Alright, as promised below is the complete, unedited interview I did with Jill Jenson for reality tv fans. All of the good, nasty parts were edited out by RTVF's evil webmaster, MissMary who runs her site like she's half Hitler, half Stalin and half Taliban, minus all of their good characteristics of course.
Anyway, here it is...most of the butchery takes place towards the end.....I've put the missing parts in bold text like this
Interview with Michael of Love Cruise
I recently spoke with Michael from Love Cruise who agreed to answer a few questions about his Love Cruise experience as well as provide an update on the recent antics of all our favorite Love Cruise contestants. Michael, you will remember, made it to the finals of Love Cruise only to receive zero, count ‘em zero, votes from his fellow cast mates. Despite losing $100,000 and a trip around the world, however, Michael greatly enjoyed his time on the Love Cruise and is having a lot of fun with his 15 minutes of fame.
RTVF: How did you find out about this show in the first place?
Michael: My mom saw an ad in the newspaper about a TV show where single people would travel around the Caribbean together on a cruise ship and she thought it would be a great way for me to meet some girls. I think she saw it as a last ditch effort to try and drum up some grandkids since none of her three adult sons are married. I really wasn’t interested in trying out, but then I saw that the show was being produced by Bunim/Murray Productions and that kind of changed my mind a little bit because I’m a big fan of Real World and Road Rules and had a lot of respect for BMP (Bunim-Murray Productions), so it sounded like fun. I still wasn’t planning on going, but my little brother called me the day of the casting and begged me to go with him because none of his friends would go and he didn’t want to go by himself.
RTVF: What was the casting process like?
Michael: The first round was open casting call and I went with my little brother. After waiting in a long line we were divided into groups with 6 people at a table. There was a producer at each table and they would just fire off personal questions at each of us. It was real clear that they were looking for people willing to talk about anything and generally make asses of themselves in public and that’s something I am pretty good at. I was placed at a table with Bruce Toms, the executive producer, which I think, really helped me get on the show. My little brother was at a different table and didn’t make it out of the first round. After the first round, I had to fill out a 25 page written application and make a 13-minute home video. The video was a lot of fun as I went with a whole “man on the street” approach and interviewed people in my neighborhood basically asking them questions about how sexy they thought I was. The consensus in the neighborhood seemed to be big “not very”. The day after the open casting I had to go a hotel for a private interview with one of the casting directors. After that, the next round of cuts were made and then I had to do an interview over the phone, which I also had to videotape on my end so they could view my reactions. Next up was the finals where the final 40 contestants were flown out to Los Angeles for three days of STD testing (I’m clean woo hoo!), interviews with the producers and a psych test, which apparently, you are not required to pass.
RTVF: Would you happen to be referring to Toni by that?
Michael: Yeah, the psycho. Although most of us in the cast are a little whacked in our own way.
RTVF: Back to when you first got on the ship, what were you first impressions of your fellow cast members?
Michael: At first I was a little intimidated because everyone was so good looking. But, I knew going in that all the guys were most likely going to be better looking than me so I wasn’t surprised when I found that to be true. As for the girls I was happy to see that BMP actually picked some people with some substance instead of going the Temptation Island route and just stocking us with a boat full of bimbos. Overall, I was very happy with the cast right off the bat. Everyone loves to party so I knew that no matter what happened we were going to have a good time.
RTVF: What was up with Justin (the host of the show), did he just pop in for the competitions?
Michael: Yeah, and he was our personal whipping boy. We thought, “they are sending us this guy?” We basically tore him up from minute one. But, Justin was a good sport and didn’t try and fight it. He’s a real nice guy. What you see with him on TV is basically what you get.
RTVF: You were paired up with Lisa in the first coupling ceremony, right?
RTVF: Why did you want to split up at the next coupling ceremony?
Michael: I thought that was the best way to play the game. I knew Lisa wouldn’t vote me off and I wouldn’t vote her off, so why remain partners? It made more sense for us to meet and spend time with other people. Also, I was getting along so well with all of the girls that I didn’t want to limit myself to just one, I wanted to get a chance to be partners with as many as I could. Being someone’s partner was a great chance to really get to know that person on a more personal level in the sense that although the whole group was always together hanging out as partners there were always those few moments in the day where it was just you and your partner hanging out and talking, and I was so interested in so many of the girls that I didn’t want to limit those moments to just one.
RTVF: And in Episode 3 you were paired with Melissa. Watching the show it seemed like you had a thing for her, is that true?
Michael: I definitely had a big crush on Melissa towards the beginning of the show. She is just wild and out of her mind – in a good way. From Day one we bonded and after a while we became such good friends that the crush turned into friendship. Also, she kind of had a thing for Darin in case you didn’t notice. I was more than happy to just be friends with her and the two of us really had a great time hanging out and partying during the whole trip. Also, we were to the two bad apples as we were always getting in trouble for something or other. Every morning the producers would have to lecture the whole cast for something that me or Mel had done the night before, whether it be having a contest to see who could throw the most glasses overboard, taking all the spare beds and putting them on top of the boat to sleep outside, or teasing the crew people who weren’t allowed to even speak to us. It became a running joke on the boat to see what we were gonna get yelled at for next. Overall, I think BMP did a good job showing our friendship and from conversations I’ve had with viewers, a lot of people were able to pick up on it. When you think about it, our friendship is an integral part of the show, we really watched out for each other and it all paid off in the end.... she saved me from certain ejection in Round Five and I paid her back by putting the deciding wreath around her neck in the finals.
