The Mad Hatter
Rachel: Well, I know there's a lot of questions you're probably really sick of answering. We have a lot of questions that you've probably been asked before, but, like I said, a lot of times, it's been taken out of context. So I'm sure we're going to give you some repeat questions, but is there any question that you're really hoping we'll ask you that nobody's asked you yet?
Jonathan: I don't know. When we get to it . I've been asked a million things, you know. I mean, I could come up with that, but let me see where you guys go with this and hopefully at the end, you'll get a better sense of me. I guess the biggest thing is that everyone goes, "An abuser can be charming." You know, that's the biggest thing that I read out there. And, you know what, I'm just a type A personality, and all these allegations of all these things are such a third person to me, based on what you saw. I always say it, and I'll say it again - the race we ran isn't the same race we saw on television. Period. Whether people want to believe that or not - and whether people take responsibility for the other side of "oh, yes, those were my actions" - the bottom line is that there was so much more going on and when you bring it all down to this finite moment of what they chose and what they pick you for - yeah, I played into it. Well, anyway, I could go on and on and on.
Rachel: Listen, I read something literally not even ten minutes before you called. Did you know you're mentioned in this week's Canadian TV Guide?
Rachel: And I don't mean to bring it up, but it is something that, you've basically given us the reaction, but I want to read it to you. They've done an article on TV's worst moments of this year, and - lucky you! - you and Victoria are mentioned at number 7. And again, it touches on the whole being accused of being an abuser. Let me say right away, I have a problem, I have issues with that, with people making accusations like that because it's very serious.
Jonathan: You realize, it all started with one person out there - two people. Mama Tiger and her little friend, who accused me of - I don't even remember what the hell she accused me of way back when, but
Rachel: She accused you of posting on an Internet board that you were going on a reality show and you were going to be playing a character.
Jonathan: No, she posted that. I never posted that. I told that to a public relations person.
Rachel: Oh, okay, and it somehow made its way onto the Internet.
Jonathan: Well, no, she was friends with that person or something to that degree. I mean, the conversation was so slight that it was taken out of context once they saw the actions on the screen, and they were just like, "Oh my god, what's going on here?" and so I think it snowballed between that and Mama Tiger going - and started the whole ball rolling. And then, I obviously fed into it just because, you know, it is reality television. You gotta remember my background, okay, and why this all kinda happened. You know what, somebody said it the other day - I just read the boards, the night before I called you; I just read everything, caught up - and there was a couple of people in there, I don't remember who said it, but they were just like, "So let me get this right, he wanted to be a villain and he wasn't portrayed as the villain he wanted and blah blah blah blah " And I'm thinking, "Yeah, that's about right."
Rachel: So they hit the nail on the head with that?
Jonathan: Kind of. They kind of did. I mean, I do take full responsibility for everything, and I have, and I brought back up the site - my web site - of what I said that people think are excuses. Nothing in there was an excuse. All it was, it was just a lot of information and a lot of what had been going on caused this all to explode and, again, I do and I have taken responsibility for it. And that 's why I go out there and I do these interviews and talk to people because the real person is a lot different than the person that's on television.
miri: I just want to say, too, that I don't know that it necessarily all began with Mama Tiger because this is not the first season that this has happened. We've had racers in the past be accused of being abusers. And it has happened in the past. And, again, the hyperbole of it just keeps building up and building up until people are saying, "Oh, I'm sure he goes home and just beats her silly and stuff."
Jonathan: Well, don't you think if that's been going on in the past that it's definitely an editorial position, as well? Everybody's getting this information from a television show that's showing seven to twelve minutes of a personality and it's building, and it's getting more dramatic and more dramatic. Don't you think there's something pointing to the editorial part of it?
miri: Actually, when I interviewed Ray and Deana recently, and we were talking about this, I did say - you know, it's really interesting to me that this has happened with Wil and Tara, Colin and Christie, and a few other people, where, after the race - especially, with, I think, Colin and Christie - the female partner of the team was saying, "I'm not a doormat." And with Ray and Deana - "I'm not a doormat, but I was portrayed like a doormat, and he was portrayed as overbearing." And it does seem to be a bit of a pattern. I don't know if that's because they're casting teams that they think will fit that pattern or what.
Jonathan: That's a definite, okay? They're casting teams, they're definitely picking people out, and they're building stories based on personalities. And then they're finding a spot in the show and then they build the story backwards from there. So, that's a fact. I mean, I talked to Ray and Deana during their season because they wanted to know what my perspective was on it, and, surprisingly enough, he did understand what they were doing, based on what happened with Colin and Christie, and me and Victoria. He comes from a place of "I'm about sports, I'm about competition, you turn that corner, and it's 'game on.'" So am I. It's just I also come from Hollywood, and so, unfortunately, there was a mixture of the two going on at the same time. And what I thought would make for great television did make for great television, it just didn't do great for humanity.
And also, putting the message out there - I will say this, I put this on the web site if people want to read it again - I believe that reality personalities have a raised voice, a responsibility to do something, anything, with that raised voice if they choose to take it. Mine was kind of taken away from me because of the story line. Being a villain isn't necessarily a bad thing. Being a villain and being accused of things that a story line is making up, that is what kind of stopped me in my tracks. It also took away the raised voice because when you are such in a negative light, you can't do anything positive with the experience. I truly believe, if I get my way, I will, one person at a time, make them - I won't say that - one person at a time, show them who the real Jonathan is, and I'm sure Victoria will show who the real Victoria is, and then that raised voice will come back, and good things will come. And one day I will be pointed to, and people will go, "That was the person on The Amazing Race that did what? Wow. Well, maybe it wasn't what it appeared to be." I know I'm a good person so I have no problem going out there and doing the interviews or participating in public events. Trust me, I'm out there all the time. People come up to me all the time, and they're not accusing me. They're curious - "Who's the real you?" And when I sit down with them or when I give them a little bit of my time, I think that they take away with what I would have wanted them to take away on the race, which didn't happen. I mean, I'm a philosopher, I've done some life coaching. I won't say that what you saw up there wasn't me. It was a heightened version of me, and a lot of things caused what was going on, including medication. But it was also a race for a million dollars, and if you don't have a certain mindset, you will get eliminated - very quickly. And production doesn't care who you are, what you are, what you're doing, where you are - all they want is good television.
miri: That's why I'm sorry to hijack this, Rachel
Jonathan: You know, this is hopefully educational.
miri: Right, I think maybe, at least for me personally, one of the reasons I have a little bit of difficulty with hearing you say, "Well, why did they go with that story line and why did they do this?" is because you are from Hollywood, and it seems like you would be a little more savvy about, "Well, they're gonna go with what they think's gonna get them ratings or what they think's the most sensational story line." And that's why I get a little confused that you're upset about that because it seems like that is the Hollywood way you know?
Jonathan: But I gave them 250% opposed to everybody else's 150. And, in that 250, they had so much more to choose from in story line. I sat down with Bertram and I said, "Why did you focus the gun on me?" just to see what was said. I said, "You could have just dropped my story line. You could have just used me in snippets." And he goes, "What do you mean? Why would we do that?" I said, "You did that with Jon and Kris. You never saw them on the screen until the end. You could have chosen to go that way with me if you didn't want to go out there and offend the entire universe with the story line." I'm not saying that they couldn't have built a different story line that would have given them the ratings. They could have. They could have built the story line with a push in there that would have gotten them the ratings. The energy that they chose was just so nasty. That upset me more than anything. You know what, they - production - said to me many times, "We don't show throw-up, we don't show grotesque things, this is a family show." I mean, if somebody says that to you, while you're running the race, how in God's name would you ever believe that they are going to put together a story line the way they did with Victoria and me. And a lot of what was going on there, we were at warp speed, running 70,000 miles around the planet, having fun. And we were terrors. But what came out is that we were terrors toward each other, and that was so far from the truth outside of specific moments in a twenty-four day when we were very competitive with each other. And I've always said that the thing with Victoria and me, about not being on the same page, was because I was running to the million dollars. And I saw it. And I really did see it; I mean, I thought that we had a very good shot. And she believed that it was in her pocket and it was being taken out of her pocket every time she looked over her shoulders and saw a team. So her anxiety and my anxiety were on two different clouds. And then they would clash. And we'd just got done doing Battle of the Network Reality Stars, and she was like the MVP. I mean, truly the MVP. I looked her and said, "Where was this person on this race?" I mean, truly. Because that's the person that I went to race with. The stars just didn't line up for us at that moment. But I guarantee you, you put us back on this race, you're gonna see some fierce competitors. People talk about Colin and Christie, and you know what, I would've loved to have been on 5, and I would've loved to have been on 7. I think 6 was over-competitive and had too many strong people on it, and that also caused for the domino effect of everybody being the way they were being. And nobody ever points to that.
Rachel: You think the other seasons got off light then in that there weren't as many fierce competitors, there weren't as many strong teams as in your season. Is that what you're saying?
Jonathan: Yes, that's what I'm saying.
Rachel: Do you think you could have beat Colin and Christie?
Jonathan: No. But just Colin and Christie would have given each other a good run for their money. But when you have Bolo and you have Aaron and Hayden and you have John and Kris - I mean, these guys - we were all battling it out. Battling it out with one other team. We ran everywhere - the moment the plane stopped, we were running. We never, never walked anywhere - I mean, yeah, once in a while. All the other seasons, you see them getting off the plane, they walk off the plane, they walk to their bags. That never happened in Season 6. Plus, we were bunched up so much that we always had so much anxiety and we were always at each other's throats. And, just for the record, all the times that Aaron was going, "Jonathan, be quiet," or, "What are you doing?" or Hayden - that was them, trying to be funny. And the editors took it and put it in there as real. The cabdriver - and I will say this again - that supposedly threw us out of the cab - never threw us out of the cab. He got into an accident. They edited it that way.
Rachel: I see. Do you feel a little taken?
Rachel: Were you encouraged - did they encourage you to play up the villain aspect? Or at any time did anyone say to you, "You know, maybe you might want to tone it down?"
Jonathan: Okay, first of all, nobody ever told us to tone it down. Ever. What was said to us is, when we got to Corsica, everybody was given a lecture - we were going into sensitive territory. "You all cannot use the foul language" - which I didn't use. I mean, I was very respectful always, in all the cultures because I'm very well traveled, and I knew where I was and what was going on. And I truly wanted to feel the cultures. But we were told - a lot of people were told - "Do not use foul language, do not act up, everybody tone it down because you're going into places where they really don't realize that you're running a race." And so that was that.
