Up Close & Personal with Nick Iadanza – Part 2

So it turns out Nick and I can really talk, and when chat gets to Survivor Game Changers, Real Housewives, and, um, Oprah…it’s hard to stop us. Read on to learn more about some of Nick’s VERY controversial opinions (and yes, we were fighting).

Aph: Now. The Game Changers finale. I damn near lost my mind. You know what I’m talking about. What was your reaction when Cirie was ousted WITHOUT A SINGLE VOTE AGAINST HER, ROBBING HER ONCE AGAIN OF THE CHANCE TO GO TO THE END WHEN SHE WAS SO CLOSE? I was pretty annoyed. I still am. Obviously.

Nick: I couldn’t.

I just can’t.

It’s just too much to even think about.

Why are you making me relive this pain?

A: I’m still inconsolable too, I have to share it with someone. I mean, I ranted in my recaps, but I need to vent with another actual human. I screamed at the TV.

N: I could see it coming. From the moment the premiere started I was like…wait a minute…discussion of two idols being played…this is going to set off a chain reaction…oh crap. Vent away.

A: I am so bad at maths I JUST DIDN’T SEE IT COMING!

N: I am not too proud to admit that I had misty eyes when the realisation dawned on her.

A: Oh, I sobbed. The injustice! They did her wrong AGAIN.

N: It was just too much. Like how much does one person have to struggle? How much does she have to go through? 120-something days????? The finale three times??? Utter madness. Can they invent another reason to give away another million like they did for Rupert? Seriously, I hope Jeff chucked her a lazy half a mill for her troubles at Ponderosa.

A: She deserved better than this. I thought it was great timing to set up an epic 4th-time-playing storyline/win for her. OMG do you reckon Jeff would? That’s like pocket change to him.

N: Yeah. We had Boston Rob as our precedent, it was just too much to see it all fall apart again. And yeah – that’s his special Botox money. He can miss out for a month or two.

A: I was hoping the producers would intervene and say something like all the idols negated each other or something and she would be the only safe one (which she already was – no votes!). Hahaha and you’ve touched on my final question unknowingly…stay tuned.

N: AND RIDDLE ME THIS…

A: Hit me.

N: HOW does CIRIE MOTHER-EFFING FIELDS go an entire season and not even come up once as the vote? Not get one single vote? Make it all the way to the final without so much as an eyebrow raised against her? She has had only 9…NINE votes against her in 120+ days playing Survivor. I WENT TO 5 TRIBAL COUNCILS AND GOT 20 VOTES!!!!

A: Wait…whaaaaat? Is that true?! And I feel like they were all in HvV actually because Tom knew she was a threat. As happy as I am that they were so stupid and let her stay in for the whole season for my own selfish joy, that is so dumb that she went sailing through unchecked.

N: Yeah it’s true. In HvV she only got 3! Not even the majority of the tribe! It was because of the idol she went home with a paltry 3 votes (Colby, JT and Tom).

A: Ughhhh that’s riiiiight.

N: She is just far too good for this world and the fact that Fabio Birza is walking around with $1 million in his pocket and Cirie is not, it’s just too much.

A: HAHA Fabio! I kinda liked him. Coz I hated everyone else so much that season. But you’re right, it’s a travesty.

N: I also liked Fabio, but the comparison hurts my heart so badly.

A: It ain’t right.

N: Sigh.

A: Okay, this is painful. Sorry I brought it up.

N: Ctrl + alt + delete this from memory.

A: Deal. Done. Deleted. Now, as we know, Sarah Lacina ended up the final winner. I think it became pretty clear she was going to win based on the way she was edited from about halfway through the series (and then when the Final 3 was revealed, I thought it was pretty clear) – did she deserve it? And how cute was it to find out Tony was coaching her leading up to the series?

N: How much was Jeff spewing that she mentioned that, thus revealing to the audience that the contestants know ahead of time who else was on the season hahahaha!

A: Yeah he cut her off real quick. But I was at home like TONY YOU ARE SO CUTE WHAT DID YOU TELL HER?

N: Yeah I am happy she won. I wanted Aubry and Cirie to win, but it became clear Aubry wasn’t in the running early on, so that was an easier pill to swallow. Tony is the best. Such a freak of nature.

