by Mario Lanza

Pre-Countdown Commentary

I know I've written a lot of Survivor columns in the past. Hell, by this point I'm probably one of the most prolific Survivor writers ever, at least in terms of words written. After all, remember that I've written four Survivor fan-fiction novels, all of which were over 700 pages long. But I have to say I've never been more excited about a project than the one I am kicking off today. I'm going to detail the 115 funniest things to ever happen on Survivor, and I'll be doing it in a running countdown. And when all is said and done, it is probably going to be my favorite Survivor project I have ever written.

Why did I pick 115 nominees? Well that's easy. It's because I love my readers 15% more than the rest of the Survivor columnists do. You may think I'm kidding but I'm not. The rest of the writers think of you guys as a nuisance. They loathe you, and they hate you. But I, of course, do not. I love each and every one of you like you're my family. Yes, even you, Jim Preston of Corvalis, Oregon. In fact I love my readers so much that I'd like to list you guys by name. I'm not going to do it, of course, but in my head I still think it would be a really nice gesture. And that's why my list is 15 percent longer than anyone else's.

(Seriously... I wanted to make it a "Top 100 list" but there were 15 entries I just didn't want to cut. I felt the page just wouldn't be complete without them.)

So anyway, this column is a tribute to the funny things about Survivor that my wife and I have always enjoyed over the years. They are the things that I always look forward to when I re-watch a season, and the ones that never fail to put a smile on my face. Some of the things were incredibly memorable, some of them were incredibly subtle, and some of them were purely visual. A few of them just refer to a character on the show in general. But every entry I picked was funny in one way or another, even if you probably won't agree with all of them.

So anyway, prepare yourself for the 115 Funniest Things to ever happen on Survivor. It's a list that took me six months to create, as I painstakingly went back and re-watched every Survivor episode from season 1 through season 11, just taking notes and writing down everything I thought might make the eventual list. I ended up with 340 "semifinalist entries," and then I had to whittle those down to 115, just to make this countdown somewhat manageable.


Oh yes, and before we begin, there are a few ground rules about the way I picked entries. These are the criteria I used to try and keep the list light-hearted and as fun as I possibly could:

A) I'm not trying to flat-out make fun of people. I know a little mockery is unavoidable in some cases, but I'm trying (in most cases) to laugh with people rather than at them. So if your name shows up in this list, just realize I'm trying to do it good-naturedly. I wouldn't put you on this page if I didn't in some way like you.

B) No "blindside votes." I don't want the Funny 115 to turn into "Ha ha! So-and-so got blindsided! He totally asked for it!" It would be way too easy to do that. Instead, the few "memorable exits" I have on this list have more to do with the character's general story arc or their reaction to being voted out. Besides, if I just focused on cocky players who brought upon their own fate, I'd have to put Christy Smith smack dab at the top of the list and I don't think that would go over very well.

C) I only used scenes that were shown during the actual episodes. There are no DVD extras on here, there are no "behind the scenes" confessionals, and there is nothing that was only available on Survivor Insider. Every entry here is something you could have seen just by watching the show on TV. I also didn't use any moments from the reunion shows (although my personal favorite is Boston Rob thanking Sarah for bringing her boobs to the Marquesas).

D) Like I said earlier, this list only goes up through season 11 (Guatemala). There are no Exile Island (or later seasons) entries on the Funny 115. The reason for this is that a lot of the entries on the Funny 115 are only funny in retrospect. They are only funny if you know what happens to a character later in the season. And since Exile Island hasn't ended yet (at the time of this writing), I don't know what the season's best moments are going to be. So my apologies to Shane, Cirie, BobDawg, and the rest. I still think you guys are great!


So anyway, thanks for reading my column, and I hope you enjoy The Funny 115. A friend of mine once said to me, "You're writing a funniest moments column about Survivor? But that show's a drama! I can't remember anything ever being funny on Survivor!"

Well, I think it's safe to say that I disagree...

On to the countdown ----->