RTVF: Why did you guys vote off Jeanette in Episode 3?
Michael: Ralph and I were voting together. We wanted to vote off Andrea, but everyone else wanted Jeanette. The problem is that if you vote for someone and that person is not voted off, it will come back to you later. It made more sense for us (the guys) to vote as a group. And there was the whole thing with Adrian. Jeanette should have kept her mouth shut and not gone off on him. That wasn’t playing the game well. She should have known the guys would stick together. She never called Adrian a ‘deadbeat dad’ though. She would just never say something like that. You know, its really funny the way the whole thing turned out with Jeanette playing such a key role on the show because Jeanette didn’t even know she was getting into a reality TV show when she applied for this thing. She was supposed to go on a Windjammer cruise earlier in the summer, but it was cancelled so she saw the ad in the paper for this and decided to go for it. When she got on the boat she thought that the cameras would be there for a few hours and then we would be by ourselves hanging out on vacation for the rest of the time. She had absolutely no idea what she was getting into. In that sense, her innocence makes her one of the purest people ever on reality TV, and that’s one of the reasons she is so likeable.
A funny story about Jeanette was during the first competition (a trivia question game that they decided not to air because it was soooo boring...Anthony and Laura won and Laura got the switch card).... anyway, after the competition there were a lot of empty water bottles on the beach so Jon Murray, the head honcho himself went down to the water and started cleaning up all the garbage. Jeanette saw this and went over and started to help him out. The thing is, Jeanette had no idea who he was and just thought he was some low level employee doing the grunt work. Jeanette started to help and turned to John and said, “I’ll help you because I know what its like to have the boss around watching you work.” Jon gave her a puzzled look and said, “uhm, I’m Jon Murray.” Jeanette, still not knowing what that meant, looked at him with a look that said so what and replied, “Okay, hi I’m Jeanette nice to meet you.” Then Jon replied, “Jon Murray as in Bunim/MURRAY productions.” At that point the light bulb finally went off in Jeanette’s head and she realized exactly who she was talking to...it’s a typical Jeanette story and one of the things that makes her so funny.
RTVF: Okay, Episode 4, the kiss with Lisa, what was that all about?
Michael: Lisa is the most poorly edited person on the show. Out of everyone, she was the one that got the short end of the stick in regard to how she was portrayed on the show. Lisa is not that bad. In fact, she’s not bad at all. She and I became good friends right off the bat. She is really friendly, really caring, really funny. Her problem was making everything into a drama, and she did play up the insecurity card.
RTVF: Did you really kiss her for her vote? She doesn’t think you did.
Michael: Basically, I had Lisa in my back pocket the whole show. I knew there was no way she would ever vote me off the boat and that she was open to my suggestions as to who she should vote for. Because of that, I wanted to bring her into the alliance. My idea was to bring her in gradually, but then she started to like Anthony a bit and I was worried that I was losing influence over her. My original plan was to have Ralph room with her in Episode Four, but Lisa ruined that plan by choosing to room with Anthony over Ralph. If you watch the episode again the camera pans to me after she makes her choice and I look quite upset. That is when I came up with Plan B, the kiss. I didn’t only kiss her for her vote. There was an attraction both ways. She is very pretty, but I really wasn’t planning on hooking up with anyone, it just seemed like a real bad idea to kiss anyone and my plan was to stay under the radar. Then when I saw her starting to fall under Anthony’s influence I figured I better move on to Plan B. I would have never kissed Lisa had I known that she and Anthony were already hooking up. That is why I asked Anthony that very question and of course he said that there was nothing going on between them, which we all know now was far from the case. A lot of people ask me if I really liked her and was just saying that stuff to save face, but the fact is I was playing the game. I kissed her for her vote but I wouldn’t have even thought about kissing her if I wasn’t attracted to her. In real life, I would kiss her anyway. Probably.
RTVF: Why didn’t the cameras catch that kiss?
Michael: Because I planned it that way. I waited until the camera crew had left. We were lying under blankets, the whole thing lasted about 20 seconds and that was it, which is actually one of my best times. It wasn’t like I was escalating it or anything. It was just a one-time thing. I don’t know why she made such a big deal about it.
RTVF: But you approached Anthony to find out if it would be okay with him if you hooked up with Lisa?
Michael: Yeah and at that time Lisa and Anthony had already hooked up.
RTVF: How did you feel watching the show later and seeing the action between Lisa and Anthony?
Michael: Not surprised.
RTVF: Did it clear anything up, or did you already know about Lisa and Anthony?
Michael: I already knew.... you have to remember we filmed over a year ago so we’ve had a long time to hash things out and get to the bottom of a lot of mysteries. But, as for the whole Lisa/Anthony/Michael triangle, it is really inconsequential in comparison to the drama that follows in the episodes after that. It’s not a big part of my experience on the show.
RTVF: So you had some insight into Anthony’s machinations?
