Exclusive: Ralph Kiser talks about 'Survivor: Redemption Island'
By Reality TV World staff, 05/12/2011
Ralph Kiser was eliminated from Survivor: Redemption Island after he lost the season's eleventh Redemption Island duel to Matt Elrod, Mike Chiesl and Andrea Boehlke during Wednesday night's broadcast of the thirteenth episode of the CBS reality series' 22nd edition.
On Thursday, the 44-year-old farmer from Lebanon, VA, talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: Redemption Island experience -- including why he thought none of the remaining castaways have tried to target Rob Mariano yet, what he thought Matt Elrod and Mike Chiesl's Christian comments, why he believes the men's cold-shouldered Redemption Island treatment of Andrea Boehlke was justified, what his strong opinion of Matt was, and who he thought would be capable of beating Rob in a final jury vote.
Reality TV World: You got to spend a little bit of time with Andrea on Redemption Island after she was blindsided and voted out. Did she ever explain how she had been expecting the rest of the season to play out after all the Zapatera members were gone? Because a lot of viewers can't figure out why she and the rest of the folks didn't seem to ever consider targeting Rob.
Ralph Kiser: Yes, she didn't really say a whole lot. I told her when we merged, I said, "Andrea, they're going to start handing us off, because we're going, and we're going slowly one at a time." And I said, "You might be next."
I said "might," but next she was, and then she come crying -- well not really crying -- but whining. You know, "I can't believe these people!" And I said, "Well, I told you that." That's when I said, "Andrea, when Rob's done with you, he'll throw you away with no remorse."
Reality TV World: You guys made Andrea sleep outside the shelter on the ground when she arrived on Redemption Island, which surprised some viewers because not only didn't it seem like she was the main reason Zapatera was wiped out -- Matt's the one that decided to turn down your offer to flip and seemed the most responsible for that -- but it seemed to be a little ungentlemanly and non-Christian thing to do. Can you talk about that?
Ralph Kiser: Yes, I will talk about that. Well, the Christian whole thing, that's part of their game. I don't believe that they're much of a Christian. I think it's something where they hope to get votes off Christian lines, but she was safe. I wouldn't put her in no harm whatsoever.
The ground was really -- when we merged, we spent a night or two on the ground and she didn't have nothing to say about that. It was a game and she was safe. She wasn't gonna get hurt there. She was, matter of fact, she wasn't two foot in front of me, but she talked the whole time -- yak, yak, yak, yak, yak -- about how they done her. Well, we tried to solve that problem earlier in the game when she didn't want to hear that crap.
Reality TV World: Do you think it's a little hypocritical for Matt and Mike to be quoting the Bible and presenting themselves as heroes and good Christians and talk about playing the game for God and giving up family visits for their fellow man but then also treat Andrea as badly as they did?
Ralph Kiser: It's true. You know, God's for a reason... not to use for trying to win a million dollars. That's the way I looked at it. He can preach all he wants to and read the Bible all he wants to -- I've got nothing against that, but trying to shoot for a million dollars by bringing the Lord up and all that, that's bad lies. We'll have Matt do something for himself. He's a grown man and he should have made some decisions. It might have helped him out a little bit better.
Reality TV World: Like I mentioned earlier, it really seemed like Matt was the main reason Zapatera was wiped out and Andrea wasn't even really involved in his decision to turn down your offer to flip on Rob Mariano and she didn't even learn about it until Matt told Rob...
Ralph Kiser: It's true! And I told Matt I don't know what's the matter with him. I guess he thought the Lord was going to push him right on... and then he went and told Rob what was going on, that ain't playing no game. That was being way too honest!
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Reality TV World: But the episodes haven't shown Mike or yourself giving Matt a hard time or a cold shoulder or anything like that. Why was that? Did you guys not know that at the time or what was going on there?
Ralph Kiser: Well, no. You know, Matt -- we did a little bit of talking, not a whole lot -- he's the one that cost me to spend my idol on Mike. I spent it way too early and if he at least listened to us a little bit, we could have -- I would have spent it all on him and save him.
But the way he came up to us telling us how the game went, it was totally opposite. And that's what caused him to lose and what eventually made us all lose, because we ended up going one at a time all on Redemption Island.
Reality TV World: So you felt Matt going back to Redemption Island was punishment enough? You guys didn't need to give him a hard time about it basically?
