The Funny 115

#105. Chad's Open-Mouthed Gape
Vanuatu - Multiple Episodes

There was something a little bit different about Vanuatu's Chad Crittenden.

It was hard to place your finger on it... but there was just something about the guy that really made him stand out from everyone else.

It took me a few episodes to figure it out, but in time I finally identified the mystery variable. I finally figured out what made Chad so different from everybody else.

And the funny thing was... it had nothing to do with the fact that he only had one leg.

When I used to write my Survivor novels, I had one hard and fast rule that I never wanted to break under any circumstance. I never wanted to describe a character's mouth as being "open wide with surprise." I mean, it sounds good in print and all, but it's such a ridiculous writing cliche that I never, ever wanted to see it in my story. After all, whose mouth actually opens wide with surprise? Does that actually happen in real life? Ever? Has it ever happened? And why do so many writers insist on using that phrase? In fiction, why are Survivor players' mouth always popping open in surprise?

Like I said, I would never use that phrase in my stories because I thought it was retarded. But then Chad comes along in Vanuatu and actually does open his mouth every time something surprising happens. He actually proved me wrong! It turns out there are some people in the world who actually open their mouth wide everything something surprises them. I wouldn't have believed it to be possible, yet with Chad it happened time...

... after time...

... after time.

Chad's mouth was agape so many times in Vanuatu that he started to look like a blow-up doll. Either that, or the Zoltar machine in the movie "Big." And the visual of Chad opening his mouth in surprise ended up being one of my favorite running sight gags in Survivor history. I'll probably even use it as a running joke later in this list. You just watch and see.

(P.S. Chad wasn't even the only repeat jaw-dropper in Vanuatu. Eliza did it on more than occasion as well (especially at Tribal Council). And that's one of the reasons why I have always loved Vanuatu. It's the season of the jaw droppers. Right, Chad and Eliza?)

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