Michael: Yeah. You know one thing they left out of the show was a critical conversation that took place at lunch on Margarita Island where Anthony was telling all the guys that Laura was being possessive, that he wanted to mingle with everyone but it was Laura who was holding him back. That’s when we as a group decided to vote off Laura. Every fifth day the camera crew took off and we were sequestered in hotel rooms for the day and during that time we weren’t supposed to talk to each other. When we were having this conversation, one of the production guys jumped in and said, “hey, you guys can’t talk about this stuff.” We told him that we were gonna talk about it anyway and not coincidentally, that was the last time we were allowed to hang out as a group on our days off.
RTVF: So you couldn’t talk to each other on off days?
Michael: No, we couldn’t do anything! We were sent to different hotel rooms where we sequestered and couldn’t go anywhere or do anything except for watch TV. We finally went on strike though.
RTVF: You did?
Michael: Yeah, in Bonaire. Myself, Ralph, Anthony and Darin sat out in front of our hotel and refused to move. The production assistant didn’t know what to do and ended up having to go and track down Bruce Toms and Kathy Wetherall, who were in the middle of a scuba diving lesson and not at all too happy about being dragged away to deal with our crap. They asked us how we would feel about them switching us out with the four guys on Loser Island, but we laughed at the thought of them actually trying to pull that off so we didn’t move. In retrospect, looking at the way they pulled things out of nowhere as far as the rules go, I wouldn’t have been surprised if they actually followed through on that and replaced all four of us. They told us that we are acting like children, and Ralph yelled back, “well, you’re treating us like children!” It was pretty funny. After that, they ended up moving us out of the hotel rooms and into our own individual villas. Those were so nice that we didn’t mind spending the whole day stuck in them.
RTVF: How about when you saw Toni’s pronouncement when she landed on Loser Island that she sacrificed herself for Jeanette?
Michael: Unbelievable. Its like, hey, Toni, you know those big black things that those guys are following us around with? They’re called cameras and guess what, they record stuff.
RTVF: What was the Chicago 4 thing all about?
Michael: That was not a well-thought out plan. Although, obviously, there can only be two winners, the idea was to get to the final 4, and then cross that bridge when we came to it. You know, on the first day, I wasn’t picked by anybody, but by the end of the first night, me and Darin were the most popular guys there. The next coupling ceremony when all the girls picked me, I knew I had to be one of the favorites to win and so I thought I might be in some danger of being switched off by one of the other guys since I was clearly a threat to win the game. I had just seen Survivor. I came on the show to play the game and I thought everyone else would do it too. So I came up with the idea of a four person alliance to have influence throughout the jury process to make it to that coveted final 4 position. An alliance of two guys and two girls made sense because you would have to do a two and two alliance so all four people have a partner in the eventual final four. The problem was we just did it too early.
RTVF: From watching the show, it seemed like it all went wrong when Andrea was brought into it, is that right?
Michael: I originally wanted to bring Lisa in as the fourth person alongside myself, Ralph and Melissa, but Ralph wanted Toni brought in. Ralph and Toni had been friends for the past five years prior to the show. Actually, Melissa and Toni lived in the same building in Chicago and Ralph lived down the block. Ralph and Toni tried to play it off as if they were just casual acquaintances, but it turns out that they are really close friends and have been for a number of years. In fact, it became obvious later in the show that they had a plan to win even before they showed up on the show. We didn’t figure out the Ralph and Toni connection until the day they left. Too many of their stories were about the same people. I knew Toni was friends with Andrea, but Ralph assured me that when push came to shove Toni would have no problem cutting her loose. Obviously, that was not the case as you can see from viewing the show. Toni tried to bring Andrea into the alliance and at the same time muscle Melissa out of the picture. That really put me in a tight spot because I couldn’t very well tell Andrea that she couldn’t be part of the alliance because she would run and tell everyone else on the boat about the Chicago Four. So, I had to string Andrea along and at the same time keep Melissa happy since she was paranoid and questioning my loyalty. Obviously it didn’t work. The night before I switched Andrea off to bring Jeanette back was horrible as Melissa was very suspicious of my loyalties and was so mad that she wouldn’t even look at me or talk to me. I felt really guilty that night and was convinced that I was going to be the next person voted out.
Its funny cause I’ve read some interviews where Toni and Andrea are still claiming that they never knew about the Chicago-4 until I told them about it in episode #5 which is complete bald faced lie. Toni has even gone as far as to say in her RTVF interview that if she knew what I was up to she would’ve used the switch card to save Adrian and switch me off instead. I find this hilarious because, and here is where I’m going to give away a little inside info that you didn’t see on TV, after Toni won the switch card on the beach she came up to me when the cameras weren’t around and asked me who she should vote off, Adrian or Darin. I told her to get rid of Adrian because he was the best athlete left on the show and therefore the biggest threat in physical challenges. I really wanted to get rid of Anthony, but Toni didn’t want to. I still suspect to this day that Toni, Anthony and Andrea had a little alliance of their own centered around the fact that Anthony is an aspiring screen writer and both Toni and Andrea actually have half baked visions of one day making it in Hollywood as actresses. I think that Anthony probably used that angle to secure allegiance from those two telling them that one day he would use them in a movie.