As far as us being told to play it up - yes! Phil - you know, he came to us, and he would sit with us at pit stops. And he would tell us how great we're doing and, basically, just because we were dysfunctional in our style, but we were coming in 2nd almost every time, that we had a great shot, and that, whatever we're doing, not only to keep it up, but to build on it. Baron van Munster - Bertram, I mean - came to us and said, "You guys are great. You guys have a great, great, great synergy, and you have a good chance of winning, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." I mean, it went on and on and on and on and on. The security would come to us and go, "We've never seen anybody do the things you're doing." I'm just doing some really interesting things, at least for me. And that was one of my reasons for doing the race - is to be able to go and be this over-the-top, interesting person. You know what, it was just too interesting. I gave them too much to use, and I shot myself in the foot by doing it.
Rachel: So, do you regret it? Do you wish you'd just gone on and been yourself and not tried to play it up and be over the top?
Jonathan: Well, in retrospect, of course I regret pieces of it. But, you know, it's like my mother said, "You don't really have to try too hard to be a personality, Jon." And that was the problem. I mean, she didn't talk to me, just like the rest of the world, for four months. She was just like, "What am I watching here? What did you do and what's going on here?" But I thought the same way when I watched it. I was just like, "I don't like who that person is or what that person represents or who that person is trying to be." But running it, it was a different energy and a different feel and a different - it was just completely different. To sit back and watch it, you're just like, "All right, this is just really I mean, who needs it?" That's what I thought.
Rachel: So is there anything you wish they had shown? If they hadn't gone the direction they chose to go in, what do you wish they had shown that wasn't on the air?
Jonathan: Well, my thinking going in was, "I can wave my hand and make the impossible happen." It came from the Stars Wars Jedi mind trick. I have a way of making things happen. And the things that I was most proud of was not only becoming a professional panhandler, which was a very interesting study on how to do that, without offending people going into corporate places and getting them to give us food five-star restaurants or six-star hotel rooms. I mean, there was a point once that we got a Presidential suite. It was dirty, but I got them to give us a Presidential suite. And it was a very interesting - to me, it wasn't the sleeping and the showering and whatever food was left over - but it was really the process of finding and doing and getting it to happen. And so, while we would run, the guides - we had guides all the time because I really love to talk to people and I knew, once I started talking to people and I got them to speak English, or they had a cell phone and I said, "Do you know somebody who speaks English?" so that cell phone was all set to be a lifeline to somebody who spoke English who was a person who I never saw, and that person who I never saw became the voice of that culture. And I found that to be very fascinating. The greatest thing that I got doing The Amazing Race was realizing who we were as a human race. And what I used to see on television - CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS - in terms of its news, world news - I had my own opinions on who we were and what we were. And after I ran the race, I realized that we are more good than we are bad - that the world really is doing the same thing - we're getting up, we're going to work, we're raising families. We're putting out more positive messages than we are negative messages, and that it's really just a small pocket of the world that really is bad. But the rest of the world, on the whole, is a really beautiful place. And that life lesson I tried to spread, but, because of all the controversy, it gets lost all the time. Because I really think people should know that from The Amazing Race is that we've gotten such a grasp of what people and cultures and societies are doing other than our own. And we're moving through their cultures so fast that we're getting to see so much. And people think that we don't get to enjoy or see what's going on, and we actually do I mean, at least I did. There are places that I would never go back to, and I love them dearly because we achieved a good part of being in them.
Rachel: So it's a positive thing, then? You don't regret going on the race itself?
Jonathan: No, I never would regret, no. I had a great experience on The Amazing Race, and I took from it great things, and you will see great things happen because of that experience with both Victoria and I, and the things that we do in our future, we'll always come back and give kudos to something that gave us a raised voice. Whether it started out bad and ended good .I mean, I watched people's reaction to the curiosity factor, and, if you can take that or focus on anything that has given you some type of a raised voice and do something great with it, then you've done a good thing for our society and for the human race and for people.
Rachel: Well, you're definitely the most controversial racer that's ever been on the show. Have you watched all the previous seasons?
Jonathan: Oh, yes. I know them backwards and forwards. I'm a very big fan of The Amazing Race.
Rachel: Oh, are you? Okay, so now, people from your season said that you were one of the most well-prepared racers. Is that because you watched the previous seasons, or did you do something specific to prepare?
Jonathan: It's because I truly - not only am I truly a fan, I mean, I really am a fan of the show and of reality television - but I studied all of the seasons about five or six times, and then once I understood what I needed to do, I actually went out and practiced and did all of the things that were in previous seasons so that I would be prepared for anything that they threw at us. I had told Victoria what bungee jumping was its if you can't do this, you can't win the race. It's just that simple. Did I realize that it was more television show than it was race? No. But nobody does until you get on it. And what I mean by that is that you can only run as fast as the race will allow you. You can only run as fast as the television production will allow you in their little maze. And you run a maze. You're not really running what you want - our season didn't do it, anyway. I went to a travel agent. I worked for a travel agent for two weeks to prepare. I only got to use it once. And that was in - I think it was in Norway - no, it was in Stockholm, where we got on the plane away from everybody else. I mean, I had tricks up my sleeve that, if they would have loosened production a little bit, they would have just been scratching their heads. I knew how to do things with travel agents and travel with airlines that would have . Colin and Christie back-doored into it in 5 when they got to Egypt ahead of everybody. What they found was something called interstitial travel, and what it does is, it doesn't show up on the computers if there's a half-hour or more gap. But if you come into an airport and you ask them that same airline it doesnt show up on all the major computers around the world, it'll show up in that airport, and so you could actually get on an airplane that leaves a half-hour earlier. I never got to use it because they had us only on one-flight type of planes. Okay, you go there, there's just one flight.
miri: Right, and I think actually there are some rumors that Colin and Christie actually beat production into Egypt.
Jonathan: I definitely believe that.
miri: And I'm always wondering if that's why there was so much bunching in Season 6 because they were trying to make sure that didn't happen again.
Jonathan: I think so. They learn from their mistakes pretty quickly, and they take notice. I'm not so sure that they think outside the box as much as they do close the box down.
miri: Well, from a production standpoint, I can understand that, though, a little bit.
Jonathan: Yeah, but .
Rachel: It's frustrating as a racer, I'm sure. I would hate the bunching. But I can understand it from a production standpoint, I think.
Jonathan: Everybody hated the bunching. I never hated the bunching. I think it was just too much bunching. I was prepared for the bunching at the airports or the train stations or the bus stations. I wasn't prepared for us all to be on the same flights all the time and to be with each other. But it's part of the game.
I'm gonna go on record because, while we're talking about the game, I've voiced my opinion about this over and over and over because it broke my heart. And I said this at the beginning of the show, I said this in the middle of the show, I said this at the beginning of Season 7 when I sat down to drinks and dinner with Bertram. Number one, the Fast Forward needs to be on five legs, not two legs and non-elimination legs. It needs to be on five legs so that you're bringing the Fast Forward back - it's part of the game. It doesn't have to be part of the game in the first three or four episodes, but it is part of the game towards the middle and right up to the end. And when they took that out, it truly broke my heart. Second, the Yield. As much as I love the Yield, it should be used once. They should have one Yield, not three, because no one ever uses it. At like eight, some place around there. Not towards the very end, but almost towards the end where you know it's gonna do the most damage, and you just shouldn't know when it's coming. "Caution: Yield ahead" - that only adds to the anxiety, it really doesn't add to strategy.
Rachel: Well, at one point, you had convinced Adam and Rebecca to use the Yield against someone other than yourself. Is that true?
Jonathan: I created something called the Voodoo Yield Alliance, which they didn't show as a story line. So, getting back to your question about what they didn't show that was a huge story line that started in Budapest and went all the way to the end at that point. And it did take - I am a very big fan of Survivor, and I wanted to be on Survivor, and, doing The Amazing Race, I said, you know what I wrote a thesis on Survivor, so I wanted to see if I could bring a little Survivor into The Amazing Race. So what I did was, I created this Voodoo Yield Alliance - which I went to Adam and Rebecca, and it was Jon and Kris. And, basically and Lori and Bolo were kind of in on it but, basically, it was, number one, break up the model alliance. Go after Aaron and Hayden first. Then go after Freddy and Kendra. Then go after Lori and Bolo. And we were going to get to the end. The final three were going to be me and Victoria, Jon and Kris, and Adam and Rebecca. So, basically, we were gunning for the other teams. I knew who had their Yield and who didn't have their Yield, so, by knowing that, I made reference to that early on, and so I was going to eventually use that against everybody. I go on record saying that I had given back Freddy and Kendra their Yield at the very beginning, which was .I also gave them back their clue, so they kind of it took them a little while to get jump-started into the game, but once they did get into it, they were fierce competitors. But it took them a little it took them about three legs. And it takes most people about three legs. I was ramped up from the beginning. And that was the problem that I had with Victoria, is that it took her three legs to ramp up, kind of. Now I was ready to go when he said when that gun went I was overly ready, and so I just started just trampling everything around me just because the energy was just so out of control. I was just like a rocket ship, just firing, at that point. And it had just been months and months and months of wanting to play the game and wanting to play the game, and when I got the chance, it was just I didn't think, "Hey, slow down," and take different perspectives because I was in competition mode. I always say like Mike Tyson, it's like getting in the ring with a boxer and just knowing you're gonna be going fifteen rounds with a boxer, and there's nothing you can do about it except box.
Rachel: Is it true that you had a three-day lead on the other teams at one point? You mentioned that in the previous interview.
Jonathan: You know, what we're talking about in Berlin, okay? When we left Berlin, we were ahead of everybody. When we got to the airport, we were ahead of everybody. When we got on the plane, we were ahead of everybody. When we got off the plane, we were ahead of everybody. So, that lead was you know, whether it was a day-and-a-half or three days, it was a substantial lead to the end, and so when Freddy and Kendra caught up to us and Victoria picked up the bag and we had agreed, that if we drop our bags, we drop our bags so when she was doing it, you know, she was I dont want to speak for Victoria, but the bottom line is that we agreed to drop our bags, and when I dropped mine, I was gone. It was a race. We were racing to the finish line. I wasn't gonna turn around and look for Victoria because she's a strong competitor. If Victoria wasn't strong, if she wasn't capable, if she wasn't my partner and I had put as much into her as I put into myself, I would have gone back for her. I would have turned around. Where, if I'd thought that she needed that, I would have done that. But when she came running in, I was as surprised as anybody else. And I had a choice right at that moment to say, "You know, I can do the right thing and console her and do what I need to do, or I'm on television and it's reality television." And we were already fighting coming into it. And, trust me, she was fighting with me just as hard as I was fighting with her, which you didn't see. And that's why I always talk about the zone camera. The zone camera caught up so much. And when I asked Bertram, I said, "What are you doing? You tell me you don't show crew and story line, but yet you show it on me?" And he goes, "Well, [mumble, mumble], that went up the line, that went way up the line at CBS." And, mind you, I'm the first one to say, "If you're gonna take that story line, if you're gonna show what's going on, show a public service announcement." So when they started showing the public service announcement, that came from me. I made them do that.
