This entry will be another point of contention, as Terry Dietz is one of the most widely loved, and hated Survivors of all time.
I personally liked Terry as a person. I felt like he was the quintessential “hero” of Exile Island (I didn’t like Cirie her first time around. She redeemed herself in FvF, but there was always the bad taste in my mouth of her first episode where she was afraid of leaves). So I rooted for Terry. You also have to remember that I was 12, and the concept of strategy and social gameplay were very novel to me. Heck, I rooted for Danielle to win the first time this season aired… but that might have been for another reason seeing as I was 12. But anyway, here is Terry, a 46 year old pilot from Connecticut.
Here is Terry’s story:
Terry started out on the top of the older men’s tribe, which never had to go to TC because this potentially interesting twist got abolished in episode 2. After the switch, he ended up on La Mina, seemingly a more physically fit tribe, but one who didn’t win many challenges. Because of their inability to win, La Mina lost 3 out of their 7 people, taking them into a merge at a 4-6 disadvantage.
At this point, Terry came out of his shell. While the other three members of his tribe got picked off at 10th, 9th, and 8th, Terry went on a winning streak, winning 5 immunity challenges in a row, a previously unprecedented amount. This is why I liked Terry, as a 12 year old, I always rooted for the physically dominant characters because I was unable to comprehend the strategical and social components of the game. This is also why I rooted for Kelly, Ozzy, and Stephenie to win their final tribal councils the first time I watched them.
While I no longer respect the social and strategical game of Terry, as he managed to piss off the leader of the other alliance enough to make him go on an anti-Terry platform to his other 5, I do still respect Terry’s entertainment value. After Sally gets voted off, America gets to be on the edge of their seats wondering if this 46 year old man can continue his dominance over a group of people, 5 of whom are more than 10 years younger than him. Terry provided America with the underdog factor, and I never quite understood why people hated him so much. (If you hated him, please comment and let me know, if still baffles me). In fact, all of this winning leads us to a great moment where there is a feasible chance that Terry, despite finally losing a challenge, has a chance to stay. Of course, Danielle, facing imminent runner-up status eventually makes the decision that she has a better shot against the possibly crazy Aras. This moment, however, gives us a good deal of shock when we realize he may have actually been able to play a social game.
There is another aspect of Terry’s entertainment that is yet to be addressed. This is his fight with Aras during the reward challenge at the final 4. Personally, I almost feel for Terry on this one. When I am on Survivor, I will be the contestant who, after Jeff explains the rules, will raise his hand and ask if “x” or “y” is permitted. It seems that in almost every challenge, I have a way to get around the rules and better my chances of winning. However, the fight that ensues after (and during) this reward challenge is classic. From Aras’s laugh, to Terry’s fourth grade argumentation style is classic, and almost deserves its own spot on this list.
Whether you love him or hate him, you cannot deny the entertainment that Terry brought us during Panama: Exile Island. His constant winning gave America an underdog to root for and his heroic and kind personality lit up the good-guy screen. Until the fight that is.
As always, I thank you for watching and hope you will comment and let me know what you think
Clue to #97: The first girl on the list gave one of the most disappointing physical performance in Survivor history.