Anyway, my point is that if Toni was so shocked in episode #5 to find out what I was up to, then why did she come up to me in episode #4 asking me who to vote off as part of our Chicago-4 plan? Its just yet another example of Toni blatantly lying to try and save face, even a year after the show is over. It’s a running joke we have amongst most of the cast members to try and keep track of all of Toni’s post-show lies, we actually have bets over how many times she will blatantly lie her ass off in any given interview.
RTVF: And so you used the switch card to switch Andrea out for Jeanette?
Michael: Yeah. All Toni and Andrea ever said was that they wanted Jeanette to win. It was ridiculous and annoying. This is a game show, not the f**king United Way Jerry Lewis telethon. Did you see Big Brother 2? Jeanette wasn’t Autumn! Anthony was. Anyway, we had two hours to make up our mind about whether to switch partners. The whole time Toni and Andrea had been saying they would switch themselves out in a heartbeat if they could bring back Jeanette in their place. It was so obvious that they were just saying that to make themselves look better so I knew that this would be a perfect way to prove that. We had two hours to make up our minds as to whether or not to switch our partner so I waited for Andrea to approach me to ask me to switch her out and, of course, she didn’t. If she really wanted Jeanette to win so much, she would’ve offered to be switched.
Since she never came up to me offering to leave I figured I would take matters into my own hands and just give her what she wanted anyway, so I switched her out. I love it on the show where Andrea says, “yeah we wanted to Jeanette to come back to the boat and win, but not like this.” Well, how else was it supposed to happen? Was I supposed to smuggle her back onto the boat in a laundry basket or something? Or when Toni tells Jeanette that “yeah we wanted to bring you back, but WE wanted to do it, not him.” That statement right there shows the true selfishness of her motives, that being that having Jeanette back on the boat is not as important as her being the “good” person that got to do it. As usual, everything that thing says is a lie. Toni is nothing but a walking contradiction.
RTVF: Did you really say you wanted to kick Andrea down the gangplank?
Michael: Oh yeah, amongst other things. Andrea was annoying even beyond the whole Toni thing. She just wouldn’t shut up. Nobody liked her as evidenced by the fact that her name came up at every vote. If it wasn’t for mistakes that Laura, Jeanette and Lisa made playing the game, Andrea would’ve been voted out in each of the three rounds prior to the switch. I’ve read some interviews where Andrea is trying to blame the editing and saying that she is just a funny likable person, but if that is the case then why did everyone at Loser Island tell Jeanette to get rid of Andrea and Anthony? Doesn’t sound like she was well liked to me.
RTVF: What was up with Anthony’s ‘you were hurting people . . . maliciously’ line?
Michael: The funny thing about that is that he stole that line from Tomiko. They didn’t even show the whole conversation where Anthony was yelling at me, but it was so obvious to everyone there that he was just trying to put the spotlight on me so he wouldn’t get voted off. Once Jeanette came back to the boat he could see that I wasn’t in danger of being voted out anymore so he had to do something desperate to save his own hide. He came up to the table just looking to start a fight and I took the bait by accusing him of grandstanding, which he clearly was. After a while of him yelling at me everyone just got up and walked away because it was so obvious what he was up to and that he was so full of it.
RTVF: What were they all upset about anyway, the alliance thing?
Michael: They were mad that I was playing the game! That I kissed Lisa for her vote, that I called Darin a sheep . . . every accusation came out. You didn’t see it, but it was basically Ralph’s idea to have everyone go off on me in that episode. They were all yelling at me while Ralph just sat there and didn’t say a word.
RTVF: What is it like being on the receiving end of one of Toni’s eye-bulging fits?
Michael: I almost consider it a badge of honor – like storming the beach at Normandy or something.
RTVF: Okay let’s get to the bribe thing. You know, as a viewer, it was kind of confusing in that we saw Toni offer Jeanette half the money if Toni won, but we didn’t see the actual bribe where Toni apparently offered Jeanette $20,000 if Jeanette were to give up her own spot for Toni.
Michael: Are you saying Fox didn’t edit the show clearly? Ha! Actually, the bribe took place off-camera. Every 5 days the crew would get the day off and we would be sent to different hotels. On this particular day, Jeanette was doing laundry when Toni came to her and told Jeanette that she wanted to win, that she wanted a trip for her mother, so if Jeanette would tell the guys that she wanted to be voted out, when Toni and Ralph won, they would give her $20,000. The bribe was actually overheard and confirmed by one of the crew members.
But, even to the average viewer the bribe should have been obvious with a simple look at the evidence. On the beach, neither Anthony, Melissa or Jeanette said anything about the amount of the bribe, it was Toni who came running up to Melissa and screamed “just because I offered to give her $20,000 you call that a bribe!!!.” Right there, that shows that she is guilty. How else would she know the exact amount? The only way she would know is if she is the one who made the offer. Toni definitely tried to bribe her, which is fine, if that’s the way she is playing the game, but at least admit it. Instead, she continues to lie about it even to this day.
RTVF: When Jeanette won the switch card, were you worried that she would switch you out to improve her chances for winning?
