The Circle’s week 3 stranded players dish on all those broken alliances
Decider: You specifically entered as Carol because, as you said, Italian mothers are the most popular people in the family. How do you think your strategy worked?
John Franklin/”Carol”: I always felt like my character was the father of my group of friends. I’ve always had people come to me for things, being the shoulder to cry on, the person to talk to; girlfriend is breaking up with you, i’m the one going to get a beer, you know? But when you don’t know someone and you’re 24, it’s a bit dishonest. So I thought, “Oh, this is Mom. It’s the character. I absolutely loved every moment. I think it mostly worked. I think I’ve proven that you don’t necessarily have to prove you’re the person you are, but if your personality comes across in the right way and you’re a trustworthy person, people will like you. And no matter how it ended, I’m happy with the way I did. I wouldn’t change anything I did.
Frank almost immediately tagged you #MommaCarol. This hashtag follows you for the rest of the season. When people started typing this over and over again, was it a blessing or a curse?
It was definitely a blessing. It was crazy. I was like, “They’re buying it!” I loved it because I felt like I was creating the Momma Carol brand. I never felt any pressure to continue. I never said to myself, “This is going to be the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It was so funny, because it was like, “Oh, we have the first hashtag attached to a name!” It’s like The Artist formerly known as Prince, you know. You must continue.
With Parker/Paul, when did the game recognize the game? At some point, you realize that Paul could be the catfishing girl as a father.
I mean, she didn’t know what a memoir was. Like, that was it. I don’t care what man you are, for some reason after you hit 45 or 50, the story of WWII becomes a favorite for most men. And I thought, “How does he not know what a memoir is?” That does not make sense. And his messages have become so inconsistent. And when we were talking one-on-one, I wasn’t talking to my dad or a dad. I was like, “Yeah, okay, that’s for sure one of the girls he mentioned.” So I wasn’t totally shocked by anything.
What was it like when Parker showed up at the door to meet you?
Have you ever felt your balls go so deep into your body that you don’t know what to say? You’re so terrified of someone coming in. You like, “I don’t want them to give up who I am. She came in and I said, “Okay, here we go, we’re about to chat with this girl I’ve never met before.” And we just talked and got along like a house on fire. It was crazy. Talking to Parker felt like we had been friends for years. Two totally different horizons, we could talk to each other about everything. So it went well. When she left, I was terrified of blowing myself up and thinking, “Do I have a date?”
How did you play the Spice Girls reveal? You play Carol, who should have a different idea of the Spice Girls than everyone else.
Oh yeah. It was terrifying. I don’t know much about them. I’m a music guy, I know a few songs, but if I was my mom, I’d live them. I don’t know how I’m going to react to this. I panicked. Luckily, it didn’t really blow my mind. But yes, you say to yourself: “This is it. John is going home tomorrow.
One of the strongest alliances this season has been the Carol/Bru alliance. It’s weird because you recognized Bru from TikTok, but you couldn’t tell Bru. And Bru was 99% sure you were a catfish, but he had to act like you were Carol. You were both holding back information that you couldn’t tell the other. How did you form this strong alliance?
After all that show was over, Bru and I became really good, like, best friends. There are just people in the world who are compatible to be friends from the start. I met him on TikTok, and you don’t want to meet someone who is extremely famous because you don’t want them to be the same. And his personality is transcendent. On each platform it is exactly the same way. And just speaking, it was like, ‘Yeah, I know who he is. I’m not going to say that I know who he is, but I’m so glad he’s who he is and I know he’s really going to be a trustworthy guy. And on the other hand, it had nothing to do with me trying to lie to her. It was like, we play this game together and we die on this ship or we ride it to the end.
How did you feel when he saved you instead of Alyssa?
I knew he was close to Alyssa because we talked about it, but I didn’t know how close. You never think you’re going home in this situation. You’re like, “There’s a chance, there’s a chance.” And when he said my name and I was like, “Oh my god!” Initially, you’re like, either I’m gonna run out of this room and find him and kiss him, or you’re like, now I owe him. We have to get through this game together. It was the best feeling in the world. It proved in this game that even though there is politics, friendships matter.
The first influence talk between you and Frank had so many effects throughout the season – the biggest one being you telling Alyssa and Yu Ling that you saved them. What we see on TV is you saving Alysssa and then telling Frank about Yu Ling – but the edit wanted it to remain mysterious so we wouldn’t see you deliberate about her.
I remember going there saying, “I gotta keep the girls together.” They show Frank the initial message, where I say “I love Yu Ling” and Frank falters. I remember thinking to myself, “Move on, and I’ll come back to it. At the time, I wasn’t sold on Bru, because it’s part of the episode. I think I said something like, “If we save Bru, I want to save Yu Ling.” I think we made it a mutual thing. And I remember saying to Yu Ling, “Yeah, I saved you,” and it was true. Alyssa was rather, she was first on the board. But the Yu Ling case, I think, is factually accurate. It was a shame to see that it was some kind of knife in my back.
You also had a lot of heat during the roast when Rachel came to pick you up.
I love Nikki Glaser. I’m a big comedy fan. I want to be an actor. It’s all my thing, and writing this roast like my mom killed me because I know I can write a good roast like me. But I remember Rachel saying that and I immediately said, “She’s coming to get me. No one had said out loud in a Circle chat or anything like this, “Carol might be a catfish.”
What was it like having to talk about sex as a mother with Alyssa?
First day hearing [the phrase] “vulva pillow,” I was like, “Okay.” And then, on any day, when I talk to Alyssa, I was like, “I want to be friends. My thing is strong women, strong careers – let’s talk about your career. Let’s do it. We are talking about it. “I regret that. I remember hugging a pillow and being in the fetal position and saying, “I just pretended to talk about being in a 30-year marriage.” Listen, my parents are going strong. They are doing very well. I don’t know what’s going on in the bedroom and I don’t care. In the game, you’re like, “Okay. A woman like my mother in a 30 year marriage could ask for and benefit from Alyssa’s advice. I think I said day one, like, everyone needs pointers. I am for education, but I would like to receive it as John and not my mother.
Frank and Yu Ling decided your fate and you were eliminated in front of Eversen. Was it an intense path to walk?
Yeah, that was crazy. Everson and I spoke earlier today and he was convinced I was who I said I was. He said something like, “My mom has the same shirt. And I was like, “Yeah, TJ Maxx is fucking cool.” I didn’t know where my mom got that shirt. I go and [Eversen is] already upset because he is ready for elimination. Now he’s thinking, “Who is this 24-year-old guy?” But then we ended up getting along and we talked and we realized that we had just become friends and one of us was leaving. Like, you’re going home tonight. I knew it was going to be me. So many things have happened up to this point and I just looked at Everson and was like, ‘Hey man, I hope you’re directing it because you’re a great guy. You are really nice. I’ll give you everything I know. It’s like standing on the hill when you’re the last soldier. I said to myself, “It’s over. I’m done.” Yeah, it was very intense to sit there that long and try to get through it.