down the road something should happen, he's still in Russell's favor for some reason or another.
Reality TV World: How big an advantage do you think Russell got from the fact that nobody had gotten to see his Samoa gameplay before you guys got out there?
Rob Mariano: It's a huge advantage -- it cuts both ways actually...
Reality TV World: But do you think like Jerri would have still thought he was more trustworthy than you based on what you did six years ago if she had actually seen the gameplay and sabotage he had just done on the show's last season?
Rob Mariano: No, absolutely not. I mean had any of us seen him play in Samoa, without a doubt he'd have been the first one voted out. Without a doubt.
So in that respect what it did was it gave him the benefit of the doubt among the doubt among the other contestants. Which in my opinion, even I gave him the benefit of the doubt for the first vote. But in my opinion, I would rather play with the enemy I know than the enemy I don't know anything about. Jerri chose to go the other way.
Reality TV World: It seemed pretty unbelievable that even if you include Richard Hatch who was asked but obviously couldn't make it, the producers seemed to feel four of the show's top six all-time male Villains were from the three previous seasons, and two were from the same season. Was that a surprise to you when you got out there and do you think there was a bit of a bias against some of the older seasons?
Rob Mariano: You know the game has changed a lot in the past 20 seasons and I wouldn't say a bias, but there's definitely a different mentality between the old-school [players] and the new-school. I mean things like working around camp and providing for your team and building a shelter -- that type of stuff -- that's out the window now.
Back in the day that used to be of some value but that doesn't matter at all anymore. Now it's all about alliances. I mean Russell's sabotaging his own team so that he can look better and stronger!
That would have never happened back in the day. It's definitely a different mentality between the old school and the new school.
Reality TV World: What's next for you, should we expect to see yourself or Amber on another reality show or is this it you guys?
Rob Mariano: Right now I think we're just enjoying our time home with our daughter.