The Funny 115 - The Third One

#84. Fuck You Thank You Brad Culpepper
Blood vs Water - Episodes 1-5

What up, Brad?

One of the problems facing you when you are creating a new TV show is the fact that you have a bunch of fun, new, interesting characters, but the audience has no idea who any of them are yet.  As far as the audience is concerned, these new people on the screen are all the same, and they are all interchangeable.  And this is why any sitcom writer who knows what he is doing will have his characters say each other's names a lot in the first couple of episodes.  

"Hey, Rachel, how are you?"  
"Oh I'm fine, Phoebe, thanks for asking."
"Say, Rachel, have you seen Ross?"  
"Isn't Ross the guy who looks like a camel?  And who enjoys autoerotic asphyxiation?"  
"Yes, Phoebe, that's Ross.  He's currently in the closet naked with a bag over his head."  
"Oh, neat.  Rachel, let's go do meth."

You know.  Stuff like that.  Watch for it the next time you start watching a new TV show.  It is a classic writer's trick, you see it all the time.

It is also the main reason Chevy Chase became the first breakout star of Saturday Night Live.  Guess who was the only castmember who introduced himself by name each week?

So anyway, when you introduce a new character into a TV show, the main thing is that you want the other characters to say their name a LOT.  Ideally, you want to have them addressed by name each and every time they appear on screen.  Because this, and only this, is the tried-and-true method to force the audience to love a new TV character.

And then, on the flip side, there's Brad Culpepper

Want to see a step by step guide how to NOT become a beloved TV character?  

Want to see why it's a BAD idea sometimes when the other characters are always saying your name?

Want me to spell out exactly why Brad was one of the single most hated characters of any season between 21 and 30, despite the fact that almost NONE of it was his fault, and he does almost NOTHING wrong in any of his five episodes?

Well read it and weep.

For never was a story of more woe.

Than this of Monica.  And her Brad Culpepper-o.

The happy couple, in between antiquing jaunts

Okay, so it's day one of Survivor: Blood vs Water.  

If you don't remember this season, it was one where they had former Survivor players teamed up with their loved ones.

It was also the first time in Survivor history that the producers had ever done something like this before.  So it wound up being a lot more complicated than your typical Survivor season, which is something you will notice when Brad starts having his downfall and he doesn't know what to do about it.

Here's returning player Monica from One World, teamed up with her husband, Brad.

By the way, if you aren't familiar with Brad Culpepper, he played nine seasons in the NFL between the years 1992-2000.  He also used to weigh nearly 300 pounds.  Twenty years ago, he was an enormously successful professional athlete.  He has also always had a reputation for being an exceptionally good guy.

What up, younger Brad?

So here comes Monica on Survivor with her famous husband, Brad Culpepper.  And right off the bat you can see that the two of them are overjoyed to be out here playing Survivor together.

Who here is a neat couple?

Except here's the twist.  

Two minutes into the game, Jeff explains to everyone that you won't be playing WITH your loved one.  You will be playing AGAINST your loved one.

Then he has to explain to Kat what "against" means

So just like that, Brad and Monica are now relegated to opposite tribes.


And it is at this point that you need to follow the storyline in this entry very carefully.  

Just like the scene in a Christmas Story where Schwartz dares Flick to stick his tongue to the frozen light pole, it is easy to see how we start at Single Dare (Brad is just happy to be here), and how we escalate all the way up to Triple Dog Dare (FUCK YOU BRAD CULPEPPER!) simply because of the characters involved.


Okay, so here we go.  Let me point out how Brad becomes "one of the biggest assholes to ever play the game of Survivor."*  Despite the fact that he never actually disrespects anyone, and he never actually does anything mean to anyone.

* The Internet, circa 2013

It starts right off the bat

Jeff asks Brad if he will be torn playing Survivor against his wife.  And Brad is perhaps a little too honest with his answer.

"There might be a challenge where I want her to have the tarp instead of me."  

"I can deal with this stuff."

Oh shit.  A guy wants to make sure his wife is safe and comfortable.  What an asshole.

Of course, Brad's new teammate Marissa hears this.  And she isn't pleased with that answer at all.

"He better not be on my team, thinkin' that."

The rest of the players laugh at Marissa's response to Brad's comments

"You better not be on my team, sayin' that."

So right off the bat, Brad has done something dumb.

He didn't do anything malicious.  He never said anything bad about anyone.  He just said something dumb.

Hey I never said he was a great player.  I'm just arguing about his character here!

Uh oh.  Brad done already fucked up.

Brad then tells us in a confessional how it is day one, and his tribe is already worried about him.

"I answered with my heart instead of my head."

"And all of a sudden I got stares and looks of every person down the line."

"And I'm thinkin' to myself, oh my gosh."

"First five seconds of the game, way to go Brad."

Well then.  So much for that first impression.

The loved ones are split up and that's that

Guess who wants no part of her new NFL tribemate?

Okay so that's step one in how Brad makes a new enemy.  Now let's go to his second enemy.  

This one will wind up being the more important one.

The tribes are forced to immediately vote out one of their members, and the returning players tribe votes Candice

Oh no you fuckers didn't

Candice and Laura Boneham are immediately voted out of the game, for no reason other than the other players don't want them here

And guess who remembers that Monica Culpepper was one of the people who voted for her?

Candice's anger towards Monica is going to come back later, in a big way

Okay, so that's the opening scene.  Right now almost nothing has happened in the game, other than Brad has said something dumb (not mean, just dumb), and Candice is holding a grudge that the returning players voted her out.  Keep both of those in mind as we continue from here.

We go to Brad's new camp, and he already knows that he has to do damage control

The loved ones have to know that he isn't going to tank any challenges.  They need to know he is going to give it his all.

So he pulls his tribe aside to explain that he is 100% with them.

"If you don't see me giving 100% in a challenge, you have my blessing to vote me out."

Marissa, of course, isn't buying this.

"Brad said he's not gonna throw a challenge for his wife."

"But it wasn't an apology exactly."

"I feel like he's one I'm definitely gonna have to keep an eye on and keep him close."

"He seems like he could be a loose cannon."

And this is where we get the divide that is going to lead to most of Brad's problems later.

Brad sits down to tell us how he is going to get past the first vote over here at Tadhana.

It turns out his wife gave him some very good advice before they got here to the beach.

