The Funny 115

#91. Chris and Eliza - The Final Staredown
Vanuatu - Finale

Chris Daugherty, bringer of death

A lot of people seem to hate Survivor: Vanuatu. Yet it's always been one of my favorite seasons. So I have a hard time understanding why nobody else in the world seemed to enjoy it. Was it because Chris was just a fat guy in a red wifebeater? Was it because all the young players got taken out of the game at the start? Was it because the women screwed up one of the easiest wins in the history of Survivor? Why exactly is there such hatred towards Vanuatu?

In my personal opinion, I believe the problem is that most people just didn't watch this season the right way. I don't think they saw the real storyline that was developing all along. Because what we saw in Vanuatu wasn't just some guy in a wifebeater who capitalized on the mistakes of much better players. Oh sure, that may have looked like the storyline, but "Chris sneaks past the superior female players" was really only the plotline on a very simple, superficial level. Chris lying his way to the million dollars really had very little to do with the actual storyline.

No, the real storyline in Survivor: Vanuatu was that it was a plan old-fashioned revenge story. Did you ever notice that? Vanuatu was, above all else, a damn revenge movie! It was just like any other movie starring Steven Seagal, Chuck Norris, Clint Eastwood, or (more recently) Kill Bill starring Uma Thurman. A guy gets wronged, a guy seeks revenge, and a guy kills all his enemies one by one. That was the exact storyline of Chris's win! And that's why Survivor: Vanuatu will always be one of my single favorite Survivor seasons of all time.

You may disagree with me, but think about it for a minute. Because Vanuatu is really the story of a guy (Chris) who started out as a fairly good person. He certainly didn't lie very much at the start of the game. In fact, by all accounts, at the beginning he actually appeared to be fairly ethical. He made friends with Bubba. He made friends with Julie. He made friends with Twila. He was good friends with Chad. He was best friends with Sarge. In other words, for the first half of the game he was considered to be a very nice person. Almost everybody in the game was friends with Chris, and that put him in a really good position at the merge. And the best part of it all was that he really hadn't done anything bad to anyone.

But that's when everything came crashing down for the beloved rotund hero of our story.

The problem Chris didn't foresee was that Julie and Twila were going to turn on the men at the merge. Julie and Twila were going to go running back to the women of Yasur, Chris and the men were going to be left high and dry in a vulnerable minority... and all appeared to be lost when the men suddenly lost Rory and Sarge in back to back votes after the merge. In the matter of two quick episodes Chris had gone from top of the heap, to bottom of the barrel. And it had all come at the hands of two women (Julie and Twila) that he thought he had considered to be friends


A saddened Chris after the Rory vote

A pissed off Chris after the Sarge vote

See, but here's the deal about Chris. This is the part of his character that nearly everyone forgets, but you can't possibly appreciate his storyline unless you remember this. Chris wasn't the sort of player who just sat down and gave up when things didn't appear to be going his way. In fact Chris wasn't a giver-upper at all. No, when all appeared to be lost for Chris, the only thing that happened was that he got mad. He turned into one of the most stubborn and determined players I've ever seen on Survivor, and it's a shame that nobody ever gives him credit for this. Sure, a lesser player might have folded under this massive onslaught (and massive betrayal), but all Chris did was get pissed off. He had seen Bubba go. He had seen Rory go. He had seen Sarge go. And at this point, this is where he started plotting his revenge. This is where something in the guy finally snapped.

After all, don't you remember Chris's voting comments when he voted against Sarge at the end of episode nine? Don't you remember these very prophetic words of cold-hearted sadistic revenge?

"This is for you, Sarge, not against you. I'm gonna burn every one of 'em."

Chris Daugherty vowed revenge on the women at the end of episode nine. And that's exactly what he ended up doing! Oh sure, Chris might not have done it all on his own. He might have had a ton of help along the way. But that's completely irrelevant to the overall storyline. Chris single-handedly set out to avenge Sarge, he set out to make the women look foolish, and he apparently set out to be the world's biggest asshole at the same time. He intended to screw every single woman left in the game, he intended to lie to their faces and show that he could outplay them, and that's exactly what he did! So, sure, Chris may have been the world's biggest asshole in the last few episodes. And he may have lied to Julie and Eliza and Twila for no strategic reason. But keep in mind that that's what he was trying to do! Chris wanted to get revenge for what they had done to Sarge. He wanted to get revenge for what they had done to Chad. Chris didn't give a rat's ass about any of the women in Vanuatu, and to me it was one of the most amusing things I have ever seen on the show. The end of Vanuatu was like watching an actual serial killer go through each day without a conscience.

Something snapped in Chris after the merge. Because while he might have still wanted to win, what I think he really wanted was just some old-fashioned, colf-hearted, sadistic revenge. Chris wanted to hurt peoples' feelings. He wanted to make things sting on the way out. And he especially wanted to screw Julie and Twila. For those two, no revenge could possibly be sweet enough. And if Chris somehow made it to the final two? Well, he figured he'd just bullshit his answers to the jury and see if any of them actually bought it. And guess what. They did. And that meant that not only did Chris destroy and embarrass nearly every single female upon whom he'd called for a Jihad, he also managed to con them into giving him a million dollar check. And in the mind of this reviewer, well, revenge just don't come much more sweeter than that.

Was Chris's win mostly luck? Hell yeah! Was he a nice player who played with a lot of ethics? Hell no! Was he the most likable winner the show has ever seen? Of course not. But damn he made for some good TV. Chris Daugherty pulled off the best revenge story the game has ever seen. He "burned them all" just like he said he was going to do. And I have to think that Chuck Norris or The Bride from Kill Bill would have been extremely proud. It really was a fun little reign of destruction if you knew how to appreciate it.