A: Yeah I made peace with that early, but I think they gave Cirie a great edit to make up for DOING HER WRONG. And he really is. He’s so interesting to watch but I fear we’ll never get another full series of him.

N: I think Sarah played one of the best games ever. To be in the middle every vote is really crazy. And no, I don’t see how Tony will make it to the jury again but I’m sure if anyone can prove me wrong it’s the Llama himself.

A: Ahahaha. Oh Tony. I am going to re-watch S28 this week I think. And re: Sarah. I know! I am so impressed by her because flippers usually get cut so much earlier, but she managed to go back and forth the whole time. How did she manage it?!

N: P.S. Poor Troy. He got 13 confessionals the entire show and like half of those were in the finale hahaha.

She’s [Sarah] super annoying in 28 so I don’t know how she was able to come across so different this time. I need her to bottle that and send some my way.

A: Yeah might be worth having a one-on-one with her. Coach also had one of the best transformations of all time.

I don’t care too much for Troy – the man is an SI Swimsuit photographer, he’s living his best life. He gave a very gracious final address though (when he realised he had no chance).

N: “His best life” lol – Oprah crossover with Survivor!

A: You know Oprah is my girl. I met her once and I was changed forevermore.

N: I went to her ‘Evening with Oprah’ and loved it. I have an Oprah-style story about getting on Survivor but it’s long and nobody except you would care so no need to explain it for your readers.

A: ME TOO! I got to go to a Q&A as well and we hugged. OMG I want to hear more about this but okay, let’s take it offline.

Now, what are your feelings on Ozzy? I feel like I’m in the minority not liking him, but I think his views on being physical as a superior way of playing are archaic. I don’t think he gets it.

N: I think Ozzy swung away from the whole ‘provider thing’ for a bit and was tracking well to be a more well-rounded player this time. However he seemed to swing alllllll the way back for his fourth time. Shame. I have never identified with Ozzy as I’m the more Rob (Cesternino), Stephen, Spencer character type. I did not need to see him again.

A: Same. I don’t think he’s a game changer either. I would have much rather have seen any of those guys back in there instead, though I doubt Rob would ever play again.

N: He gets it, but fundamentally you are who you are when you play. You can try be someone else but the island is like truth serum and you do just have to be yourself. I think he knows what to do and I think he does it to some extent, but not enough. I would also suspect that he is the victim of the shows desire to make people these very binary type of characters so a lot of his more strategic stuff might get left on the cutting room floor.

A: Hmm. That makes sense. I get that but I also just want the Survivor gods to know we are done with Ozzy maybe. Keep bringing back Malcolm though, that’s okay.

Now, other than replacing a couple who were really not Game Changers (cough, Hali), was there anyone else you thought deserved to be in this season?

N: I was soooooo sad when Natalie Anderson had to pull out last minute. I love her and she is just TV gold. The list of players leaked before we left to play AU. (P.S. I was so pumped that I was playing the same time as my faves just an ocean’s throw away. P.P.S. I got voted out same day as Ozzy did, that’s how long these poor bastards have been waiting for this season to air). Where was I? Oh yeah. I was so pumped to come back and see Natalie on a season and when I returned to Adelaide and found out she was replaced by Sierra I was not ok. Gods, we are well and truly done with Ozzy and JT.

A: I knowwww I LOVED Natalie! She was so feisty and smart and she stood up to bullies and was just all-round awesome. Sierra was not an adequate replacement. And that’s really cool – they were *so close* to you. So was Probst! And yeah, I’m also done with those guys, especially JT. He has made so many dumb moves I can’t believe he won.

N: Agreed on all counts. I also think Shane, Twila and Helen Glover should play again but most of those will never happen and that’s ok.

A: OMG SHANE!

N: Shane is just the best and anyone who voted in second chance and did not include him, I will come to your house and give you a stern talking to.

A: I’m pretty sure *I* voted for him and his Blackberry.

Now you mentioned truth serum by the way…in episode 7 after a reward challenge, the “orange” team who played together (Culpepper, Aubry, Michaela, Cirie, Sierra and Sarah) had a really poignant conversation about how tough this game is and how it takes you “to the darkest part of your mind” – what does this mean to you now, after playing? I remember being surprised by how much impact the reward challenge had – I thought it was a throwaway challenge compared to immunity.