"She said, Brad, when you play this game you better hit the ground running."

"You need to make connections, you need to get an alliance."


And so that's what he does.

He takes the first four people he sees, which happen to be the four other guys, and he forms a quick five man alliance.

"We should stick together.  We're strong."

"That Ciera looks like a girl who might vote out her mom one day."

And just like that, Brad is probably going to make it past the first Tribal Council now.

Again, he has done nothing malicious.  He has never insulted anyone, or disrespected anyone.  He has never been mean to anyone.

All he has done is find four people he gets along with, and he has made himself an alliance.


Candice's husband John weighs in on the lightning quick alliance Brad has formed

"Shocker, the guy who played NFL football wants to keep his locker room together."

And here we have the Greek Oracle of Cody laying out exactly what is going to happen down the road.

"But you know, the more Brad talks about that kind of stuff and sort of asserts himself as the leader..."

"The more that could potentially end up biting him in the ass later."

Meanwhile, Brad is just giddy to be playing Survivor.  He loves it out here.  He loves that the tribe just got their first tree mail.

For him, this is even more exciting than going to a sweet ass antique shop

He loves that he gets to hang around and talk with everyone.  And hear all their stories.

Here he sympathizes with Ciera about being a teen mom.  Brad says that if his daughter ever got pregnant at that age, he would love her and embrace her with open arms.  WHAT A MONSTER.

Here he empathizes with Vytas being an ex-junkie.  And about having to live in his brother's golden shadow all the time.  WHAT A DICK THIS GUY IS BEING RIGHT NOW.

Oh yeah, and in the first immunity challenge?

Brad lets Ciera wear his hat, just so the sun won't get in her eyes

That fucking ASSHOLE.

Oh yeah, and when the returning players win the first immunity challenge?  And Brad's tribe loses?

Guess who is the first person to applaud them and tell them good job?

So Brad's tribe loses the first challenge.  And they have to stand there as Gervase taunts them and tells them they suck.

Gervase taunts the loved ones   "AND THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT."

The Tadhana men stand there and listen to Gervase being an ass to them

Surprisingly, this Pagong member has less of a social game than B.B.

Brad and his Tadhana family wind up going to the first Tribal Council.  

And, again, it is important to pay attention to exactly WHO is the one who decides that they vote out Marissa tonight.  It's not just Brad.  This will wind up being a group decision.  The girls even wind up voting for Marissa.

The Tadhanas come back to camp, and naturally this monster Brad tells everyone that they all did a good job today

"Our loved ones have fire.  There's a silver lining, let's be happy they have fire."

"I know this.  I don't think there's a single person here who didn't give a hundred percent."


"Puzzle makers, that was a tough puzzle.  I get it.  You're beatin' yourself up.  Don't."

Man, what a dick.  You can practically see the poor sportsmanship and the misogyny just dripping off the guy.

Oh and then Brad Culpepper has the nerve to tell his tribe:

"We're gonna win some challenges.  When we do, let's win with grace."

"I don't want to gloat over them.  Remember, they're gonna lose a loved one."

And this is where the tribe splits apart to decide who would be the easiest to vote out.

Surprisingly, this decision isn't all that hard.

"Of course Gervase talked too much."

"And who are they gonna correlate Gervase with?"  

"His niece."

Which, hey, is the exact same thing that the five man alliance is talking about!

"Whoever we vote out, we gotta remember, is gonna be a stab in somebody's heart tonight."

"I'm a little spoiled right now on Marissa, just because of the way Gervase acted."

The guys agree that it would be easy to vote out Marissa, because Gervase isn't someone they want to work with down the road anyway.  Fuck him.

Remember, in a season like this, there is an extra variable here that no one has ever had to deal with before

Brad even sits down to give us one of the better confessionals of the first episode.  Remember, Brad Culpepper might be kind of a spaz at times.  And he never was the most subtle strategist.  But he always was good for a fun confessional.

This is where he explains to Gervase how he just got his own niece voted out.

""Hey bozo, your loved one may go home.  You're cheerin' about that?"

"Great, you beat us.  But you're beating your own."

"She's goin' home."

"How do you like them apples?"

Is not going to like those apples

So anyway, that's what happens.

Vytas correctly explains that no Survivor season has ever been like this before

"When you win a challenge, you have to worry about what the other tribe is doing at Tribal Council."

"It's a different dynamic."

Marissa puts up a good fight.  Because she isn't cool with what is about to happen.

"I feel like people should just be judging me for my performance, my character, and my attitude."

But it is to no avail.

Because she is voted out unanimously.  Complete with a couple of frowny faces.


And guess who she will later assume was responsible for voting her out?

That guy she lipped off to back on the beach on the first day

If only Marissa had a four word phrase to express her feelings right now...

So Marissa is pissed.  And Marissa is hurt.  And Marissa goes to Redemption Island.

And guess who is right there, waiting for her, and ready to stir up some drama?

Hi, I'm Candice.  I'm a professional muckraker.

And this is where we get the conversation that will lead to a lot of drama down the road.

Pay attention to the fact that Marissa doesn't say this.  It is Candice who says this.  Candice is the one who starts all of this.

"You know why they voted you out?"

"Because you made that comment about not liking Brad."

"You called him out in front of people and he didn't like that."

And as Mikey Walsh said at the start of the Goonies...

Okay, so episode two.

"Welcome to Redemption Island.  Just a bunch of people sittin' PISSED OFF."

Yes.  Marissa is most definitely pissed off.  

She is especially pissed off about those little smiley faces that kept showing up on her votes.

There were at least three of them

"People had the audacity to put a frowny face next to my name, like they were upset about it."

By the way, guess who didn't put a smiley face on his vote?

This guy.   This guy would never do that.  Brad Culpepper is not a bad damn sportsmanship, man.

Rachel tells us that the girls were the ones who put the sad little smiley faces on their votes last night

Okay, so here's the first duel.  Brad's world is about to start crashing down around him.

Yay we all get to watch the big Redemption Island duel!

Ironically, the mood among the members of the Tadhana
(including Brad) at this point is very much, "Go Candice!"

The returning players arrive at the Redemption Island duel, and they scan over to see which one of their loved ones was voted out last night

It sure wasn't Brad.

Gervase sees that they voted out his niece.  And that means game on.

