The twitter hashtag #survivorbreakdown may be relatively new in the Survivor timeline, but breakdowns have been part of our beloved reality show in one way or another since the beginning. One thing is for sure - Survivor is the ultimate test and can really break you down. There's no doubt some of these breakdowns were uncomfortable to watch, but no doubt made some of the best TV, and our now ‘former’ Ozlet Lynda Phoa leaves us with her top 10 contestants that broke down, physically, mentally or both during their time as a castaway. Do you agree with the choices? Let us know at the end of the post with a comment! Read on!
10. Guatemala Males
Eleven seasons in and never had we seen this many contestants be affected by the surrounding environment until Guatemala. Sure the elements in the Australian Outback were rough and food became scarce, but the men of the Nakum tribe fell harder and earlier than anyone before. In the first few days in Guatemala, the Nakum men struggled with the heat and lack of water after the long hike to camp. Bobby Jon collapsed, Blake fell on a poisonous plant and became very sick, Jim tore his bicep, and Judd became ill, vomiting numerous times. We could say the guys worked harder and lugged more stuff to camp, but really they only have themselves to blame for that. In turn they lost the first immunity challenge and the most injured of the males, Jim, was sent home. Lucky for them they had Nurse Margaret on site to keep an eye on them. This first episode of the season showed how ‘real’ Survivor actually is.
9. Osten Taylor – Pearl Islands
Osten, what can I say? I remember watching his quit episode and being so disappointed, but at the same time excited that this was the first ever quit of the series! Back when Survivor was more about surviving than the drama we see these days, we saw how the contestants coped with the limited amount of food and water and battling the elements. And out of all the people cast on Pearl Islands it was one of the biggest and strongest members of the Morgan tribe. Osten asked to be voted off after 6 days, but there was no way Morgan was going to let him go. In the next week or so Osten struggled in challenges, especially those in water claiming that he couldn’t swim well, and revealed his fear of pelicans. On day 19 with the Outcasts returning to the game Osten finally laid it out to everyone asking them to vote him out once again. He eventually quit with his torch being snuffed at tribal council. Osten became the first person to voluntarily quit Survivor due to his health being more important than winning a million dollars.
8. Lisa Whelchel – Philippines
Lisa Welchel in the Philippines. Undoubtedly popular as well as loathed in the game, depending on whether you were a fan of hers beforehand. Lisa started out pretty quiet and likeable, but the further she made it and delved into the game, the more you just wanted her to be voted out. Fortunately for Lisa she was always on the right side when it came to the vote. Her constant breakdowns towards the end of the game became tiresome and there were a few times where I thought she was going to quit. It was only when her brother, Justice, came on the loved-ones visit that she gained the confidence and strive to continue. Even Justice said in an interview that his sister hit rock bottom on Survivor, having a hard time with managing her emotions while playing a brutal game. Lisa knew she had hurt people to get so far and kept going back and forth on what moves she wanted to make. If she didn’t have Skupin, I’m not sure how much longer she would have lasted.
7. Purple Kelly and NaOnka – Nicaragua
This was probably the most shocking quit I’ve seen especially at how well NaOnka was playing the game. She had all the right people on side and could have made the final 3. But amongst all the name calling and arguments with Kelly B and everyone else at camp, we didn’t see the struggles she was battling in the elements. NaOnka was given a glorious edit with so much airtime that there probably was no time allocated to her trying to cope with the constant rain. It was only episode 12 where we finally saw NaOnka breakdown and cry; mentioning quitting the game. The miserable rain days in Nicaragua became too much and NaOnka was ready to leave without hesitation at the next tribal council. As for Kelly Shinn, we never really got to see her in any positive light, so her breakdown in that same episode was kind of expected. The editors obviously wanted to give at least one quitter a good showing. Kelly also was not coping with the rain and quit the same tribal council. Disappointing ending.
