Funny 115 - version 2.0
Askew vs. Orthogonal
Fiji - episode 1
You know, when the first season of Survivor came out in the summer of
2000, the thing that most of America immediately loved about it was the
grand sense of adventure. For most people, the immediate
reaction to the first season of Survivor was "Oh my God!
These people are stranded on an island! They have
to eat rats to survive! They have to catch fish!
How are they going to make it out there??"
That was what most people immediately loved about Survivor.
However, that wasn't what drew in everybody. For
other people, what drew them in to a show like Survivor was the whole
strategy aspect of it. For these other viewers, what
immediately hooked them about Survivor was the fact that these people
were playing a game, and that the best player was going to win.
To these people, strategy and devious gamesmanship were the
only reasons to watch a show like Survivor. You watched it
because you wanted to see smart people all try to out manipulate one
Hi. I'm Sean.
However, if you ask me, there was one reason to watch Survivor that I
thought was even more addictive and even more amazing. In
fact, from a sociological perspective, it is my opinion that this
aspect of the show was the reason that Survivor was such an enormous
phenomenon in the first place.
Are you ready for this?
The reason I think Survivor was a huge hit... more than
anything else... was because we got to see people who would never even
meet each other in real life, all trying to live and communicate with
one another. We got to see what would happen if people who
had nothing in common in real life, all of a sudden had to depend on
and to trust one another.
For me, this will always be the aspect of the show that drew me in the
most. The weird relationship stuff. Stuff like the
awkward, yet touching, relationship between Richard and Rudy.
I mean, in real life, when would Richard Hatch and Rudy
Boesch ever even meet? In real life, when would they have to
depend on one another at all? For me, this was the thing
about Survivor that made it so much more amazing than other
It was the awesomeness of the random "fish out of water" relationship
Rudy and Richard, maybe the most unlikely touching friendship ever seen
Richard and Rudy were the first unlikely friendship in Survivor
history, of course (and they are still my favorite). But they
weren't the only ones. After all, who can forget these other
random and unlikely, yet somewhat touching, pairings.
Only on a show like Survivor would you have an interaction between two
totally different types of people like this:
Jew and not a Jew
Sean and The Man
Human and creature
Osten and pelican
Woman and Hershey Bar
Sadly, Survivor doesn't seem to spend much time focusing on these
random interactions between totally different people anymore.
And it's a shame, too, because to me this has always been the
most interesting aspect of the show. I mean, yeah, we got
Stephen and J.T. in Tocantins, which was a pretty awesome relationship.
And we got Coach and reality, which is always a fun pair
when they decide to team up. But for the most part we really
don't get as many random "why the F are these two people even in a
scene together???" moments as we did in the first few seasons of
Although any scene with Todd and James is an instant classic
However, there was one interaction in Fiji that I thought was
You want to see a scene where two people who have no business having
anything to do with another are trying to communicate? Want
to see one of my favorite "what the hell would these people
even say to one another in real life??" interactions?
Well let's go to episode one of Survivor: Fiji. This was one
of the most requested entries on the entire countdown, and for good
reason. It's short, but it cracks me up every single time I
Oh yeah, and it stars these two people.
Rocky, a thug
And Sylvia, an architect
Now we just sit back and watch the magic unfold...
day that Sylvia tried to communicate with Rocky
It is episode one of Survivor: Fiji, and the players have just landed
on the beach. That means it is time for strangers to make
introductions to one another.
The players find a crate on the beach, which apparently has something
So they try to smash it
The big strong guys on the beach all try to bash it open, but no one
can do it
El Doucho can't believe it
However, there is one man on the beach who knows how to bash open a
crate, and his name is
He knows how to do this because, unbeknownst to the other players on
the beach (but knownst to us), Yau-Man isn't just some feeble
old little man. He happens to be a world-class science
was simple physics, really. I knew that the weakest part of
box was the corner, so I just dropped it on its corner."
So Yau-Man takes the crate, and he does what the bigger guys can't.
It only takes one try.
