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Ethan Zohn was the winner of Survivor: Africa. He also participated in Survivor: All-Stars, but this post is solely for his appearance on Survivor: Africa.
This is Ethan. As I stated before, he was the winner of Survivor: Africa. He was the first winner who, I believe, was well-rounded on all aspects of the game. His social, strategic, and physical games were all equally strong. Until Africa, we hadn’t seen such a contestant.
One of the reasons that I loved Ethan so much was because of his alliance. His alliance included four people: Big Tom, Lex, Kim, and himself. The fact that Ethan was able to put up with this alliance is astonishing. He had Big Tom, who didn’t say one discernible sentence the entire game. He had Lex, who made decisions with his heart rather than his head and almost cost their alliance the game. And finally, he had Kim. The invisible one who seemed to just be along for the ride. However, these four together made for incredibly entertaining television.
Now, one of the moments that, in my opinion, made Africa entertaining was Ethan and Lex on a reward trip. This, in my opinion, is the most entertaining reward in ANY SURVIVOR SEASON. For those of you who don’t remember, Ethan and Lex won two goats and a trip to a nearby town (of course, in the middle of Kenya, nearby means about 3 hours away). They could barter these goats away so they could buy various goods from the town. This became one of the best scenes in the first three seasons. We had Lex talking about pooping. We had Ethan talking about butchering his goats. And they even ended it with an inspirational moment where Ethan gives his luxury item to some of the local kids. They need to do more rewards like this nowadays. As opposed to “go have a meal on a boat”.
Eventually, Ethan became the “nice guy” winner of the first 9 seasons. Eventually Tom did also win that label, but Ethan did it first and some say best.
This win wasn’t without its moments, however. Ethan provided us with laughs and inspirational moments along the way. As I’ve said, I honestly believe that he is one of the most well-rounded players to ever play the game. It is unfortunate that he is fighting cancer right now. However, everyone in the Survivor community will always remember his long, curly hair and his fun attitude.
Clue to #77: Karma doesn’t work so well in Survivor.
Clay Jordan was the runner up in Survivor: Thailand.
Clay was known as the hero of Survivor: Thailand. The funny thing about Clay, you see, was that everyone loved him. He was truly one of the most kindhearted people to ever play Survivor. His kindness emanated from every pore in his body. It is truly a shame that he didn’t win.
If you believed a word of that, then you need to watch Survivor more. Clay was kind of a despicable human being.
In Survivor: Thailand, Clay was known for being a sexist Southerner. If he had the chance, he probably would have been racist too. Oh wait, he loved Ghandia. Nevermind.
Clay was the king of making me laugh at truly terrible things. The thing about Clay, you see, was that he was a despicable human being. He is one of those people who doesn’t joke about women being in the kitchen, he TRULY believes that is their place. (Well, the bedroom too, but we will get to that). So you would think that as a moral being, I wouldn’t find Clay the least bit humorous or entertaining. But dammit, every time that guy opened his mouth I was laughing. But let’s start from the beginning.
Clay began as the underdog. He was the last person picked from any tribe. He was clearly a physical outcast. He was older, he was shorter, and let’s face it… he had a bit of extra largeness on him. Nothing about him SCREAMED challenge dominator. But hell if he didn’t win the hell out of that game just as much as Crystal Cox (yes, sarcasm).
To further his underdogness, in the reward challenge in episode 3 reward challenge, Robb decided to have some fun with Clay. You see, in this challenge, the Survivor’s could attack one another in Jeff’s beloved “Attack Zone”. Robb decided that “attack” meant “Grab that old Southerner by the throat and throw him to the ground!” Well, Jeff was less than pleased (especially since Robb stepped out of the “attack zone”). Clay completed the run, and Robb got angry. This provides with one of the best moments of the season. Robb’s impression of Clay. But, that is for Robb’s entry, not Clay’s. Therefore, I will use this paragraph to further the fact that Clay is an underdog.
But, Clay isn’t an underdog. He makes an alliance with Brian. This provides Clay with safety. And more opportunities to entertain me :).
