The Funny 115 - The Third One

#94. The Molecular Substrate
One World - episode 11

If you had to pick the oddest player between season 21 (Nicaragua) and season 30 (Worlds Apart), who would you pick?  

Would you pick Fabio, the surfer/pothead who was once distracted by a hermit crab in the middle of a confessional?  And who later went on to pull off one of the most bizarre wins in the history of Survivor?


Or what about Vince, the befeathered coconut vendor from Worlds Apart?  Whose only goals in Survivor were to A) seek truth, and B) break the restraining order and get within 100 yards of Jenn?

I don't know who you would pick as the strangest character between seasons 21 and 30, but for my money somewhere in the top ten you pretty much have to include Tarzan from One World.  Mainly because I can't think of another player in the history of Survivor who was anything like him.


Why was Tarzan so unique among the annals of Survivor old guys?  Well, for starters, the guy was a genius.  And I'm not talking like a Heidi Strobel genius, I'm talking an actual genius who does actual brilliant things for a living.  I mean, a lot of people might remember him for his unique (and extensively bizarre) vocabulary, but don't forget that Tarzan was a brilliant plastic surgeon in real life.  He not only talked the talk, he walked the walk.  I mean, come on, in his Survivor bio, he listed two of his favorite hobbies as "entomology and primatology."  Which, in the words of the average layperson, means he studies insects and primates.  That's what the guy does for fun.

He also studies jazz fingers

Tarzan was old.  He could barely move.  He had an odd sense of humor.  But he was a genius.  And like most geniuses, he had very limited people skills.  Probably because, like most geniuses in specialized professions, like doctors, he had a hard time trying to communicate with laypeople.  Or Kat.  I mean, how does a brilliant sixty-four-year old entomologist talk about duckies and ponies with Kat?

So here you have Tarzan, one of the oddest players in the history of Survivor, with one of the oddest vocabularies, and the weirdest choices of words, and he's stuck on a completely terrible boring waste of a season like One World.  I don't know what you would say about that, but what I say is thank God that One World had him in its cast at all.  That season would be pretty much unwatchable if Tarzan hadn't been there to weird it up at least once every other episode.

Plus he technically might also be a walrus

So anyway, here is one of the rare fun moments from One World, where Tarzan pulls some big scientific words completely and randomly out of his butt, and it flusters Jeff Probst because he has absolutely no idea how to respond.  It's one of those rare moments where Probst is caught off guard because he has absolutely no clue what he is supposed to say, and his reaction makes me laugh because it is sort of cute.  

Hopefully you remember this scene from the episode eleven reward challenge, but if you don't, then enjoy.  

If this saves you from having to sit through the rest of One World, then I have done my job.

It's episode eleven of One World, and Tarzan and Troyzan are the last two men remaining in the game.

Leif was just voted out at Tribal Council the night before, and that means it is just the two men left against six of the women.  Which is a problem when one of the women is Kim, and she is running the game like a god damn level boss.  Once Leif leaves the game, it's over.  You might as well just hand her the check.

Spoiler alert

So Kim is running the show, the men have no chance to stop her, and that is pretty much that.  Pretty much everyone knows what is going to happen.  

Well, actually, that's not true.

There is ONE guy here who thinks he still has a chance, and who is giving it everything he's got.

Yes, I can only be talking about the game-changing self-congratulatory Troyzan

Troyzan has been the thorn in the women's side for most of the game up to this point.


Well mainly because, in an attempt to get more airtime, he has decided to give himself a catchphrase.  And every time he does something good, he turns and he yells it at them.

Yes, it is exactly as annoying as it sounds.

And look, here is Troyzan's catchphrase now.  Get ready to hear it a lot.

By the way, little trivia note, this was NOT Troyzan's first attempt at a Survivor catchphrase.  He actually tried out a couple of different ones earlier in the season, but they were cut out of the episodes because they didn't make any sense.  Here are some of Troyzan's earlier attempts at one day becoming the answer on a Pringles Survivor potato chip.

So yes.  Troyzan has his little "This is MY island!" catchphrase.  And he uses it a lot.

At the end of episode ten, the women want to vote out Troyzan (because he sucks and because he is annoying), but he wins immunity so he lives to see another day.  

Naturally, he lets them know this because he throws out his catchphrase.

This is MY island!

So Troyzan survives the end of episode ten, and then we head on over into episode eleven.  

This is the fun one.

This is the fun challenge where they all fill out a slam book, and then everyone shits on Christina and Kat tries to guess the most popular answers

Naturally, because this is a variant of the popular "coconut chop", you know who is going to get chopped first.

This is MY nostril!

The challenge begins.   Everyone starts guessing answers, and guess whose effigy they all start going over to chop down?

Just like that, he gets three chops in a row.




And with that, this is no longer his island.

This is MY exit

Alicia even rubs it in by taunting him with his very own catchphrase.

And this is where Tarzan pulls a Tarzan-ism completely out of his butt, and Probst is so thrown off that he doesn't know how to respond.

"Troyzan is the first one eliminated from this challenge."

"And now he's part of the island.  His ashes."

"He's become the molecular substrate of this island."

"So he DOES belong on this island."

Christina laughs because she has no idea what he just said

And I love Probst's befuddled reaction to all this.  

He has no idea what to say.  So he just peters out with...

"I was just getting ready to say that."

And there you have one of the very few moments where Jeff "One take" Probst has ever been caught off guard by one of the players.

Tarzan is MY nickname!

P.S.  Check out Sabrina's face when Tarzan drops his "molecular substrate" line.  Something tells me she has heard him do this before.

P.P.S.  Here is a great line from a reader of mine named Brian Gold, who has a perfectly good explanation for why Troyzan was chosen to come back for "Survivor: Game Changers."

Hey Mario, can you refer to Troyzan's game-changing move of declaring an act of war on Samoa?  He claimed an island from a sovereign country. THAT'S THE BIGGEST MOVE EVER!

P.P.P.S  More good feedback from a reader named Oliver Belleza:

I wonder what Tarzan's complete thought was.  If Troyzan becomes a molecular substrate of the island, then the island must be an enzyme.  What biochemical reaction does it catalyze?

P.P.P.P.S.  This is the only Troyzan entry on the Funny 115, and I'm sure he's not gonna be happy about that.

*** Special thanks to Adi Heller and Cory Gage for coming up with the Mylanta and the My Little Pony jokes **

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