N: Ok, this is an interesting one for me and I think I may surprise you with my answer. First, the game is hard. Like…realllly hard. It breaks you down, lifts you up, then breaks you down again. It’s the toughest thing I will ever do physically. BUT… I do think people overdo it sometimes.

A: That is surprising!

N: There are so many harder things in life. People survive such trauma, poverty, losing their job, loss of family members, social issues, etc. I just think that if we go on about how crazy hard the game is, it’s a little weird because in the end, it’s a game. YES you starve, you push your body and spirit to breaking point etc., but sometimes people like to overdo it too much and it can be annoying.

A: I know exactly what you mean (as someone who hasn’t actually played…). Real Life will always kick you in the ass and it’s not easy to just tap out of it like you do once the game is over. I appreciate the honesty!

N: I always talk about how it was super hard, but I think I approached it with a very different mindset. I lost my mother when I was 21 after a VERY lengthy and terrible battle with cancer. I also lost 4 other family members that year. I have stared into the eye of the storm and come out the other side. Survivor, while it can be this amazing transformative and arduous process, it is just that…a process. Just like dealing with grief etc. And in the end, dwelling on the hard part of it would be doing a disservice to how fun and amazing it truly is. Sorry, that’s just something I speak about with my family all the time. I will also so that I don’t want to take away anyone else’s experiences, as that is just my own 🙂

A: No I love that. I think it’s super important to keep perspective on it all and I think people’s personal experiences will make them stronger so the game affects them differently. I loved when you did the tribute to your mum on the beach.

N: Thanks, that was my favourite moment. I got to share that with her and no one else back home which is never the case as it’s always me relying on them to go through life without her.

A: I maybe cried. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Ok, favourite/least favourite aspect of the game? How does this differ between playing/watching now? For me, it has to be the loved one visit, water challenges, and when an underdog team win against a bunch of douches (I’ve been holding on to Cook Islands for way too long – the last time I liked Ozzy).

N: Why do people love water challenges so much? They awaken the nerdy little kid in me who couldn’t swim when he was little and I hate watching them. I was so glad there was very little water time in my season. Fave aspect of the game –people finding idols, the merge episode, puzzles of course, unique character types in casting.

A: Agree with all of the above.

N: Least fave – people who think Survivor is real life and that people will judge them because of a TV show. If the people in your life will judge you because of a reality T.V. gameshow, get new people in your life.

A: RIIIIIIGHT? I NEVER UNDERSTAND THIS. Or believing that what you do in the game is indicative of who you are in real life.

N: Yep, yep, yep. Also, I dislike immunity challenges that are over so quickly because there’s very little skill involved and more random luck.

A: Same. And I hate challenge advantages.

N: I think everyone who plays Survivor should listen to what Sarah said at the finale. Tasha said it too in the Cambodia premiere too. That the people who play honourably go home and their family say “you should have lied more, been more sneaky!” Very few people get a chance to rectify that mistake so take heed future players!

A: 1000% – it should be part of the application, letting people know that. Anyway. What stood out to you this season? Highlights/lowlights? I thought Michaela was hysterical and I could watch her facial expressions forever. She also played a lot better under Cirie’s guidance (I loved their relationship and the advice bestowed – “get un-hungry”,”get un-mad”), and Andrea also came back a lot savvier having learned from past seasons. But I wish Tony and Malcolm got to go further, and obviously Cirie would have been in the finals for me.

N: I surprisingly wasn’t that cut up about Malcolm. I love Malcolm, but I was so worried it would all backfire on Sandra so I was relieved it was him and not her.

A: Oh I meant to say Sandra too!

N: Highlights was seeing the legends playing with each other. It helps capture the magic of HvV. I disliked the huge gulf in the casting. There were about 8-9 legends of the game and then the rest were nowhere near them in terms of status. What resulted was a bloodbath as everyone went after the big game (Cirie not included). I used to love the idea of a Winners vs Jury vs Pre-Jury, but because of the wonkiness of this season, I have cooled on that idea.

A: Yeah seeing it play out reminds you why there are legends and…others.

N: Yep.

A: Ok, I have my final quick-fire round and then you’re free to go.

N: This could be fun.

A: Top 3 favourite Survivor seasons?

N: HvV, China, Cambodia…with surprisingly Gabon in the mix too.

