The 115 Funniest Things to Ever Happen on Survivor
#26. You can get her autograph after the show
Guatemala - Episode 11
This moment was great. It was absolutely, positively one of the best moments of the Guatemala season.
Well... that is... unless you are a Stephenie fan.
Is better than you
I'll be the first person to admit that I got tired of Stephenie LaGrossa during Survivor: Guatemala. I know I wasn't the only one who felt this way, but that doesn't make it sound any less blasphemous when I type it up here on the screen.
What? A viewer who wasn't enamored by Stephenie? Is that even possible?
Well, sorry. That's just the way I felt. After a while I just didn't want to see her anymore. I felt she was a little too self-important. A little too self-obsessed. And I always felt she deserved to be taken down a rung. Or three. Maybe even more.
(Note: I actually felt this way during Palau too. But God would literally smite me down for ever saying something like that, so I feel it's best just to move on and change the subject. Steph rocked in Palau. She was the best Survivor player ever. Rah rah.)
Stephenie with Gary Hawkins, landscaper
While Stephenie may have been a hit-or-miss character with the viewing audience during Guatemala, it's fairly safe to say that she did not have the same effect on the other actual players in Guatemala. At least not at the start. Because in episode one of Survivor: Guatemala, Stephenie was practically deified by the other players in the game. When the other players first spotted her standing up on top of the temple, they reacted to her as if she walked right down from heaven above.
It's Steph! Don't look directly at her! Avert your eyes!
When Stephenie walked out at the top of that pyramid-- again, the most popular female player in Survivor history-- it took every bit of effort for the other players not to all run over and ask her for an autograph. That's how popular she was, that was the kind of effect she had on other players, and it's one of the reasons she had such an easy time making her way to the final two. Steph was more "legend" than "opponent" to most of the Guatemalans, and she was more than happy to milk this popularity to help her go a long way in the game. After all, if the other players are all practically worshiping at your feet and calling you a Survivor goddess, why on earth would you do anything to dissuade them? That's just simple Survivor strategy 101.
Not everybody in Guatemala was a Stephenie fan. But there were enough of them around to make her the most powerful player in the game. Stephenie was never in any danger of going home when so many players just wanted to be her best friend, so she really had a low-stress game for most of the 39 days. Steph was protected by a wall of fame that few other players had (not even Bobby Jon what's-his-name), and in time this started to piss off the people who did not want her to waltz her way to the end. Players like Gary Hawkins, Bobby Jon and Jamie seemed almost offended at times that Steph had so much power and prestige over the rest of the tribe. They didn't like it. They got annoyed by Steph's popularity and influence. And over time they started to get a little bit vocal about it.
Gary Hawkins, yard expert
(Note: I always found it amusing that Gary Hogeboom disliked the fact that Steph's prior fame was giving her an unfair advantage. Um, hello? Gary was probably the most famous person out there, at least in terms of name recognition. And autographs given out in his lifetime. So the fact that Gary had a certain degree of real-life fame made it extra funny when he made the following comment below...)
It's the eleventh episode of Survivor: Guatemala and Stephenie is firmly in control of this game. She calls all the shots, she is in the most powerful alliance in the game, and she has a legion of female (and gay Mormon) sidekicks who are never going to turn on her. Stephenie is virtually untouchable as we reach this point in the game. And this really, really ticks off the people who aren't a part of her "secret best friends" inner circle.
Steph and her fan club
For one, you have Jamie and Bobby Jon on the jury. Both of them have been defeated by Stephenie and they really aren't all that thrilled about it. Especially Jamie, who was flat out backstabbed by Steph just three days before. Jamie and Bobby Jon are on the jury, they are out of the game, yet they are openly rooting for Stephenie to lose from their seats over in the jury box. It's no secret that they want someone to take her down a few pegs. Heck, they are practically telling people to do it through non-verbal communication. They just want to see the look on Stephenie's face when somebody actually has the guts to stand up to her.
Bobby Jon and Jamie -- Rooting for Stephenie to lose
The other person who is annoyed by Stephenie's fame (and power) at the moment is the powerless Mr. Gary Hawkins. Hawkins has no chance to win this game anymore. He is clearly next on the block to go. And the fact that his dismissal is coming at the hands of Stephenie LaGrossa is really just pissing him off. He hates losing to Steph. And he hates the way that it's about to go down. He hates that she's coasting by on her previous popularity.
And he vows to say something about it at Tribal Council.
So we get to the eleventh Tribal Council and Gary's head is now in the noose. He knows he has no chance to escape the vote, the players have made it completely obvious. All he can really do at this point is inflict some damage to Stephenie on the way out. So when the subject comes up that Stephenie is extremely popular around camp, Gary is more than happy to chime in.
Jeff asks him if he has an opinion on this subject, and Gary replies with one of the most devastating put downs I have ever heard on network TV. This is a smack down of the highest degree, and it's so subtle and so clever that it sends Stephenie into a fit of rage. Gary hits her with a cheap shot there is no possible way she ever could defend against.
GARY: "I personally like Steph. But... um... there's some people here that are star-struck by her. That's not her fault. But they all can probably get her autograph after the show."
Oh man, I almost fell out of my chair when I heard this. Did someone just dare to take a jab at Survivor darling Stephenie LaGrossa? And it was Gary freaking Hogeboom??? Stephenie just got slammed by the backup quarterback from the 1981 Dallas Cowboys?!?? I couldn't believe such a devastating put down could come out of the mouth of such a mild-mannered person. It was one of the funniest Survivor moments I have ever seen.
(Note: Sorry I don't have an actual picture of this quote. Guatemala is a hard season to find screen caps from...)
Of course, -I- found this quote funny. But my reaction was nothing compared to the reactions of Bobby Jon and Jamie in the jury. Because they completely lost it. They couldn't believe that the golden goddess had actually been criticized in an open forum... and by Gary of all people!
When Bobby Jon and Jamie heard this quote, they clutched each other and started giggling out loud. Stephenie heard this, she saw them in the jury, and got an angry look of exasperation on her face. And it was one of the single funniest moments of an already hilarious season.
Don't fuck with Gary Hawkins
So way to go Gary Hogeboom. Your "autograph" quote was sorely needed at the time. It was 100% dead-on balls accurate. And the reaction it got from Steph (and the jury) was absolutely priceless. It was easily one of the best moments of the Guatemala season, hands down.
Well... like I said earlier... unless you're a Stephenie fan.
HogeBOOM goes the dynamite!
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