It’s Wednesday again, so put on your reading glasses and enjoy another Survivor Oz Top Ten! Over the years, we have seen numerous male ‘characters’ play the game of Survivor. These are contestants with big, bold or eccentric personalities, such as Coach, Rupert or Phillip, who have been memorable enough to return twice, three times or even four times in the show’s history. But what about the female ‘characters’ who are just as memorable and deserving of another chance at the game? This week, Ozlet Noah Groves counts down ten of the best female Survivor ’characters’. Do you agree with his choices? Is there anyone you think he has missed? Read on and leave your comments below.
Survivor is littered with kooky, bizarre and crazy characters. Most of these characters (who by no coincidence ‘steal’ the airtime) appear to be male, along the lines of The Specialist, Tarzan, Russell and Brandon Hantz, just to name a few. Jeff Probst has not hidden the fact that he believes men make better TV than women, and that males generally produce the better characters. But what about the women? While the female characters may not be as obvious as the men, there are plenty of odd, eccentric and downright hilarious female characters throughout Survivor’s history; some of them putting on a different persona for the cameras, others generally ‘characters’ in real life; some decent players of the game, some existing purely for entertainment. The female characters have been overshadowed for too long and it is time to sit back and take a look at the ten very best players to fit the ‘character’ archetype!
10. Sarah Dawson – Philippines
We didn’t see nearly enough of Dawson than we needed to during the Philippines. In the pre-game interviews, we were introduced to a colourful character who told stories of how she made people cry during board game activities. When the season began, we saw very little of Dawson in the initial episodes and it wasn’t until her last two episodes that she really shone; from her taunting of Jeff Kent and telling Katie that she sucked, to the retroactively hilarious foreshadowings of her Jeff Probst love. All of this led to one of the most memorable moments in Survivor history and the undebatable best exit from any contestant. As Probst was snuffing Dawson’s torch, she looked deep into his eyes and planted a final goodbye kiss. Only, as we all know, it was not final, as Dawson kissed Probst one more time at the Reunion, this time using forceful attack Ninja stealth approach. Through the pink one-piece bathing suit, the want of a pink gun and being the only contestant to kiss Probst against his will, Dawson proved to be an underrated character that we were robbed of seeing more.
9. Maralyn “Mad Dog” Hershey – The Australian Outback
Mad Dog would have to be one of Survivor’s first true female ‘characters.’ Mad Dog was a ray of light in the Ogakor tribe and provided entertainment through her camp fire singing and antics. She was a true genuine person, while also somewhat naïve, referring to tribe mate Kel as “Cal” during the entirety of her time in the Outback as just one example. One of Mad Dog’s shining moments came during the food challenge, where she shocked everyone by taking her teeth out to own the challenge – something a pre-teen Brenda would have been proud of when watching the episode. Mad Dog had a huge sense of adventure and, as revealed in the DVD commentaries, actually competed in the Butch Cassidy cliff jumping challenge after it was finished because she had to sit out initially. We were given more Mad Dog antics during the Reunion show, where she had the audience in stiches, taking full advantage of Bryant Gumbel’s hosting. The last time we would see Mad Dog on screen was during the ‘Back from the Outback’ special, where she showed off her Survivor collection and her body as she said goodbye whilst wearing a bikini that no one ever thought we would see!
8. Lillian ‘Lill’ Morris – Pearl Islands
Lill Morris is almost universally despised within the Survivor fan base and it is completely undeserved! The innocent scout troupe leader got off to a bad start in the game due to her struggling social abilities to fit in with the rest of the tribe. Lill was blindsided, but thanks to the Outcast twist, she returned back into the game, much to the distaste of her old tribe mates. Lill’s emotions were completely on the edge of disaster, and just one wrong word managed to make her breakdown crying. Despite what her tribe mates thought of her, Lill continued to impress and won several Rewards. She had an odd relationship with fellow outcast Burton, kissing him anytime something good was to happen and leading to him finally saying “quit doing that Lill.” Lill’s naivety is what makes her character such a joy to watch, and just watch her trying to make a ‘deal’ with Jonny Fairplay in the Final Immunity Challenge (which she ultimately dominated and won). Lill’s defining moment would have to be asking Jeff Probst if he would consider joining a troupe because of how much of a nice man he is. Lill Morris is often misunderstood in the fan community and many look past just how entertaining this scout leader character was.
