The 115 Funniest Things to Ever Happen on Survivor

#55. The "Mixer" Reward Challenge
Amazon - Episode 3
and All-Stars - Episode 4

All-Stars is the season that I criticize the most, because for the most part I think the producers did almost everything wrong. I didn't like most of the choices they made, I think they ruined what could have been the best season of all time, and I am usually very vocal when I talk about this. All-Stars is simply the only season that I think could be considered a failure.

However, that being said, they did do a few things right in All-Stars... and I am proud to say that this is one of them. This is a challenge that they absolutely should have brought back, and it warmed my heart to see that the producers actually agreed with me for a change.

I am talking, of course, about the famous "mixer" reward challenge from the Amazon (the one where the players try to guess what is in everybody else's wooden box). To this day this remains one of my all-time favorite "fun" Survivor challenges, and that's because the players seem to have so much fun just cracking jokes and making fun of one another.

Another reason I like this challenge is because it is so much different than all the rest of the Survivor challenges. It's not a competitive challenge at all. It is not the slightest bit hardcore. And it is most certainly not serious. Instead it is just a bunch of players standing around and cracking jokes. They flirt. They laugh. They have fun. And the most important thing is that they actually show us their true charisma.

You have to remember that every player cast on Survivor possesses an inordinate amount of personal charisma. That is the reason why the producers want to put them on TV, because these people are interesting and fun to watch. And nowhere is this charisma more evident than in the mixer challenge, when the players get to let their hair down and actually just goof around. For at least part of one episode, we actually get to forget strategy and watch the players just interact as themselves. And it is always a lot of fun to watch (especially when Rob Cesternino is involved.)

I thought this was a wonderful challenge in the Amazon, I thought it was equally wonderful when they did it in All-Stars, and I sincerely wish Survivor would do something like this every season. It always makes for a memorable episode when they use it.

So anyway... here are the highlights from the two "Mixer" challenges they have done on Survivor (Amazon and then All-Star.) By the way, I call it "The Mixer" because this challenge was initially used as an excuse to "mix" the men and women in the Amazon and watch them flirt with one another the first time they actually met.

Jeff explains the Mixer rules


* The introduction of a fun jazzy musical score. They only use this music during this particular challenge by the way, which is a shame.

* Dan calling Shawna "the cute girl" and then walking over to shake her hand.

* Joanna humiliates the wee little Roger by lifting a rock too high for him to reach. The poor guy actually has to jump up to try and grab it.

* Alex tells Jenna that he knows her name because "I'm really, really smart and I pay attention."

* Rob guesses incorrectly what is in Heidi's box, so he jokes to Jeff , "Shot down by another woman."

* Deena takes Rob's item and Rob announces, "The women are picking me clean."

* Dan asks Heidi if she has conditioner, but Rob has already taken this item from her earlier in the game. So Dan ends up looking like a big dork.

* Shawna does the exact same thing to Rob (asking if he has conditioner when he has already given it away). Rob says no, and then quips, "And Heidi doesn't have it either."

* Jeff teases Rob and asks if his witty banter strategy really works with women. Rob says that, surprisingly, no it doesn't

Jeanne picks the winning item for the victorious Jaburus

The women win reward!



* Boston Rob teases Ethan right off the bat by referring to him as "pretty boy."

* Kathy takes an item from Rob C. and jokes that she can read his mind. Rob implies that he's calling her a name when he quips, "Yeah but can you read it now?"

* Richard leaves his box open too wide and Boston Rob sees all of his items. So Rich comically tries to hide his box from Rob every time after that.

* Jenna Lewis leaves her box open too wide and Ethan teases her about it. "Why don't you just leave your box open and turn it around, Jenna? That way everybody can see."

* Shii Ann pulls a Dan Lue by asking Alicia for a feather she has already given away.

* Lex retreats away from his podium so nobody can see his items, and Rob C. jokes "I already know what you have!"

Chapera wins reward!

All in all, this is one of my favorite Survivor challenges because the players are flat out having so much fun. We get to see their true personalities emerge for a change, we get to see their natural charisma put itself on display, and we get to see why the casting department wanted to put them on TV so much in the first place.

I strongly feel that they should use this challenge every season. Because if nothing else, it adds a lot of depth to players we sometimes think of as soulless automatons. I mean... my God... even Richard Hatch had a fun time playing this game. And that isn't something that happens very often!

Richard enjoying himself at the challenge

P.S. We missed a great moment for comic hilarity in All-Stars when Rudy was voted out right before he had a chance to play the mixer game. Man that would have been hilarious. Can you imagine? It would have been like an SNL episode of Celebrity Jeopardy.

Ethan: "Rudy, do you have a feather?"
Rudy: "I dunno."
Rudy: "Now it's my turn?"
Jeff: "Yes, you get to pick somebody"
Rudy: "And I have to guess what's in their box?"
Jeff: "Yes."
Rudy: "How do I know what they have?"
Jeff: "Well, you don't."
Rudy: "So I just guess then?"
Jeff: "Yes."
Rudy: "Alright, I'm gonna ask her, the girl in the blue shirt."
Jeff: "You mean Jerri?"
Rudy: "I dunno."
Jeff: "Jerri is the woman in the blue shirt."
Rudy: "Okay, then her."
Jeff: "What do you want to know, Rudy?"
Rudy: "Does she have a shell?"
Jeff: "You can ask her yourself if you want. You don't have to ask me."
Rudy: "Alright. Do you have a shell?"
Jerri: "Who, me? He's just pointing."
Rudy: "Yeah, you."
Jerri: "No Rudy. I gave you my shell last round. Neither of us has a shell now."
Rudy: "Oh yeah. Well here's what I do have."
(Rudy turns his box around and opens it up)
Rob C: "Rudy! You're not supposed to show us your box!"
Rudy: "Well do you have a shell?"
Jeff: "No, Rudy. You already asked somebody. We have to move on now."
Rudy: "To the girl in the blue?"
Rudy: "Wait, aren't you on my tribe?"
Jerri: "Yes!"
Rudy: "Well do you have a shell?"
Jerri: "NO!!!"

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