The Funny 115 - The Third One

#96. And the Rivalry Continues
Philippines - episode 7

There aren't many things that I like about returning player seasons, but one of the few things I DO like is when they give me a nice recurring feud that I can keep writing about on the Funny 115.  And of course this entry is a perfect example of that.

I'm sure you guys remember the feud between Probst and Jonathan Penner that started back in Cook Islands.

I'm sure Jonathan remembers

If you don't remember, let me link you to the first Penner/Probst fight that I wrote about back on Version 2.  This was the famous "cannonball challenge", where Probst was yammering on incessantly like he always does, and explaining the obvious, and Penner got so annoyed by it that he basically told Probst to shut the fuck up.  To which Probst then broke the fourth wall and explained to us at home that "Jonathan is getting frustrated by me!"

Here is the entry for that scene if you don't remember it.  It is personally one of my favorite entries on any of the Funny 115s.


Jonathan Penner, angry because he sucks at life

Shut up, would you?  Jesus.

Jonathan, getting frustrated by me.

So yes, the relationship between Probst (the explainer) and Penner (the complainer) hasn't always been on the best of terms.

And it didn't get much better in Micronesia, either.

If you guys don't remember the feud between Penner and Probst in Micronesia, again, let me link you to one of my other favorite entries on the Funny 115.

This is the scene where Penner is complaining that his tile isn't breaking correctly, and Probst verbally scolds him to do more throwing and less whining.   Here is the write-up if you don't remember the SECOND big blowup during a challenge between the explainer and the complainer.  Which culminates in Penner summoning the power of his own buttocks.

Penner's tile refuses to break

"Penner, you got the same tiles, the same ropes."

"Awwww that SUCKS.  Come on!"

"Bullllll!  We say bullll!  Bullll!  Bullllll!!!!"

"I mean... MY ASS!!!!"

"Airai, you need to stop bitching and start throwing."

So anyway, yeah.  Things haven't always been rosy between Jeff Probst and Jonathan Penner.  Sometimes Probst is the one being a dick, other times Penner is the one being a dick.  The two of them are like oil and water when it comes to squaring off during a challenge.

And that leads us into our third big blowup between the two of them.


This one happens during Philippines

Remember how I said that sometimes Penner is being a dick, and other times Probst is being a dick?  Well this one is a little different because it is all Probst.  This is one of those rare instances where Penner doesn't do anything to annoy anyone, yet Probst still decides to take a dig at him and try to blow up his game, just because he is the host and because he can.

On my podcast, The Survivor Historians, this is what my friend and co-host Jay Fischer likes to describe as "A Jeff Probst Dick Moment."

Watch, and you'll see what I mean.

It's the merge episode of Survivor: Philippines, and the tribes are competing for individual immunity for the first time

This is that sadistic challenge where you have to hold up twenty five percent of your body weight for as long as you can

It's pretty brutal

So the challenge starts.

The players stand there and they try to hold their bucket up for as long as they can.

Meanwhile, Probst stands off to the side and he does what he always does.  He just yammers on and on because he's Probst and because he thinks that this somehow makes the challenge better.  

"Everyone holding up their bucket.  This is incredibly painful.   Winning this would be a big move and it would give me a giant Jeff boner."

The players are forced to listen to this as they struggle to hang on

"That rope is a 75/25 blend of rayon and nylon.  It is the thickest material known to man.  Also the human head weighs eight pounds."

Penner struggles with the weight, just like everyone else


Also, have you seen my impression of Micronesia's Tracy Hughes-Wolf?

The challenge doesn't last very long.  Partly because the buckets are heavy, and partly because it's hot out and because Jeff is annoying.  But sooner or later, the players begin to drop out.

Skupin is the first one to drop out

"Mike Skupin is out of this challenge."

Then Pete drops out right after

"Pete is out of this challenge."

And now comes the fun part.

Jonathan Penner is barely hanging on.  He knows he isn't going to last much longer.

And just like that, Penner is out.


And what does Jeff say about this?  

Does he simply point out that Penner is out of the challenge, like he did with Skupin and Pete?  Or like he does with EVERY OTHER player in the game aside from Penner?

No, because this is Jonathan Penner, and because Probst has a history with him, he says something a little bit different.

Like I said, this is a perfect example of "A Jeff Probst Dick Moment (tm)."

Well, I'm out.

"Penner is out of this game and in TROUBLE at tonight's Tribal Council!"

Penner hears Probst basically telling everyone to vote him out tonight and he whips his head around

"Well thank you, for..."

Penner doesn't even bother to finish his sentence.  

Okay Jeff, you hate me.  We get it.  Thank you for being a douche about it.

Ah, fuck it.  I'll just sit down.

And, of course, Probst can't resist one last little dig at the guy he always has problems with.

"Glad you're on the show, Jonathan."

(begrudgingly) "Thank you buddy.  Me too."

This isn't one of the most hilarious entries on the countdown, but it is one of those cute little character moments that is so much better when you know the history between the two characters.   Probst got Penner's goat (by breaking the fourth wall) back in Cook Islands, and Penner got back by being snippy with him during the tile challenge in Micronesia.  And then in their third go-around, this time Probst took the initiative by essentially telling people they should be voting for Penner at the first individual Tribal Council in Philippines.

Like I said, I normally don't like anything about returning player seasons.  But if there's a chance that Penner could come back for a fourth time, and he could ruin another challenge for Probst in Survivor 36 or whatever, I think it would be a lot of fun.  I mean, Probst is now ahead 2-1.  It's only fair if Penner gets a chance to even it up.  Let's make that happen, producers.

Boston Rob got four chances, why don't I?   That's bollocks.

P.S.  A couple of people have mentioned to me that the way they interpreted this scene was that Probst was actually warning Penner.  Since the players were planning to blindside Penner at Tribal Council tonight, Probst was actually trying to tip him off that he might want to play his idol.  I don't know if this is true or not (I doubt anyone knows for sure) but if it is, it would totally change the relationship between the two JPs, and then this entry becomes pointless.  So for the purposes of the Funny 115, let's just say that Probst was taking a dig at Penner because he likes getting a reaction out of him, and because that is much funnier.

Although, honestly, no matter what Jeff Probst's motives were, it is still a "Jeff Probst Dick Moment" either way.  I mean, if the players are planning to blindside Penner, why is the host trying to tip him off and ruin their blindside?  Either way, the host is trying to influence the game by sticking his nose into it, and it is still a dick move.    

Oh, and here is a good clip of Jeff Probst talking about Penner and his relationship with him over the years.

P.P.S.  Some good feedback from KorgDTR2000 on Reddit:   "I love this moment specifically because Penner cuts himself off halfway through snapping at Jeff.  It's like a movie series where there's a running gag and by the third entry it's not really funny anymore so they go meta with it."

P.P.P.S.  More from KorgDTR2000:  "Another thing I realized with this entry is that this is really the only time where a player's most dynamic counterpoint is with the host. There are so many great duos in Survivor, ranging from Rich and Rudy in Borneo to Scot and Jason in Kaoh Rong, yet Penner is the only player whose most memorable relationship is with the host (and I'm not counting Jeff's weird one-sided mancrush on Boston Rob either). I think that's why I would always be open to seeing Penner play again, because his straight man is always going to be there and thus he'll always deliver."

P.P.P.P.S.  Probst's nefarious plan didn't even work.  R.C. went home that night instead.

Jeff Probst can eat me

** Thanks to kidnifty for the Carolyn/Brad Culpepper pic **

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