Michael: I had told Jeanette if you feel you have to switch me out go ahead, but I still think we can win because the same people who hated Melissa hated me. If they didn’t add the third couple we would’ve had a very good chance of winning, a very good chance. Over the last year me and Mel have tried to figure out what would have happened if it was just the two couples and all we can come up with is that it would’ve come down to one or two votes.
RTVF: How did you feel about them throwing a third couple into the finals?
Michael: As soon as they announced that, Jeanette and I looked at each other and we knew we were done. It was over. We just decided to have as much fun as we could the rest of the time and, when voting for the third couple, we decided to vote for the couple that we would mind losing to the least. As soon as Justin made the announcement I went up to Bruce Toms (executive producer) and told him that by adding the third couple they had just ruined the whole show and made Love Cruise a complete laughing stock. A year later, having seen the finished product I think I can confidently state that I was completely right in my assessment. Every person that I have talked to about the show, and I am talking about 100's of people, have all commented on what a completely unfair joke that was and how it ruined the last episode and for some people, the entire series. Its too bad that BMP didn’t realize what I felt was obvious at the time and ditch the third couple idea.
I was very upset the rest of that day and not because I was going to lose. I was upset because I wasn’t even being given a chance to compete. I’m a very competitive person and after spending the prior three weeks playing a game and playing it very well I might add, it just killed me that I wasn’t even going to get a chance to compete for the title. And whether you liked me or hated me on the show there is no disputing the fact that I deserved a spot in the finals and a fair shot at the prize for the way I played the game. Also, I believe that the viewers were cheated by me not being in the finals. The fact is that through the first six episodes of the series there is no doubt that I am one of the two main stars of the show and to basically replace me with Adrian and Gina in the final episode is the equivalent of going to the Super Bowl to see the Rams and Dolphins play for the title only to be told at game time that the Rams are being replaced by the Detroit Lions. Who wants to see that???
Besides, regardless of who would’ve won if it was just the final 2 couples, there is no doubting that it would’ve been a much better finale with just the final two couples instead of the final three. Let’s face it, there were people in the jury that absolutely hated me in the end, but those same people also hated Melissa as well. Think about what great drama it would’ve been to see Toni, Anthony and Ralph have to actually choose between giving the money to me or giving it to Melissa. It would’ve absolutely killed them, and it would’ve been great TV in the process. Instead, by adding the third couple those people were given a cop out.
RTVF: When you voted for Gina and Adrian as the third couple you said they conducted themselves with “honor and class.” What was that all about?
Michael: I meant that day, on the beach. At least one person in every couple came up to us and said something to us except for Gina and Adrian. And as for Lisa and Bob, they just had too big a smile on their faces when Justin made the announcement. There was no f**king way I was going to vote for them. Anthony – what would he have done with the winnings? Buy a new set of truck tires for his house? And you know I was naïve to think that people wouldn’t care and that they would see this as just a game. It was hard to see people so bitter, especially Ralph who had always said that it is just a game. Basically, every couple had at least one person in it who sucked, except for Adrian and Gina. Adrian never had a bad word to say about anyone that day on the beach and Gina was the same.
RTVF: And then in the end you voted for Melissa and Darin to win?
Michael: Yes. I didn’t mind losing to Melissa and Darin. They definitely deserved to win. People say that Darin didn’t do anything, but that says something right there. He played a very smart game in that he simply laid low and let everyone around him make mistakes. And as for Melissa, I don’t think anyone played the game as well as she did. She was well liked, she strategized and then when the alliance started to fall apart, she bailed on it and attached herself to the one guy left who had no strikes against him. I think she played a brilliant game and deserves a lot of credit.
RTVF: Do you have any regrets over the way all you guys were portrayed on the show?
Michael: No, although it is important to realize that with editing, you just become so one-dimensional. There was so much they didn’t show. They never showed us having fun. For example, the first night on the ship, Tony and I broke into the bar on the ship at four in the morning and we were all drinking and having fun. They never showed any of that. I would say that 95% of the time it was a nonstop drunken party, but of course BMP chose to focus on the 5% of the time that we wanted to kill each other.
RTVF: Out of curiosity, why would Melissa have applied for the show if she had a boyfriend?
Michael: At the time this all came about, Melissa and her boyfriend had broken up – they were on the outs. A casting person saw her on the street and told her to try out. She thought it would be a cool trip, why not? And a lot of other people on the show had boyfriends and girlfriends at home too.
Michael: Ralph had a girlfriend. Tomiko and Andrea both had boyfriends.
RTVF: And what was it that happened on Loser Island that made Tony decide to get a Mohawk?
Michael: It was a combination of being rejected by Laura and two bottles of vodka. If you knew Tony, you would understand. We call him “Crazy Tony.”
RTVF: And just for the record Greg and Toni did hook up on Loser Island?
Michael: Yeah they had sex on the boat and when Toni first came to Loser Island. Nowadays he can’t stand her. He says hooking up with her was the biggest regret of his life.
RTVF: Who do you keep in touch with from the show?