7. Abi-Maria Gomes – Philippines
“I don’t want to cook but I definitely do want to eat. I don’t want to starve to death.”
There are those characters that are just naturally colourful and unique and there are those who are ‘show ponies’, putting on the weird for the cameras. Then there is Abi-Maria Gomes. Abi-Maria is a polarising character that was the bulk of any argument or controversy that occurred during the Philippines. The Brazilian beauty provided many memorable moments and had ‘love to hate her’ fans all over the world. Despite having feuds with multiple members of the cast, most notably RC and then later Mike and Denise, Abi-Maria found herself with a Hidden Immunity Idol and a tight alliance with Pete that could have taken her to the Final Three. To some, Abi Maria was just downright annoying, but she has since found herself a growing cult fan base, with many wanting to see one of the most entertaining female villains of all time return to play the game yet again.
6. Kathy Sleckman – Micronesia
“Sometimes it pays to keep your mouth shut, but I can’t help myself!”
“Crazy Kathy” is a self-confessed lunatic that every Survivor fan loves. One of the true fans of the first ‘Fans vs. Favourites’ season, and by far the most colourful player on the tribe, Kathy provided pure gold entertainment every time she spoke. Immediately into the game, Kathy set an impression against herself when she was questioning and blatantly pointing out features of the other contestants, namely Chet and Tracey. Kathy’s time on the show was short lived as she quit the game during the pre-Merge phase, which she later revealed was because she didn’t take her meds. While Kathy was great on the show, most of her comedy gold comes from her online appearances post show. Her participation on our Random Secrets Episode will have you on the ground laughing, and her other appearances, from an episode recap to our Christmas episode, will have you smiling. Someone needs to give Kathy Sleckman her own talk show!
5. Crystal Cox – Gabon
“Eat yo’ rice!”
Crystal was the Olympic athlete who sucked at challenges. She told everybody else that she was, in fact, a teacher, and that was probably for the best. Not only did she suck at the challenges, but she was hilariously bad, and this provided a plethora of laughs. Crystal had an unlikely but welcoming alliance with Kenny, and it seemed at one point that the two would make the finals. She also created one of the funniest lines ever spoken on Survivor when she jokingly commanded GC to finish his dinner by telling him to “Eat yo rice!”. However, it was her season-long feud with Randy that was her defining moment. “Forget you! Go home! Goodbye!” Crystal later screamed in the voting confessional booth as she made sure her vote for Randy was known and creating yet another classic Survivor quote. Crystal later re-enacted this moment on Survivor Oz last year and, demonstrating what a brilliant character she is, actually misquoted herself. You can listen to the interview here.
“I don’t have any insecurities. It is my experience that everyone else who plays this game is riddled with them. I plan to break them down and eat them alive.”
Another classic Gabon character, Corinne is a self-confessed super bitch who doesn’t hold back on her feelings. Despite starting out quiet on Gabon, Corinne grew to be a fan favourite thanks to her abrasive and no holds barred confessionals. Not only was Corinne a brilliant character, but she also proved to be a competent player who unfortunately, on both her seasons, lucked out and was voted out early in the Merge. Like Eliza Orlins in the previous season, Corinne was a fabulous Jury member whose final confrontation with Sugar was difficult and amazing to watch at the same time. ‘Tell it how it is’ is Corinne’s motto and she completely lives up to it. Her appearance in Caramoan was just as classic, as we got to see another feud between her and The Specialist, Phillip Shepherd, bringing us brilliant quotes like “Tubby Lunchbox” and “He needs a warm glass of shut the hell up.” Corinne is Survivor’s ultimate bitch and she owns it. The fans suffered in Caramoan as we were robbed of her not being on the Jury. Speaking of not being on the Jury…
3. Kat Eddorson – One World & Blood Vs. Water
“Nobody wants to date someone who doesn’t make the Merge.”