The delightfully awkward first meeting of Survivors and Marissa-less loved ones

So here come the three duelers.

Hey look, there's pissed off Marissa

And there's Candice, who is so pissed off that she's not in the game that she plans to just sabotage everyone

And then there's this other guy

And this is where it all starts going downhill for Mister Brad Culpepper.

"Marissa, you gave a big long stare to your tribe that just voted you out."

"I did."

"'Cause I don't think I should be here at all."

"The person who goes to Redemption should be based off of their performance."

"My performance did not lose our challenge."

She tells Gervase that she was voted out last night because of him.

"You rubbed salt in their wounds!"

"I'm gonna rub some more.  Promise you that."

You know who Gervase is glaring at as he says this.

He is glaring at Mister Former NFL Guy

Candice, of course, loves it.   Teach you guys not to vote me out.  Serves all of you right.

So the duel starts, and Marissa and Candice both stay alive.  

"Marissa and Candice!  Live to fight again in three days!"

As the winner of the duel, Candice gets to pick one person to receive a clue to a hidden immunity idol.  And, naturally, she chooses her husband, John.

John gets his idol clue

Thanks, babe

And here is step three in how Brad is going to unwittingly become one of the all time great Survivor villains.

His best friend just became the only person with an idol clue.  Remember that.

Okay, so now we're back at camp.  The Tadhanas have just witnessed their first duel at Redemption Island.

John laughs because Marissa is SO pissed at them.

Meanwhile, does Brad laugh?  Is Brad sitting there mocking anyone?

No.  Brad's first line of business...

... is to start a round of applause for John's wife.  Congratulations, buddy.  Candice did great.

(happy for his friend) "And she looked fantastic."

Man, what an asshole.

Then the five guys retreat to the well, where they discuss the ramifications of these duels and this twist

Vytas points out that, with this new twist, we want someone out on Redemption who will swap with their loved one.

"Which player on the other tribe is the strongest?  Who is most likely to swap with their loved one?"

Of course there is only one candidate for this.  There is one player over there who the Tadhanas would LOVE to get out of the game.

It's Tyson

Again, let's point out that this is all Vytas's idea.  Vytas is totally the guy calling the shots here.   Brad is simply just a part of the group at this point.  He isn't dictating shit.

"We vote out Rachel next.  And Tyson will have a really tough time not switching with her."

"And that will make their tribe a lot weaker."

And here is the trickiness of a season like Redemption Island, which is a variable that a lot of Survivor fans tend to forget.  This was a complicated season.

John is a little leery about voting out Rachel.  Mainly because he doesn't want Tyson over there defeating his wife on Redemption Island.

John is going to drag his feet on this Rachel vote, and it will come back to haunt him

Okay, so it's time for the second immunity challenge.   Will Tadhana get their revenge against loud-mouth Gervase?


In fact, not only does Gervase single-handedly win this challenge for his tribe, he then starts yelling and taunting the loved ones AGAIN.

This one's for Marissa!  This one's for Champagne!  This one's for Bubbles!

The loved ones have to stand there and listen to this

And now the loved ones on Tadhana are starting to get really frustrated.  As you would be too.

"Is it just me, or is Gervase as stupid as he looks?"

This is where Brad says the one and only mean thing he is ever going to say the entire season.  Which, again, is only because Gervase is being such a horrible sport and he keeps rubbing salt in their wounds.  A guy who used to be a professional athlete wouldn't have any respect for that.  

"I'm looking forward to a physical challenge when I can body slam the fucker."

"I'm gonna throw him in the water.  I swear to God."

And this is where Tadhana follows through on their plan to vote out Rachel.

John drags his feet a little about doing it.  Because he is worried about Candice.

And again, remember, Vytas is the guy who is spearheading all this.  It's not Brad.

"Who is John's allegiance really to?  Is it the five guys?  Or is it to Rachel?"

"This early in the game, to have doubts arise is not a good thing."

Even the girls on the tribe are worried that John is never going to vote for Rachel.  He's too close to her.  He's too worried about Tyson switching and going to Redemption and beating Candice.

"John is NEVER going to vote for her."

But at the end of the day, John is a good little soldier and he votes for Rachel.  And she becomes the second person voted out of the game in Blood vs Water.

Complete with more smiley faces


Oh and guess who had almost NOTHING to do with this vote at all?  Guess who was barely shown being a part of the decision process.

Here's a hint.  It's the guy who waves to her and wishes her good luck.  What an asshole.

Okay, so we're now to episode three.  It's time for Brad to start taking heat for stuff he didn't even do.

Tyson is pissed when he sees that his girlfriend was voted out by the loved ones

It all starts to go downhill when we get to the duel, and Probst asks Rachel what she thinks happened last night.

Note which name she randomly pulls out of her ass.

"I think Brad's lining up his game right now, I think."

"And everybody's just falling under his spell."

Of course, since he's the host, it's Probst's job to turn and to stir up the pot here.

What do you think about that, Tyson?

Tyson turns and he issues a challenge.

"If you guys see me on Redemption Island, none of you have a shot in hell."

Tyson then singles out Brad Culpepper.

"Mister Football over there, smilin' at me like he does..."

Brad then smiles and waves.  Because he's goofy.  And because why not?

"You can be big, but that's the worst thing in this game."

Now Brad defends himself (and his tribe) by saying something that is very reasonable and accurate.  And of course underscores how different this weird hybrid of a Survivor season really was.

"We haven't wanted to vote ANYBODY out but we've HAD to."

"You guys cheer over there after you win."

"And we gotta go home and get rid of one of your loved ones."

"You guys haven't had the difficult conversations we've had."

"Nobody's been voted out over there so don't start throwin' arrows at us."

"We've had to do what's hard."

And how is Brad rewarded for quite accurately summing up the complications of voting out another player's loved one?

He gets yelled at, of course

Get ready for it.  You knew it was coming.

"Difficult?  It should be easy.  You should vote out the weakest person to help the tribe!"

"You voted out two strong people already!"

"Hence, the reason why you lost!"

Brad just shrugs his shoulders.  Whatever.  There's no way we can win at this point.

Then he says... again, quite accurately...

"We're playin' Survivor, babe.  Maybe there's more to it than that."

To which Marissa retorts:

Marissa curses out Brad

Candice laughs.  She's impressed.

