The 115 Funniest Things to Ever Happen on Survivor
#20. Richard bites a shark
All-Stars - Episode 3
Om nom nom nom
I've often said that Richard Hatch almost single-handedly saved All-Stars for me. And I mean it too. Richard was so over the top during the All-Star season that he reached a cartoonish level of absurdity well beyond my wildest dreams. And I mean well beyond. Richard was so over-the-top in All-Stars that he practically went all the way up, tipped over, and went right back down to the bottom again. I think it's safe to say there has never been a more cartoonish performance by any (non Judd) player in Survivor history.
The most amazing thing about Rich in All-Stars was the fact that we thought we had already seen him at his peak. We thought we had seen him at his cartoonish best, thanks to his (usually naked and memorable) antics back in Survivor: Borneo. And we really thought there was no possible way he could top that the second time around.
Richard Hatch, version 1.0
Going into All-Stars, Richard was already a quirky Survivor legend. No matter what, he was always going to be the star of the show. He was just one of those players who was the most interesting character any time he appeared on camera. No matter what, he always upstaged everyone else. And because of this you knew he wasn't going to last very long in All-Stars.
RULE #1: If you're considered the best player ever to play the game, there's no possible way you're ever going to win Survivor: All-Stars. Period.
RULE #2: If you're the biggest Survivor "celebrity" ever to come out of this game, you know you're dead meat the first time your tribe goes to Tribal Council.
RULE #3 (the Golden All-Stars Rule): If you're the type of guy who can steal all the attention from your tribesmates, just by the fact that you're in the game and you are a part of their tribe... well... buddy... you might as well not even unpack. Because if there is one thing that a Survivor media attention-whore can't stand, it's another Survivor media attention-whore stealing all their beloved camera time.
And that's why Richard never could have made it to the merge in All-Stars. With him still left in the game, no other player ever could have been the star of the show.
In the history of Survivor, Richard Hatch has always had something that no other player could ever match. And that one simple trait is that Richard Hatch has always been "the man." He was the first winner. He was the first star. And he was the first mastermind. So no matter how good any other future player might have been, they would never top Richard in terms of being "the king" of Survivor. Richard was always and foremost "the man", and that's why every other player went into All-Stars with the hopes and the dreams of being the one to dethrone him.
They didn't do this because they wanted to be considered "the better player." No, that would be too easy. No, every player went into All-Stars with the sole intention of dethroning "the man." Every player wanted to be the one who did it. Every player wanted to be the one who cast that fatal vote. And why was this so important? Easy. Because they all understood the concept so famously articulated (on different occasions) by Ric Flair, Jonny Fairplay, Donald Trump, and Brady Bunch patriarch Mike Brady:
"To be the man, you gotta beat the man. Wooooo."
So anyway, that's what Richard faced going into All-Stars. Not only was he considered the best Survivor player of all time, he was also considered the most important Survivor character of all time. He had the double All-Stars whammy working against him. And that's why the other players never would have let him survive that first Tribal Council.
Didn't watch the other seasons. Don't care.
So is Richard still considered "the man" after his early ouster in All-Stars? You're damn right he is! Because even though Richard may have gotten his butt kicked (on a strategic level) in All-Stars, I'm proud to say he didn't completely abdicate his royal throne. I mean, true, he may not be considered the best PLAYER any more, but do you realize he actually topped himself as a memorable Survivor character? Do you realize he actually managed to one-up his already-stellar Survivor legacy??
I wouldn't have believed it was humanly possible going in, but Richard Hatch was so cartoonish in All-Stars that he actually -topped- his cartoony performance from Borneo. He did things I never thought I'd see a human being even attempt. And he actually topped himself. The fat naked guy from Borneo actually managed to top himself in All-Stars.
This is my throne and I still possess the royal jewels. In fact, I'll show them to you if you'd like to see.
So how did he top himself?
