The Funny 115 - The Third One

#92.  Steve says the N-Word(s)
Redemption Island - episodes 10 and 11

On versions one and two of the Funny 115, I had a couple of entries that I liked to call "hidden gems."  

These were the entries that no one ever would have predicted would wind up on a list of the funniest Survivor moments.  And they are usually some of my favorite entries that I get to write up.  The reason I like entries like this is because the moments themselves are so subtle, and they often happen so quick, that most people never catch them unless they are paying super close attention to the episodes.  In fact, a couple of the "hidden gems" I have written about on the Funny 115 up to this point are things that even slipped past my attention the first couple of times I watched the episodes.  Sometimes other people have to point these kinds of things out to me.  And because now I am discovering something funny about the show too, these then become the super obscure Funny 115 entries that I REALLY love.

If you want examples of three of my favorite hidden gems from versions one and two of the Funny 115, go read Eliza's Last Stand.   Or Coach and the Float Toy Fail.  Or my personal favorite hidden gem on any of the Funny 115s, Boston Rob and The Return of the Fafaru.

He hasn't seen something that disturbing since Patricia's armpits

And hey!  Speaking of Boston Rob, let's get to a fun little hidden gem from Redemption Island!  

I bet you never thought you would hear that sentence.

This is one of those entries that I can guarantee hardly anyone out there has ever caught before.  And the reason I can say that is because this is one of those things that I never even caught before.  And remember, all I do when I watch Survivor these days is I sit there and I look for this stuff.  This is one of those things that slipped past my attention every single time I watched Redemption Island.  It is only because of a sharp-eyed reader of mine named Mr. Tinkertrain that I even know about it at all.  So if you wind up enjoying this entry after you read it, you can thank him.  He is the one who told me about it.

Okay, so are you ready for it?  

Get ready, this is a quick entry.

It also stars the king of the deadpan humor, Steve Wright

Okay, so there's this guy named Steve on Redemption Island.  

Remember him?

Steve is this guy

If you don't remember Steve, don't worry about it.  Most people don't.  It's not like he was all that dynamic or anything.

Steve was this middle aged white guy on Zapatera who had a very dry sense of humor, and who had a very deadpan way of speaking.  And he was actually really funny if you listen to what he is saying.  But again, don't worry about that if you don't remember him yet.  If you don't know Steve Wright now, trust me, you will know him by the end of the countdown.  He is going to wind up being a Funny 115 favorite.

"So we threw all our votes at Rob last night and..."

[imitating sad trombone music]  "Whomp whomp."

In episode ten of Redemption Island ("Rice Wars"), Steve gets in a really nasty fight with Phillip over the distribution of rice.  

This is one of those scenes that nearly everyone who has watched RI remembers, because it is one of the nastiest and most uncomfortable moments of the season.  

I don't want to delve into Steve and Phillip's Rice Wars argument too much, because frankly that whole episode sucks, and I don't really feel like writing about it any more than I have to.  But it is necessary to at least give you the short version of Rice Wars to point out why this entry is so funny.  So here we go.  Here is the short version of how... well... I guess we can go to Boston Rob to sum up what we are about to see.  

Boston Rob?

"Phillip somehow managed to make a war about white rice racial."

Yep.  Here we go.  

Philip is about to turn an argument about rice into an argument about race.

And you wonder why Redemption Island isn't a fun season to watch.

"I said naggers.  Naggers!"

Okay, so it's episode ten of Redemption Island.

The Zapateras are down six members to three at this point, and all hope for the three remaining minorities underdogs appears to be lost.

All they can really do at this point is sit around, and eat their rice, and wait for Boston Rob and the Boston Rob Fan Club to slowly pick them off.

Julie, Steve, and Ralph.  The final three Zapateras.

The three Zapateras don't really have much of a strategy at this point.  They know they are toast.

The only trump card they can really play at this point is the fact that Phillip is still in the game, and that everyone hates Phillip.  

And why does everyone hate Phillip?  

Well because Phillip is a lunatic, of course.  

I mean, David even said so at the last Tribal Council.  Frankekwa even said so at the first Tribal Council.  It's not like this is really a surprise to anyone.  Phillip has been nuts since the moment they got out here.

"Jeff, I am a former Special Agent."

"You are a crazy person."

"Survivor is about big moves.  You have to make big moves if you want to build a resume."

"You sound like a lunatic."

So Phillip is nuts, and everyone hates him.

And at this point the Zapateras decide, well fuck it.  Let's just annoy Phillip and try to get him to snap.  Then maybe the Ometepes will get sick of him and they will vote him out instead of one of us.