Michael: Everyone except for Toni, Andrea, Gina, Laura and Anthony. Jeanette and Melissa are two of my closest friends. We speak almost every day and hang out all the time. I also have been hanging out with Bob a lot lately as well. He is a funny guy – you didn’t see much of that on the show. For example, the whole cast was in Chicago for the premiere and we were all sitting around the hotel room talking and someone says something like Bob did this or Bob did that and Melissa, just not thinking, says, “Who’s Bob?” and the whole room goes quiet for a second and then Bob says “Exactly!” It was funny because Bob is always making fun of himself for how poorly he did on the show.
RVTF: What is Toni up to now? Is she still a bartender/personal trainer?
Michael: You can drop the slash. She is no personal trainer unless a membership at Bally’s counts for anything. She works at a bar. It’s funny cause I keep reading these interviews with Toni where she talks about how it was all just a game and how people shouldn’t take things personally, and yet no one has taken this stuff more personally than her. A week after the finale Melissa was in the bar where Toni works and she went up to say hello, and Toni just stuck her hand in Mel’s face and walked away without saying anything. Since then, myself, Melissa and Jeanette have simply ignored Toni whenever we see her. It was really funny about a month ago we were all at Toni’s bar partying and we couldn’t help but laugh about the fact that Melissa won $100,000 and we are all out celebrating and having a good time right in front of her as she had to serve us all drinks. Of course, we never go up to her for a drink cause we are afraid of what she might spit and or put in it. Since then, I’ve seen her out a few times and we just ignore each other.
Its kind of funny because Toni preaches about how she will say things to people’s faces and not behind their back, yet she doesn’t have the guts to rip on me in person the way she does in all her interviews. And the best part is that the day after the finale myself, Jeanette, Melissa, Bob and Ralph all did a radio show here in Chicago and Toni refused to go on the air with us. I guess it’s tough to completely lie your ass off when there are five people in the room with you who know the truth.
Another thing that you’ll get a kick out of.....since the show finished filming myself, Melissa and Jeanette have made an effort to be friends with Toni and just be civil about things, and up until the last few shows Toni was acting like she was our best friend. But, we’ve always known since day one that once the later shows came out and people had a chance to see what a wretched beast she is, that she would go back to her psycho lying ways and go back to hating us again. It’s funny how she is saying all these horrible things about me and yet, three months ago she was on the radio telling everyone what a great guy I am and how funny I am. My only question would be, what changed in those two months??? All that has happened is that we’ve seen the show which is just a reminder of everything that we already went through a year ago. Its not like anything new came out that we didn’t already know about and yet now she is running around like I am the anti-Christ.
RTVF: You know I am going to have to ask about the chess master comment.
Michael: I take a lot of heat for that comment from strangers, but people that know me loved it. I say things to get a rise out of people and I knew at that moment that I would be getting a rise out of millions. It was perfect. Also, I treated all my one on one interviews kind of like it was Saturday morning pro wrestling...you have to make huge ego driven statements like that. Being humble does not make for good TV. Besides, going in to the show I kind of wanted to be the bad guy. Its funny because once everything blew up, one of the camera guys asked me on camera if I still felt like the chess master and I said no and that I didn’t even feel like I could master chutes and ladders, but of course they didn’t show that.
RTVF: How did you wind up summarizing the show for lovecruisesinks.com?
Michael: After I got back from filming the show I started to pay close attention to the various reality TV websites, particularly the summaries and recaps. I decided that it would be a lot of fun to write summaries for Love Cruise, especially as someone who was actually on the show. But, I realized that I needed to earn my stripes as a recap writer before Love Cruise started so I decided to take a stab at some of the other reality shows, most notably Survivor 2 and Temptation Island. After many unsuccessful attempts to find a cyber home for my work I ended up at www.realitytvworld.com and it wasn’t long before I became their official summary writer for Survivor and TI. I had a lot of fun ripping the shows apart and never once let on to anyone that I myself was a contestant on one of these shows.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I ended up having a contest to see if anyone could guess my true identity. I gave out several ambiguous clues and turned it into something of a game for people on the site. Since my clues were so vague no one was able to figure it out so I ended up having a press conference in the chat room one night where I finally admitted that I was a contestant on Love Cruise....it was pretty funny, we ended up having over 100 people in the chat room just waiting to hear the big announcement.
After that, I posted a cast photo and we had another contest to see if the website members could figure out which contestant I was.....some of the website spoilers got to work and it ended up being a lot of fun, and in the process, helped me hype the show in the months preceding the premiere. It was a good way to keep people interested in the site between the end of Survivor 2 and the beginning of Love Cruise and that assured that all those Survivor fans would know to stick around the site and check out Love Cruise when it finally aired.
There is a lot more to the story, but I’ve already told it so many times that I just can’t get through all the details anymore. If you want to know all the scandalous details go check out the message board archives at www.lovecruisesinks.com , it’s all in there in various threads.
RTVF: What are you doing now? Are you still writing?
Michael: I love to write, but I have already spent enough time writing about this show. I’d like to move on and try some new projects. I’ve got a few things up my sleeve as far as being a comedy writer and/or performer, but they are more along the lines of long term projects. In the meantime I’ve returned to my law practice. I work in an office with my father. We do mostly personal injury and worker’s compensation cases.
RTVF: Are you still single?
RTVF: Both you and Lisa had nice things to say about each other, do you think that the two of you would get together if you lived in the same town?
