SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

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.

Survivor: South Pacific came down to a single decision. Not feeling close with his Savaii tribemates, and not willing to trust his fate in the game to pulling rocks in a tiebreaker, John Cochran flipped sides, dooming the rest of the Saviis in the process. Jim Rice was among those doomed and he was not happy about it. “After Cochran flipped, I went on a 30-minute tirade when we got back to camp that included references to his mother,” says Jim. “So embarrassing in hindsight... I'm glad that was edited out.”

While Jim says he and Cochran had a 3-hour conversation back in the States to talk about what happened on the island, it’s something the medical marijuana dispenser can’t help but still think about. But as much as the move will probably always upset Jim, it’s not the only thing that gives him pause about season 23. “Being a Survivor fan, it always has bummed me out that I wasn't part of an amazing season,” says Jim. “All the pieces were there with South Pacific, but it just didn't end up legendary. (The fact that the season Jim was not voted into by fans, Survivor: Cambodia — Second Chance, is considered a legendary one can’t help but pour a bit of salt in the wound.)

While South Pacific may not be legendary — I actually like the season more than most — Jim was on the verge of being a legendary character, and one which definitely deserves a second shot at competing. He also deserves a Survivor Quarantine Questionnaire, which is why we sent one his way.

Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First off, give the update as to what you’ve been up to since appearing on Survivor.

JIM RICE: I can't believe it is coming up on 10 years since I played! So much has changed. When I went on the show, I was single, had no kids, 8 employees, and two High Level Health dispensary locations. Now, I have two sons, got married, have 17 marijuana locations, and 130 staff. More than anything else, those two little boys have made my life so incredibly full and rewarding. I could write the rest of this just talking about how cool I think they are.

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

Just the fact that I was able to be a part of such an iconic show is what I am most proud of. That, and I do still get a little bit of pride that I'm still in the Survivor record books for the Shoulder the Load weight holding challenge.

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?

You know, about a year after the show, John Cochran and I had a 3-hour phone conversation to catch up and he said sorry for flipping. The answer I gave him then is the same one I'll give now: I am so happy with my life that there is nothing I regret about the show because if anything were to have played out differently, who knows where I would be, but I couldn't imagine it being somehow better. That's the magnanimous answer, and not untrue, but still... I should have pushed harder to flip Rick, and why the **** did I trust Cochran?!

What’s something that will blow fans’ minds that happened out there in your season but never made it to TV?

All the mind-blowing stuff makes it to the air, but after Cochran flipped, I went on a 30-minute tirade when we got back to camp that included references to his embarrassing in hindsight... I'm glad that was edited out.

How do you feel about the edit you got on the show?

I think the whole "bad edit" thing is BS. You either said the words and did the actions or you didn't. Or, maybe that is just coming from someone who was happy with their edit. Ha!

What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back?

I imagine there would be more shock today. In 2011, social media and phone addiction wasn't quite wasn't what it is now. So, I think the societal separation and associated shock is more prevalent with current players. Plus, I was at Ponderosa for a little too long. So, I was ready to get back.

Was there ever a point either during the game or after you got back where you regretted going on the show?

Not for a single second!

Whom do you still talk, text, or email with the most from your season?

I talk to Keith almost every day… and Whitney, when she insists on knowing who Keith is talking to. I even officiated their wedding ceremony 6 years ago! We weren't really close on the show, but hanging out at Ponderosa for a couple weeks definitely started the lifelong friendship. We vacation together, are in a fantasy football league together, and they're coming out here to Denver in a couple weeks.

Do you still watch Survivor, and if so, what’s your favorite season you were not on and why?

This may seem odd, but I watched every season up until my season. Since then, I have only watched a few seasons. I think that is because I am frustrated that I didn't win and when I watch, I just find myself getting mad that I'm not there playing. With that said, I did watch Second Chance since I was one of the people out there soliciting votes. Even though I didn't get voted on, that was an EPIC season; definitely up there with Heroes vs Villains, Fans vs. Favorites, and All-Stars. Being a Survivor fan, it always has bummed me out that I wasn't part of an amazing season. All the pieces were there with South Pacific, but it just didn't end up legendary.

Who’s one player from another Survivor season you wish you could have played with or against and why?

Jim Rice, season 23. That guy had it all and was gone too soon!

If you could make one change to any aspect of Survivor, what would it be and why?

Adding kids to the Loved Ones visit was LONG overdue, but Probst missed an enormous opportunity. They should have had a BEAST of a challenge. Here's why: There is so much strategy that goes into the Loved Ones challenge. The statistically correct argument is to throw the challenge because the correlation between the player winning that challenge and going on to win the game is so low. However, if my sons Charlie and Logan were sitting there watching their dad compete (who, in their minds is the strongest man in the world), strategy would be out the window. If I were to win, and were given the choice of having a day on the beach with my kids or letting every single other contestant have a day on the beach with their families, I would take the day with my kids and risk my entire game. 100%

I also always wanted to see a version where the tribes switched at every challenge; the randomly selected tribe that loses, goes to Tribal. It would force multiple alliances. Or, maybe they already did that in a season I missed. As for purists who want to get rid of idols and twists, I would argue those factors have led to almost every single "most memorable" moment in Survivor history.

Finally, would you play again if asked?

Knee-jerk reaction: HELL YES! Then, I start to think about not seeing my kids for that long, but then they would get to see me compete... then being away from my business... but friends/family had so much fun watching... tough one. Official answer: probably. I do know this: It wouldn't be for the money. It would be because in my mind, I lost when I played the first time and THAT still bothers me.

To keep track of our daily Survivor Quarantine Questionnaires and get the latest updates, check out EW's Survivor hub, and follow Dalton on Twitter.

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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