SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

With season 41 of Survivor delayed 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 is a full contact sport. Even, apparently, on the way to Tribal Council. While J.T. Thomas dramatically lost part of a tooth during an immunity challenge on Survivor: Tocantins, that was actually the second tooth mishap of the season. The first, it turns out, happened to Joe Dowdle off-camera during a van ride to Tribal Council.

"In the car ride to Tribal, I was drinking out of the glass water bottles they gave us," Joe tells EW. "We hit a bump and I chipped a tooth, and threw it to my side. I like to think I inspired J.T. to do the same in the challenge the next day."

J.T! Adding insult to injury by swiping Joe's hype! The nerve of that guy! But the tooth was the least of Joe's worries, as an infected leg got worse and worse — to the point where the Survivor medical team felt if they didn't pull him from the game, that he could lose the leg altogether, or even his life. As a result, Joe was medically evacuated on day 20.

Ah, what could have been. We sent a Quarantine Questionnaire to Joe to find out how he feels about his upended Survivor journey, and what he's up to now.

Joe Dowdle on 'Survivor Tocantins'
| Credit: 29239347

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

JOW DOWDLE: Lots... It's been 13 years, which is absolutely insane to say. I got married in 2014 to my beautiful wife, Jaclyn. We have a 2.5 year old son, Griffin, and just got a golden retriever puppy named Goose. Still living in Austin doing commercial real estate. Still keeping any cuts and scrapes as clean as I can.

What is your proudest moment ever from playing Survivor?

Honestly, it's hard to identify my most proud moment. I'm probably most proud of the things that I learned about myself from being on the show, and then taking inventory, and making changes in my life. In other words, I'm most proud of being humbled. Any perfectionist tendencies in me died in Brazil. 

What is your biggest regret from your Survivor experience?

That one of my quotes didn't title an episode. Also, not winning. I wouldn't have won, but I thought going in that I could. Looking back, I didn't have enough life experience to navigate Survivor relationships. It was cringy to watch season 18 (my wife still hasn't watched it) and think about how much I missed out on because I was too taken with what people thought of me. Also, it was really tough to keep my head in the game when my leg infection got out of control. 

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

In the car ride to Tribal, I was drinking out of the glass water bottles they gave us, we hit a bump and I chipped a tooth, and threw it to my side. I like to think I inspired J.T. to do the same in the challenge the next day. There's more, but that's the first that popped in my head. 

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


What was it like coming back to regular society after being out there? 

Tough, trust issues for years. 

Was there culture shock or an adjustment coming back? 

It was really hard to understand the average portion at a restaurant for a solid month or two. It was disgusting at first. 

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


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

Tyson, J.T., Brendan, Stephen and I went skiing in like 2015 or so. I text with Tyson mainly because one of my friends wants to FaceTime him or to talk about how I'm going to punish him in pickleball when he comes to Austin. Stephen and I trade notes on major life events. Been a bit since I've spoken to J.T., Brendan, Coach, Erin, Spencer, Sydney, etc….

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

Season 40, for obvious reasons.

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

With Sandra. Just to get an up-close look at the GOAT. 

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

I like where they've taken the game. I'm waiting for blindsides to go out of style. 

Finally, would you play again if asked? 


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

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning $1 million, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "Dig deep!"

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