At this point even Gervase tells Marissa to pipe down and to lay off the attitude.  Which is pretty rich considering who it's coming from.

"Tone it down, Marissa.  Take it down."

Brad just waves it off for now.  Whatever.  

And of course here we get an unexpected bonus of the whole "Fuck You Brad Culpepper!" showdown.  A lot of people forget that these two things were in the same scene.

Colton starts crying because he can't take all the anger being thrown around.  And because Survivor is hard and the other players are better than him.

So he quits the game like the little bitch that he is

So anyway, the scene starts with yelling, and it ends with Colton quitting.  Don't ever say that Brad Culpepper wasn't good for anything.

Oh yeah, and I have to point out...

That in the following duel...

Brad is right there, rooting along with John, for Candice to win

Candice wins the duel.  And John and Brad are both ecstatic about it.

Candice then gives John a second clue.  Which is a bad idea.

This is going to be a problem for John

Okay, so after the second duel, here's where we stand.

Candice is starting all this shit about Brad Culpepper over at Redemption Island.  Despite the fact that she has never even MET him, she has successfully convinced both Marissa AND Rachel that he was the one who was single handedly responsible for their defeat.  Despite the fact that this is complete B.S. and Brad barely had anything to do with either one of them.

But the perception is beginning to stick.  

And now it is the only thing that people are talking about.

Tyson, of course, is furious that Brad Culpepper took down his girlfriend

"I know Brad is the main reason Rachel was voted off."

"He's creating a huge target on his back."

Meanwhile, over at Tadhana, Brad seems legitimately shocked why he is drawing all this anger all of a sudden.  

Why do people go to Redemption Island and they all suddenly hate him so much?

Again, he points out that this season is a lot different from any other season that has ever come before it.  There is a different variable this time around, and it makes Blood vs Water incredibly tricky.

"In the past, you vote somebody off and their dirty laundry goes with them."

"Now you vote somebody off and the dirty laundry comes back at you."

He sits there and ponders how he can possibly salvage his game at this point

Brad even sits down for a confessional where he recaps what just happened with the whole FUCK YOU BRAD CULPEPPER outburst.

"At Redemption Island, we walk in and all of a sudden..."


He then points out that it is inaccurate to call him the mob boss.

"I mean, I AM calling the shots, but I'm making everyone else feel like they are part of the decision process."

Meanwhile, what do we get when we go to the rest of the Tadhanas?  Are they all sitting around talking about how Brad is a jerk?  Are they all slamming the guy for being some huge egotistical maniac?

Of course not

Here, John and Hayden talk about how Brad is really a solid dude

He's a hard worker.  He listens to everyone.  He excludes no one.

John says that everyone here is much more comfortable because they have a teammate like Brad.

John likes Brad SO much, in fact, that he shares both of his idol clues with him.  Because Brad is the only guy out here who all of them trust.

"I shared my clues with him because I like Brad a lot."

Brad, of course, is ecstatic about this.  

Yeah, the other tribe might hate him.  Yeah, the people on Redemption Island might hate him.  But at least the guy with the idol clues still loves him.  And that means a lot.

Brad and John go hunting for the idol together

Meanwhile, the other guys on the tribe worry that Brad and John are getting a little too close.

As you can guess, this isn't going to be good.

Okay, so we are now up to the third immunity challenge.  This one is called "Sumo at Sea."  This is the challenge where two people square off on a platform, and they try to knock their opponent into the water.

Little known fact, this challenge was originally designed by seven year old Make-a-Wish kid Billy Slater.  It was originally called "Go Fight a Minotaur."

Okay, so the Tadhanas are preparing for the big Sumo at Sea challenge.  

And who do they ask for pointers on how to win a challenge like this?

Well naturally, you ask the guy who used to do this sort of thing for a living

What up, Brad?

Brad pulls his inner Miyagi and tells them that the key to this challenge will be balance

"First learn stand, then learn fly.  Nature rule, Ciera-san, not mine."

Here Brad teaches the Tadhanas how to use your low center of gravity and how to balance.  What an asshole.

He also teaches them how to, well if you NEED to punch Gervase in the face, here's how to do it.

With Brad's tutelage, naturally the Tadhanas go to the immunity challenge and they kick the shit out of the returning players.  

The loved ones finally win their first challenge, right?


Ciera and Katie both get beat by their mom, and it is kind of humiliating

Fun fact:  Ciera would later vote out her mom

So anyway, yeah.  Tadhana loses again.  And that means it is time for another Tribal Council.

Oh, but not before this little moment.  Which I just have to point out.

Brad finally squares off against Gervase

And he beats him fair and square, with no cheap shots

And guess who wins with grace, and who doesn't taunt his fallen opponent?

This guy.

Oh that Brad Culpepper.  What an asshole.

So Tadhana loses immunity for the third straight time, and now the five man alliance is reeling

And this is where Brad decides that his original game plan isn't working.  I mean, come on, Tadhana is 0 and 3.  They haven't won crap.  

This is where Brad realizes that, up to now, he has been approaching this game all wrong.

This is also where fate is gonna now start shitting directly onto his head.

"Coming back from the last challenge, my whole perspective changed."

"That's when the light bulb went..."


"Here's the deal.  I'm running our tribe right now."

"But John's wife, Candice, is KICKIN' it at Redemption Island."

"And let's say she gets back in the game."

"If we go to the merge and they're reconnected, Brad doesn't control John anymore."

"Candice controls John."

"And I'm just kicked to the curb and I'm second fiddle."

And so this is where Brad changes his strategy.  Like everyone else, he is still trying to figure out how to work around Redemption Island, and how to use its weird eccentricities to your advantage.

So this is the solution he comes up with.

"We can't afford to have both John and Candice back in the game."

We vote John out.  And then he takes out Candice over at Redemption for us.

Brad is the one who suggests they take the Candice variable out of the mix, by using their ally John.  And of course the rest of the tribe is more than happy to go along, because they all thought John was too close to Brad anyway.  Besides, John also has those two scary idol clues.

On paper, this is actually a pretty good plan.

Oh, but then Brad of course says something stupid in front of his tribe again.

He can't resist.  He's Brad.  This is what he does.

Brad suggests that they all vote for John.  Except he DOESN'T vote for John, just so he can stay in the guy's good graces when he comes back into the game.

Yeah, I don't think so, says Vytas.