A: Um, that is surprising. But, I agree – love the first two especially.

N: Gabon is just crazy with Crystal.

A: Top 3 favourite players of all time?

N: Stephen, Sandra, Todd. And Courtney, sorry. I recently spoke with her and she says I’m her new BFF so I’m pretty happy with that.

P.S. How have we made it this long without a RHOBH question?!

A: Shut upppp I’m so jealous! You’re living MY best life. Also, LOL I didn’t realise you were such a fan. Ok, I’ll throw in one more bonus question. Stay tuned.

Favourite villain?

N: Housewives villain or Survivor Villain? Because the answer is Phaedra and Parvati respectively.

A: Hahaaaa I meant Survivor, but thank you. Describe Probst in 3 words.

N: Hahahaha.

Dominant, excitable, dimples.

A: Do you think Probst drinks the blood of fallen castaways to ever-remain so youthful? If he ever ”ages” and retires, do you think Survivor could ever be the same?

N: He definitely drinks the blood of something. Maybe more of those cows from the Survivor Africa challenge…It will never be the same if he retires. I have wondered if Parvati would be an interesting replacement? Is that too much wishful thinking? And she could do the whole thing in a bikini?

A: No I’d actually be down with that. And she’s very zen now – she’s a yoga master or something. I love you so much for mentioning Africa. I bloody love that season (I loved Brandon) but nobody else does.

N: Yeah I’m always down for more Parv. Brandon was such a shit-stirrer, I loved it.

A: Ok, FINAL question. It’s a three-parter:

N: Shoot.

A: Favourite (or most iconic) housewife/city/housewife feud?

N: Fave housewife has got to be Nene (but I have a mad crush on Carole Radz); New York always brings the lols; Nene and Kim in the tour bus when she called her a slave and then Nene threatened to pop her eyeballs out. I watch a lot of reality TV if you hadn’t noticed. Unless it’s singing…I haaaate the Voice and all that.

A: An almost perfect answer even though you never mentioned Erika Jayne. And yep, I hate that singing stuff toooo.

N: Oh really? Yeah she’s good, but Kyle’s the best Beverly Hills housewife.

A:  Controversial…LVP?!

N: Kyle IS the show. LVP has lost it I reckon. I’m a bit over her schtick. Kyle is the real deal. If it’s Rinna vs LVP, I am controversially siding with Rinna.

A: WHAT. This is fascinating. But I would need another hour to properly discuss Housewives.

N: Bahahahaha. I also could chat Amazing Race, The Mole, Geordie Shore, The Genius… I mean…a lot of reality TV. And yeah like I said, controversial. I like good TV, what can I say? Rinna brings it. P.S. Geordie Shore is still amazing, I don’t care what anyone says.

A: Um…you don’t have to convince me. Charlotte and Gaz are both lovely as well, so I’m biased and keep watching.

N: Oh! Also Celebrity Big Brother UK is the best reality TV going around. INSANE LEVELS OF INSANITY. Have you met Charlotte and Gaz?

A: Yep. Before the breakup.

N: Back before the dark days of Stephen Bear #neverforget.

A: Never! Ok, I have kept you long enough Nick, but can I just say a massive THANK YOU for chatting with me tonight. I have loved picking your brain and discovering your controversial opinions

N: Oh god, I hope they weren’t too controversial! Hahaha.

A: I think just because I’m so passionate about my thoughts, and some of yours were…different.

N: Thanks for having me and thanks again for all your blogs – they are right on the money.

A: Nice to hear – I’ll keep writing them!

N: And the sign of a good discussion is the ability to realise how wrong the other person is hahahahaha.

A: Precisely what I’ve done.

N: Well, job well done.

A: But I don’t begrudge you your opinions. I guess.

N: *She says begrudgingly*


I hope you enjoyed us being obsessive reality TV nerds as much as we enjoyed being obsessive reality TV nerds! If you want to know more about Nick’s Oprah-style Survivor application as much as I do, let me know and I’ll get it out of him.

Please listen to Nick’s awesome podcast as he currently recaps Survivor NZ and will soon be covering the new season of Australian Survivor, he’s Austraya’s answer to Rob Cesternino so he’s Really Good –  http://robhasawebsite.com/author/nick-iadanza/

Image: @nickiadanza Twitter