Rachel: What is this public - maybe because I'm in Canada - we get ..
Jonathan: It was a family violence. It was about family violence.
Rachel: Oh, okay.
Jonathan: It started to air towards the end. Maybe it was Dr. Phil that it came in on. But, basically, when they asked me to do Dr. Phil, I said, "I'm only gonna do it if you people take some responsibility for your actions."
Rachel: Do you think maybe you were encouraging them though? I mean, by saying, "Let's do the public service announcement," you were sort of agreeing with them, saying, "Okay, I'm gonna be portrayed as someone who abuses their wife."
Rachel: You don't think that you just let them off the hook by saying that?
Jonathan: No. I don't think so. Because I was taking responsibility for what I didn't like. And I was making them take responsibility for what was up there. It was already done. It's not like I could change it. And that was just my feeling at that point, is that I needed to do something good for the situation. It didn't point towards me -- they just ran the ads.
Rachel: Indirectly, it I mean, the public obviously attached that persona to you. I personally Im probably one of the few people that didn't think of you as that way and didn't really think the character we saw on TV I just thought it was something new and it wasn't pleasant to watch, but there's obviously been a lot of public reaction. Is it true that you received death threats because of it?
Rachel: Indirectly, meaning how?
Jonathan: In other words, yeah, I got a lot of e-mails, and I got a lot of calls to my film company or to the day spa. I mean, yeah, there were a lot of people that were upset, rightfully so. Yes, we got a million pieces of e-mail - but we also got people that understood the other side of it. There was an intellect out there that said, "Oh, he's a competitor," or "He did take responsibility" who read the web site, who basically didn't, who looked at what we did and said, "Wow, they came in second all the time," and "They were on a race." Most important, though, people on the street are not the same people that are in the press or on the message boards. People on the street are like you. They want to know what it was like, why what happened happened, who we really are. And everybody has a smile by the end, going, "Wow, it must have been an amazing experience." Because I don't speak of what they saw, I speak of what I ran.
Rachel: Were you allowed to defend yourself while the show was airing? Like, could you go on-line and post or were you legally prevented from doing that? I would imagine it would have been hard to just sit there and not say anything.
Jonathan: Oh boy, I can't ..I don't want to answer this on the record.
Rachel: Okay, fair enough. I want to ask about the casting process a bit. A lot of people from previous seasons, and possibly, I think, even from your season, were recruited to be on the show, as opposed to just applying. Now, did you decide on your own to apply, or did someone approach you?
Jonathan: No, we definitely wanted to be on the show. Ours is different than everyone else's story. I was relentless, Victoria was relentless. Reality television I consider myself an expert in reality television. Again, I'm not trying to sound egotistical or arrogant. If you don't have passion for what you believe, then what good are you in this world? So I put a lot of time into studying reality television. Originally, I wanted to go on Survivor. So that's the route we went. Victoria and I then were recognized as together, so one of us had to drop out. So I dropped out, thinking that Victoria could actually win Survivor, and maybe I had a good chance to play a great game and possibly win. I just thought of who was winning. So she went in and she got down to the final, final I think it was the final twenty people that they were picking from I mean, she got really, really close. And that was Christa, from Panama? Anyway, and basically she got beat at the last moment because Les Moonves wanted to talk about Playboy and not The Amazing Race, and it kind of threw her. And so, she was just like, "Oh." So they thought, "Well, if you can't handle this side-tracking, I guess you can't handle being on a desert island." I don't know again, I'm not gonna speak for her. But from there, she was going on to The Apprentice, and I went on to wanting to be on The Amazing Race. And I was going on with other people. And the problem was, is that with the other people they couldn't dial in characters, I guess they couldn't dial it in. So they kept saying, "No, that doesn't work, and this doesn't work, and you're really good, and this is really great." I kind of gave them a good sense of my personality going in. This whole "blind-sided" thing is a bunch of baloney, you know? They knew going in, I told them, I told each and every one of them what was going on from the moment that we were in the room. We were in the room with Jerry Bruckheimer's people, we were in the room with Bertram, we were in the room with CBS. It wasn't like they didn't get a sense of what was gonna happen, they just didn't believe me. The problem was is when they edited towards Victoria and then everyone got upset, they needed a reaction, and so their reaction was: "Oh! Bad, bad, bad. We knew, and we told them this and that and this and that." And I have a great relationship with Bertram, with Phil, with people at CBS. It's just business as normal for everybody.
Rachel: Who do you think was portrayed more unfairly, you or Victoria?
Jonathan: I guess Victoria.
Rachel: Do you think?
Rachel: So what is Victoria like that we didn't see? Obviously, we -
Jonathan: I mean, I would have to say Victoria because mine was a heightened version of me. She had a I always tell people that I was like a big Mack truck and my tires were spinning, and I'd go, "Here we go, Victoria. This is what I'm gonna do and this is what's gonna happen," and I'd be at warp speed, ready to go, and say, "Okay, here I go," and as soon as I'd release my foot off the brake, she'd walk in front of the truck and I would hit her every single time. And I'd go, "What are you doing in my way?" We just were not on the same wavelength when it came to the bigger picture. When it came to the smaller picture, we were thats why we did so well because individually, we did great. And, in answer to your question I said at the beginning, "Victoria's either gonna be my rock or my atomic bomb." Because I knew that that piece of Victoria existed, but I never in my wildest imagination thought that it was going to come out on this race because she had done adventure racing and we had studied and we had prepared and we were running four or five miles a day. I mean, we took this very seriously. We dedicated a big part of our life to this race. And so when I saw her and her character being portrayed, I was just like, "Well, that's not her." She broke down, too. She had a meltdown, and I could have prevented it, looking back, and I wish that I had, but because of my and it wasnt just a competitive state. If you look back on my blog, it says and I just want to read this to you because this does really tie things together, and I really want to explain to you why they're not excuses, and maybe you'll tell me that they're excuses, I don't know, but All of us have our faults. Unfortunately for me, millions of viewers are getting to see mine each week. I do not abuse Victoria." Okay, first one: I do not abuse Victoria. I don't abuse her, okay? She's a very strong woman. She can give to me as much as I can give to her. She knows what she's doing. She knows what she wants. She's been with me - we've been together nine years. She knows what she's getting into. She's not a weak, meek person at all, okay? She's actually very talented, and she's a very strong woman in many different ways.
miri: Do you think maybe the fact you were on warp speed added to her stress --
miri: and that's partly why she maybe had that reaction, or part of it?
Jonathan: You know what, absolutely. But she knew I was gonna be at warp speed; she didn't realize I was going to be at warp speed plus fifty. I mean that was the problem.
Anyway, the next part: "What you see is a heightened version of stress, obsession, mixed with medication for a sickness called sarcoidosis." What you see is a heightened version of myself, under stress and obsession, to truly be competitive and win, mixed with a medication for sarcoidosis. Yes, before I went on the race -- three days before the race I was diagnosed with having something in my lungs. They did not know what it was. They said, "You need to get a biopsy." And it was scary. And this had been going on for probably a week before the three days of the diagnosis. And they were like, basically, "Dont go on the race." I'm like, "There's no way that I'm not " That's how passionate I was about being on The Amazing Race and having the experience. There was no way. And they're like, "But you could die, something could happen to you. We don't know whats gonna happen in forty-five days." I'm like, "There is no way I'm not doing this." And, by law, they couldn't disclose it. So I basically told CBS that I had a bad case of asthma. And they basically started pumping me full of drugs to basically keep everything in a holding pattern. And there was a lot of steroids, both taken through my mouth and taken internally. And, I mean, I talk about I never slept. First of all, I'm not a drug person. Being on drugs of these natures and having your body change with these drugs, at that point, was a little difficult. So, it was what it was, and I had to deal with it. And what it did was, it just heightened everything and made everything raw. The stress, added with the drugs, everything was like a raw nerve, everything was raw. So, that craziness that you saw, that was the drugs.
miri: But the type of steroid they usually prescribe for asthma and/or sarcoidosis usually doesn't, often in people, cause that kind of mood swing or intense change in behavior.
Jonathan: Oh, yeah, eighty milligrams of that stuff, was pretty intense for me, man.
miri: Was it prednisone?
Jonathan: It was prednisone, it was also an inhaling type of medication. It acted like speed. It was a metamorphosis of the body, I will say that. Because I'm still on it right now, and I'm gonna be getting off of it hopefully in November, which will be one full year, after it completes its cycle. And it took me I begged them to take me off of it. It drove me crazy. It felt like a low-grade acid trip for probably four or five months.
miri: Until your body could adjust to it a little bit?
Jonathan: Well, then they eventually, I just basically I was just crazy. I was just like, "Take me off of the dosage here." And they basically reduced the dosage, and now it was, whatever. Now my body has adjusted, and it is whatever. And it has worked; it has turned the sarcoidosis the other direction. I don't know if I'm ever gonna be cured because I don't know what it's like not to be on the steroids at this point. So once they take me off the steroids, that doesn't mean I can't be competitive because it's just a focused point; it's not spread, it hasn't gone anywhere. And, quite frankly, it's very foreign for me and a very foreign thinking for me and, I don't know.
Rachel: We actually have a very lovely poster on our board that we've known for years who was diagnosed with the same ailment
Rachel: Yeah, Toni! You had a chance to meet with her, didn't you?
Jonathan: Oh, yes, I talked to her in New York, and I talked to her on the phone, and we had conversations about it. But hers is much different than mine. And her brother's is much different. I mean, you're talking about apples and oranges of a case here.
Rachel: Right, that's what I'm curious about, because obviously she's much more knowledgeable about it than we are. And I don't mean to get too personal, so feel free to tell me to mind my own business. But it is something that you're feeling better, or is it just sort of an ongoing thing for you right now?
Jonathan: Oh, I do feel better. It's reduced. There was a big mass in there, and the mass was cut more than half by the medication, and hopefully it will go away and it will be done with, it will burn itself out. Sarcoidosis is a term when they can't diagnose something else that they diagnose you with. And so that's really scary.
Jonathan: They don't know what they're diagnosing, so they gave it a name.
But, anyway, going forward: "What was started as a publicity stunt turned into an obsession to race and be the first at any cost." Okay, "publicity stunt" meant that, number one, everything there was a lot of premeditation going on. Knowing that I come from Hollywood, knowing that I was on television, knowing that, once this thing hit the ground and was running, that I actually went out there and set the fire to it a little bit . And the obsession to race at any cost. I was trying to be first at any cost because it was such a competitive season, and it wasn't okay for me to be second. It wasn't. It just wasn't okay. It had nothing to do with winning a trip. It had nothing to do with winning a million dollars. It's called The Amazing Race. And what we are doing is racing 90% of the time, and then, when we see it on television - oh, we wrap it up with everyone coming to the pit stop. But trust me, you're out there for days on end racing. So, I took it very seriously. Not that other people don't take it seriously. But other people didn't come in second every time. And I came in every other I mean, as much as we did. We were second so many times consistently that it truly played mind games with me. Even when we were supposed to be first, something would happen, like with Jon and Kris in Africa, with the ferry. And I believe that was production, but whatever and they knew that I was just gunning for that first position and they knew they were going to get a reaction from me to Berlin, with the bags. It just I think that if we would have gotten first one or two of those times, everything would have changed.
