Ralph is a one of a kind player...he's unique enough to surely be on this season's list of memorable players. His Southern drawl and rural background proved a very interesting character who had his share of good moments on the island. No, he couldn't quite spell a name correctly at Tribal Council, and you often couldn't understand what he was saying, but he got further than anybody would have probably guessed.
First off, he'll be remembered as the first person to get the best of Russell Hantz on Survivor. Accidentally finding an Immunity Idol while gathering rocks, Ralph never backed down from Russell. Like all of the Zapatera members though, he was on the wrong side of the numbers once Matt chose to side with his former Ometepe tribe. Last night on Redemption Island, Ralph became the 4th member of the jury when he lost a 4-way Duel to Matt, Mike, and Andrea.
The written word doesn't do Ralph's style of speaking any justice, but here's what I deciphered from our chat:
So who's easier to live with, Russell or Phillip?
Ralph: About the same, just two totally different people. Phillip just tells you who to pick on and who not to, and Russell is so overbearing, and just lays around and let you work to keep him going.
So what's your take on Phillip then...crazy or not crazy?
I didn't think he's crazy, I just thought he's playin' the game. In real life you don't act like that, not a grown up 52 year-old man. Most time you'd have to be on some kind of medication to act that nutty. No, so I think he's just putting on, I do believe.
You and Russell went head to head earlier in the game. Why didn't you ever try to talk with Russell and work things out?
He didn't want to do that. He talked to everyone but me, he would not talk to me.
Rob has an Idol that nobody knows about, but you shared your Idol with the rest of the team. Any regrets with how you used your Idol?
Well, Rob has more experience than me in the game. I kept thinking that if I had the Idol and didn't tell anybody, that someone would find it and then try to blindside me and vote me out. That's all I was thinking about. That's why I tossed out my Idol later and said, hey you all are welcome to it. And also, I haven't seen anybody win with an Idol yet. You got to cash the Idol in by Final 5, and after that it's fair game.
You spent some time with Matt out at Redemption Island. The guy's spent most of the game out there. What are your thoughts on Matt?
Matt put a lot of that on himself. We gave him an opportunity to make a bold move, and Matt didn't. So if he didn't, it's sort of like Andrea. She had to end up sleeping on the ground instead of on the bamboo, she had a chance to make a move and didn't do it. It's a game, and that's all I can say. Matt had a chance to do something about it.
So there's no hiding you're from a rural area. Talk about your experience on this show and if it's changed you at all.
It has. I used to be a little more bashful kind of a guy. When I was going on some interviews at the start of the game, I kind of said, hey, I'm in my 40s, it's time to perk up and start to meet some new people. I met some awesome people...all of them. Russell, all of them are awesome. They're just set in their ways. They're all adults. It shocked me that I went as far as I did.
Were you shocked by your portrayal on TV or by anything you saw air on TV?
I was shocked by some of the things people said. Or Mike right before the merge, went and told Matt that he could use the Idol if he needed. Matt at that time didn't even know I had an Idol.
Had things gone differently for you, who would you have liked to take with you to the Final 3?
Probably Sarita...and Steve and Mike are pretty good guys, but I'd of took a lady. I'd of taken Julie.
Would you ever play the game of Survivor again?
If I was asked tomorrow, I'd be more than glad to.