The 115 Funniest Things to Ever Happen on Survivor
#52. Peter's Holes
Marquesas - Episode 1
Ah yes, now we are entering the world of the Survivor icons. Because it's finally time to talk about Peter Harkey. The first bootee from the Marquesas. Or, as I like to call him, "The golf course."
Simple. Because the man has got a lot of holes.
Sorry, for a minute there I turned into Bob Hope. My apologies to anyone reading this who is under 70.
Peter Harkey. Holey man.
Peter Harkey was a very... unique... character. I suppose that's a safe and diplomatic thing to say. You see, I actually know Peter fairly well in real life. I used him as a character in one of my Survivor stories (All-Star Survivor: Greece) and Peter enjoyed the story so much that he actually helped me write the last couple of episodes. I have talked to him on the phone several times, we have exchanged a bunch of emails throughout the years, and he was even nice enough to pay for postage when I sent him a copy of Greece in the mail (he sent me a $5.00 check). So I have to say that in real life, Peter seems like a genuinely nice, perfectly normal guy. Sure, he might have a few quirks, but in general I think that he gets a bad rap from the Survivor community. He really isn't that weird if you actually get to know him. In fact he is truly one of the nicest Survivors I have ever met.
I'll share a funny story about Peter that he once told me over the phone. It will help explain some of the reasons he was voted out first in Survivor: Marquesas. And it is a perfect lead-in to the #52 moment on this list...
When Peter was cast for the show, the first thing producer Mark Burnett did was pull him aside and make a small prediction. Burnett told him, "You're either going to be voted out first... or you're going to win. I don't think there will be any middle ground with you." The producers knew that the rest of the cast would not be able to relate to Peter, and they were genuinely curious as to how well he would interact with the rest of the tribe.
(Note: These are basically the same fears the producers had when they cast Gabriel Cade (also in Marquesas). They knew that Gabriel was unlike anybody else on the show and they worried that the audience would have no idea what to make of the guy. It's why they delayed Gabe's casting by three seasons (he was almost cast in Borneo.) In fact when Peter was kicked off first in the Marquesas, that is the first thing the production crew told him when he got back to the Loser Lodge. They told him, "Wait till you meet this guy Gabe on the other tribe. You guys are going to be peas in a pod.")
So why was Peter so much different than the rest of his tribe? Well for starters he was an intensely spiritual man. The guy was very much into yoga, he was very much into mysticism, and he was very much into karma. He could sit there and spend hours talking about some aspect of Hindu purification rituals and the rest of the tribe would have no idea what the hell he was talking about. So it was safe to say that he was labeled an oddball from the very first minute of the game. The rest of the Maraamus had no idea what to make of the guy, they had never met anybody like him before in their lives, and he was probably marked for dismissal before the tribe even went to bed that first night.
In other words, it went exactly like the producers had predicted it would happen.
I believe Peter tried his best to fit in. He had no idea how to relate to these people, but I believe he did give it the old college try. After all, remember his amusing chat with Sean in the life raft on day two, when he asked Sean to teach him "some Harlem stuff" that he could take back home?
Learning Harlem stuff
Or what about Peter's Tonto-like hero support when he assisted Rob in trying to catch a rooster on day one? This was really the best that Peter could do to try and fit in. The strange behavior of these "humans" he lived with really seemed to confuse and befuddle him.
Peter trying to assist Rob
But the conversation that Peter is best remembered for... and the reason he makes the countdown at #52... was his chat with the Maraamus about holes on day three. That's right. Holes. If you saw the episode you know the exact conversation that I am talking about.
It was the morning of day two and the Maraamus (not surprisingly) were taking a break. They were all sitting around doing nothing ("chillin'", according to Harlem talk) and Peter took it upon himself to start talking about yoga. And today's topic of conversation was about holes. Peter explained to the rest of the tribe that one of the aspects of his particular style of yoga ("being holey") was that you were supposed to have control over the seven different holes in your body. And we are talking orifices here. Peter politely explained to the tribe how he tried to achieve mastery in life over his eyes, his ears, his mouth, his peepee and his pooper.
Above: Two of the only holes I can legally show pictures of. Otherwise this would be a pay site.
The minute Peter started talking about his holes, that was the point where the rest of the tribe politely excused themselves. Um, Peter having mastery over his chocolate highway? Sorry but no thanks. Back to work, guys! Quickly!
Rob reacting to Peter's conversation about holes
Peter trying to apologize since he has now creeped everyone out. "Sean started it. I'm just chillin' here."
So anyway that conversation pretty much summed up the Peter Harkey experience. He never really fit in with his tribe, he was voted out of Maraamu at the end of the first episode, and it was exactly what the producers had predicted would happen. Plus it ensured that Peter Harkey would forever be known in the Survivor annals as "The guy who talked about his holes."
In other words:
Harlem stuff = Yes.
Yoga stuff = Hell no.
Side note: Peter's "holes" conversation is famous for two reasons. First, because it was just plain weird. Anybody who saw it is likely never to forget it. But the second reason this moment is famous is because it led to a funny (and famous) confessional from Rob Mariano. See below:
"So he looks like a normal guy, you know, but he's goin' on and on about being holey. And I'm thinkin' he's talkin' about spiritualness. But he's talkin' about actual holes in your body!"
"I mean... he's a fruit loop."
I always loved this confessional. First off, it's just funny. Boston Rob at the start of the game was awfully likable and charming. He was basically just a smart ass little kid. But the second (and most important) reason why I liked this confessional was that Rob actually seemed bashful about saying something mean! I mean, just look at that smile. Rob is almost embarrassed that he's slamming somebody behind their back. And it's not even that bad an insult either! Calling somebody "a fruit loop" is a far cry from some of Rob's mud-slinging later in the season and (especially) some of the stuff he said about people in All-Stars. It's like he is a whole different person here. Can you imagine Boston Rob nowadays being shy about calling somebody "a fruit loop"? Fat chance.
Rob Mariano was my favorite Survivor player ever at the end of the Marquesas season. I thought he was so charming and so funny, and I couldn't believe how much he had changed by the time we got to All-Stars. It was almost as if he had morphed into an entirely different person. And I have always thought that it happened the minute he realized that he was somewhat famous. The minute Rob thought of himself as a star was the minute he decided he always had to be the villain. And it's why I couldn't stand the guy in All-Stars.
By the way... Christy, what did you think of Peter's comments about his holes?
"It was cweepy. Just cweepy."
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