Rachel: Yeah, there's no question you guys were very good racers. Which leads us to the question: what happened when you were eliminated? How did you miss the clue where it said two donkeys when you'd done so well up to that point?
Jonathan: Well Do you want me to finish the other thing? Or no?
Rachel: You know what? If you want to, by all means, go right ahead.
Jonathan: Because I really want you to get a good understanding of what I think, and then you guys can make your own opinion. Okay.
Let's see, let's see: "This is a game and I set out to be a villain to others, not Victoria." Really, what you didn't see out there was me pitting the teams against each other and really playing a Survivor type of game, whether it's the Voodoo Yield Alliance or whether it was making invisible alliances. I had a huge invisible alliance with Gus and Hera. Huge! And nobody knew that we had an alliance. So, I had the Voodoo Yield Alliance, and before that I had an invisible alliance with Gus and Hera. And then everybody else, I was kind of playing against each other, hoping that they would run into each other, with the information that was going back and forth. And, to an extent, it was all working. It just Victoria and I, again, were not she couldnt, I guess she's just not shes just a nicer person than me. She couldn't be as devious when it came to what I was trying to do. And, it's not that she was trying to stop me, but she was just not on the same wavelength at that point. So, what I did was, when I knew this, is I just made sure that she did what she could do best and grab her great skills and make her race with those skills that she's got, that she was doing and doing great.
The next part: "Victoria and I are working on our relationship to better ourselves and learn from our mistakes." Well, trust me, every week, that we would watch this show, we would have to look at each other and go, "Who are we? What are we and what are we gonna do about this?" Because this is obviously trying to tell us something. The universe is trying to say something, directly or indirectly. And so we would really work on that. Because before we went on the race, we decided, straightforward, that this was a television show, and, no matter what happens in that television show, we are going to be responsible for our actions.
Anyway, and then at the end: "I am taking full responsibility for my actions on screen. Please allow me to make an effort." Well, I just wanted everybody to stop attacking me at that point. I just wanted them to just allow me just to - for the real person to come out. Which, you know, no one ever really cares for your input. The message boards are set up to snark. And it took me probably half the show to figure this out until after the push to figure it out and to see how it reacted and what was going on. CBS has a responsibility to inform people about what's going out there in the message boards, and they don't. That's why people have such a hard time with it across the board, and, trust me, most people have a hard time with it at any given point because they don't understand it. Quite frankly, I never read the message boards before the show. I never knew that they existed. And then when I saw what was going on, I was just like, "Oh, my god. What is going This is real." It's not real.
miri: Well, and see the thing is, I think that, what I believe and what I think some of the smarter posters, the posters who have been around, how they approach it is we realize, when we make comments on the board, we're talking about what we're seeing on our TV set because that's all we know.
Jonathan: I understand. But we don't know that. In other words, if CBS put out a paragraph that said, "This is what happens on the message boards. This is how it's set up to be, and this is the characteristics of the path." You know, people have been devastated. I'm talking devastated!
miri: I think they've told racers since then - because some of the things I've heard from the Season 7 racers is they were told, "You might want to be wary of what you see on or not go to some of these sites and read them because everyone looks at you."
Jonathan: Well, you know what, I read every single thing after the race. Because I wanted to see and, even knowing what it was, I was very I tried to take it as a learning experience. And not necessarily with a grain of truth, a hundred percent, but, you know how much I agreed with and didn't agree with. And then I categorized everything, from which boards were talking about which things and how they were. Because, obviously the people that are talking about the typical stuff, that is what it is. It's just its the people that branched off into intellectual conversations about and I wanted to see how close they were gonna come to what they saw on television to vs. the experience. And I will tell you that there are times that the viewers, based on what they've seen at that time, were close enough to the money that I was like, "Wow, that's just amazing!" And, as I was saying, when I looked up there every week, it was like watching a bad home movie of us. And, it just was like, "Wow, okay." But you take lemons and you turn them into lemonade. Period. And that's why I have never gone away.
Rachel: [laughter] I have to say, personally, Jonathan, I am intrigued by you. I think you're one of the most interesting people. And I know people are gonna get on my case about that, but there are a lot of boring teams to watch. And that could be the editing. And that's one thing you're certainly not, is boring. And you've certainly created a lot of controversy on our site.
Jonathan: You know what, this is my feeling Im just not afraid to put myself out there. I don't know if I'm a glutton for punishment, or I just you know I did this on The Battle of the Network Reality Stars, and everything that I touch when the camera turns on, I become a mad man. Because in my brain, I'm a writer and I'm a director. And in my brain, I see it from production; I don't see it as an actor. And so, I would say, if I am creating a show which I have a lot of shows that I've created and put out there, which you're probably going to be seeing and going, "Oh, okay, I get this conversation now." It will all come full circle to you in a year if I'm given a chance to do what I want to do in this industry behind the scenes. But, when the camera turns on, there's something inside of me and its invisible, it's not completely conscious, I can either switch it on or switch it off its not like it's all premeditated. It's just either I'm quiet, and I just can go and be interesting, the way I was on Dr. Phil, which is just a very simplistic answer with a simplistic still with my brain ticking, but at a very non-heightened level. Or, flip the switch, and it's reality television, knowing that it needs to be a heightened version in order to be overly interesting because it's television and you only get so much of an opportunity to do whatever. And, if you're afraid and Ill tell you, a lot of people on Battle of the Network Reality Stars took the easy way out, the blame route: "Oh, this person's nuts" or "That person's crazy" or "This is happening here" and was very calm and just didn't really care. Very few people and I say very few people because we're a couple put themselves out there, the way I did. And just let loose obviously, it wasn't towards Victoria this time.
Rachel: Which is good.
Jonathan: Yes, I mean, I stayed as much away from her as I possibly could while still trying to be a cheerleader. Because, as I said, you'll be very be surprised shes gonna be the MVP because every single girl was scared of her. And I was like, "Where was this person on The Amazing Race?" It killed me! It just killed me! I'm like, "The person that came out was my biggest nightmare!"
miri: So, was The Battle of the Network Stars fun?
Jonathan: You know what, it was unbelievably fun! It's not boring. The twists and the turns are gonna be amazing. I didn't do what I wanted to do because of the twists. But I believe it's gonna be a huge hit huge hit. Everyone's got their skills in this world, whether they're writers, directors, producers, whether they're philosophers or whatever. Mine is my foresight. And I can look at something and really sum it up and really understand it and really just give a good dose of reality to what I'm looking at. And this show is if its not a hit, then reality television is gonna fold up or go away. But I believe, and I told everybody, that this show will reinvent reality television because it's taking personalities and creating personalities from personalities, and I think you're going to see real other personalities truly come through where we haven't had that opportunity because network shows have just dropped off and taken no responsibility for personalities. That's doing it. E!' is doing it with The Scorned and Kill Reality. We have a part in that.
miri: Oh, you are in that?
Jonathan: We are in that. We're just doing a small part because we couldn't do first of all, I don't want to be an actor. But I wanted to be part of reality television, and so I told them that we would do that. My feeling right now is that stay out there, you redefine the market and, with redefining the market, you can then do other things. And hopefully you can do good things. Obviously, it's television, you know, and it's entertainment. And I come back to this raised voice thing. I believe that people that have put themselves in the public eye have a responsibility to do something good with it. Like Kelly no one ever really liked her, what they saw on television, but she's doing something good with it now. And you've got to respect that, and that's a raised voice that I'm talking about. It doesn't necessarily have to be for charity or for something, but you have to take that voice that you're given and do something good with it, great with it. Unfortunately, mine was taken away from me because of my story line. And I try not to whine and complain about it, but, trust me, I was just a villain, and not third to a murderer, a child molester, and then a wife abuser, that I would be doing some amazing things out there. And it's not like I still can't do it, but I have to work five times as hard.
Rachel: What is it you'd like to be doing if you didn't have all this negativity surrounding you?
Jonathan: I think I'd like to be doing a lot of endorsements just endorsing products that I believe in. And, with those products, spinning off into doing things that put good energy into the universe with things that I believe in. Because I believe I have good taste. Yes, my spa business was hurt tremendously from being on The Amazing Race tremendously.
Rachel: It has been hurt?
Jonathan: Oh, yes. It's not hurt anymore - it's turned the corner. But for three months - from the moment that push happened to, probably Let's put it this way I got mine. Nobody can give it to me worse than the universe gave it to me not when it comes to my spa, my employees, the people who work at my entertainment company, my family . Everything and everybody around me, during the height of what was going on, came at me. And I have got a very thick skin and very hard shell, and I can handle a hell of a lot. And, trust me, it was like being a superhero and having a force field, and the force field wasn't working. And I was being attacked by everything you can ever imagine out there.
Rachel: I can imagine. We read about it. We were part of it.
Jonathan: Yeah, but it was worse because I did not know what happened was that everybody took it as excuses. Ray did an article with you, and they're all, "Well, he embraced this thing, so he's not as much of an asshole as Jon." Well, he wasn't on the show as much and they didn't come at him nearly as much as they came, and he had Rob and Amber to hide behind. And I'm not making light of anything that he did positive, negative or anything. His experience is his experience, and ours is ours. It's just people love to take sides with me. You know what to me, that's entertainment because it is what it is.
miri: It seems to me that the role you tend to play, is you want to be the polarizer, to get people to talk about different things or am I reading too much into that?
Jonathan: Explain that for a second.
miri: I mean, you want to stir it up so people start the conversations, to start people debating about things, to start people talking .
Jonathan: Yes, without it hurting anybody. I mean, I never look, you've been talking to me for a while now. My personality I do a lot of radio. I do a lot of radio. They call me probably five times a week to do something, and I do it because I put out there number one, what is reality television and where is it today and where was it and where has it been and where is it going. But, more important out there, I try to put out good life lessons about achieving things and achieving your goals and about being passionate towards life and wanting to grasp some part of the universe. And whether you do something great with it or you enjoy something of it thats a God-given choice, that you have to run to that light. Because if you don't run to that light and a lot of people don't then theres almost a sense of being a drone within yourself, and you wonder, "Why aren't I doing this and why can't I do this and why are people achieving their dreams and all the things they want?" And, you know what, I put out the energy that you have to run to that light. You have to take responsibility. Whether on the path, and it happens or not, being on the path is the one of the most important things.
miri: Right. Kind of, don't live a life of shoulda, coulda, woulda kind of thing.