"Nuh uh.  If we make a move like this we gotta suck it up and do it together."

And here is the problem that Brad Culpepper runs into time and time again when it comes to Survivor.  Which is sort of funny, in a way, when you realize how much of an asshole he is always perceived as.

"Brad just doesn't want to be the bad guy."

Okay, so time for the third Tribal Council.  And time for the big John Cody blindside.

As always, please note that Brad isn't doing this because is trying to be an asshole.  He is doing it because he is trying to work around the tricky Redemption Island variable.

He is doing it because he wants Candice out of the game.  He wants to become John's number one ally down the road.

Brad tells Probst he is sensitive to the fact that he seems to get blamed for everyone who is voted out.

"It's not true but that's the assumption."

I mean, I'm gonna get blamed for John's boot this time anyway.  So why not?

And then the votes start to come in.

See ya John.  Note the smiley face.

I love the Brad Culpepper side eye here.  He can't even look over to see the reaction.

Huh.  Well fuck you too, buddy.

And just like that, Brad's best friend and number one ally has just been voted out of the game.  And this time, for the first time ever, it actually WAS all because of Brad.

Katie and Ciera laugh because they know how much heat Brad is going to take over this.  I mean, he just voted out Candice's HUSBAND.

That's almost as amazing as voting out your MOM.

*smuff*  Bye John.

Meanwhile, it is now dawning on Brad that...

You know, I might actually take some heat over this one.

And this is where the shit is going to hit the fan for our friend, Mister Brad Culpepper.

Because John shows up at Redemption Island.  And Candice realizes who was responsible for this.

And they just do it right there in the three-person shelter

And meanwhile Marissa is like..

"Well THIS isn't going to be uncomfortable."

Okay so we're now to episode four.  Brad Culpepper is about to get a Jason Siska-level bitchslap by the gods of Survivor.

And hey, guess what?  It starts with Brad talking too much and saying something stupid again!

"The strategy now is loved ones.  We need people around who have loved ones on the other tribe.  John didn't have that."

By the way, guess who ELSE doesn't have a loved one around anymore?

That's right.  John's other good ally, Caleb.

Fun fact:  Colton sucks

So anyway, yeah.  Brad's game is basically a turd spinning slowly and slowly as it goes down to the toilet bowl now.  And it's not going to get any prettier from here.

Because that's right, it's time for the next duel!

"Come on in, guys!"

Here comes Candice.   Right out in front.

And guess what happens when you vote out her husband?

It is never said.  But I believe the FUCK YOU BRAD CULPEPPER has been implied.

Ready for Jeff to ask her about that angry middle finger

Please ask me about it.  Please ask me about it.  Please ask me about it.

Naturally, Probst can't resist.

"Candice, what was it like last night seeing your husband walk in?"

"I was really upset."

"Upset how?"

"I wanted somebody to come that she and I could work together to beat."

"Somebody you could hate."

"Somebody I could HATE."

"Like Brad Culpepper!"

Annnnnnd here we go.

What up, Brad?

By the way, I should point out that when they cut to the long shot of Candice staring him down, Brad isn't actually staring back at her.  He is simply looking down at the ground, and trying to avoid all eye contact.  See the diagram below.

Now Candice starts to mock him over the fact that he won't look her in the eyes.  She starts taunting him the way Gervase would have taunted him.

"Just, you know, look away."

"You're a child."

Probst, of course, has to ask Monica what she thinks about all this.

"Monica, EVERY time we come here, your husband gets drilled."

She does her best to defend him.  But what can she do?  She has no more idea what is going on over there than anyone else does.

"You know, there's not just one person voting.  It's an entire tribe voting."

Brad then points out (correctly) that most of the votes so far have been unanimous.

And I'm not even the one drawing the damn smiley faces!

Candice isn't done with her little hit piece though.

"Monica, we've been listening to the people who get voted off."

"About how he's shushing the women."

"He's never shushed a woman!"

"Ask John.  Did you ever see me shush a woman?"

Even John can't back up his wife on this one.  He says he has never seen Brad shush a woman.

"I didn't see it."

"When Marissa came to our camp she felt about this small."

Brad, of course, can't let this last accusation go.  At this point now they are attacking his character.

"Ask your husband if I've hushed anybody."

"Did I hush you?"

"He didn't hush me."

"No, he didn't hush a man who's bigger than him.  Who can beat his ass."

All kidding aside, this is really one of the more uncomfortable scenes in Survivor history.  Especially when it is all bullshit.  In fact Candice even admitted it was bullshit after the season was over.  In interviews, she said that anything is fair in the game of Survivor, and she was pissed at Brad and Monica, and she wanted to make it tough for them.  Because screw Monica for voting her out, and screw Brad for voting her husband out.  Screw you guys for not giving me a chance to play, I'm taking you both down.

John, of course, won't go so far as to back up his wife's accusations.  But he does have an important memo he feels he should share with everyone.

"I will say that, accusations aside, everybody that's been voted out and been sent to Redemption Island.  Every single time it's been Brad's idea."

"Maybe people should start thinking about knocking the king off his throne."

After all this drama, and screaming, and the accusations, the duel itself that follows is fairly anticlimactic.  

Especially because it's a puzzle, and puzzles are boring

Although we do get these two fun little moments

"Candice placing a piece."

"She's always calm."

"Unless she's yelling at Culpepper."

"Cut my baby, I cut you."

And I do like this one.

Ever the optimist, even the beaten-down Brad still thinks he can regain his social standing in the middle of the duel

Especially when he sees that John has made a mistake with his puzzle

"I could still get John to like me again.  Watch."

"John, one of yours doesn't fit.  Right hand side."

"Of all people to give John a hand, it was Brad Culpepper."

John takes Brad's advice and he winds up winning the duel

John!  Wins the duel!

"Candice!  Finishes second!"

A good sport as always.  After all that, Brad still applauds for them.  Nice job.

So Marissa is out of the game, and this is where Candice decides she wants to dig the knife into the Culpeppers even further

Because John gets to decide who gets a clue to the hidden immunity idol.

And Candice, of course, has one hated candidate in mind

Hmmmm.  Who should I give the clue to?  Who do I want to make a target out of?

"Let's give it to Monica."

It's the forgotten variable in the whole Cody/Culpepper drama.  People forget how angry Candice was at Monica.

"John, does she tell you what to do all the time?"

