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Jonas loved "Survivor" — but wishes he'd played a bit differently

Published March 29, 2012 3:38 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Jonas Otsuji's run on "Survivor: One World" came to a rather abrupt end on Wednesday when the Lehi man was voted off by people who were afraid of him.

Well, not exactly afraid of him. But they made all sorts of comments about how Jonas was dangerous because he was a a good guy who not only provided food, but cooked it.

Which cushioned the blow. Sort of.

"Yeah, but at the same time it made me realize that what I thought was a great strategy was actually not a good strategy," Jonas said. "My strategy was to kind of fly under the radar, not ruffle any feathers.

"But if I could do it all over again, I would have been just as much of a threat had I made some big moves and played with some balls instead of being Colton's little bitch."

Jonas did play along with Colton Cumbie, this season's villain, in order to get further in the game. And Colton - who made rude, insulting, even racist remarks - was pretty much the jerk he seemed on the show. It wasn't just the editing.

"It was that bad," Jonas said. "And he was like that the whole time.

"I don't think he's like that in real life. I mean, you can't have a normal life if you're always that way. I think he was just being a little over-the-top for the camera."

(A little? Colton was WAY over the top.)

Still, playing along with Colton was just Jonas' way of playing the game. However, not all his fellow Utahns seem to understand that.

"I'd run into people all the time on the street," he said, "and they'd be like, 'Hey! Colton's bitch!' Or, inevitably, they'd bring it up in some way.

"It's good in the sense that I'm remembered, but it's not exactly what I wanted to be remembered for. I wish I would have stepped up my game a little more and just played a little more aggressively."

In Wednesday's episode, Jonas was clearly unhappy when Greg "Tarzan" Smith went behind his back and talked strategy with another contestant. And the two had another major disagreement during the tribal council.

After he'd been voted out, Jonas approached Tarzan and said, "No hard feelings, bro."

Tarzan's response: "Hard feelings to you."

Despite Tarzan's obnoxious, almost unbalanced behavior, Jonas said, "I don't have any hard feelings toward the guy. He's just different."

That sort of drama, of course, takes center stage. What we didn't see much of on the show was the Utahn spear-fishing and cooking for his tribesmates.

"I wish a little bit of that would have been put on," he said. "But I get it. What's more interesting - a guy cooking food or Colton stirring up drama? It is what it is."

And Jonas - a huge "Survivor" fan - still sounds a little in awe of having been a part of it.

"I've watched every season," he said. "When I see myself on the screen, especially when [host] Jeff [Probst] calls me by name, that's a real surreal thing for me still. It's like - Jeff knows my name? It's definitely a little weird."

He's jump at the chance to do it all again.

"I would get on a plane right now and do it again," Jonas said. "In fact, it was so much fun that when I came home I was kind of in a mild depression because there's so much that's fresh and new and exciting and unpredictable. It's like and adrenaline high 24-7 because you don't know what's going to happen, even in the next few seconds.

"So when I came back home, I was, like - what am I going to do next? How do you one-up 'Survivor'?" he said with a laugh.

He won't entirely disappear from the show. He's the first member of the jury, which means he'll be sitting there every week at tribal councils, observing but not speaking. Until the finale, when he'll get a chance to ask the finalists questions and then vote for who will get the million dollars.

But, unlike Wednesday night, he won't be be watching the next few episodes of "Survivor: One World" with 100 friends and family members.

"I don't think anybody wants to come to a viewing party because all I'm going to do is sit there at tribal council," Jonas said with a laugh.






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