Sorry this took so long, but what the hell. It’s just a silly diversion. If you have any ideas for the next list, speak your minds, fair Survivor fans.

I had a couple more Honorable Mentions, but one ties in to one of the real list entries, and the others are belaboring points already made in the list. So let’s get after it:

#4: Nick Punto’s Fury, Survivor VII

It’s hard to distill this team’s Whoopsitude down to a single moment. Let me regale you with the story of Nick Punto’s Fury…

I should have seen it coming. The three teams had weeks to come up with their names, and one team simply wouldn’t submit one. Finally, Dean Carlson – who played for a different team – said they should be punished with the name “Nick Punto’s Fury.” I agreed, and from there on, they were cursed.

The team was made up of Geoff Beckstrom, Kenneth Brandt, Ryan Kaatz, Sean Kelly, Joseph Rakstad, Michael St. John
and Will Young. The seven of them are from a Minnesota Twins blog I visit (and now run, as far as the creative aspects are concerned; Sean does the actual site-building and all that). All three teams were made up of guys from that site, and given that we all live on the internet, I figured correctly that non-submissions would be rare.

Well, Michael “frightwig” St. John opened the game with one, and I really haven’t heard from him since (few folks have). He was the only non-submitter and went down. The following week, NPF lost again, this time in a close call. Kenneth “SBG” Brandt, the guy who founded the Twins website and initially brought us all together, was ousted. I didn’t see that one coming, but that was only the beginning of the team’s weird decisions.

In week three, Ryan “UncleWalt” Kaatz was the next victim, and he voted for himself that week (he was a non-submitter anyway) and the week prior. He didn’t get a great score in the opening week, and it ate at him, like it does for others occasionally. The team was down 7-7-4, and I started talking about how they were about to get over the hump.

It didn’t happen in week four, as yet another close challenge ended up out of NPF’s favor. They voted out Will “The Dread Pirate” Young, in what I still consider to be one of the most bizarre voting decisions ever (I created the “balls of steel” tag for his elimination post). He was probably their best bet for high scores, and Geoff had already missed one challenge.

Geoff missed the next challenge, too, ensuring a fifth straight NPF loss and bringing the team down to two.

Joe “punmanbowler” Rakstad and Sean Kelly remained, and the challenge was the Create-a-Challenge on a forced curve. A different team had a non-submitter, but had very high scores otherwise, and NPF lost. I agonized over this one, and it would be the moment that made me decide to say that a team with a non-submitter will always fall below a team with 100% participation. After a long talk with all players, it was decided to spare Joe, who would have been automatically eliminated based on having a lower score that week than Sean. So, despite a sixth straight loss, the team remained intact.

In week seven, Sean was the lone non-submitter as he left the challenge until late, and lost his internet connection in something that could really only happen to this team. In week eight, Joe had a down week after weeks of being mostly strong, and that was that. Both other teams were completely intact, and Nick Punto’s Fury – a team of seven people – managed to lose the first eight challenges of the game.


#3: Zillah Glory, Survivor IX

I wonder if Z’s reading this. Z, I love you beyond words and all that, but wow, you behaved strangely in Survivor IX. Granted, that behavior helped make it the best game ever.

After the opening elimination, Zillah had a natural four-person alliance on her team, Spy Tag. She knew two of the three others, and the other was the friend of a friend. So, simply put and as far as I could see, Will Young, Zack Sauvageau and Geoff Beckstrom were doomed to be the next eliminations.

The thing is, Geoff has a silver tongue, and he convinced Zillah to go with them over these people that she actually knows, and that the alliance would be stronger since everyone on it would always show up (this part is true).

Zillah helped eliminate her real-life friends, and made the merge. When she got there, she once again had the opportunity to eliminate this powerful group of three by flipping and going with years-long friends, but she remained convinced this was the place for her to be. When it came down to seven, she was going to be helping to eliminate Rachel Dwyer when Will Young started worrying that Rachel might have an Immunity Idol. He and Zack voted for Zillah, so when Rachel played her Immunity Idol and the votes for her were rendered meaningless, Zillah took the fall. Rachel would fall the next week and Colin Woolston went soon after. Zillah effectively ruined the chances for every single person in the game that she knows. That’s a feat.

Meanwhile, the three guys who “had to be the next three eliminations” were the final three. Well done, guys. Well done.

#2: Kelly Jo Ernst, Survivor V

Once again, this one’s tough to distill down to a single moment. This one is weird, folks.

As you enjoy this, please keep in mind that KJ was playing her fourth game. In the others, she’d gotten fifth place, fourth and fourth.

In the first week, her team lost, and she attempted to eliminate someone from a different team. I had to remind her that you can’t eliminate someone from another team, because if you could, then you would just intentionally lose every challenge.

She tried to vote for people with Immunity.

She tried to vote for people who’d been eliminated already.

She tried to vote after she’d been a non-submitter.

She asked me over and over who was on her team.

After the merge, I had a hell of a time explaining to her that she could now vote for people who weren’t on her original team. She was under the impression that she could only eliminate Rusty (Rusty overcame this mistake on her part pretty handily, as he was the eventual winner).

All this somehow added up to a sixth-place finish. Hell, I would have taken her to the finals.

I still don’t know how she just up and forgot everything she’d ever known about the game. Or maybe she never knew in the first place, and asked other people. I’m sure I’ll never know.

Alright, folks. We’ve reached the top. Although I’d planned to give Kelly Jo the #1 spot, I decided in the end that it wasn’t as much a “mistake” as I’d hoped, whereas this one? THIS one was a mistake.

Samantha Fronek, Survivor V

In the same game as Kelly Jo’s bizarre turn, Samantha Fronek – runner-up from Survivor I – was running things. She, Rachel Flynn and Patrick Kozicky (former winners both) were all voting together, and for the moment, they had a fourth, though I can’t remember who it was. Between the hilarious stuff she was writing that time and the fact that the others had won, I thought Sam was destined to take what had turned out to be an All-Star field at the end, much like the current game.

The final necessary piece of work was to eliminate Rusty. He was going to win if they let him, so when he didn’t take Immunity that week, he was gone. Sam’s alliance voted for Rusty, while Rusty and two others voted for Sam.

I have no idea how this happened after such a great game – none – but Sam forgot to vote, which results in a self-vote. It was the deciding vote to eliminate her, and cleared a path for Rusty’s victory.

I’ve never stopped making fun of her for this. Maybe it’s why Survivor V was Sam’s last game…

I hope you enjoyed this, Survivor fans and players. I hope, too, that I don’t find a reason to put myself on this list after the Turbo.

Like I said before: if you have any other great lists in mind, let me know.