"She does.  I don't always listen."

"Jeff, that's what husbands and wives do."

So that's that.

"I'll give the clue to Monica."

Why?  I don't know.  Spite.

"Maybe just to spread the love a little bit."

"So you're trying to take a Culpepper down."

"It's a game, Jeff.   I mean, there's nothing personal.  They just seem to have a lot of power right now."

Naturally, Monica is leery of accepting any sort of an idol clue from the Codys.  Partially because she is in a strong alliance already, and she doesn't want to spook anyone, and partially because she knows Candice hates her guts, and she's not an idiot.   So Monica does the smart thing for Monica and she throws it in the fire.

Yeah, no thanks.

"Walk down there, put it in the fire."

"We're really kind of not interested over here."

"I don't think our tribe's interested."

This is definitely not the outcome that Candice was expecting.  And she shows her displeasure to her husband.  Well, so much for that plan.

"Good job, Mon."

This, of course, is the beginning of a wonderful run of episodes where the players start burning every single idol clue that Probst tries to give them.  Which you know must have pissed him off something royally since Probst pretty much masturbates at the altar of "idol plays" and "voting off your mom" and "BIG MOVES!" these days.  He must have HATED it when the players in Blood vs Water refused to even bother trying to find an idol.  And yes, of course you know that is going to be a Funny 115 entry one of these days.  Meta things that piss off Probst are always a lot of fun to write about.

Like this, for example.  You know how much Probst must have hated this.  HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO MY COACH AND MY OZZY!!!

So anyway, Monica refuses the clue, Candice and John's plan to take her down doesn't work out, and all is right in the world.  Monica did what was best for Monica, the clue got burned, and that was that.

But that doesn't mean Candice can't get in one last little dig at her.

"Doin' what she's told."

Which is pretty amusing when you realize Candice just told her husband what to do about two minutes before this.

Eat shit, Candice.  Eat all of the shit.

So that's it for the blowout between Candice and the Culpeppers.  It was ugly, it was mean spirited, it was completely uncalled for, and you'd THINK that it would only get nastier from here.  After all, you'd think this would just be a gateway into even more nastiness, especially because at the very least there will be at least one more duel featuring both of the Codys and both of the Culpeppers.

However, in a season that features a lot of twists and turns, here comes one of the more unexpected ones.

It turns out that John and Candice start to enjoy all the time they are spending together on Redemption Island.

I mean, they aren't in the game, true.  But at least now they get to spend an island honeymoon together.  Right now it is just the two of them out here.

So maybe instead of cursing Brad Culpepper, maybe they really should be thanking him.  I mean, if not for nice guy Brad Culpepper, maybe the two of them wouldn't be out here on Redemption having the time of their lives.

So that's pretty much the end of the nastiness between Candice and the Culpeppers.  It started with the Marissa vote out, it peaked with the duel after John was voted out, and this is the last time we will see it again in the episodes.  From this point on, Candice and John are pretty much just on an endless honeymoon.  

Of course, there are OTHER variables that explain why the rivalry dies out as well, so let's get into them.

It's time to wrap up the end of the sad Brad Culpepper tragedy.

Back on the returning players tribe, Monica is having a breakdown because everyone is being so mean to her husband

"If I know Brad, he's the first one up, he's the first one making fire."

"He's the one making sure everyone is fed."

"He's doing everything he can to make it easier for our loved ones on the other side."

"And I guess that just puts a target on your back."

Publicly, Monica is saying all the right things because she knows her husband is a good guy, and she knows he would never shush anyone.  Especially a female.  She knows that everything Candice was saying was total B.S.

But privately?

Privately, Monica is a little more honest about what she thinks Brad's chances are right about now.

"Is there ever gonna be a duel that my husband is not verbally accosted?  By a bunch of people who don't even know him?"

"You know, leaders have followers."

"And if that's the case then somebody's buyin' what he's sellin'."

And now, her prediction.  Which turns out to be remarkably accurate.

"Brad IS the strongest one out here."

"If he makes it to the merge I won't believe it."

And yep.  You guessed it.  Here comes the inevitable Brad Culpepper blindside.

Frankly, with his storyline, I think it's amazing it took four episodes.

Back at Tadhana, the only thing that anyone can talk about is Candice's Redemption Island outburst

"That's not Redemption Island.  It's the Brad bashing hour."

"They're mad when we vote out a loved one, and then somebody's mad when we don't."

I love this next quote, by the way.

"Nobody's mad at YOU guys."

They're mad at ME!

Brad, of course, is pretty beaten down by what happened at Redemption Arena today.  Because it's one thing for everyone to throw daggers at him.  Now they are throwing daggers at his wife.  And for him, this just isn't fun anymore.  At this point, you can sort of just see it in his eyes.  None of this is fun.  He just wants it to end.

"Yeah, today was a rough day."

"I wasn't expecting Candice to be so... uh... personal."

The plan for Tadhana at this point is to vote out Caleb.  


And there's really only one reason why Caleb has any sort of a target on his back.  Basically, Brad wants to vote somebody out who doesn't have any loved ones on the other side.  He is looking for the ONE person he can vote out, where he won't get yelled at.

Yes, this is how far Brad Culpepper's morale has sunk.  He has gone from "Wow!  I love Survivor!  This is so exciting!"  And now he is at, "Let's get this over with.  I just don't want to get yelled at."

And remember, this is only the fourth episode.

"If Caleb rolls out there on the arena floor, nobody's gonna be screamin' at me."

Okay, I think we can pretty much skip to the end here.

The returning players win immunity for the fourth straight time

Galang wins their fourth in a row!

Well that sucks

Brad then promises the girls that the vote is going to be for Caleb tonight, and that both of them are safe.  He says that voting out Caleb would more or less be a peace offering to the other tribe, and this is something they need to do.

Here he is explaining this while shushing them

He also reiterates to both Katie and Ciera that he has never lied to them before, and he is not lying to them now.

And then Brad Culpepper, that notorious villain, that asshole above all assholes, gives his final confessional where he spells out what a huge jerk he has been this entire time.

"All I ever wanted to do was keep this tribe strong."

And then, BAM.  Caleb pulls a fast one on Brad at Tribal Council, and he flips around the vote on Brad instead.  

"Brad when you sit at home, and you fantasize about being on Survivor, this is not how it goes."