This really isn't all that bad a strategy at this point.

Especially because the guy walks around in a saggy diaper that leaks

Looks like somebody's got a pantload

Okay, so operation "Let's Annoy Phillip" has begun.  

And this is where we get an argument about rice that quickly turns racial.

Here are the highlights.

There's Phillip.  Let's fuck with his shit.

"Mmmm, there's so much rice here.  I can't believe we can eat so much of it."

The Zapateras eat extra portions in front of him just to set him off

And guess what?  It works.

Phillip is soon yelling at them about hogging all the rice.  And about not sharing their rice with the Ometepes.

A big war starts.

Pardon me if I sort of skip right through this.

And then we get to the part that everyone remembers.

"I'm a very reasonable person to deal with."

"You're not reasonable at all, dude, you're a fucking lunatic."

And uh oh.  This is like calling Otto from A Fish Called Wanda "stupid."

Here we go.

"That's your perception."

"Anytime somebody of my color gets up in one of your faces, then you feel like 'I'm a lunatic.'"

  "I'm crazy."

Rob and Grant:  "Ooooooooh!"

"He just brought in the race card!"

I love Steve's reaction to this.

"You're making this a black and white thing now?"

"Remember, I'm the chief of counter intelligence."

So anyway, there is the short version of the famous Rice Wars fight.  Phillip gets mad that Zapetera is hogging the rice, and he yells at them.  And then Steve tells him a lunatic and to go away.  Then Phillip brings in the race card.  

You'd think this would be over now, because the argument is over.  But Phillip continues to harp on it for the rest of the day.

"Every time I make an argument, it's I'm Crazy."

Phillip continues to harp on Steve for basically calling him the N word.

By the end of the day, the two of them can't stand one another.  Now Steve is just openly mocking him every time he sees him.

"Look, I became a federal agent."

And again, you'd think this would be over.  But then Phillip goes on a tirade about it again that night at Tribal Council.

"Because he doesn't want to use the N word, he calls me crazy."

"So you're saying when Steve calls you crazy, he's actually calling you the N word."

This is what we have to deal with out here, Jeff.

Phillip, seriously.  What the fuck?

And now we get to the part of the entry that you probably never caught before.

Again, here are the exact comments I got a couple of months ago from a reader of mine on Survivor Sucks named Mr. Tinkertrain.  If you have never caught Steve's sneaky little subtle sense of humor before, here you go.  

This is Steve Wright 's drier-than-Butch's-woodpile-in-the-Amazon humor in a nutshell.

Hey Mario, one of the little things from Redemption Island that makes me laugh is that after the whole Rice Wars debacle with Phillip equating Steve calling him crazy with Steve calling him "the n word," Steve never again refers to Phillip by name.  After that moment, Steve calls him Nimrod or Numbnuts.  

In other words, N-words

When I read this for the first time I was like, oh my God, is that seriously true?  How did I never catch that before?  Steve seriously always calls him some variant of an N-word?

And it's true!  I actually went back and I found the scenes.  Here they are.

This is the first scene in episode 11.  It is the morning after the "Steve called me the N-word" Tribal Council.

"Maybe he'll jump off."

And here is a scene later in episode eleven.

This is where Steve tries to get the Ometepe girls to turn on Rob tonight and to vote out their puppet master.

Steve tells the girls that he and Ralph are going to vote for Rob tonight

"Rob isn't planning to take you to the finals."

"He'll start picking you guys off.  He's gonna take Nimrod to the finals."


"Rob knows nobody'll vote for Nimrod."

Sure enough, Steve mentions Phillip two times after "Rice Wars", and both times he calls him an N-word.  I never caught it before, I'm pretty sure you never caught it before, and hey there you go.  Now there is a fun little hidden gem to look for when you watch Redemption Island.  

And it's too bad that Steve was voted out at the end of episode eleven.  Otherwise who knows what other words he might have come up with had he stayed around a little longer.

At the end of the day, all I'm saying that you should watch for Steve the next time you watch Redemption Island.  No, it's not the best season in the world.  No one is saying it is.  But there was at least one guy out there who had a sneaky little sense of humor if you start paying attention to him.

[imitating sad trombone music]  "Whomp whomp."

And, of course, you knew I couldn't end this entry without this.

"The N-Word!"

"Phillip!  Calling me crazy!"

P.S.  From a reader of mine named Kodi Ross:

I'm sorry.  I must have had dry mouth.

** thanks to Kevin Cummins and Ingi Óskarsson for coming up with the "Neophyte" and "Nevernude" pictures. **

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