Michael: Nah – we’re different in a lot of respects, but we’ll always be good friends. Everyone makes a big deal out of the whole Lisa/Michael thing from the show, but the fact is that it is such old news to the two of us. When they show us saying to each other at the end of Episode #4 that there will be no hard feelings between the two of us and that once the show is over we would resume our friendship that we started on the boat that is all true. The second we got a chance to talk in Aruba it was as if none of that stuff ever happened.
RTVF: Are you ready for the word association part?
Michael: Yeah, but can we mix it up a little this time? Can I get more than one word, maybe even a whole sentence?
RTVF: Absolutely. Chi-town?
Michael: Never meant to imply an alliance, unlike the “Chicago Four” which WAS the name the producers called our all-Chicago alliance. But, as for Chi-town there were so many of us on the show from Chicago that we are naturally going to show some civic pride so we would always be talking about Chi-town and what a great city it is. Early on I figured out that I could definitely use the Chi-town connection to my advantage when it came time to build an alliance since there is definitely some loyalty involved in being from the same place as so many other people.
Michael: I don’t really know her since she was on Loser Island and I was on the boat, but from what I do know and have observed I am really not that impressed. She’s currently auditioning unopposed for the role of Toni’s West Coast #####.
Michael: Completely self-involved– impossible to have a conversation with.
Michael: Delusional, pathological liar, psychotic. Pure evil, no redeeming qualities, completely fake 100% of the time, likes to fool people into thinking she is a nice person, but anyone who truly knows her knows that it is all a complete act. She flies off the handle at a moments notice and is constantly getting in fist fights at bars, a truly classy individual. Honestly, I’d like to shave her head and count the 6's. But other than that, a great girl!
It’s kind of like a game trying to keep track of all of Toni’s lies. Just last week I was in a bar and I ran into a fan of the show who told me that she met Toni the preceding week while Toni was bartending. She asked Toni about some of the cast members and when she got to Melissa this is what Toni had to say.....”Melissa is a ##### #####! As soon as the show stopped filming she dumped Darin on his ass and went on the trip around the world with her boyfriend. Darin was so heartbroken that he sold his ticket and took the money and bought his parents a new house.” When the fan told me and Jeanette this story we were rolling on the floor laughing because as ridiculous as it is, it is so typical of Toni and not at all surprising that she would be making up such blatant lies. The fact is, Darin and Melissa haven’t even gotten their prize yet and on top of that, they are NOT getting a trip around the world due to the recent terrorist threat. Instead, Fox is giving Darin and Melissa the $200,000 plus the cash value of the trip around the world. And one more thing, Darin and Melissa remain great friends since the show and talk quite often. Its just so funny how bitter and jealous Toni is of Melissa and the lies she has been spreading all over town.
Michael: Well, because Melissa beat her. And she is jealous of Melissa because Mel is a pretty girl who doesn’t have to put two things the size of the Hindenburg in her chest to get attention. But, mostly she is jealous of Mel for the obvious reason that Mel won the game and Toni didn’t. I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason Toni is so upset about losing is that I really don’t believe that from day 1 on that ship up until the moment we sent her ass packing in Round 5 that she ever envisioned a scenario where she wasn’t going to win the prize. I really think that she thought she had that thing locked up from day 1 and then when she finally got her ass tossed she looked at us as if we stole what was rightfully hers.
Michael: Irritating. Toni’s little sidekick. Not capable of original thought. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of Andrea’s?
Michael: One of my closest friends from the show. The only victim of editing on the show. Very nice, caring and funny.
Michael: A great friend, very down to Earth which is not at all what you would expect from a person who is that beautiful. She’s also quite hilarious. Whacked out of her mind in a good way. The two of us are very similar people in a lot of ways....just ask Jeanette cause she is the one that has to deal with us two nut cases on a regular basis. I know Mel so well that I can look at her at any time and basically know exactly what she is thinking, its kind of a running joke we have. Funny story about Mel is that when we all went on the show we were given Malaria pills and told to take one pill a week till all five were gone. Well, Melissa took that to mean that she should take one pill a day until they were all gone. I don’t know if anyone is familiar with malaria pills, but even in the regular dosage they can cause all sorts of nightmares and weird dreams and disruption of sleeping patterns. By the time we got on the boat in Grenada Mel had already had five pills that week so when people talk about how Mel was kind of off doing her own thing at the start of the show that might have something to do with the fact that she lived that first week on the show in a malaria pill induced hallucinogenic trance.
Michael: My best friend and our friendship is far and away the best thing I got out of this show. The two of us talk on the phone every day and often several times a day, and every conversation is filled with laughter. Plus, we are both in Chicago so we hang out all the time. I’m quite sure that no two people on the show ended up as close as me and Jeanette are.
One of my few regrets about how the show was edited was that they never really focused on how close we became towards the end of the show. If they would’ve showed more of that it would’ve made the drama surrounding Jeanette’s decision involving the final switch card a lot more compelling to the audience. In fact, the editors left out three whole days without a mention as to their existence. I’m talking about the period of time between Toni and Ralph leaving the boat and our arrival at the challenge beach in Aruba when there were only six of us left. What you didn’t see was what a great time myself, Jeanette, Melissa, Tomiko and Darin had just hanging out together and partying. During those three days is was as if Anthony knew his chances of winning were gone and he basically gave up on even caring about pretending to be our friend. He essentially isolated himself in his cabin while the five us had a great time. It was the first time on the trip that there were absolutely no negative people around and it led to a very relaxed few days. I really wish they would’ve showed some of that instead of focusing 100% on the fussing and a fighting.
