This Week in Survivor History

Previously on This Week in Survivor History… Ulong got lost, Colton got sick, and Survivor: Amazon contestants took on a big, swinging piece of meat.  Rob and Amber had their first kiss and Lex voted out his former ally Ethan.  Read on to find out what happened… This Week in Survivor History!


March 29th, 2001 (13 years ago this Saturday)

Survivor: The Australian Outback was the show’s second season.  It followed Borneo, a season in which 5 former members of Pagong were eliminated one by one after the merge by the remaining members of the Tagi tribe.  The term ‘Pagonging’ is still used for one tribe completely decimating the other during the merge phase of the game.  Another Pagonging looked inevitable in The Outback.  The Ogakor tribe had the numbers after voting out two Kucha memebrs, Jeff Varner and Alicia Calaway, and this was a simpler time before hidden idols and other crazy twists could shake things up.

Unfortunately for former Ogakor tribe member and original Survivor black widow, Jerri Manthey, a Pagonging was not in the cards.  This episode served as a lead up to her eventual blindside at tribal council.

Jerri felt confident in her alliance with Colby Donaldson and the other Ogakors.  She believed that she’d at least be safe until all the former Kuchas had been voted out.  However, she constantly clashed with Chef Keith Famie over the proper way to make rice and made Colby uncomfortable by treating their alliance like a relationship.  Most Survivor fans remember when she and Amber Brkich were lying in the shelter fantasizing about chocolate, which quickly turned into Jerri pretending to orgasm over Colby covered in Bosco (which may or may not be her bank card password).  In a confessional, Colby made sure to point out that he ain’t no Hershey bar.

In a random drawing, Jerri and Colby were paired during this episode’s reward challenge.  They won, and got to go on a trip to the Great Barrier Reef.  Jerri saw the reward as their first date, while Colby remained immune to her flirtations, inspiring the writers to call the episode “Honeymoon or Not?”  As we know from Heroes vs. Villains, Colby hates being interrupted by women while enjoying a reward.  Even when a clue to a hidden immunity idol was at stake, he continued to watch Treasure Island and eat popcorn in bed while Amanda Kimmel and Danielle DiLorenzo fought over the clue.  I wonder if his annoyance on that reward stemmed from his experience with Jerri in Australia.

e Jerri, can’t you see he’s trying to watch a movie?[/caption]

Originally, the Ogakors planned on voting out Nick Brown, but he won immunity.  It seemed as if either Rodger “Kentucky Joe” Bingham or Elisabeth Filarski, the only non-immune Kuchas, would be voted out.  However, Colby, Keith, and Tina Wessondecided that they couldn’t tolerate Jerri anymore and voted her out instead.  Only Amber, Jerri’s closest ally, didn’t vote against her.

This was an important moment in Survivor history.  After Borneo, it appeared that having a tribal majority after the merge would ensure a Pagonging.  This proved that it was possible for things to be shaken up.  While Nick was voted out the following week and three Ogakors did end up in the final 3, the boot order wasn’t completely determined by tribal lines.  Jerri was blindsided and became the first of countless Survivors to be voted out despite their tribe having the numbers.

It’s also important to point out that one of the most controversial moments in Survivor history came during the Great Barrier Reef reward.  While snorkeling, Colby removed coral from the reef to give to his tribe.  This is against Australian law and angered many environmentalists.


March 26th, 2003 (11 years ago this Wednesday)

This was the episode in which Roger Sexton was voted out, which is memorable in its own right, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.  When I had the idea to write this blog, a few moments stuck out as more iconic than the rest.  One of these took place during Survivor: The Amazon.

Yes, this was the peanut butter and chocolate episode.

The first individual immunity challenge of the season was one of those endurance challenges in which the contestants had to stand on a perch in the water.  Deena Bennett won, but that’s not the important part.  30 minutes into the challenge, Jenna Morasca said that she’d jump in the water if Jeff Probst brought out chocolate and peanut butter.  After some goading by RHAP founder Rob Cesternino, Heidi Strobel offered to do the same.  Of course Jeff complied and brought out a platter of oreos (not really the best form of chocolate to use, but who really cares) and a heaping bowl of peanut butter.


Twigs and Sticks

Jenna and Heidi couldn’t resist.  First went the shirts, then the bras, and finally everything else.  They jumped in and enjoyed their well-earned reward on Jeff’s platform.  Obviously CBS blurred the goods, but the men on their perches had no such obstruction.  Their reactions to seeing the women dubbed ‘Twigs and Sticks’ naked were priceless.  Alex Bellcouldn’t stop staring and smiling, Dave Johnson and Matt von Ertfelda looked on in disbelief, and Rob simply mouthed “Wow!”  Only Butch closed his eyes and claimed not to look, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he gave the girls a #SpyShack sized peek.

After the challenge, Jenna and Heidi had one of their patented shared confessionals and nicknamed themselves the Survivor Girls Gone Wild and the Amazon Chicks, but since they had to jump in the water naked to get their snack, I think that the Wet Bandits would have been more appropriate.  At least it would have been an awesome Home Alone reference.


March 24th, 2010 (4 years ago this Monday)

It’s against the rules of Survivor to vote for yourself at tribal council, but in this episode of Heroes vs. Villains, a guy who would one day win the game cast a vote which basically served that purpose.  Tyson Apostol, the reigning Sole Survivor, botched a split vote so badly that he ended up going home.