Thinking about burning 'em all.

I loved just about every minute of the Chris Daugherty revenge story. But the moment I specifically chose for the Funny 115 was Chris's blindsiding of Eliza at the final four. It was a scene that was horrendously harsh (if you were an Eliza fan), but it was also a scene that was extremely memorable (if you were a Chris fan). Because do you remember what Chris did right after he had backstabbed poor Eliza and sent her right out of the game? Do you remember his move immediately after the fateful vote? Do you remember that Chris actually taunted her? Right there when she was getting her torch snuffed? Take a look. Chris actually taunts Eliza right after she turns and gives him a glare of disgust. I couldn't believe it.

Eliza turns to glare daggers at Chris

Chris's reaction? He just shrugs. "Meh. Whatever."

And then, one of the biggest dick moves in Survivor history. Chris actually waves to her on the way out.

I know it's sort of mean to be laughing about this scene, but god damn that was a cold-hearted thing to do Like I said, this was easily one of the biggest dick moves in Survivor history, and it's always made me laugh at how cold-bloodedly sadistic it was. I mean, Chris didn't have to do this. There was no strategic necessity or advantage to doing it. He just wanted to do something mean on the way out. He just wanted to flat-out be an asshole to somebody. In fact, Chris's decision to taunt Eliza right after he had backstabbed her (for no particular reason) always reminds me of one of my favorite movie monologues of all time, from the movie Pulp Fiction. Tell me if this doesn't sound like the last few episodes of Survivor: Vanuatu to you:

Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson): There's a passage I got memorized. Ezekiel 25:17. "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you." I been sayin' that shit for years. And if you ever heard it, it meant your ass. I never really questioned what it meant. I thought it was just a cold-blooded thing to say to a motherfucker before you popped a cap in his ass.

So why did Chris taunt poor Eliza right after he had blindsided her? Well it certainly wasn't because he wanted her jury vote. No, the only reason Chris would do something like that was because he was out for revenge, and he wanted to "burn" them. That's it. Vanuatu was the single best revenge story in Survivor history, it was easily one of the most well-rounded story arcs in Survivor history, and the only reason it hasn't caught on that well over time is that most people just find Chris unappealing. Oh well.

At this point, all I'm asking you to do is watch Vanautu again, and this time watch it from Chris's point of view. Don't watch it from Ami's point of view, or Eliza's, or anybody else. Just watch it as "The Chris Daugherty Story", and see for yourself what a perfect storyline it is. Because if you go into Vanuatu expecting to watch a Chuck Norris-ian story of revenge, I swear to god it is one of the most satisfying (and funny) storylines you are ever going to see on Survivor. In fact, here's the Cliff's Notes version of Chris's legendary tale of revenge, just in case you're too lazy to go out and watch for yourself.

It's the final five, and Chris is best friends with the girl who recently backstabbed him, Julie.

And he's awfully convincing, too. "Don't worry, Julie. You and me are going to the final two."

Revenge #1. Complete.

Eliza sure can't believe it.

Chris, of course, doesn't feel the slightest bit guilty about this. It's just one chick down to him. And just three more chicks to go.

Back at camp, Chris tells us he didn't really need to blindside Julie. He just did it because he thought it would be fun. "She burned me. I burned her."

Back at camp, Eliza is a little bit upset. "Chris! You, me, and Julie were supposed to be an alliance!"

And Chris, of course, is just going to fatten poor Eliza up for the kill. He promises that, no matter what, he's still going to force a tie at the final four.

It's the final four. And guess what? Chris just won immunity.

And that means..... muhahaha.... he can now do anything he wants tonight at Tribal Council

Chris again promises Eliza he's going to force a tie tonight. There's no real reason to do this. This part is just for him.

Here's the Alinta final four at Tribal Council. Note the smirk on Chris's face. He knows exactly what is about to happen.

Meh. Whatever.

And this is where the moment gets good.

Eliza turns to give Chris a glare of absolute hatred, loathing, and disgust

Here is my favorite image of the entire Vanuatu season. Eliza is glaring at Chris, and he just glares right back at her, as if to say, "And what are you gonna do about it?" The editors hold on this shot for at least five seconds. It's just an awesome little pissed-off angry staredown.

Eliza finally walks up to get her torch snuffed, and this is when she does her famous "one last turn" to give Chris one last angry look.

And the money shot. Chris just shrugs her off.

And then he waves. Buh bye.

Like I said, this scene between Eliza and Chris was my single favorite Chris moment in the game, and it's all because he had absolutely no interest in winning her jury vote. All he wanted to do was be an asshole. All he wanted was to pull off a cold-hearted revenge. And that's why I included it on the Funny 115. Sure, this moment might not be the nicest moment on the countdown, but for pure sadistic dark humor, this has always been one of my all-time favorite Survivor moments. It might take a special sense of humor to laugh at this moment. Either that or you just have to appreciate a player who played with a set of balls (ie, didn't give a crap about the jury vote.) But in any case, this is one of my favorite moments in Survivor history, from my single favorite player in Survivor history. And I still can't believe he actually mocked her right after she had been backstabbed.

P.S. Even after all this, Eliza still voted for Chris to win the game.

P.P.S. Don't worry. Eliza may have gotten burned here, but she will definitely get her own revenge later. Because she has a Tribal Council moment in the top 10, and it's even better.

I'm Chuck Norris. And I approve of this revenge.

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