Kat Eddorson was a glow of light during One World. She fit the stereotype of the young dumb blonde, except for the fact that she was a hilariously fun character. However, most of her hilarity came from us laughing at her rather than with her. Kat’s comedy and character doesn’t come from her making jokes, but from her naivety. However she owns this, Kat realised the audience responded strongly to her antics, and in Blood Vs. Water, she attempted to give fans what they wanted. In One World, Kat had an endless supply of memorable moments and quotes, whether it be her complete lack of understanding the challenge, lack of knowledge on appendicitis, or the infamous kitten crawl during the loved ones Reward. And let’s not forget the relationship with her cousin that even Greg Buis would be confused by. Unfortunately, Kat wasn’t around long enough to provide as long of a list of moments in Blood Vs. Water, but she wouldn’t leave without giving us something to remember her by. Enter “Nobody wants to date someone who doesn’t make the Merge,” yet another extremely memorable and hilarious quote from Ms. Kitten Swag herself. Finally, Kat would stamp herself in our memory with her awkward “top heavy” comments in the Reunion. Kat is one of those personalities that can just pull out something so bizarre out of nowhere. It does seem like Kat has some awareness of her portrayal on the show and provides the fans with moments to be cherished and laughed at.
2. NaOnka Mixon – Nicaragua
“If you come at me again, I’ll push you so hard that damn leg will fly off. You can say I got hood. I sure did. I got hood. I didn’t get ghetto. Don’t think I’m going to be nice to you ‘cause you have one leg. Are you kidding? My name is NaOnka, not Fool!”
NaOnka Mixon is the greatest female villain in Survivor history, at least it my opinion anyway. In every scene that NaOnka was a part of, controversy arose and every second of it was brilliant to watch. Just look at NaOnka’s resume of moments: dropping the food to tackle over Kelly B. to obtain a clue to the Idol (which she later found), stealing Fabio’s socks and refusing to give them back, burying all the food that the tribe had won in the ground and still not getting voted out because of it, and choosing to go on a Reward rather than take extra rice for the tribe, even though she intended to leave the game. That is just scraping the barrel of NaOnka moments that came to an abrupt end when, in true NaOnka fashion, she quit the game due to the excessive rain, stating to Jeff that he should still “smuff” her torch as she left. Not only was NaOnka the butt of many conflicts, she was also a brilliant confessionalist and a decent player who could well have made the finals, although it is doubtful that she would have won. NaOnka is truly a unique character on Survivor who, despite being a quitter, still received the most confessionals of the season, and it is easy to see why. Jeff Probst has been adamant in saying quitters do not get a second chance at the game, but seriously CBS, get NaOnka Mixon back on the next returning player season – you will not regret it!
1. Shannon “Shambo” Waters – Samoa
“Mick, Wow! Dude you have got to be kidding me. In a word would you agree that your overall gameplay could be called…FECKLESS!”
There are countless male ‘characters’ to have appeared on Survivor – Phillip, Tarzan, Cao Boi, Shane, just to name a few. However, Shambo Waters just may trump all of them as the greatest Survivor character to ever compete. If Russell Hantz was the lead of Samoa, then Shambo was most definitely the supporting actress. Immediately from the first moments we laid eyes on Shambo, the viewers knew we were in for a treat. From the epic name and epic mullet, to her general light spirit and claiming that she wasn’t book smart when picked for the brain challenge, Shambo was a tough competitor who was never really in an alliance, only being told what to do by many different competitors throughout the game. Her naivety ended up getting her to a finishing position of sixth and giving the fans an almost full season of Shamboness. Who could forget Shambo’s distaste for people who are ‘feckless’ (What does that mean again?) whilst on the Jury, or her voting strategy that came by whatever occurred in her dreams, or her ways of speaking to chickens, the list goes on. Shambo was actually asked back to compete on Survivor: Caramoan, and we are probably all thinking that her presence would have improved the lacklustre season. Shambo truly defines the archetype of the Survivor ‘character’ and is the perfect representative for the females who are overshadowed by the kooky and crazy men who supposably make better TV than the women. I think Shambo and these other nine women would beg to differ, and perhaps Probst is the true feckless one when it comes to his opinions on the matter. I don’t know, maybe if we ask nicely, Shambo will ask the chickens for their wisdom on the matter.
For another great Shambo moment, watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-qyzKgrxOQ
Courtney Marit (Panama)
Sandy Burgin (Tocantins)
Stacey Powell (South Pacific)
Alicia Rosa (One World)
Marissa Peterson (Blood Vs. Water)
J’Tia Taylor (Cagayan)
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!