Tyson was in an alliance with Boston Rob, Coach Wade, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Courtney Yates, and Jerri.  The 6 person group had the majority over Russell Hantz, Parvati Shallow, and Danielle D.  Out of speculation that Russell had a hidden immunity idol, which he in fact did, Boston Rob planned to split the votes that night at tribal council.  3 members of the alliance would vote for Russell, and 3 would also vote for Parvati.  If either Russell or Parvati played the idol, a revote would occur and the larger alliance would vote out whoever didn’t play the idol.  If the idol was not played by either of them, they would all vote for Russell.  This should have been a fool proof plan in which an enemy would go home and the idol would probably get flushed.  However, it was not Tyson-proof.


One can’t live while the other survives

Earlier in the day, Russell told his alliance in secret that he would give the immunity idol to Parvati because he felt that Boston Rob was gunning for her.  This was due to Rob making it seem like Russell was the one on the chopping block, which he read as a bluff.  When Russell realized that Rob’s likely plan would be to split the votes, he knew he needed to convince someone in the majority to change their vote.  Knowing that Tyson wasn’t a Parvati fan, he pulled him aside and told him that he’d be voting for Parvati that night.  This made Tyson believe that the vote split was screwed anyway because Russell’s vote for Parvati would break the tie.

At tribal council, the 5 members of the alliance besides Tyson kept to the plan.  However Tyson, wanting Parvati out, switched his vote to her.  Russell, Parvati, and Danielle voted for Tyson.  Therefore, there were 4 votes for Parvati, 3 for Tyson, and 2 for Russell, instead of the planned 3-3-3 split.

Russell stood up after Jeff announced the time to play the idol.  He walked over to Jeff indicating that he’d play it for himself, but instead turned to the tribe and said that he was giving it to Parvati.  He did this with a strong feeling that Tyson had voted for Parvati, based on the lie he had told him earlier.


Giving Parvati the idol

The second Tyson realized he’d been outwitted, his face was one of utter dejection.  Rob still looked confidant however, because he didn’t think that someone in his alliance would botch the split.  The votes were read and the decision was final: Parvati’s 4 votes didn’t count, Tyson received 3, and Russell received 2.  It wasn’t until the fourth Parvati vote was read that Rob realized he’d be losing someone in his alliance.

Tyson voting himself out was dumb on multiple levels.  There’s the obvious reason that he probably should have assumed that Russell, an unknown player on a tribe called the ‘Villains’, was lying in order to save his own ass.  If he went along with Rob’s plan, nobody from his alliance would have gone home, and they could have easily gotten rid of whoever didn’t get voted out between Russell and Parvati.  However, there’s a second reason as well.  Even if Russell had told the truth about voting for Parvati, Tyson wouldn’t have had to switch his vote to get her out.  Parvati would have had 4, Russell would have had 3, and Tyson would have had 2.  Since Russell wouldn’t have given Parvati the idol in this scenario (because he was voting for her), she would have gone home.  Therefore, his vote for her was pointless and he risked going home himself for no reason.

As a Tyson fan, I’m very happy he got his redemption by winning Blood vs. Water, but I think that this is the dumbest move in Survivor history.  At least J.T.’s decision to give the idol to Russell later that season and Erik Reichenbach’s decision to give up immunity in Micronesia, had some logical strategic sense, however flawed.


Memorable Firsts:

  • The Rotu 4 alliance, which would famously be dismantled in a few weeks, was officially formed. (March 28th, 2002 – Survivor: Marquesas)
  • Ulong actually won a challenge!  Unfortunately it was for reward, not immunity, but at least they got to go to Jellyfish Lake, one of the coolest reward locations.  They also got those Survivor trivia Pringles, which I of course, as a 14 year old fan, convinced my mom to buy me.  This would be their first and last challenge win. (March 23rd, 2005 – Survivor: Palau)
  • Another famous alliance, The 3 Amigos, was formed.  Bros unite! (March 27th, 2013 – Survivor: Caramoan)


Memorable Boots:

  • After admitting he wasn’t there to play the game and shaking hands with the other tribe after a challenge, Gabriel Cade is voted out by the newly formed Rotu 4 and the rest of his tribe. (March 28th, 2002 – Survivor: Marquesas)
  • *Please read the following with a very thick southern accent: James Miller voted out, I ain’t lyin’. (March 23rd, 2005 – Survivor: Palau)
  • James ‘Rocky’ Reid voted out a week after his nemesis Anthony Robinson. (March 29th, 2007 – Survivor: Fiji)
  • James Clement booted after breaking banana etiquette (March 24th, 2010 – Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains)
  • Jonas Otsuji voted out, and subsequently answers the age old ‘Did Tarzan’s underwear have poop or dirt on it’ question on RHAP.  According to him, it was definitely poop.  This was on the episode with the ‘balls balancing on the disk’ challenge which provided some great Probst-isms. (March 28th, 2012 – Survivor: One World)


Thanks for reading this week!  Hopefully you either were reminded of something you enjoyed at the time or even learned something new about Survivor’s history.  Also, I really enjoyed reading your tweets and comments from last week.  I’d love to see what you thought about this edition @JordanKalish on Twitter and in the comment section below.




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