Jonathan: Yeah, I mean, at the basic end of it, I guess that's what it is. But, obviously, I'm the extreme of that because I went the opposite way and got crucified. Now, if I was on the show and they only showed great, beautiful things of Victoria and me, I would have been disappointed, too. Because that's not what television's about. But I also want people the real Jonathan is a lot smarter and a lot more interesting, and people accuse me of everything from being egotistical or arrogant and it just comes across that way because I'm very passionate about whatever I am running towards. Because, without that, I don't know. I just think that's what drives me in life. But what I did learn from The Amazing Race is how to tone it down a little bit. I mean, focus it a little bit more. Rob and Amber everything he did, I did on the show. They just showed him doing it because he was Rob that was his story line. I thought they were great players. I think they deserved to have won. Truly.
miri: Do you think maybe one of the lessons you took about is what, when you're seeing yourself from a distance, watching yourself on TV and what you felt as passion on the race, what you felt as intensity seems to come across as something else to people? Did that teach you maybe that maybe you need to work on how you present your passion to the public?
Jonathan: Only on The Amazing Race did that happen. Because of the medication and because of the edit and because of the things that were going on that were lined up in the stress and the no sleeping and the no food and the days on end of going. It was just a combination and a mixture of what was going on. If I ran the same race today, without the medication in my system, everything would drop a notch. And then if I decided consciously to knowing that I can only go as fast as production and that it's not as much of a race as it appears to be then it drops a notch again. And that's maybe why they'll never have All-Stars.
Rachel: Well, we haven't heard any rumors about All-Stars or anything. But, if there was an All-Stars and you were asked to go on it, would you want to go on it again with Victoria or would you want to go on with someone else? Or would you want to go on at all?
Jonathan: What do you think?
Rachel: [laughs] I think that you never want to go away.
Jonathan: There you go! I'm never going away! I have the choice! But I also ..life changes. I could get busy with a movie. I could be doing something that doesn't allow me to do it. But, trust me, if I could move my schedule to do it, I would do it because I really enjoy being in that maze, that mouse maze. It's kind of like it unfolds in front of you. It's kind of like what did I describe it as? I described it as kind of like being in a movie that the pages are unfolding as you get to the end of the next page but you don't know what that next page is until you step on that page.
Rachel: But even knowing that there's a chance that you could be portrayed unfairly again in your opinion youd still go for it?
Jonathan: Nothing in my lifetime will ever point to anything as bad as what they gave me unless I am a murderer.
miri: [laughs] Don't challenge people!
Jonathan: No, I mean I know, you're right. I shouldn't put it out there because someone will probably come back and just want to do it as a joke. But no I truly believe that, if Victoria and I ran The Amazing Race again, we would be colorful characters, and we would not be the villains.
Rachel: Would you win?
Jonathan: We would definitely win! There is no doubt in my mind that we would win.
Rachel: So then I have to get back to that question, Jonathan. What happened with the two donkeys?
Jonathan: Okay, what happened with the two donkeys? First of all, going into Ethiopia, I wanted to grab a guide, and Victoria didn't want me to. And I just felt that it was my security blanket at that point, and so I picked somebody up who wasn't necessarily the smartest choice, but eventually wound up using his skills for what he was good at, which was basically pointing and carrying the bags. Unfortunately, he pretended to speak better English than he did. We got down, and we made a choice. Victoria and I decided to do the mud it was the biggest mistake, it's what cost us the money. It wasn't the forgetting of the donkeys, it was not carrying the roof because we did not understand that we really weren't carrying the roof. All you're doing is running with these people, and then you get to the top one was simple, one wasn't. It always makes that decision. Up to that point, we'd made every decision right, with the Detours and Roadblocks. So, we got there, we decided, "Okay, here we go." We were doing pretty good, and when Victoria cut herself, everything changed. Now, after seeing what happened in Season 7, maybe her cut wasn't as bad as she had made it out to be, but it was cut down to the bone, and she was very upset. But, in my mind, I should not take my mind off of throwing the dirt on you know, thatching of the hut. Well, when Kendra started screaming at me to take some initiative which, I didn't know what to do and I thought that, if I stopped, that was just her play of slowing us down because they were behind us. And Victoria kept going, "No, no, no" as upset as she was. So, because of what happened in Berlin, I kinda went, "I better not take the same stance. I better not take the same stance." And so I stopped, in my mind, the game. And I started to be concerned for her finger because that was what was in front of me. Mind you, it's not what I wanted to do, but it's what I needed to do because, at some point, you just have to just go, "Okay, the universe is calling to you," and you just have to do that. So, at that point, we took care of Victoria's finger, we finished, and we read the Detour. And here comes the answer to your question I know I'm very long-winded: In the Detour, you get the information of, "Go, take two donkeys to the passenger down at the church." You get additional information that talks about the actual corral and talks about the donkeys. So, Victoria, once we were off we were looking for the donkeys we got lost because I was going in the right direction, and Victoria was listening to the guide at that point. Which came back to bite me. That's basically what happened. And when we finally got to the corral, we were so behind. And she had taken the additional I mean, she had taken the primary information and put it in my backpack, and she was only reading off the additional information. And it never said anything about two donkeys in the additional information. Ever. It only said, "Go and take the donkeys." And she looked at the corral, and there was like eight donkeys in there. And she thought that she was talking about the donkeys as a whole, not the two donkeys. So, I went in there and I was getting the donkey out, and, when I took the donkey out, she thought that that meant donkeys, take the donkeys from that area, so then we started to march down the road with one donkey. And, when we got there, we went to a short cut. And we made up so much time we actually went from last place to I think it was third place ..one, two, three four fourth place. That's how much I convinced all those kids. Now, we had kids with us by the end, we had hundreds of kids with us. They kept dispersing because I kept collecting them, like Rocky. I just, it was such a going through all of where they lived, and we were going through their homes. Now, mind you, we had no food, no sleep, nothing, no water in our system because we were sleeping in an airport floor the night before because they wanted to screw us up for this event. So, we had nothing in our system and I mean nothing. I mean it was just so we walked through the villages, and people were giving us water, and we got there. And then we realized that there was that we had to bring two donkeys. And the first thing I did was go up and try to get another donkey from someone else, and they wouldn't let me do it. I'm like, "That's not fair. I can get another donkey from somebody else, and you guys you know ." And it was a big problem. "Well, you can't do this and you can't do that," and okay. So, they basically, what are you gonna do thats the rules, that's what you have to do. So I'm like, "Well, I'm going back." And they were like, "No, no, no - you don't have to go back. You can just call it a day." I'm like, "No, I'm going back. There's no way that I am not gonna complete what I'm doing." There was just and I told everybody, "Cut my arm off, I would have completed what was going on." And it was just, that's what was needed. So we went back, and everybody was just like, "Oh, my God." Because now we had to go - I think it was three-and-a-half miles one way, three-and-a-half miles the other way, and then we came back three-and-a-half miles, with nothing in our system. I mean, I was throwing up, that's how dehydrated and crazy it was. And the cameramen are eating power bars and running around. I mean, at one point, they threw a quarter of a power bar into the bushes, and I dove for it because I needed something. Anyway, everyone made so many mistakes that, if that course wasn't so far away we made up such time and we did such things that we only came twenty minutes behind the next team, which was Adam and Rebecca, who screwed up and went two miles out of the way. And, to Victoria's defense, she kept saying to me, "Let's run, let's run," and I was just I didnt have it in me to be that person because it was so abusive on the body and on the mind and on the just being so dehydrated. So I just walked, and I basically dictated to the camera everything that was going on. I just I really wanted to me, it was a documentary as much as it was a race. And they only used so much, but, boy, I gave them so much stuff. I was so much connected to that camera. And just because I'm really being a filmmaker, that's what came out of me. And people took it the wrong way.
Rachel: Are you happy with who won?
Jonathan: Say that again.
Rachel: Are you happy with Freddy and Kendra winning? Or were you rooting for someone else after you'd been eliminated?
Jonathan: No, I was Jon and Kris should've won. Jon and Kris ran the best game. Period. Jon and Kris are one of the best players on The Amazing Race, in my opinion. They I mean, I have my I love I mean, Wil and Tara and Jon and Kris - that's who I pick for the two people that deserve to be the true winners. I call it The Amazing Race curse. And anybody who runs the race first, second, or third, throughout the entire race and then is never gonna win. And it's never happened. So, it's truly The Amazing Race curse.
Rachel: Oh, I suppose so! Did you get anything for not winning, or are you allowed to tell us in terms of compensation?
Jonathan: You know, we got compensated not much. I mean, it's not like Survivor. We got very little. Very little. I mean, I don't want to say specifically only because it could get us in trouble.
Jonathan: But we got very little I mean, considering, you know, everything that we went through and everything. The other people were more upset I dont need the money as much as a lot of the other people did. And so I really felt bad for them in that they really expected a lot more, and they were very disappointed. So, you know again, Victoria did this for the money. I didn't do it for the money. Would a million dollars help anybody? Absolutely! For sure! You better believe it! But the experience of everything was invaluable. I've traveled the world traveled the world! and you never get any experience traveling like this. It's actually ruined me. I can't figure out where I want to go, what I want to do, going forward. Victoria and I talk about, "So, where would you like to go in the world?" Been there. Done that. Even if you've been there for a short period of time, you get the flavor and you understand where you are. And I'm just one of those people that, because of my production background, I travel a lot with production and then I'll end up staying for a week afterwards. Or Victoria travels a lot doing her art, and then will stay afterwards. Or she'll travel as a model, and then will stay afterwards. So, actually, picking a place out is just something that is different.
Rachel: You recently went away with Kris and Jon, didn't you?
Jonathan: Yes, we did.
Rachel: Do you still keep in touch with a lot of the people? Are you friends with people from your season? Or other seasons?
Jonathan: I'm friends with everybody from reality television.
Jonathan: I mean, I have connected with everybody at one point or another, whether they've reached out to me or I've come in contact with them. I call it the Reality Mafia. And there really is an underground of these people running together. Some drink together, some play together, some party together, some work together but at the end of the day, there is a Reality Mafia.
Rachel: Well, most of them that have posted on our boards and on other issues have been very supportive of you. Specifically, I'm thinking of Hera. We get a lot of people giving us quotes from her where she has nothing but wonderful things to say about you.
Jonathan: I love Hera. But we you know, we had an invisible alliance. I say this all the time Gus and I and Hera had an invisible alliance. And you know what? Hera appreciated everything that I tried to do, everything that I was doing, everything that was happening. It took her a second to kinda get me, but once she got me, she was my biggest fan. And you know what? I can't thank her enough for voicing that understanding, and so I mean, without it looking goofy. But I do I appreciate when people really get to know me, take a stance, go out there, and really because theyre gonna fight my battles better than me. I'm just a bunch of hot air talking or excuses or something that I'm saying, but other people can internalize it, think about it, and then go out there and say what they're gonna say. That's my best ally out there.
