The 115 Funniest Things to Ever Happen on Survivor

#42. This was supposed to be a reward?
Africa - Episode 8

This is one of my favorite scenes from Survivor: Africa and it is yet another example of the light-hearted fun reward trips that they don't do very much on the show anymore. It is also a perfect example of how Survivor can feature local culture and customs in the context of the show (ie, so viewers can learn a little bit about the region at the same time that they are watching the game.) In fact this might be the single best "regional" reward they have ever had on Survivor.

It also happens to be a really funny scene.

It is the eighth episode of Survivor: Africa and Ethan Zohn has just won a pair of goats in a reward challenge. This may not sound like much, but it is actually part one of the reward trip of a lifetime. Because Ethan now gets to take the goats into an African village and barter them for as much as he can in return. Ethan is going to visit an actual Kenyan marketplace, and he gets to choose one person to bring along with him. So Ethan picks his good friend Lex to come along and help out.

Ethan sees the goats he is going to have to barter

Congratulations, Ethan. You've got goats.

So Lex and Ethan gather their two goats, along with hats and assorted personal items from the other players, and they set off for the African village to see how well they can haggle. And I have to say that just about every minute of this scene is comedy gold. Because here you have these two middle class city boys from the U.S., who have probably never seen a goat up close in their lifetime, and they are expected to escort these stinky animals over to town and put them up for sale.

Ethan's goat inspects the camera

Ethan and Lex on the way to the marketplace

Well, as you can imagine, Lex and Ethan create quite a stir when they show up in town. They are surrounded by a crowd of curious African children almost immediately, because it's not every day you see two white dudes struggling to get a goat out of a truck, at least not out here in rural Africa. And it is clear to just about everybody that Lex and Ethan have absolutely no clue what they are doing. So the villagers just basically stand around and laugh at them.

African children and their heartless mockery

The fact that they are being made fun of doesn't escape Lex, and this leads to one of my favorite quotes of the Africa season. Lex realizes how foolish they look in front of everyone, and he sheepishly asks Ethan:

"You won this, right? This was a reward, right? It's not a punishment, or a hazing?"

So Lex and Ethan start trying to negotiate a sale price for their goats, without having the slightest idea about the goats' blue book value or what the going rate should be. They are basically just making this up as they go along. And even though they start awkwardly, Lex and Ethan actually start to figure out the rules after a while.

Haggling for goats

Lex and Ethan start wheeling and dealing like a couple of seasoned pros, and eventually they actually fetch a very respectable price of 1600 dollars (about 25 bucks) for the pair of goats. It looks like it is going to be a win-win transaction all around.

Money is exchanged. Goats are purchased.

Note: I say it's a respectable price because Probst tells us this during the Africa reunion. Jeff confirms (through his local African sources) that Lex and Ethan were able to get the going rate for their pair of goats. See, now you can't say you didn't learn anything from watching Survivor. Goats go for about 25 bucks a pair in an African marketplace.

The funniest part of this scene is yet to come, though. Sure, Ethan and Lex may have sold their goats, and sure they may have looked like fools at the start, but even they couldn't have predicted how this scene was going to end. In fact I will let Lex explain to us what happened right after they sold the goats to a man in the village.

Lex: "We kind of got attached to the goats on that three and a half hour trip. I thought maybe they were gonna end up in a flock and they were gonna be these happy goats that kind of, you know, cruise around the countryside, eating grass and maybe mating, or... whatever. But we saw him turn around with the two goats and he made a beeline... not twenty feet away from us... straight into the butchery."

Taking the goats to the butcher

Goatburger time

So that was the end of the beloved goats, and that was Lex and Ethan's introduction into the cutthroat dog eat dog world of goat selling. One minute the goats were valued possessions and potential pets to a loving owner... the next minute they were somebody's goatburger. The creatures that melted our hearts were soon melting in somebody's mouth. And I have to say it was one of the single funniest moments of the season.

Well... unless you're a goat.

So here's to Lex and Ethan, the stars of one of the most memorable reward trips in Survivor history. And the mortal enemies of freedom-loving goats everywhere.

Sorry guys. You will be missed.

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