Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire: Jill Behm has a radical idea to dramatically change the game
With Survivor filming for seasons 41 and 42 indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, EW is reaching back into the reality show's past. We sent a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire to a batch of former players to fill out with their thoughts about their time on the show as well as updates on what they've been up to since. Each weekday, EW will post the answers from a different player.
Jill Behm knows Survivor. Spend some time talking to her and it becomes clear the woman has a firm grasp on both the game and the show. So even though Jill was voted out eighth on day 18 of Survivor: Nicaragua (right before both the merge and jury — ouch!), she is the type of player that easily could have made a deep run.
So the good doctor is worth listening to when she says she has an idea for a way to completely shake-up the game. "It seems like Survivor has gotten very complicated with HII, idol nullifiers, Fire Tokens, etc…" says Jill in perhaps the understatement of the millennium. "I think this is because what makes Survivor exciting is huge swings in power. Pagonging is very boring TV."
With that in mind, Jill would like to completely reshuffle the deck… every three days in the game. "I'd like to get rid of all of those things and shuffle the tribes after every Tribal Council. That way you'd have alliances being made and broken every three days. You'd be in a great spot, then potentially lose all your allies in an instant. There would be some crazy scrambling which would make for some INTENSE gameplay, and I think a great season." Jill has one final touch on her suggestion: "Making it a season of pre-jury returnees would be even better." (Now I wonder why she possibly would have added that in!)
In her Quarantine Questionnaire, Jill also weighs in on her controversial hidden immunity idol move, explains why she was not Marty's minion, and reveals the details of a Survivor competition that never took place on TV.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you've been up to since appearing on Survivor.
JILL BEHM: I changed jobs from the ER into regular family practice. It's a lot less stressful. Well, it was before COVID hit anyway. I also play a lot of Fortnite.
What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?
Definitely winning individual immunity, then going on to win the reward challenge for my tribe. At that point, we were about 14 days into the game and hadn't eaten much. That food was so good! Also, I didn't know it at the time, but my tribe had planned on voting me out that next Tribal had I not won, so I'm doubly glad I won it!
What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?
Well, for sure that would be solving the hidden immunity idol clue and revealing that solution to Marty instead of keeping it to myself. I got a lot of criticism for doing that, but I've never been a huge fan of the HII. I think people have statistically analyzed them and they run about 50-50 helpful vs. harmful. Many people have been sent home and targeted due to having them, and I felt my game was strong enough that I wouldn't need it, but then---tribe swap! I've run this scenario countless times in my head, and if I'd have kept the HII for myself and kept it a secret, I could have used it to save myself and made the merge on my season, and then, who knows?
What's something that will blow fans' minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?
Jane got bit by a scorpion as we were walking to our first tribe beach. There were no cameramen around, so it didn't make it on the show, but it was a pretty scary welcome to Nicaragua.
How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?
Eh, no one likes their edit, right? I was at a charity event about a year ago with a Survivor winner and he walking talking about his terrible edit and it blew me away. I was like, "Wow, even winners don't like their edits!" So, it's no surprise that I didn't care for mine either — I feel I got a very boring edit compared to what transpired in-game. They definitely portrayed me as Marty's minion, and I feel like our alliance was very equal.
In fact, in the game, the other men on my tribe HATED Marty. He'd pop off with something to the guys and I'd have to run around and do damage control and get them all calmed down and convinced not to vote him out. You can see some evidence of that with Jimmy T's "preppy bitch" montage. The clips of me telling Marty I'd just go along with whatever he wanted was part of my gameplay to have Marty see me as 100% loyal and non-threatening.
What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?
Not really. I was the last pre-jury boot and after my vote out, they shipped us off to Costa Rica, which was just a very luxurious, exotic experience. I guess if anything stuck with me, it was a keen appreciation of the comforts of home. I'd never had an appreciation of my roof before, but after two weeks outdoors in the rain, I can remember coming home and just being too grateful for having a roof over my head. And food. And a bed. And all those little things we take for granted. That's probably what has stuck with me the most.
Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?
For me: no, never. I know several contestants who have lost jobs and relationships, and really did not have a good legacy after Survivor, but for me, it was nothing but positive.
Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?
From my season, Marty and I remain close, as you would expect. My younger son plays college water polo, which puts us in LA frequently, so I've seen Tyrone quite a bit as I try to connect with him when I'm in SoCal. I've done a few charity events and Purple Kelly and Jimmy T and I seem to stumble across each other a good bit. Survivor is such a crazy experience with such big personalities, and I've been very blessed with some very close relationships with people not on my season. Leslie Neese put together a gathering of moms some time ago and I still regularly meet up with her, Sunday Burquest, Lisa Keiffer, Carolyn Rivera, and Chrissy Hofbeck.
Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what's your favorite season you were not on and why?
I do! I have a couple of favorites. Heroes vs. Villains will always be special to me. At the time, it was such a novel returning cast of huge personalities, high-level gameplay, and it had that storybook romantic ending. Cagayan, I think, was a very enjoyable new school season with big personalities and exciting gameplay. My old school favorite is still Borneo, since it's so pure and raw.
Who's one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?
Oh, I love this question because the answer is so easy for me. Five years ago, I played in a charity fundraiser put on by Survivor: Gabon winner Bob Crowley at his home in Maine, the Durham Warriors Survival Challenge. It was a four-day compressed Survivor game. I always tell people who want the Survivor experience to go apply to this (it has since moved to IL and is now known as simply Survival Challenge), as it's the closest you can get to playing the real thing.
Anyways, the producers decided to put a tribe of Survivors together instead of sprinkling them throughout the cast as they had done in years past. My tribe consisted of Jamie Newton (Guatemala), Brooke Struck (Guatemala), Troyzan (One World and Game Changers), Nina Poersch (Worlds Apart), and Joel Klug (Borneo). What a mistake! I think my tribe won every challenge until they did the requisite tribe shuffle.
It was just an awesome group of competitors and we all had great chemistry. I quickly made an alliance with Joel, and he was my ride or die for the game, though I had an alliance hierarchy if you will — Joel, Brooke, then Troy, after Jamie and Nina got separated from our original tribe. Joel and I made it to the final three and we both lost to a fan! He was everything you could want in an alliance partner —loyal, savvy, and just a beast (still) in challenges. We still keep in touch very regularly. If I could pick one person to go back and play the game with, it would be Joel.
If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?
I'm not sure this is a change, but here's my idea for a season. It seems like Survivor has gotten very complicated with HII, idol nullifiers, Fire Tokens, etc. I think this is because what makes Survivor exciting is huge swings in power. Pagonging is very boring TV. I'd like to get rid of all of those things and shuffle the tribes after every Tribal Council. That way you'd have alliances being made and broken every three days. You'd be in a great spot, then potentially lose all your allies in an instant. There would be some crazy scrambling which would make for some INTENSE gameplay, and I think a great season. Making it a season of pre-jury returnees would be even better :)
Finally, would you play again if asked?
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