Rachel: So, do you ever ask and I don't mean to be offensive with the question, it's just a question I want to ask, so please don't read into it. Do you ever ask friends or family to maybe go around and say things for you not saying specifically that it came from you, but just sort of saying, "Hey, I heard this?"
Jonathan: I never I dont need to do that. I mean, if people from the race and people from reality television and people are doing it on their own, why do I need to do that? Number one. Number two, the answer's no I dont need to do that. I mean, first of all, I don't have a lot of friends and people that are on the internet friends and family that are on the internet that are, you know . Secondly, I don't think it takes a certain intellect to play on the boards. Okay? It really does. I think it does, at least. And so, it has to be some true passion for what you are believing or saying or else it really doesn't work. You just go away really quickly.
miri: Right. You have to have a really theres a certain mindset of people who get into the boards and the forums. And they're not for everyone.
Jonathan: That's my point.
Jonathan: And I come back to saying that, damn well, CBS and every other network needs to put out some type of memorandum that explains everything that's going on with the boards because it freaks you out for a long time. I know that Aaron and Hayden Hayden was crying every day! I mean, you know and I finally said to her, "Listen, do you think you're getting it worse than me?" And she went, "Uh, no." I said, "Well, if you don't think you're getting it worse than me, what's the problem? I'm telling you its entertainment, this is television, this is snarking, this is what it's all about, this is how it's evolved. This is another form of entertainment for people." Unfortunately, there are some that take it real. That's not my thats where I start drawing the line. Because, if you're going to look at it as real and thats when it crossed over into the press that I was like, "Uh-oh, this is gonna get bumpy." I mean, there are some people out there and I have read their stuff. I don't know who they are. This Derek guy? I don't know who he is.
Rachel: Who's Derek?
Jonathan: I don't know. Derek? Or Deke? I don't know - he's one of the people that posts out there that every time he posts, I .
miri: Oh, on Sucks.
miri: He posts on Sucks, right? I think.
Jonathan: There and a bunch of other - there's this VenturePrise. I don't who he is. I don't know who these people are. I mean, they write me every once in a while and ask me for facts. And I give them the facts. But are they connected to me? No way.
Rachel: Okay. It's a question people are very curious, though, because I would imagine, if you go on as yourself, people are not gonna take what you say seriously. I'm just judging by the few times you've posted on our board that a lot of people find it hard to swallow what you're saying simply because it's coming from you, and they have such preconceived notions about you.
Jonathan: I post on your board because there's an intellect to it. I'm not even up to your guys's intellect, okay? -- when it comes to keeping up with the way you guys talk to each other on there. So I can't keep up with it. So I just try to answer the questions, you know? I tried to do that on the other Television Without Pity boy, is she a bitch. I mean, I tried so hard, and she thinks that I'm trying to kiss her ass or something, and I really wasn't. I was just trying to be as real as I possibly could be at TARcon, and, trust me, I held my coat the entire time. It was an excruciating moment in time. And it was worse for Victoria at TARcon. You know, not because people were mean, but because the energy was just so lopsided. People were testing me every moment of every second. You know what? and rightfully so. What else? It was entertainment. Victoria travels around the world being as a quote, Playmate, and because people pay her to show up or to do something, there's more of an admiration and more of a "who are you," and pull the good from who she is and put her up on a pedestal. But, when you go someplace and it's all free and people have been talking about you for months and months and months and it wasn't necessarily that good, what are you gonna expect, you know? So, what we feel is we were on a completely defensive mode at that point, trying to make it a positive moment, but, trust me, it took a lot of guts for us to show up because we weren't gonna do it. We weren't gonna do it it just was too much. So we decided at the last moment you know what? youve gotta give people the choice to make a decision based on who we are. I didn't want them going back to the message boards going, "Well, they didn't show up, and this is who they really are." So we had a group of people who met us, you know, and basically said, "Okay, maybe this is who they are here." What bothers me the most is they're, like, there's a couple of people that basically and, trust me, I get e-mails every day with quotes from Sucks, from TAR, from this, to that, coming to feed my web-site message board. Why people want me to know what they say, I don't know good or bad. But, you know, it just what upsets me the most is when they're like, "Well, yeah, well, an abuser really can be a very charming person."
miri: Well, and I think that's what Rachel is saying that people's minds are made up. And it's kind of like how can you disprove something, you know what I mean?
Jonathan: You know what? I guess I agree with you that there's maybe two percent or three percent of the population that the minds are made up and maybe they had an abusive situation in their life and that's what they're relating it to. But I truly believe that in my lifetime, in my reality lifetime, and in my entertainment lifetime, that people's vision of me will change, slowly but surely.
miri: Yeah, it's just gonna take some time to mellow, right?
Jonathan: Well, beyond mellow my actions will speak for themselves. The good things that I do for my charitable work will come out. The things that I do for humanity will come out. And the messages that I put out there besides being a reality television contestant because, bottom line is that it's either gonna kill me or make me stronger in the presence out there. Just by being out there osmosis alone of just being there. Whether I choose to keep turning that switch on or just keeping it off Im not really sure. I mean, I need to evolve. And Victoria needs to evolve. And we need to evolve separately, and we need to evolve together. Separately because we need to show who our strengths are as individuals, and together because we need to show that we're not the people that are necessarily the people that were portrayed on television. So whether or not we interact with each other differently or, you know, I mean, the thread is the thread. At the end of the day, you can't change what is. And you're going to see it, you know? We're very independent people. We're not, you know theres Chip and Kim, who we love dearly theyre almost one as a couple. Victoria and I are very independent, you know?
miri: There's more than one way to be a couple. There's no right or wrong.
Jonathan: Right. Well, most people don't understand that. Most people see us, and they just think, "Well, you guys aren't lovey-dovey, touchy-feely, all over each other" its just not the chemistry of who we are. You know, would I like that? I mean, you know it is what it is.
Rachel: A lot of people have trouble understanding that. And, like you said, that depends on their background. I personally think I'm more like you in that I'm not really lovey-dovey, so when people see you arguing, to me that seems very normal, whereas other people say, "Hey, that's a sign of an abusive relationship."
Jonathan: No, I agree with you a hundred percent. I mean, a hundred percent. And there's nothing I mean, it just shows us how diverse the world is, you know? I will say this - that the fact that you read me that thing from Canada? Canadians have been the most supportive people out of anybody in the universe. They we get great things coming out of Canada. Which amazes me. But, then again, TAR is number one in Canada.
Rachel: And yet we still can't get on the damn show!
Jonathan: Yeah, well, eventually.
Rachel: Yeah, eventually! Could you do your Jedi Mind Trick and work on that?
Jonathan: Well, I do the Canadian radio station. I do that we post that on our website. If you've read our website and I dont know if you guys have gone there?
Rachel: I've been there once when people were plagiarizing things we'd said and posting it as their own on your site, yes.
Jonathan: Well, I have a webmaster, and my webmaster does he allowed certain things on, didn't allow other things on. But there's so much on there, I can't police it, you know? So, that's my thing. I guess, when I was on your board, I read that. And I think that what he took that as was blurbs of information, and put it all and it was all put together by somebody, and then so, how would he know?
Rachel: Oh, yeah no, no! I'm not accusing your webmaster of anything. I'm just saying that that's what eventually led us to your site was that people said, "Hey, you know, someone said what you said, word for word." And it just so happened it was the time I was actually defending the whole shoving incident because I was one of the people that thought, "This doesn't mean they're abusive; it just means, you know, he hit her backpack." So, I think it's one of the reasons is a lot of people find it difficult to take things seriously when you do have fans that post on our site, and we try to give them very clear instructions that anyone is allowed to post but because some of your fans have done stuff like that, like taking only the good things and passing it off as their own you know, people have trouble taking things seriously.
Jonathan: Well, I told the webmaster straight up from the beginning, "You know what this is a positive site. I'm not gonna allow negative things on it." It just wasn't designed for that. It's designed as an informational site. You know, my end of it is very if you go to it, you know I did a thing with Inside Pulse, I wrote an article called "Chasing the Dragon," which was about CBS chasing Rob and Amber and that stunt casting for the rest of the time that reality television is on television. And I thought I was making a very interesting statement. I put that in the blog. I put what we're doing in the blog just because I want people to know that we're active out there. I put pictures up all the time. I always shoot no matter what we do with reality television, I shoot it and post it because I know that there's people out there that want to be a fly on the wall. And I think I've done a lot of cool stuff you know, down to Jon and Kris, and putting a little bit of the taste of that trip up there. Or putting Victoria on a roller coaster. Or just doing my speech to Hugh Hefner, which I thought was, you know, a pretty interesting speech. But, at the end of the day, it's there for people that are interested in reality television and not necessarily on getting to know who we are .. So, there's a lot of information up there, and the only reason why I asked that was because, you know, there's just a lot post a radio show from Canada on there, which it has the whole Season 7. Relentlessly, I did it every Wednesday. We talked every Wednesday. I did the Inside Pulse every Wednesday. Right now, we're getting ready to do a me and the person that I'm doing a column with were getting ready to do something for USA Today on their website. That's what I mean by having a raised voice you can take that, do something with it or you can just be a, what I call not a celebrity, not a star a personality. Or you can just be a personality. I'm not really interested in just going and waving just doesn't do the world any good. Especially with me.
miri: [laughs] I don't think anyone had any problems with, you know, keeping the board on your site positive and deleting negative - I mean, some people just went there just to be mean. And I ran Flo and Zach's site and, trust me, I know that people come over there just to be mean, and I was deleting very negative things about Flo all the time. I always say it's akin to going over to someone's house and spitting on their floor you just don't do it, you know? If you want to say something negative about a person, just don't do it on their own website. I think some people felt or there were reports that some people said their negative comments were edited in to make it appear that it was positive ones. And I don't know if you know about that or not, or if that was something your webmaster was doing, but I think that caused a negative reaction among some people.
Jonathan: I am you know, I read that. I asked him about it it wasnt a webmaster, it was a company. It wasn't one person. So, I mean, how do you get a straight answer out of somebody that says, "No, it didn't happen." But they also were told, "You know what? This site? youre here to protect the site." So, I mean - the invisible is the invisible. I look at it would I have liked to have this is kind of a branching off would I have liked the energy to be different so that the information on our site would have been different? Yeah! Because nobody puts the time in like I put the time in! You know, I mean in the reality genre. I mean, and some wish they could but can't but because of my background, I know where I'm walking and I know what I'm doing, and, unfortunately, that's why my mother didn't speak to me for four months because she was like, "You knew " Just like you said: "You're in the entertainment business you knew what they were gonna do." But I also knew that it was a family show, and, being a family show, they had a responsibility and if you look at the last season . Okay, first of all, 1 through 4 - different game than 5 through 7. Totally. Second to that, what did they learn? Just look at Colin and Christie, Jonathan and Victoria, and Rob and Amber. They learned that without the drama they don't really have a show, that the race used to be front and center and the characters in the race were secondary. From 5, 6, and 7, the characters in the race were front and center, and the race was secondary.
miri: See, that's really interesting because I actually feel just the opposite in some ways. I mean, I think in the early seasons, the characters were more important to the race or, it was about even. I mean, I know for me, at least, my personal experience when I tuned in and watched The Amazing Race I, the show, whatever. I loved the people I was watching, you know? I loved the Frats, I loved to hate the Guidos. And, to me, it was more about those characters I was meeting. And then, for me that changed in season 4 where it became more about the race, and then it was like they were trying to bring the characters back from then on out. I don't know .
