The 115 Funniest Things to Ever Happen on Survivor
#81. Janu's Final Tribute
Palau - Finale
This is one of my favorite moments from Palau. It also happens to be one of the most controversial moments on the Funny 115. You see, when I first wrote about this moment back on my MySpace page, I was barraged with emails like "That wasn't funny!" Or even worse, "That entry was just mean!" But I don't care. I still stand by this entry as one of the most darkly humorous moments on the Funny 115. There's no way I can get through Palau without this moment just cracking me up. Even if... yes, I'll admit... it is a bit mean. But you know what they say. If you're making a comedy omelette, sometimes you have to break a couple of eggs. And Katie's final "tribute" to Janu during the torch walk has always been one of my favorite moments of Palau.
Katie doing an impression of Janu
To be fair, I've never been entirely sure if this moment was Katie just flat-out being mean, or if it was the editors just trying to make a point about Janu. I have no idea which one of the two it really was. All I know is that Katie totally dissed Janu during the Palau "torch walk", it was the only time I've ever seen somebody dissed in such a blatant and inflammatory way, and the whole moment was so out of place that it makes me laugh whenever I watch it. I mean, seriously, who gets insulted during the torch walk? Has that ever happened to any other player in any other season? Isn't the finale torch walk the hallowed and revered scene where every player is supposed to get one final show of begrudging respect?
Looking back over the past eleven seasons, there are only three "torch walk" moments that stand out to me as having been somewhat inappropriate.
The first inappropriate tribute was in Thailand, when the editors paid respect to Robb Zbacnik by showing multiple clips in which he attacked other players. No matter how many times I see this, Robb's Thailand tribute always makes me laugh. Yes, here's how we will pay tribute to the guy at the end of Survivor: Thailand. We won't focus on his big "moment of epiphany" around the campfire right before he was voted out. No, instead we'll show clips of Robb choking Clay and then tossing him into the water. Oh, and then we'll show Robb calling Clay a stupid hillbilly. I don't know about you, but that moment just brought a tear to my eye. Nicely done, Survivor editors.
The second inappropriate torch walk moment happened during Pearl Islands. It was when Jon paid his respects to Nicole Delma by saying that she had, quote, "a rockin' body." How very sweet. I'm surprised he didn't try to dry hump her torch immediately afterwards.
But my favorite inappropriate torch walk moment happened in Palau. And it happened with Janu's torch. And if you weren't paying attention, you might not even have caught it.
The Palau finale "torch walk"
It was the 38th day in Palau, and it was time for the traditional "torch walk." Tom, Ian and Katie were expected to paddle out to sea in their canoe, say a few kind words about each player who had been voted out, and then drop their torch in the ocean as a final sign of respect. So that's what they did. The three of them paid tribute to Jolanda, they paid tribute to Ashlee, they paid tribute to James (hell, yea!), and they continued to do so all the way up through Coby. All the players thus far had received one final appropriate, and fair, display of respect.
Ian and Katie saying nice things about James
Tom chips in with his favorite James memories
Saying nice things about Bobby Jon
Reminiscing about their old friend Coby
Like I said, up through Coby, all the torch walk tributes had been friendly and overwhelmingly respectful. All three players said something nice about their fallen comrade, Katie would place their torch gently in the water, and they would all watch as their friends' torches floated gently down to the ocean floor.
And that's when we came to Janu.
You remember Janu, don't you? The moody showgirl from Las Vegas. The one who feuded with Katie repeatedly throughout the game. The one who laid in the hammock and moaned about wanting to go home for half the season. The one who ended up quitting the game on day 27. Remember her?
Yeah, that's the one. Janu was the one player that most of the Korors just didn't like.
Even though the torch walk was supposed to be the final place of honor, respect, and civility, it didn't quite work that way when Katie got ahold of Janu's torch. Because not only did nobody say a single nice thing about their sadsack teammate Janu, none of the final three players even said a single thing about Janu at all! Katie just grabbed Janu's torch, she lifted it up in the air, and she SHOVED it down into the water as hard as she possibly could. And it was so out of place for a Survivor torch walk that there's no way I can watch this scene and not crack up. Gee, tell us how you really feel about Janu, will ya, Katie?
They must have cut out the part where Katie actually drops an F-bomb as she does this
So did Katie intend to snub Janu so blatantly like that? Was it meant to be the harshest insult in the history of Survivor? Or did the editors portray it that way just so they could make a point and diss Janu? Ultimately it's hard to say. Because, on one hand, Katie never liked Janu much during the game. The two of them had had multiple fights throughout Palau, and there was clearly no love lost between then. And, besides, Katie Gallagher was always known to be a little mean. So if anyone would have attempted a blatant torch walk snub-job, I have no doubt it would have been Katie. After all, that pretty much sums up the way she dealt with people all throughout Palau. She was known to have mean things to say about everyone.
Katie and Janu - mortal enemies
But on the flip side, I have no doubt that the producers weren't pleased with Janu's decision to quit the game. They probably hated her for it (just like they hated Osten), and it's possible that they didn't think Jeff had come down on her hard enough back during Tribal Council. After all, Janu's decision to quit was handled a lot differently than Osten's, and it's possible the producers didn't think it had been very fair. Maybe they knew that people were going to complain. Maybe they thought a lot of angry Osten fans would demand to know why Janu had been treated with kid gloves. So it's entirely possible that the editors made Janu's tribute seem less impressive than it really was, just to prove a point. Maybe they wanted the viewers to hate her.
Janu quitting the game
Like I said, I have no idea what the real story is. All I know is that Janu became the first player to be publicly dissed during the Survivor torch walk. And the flippant way that Katie does it has always made me laugh. The shot of her just shoving Janu's torch into the water is so out of place, and so unbelievably rude, that there's no way I can watch it and not giggle. That's not supposed to happen during a Survivor torch walk! Why not just drop your pants and take a dump on Janu's torch too?
Oh yeah... and the funniest part about Janu's blatantly rude torch-snubbing? The fact that Katie goes right back to saying nice things about people. Starting with Stephenie's torch approximately five seconds later.
"We wuv Stephenie! Stephenie is awesome!"
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