This is about the time that one of the best fights of the season happens. Or as I like to call it, “Grindgate.” (This name may have come from Mario Lanza, I’m not actually sure. It just popped into my head. I don’t want to take credit when I don’t remember where it came from). Clay is great in this sequence. He stays completely quiet throughout the whole thing. Anyone who knows Clay knows that he is already on Ted’s side. Even if Ted did do something, Ghandia was probably asking for it. Right, Clay? Anyway, Clay stays quiet until Ghandia decides to throw a tantrum. This is, in my opinion, one of the most overused clips of the season. But we all remember it. Ghandia goes to a “secluded” spot and screams at the top of her lungs. Then the editors provide us with a great shot of Clay looking towards Ghandia as she is screaming. Then we get the quote. “If one of my kids did that, I would have whooped its ass and put it back in bed.” There are so many things that go through your mind when you hear that quote. First, humor. You laugh because Clay has said something funny. Then, fear. “Oh crap, Clay probably would do that… he is the type of guy who would “whoop” his kids”. Then, humor. It’s still pretty funny. Admit it.
Another great thing about Clay: he is the first person to get yelled at by Probst for being an idiot at tribal council. When Clay finally gets the chance to vote out Ghandia, he writes “Bye Bye Denver Diva”. Probst isn’t happy because Clay didn’t write a name down. It isn’t huge, but it is one of the funnier moments in Clay’s tenure.
Clay is mainly remembered as being one of the most openly sexist castaways to ever play Survivor. He provided the viewers with a ton of laughs, and he was one of the best characters in Thailand. Honestly, I think he should have made All-Stars. He truly made All-Stars watchable after Robb left.
Thanks to all for reading. I hope you continue!
Clue for #78: Unlike Rob M, this guy sold the goat before the final tribal council
This isn’t over forever, but there are tons of top 100 lists around the web. I’m working on some more unique Survivor ventures right now. But I will finish the top 100, I promise.
Stacey Powell got 16th place on Survivor: South Pacific
For those of you who don’t remember, this is Stacey. She looks like a happy go lucky person, right? Well that picture is pretty misleading. Stacey is one of the most unintentionally funny people in the history of Survivor, at least in my opinion. Among my friends, she is also one of the most quoted Survivors. Her demeanor and style of speaking is just so damn hilarious that even though she was only on Survivor for five episodes, she makes the list.
Stacey started Survivor as a somewhat normal person. Her first confessional was funny, but it was nowhere near her Redemption Island rant. If you want my honest opinion, I think she just started to go crazy. Her voice got more and more unintelligible, and her comments funnier and funnier. The Survivor producers had to love Stacey because she provided all of the necessary sound effects for the first half of the season. They didn’t even need to hire someone to do that in a studio! She did it all the way from the South Pacific. When ever someone said something surprising, Stacey would punctuate there statement (a la Batman) with some onomatopoeia. For example, when Brandon revealed that he was Russell’s nephew, Stacey waved her hands in the air and exclaimed “BLAM!” It is things like this, the little gems, that truly make a Survivor season enjoyable.
I would be remissed if I ended this entry without this analysis: Stacey got more and more unintelligible as her time on Survivor continued. I was so angry when she lost, because I wanted to see her at the FTC. Imagine an extra 25 or so days for her! She would have been speaking a different language… Here is my call to Mark Burnett:
Mark, make a Second Chances season. Bring back Stacey. Rig it so she is in the Final tribal. I will pay you.
The one reason that Stacey is on this list is because of her “rantics” at Redemption Island. (I’ve devolved to quoting Kat now…). Here are her speeches transcribed in case you couldn’t understand her slurry talk:
To Christine: “They acting like it’s all hunky Dory. It ain’t hunky dory”. This one is only funny when read in Stacey’s voice.
This one was said in front of everyone.
