I had a chance to sit down with all twenty of the “Fans vs. Favorites” competitors the day before they left for the Caramoan Islands. I’ll be posting exclusive interviews with each contestant every weekday until we get through all of them. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for tons of updates.
Name: Erik Reichenbach
Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA
Occupation: Comic Book Artist
Previous Finish: Erik came in 5th place in “Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites”
Memorable Moment: Erik was voted out shortly after giving his immunity idol to Natalie Bolton.
Fun Fact: Erik is the only person to ever go from being a “fan” to being a “favorite.”
Note: The “Survivor: Caramoan” pre-game interviews are unlike the pre-game interviews we’ve done in the past. Usually, the interviews take place on location, this time they took place in Los Angeles before the players flew out. At this point, all the “Favorties” know is that they’re flying out in the next few days. They have seen each other, but haven’t seen the new players. They don’t know for sure where they’re going, and they don’t know any of the season’s twists.
Gordon Holmes: So, when you gave up the idol…
Erik Reichenbach: What? You’re supposed to ask a couple of softball questions first.
Holmes: We don’t have that kind of time.
Holmes: Probst loves to bring that up, I believe he has at times called it his favorite Tribal Council moment of all time…
Holmes: I don’t think anyone remembers you negatively. Everyone seems to enjoy you as a character. But that moment has been hanging over your head for quite some time. How does it feel to get this second chance?
Reichenbach: I’m looking forward to it. But, if I focus on the redemption part, like I need to change my image I’m going to (expletive deleted) blow it. You probably can’t say that word in there.
Holmes: We’re fine.
Reichenbach: But I can’t focus on that or I’m going to blow it. This is the next chapter in the story of where I’m going in the game. The next step in the adventure. You’ve seen where I’ve made a mistake in the past and I’m going to try to grow from that this time.
Holmes: Are you all worried that your past experience has made you gun shy when it comes to big moves?
Reichenbach: I don’t think I’ll be gun shy so much as I’ll be…I’m trying not to focus on big moves, I’m trying to focus on the players. Knowing what’s right to do. So, in a way I might be gun shy on the moves, but you don’t need to make big moves to win the game. Sandra in her season “Heroes vs. Villains,” I don’t think she made too many big moves and she made it.
Holmes: There are a ton of examples of winners like that.
Reichenbach: Plus on this season you’re going to have huge egos. You’re going to have Cochran, you’re going to have some pretty big egos that want to make bold moves. You don’t have to be the one driving the car to get to where you’re going. I don’t know if that’s a good analogy.
Holmes: I think that’s a smart strategy, to be honest.
Reichenbach: I think a lot of people are going to do a lot of stupid (expletive deleted).
Holmes: I can’t wait.
Reichenbach: That’s what I’m excited for! I’m excited to see Phillip Sheppard talk to Brandon…what is that interaction going to be like? What is the interaction with Corinne going to be like with anybody?
Holmes: So you’re still a big fan?
Reichenbach: Oh yeah, huge fan of the show.
Holmes: That’s good to hear, I know some people have been on the show and the experience has soured them.
Reichenbach: I was sour for a while.
Holmes: I can imagine. It can’t be easy to hear people say those things about you.
Reichenbach: I was sour during “Samoa” and “Heroes vs. Villains” because it was the Russell show. And I just watched “Heroes vs. Villains” in preparation because I think it’s an accurate representation of what I’m going into.
Holmes: What’ve you been up to since we saw you in Micronesia?
Reichenbach: Not too much, been working a lot. Jumping around. I was working at Trader Joe’s for a while as an artist. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. I got to go to Africa, South Africa, I got to go to Europe a bit. I went up and down the coast.
Holmes: For fun?
Holmes: That’s cool.
Reichenbach: A lot of charity stuff. There’s one, Give Kids the World in Florida. But, basically just watching the show and hanging out.
Holmes: You have played with returnees in the past. Now you are a returnee. What did you learn from that experience?
Reichenbach: I think that’s a big plus, playing with people who’ve already played the game. I got to learn from them like how it works. I was with the Fans and it was a total train wreck. They were first timers, they didn’t know what they were doing. Then there was a swap and I got to play with Favorites who’d played the game before and they showed me the ropes. Ozzy took me under his wing and Amanda was one of my best friends out there. I think that’s a huge advantage.
