Super couple Heather and Matt emerged groggy, but victorious, in Fear Factor's first sleep-deprived couples' competition! Once they got some sleep, they answered questions for NBC.com. Matt spoke on their behalf.
What caused you to slip on the first stunt - the hanging, rooftop flag transfer?
Going first, we had to figure out the timing and the dynamics of our movements without getting tips from watching previous competitors.
Do think you'd have done better if you didn't go first?
Yes, because we would have been able to see the other peoples' tactics and then plan our own. As it was, everyone was able to plan after seeing what we did.
Who initially seemed like your biggest competition and did that change?
Leo and Vanessa. They seemed hard-core, but apparently appearance isn't everything because they were eliminated first.
How did you feel when you found out you'd be sleep deprived?
Shocked! It didn't occur to us that there would be a twist in the show. Sleep is our passion, and by eliminating our ability to sleep we felt as if we had drunk a bottle of Jack Daniel's.
What does hagfish smell like? And how was it getting slimed?
Hagfish smells like a big pile of rotten tuna has been shoved up into your nostrils. Living in Key West, we're surrounded by the ocean and fish markets. We sometimes walk by a fish market and have flashbacks from that traumatic experience. It's impossible to imagine what it's like to be slimed by a hagfish. The smell is unbelievably bad and the slime was nearly impossible to wash off. In fact, we still can smell whiffs of it to this day.
What tactics did you use to stay awake?
We couldn't sit down for too long, or hang out in front of the heater (even though the warehouse was freezing), because we surely would have fallen asleep. We resorted to playing Home Run Derby with a tape-ball and stick, ran in circles around the warehouse, and lobbed water bottles at each other. We also played card games for corn nuts, jumped rope with a random rope we found, and generally behaved like a bunch of drunken crazies.
Were you ever worried that you'd doze off and be eliminated?
Losing the show by dozing off was not even a remote possibility for us. It would have been weak, and weakness was never an option.
How did Fear Factor sleep deprivation compared with Las Vegas sleep deprivation?
In Las Vegas, you're partying and don't realize you've been awake for 30 hours straight. During the night in the warehouse, all we thought about were the countless hours that lay ahead. No bright lights, no windows, stagnant air, no real food....nothing at all like Las Vegas.
Did you have a strategy going into the final stunt, once you learned what you'd be doing?
At the point of the final stunt, all we wanted to do was get through it. We had to hold on, hope for the best, and think about the 50 Gs. We had no strategy beyond that.
How did you manage to hang on when the first three players toppled so quickly?
That's a great question. We're really not sure. Maybe our past experiences of tightrope walking in the circus paid off.
Once it was down to the both of you and Brad, were you confident you'd win?
Absolutely! It was 2 against 1. We communicated together, motivating each other to stay on until the sun came up if necessary. We had made it so far already; having only one remaining competitor gave us that extra stamina.
What are you planning to do with the $50,000?
An African safari, a European vacation, and a trip to Las Vegas to see how long we actually can go being sleep-deprived.