Jonathan: Um, yeah, I guess you could look at it like that. I mean, to me my favorite season . I mean, if we break down the seasons, which I love to do all the time I love one. One is one. It was just experimental television, and I just loved it, and I loved the way that they ended with the music. And I was a big Frank and Margarita fan as you can see, I liked all the villains. And I'm very good friends with Brennan and Rob Frisbee. I mean, I play poker with them on a regular basis. I mean, I'm very good friends with them. So, and giving credit due where credit's due. To me, the all-time the best ever season was two. I was a Wil and Tara fan. Wil was so out of control, and Tara was just so by her going over, with Alex was just I mean, and then, for him to beat her in the end in a foot race. It just didn't get any better than that. Three well, I guess I closely relate to Flo and Zach, so I kind of as I was watching it and judging, at that point, and never really realizing what we were judging, and then coming full circle and seeing how the machine works you know, I cut them a lot of slack now where I didn't cut them in three. Not at all I didnt cut them any slack. I mean, I was just like, whatever they dont deserve to win. But Teri and Ian really deserved to win that.
miri: I think, in fact, it's kinda funny you say that because Dave from the ATC team in Season 4?
miri: You know, he used to be an administrator over on the Sucks board.
Jonathan: I didn't know that.
miri: And he said after he ran the race, he really felt like he owed apologies to so many of the people he was commenting on from the previous seasons.
Jonathan: It's true. You know, it's true. I will say that, when you get to four, which was one of my favorite seasons I liked the way it was edited, I liked the way it came together, I liked all the tasks in it. That's what really revved me up and got me excited. I liked the race car driving, the bungee jumping, and the cool stuff - the stuff . It became more cultural after that, you know, and I wanted it to be more when we signed up for six, they said to us, straight up, "This is gonna be the most intense, the most extreme, you're ever gonna do." That's why we were doing bungee jumping, airplane jumping, we were we thought that we were gonna be in true boot camp for forty-five days, which never happened. It was just a lot of running.
miri: You didn't know you were gonna be eating soup.
Jonathan: Well, you know, when you get into the soup thing By the way, when it came to the soup thing, it was the only thing in the entire race that I regretted not doing. I was supposed to do it, I didn't do it, I regret not doing it. I would've been able to take that down in one second. I like spicy foods. Don't ask me why I didn't do it, don't ask me what happened. I happened to say to Victoria, "You do it." She was like, "Okay." She felt guilty from the backpack. The thing is, is that - if you say, "okay," then you mean that, "Oh, I can do it better than you," because you're in a competition. So I didn't fight her on it. But: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever." And, going into that, all of the derogatory and all of the negative things you hear me saying she went in there saying, "I'm gonna play it a certain way." And, when she went in there a lot of what she was doing in the throw-up really wasn't throw-up, it was gagging. Which made other people think that she was throwing up, which made them throw up. To take the cameras off of her. So, she wasn't really lying or cheating she was just gagging it because she didn't want to swallow it.
Rachel: So she didn't really why didn't she want the cameras on her, though? That's what I'm not understanding.
Jonathan: So she could gag it.
Rachel: So she could sort of take it in her month and sort of gag it and pretend to spit it out without swallowing it?
Jonathan: It was a gagging reflex, but she just heightened it. She took that moment and heightened it, so that she could get it, you know because, obviously, you know, it was pure tabasco. So, why take an hour and, so, when she slowed down, and it was just basically, what happened was it started burning her mouth and burning her throat, and then she slowed down. I was just like, "Okay," and then Rebecca came in, and I just lost it. Because I was just like, "Move it. What the hell? I don't care what you have to do at this point." And that was and people, like, I call them drama queens why cant they edit this for television? I just didn't think that they were gonna be so friggin' nasty about it, you know? There could have been a lighter side to that. And a lot of those things, like, "Women don't rule the world," and all that stuff that was just taken out of context, in conversations that we were having, that they were recording about topics that had nothing to do with anything that they put it on top of on voiceovers. The whole thing with Gus, where he goes, "You little bastard"? That never happened there. That had nothing to he wasnt even calling me a little bastard. He was calling fuckin' someone else a little bastard.
Rachel: Well, there is an editor that posted for a little while on Television Without Pity, and he said in regards to, I believe it was Colin and Christie, that, when it comes to editing, it's a very and I believe his exact quote was "a well-coordinated effort" on the part of the editors to create a story line.
Rachel: So you can't really be shocked. I mean, you can be shocked in the direction they went.
Jonathan: No, no, no Im not shocked. I'm shocked that they could have achieved the same goal in not I just I guess I'm not making myself clear. If they would have taken the entire existence of who we were and not and, I guess the thing is, and built a different story line, you would have had the same material to use with a different story line because you have stuff that you don't see. And so the manipulation of what we are feeling by their storytelling would be different. I mean, that's the bottom line.
miri: So that's what you mean when you say you just don't agree with the story line they went with, that you felt they could have gone with another story line that would have been just as entertaining. Or more entertaining.
Jonathan: Just better energy, better entertaining, the same could be . I didn't say, "Take out the push." I mean, that whole part at the beginning where, "I'm so proud of myself, I'm so proud of myself, I'm so proud of myself?" I mean, it made me look like the biggest idiot in the world because they were having fun at my expense, and I believe that. I truly believe that what had happened was, is that we had flown into Norway, and Victoria we had no sleep, and we missed the tollbooth Victoria was in this she was just getting to kind of feel the race. I was in the race. She was kinda getting used to what the boundaries of it were. And so she kept thinking that a million dollars was being taken out of her pocket when you're eliminated. So we'd make mistakes, they were ten times worse for her in her actions and her emotions. Well, she we got up to do the zipline. She was supposed to do it she was so upset, she wanted me to do it. Because she didn't know where we were in time and place, you know? Because sometimes they dont tell you where you are. So and then they made us wait. And then they made us come down me and Don come down together and that just pissed her off.
Rachel: Why did they make you wait?
Jonathan: Because they wanted a shot of me and Don coming down together.
Rachel: Oh, okay. Does that happen a lot during the race? Where production says, "Hold it. Stop."
Jonathan: They ask you: "Do you have enough time that you can wait? Will you do this for us?"
Rachel: And do you have to say yes?
Jonathan: Um, well, I was already the devil at that point, so what's the difference?
Rachel: Oh, no, I don't mean it in an accusatory way, I'm just curious in terms of because it does seem a bit unfair that production would be able to make you wait for another team.
Jonathan: It's a zone area. In a zone area, they're going for shots, and they just keep repeating, "We're doing a television show." They manipulate you. If I wanted to be a jerk about it then, yeah, I didn't have to. But, yeah, Victoria was pissed. And she was screaming down there. And she was really .because we were getting towards the end, and she thought were gonna be eliminated that night, and so it got worse and worse and worse, and she fed into herself. And then, we got down to the bottom, and we're on our way. And they give you a little map, and it's the middle of the night, and they basically say, "Go find this." And basically everybody was having the same problems, but I have a great sense of direction. And I kept telling her to do something because I couldn't drive and ask directions and get it all together. And I was getting mad, and she was getting mad, and we were going back and forth, and she was thinking all she kept saying was "We're gonna get eliminated," and all I kept saying was, is, "Let me get there." Again, I'm running towards the million dollars; she thinks the million dollars in her pocket is being taken out of her pocket, while production looks over her shoulder, and that's what she was doing. And basically, by the time we drove around, I finally just stopped literally in the middle of a turnaround and blocked traffic and got out myself, and that's when I found that guy. And I was so upset with her thats why I kept telling her to go away. "Go away! Just let me you didnt want to do it, I'm doing it. Let me just put it in my brain so that I can make the mistake or not make the mistake." And she kept coming at me, "Write it down. Do this." And I just didn't have any patience at that point to divide my brain up between what I was doing and what she was saying and where we were going because all she could say was, "We're gonna lose, we're gonna lose, we're gonna lose." Well, when we got there and I had made the right decisions, and I got to the thing where the Detours were the Detour holder. I counted them up, I'm like, "Oh, my God, we're number one," not thinking because I didn't realize at that point they put more envelopes in the envelope holder than there were teams. So, I said, "We're number one," and we get there, and she goes, "No, we're not." And then when I got there and saw we were number three, I was really proud of being able to do what I did. And I was so amped up, and it was so many hours of her saying, "We're gonna lose, we're gonna lose, we're gonna lose," that I was so relieved and I was so joyous, that I was just was like, "You owe me an apology." You know, I mean, "You just drove crazy me for five hours, you had no faith in my directions, and everything, blah, blah, blah." So, of course, it had nothing to do with Victoria, it had everything to do with me being aggressive towards Victoria. And the girls you know, Jon and Kris were there and the girls were there and the girls had gotten help, so they were there for long before. They didn't even have to do anything, they just kind of had to sit back and just enjoy the ride. So and then they came out and, you know, I found them I had a very big problem with them. They were very two-faced very catty, very two-faced, very I just, I kind of knew it then. And I forgave them after the race, and then I brought them out to California, and they went to my spa and they did a whole bunch of stuff. And you know what? Then they went back on television and they started bad-mouthing me again, and I was just like, "How do you hang out with me, do all this stuff, and then bad-mouth me and expect me to be your friend?" I mean, they were very two-faced.
So, anyway, so coming down to the editing of what we're saying. It all comes down to they didn't have to choose that. They could have chosen the cool stuff. We had a guide, we had things, we had people, the interactions, the different things. We were in the airport, we were everyone was sitting, sleeping downstairs, but I went up on to the there was an area where there was a hotel inside of the airport, and I got them to give me stuff up there, and we took showers. And it was just, you know, the really cool stuff of doing The Amazing Race and not doing it in such a way that I guess you guys saw thats why we say you saw one thing, we ran a different race.
Rachel: I think we're a lot of people in our site, anyway, hopefully, are aware of the editing that goes on. It's frustrating when you hear that because . I'm curious when you say that, you know, you like the villains and Im kind of the same way, I tend to root for the villains. Why would you go into it wanting to be a villain? Why not say, "I want to be the cool guy, I want to be the one that everybody likes." Why did you decide you gotta be the villain?