“Those Those are liars so red team look out for those right there. It wasn’t a team. It is Benjamin, Albert, and Sophie. But who is the ending two? Benjamin and Albert. But Benjamin is running the team. Benjamin is running the team. Makes ALL the decisions.” (Jeff Probst asks, “Coach?”) “No Benjamin. Adults call him Benjamin. So I’m not gonna call him Coach. What’s his name? What was his birth name? It wasn’t Coach, it was Benjamin. And you know, they’re children. 26, 22. They go listen to all of Benjamin’s Halloween jokes. Chuckee the Cheese jokes. They want it.” (this next part I can’t understand, but I will try.) “He go off the Lord take them off their feet. ‘Oh Benjamin! It’s so loyalty’. C’mon. Everyday he got a story. I wasn’t buying it. (rolls eyes, fake laughs). No. So they try like yesterday like the tribe was all cahoots. Benjamin let’s give a hug. PSHT! Keep that hug. (points a “gun” in the air) BOOP! For me. Cause it wasn’t real.”
Writing this speech doesn’t do it justice. If you boycotted season 23, I urge you to go watch the first 15 minutes of episode five. That is about all you need to watch to realize that Stacey is easily one of the most entertaining early boots to ever play the game.
I don’t know that there is much more I can say. I can only attempt to describe the amazingness that is this speech, and I have neither the willingness nor the ability as a writer to capture the true genius. Just go watch episode five. Please. For me. I couldn’t find a version of it on youtube, but please dig. Please look. Please find. BOOM. The gauntlet is thrown. BLAM. It has been said.
Thanks for reading. Come back soon.
Clue to #79: As one of the first generation Survivors (seasons 1-8), this man was able to use his Southern “charm” to get himself far in the game.
Fabio Birza was the winner of one of the weirdest seasons of Survivor, Survivor: Nicaragua.
For those of you who don’t remember, this is Fabio. He was one of the biggest “surfer dudes” to ever play Survivor. In other words, he was clueless the entire game, almost to a laughable point. Ok, it was completely to a laughable point.
One of the first shots that we get of Fabio was him hurting himself on the beach. He stepped on a rock or something and hurt his foot. Not soon after he cut himself with the machete and ended up with a nasty looking thing on his hand. The entire time, he just laughed through it. Come to think of it, he was quite a bit like Robb Zbacnik from Survivor: Thailand.
One thing has to be asked about this season is “How the frick did Fabio win?” It is an interesting question that I often ask myself. The obvious answer is that he made enough friends on the jury to vote for him, I’m sure that there is a more complicated answer, however. I just don’t know what it is.
From the beginning of the game, Fabio had a huge thing going with NaOnka, for some reason she just didn’t like him. She wasn’t able to verbalize the reason; just that she didn’t like him. She even stole his socks at one point, which was overshadowed in that episode by Holly stealing Dan’s $1600 shoes. (Btw the most expensive shoes I own are about $30 and I thought that was pretty egregious when I was at the store).
The way Fabio played the last half of the game completely confused me. He somehow made it through without an alliance whatsoever. This made it even more entertaining when he won, because it surprised everyone that he even made it that far. The obvious reason that he made it that far was because of his immunity streak. He had to get to the final 7 before he got to this point, however. He was able to navigate the first part of the merge without an alliance whatsoever. Even once he started his immunity streak, he had no alliance. He made it to the final 7 and voted alone. He made it to the final 6 and turned down an almost guaranteed final 3 spot. At the final 5, he voted off Dan in order to attempt to save his own hide, and at the final 4, the other 3 people would have almost assuredly voted him off if it weren’t for immunity.
Whatever the reason, he did it. He even won the necessary 5 jury votes, one of which was from NaOnka, his supposed arch enemy. I am still confused by this jury decision. Moreso than any other I would say. If I were on the jury, I would have voted for Sash to be honest.
A lot of people don’t know this, but Fabio is also an expert on Freud. This came out at one of the tribal councils where Sash made a “Freudian slip”, which meant that Jeff needed to give a psychology lesson. But alas, Fabio already knew this material, and he explained it to the Survivors.
Fabio is arguably one of the most fun-to-watch winners of all of them. I loved watching him. Everything, from his voice to his performance at Tribal Council’s, was entertaining. I would not be surprised if we saw Fabio back on Survivor. While everyone was surprised he won, no one was disappointed.
Clue to #81: This person was the best of the absolute worst.
This entry is the first entry for a character that I can honestly say I didn’t like. It is also my proof that this is not a list of “Jeff’s favorite Survivors” but a true list of the most entertaining. Because, while I hated Crystal and wanted her to go home the entire season, I cannot deny her entertainment value.
