The Funny 115

#107. Frank plays a sex game
Africa - Episode 7

This moment is absolutely classic.

Frank Garrison from Africa is another character I could have listed under the "kings of unintentional comedy." The guy had so many bizarre moments during the season, and so many weirdly-phrased quotes, that he's always been one of my favorite characters. I really had no idea what he was talking about half the time... and that's saying something when you consider that the completely unintelligible Tom Buchanan was a cast member in the same season.

And I have to say that, honestly, sometimes Tom was a little easier to understand.

Frank Garrison

For those of you who didn't see Africa, here's a little backstory. Frank Garrison was a retired military man with an extreme (and I do mean extreme) conservative streak. He was a member of the NRA, he had little to no tolerance for gays or liberals of any sort, and he was extremely gruff or bossy if he thought you weren't pulling your weight. Oh yes and he was also extremely anti-social. He didn't seem to enjoy socializing, he really had no idea how to relate to other people, and he even avoided the other players at the post-merge feast celebration just so he could go out and gather firewood.

In other words he was pretty much the ultimate Survivor buzzkill.

It may sound like I'm making fun of Frank, but I'm really not. In truth I liked him on the show very much (and I'm actually a lot like him in several ways). But I just found it fascinating how far Frank would go out of his way not to have to deal with other people. He'd do anything to avoid socializing, he was incredibly stiff and formal, and (like Matthew von Ertfelda) he just didn't seem to speak the same language as the other players. Oh, the words were coming out in English of course, but they just didn't seem to come out right. That's really the only way I can describe it. In fact, some of the comments Frank made during Africa were so bizarre and were worded so strangely that I've never really forgotten them. Four years later, and I can still recite the best Frank quotes almost off the top of my head.

Silas: Hey Frank, is Linda solid?
Frank: She's so solid she's buried in the bottom of Hoover Dam.

Kim: Hey Frank, what branch of the service were you in?
Frank: I was in the American branch. It's called "freedom."

(When Samburu is trying to make fire and the younger members complain that it's a lot of work)
Frank: I spent nine months of softness in my mother's womb. Everything else after that's hard when you come out.

Keep in mind that Frank wasn't trying to be funny in any of these quotes. That's just the way that the guy talks. So you can see why it was so funny when the Moto Majis tried to get him to play a sex game in episode seven of Survivor: Africa.

It happened right after the merge and the Moto Majis were having themselves a feast. Food had been delivered, the players were celebrating and joking around, and the wine was flowing liberally around camp. Everybody was having a great time. Well, except for Frank that is. Frank was off gathering wood somewhere because he wasn't interested in sitting down and joking around. That just wasn't a very Frank thing to do.

Frank enjoying himself at the Moto Maji celebration feast

The rest of the tribe was having a great time at the party, and they soon turned to a pseudo-sex game called "I Never." The purpose of this game was to say something you've never done, and then everybody else on the tribe had to go around in a circle and admit if they actually had. You know, such as "I've never had a threesome," or "I've never done it on an airplane," or "I've never done it on a boat, I've never done it with a goat." You know, that type of thing. Everybody's stories were expected to be a little bit dirty, and it was more or less just a big icebreaker.

Anyway here comes Frank walking by, and one of the Moto Majis gets the bright idea that they should ask the guy to play. So they call him over and explain the rules, and tell him he has to say something he's never done. Kim Powers tells him that it has to be something true, and Frank seems to understand this concept. So he tries his best to give them something juicy they can all play around with.

"I've never broken the honor of a handshake."

There's this wonderful pause after he says this because nobody on the tribe is sure how they're supposed to react. Is Frank joking? Is he just messing with them? And then it becomes clear that no he is not trying to be funny. That was the most risque thing he could come up with. Frank seems to realize they were waiting for more, so he quickly adds, "It's just a golden rule I was brought up to live by." And the reaction of everybody when they finally respond is priceless.

"Oh good job, Frank."
"That's great."
"Yeah, good one."
"That was a really good answer."
"I'm very respectful of that."

So Frank wanders off to go gather some more wood and maybe go play with an elephant, and the sex game continues without him. Only this time, nobody asks Frank if he wants to participate anymore.

Great moment.

"I've never broken the honor of a handshake."

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