Boy, you sure said that right.

And just like that...


Brad finally gets the mercy killing that he should have gotten about two episodes ago.

And what does he do?  

What does this arrogant creep who is terrible to everyone and is a total self-centered egotistical jerk do after Caleb turns the vote around and blindsides him?

"Sorry dude.  You mess with the bull, you get the horns."

After he is blindsided...

He reaches over to Caleb.

And he congratulates him.

"Good job.  Nice work.  No hard feelings."

Man that Brad Culpepper is just a fucking asshole.

"Good luck Ciera.  It was nice playing with you."

"I made a bad move.  It was my fault."

By the way, check out Ciera's eyes in that last picture.  When Brad reaches over to congratulate Caleb, she has no idea what he is doing.  She just hears him reaching over.  I bet if you asked her in an interview, she would say she was scared shitless because she thought Brad was going to punch Caleb out.  In any case, this is my new favorite Ciera picture.

Guys, she voted out her MOM

And so thus ends the tale of Brad Culpepper.

From the top of the world to the bottom of the dump, in just four episodes.  It was a pretty amazing story arc.

He even gets a couple of good quotes off on the way out.

"Guys, I'm not mad."

"... not like everybody else."

And then maybe my favorite Brad Culpepper quote of all time.

"The tribe has spoken.  Head off to Redemption Island, where you will find John and Candice.  Good luck."

"Oh THAT'S gonna be fun."


Now you'd think that is the end of Brad Culpepper's story arc.  But it actually isn't.  He actually has a pretty good moment during his stay on Redemption Island.  This is also the part where I point out that, if I've done my job right, maybe I can actually get you to tear up while you are reading this last section.  This is one of those rare Survivor moments that can actually bring a tear to my eye when I am watching the episodes.

Okay, so Brad arrives on Redemption Island.  Or as I like to say, he interrupts John and Candice's 48-hour island sex romp.

"Kudos to Caleb.  He got me.  That was a great move."

Man, what an asshole.

Oh, and what is the first thing this monster does when he sees John and Candice?


He apologizes.

I'm sorry Candice.  I'm sorry John.  I completely understand if you guys are mad at me.  Maybe we can settle this one day by grabbing some beers and going to an antique mall.

And then we get to the duel.

The first thing Monica does when she sees Brad is she tearfully offers to take his place.  She will personally take a bullet just so her beloved husband can get back in the game.

But Brad will have none of it.

No way, he says, while completely not shushing her.

"All I want, before I leave, is for everyone to know that I'm not a jerk."

"My tribe already knows that.  I just want the rest of you to know that before I'm gone."

And with that, Brad is ready to make his last stand.

But then, a funny thing happens.  Something you never would expect if you just went on Candice's word that Brad was simply this egotistical asshole.

Brad winds up in a very close challenge against the Codys

And the entire returning player tribe starts rooting for him

Even Gervase starts cheering for him.  All of a sudden Brad becomes the big fan favorite that he was back when he was a football player.

And just like that, with the cheers of the Galang tribe driving him to glory.

Brad finally wins his first challenge of his Survivor experience

Just like that, for maybe the first time ever....

Redemption Island has actually redeemed someone.

"Brad!  Stays alive!  He beats Candice!"

Like I said, this is one of the very few Survivor scenes that can actually bring a tear to my eye

Yo Adrian Monica, I did it!   Yo Adrian Monica, we did it!

The one fleeting moment of glory in his Survivor experience.  Thank you Brad Culpepper.

And then, in his very last moment of Brad Culpepper being an enormous asshole.

He applauds for Candice and tells her good job.

Brad Culpepper might not have been the best Survivor player in the world.  He might not have been the biggest fan favorite in the world.  Hell, one could argue he was easily one of the biggest doofus spazzes in the history of the show.  But damnit, I will NOT sit here and let any more history pass with Survivor fans thinking he was just this enormous asshole.  Brad Culpepper was not an asshole.  He wasn't an asshole at ANY point during Blood vs. Water.  I mean, go back through this entry, and point out one time where he actually said or did anything that was actually mean to someone.  You can't do it.  That footage doesn't exist.  All you will find is Brad going out of his way, over and over, to be a good sport and to try to be nice to people.

Brad Culpepper might not have been a great Survivor player, but he was a good guy, and the Blood vs Water episodes showed that over and over and over.  In fact, after writing this entry, I am more convinced now than ever that Brad should have been the first player voted back when they did Second Chances.  In my opinion, no player in the history of the show has EVER needed more of a redemption story than he does.  And yes, I am even including Silas in this.  

Still waiting for that call back

That was so fucked up when America snubbed Brad and they didn't vote for him to get a second chance in Cambodia.  I just hope everyone who is reading this realizes that.  And this is why I hope America never ever EVER gets to cast a vote at a final Tribal Council.  Survivor fans can never (and will never) be trusted to vote for the right people.  They just can't.

I mean, my god.  Vytas?

Brad was even a good sport when he lost the returnee vote on national TV. 

 mean, come on, to end this entry, how about I post Brad's final words for Monica right after he loses his last duel?  Tell me this isn't an awesome speech from an awesomely great guy.  These are the kind of sentiments that can bring a tear to your eye. Who else has ever had a sweeter final speech than this one?

"Monica, I came on here as a shield."

"Through my fault, or no fault of my own, I probably became an anchor."

"You're free.  Wind's blowin'.  Sail."

"Sail hard."

And just like that, he was out of our lives.  Never to be seen again.

Until he came back and started shushing everyone again and antiquing a couple of seasons later in Game Changers.

Thank you, Brad Culpepper.  Thank you for everything.

Thank you for being a friend

And also, fuck you.

P.S.  Here's the thing with this entry.  This was originally supposed to be the single most important entry on the Funny 115.  

When I originally sat down to plan F115 version three, I had a couple of goals in mind, but #1 out of all of them was, "I want to write something that defends Brad Culpepper."  Because in my mind, that was something I had never seen anyone do before on the internet.  All you saw prior to me planning this entry was "Brad Culpepper sucks."  Or "Brad Culpepper is an ass."  Or the worst offender of them all, that moron who wrote how Brad was a sexist asshole and how he was killing Survivor.  Again, when I first sat down to plan this entry, all I remember thinking was, my God, I could be the first person EVER to point out that Brad is actually a pretty good guy.  And that there is no footage anywhere to back up what everyone was saying about him.  For me, this was one of those "Chris Daugherty Moments" where this was an entry I knew could make a world of difference when it came to how a player might be perceived one day.  And that's why I always told myself before writing it, when you do the Brad Culpepper entry, you absolutely have to nail it.  Out of all the entries on version three, this one is the important one.