Here is a nice picture of Yau-Man's ass
Yau-Man opens the crate, and inside it are a bunch of pieces of
parchment paper. It turns out that the players are supposed
building their own shelter. They have been given materials,
blueprints, diagrams, maps, and instructions.
Earl, I just wanted to warn you about the all-women's alliance on the
beach. They look strong. Use
this idol to save
yourself tonight, and to vote for Cassandra. I think she is
ringleader. Stay strong, and I'll see you at the
BFFs forever. -J.T."
At this point, now the question comes
up. If we are supposed to be building our shelter today, who
should be the project manager? Is there anybody on this beach
has prior experience in building a house?
Well hey, guess what?
Just our luck! There is!
It turns out that Sylvia Kwan is an architect. She builds
houses for people in real life.
that knowledge in mind, the players turn the entire project over to
Sylvia. It is her job now to bark out instructions
"There was a site plan. And being an architect, of course, I
was, uh, given all the maps."
"And said, here you figure out what to do."
Sylvia and company start planning the project
Lumber carrying time
"The kitchen's gonna be right there."
"The outhouse will be over there."
Sylvia displays her authority by goose stepping around the
Yau-Man tries to look down Sylvia's shirt. Science!
So anyway, with Sylvia in charge, and her loyal band of builders
following her every instruction, that is when we come to the #35 entry
on the Funny 115.
Here is a great little interaction between
Sylvia (a genius architect with an architect's vocabulary) and Rocky
(who has a limited vocabulary, and probably spends most of his
day teabagging Anthony.)
Why these two people were
ever in a scene together, I will never know. But they did
one interaction, and it was a classic.
Sylvia tells her dig squad to get working
Rocky recognizes the word "dig," and volunteers
So the dig squad starts working.
A few minutes later, Sylvia comes over and she notices a problem with
Rocky, of course, has never heard this particular word before.
"Is, uh... is what?"
Well that certainly doesn't help.
"Alright, here's what's gonna happen."
"Whenever there's a big word in a sentence, we're all gonna have a time
out and teach James the big word."
Sylvia is amused by this. However, she will try her best to
dumb it down for him.
So she explains.
"There's another big word James doesn't know."
anyway, there you go. One of my favorite interactions between
people who have no business ever interacting at all.
uses a fancy architectural term that someone like James would never
know, and then when her asks for a definition, she "dumbs it down" by
saying it is the opposite of another
fancy architectural term that someone like James would ever know.
Just a classic interaction between two character who barely
exist in the same universe.
Oh, and if you are curious, here is
the Webster's Dictionary definition for orthogonal. You know,
those of us who aren't Yau-Man, Heidi, or Sylvia:
a : intersecting or lying at right angles
b : having perpendicular slopes or tangents at the point of
intersection <orthogonal curves>
c: not askew
Oh, and here is the layman's definition:
I love Survivor until the words start. God damn the words.
It's always the words.
I didn't notice this right away, one of my readers had to
it out to me, but there is a great moment early on in this scene (it
happens right when they arrive on the beach) that will make you laugh
every single time if you are listening for it.
Survivors get to the cave, and they are looking around to see what
types of things are available to them, and if you listen really closely
you can hear Yau-Man say "I FOUND A LEMON TREE!"
I FOUND A LEMON TREE!
on paper, this line isn't really all that funny. But I swear
God, if you hear Yau-Man actually say it, you will just bust out
The reason this line is so funny is because it is
obviously an overdub, and because it doesn't quite -sound- right.
To me it sounds like they slowed down Yau-Man's voice
But for some reason, they didn't slow it down very
So when Yau-Man just randomly screams out "I found a lemon
tree!" it sounds like Kermit the Frog trying to do a Yau-Man
Swear to God, listen for this if you ever
watch episode one of Fiji. Listen for Kermit the Frog
yelling "I FOUND A LEMON TREE!" and tell me that isn't one of the
funniest things you have ever heard in your life.
P.P.S. I sure hope Yau Man uses this as his Facebook profile
picture. We should start a petition.
The best of Yau-Man