Holmes: This is a dumb questions, but that’s never stopped me before…why do you think you were brought back?
Reichenbach: I think I was brought back because I made “Survivor” history by giving away the immunity idol to Natalie. And, that’s OK. That’s what people remember me for.
Holmes: People can hang on to things like that for too long. It’s seems good for you and your game that you’ve put that behind you.
Reichenbach: Oh yeah, I’d be nervous. The more you try not to think of something, the more you think of it.
Holmes: What’s it like to get that call after four years to come back?
Reichenbach: It’s awesome. It’s so cool. I was so nervous that it wasn’t going to happen because I was in the line-up for “Heroes vs. Villains” along with Natalie Bolton who voted me out. I was so bummed out when I didn’t get it.
Holmes: It’s day one, we arrive on the beach. I remember you from Micronesia. What do you think I remember about your gameplay?
Reichenbach: I think two things; they’re either going to think I’m a stupid kid who gave away immunity and am still pretty stupid, or they’re going to think that guy is going to try his ass off and try to earn redemption and be a big player.
Holmes: I feel like that can be very valuable.
Reichenbach: What do you mean?
Holmes: I always use Coach as an example. He was able to use people’s preconceived notions of him as an advantage. People thought he was a goof and he really wasn’t.
Holmes: You have a lot to work. Someone who thinks your dumb will think they can control you.
Reichenbach: There’s no negative connotation attached to me.
Reichenbach: I’m not Boston Rob or Parvati. Parvati always has a target on her back.
Holmes: If there is a twist, what do you think it will be?
Reichenbach: I don’t know. That’s why I like playing with no plan until you’re there. One thing that’s interesting is there’s one guy here and I don’t know who he is. So, he must be on one of the recent seasons. I’m hoping he’s not a Russell character. Also, there’s only one tribe so far. So, I don’t know if this is Fans vs. Favorites, or whatever the subhead ends up being.
Holmes: I honestly don’t know at this point.
Reichenbach: Fans vs. Failures.
Holmes: That’s very negative.
Reichenbach: (Laughs) It could be a Redemption Island, because I feel like a lot of the people here need redemption. I kind of like that. I would enjoy that for the sake of myself because I think I could do well.
Holmes: I rewatched Micronesia a year ago, and I’m trying to remember how well you did in individual immunity. I’m thinking you did well, right?
Reichenbach: I got three in a row and then the last one was the one where I gave up immunity. I could have won until the end which is what every person on the street has told me.
Holmes: What kind of reaction do you get on the street?
Reichenbach: It’s 50/50. People think I’m an idiot and I’m stupid and the others say, “We really wanted you to do good, we love you, let us bake you cookies.”
Holmes: Cookies? That happens?
Reichenbach: That happened a couple of times, which is weird.
Holmes: What are your thoughts on this cast so far?
Reichenbach: It’s an island of misfit toys. I like all of the people. They’re going to be awesome. They’re going to be hilarious. I can’t wait to talk to all of them. I’d love to talk to Brandon and share notes about giving up immunity.
Holmes: Anyone in particular you want to align with?
Reichenbach: I don’t want to align with anyone specifically, I want to align with numbers as they form. I’m trying not to be biased. Every piece of me wants to say don’t align with Phillip because he’s (expletive deleted) crazy. He’s a nutso. But, you can’t be emotional. You have to look at numbers.
Holmes: Of your fellow castmates, who do you think will do better the second time around?
Reichenbach: Francesca. (Laughs)
Holmes: You’ve had years to say, “I’ll do this different, I won’t make this mistake.” But so have they.
Reichenbach: I hope Cochran does better just because there’s so much hype around him. I hope he does better. Last time I thought was kind of shameful. I’d like to see how Corinne does. She was portrayed as a bitch last time and she’s not a bitch in real life. I hope I do better.
Holmes: You doing better would have you very close to a pretty big check.
Reichenbach: Yeah, it’d be a big deal.
Don’t miss the two-hour premiere of “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites,” Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.