But then, along the way, a funny thing happened.

A few weeks before I got to my big Brad Culpepper redemption entry, it was announced that Brad was going to come back as a contestant on Survivor: Game Changers.  And along with the cast announcement came this picture, where he held up a sign and he totally went along with the joke that everyone was always yelling at him.

"Troyzan?  What kind of a name is that!?
It's Fuck You B. Culpepper's Island!"

The minute I saw that picture, I was immediately struck by two competing emotions.  The first one was YES!  HE DID IT!  That's the picture that is going to win everyone over about him.  Once people realize he is in on the joke, it will be impossible for everyone in the fan base to think he is a douchebag now.

The other emotion, of course, was NOOOO.  I wanted to get my entry out there before everyone came around on him.  Because I knew people were going to come around on him eventually, you just can't really hate the guy if you go back and you rewatch Blood vs Water again.  So this concept of Brad suddenly being re-cast out of nowhere, and turning into a fan favorite before I could actually write anything about him was something that sort of caught me off guard.  It also tells me that I really need to write these entries a lot faster.

In any case, now please let the truth be known.  I have always loved Brad Culpepper.  I can think of no more noble purpose for the Funny 115 than to help get this guy the redemption that he has always deserved.  Of course, he managed to do it on his own pretty much just by holding up that picture, but that doesn't change the fact that the ONLY reason I start every entry with what I like to call "The Shaming of the Culpepper" is because I wanted to take something negative and help turn it into something positive.  The only reason I curse him out at the start of each entry is because I wanted to help take the sting away of something that was probably a very hurtful time of his life, and I wanted to make it fun.  So yes, there has always been a method to my madness with those FUCK YOU BRAD CULPEPPER pictures at the start of each entry.  Which is good, because I'm not planning to end that tradition any time soon.  There will always be a place for FUCK YOU BRAD CULPEPPER when it comes to the Funny 115.   Even if no, of course I don't mean it.  If anything I am just making fun of all the people out there who hated him so much.

P.P.S.  There are a lot of great Brad Culpepper fan interaction stories floating around out there on the internet, but this is my favorite one.

During Blood vs. Water, my friend Dwight haaaaated Brad Culpepper. He just didn't like the way Brad played the game. I think he thought that Brad wasn't a good sport. Something about being rude or playing too hard or blah blah blah. Honestly I don't really know the details because I tend to stop listening when people complain about Brad. For one thing, he's hilarious. Also, I personally like Brad's game style and thought that he had a great attitude. Anyone who had a major problem with Brad just wasn't on *his level*, in my opinion.

Anyway, so my friend Dwight's birthday was coming around and I knew it was a great time to really aggravate his Fuck You Brad Culpepper emotions. I knew these emotions existed because I saw them flare up every time Dwight and I watched a B v W episode. But I didn't know how deep they went. So I prepared a little birthday package to find out.

I put a few different things in this birthday package. I forged a letter from Brad Culpepper congratulating Dwight for being nominated the president of the local chapter of the Brad Culpepper fan club. Obviously there is no local chapter of the Brad Culpepper fan club, but I knew it would just piss Dwight off to even be associated with a fictional concept of this club. I also had a shirt made with the number 76 on the back of it (one of Brad's numbers during his time on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.)

And then to seal the deal... I contacted Mr. Culpepper himself.

It took a little bit of trying, but I finally got a hold of him at his law office in Tampa.  (Now that I think about it, I wonder if there are any court transcripts or recordings of Culpepper in action in the courtroom? I'll have to look that up sometime). I told Brad that my friend Dwight was his biggest fan. We had elected Dwight the president of our local fan club that was dedicated to Culpepper awesomeness, I told him.  Brad was flattered.  I felt a little guilty for lying, but oh well fuck it.

I told Brad I had two humble requests:

1) You don't happen to have any signed head shots from your glory days in the NFL do you? Dwight would absolutely shit his pants with birthday joy if any of those showed up at his doorstep on his big day.

2) Do you have the time to record a short video for Dwight, wishing him happy birthday and congratulating him on his recent presidential election? It would mean THE WORLD to him.

Well guess what... Brad came through like a true champion. He sent me a couple awesome 8x10 signed portraits of himself lined up on the line during his football glory days. And they were signed with nice messages too -- "Happy Birthday Dwight!" and "Congratulations Dwight!" Really cool of him to do that.

And he also emailed me the video!!!! It's a 10-15 second video of Brad standing in front of the ocean in Florida wishing my friend Dwight a happy birthday and also insulting me. He said something like "Dwight, Happy Birthday my man. Thanks for being a fan. You're a real winner. Not like that clown Aaron."

Anyway, I burned the video on a DVD and put everything in a package that I left on Dwight's doorstep. I made the return address look like it came from Brad Culpepper and put stamps on it and everything. Dwight's mind was blown and he still has no idea what happened.

TLDR: Brad is a great dude!


P.P.P.P.S.  This is why I have some of the greatest readers.  Here are some of the FUCK YOU BRAD CULPEPPER parody pictures that readers of mine sent in that I have judged too weird to use in an entry.  A lot of them are really funny, but I thought they were too off kilter to use in a writeup.  But now, thanks to the miracle of the internet, and to my tradition of endless P.S.'s, hey, now they can see the light of day.  Thanks to anyone and everyone who keeps sending me ideas for these things.  You should see how many fun ones I have lined up for the next 80+ entries.

I really wanted to use this one in an entry, but I just couldn't.

If you don't know it, this is a parody of my book about the first three Survivor seasons.  Which, hey, is available on Amazon!

P.P.P.P.P.P.S.  Here is a fun little video to end the entry.  Thank you to Ryan Weiss for creating this.

** Thanks to about twenty different people who sent me the FUBC picture at the top.  And thank you to Cory Gage, Aaron Conn, Ryan Weiss, Will Holston, and Tom Dube (among others) who sent me the rejected FUBC pictures **

<------ #85

Back to The Funny 115 - The Third One

#83 ------>