Ralph Kiser: Yes. Well, he didn't really want to talk about it and he was tired and all that, so we just let it go at that. I just knew the only chance he's got is to get off the island and win or he's gonna lose. I was kind of hoping he'd lose because he made that big bold move -- staying on his tribe. I wanted him to lose anyway, and he did. Or I say "did," he stayed on Redemption Island.
Reality TV World: It sounds like you're not a big fan of Matt. Has watching the show at home changed your opinion at all about him or Andrea, and how their roles were in Zapatera's wipeout?
Ralph Kiser: No, no... watching the game, Andrea -- she's a working little girl -- but Matt, he just lays around and asks the Lord which way to go when, like I said earlier a few minutes ago, he needs to start calling the shots himself.
Reality TV World: [Phillip Sheppard] is the only Zapatera person that seems to have even shown any interest in going after Rob, which is pretty hard to believe given Rob seemed to be such an obvious target. How surprising was that that even after they got rid of all you guys, they're still not going after Rob?
Ralph Kiser: (Laughs) You only play the game, Rob is -- he's sitting back and saying, laughing I'm sure -- "Let them do all the work, and then once in awhile, I'll just pull a little form on up to keep them going and we'll take one at a time and save me." And that's how it looks like it's going to show up.
Phillip... you know, after I watched the game, he had a good idea, him and some of the girls earlier to can Rob and Phillip just started moving that gabber and telling them everything he knew. And that was a no no.
Reality TV World: Did you have any idea that Rob had a hidden Immunity Idol, and are you surprised he's gone all this time without playing it?
Ralph Kiser: Well, you know, the way the game went, we didn't end up with just one immunity idol on our side. There could have been possibly two. One was all we found, and then I see -- during the game, I didn't know they had two. I just had one and I didn't think Rob had one. So, it shocked me.
Reality TV World: Ashley Underwood, Natalie Tenerelli and Phillip seem to have done nothing other than ride on Rob's back all season. What were your thoughts on that when you were in the game -- did you think any of them would have much of a chance of beating him if they got to the end with him or did you think they'd just be competing for second place?
Ralph Kiser: I would say they would, might, beat him if they made it to the top three or two, or whatever it's going to be.
Reality TV World: Why was that? Do you think the jury would kind of be bitter against Rob?
Ralph Kiser: Bitter. I was thinking they would be, because of the way Rob went about things. He really wasn't a real good work ethic around camp. Not when I was around. He didn't do nothing either. He would just kind of sit around while poor old Phillip done had to do everything.
Reality TV World: And out of the people who were left on Redemption Island when you got kicked off, besides Mike, did you think Matt or Andrea would have a chance of maybe beating him?
Ralph Kiser: Yeah, I was looking forward to them beating him and getting back into the game.
Reality TV World: You really seemed to take Russell Hantz head on at the beginning of the season, which some people felt was a mistake, and you also had that Redemption Island incident where Russell seemed to trick you into revealing you had a hidden Immunity Idol after he lost the duel. Do you have any regrets about any of that?
Ralph Kiser: No. I had several people ask me that around here in my home. No, what my plans were was I was going to make a big fool out of myself. I was going to put out some beads and stuff in [Sarita White]'s bag and say, "Look here, Russell. Here's my idol! Then be like, 'Ha ha. That ain't no idol.'"
But I did and Sarita kept saying, "No, Ralph. No, no, no, no, no." And then that's when Phillip jumped in and said, "I could tell! He's got a hidden immunity idol in his bag. I can tell when a man's lying."
Reality TV World: Russell's critics have always claimed that the only reason he was able to get as far as he did during his secondSurvivor season was because no one out there had seen his first Survivor season yet, and based on what your tribe did to him this time around, it seems like that was probably true. Were you surprised that Stephanie Valencia and Krista Klumpp didn't anticipate that and decided to ally with him instead?
Ralph Kiser: Well, Stephanie and Krista were on my side at first, they're the ones who come up with the idea. "Hey, if we lose the challenge, Russell's gotta go," I said. "Is that how you want to play the game?" They said, "Yes." And then two days later, man, they was backstabbing us!
Reality TV World: How were you cast on Survivor? How did you end up on the show?
Ralph Kiser: I sent a video in of me nursing on a cow.