6. Johnny Fairplay – Micronesia
Ok so Jonny Fairplay’s quit was probably not seen as a ‘breakdown’ in Micronesia, but I defend my placing of it as a one to the end! I can honestly say that I have never been his biggest fan, or close to being an actual fan of his at all, but I respected his crazy scheming ways in Pearl Islands. It was excellent viewing. Obviously Fairplay knew what he was getting into leaving his heavily pregnant girlfriend behind, so why bother going out if you have that lingering in the back of your head. Sure, he could have made it further into the game, but he didn’t. He whinged about it and gave a spiel about missing his girl. On top of that he had his jaw injury which he gained prior to the show. Another excuse to quit. So it wasn’t a full on cry in your face breakdown, but it was still a version of one!
5. Dawn Meehan – Caramoan
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Dawn. But, did anyone else have the indecency to laugh when she lost her teeth? Appalling I know, but Caramoan already had so much shit going on in the game that this just topped off the craziness of it all! The loveable lady had breakdowns throughout the season, here there and everywhere, and the lost teeth just sealed the deal on how emotions can just takeover your body. Obviously the teeth were important to Dawn, and they would be to anyone so this breakdown was warranted. Lucky she had the wonderful Brenda dive down and retrieve them. To me this breakdown deserves the number 5 spot on this list, but definitely not the outpour of hate she received from the public when she voted out Brenda. She sucked it up when it came to the game and everyone else should too. Go Dawn!
4. Sue Hawk – All-Stars
Oh Sue, where do I begin? Just when you thought her final tribal council speech was epic enough, she comes out with this blown-out-of-proportion attack on Jeff Probst! After having suffered the wrath of Richard Hatch’s rubbing the day before, Sue made it very clear that she was offended and had enough of Hatch’s naked tirades. Her aggressive blow-up didn’t help when Jeff didn’t really see what the problem was bringing it up at the next challenge… “IT WASN’T SORTA JEFF!!” and then she quit. No more needs to be said.
3. Kathy Sleckman – Micronesia
I must admit, batshit crazy Kathy’s breakdown is my favourite on this list. This woman went AWOL off her medication and I reckon we got the best of the best out of her! Not to say that it represented the best light of Kathy, but it sure made her more endearing and also undoubtedly likeable. As days went by, Kathy’s mental capacity waivered and yet she still had always something hilariously interesting to say. From claiming numerous times she had not met a gay, to wanting to leave otherwise she would chop her finger off, Kathy never let us down. Lack of meds aside, the constant rain and missing her family became too much and by Day 19 she asked to quit the game. We didn’t mind the crying Kathy, or your quit; can’t wait for your return!!
2. Colton Cumbie – Blood vs Water
The most recent breakdown in Survivor, Colton Cumbie completely lost it in the first Blood v Water season and it was both sweet and frustrating to watch! Things were not going his way on Galang, and so Colton did what Colton does best; chuck a massive tanty, in front of everyone. We knew his ways in One World, being so dominant that we never got to see the sore loser side of Colton. Even so, Colton had the most beautiful and supportive boyfriend, the late Caleb Bankston. Without him, he probably wouldn’t have made it to Day 7. At Redemption Island, Colton cried and ran to Caleb’s arms looking to be consoled and ranted on about how he has had enough of the game because no one on his tribe wanted to ‘play the game’. Poor, poor Colton. Such a shame we never got to see his full potential and that his last moment was just a huge whinge.
1. Brandon Hantz – Caramoan
Brandon Hantz produced, to me, the biggest dummy spit in Survivor history. Wow, great job CBS for bringing this guy back! I do wonder if he would have acted differently if Phillip Sheppard was not on his tribe. The Specialist seems to be the catalyst of many arguments. That aside, Brandon let all of his emotions fly in confessionals, and then came throwing out all the rice (and some beans) in front of his tribe members. The young Hantz became hostile and was isolated by everyone up to the day he walked away. And when that day came it’s like a volcano erupted all over Bikal (big win for Gota!). Brandon went off at The Specialist and threatened him with a potential punch-up, until the brilliant Jeff Probst stepped in, took him aside and gave him a massage. Slightly calmed, he continued to unleash his wrath at his tribe; how can you forget those bulging eyes?! Brandon wanted to play HIS game, and end with HIS game. And so he ended up quitting with his own ego intact. Safe to say, we will never see this Hantz (or any other) play Survivor again.
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!
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