Well the event I am specifically referring to happens in episode three of Survivor: All-Stars. It is the infamous "shark biting" scene and it is one of the single goofiest things ever to happen on TV. And I'm not just talking about Survivor. I'm talking about TV in general. That's how memorable this scene is.
Our beloved fat, naked guy is out spear-fishing one day, and he happens to spot a shark hiding under a rock.
Well, being the alpha uber-fisherman that he is, Richard knows he can't pass this up. Richard decides that he's not going back to camp until he catches this shark. His entire life is now dedicated to bringing this shark back as dinner, because that's simply what Richard does. If he sees a fish in the water, he wants to catch it.
As Ghandia would say, "That's how Richard do."
Richard trying to pull the shark out from under the rock
Richard corners the shark under a rock, then he pulls on its tail to keep it from escaping. A few minutes later, he thrusts his spear into its exposed belly.
Richard impaling the shark with his spear
This injures the shark somewhat, but Richard knows that it isn't enough. He'll need to pull the shark out from its hiding spot if he wants to deliver the death blow. So Richard starts tugging on the shark, trying to dislodge it from the hole, and that's when the shark gets pissed off and decides to fight back.
Richard showing off his brand new shiny shark bite
The shark suddenly whips its head around, and it heads for the first piece of meaty flesh it can find. And it chomps down. And that's how Richard Hatch winds up with a very angry shark attached to the inside of his arm.
So now we're at a stalemate. Richard has injured the shark. The shark is firmly clamped down on Richard's arm. And it appears that nobody is going to win. Richard isn't going to budge, the shark clearly isn't going to budge, and by all rights this contest is supposed to end in a draw. For nearly any other spearfisherman, the fact that a shark is eating you would generally signal the end of the contest. And at that point you know it's time to just give up... shake the shark's hand... and go your separate ways..
But not Richard!
Richard is bound and determined to bring this shark back to shore (and to justice!) So he starts walking back to the beach, determined to kill this shark back on land. Richard walks all the way back to shore (with the shark still attached), he sees a big rock on the beach, and he pounds the living hell out of the little bastard until it dies and lets go of his arm.
Richard becomes the first player to ever kill a shark during the game of Survivor.
Richard with the dead shark afterwards
Once again Richard proves that in the game of Survivor, he is the fricking man. In fact not only is he the man, Richard Hatch is technically now considered the shark. He actually transcends genus and species during this particular moment, and it is a beautiful thing to behold.
Richard reenacting the whole fight for the viewers at home
While the shark-killing moment would have been good enough on its own, the absolute best part of this scene comes a few minutes later, when Richard explains to the tribe how he won the battle against the pesky shark.
Richard retelling the story of the shark battle
Showing off the shark's teeth
Kathy can't believe Richard actually has a shark bite on his arm
And here comes the best part...
Richard shows the dead shark to the rest of the tribe.
He shows them the distinct shark-bite mark on his arm.
And then he stuns them by pointing out the human-shaped bite mark on the shark's head.
Richard bit the shark to make it let go.
Showing off the spot where Richard bit the shark
Lex and Shii Ann are visibly awed
The reenactment, part I
The reenactment, part II
Richard shows the Mogo Mogos exactly how he defeated the shark, and this leads to one of the best quotes of the entire season, delivered by an awed and amazed and suddenly-reverential Colby Donaldson:
"Is it possible to call a gay man a stud?"
"I found my moving buddy."
The new natural enemy of the shark: Hatchidon Fatnakedfagius
So anyway that's the "Richard bites shark" moment. It's one of the best scenes in All-Stars, it's goofy as hell, and I still can't believe Richard actually found a way to outdo himself. And I don't care what anyone says. Richard Hatch is still the man. He may not be considered the best strategic player anymore, he may be rotting away in prison for the next few years, but nobody will ever be able to top him in terms of being a memorable Survivor character. Nobody.
No one else can ever be the man.
Because no one else will ever be able to beat the man.
And Jonny Fairplay would probably even agree with me on this.
P.S. I've always loved the postscript quote tacked onto the end of this scene, too...
"He bit me. I ate him."
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