Michael: Very funny, smart, laid-back girl. A great sense of humor, Tomiko is one of my favorites from the show. The only complaint I would have about Tomiko is that for as sexy and beautiful as she is you would think she would be a little better in bed, but she really just kind of lays there.
Michael: Real nice stand-up guy. What you see is what you get.
Michael: Can be really nice one second, and a complete asshole the next. I don’t really have much to say about Anthony...I think it’s pretty obvious from watching the show how I felt about him. Although we haven’t spoken since the premiere we did speak a few times over the last year and all the conversations have been quite civil. Its weird because sometimes we can get along great and have a lot of fun talking to each other, but there is always that underlying tension slightly beneath the surface just waiting for one of us to light the other’s fuse.
Michael: Hard to read. I like Ralph, but he’s definitely not the same person he was on the boat. He’s still really funny and a lot of fun to hang out with, but he’s a lot more quiet and reserved now, like he’s constantly holding something back. It could have something to do with the fact that he works so much, or maybe cause he’s just so damn old now and he’s tired. Who knows. But, I will say that Ralph has a very serious girlfriend who’s really cool and who could sure as hell do a lot better than Ralph. Let’s just say that if I was a betting man I would put big money on a bet that of all the people in the cast Ralph will be the first to take the plunge and leave the single scene.
Michael: Funny and self-deprecating. Did not play the game at all. Over the past few months me, Bob and Jeanette have hung out a lot and I’ve gotten a chance to get to know him better...Bob’s a real cool guy, its too bad that he didn’t get a chance to show that on the show.
Michael: Crazy. Will do anything for a laugh. Very emotional. Crazy’s a great guy, one of my favorites from the show and probably the person I hung out with the most at the beginning of the show. Just for the hell of it, Crazy stayed up for 56 straight hours when we got on the boat and I was right there filling up his glass for 49 of those hours. The day of the Salsa competition the producers brought out a rack of costumes we could wear for the contest. Well, while everyone was looking through the rack Crazy and I decided to bring up a round of drinks for everyone. So, we go upstairs with a tray of 14 Coconut Rum and 7ups drinks and as soon as we get up there, everyone runs downstairs to shower and get ready for the contest. So, Crazy and I are stuck up there with all 14 drinks and we decided that we weren’t leaving the top of the boat until all 14 drinks were gone. We were so hammered and about an hour later is when he followed Laura into her cabin and kissed her...and then he cried about it in that one interview. That kid is out of his mind, and its sooooo funny.
Michael: I really like Greg and was planning on saying a lot of nice things about him, but then I read his interview with RTVF and realized what a pussy he is. Bob and I are going to start a collection in order to buy Greg a set of balls for Christmas. With his cookie cutter PC answers you would think the guy was running for office instead of doing some half-assed web interview for some site no one goes to for some show not that ended a month ago that not that many people watched anyway. Its like, what’s the point? If you are going to do one of these interviews you should at least have fun with it and let it all hang out, what do you have to lose?
RTVF: I’m going to have to call you on “site no one goes to” comment, Mike. It seems like you are pretty familiar with it, as are Lisa, Tomiko, and everyone’s friend Toni, who also approached the site for interviews.
Michael: What I meant was that of the people who watched the show, it is a very small percentage that actually rely on the web for information about the show. And of those that do go surfing for LC info, I would guess that about 90% of those people limit their searches to the official site on the FOX page. I think that is probably the case with all television shows. And, as for so many people from my show coming here, that is because I sent them all a link about ten months ago.
I’m not saying that RTVF isn’t a quality site, in fact, I think it is a great place to find reality television news, but I do believe that is about the extent of its usefulness. Don’t even get me started on what I think about their message board community....except JT of course, he’s my favorite. Many different message board communities read my summaries and most of them enjoyed them immensely, this is the only place where I was called a racist misogynist, which is kind of funny when you consider that my closest friends from the show are all women. I especially loved the speculation on RTVF that I must have a big problem with Jeanette after I made some off color cuts at her in my early summaries considering that Jeanette and I are best of friends and have been since the show ended filming. Well, I guess it wouldn’t be satire if everyone “got it”.
RVTF: Back to the word association, Adrian?
Michael: Cool. Real laid-back. The strong/silent type. Loves the ladies 24x7. Real nice guy, like him a lot.
RTVF: Any final thoughts?
Michael: Just that I went into this experience looking to make it as far in the game as I could and to come away with 15 new best friends. I made it to the finals, had more air time than anyone else and came away with 10 close friends so I think, all things considered, I did pretty well.
The show wasn’t as big a hit as I expected, but that is what happens when your premiere date is September 11, 2001. Although judging from the amount of email I’ve been getting from people in New Zealand we must be a huge hit overseas, kind of like David Hasselhoff in Germany. So, we have that going for us, which is nice.