For those of you who don’t remember, this is Crystal Cox, a 29 year old Olympic gold medal winner from Durham, North Carolina. She was the 13th person (6th place) voted out of Survivor: Gabon, the shows 17th season.
A theme in this blog has been the inherent bias in making a list like this. This entry is no different, however the bias has manifested itself in a different way this time. Because I hated Crystal so much, my entire goal of the season was to get rid of Crystal. This means that every episode I watched, I was able to simply say “I have a strategy, get rid of Crystal!” For me, that is entertainment. Whether or not I liked her, she kept me interested in her and in the season. While I didn’t like her, I was interested in her, and the season would have been much different without her.
Another reason that I thought Crystal was entertaining was her constant bickering with Randy. (Oh and believe me, you will see Randy a bit later on this list). In fact, if I were going to make a list of best rivalries, I would be willing to bet a pretty penny that Crystal vs. Randy would be in the top 10, maybe even the top 5. On one hand, you have Randy this crotchety old wedding cinematographer who hates marriage. On the other hand you have Crystal, an optimistic gold medal winner who can’t seem to run up a hill to save her life. Honestly, the producers couldn’t have written a better rivalry. What happened after the reward challenge in episode 6 was pure poetry, as everyone relished in Crystal’s tears. Okay, maybe that was just me. As a reminder, I have included some pictures:
Randy eating the delicious fruit pies. And enjoying them I might add
Crystal begins to cry. And how does the beloved Randy respond?
I’m sorry if you find this offensive. Actually, I’m not really sorry. Find a sense of humor, because that is funny stuff right there. I know that Crystal isn’t the sole reason for entertainment here, but she is definitely an integral factor and this summarizes her feud with Randy quite well.
And finally, we cannot leave without acknowledging what Mario Lanza, fellow survivor blogger and one of the most insightful people when it comes to the game, considers the 6th funniest moment in seasons 12-20. This moment has been building the entire season.
For 30 days, Randy has been taunting Crystal in ways much like I showed above. He makes fun of her, he laughs when she cries and he calls her names, my personal favorite being “Gigantor”. Then comes the day of his boot, made even sweeter by Bob’s fake hidden immunity idol. And if that wasn’t enough, we get one of the best moments in Survivor history.
This is Crystal yelling “YOU HAVE MADE MY LIFE A LIVING HELL SINCE DAY ONE! FORGET YOU! GO HOME! GOODBYE!”.
Now, if I were sitting in tribal council at this point, I wouldn’t have known who exactly she was voting for… oh wait…
This is not only one of the funniest moments in Survivor history, but also one of the most historic. Crystal is the first person to ever take advantage of the proximity of the voting booth to the rest of the tribal council. No one has ever cast a vote while yelling intentionally loud enough to let everyone hear her. Later, this strategy will be used by… well, the devil himself, Randy, during the final tribal council as he doesn’t necessarily want to vote for any of the three candidates for sole Survivor. This moment is really the epitome of Crystal and Randy’s relationship for 30 days. It sums it up so well, and while I was definitely on the Randy side of this whole rivalry, I do acknowledge the true poetry and beauty of this moment. It is poetic, it is justified, it is… just amazing. And it was provided by someone who I openly dislike… Crystal Cox.
There you have it. The first entry for someone I didn’t like. It was difficult, but by the end I began to actually grow an affection for Crystal…. oh wait…. no I didn’t. I still don’t like her, however, as I said at the beginning, I cannot ignore her entertainment value and ability to make me lobby so hard to get rid of someone in a Survivor season.
Thanks again for reading, please comment and let me know what you think!
PS: Thank you very much to Mario Lanza, writer of the Funny 115 and the Funny 115 2.0. I stole all of the pictures and the gif off of his website (with his permission of course). I suggest you check his lists out. He put so much time and effort into them, that they deserve your view.
Clue to #96: This is the first entry from “first generation Survivor” (what I would consider seasons 1-8), and may come as a surprise to some people. However, his sadistic confessionals and overall demeanor landed a spot on the top 100.