The 115 Funniest Things to Ever Happen on Survivor

#69. What Tom misses the most
Africa - Episode 11

Tom Buchanan was probably the best player ever at coming up with some random (yet wildly inappropriate) quote for the cameras, and this is one of his best. It's also the funniest moment in Africa that nobody remembers. In fact I had completely forgotten about it until I went back to rewatch the season for purposes of this countdown.

It's the eleventh episode in Africa, and the players are really missing their loved ones. They just got videos from home, everybody is homesick, and it's an especially dramatic episode all around. The six remaining castaways really miss their families right about now, and Jeff decides to capitalize on this fact at Tribal Council. He knows a good dramatic moment when he sees one, and he knows that tugging at the viewers' heartstrings will make for an especially powerful TV moment. So Jeff decides to prompt the players a little bit for a response. He wants them to talk about what they are missing back home.

"Without thinking, I'm gonna ask you a question. Give me the first thing that comes to your mind. When you think about home, what do you miss most?"

Jeff catches the players off guard with this change in Tribal Council protocol, and one by one they are put on the spot. They have to quickly come up with their most cherished memory of back home. Most of the answers are somewhat predictable, of course...

Ethan: "My couch."

Teresa: "My children."

Kim Johnson: "The ability to be totally relaxed."

Lex: "Wife and kids. No doubt."

Kim Powers: "My mom."

But then we come to Big Tom.

Tom Buchanan isn't the type to be all sentimental. No, he decides he's going to ruin this moment for the producers and try to get a laugh instead. So he pauses for a second... he gets this sneaky little grin on his face... and he comes up with something that nobody at Tribal Council expects.


This quote always makes me laugh because it's such an obvious attempt to ruin the drama and it comes completely out of nowhere. It actually takes a very serious episode (indeed, one of the most serious of the season), and it turns it into a big joke. In fact this quote is especially funny because you don't even consider the fact that the players can say anything other than "my loving family and kids". So to hear Big Tom crack a joke at such an emotional moment is such a jarring shift in tone that it just makes the scene all that funnier.

The Moto Majis reacting to Tom's cheeseburger joke

Big Tom is the only person who could have ruined the family moment with a food joke, and he's the only one who could have done it without getting yelled at by the producers. In fact, the fact that they even aired this quote on TV at all just shows you how enamored the producers were with Big Tom.

Anybody else, and I guarantee this line gets cut from the final episode.

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