Jonathan: Well, first of all, the villain means different things to different people.
Rachel: And what does it mean to you?
Jonathan: To me, it just meant be a colorful, over-the-top character. Okay? That's all it meant. And, probably it didnt mean be the unlikeable person. I mean it could have gone that way, and I was okay with it, but, you know, it was just I didnt Ive watched the seasons, I knew that I wasn't to fit into a straightforward race type of character. I painted my hair blue because I wanted cool things to happen. I wanted to be on the race and get the reaction of the cultures: "Wow! Do you really have blue hair?"
Rachel: Did they give you that reaction?
Jonathan: Yes! And that was the icebreaker to conversations. As soon as they connected to me, on some level, they were whatever we wanted from them, we could get, and do. And that so that worked. I mean, the whole superhero thing Im a child at heart, you know? I mean, I like things that are out there. Yeah, it was a little bit over the top and a little bit too much here and there, but, you know, the whole . I mean the Jedi Mind Trick is real. That's damn real. I can do that. Okay? I might not be able to do it like you can in the movies, but I can do it. And I'm proud of that. Because it worked on the race over and over and over and over and over. And people would be fascinated. Production was fascinated. Fascinated. And I would have hoped that they would have shown that.
miri: I think we got to see a little bit, in the extra footage on the CBS site, of you guys getting a nice, free meal and some stuff like that.
Jonathan: Yeah, but they didn't show the magic behind it. They didn't show me interacting. They didn't show me going up and setting up the situation and not using the cameras and achieving what I want to achieve in that situation. And they didn't, I mean sometimes I would change clothes. Sometimes it was just it was this vaudeville act for me, you know? It was just this craziness that I really wanted to be again, its the filmmaker coming out of me. If I'm a director, how would I direct myself. The thing is, I'm not an actor. I don't claim to be an actor. But I can set the shot up, I can set the scene up, I can make it happen. I was just I was so excited about being able to do this. Plus, you had the cameramen, they were scratching their head. The cameramen, on whole, started to appreciate me at the end when I was getting them free hotel rooms and free meals and free everything. At the beginning, it was just like, "What's this guy " Like anything else, when you see something new, you fear it sometimes when its that intense. And they did. But security would come up and go, "My God." When they were all sleeping at Ikea, outside? We were in a Presidential Suite. They had to come and get us when Bolo Bolo broke into Ikea, and we followed them because we didn't know! We didn't know he broke in. All we knew, I mean it wasnt it was like "Go here and do this," and we were running around the building, looking for an open door, Bolo pulled it really hard, the door opened, we all went in. It's not like we thought, "Wow, this isn't right." We get to the top, we open up the next door, and the alarm goes off. Well, now we knew. So, you know, everybody CBS, production it was a big deal. It was a big deal. This was right after I broke the ice bull. That was an even bigger deal. Okay? But did I want to break the ice bull? No. I said, "Victoria - if I make this, I'm gonna ride the bull." She said, "I don't think that's a good idea, Jon." I'm like, "No, no, no, this is gonna be really cool! I'm gonna jump on it and I'm gonna ride the bull." She's, "Oh, Jon - I don't think you should do it." And I did it. And so I went. I flew onto this thing! I mean, I'm talking about "yahoo!" because of the camera sitting in the window, filming it. Thinking, "This is gonna be cool! To look like I'm riding a bull in an ice - in the ice bar?"
Rachel: Did you get in trouble for it?
[there's an interruption as Jonathan needs to take care of something]
Jonathan: Okay. So, she was like, "I don't think so." So, as soon as I did it - I ran, I jumped, I flew, and then I grabbed on to the horns. And, when it broke, I was like, "Oh, no! Oh, my God!" And, trust me, I was as embarrassed as anybody else. And so, by being as embarrassed as anybody else, you know, what could I do? I said I was sorry. And I was, you know understand that I was very, very respectable to the cultures. More so than anybody else that I saw. I always said "thank you," I always shook their hand coming in, I was always interactive with them about their country, to let them know that I appreciated something about their country. And the and that I loved the third-world countries, more than I did anything else. I mean, I liked Iceland, to me, was amazing. Ethiopia was fascinating. But, to me, whenever I travel third-world countries that is they have unbelievable character. And you know I mean, anybody can go on vacation, but very few people can actually learn a culture by going there.
Rachel: And I think that's one thing where you did get fair editing because the one thing they really you really did come across as being very respectful to the people. It was just your interaction with Victoria that was shown negatively. But everything else, you seemed very, very respectful.
miri: Even down to Victoria putting on a shirt to cover herself a little bit before going into the church.
Jonathan: That was her being respectable!
miri: Yeah. So, both of y'all I think thats one thing that people could agree on, was that you guys were showing respect to the cultures you went to.
Jonathan: Yeah, the coming before the storm, as I call it. They made fun of me coming into Africa when I had the guide and everything, and we had a flawless run except for the end, when basically that's what snapped me. Right there, by production not allowing me to get onto that ferry and that was definitely production not doing it. The trunk wouldn't open, I went to the guy, and he later admitted it to me. So and that, truly and then Berlin was the next leg thats what snapped me. Because I worked so hard, and I was again in Africa, I was ahead of everybody by hours. Hours. And then I get to the end, and it takes two seconds, and because they want a good finish, they give it to Jon and Kris. They were even surprised. They looked at each other and went, "You're kidding me, right?"
Rachel: Now that seems to me a little unethical. Is there there was nothing you could do about that? There was no one you could complain to? Or you basically had you just had to take it?
Jonathan: For every time you complain, they point something out that you did.
Rachel: Okay. So you're pretty much stuck.
Jonathan: You're basically its tit for tat.
Rachel: I know other racers have told us they rotate camera crews so you don't get attached too much to one. Is there any specific crew that you felt you did better with? And I'm not asking you specifically to name names, I don't want to get into
Jonathan: Yes. Absolutely. If they get you, they get you. I mean I was again, the filmmaker in me if you were offended by the fact that I was telling you how to do your job -- which I really wasnt, I was just pointing out really cool things or wanting to set up really cool blockages for us to run through - some people were very offended by that. Other people were like, "Wow. That's really cool. Wow!" Some people you know, at the end, they would be showing me their little tricks of how they film what they film because they knew I appreciated it so much. But they weren't used to somebody sophisticated, they weren't used to somebody who was a you know, understood entertainment, understood camerawork, understood editing. You're talking to somebody who's a filmmaker. And so most people arent dont have that education, don't understand what's going on. And then, so they were offended at first, and then they appreciated it. The same thing with the I just lost my thought, but, you know, at the end of the day here . Oh I was gonna say, the same thing with CBS and not wanting them to talk, period, any time. It's because they don't want you to slip and tell what's been going on in the story or reveal the winners. I'm too sophisticated for that. Do you and well get to this when we turn off the tape recorder.
miri: Okay. Which just to warn you were probably gonna have to do soon because I think we've filled up my little digital recorder. We're getting close to it.
Jonathan: Okay. Well, what do you guys have now, I just want to know one thing. You've spent some time with me. I've tried to be as honest and as forthcoming as I possibly can. I don't know for a good interview or bad interview, if it's gonna be what's been out there, what hasn't been out there. But you guys knowing the message boards, knowing the people that are on the boards, knowing TARcon, knowing everything that surrounds The Amazing Race, and I do point you as experts, you know, in this field. Is there anything that I can that wasnt answered or that needs to be answered or that you got out of this or that's unexpected about that I can help you give back something that's needed that I'm not seeing?
Rachel: I don't think so. You've been great with answering all our questions, except for the ones that obviously you're not allowed to answer for whatever reason. I mean, I don't think it's gonna change the minds of all the people. I think people are gonna its nice to see another side of you. And this is gonna be totally unedited. So nobody's gonna be able to say, "Oh well, they twisted that." I think you've given a good sense of who you are. I know, I personally and, this is what I expected. But I mean that in a positive way because I dont know if you've noticed your thread but Im sort of the one that polices your side the most and tells people, you know, "Let people talk, let people be."
Jonathan: Yeah, I guess I definite, I noticed that I guess its you, that somebody says, you know what, "This needs to be a fair forum." I mean I hate when people come in and they're just like, you know, they don't want to talk about topics, they're just .. Hey, I don't go on there and blah-blah-blah. If people ask me a question on there, I answer it, you know? Because that's the only place that they can get to me, is your forum. And the only reason why I chose it was because I tiptoed into other areas at some points, and I'm just like Im not looking for people to love me, I'm looking for people to respect something about me. At least, the intellect on the site, when they were arguing about me, had such a high intellect that that's why I decided to kind of stay there, even though I can't fight my own battles in my own intellect on that site.
Rachel: Wow. You know - it's really, miri's site that she's created. We just help out, so give her kudos for having such a good site where people can do that, we have that forum.
miri: It's the people.
Jonathan: Yeah, that's great. And you guys, I mean, and soon enough youre gonna blow up probably bigger than Television Without Pity. I mean, you're gonna dial it in where, you know you need to do some marketing, but you're gonna dial it in where it's just gonna be you know, its everything will point to you at one point.
Rachel: Well, maybe.
Jonathan: It's just a matter of marketing and what you decide to do going forward.
miri: It's not a commercial site. I mean, there's no marketing, there's no nothing, it's just ..
Rachel: It's by fans, for fans.
Rachel: I think that's what makes it so unique. I mean, that's what makes us so knowledgeable its all fans of The Amazing Race. We're not looking to get anything out of it.
Jonathan: I don't mean marketing like that. I'm talking about quote type of stunt-casting that you put, you know, that you --
miri: Oh, I see were getting traffic from the show then. That would okay.
Jonathan: Yeah. I mean the stunt-casting of the site, but basically stunt-casting for the site.
Jonathan: It's how you're going to put people front and center and bring up controversy and, I mean you definitely the fact that Television Without Pity is so policed by nothing, and they do so well amazes me! I mean, it amazes me. Because they don't deserve it. They just don't deserve it.
miri: To be honest and to be fair to them what TARflies is like now was a lot what Television Without Pity used to like -
Jonathan: Oh, I see.
miri: - before it exploded and got so big and busy.
Jonathan: I understand.
miri: Yeah. It really was. It was the place to go to really I mean, The Amazing Race forums? I love the show, but I loved the forums almost as much or more than I loved the show. They were that funny and that witty, and people not just people making lists about who came in what place and whatever, or just posting to trash people. It was really a lot of fun. And a lot of the people who post on TARflies are the old-timers from Television Without Pity.
Jonathan: I understand. Okay.
miri: I just want to wrap things up by saying thank you for your time. I appreciate you making the phone call, so it's not on my phone bill. I appreciate that.
Jonathan: You know what? I hope you guys got a real sense of the real Jonathan Baker.
Rachel: I think we did. So in that sense, I think mission accomplished. Absolutely.