The Funny 115 - The Third One

#35. Katie or Penner?
Philippines - episode 6

You know, if there's one person I wish I could have included more on this countdown, it's Carter from Survivor: Philippines.

You remember Carter, don't you?

Boom, you're now pregnant

If you don't remember Carter, don't feel bad about it. Because not remembering Carter is the exact reason why he's such a perfect person to write about on the Funny 115.

Simply put, Carter Williams was one of the most irrelevant players in the history of Survivor. Over thirty-three days on the show, he received eight confessionals. EIGHT. In thirty three days. And four of them came in the sixth episode. Which meant that for the first month and a half of fans watching Survivor: Philippines, all people knew about "Carter Williams" was that he was a member of Kalabaw, he looked kind of dim, he usually had his mouth hanging open, and he was generally seen doing something like this.

The Carter Williams action figure

Carter received so little airtime during the first five episodes of Philippines that his presence led to one of the funniest threads I have ever seen on the website Survivor Sucks. If you want a good laugh, read through this thread from back in 2012. Where fans first tried to figure out who the fuck Carter was, and why the other players keep mentioning him. And then when Carter finally DID talk, and people realized he had nothing of substance to say, he quickly became a mascot where fans started cheering his every completely insignificant appearance.

Seriously, I can't say enough about that thread. Go read it, it's hilarious.

What every Carter confessional sounds like

Carter was so meaningless to his season that he quickly became one of those ironic mascots who the online Survivor crowd loves to rally around.  Like Zoe Zanidakis before him.  Or Kelly Purple in Nicaragua. Or Leif "I flew!" Manson, the guy who explanated things in One World.

Leif (center), mid flight

Carter is one of those guys who I would have LOVED to do a character entry for on the Funny 115, but the problem is that he just didn't have enough material for it. His edit wasn't as aggressively invisible as Kelly Purple's. And it wasn't as over the top derpy as Dan Foley's. He was sort of stuck right there in the middle. He meant nothing to his season at all, which was obvious because the editors clearly didn't know what to do with him, but at the same time he wasn't really memorable in the way that someone like Vince Sly the coconut vendor was memorable.

Unless, I guess, you consider confessionals like this memorable.

"The reward was pretty insane."

"The sandwiches, they were all great."

Yes, thank you Carter. Thank you for pointing out the obvious.

So anyway, I'm sad to say that NO, there won't be an entire character entry for Carter.  I mean, I can do great things, but I can't work miracles.

Instead, this entry is about the one and only great Carter Williams moment.  Yep, you heard me right. He actually had a good moment!

Not this one

By the way, the fact that Carter had "one good moment" is even funnier when you realize that Carter Williams lasted thirty-three days on Survivor, and he happened to be THE KALABAW
MEMBER WHO LASTED THE LONGEST IN THE GAME. That's right, the guy in the screencap below lasted longer on Survivor than Jonathan Penner or Baseball Hall of Famer Jeff Kent.

It has to be a real guy, it has a face on it

So anyway, here we go. This will be a quick writeup (because it's only about a three second scene in the episode), but if you want a full immersion into the "Carter on Survivor" experience, this is as good as it gets.

In related news, God help us all.

It's the sixth episode of Philippines, and the Kalabaw tribe has just received Denise as part of an exchange program

When Denise arrives on Kalabaw, she is immediately pitched an alliance by the rest of the girls. Because that's really the power dynamic on the tribe. It's Jeff Kent and the guys against Katie Hanson (there was a Katie Hanson on Survivor?) and the girls. With Denise smack dab in the middle as the all important swing vote.

Katie explaining why Denise needs to team up with the girls

However, due to a string of bad luck, Katie quickly loses the rest of her all-girl alliance. First, because Dana quits. And then, because Dawson is bothered by the lack of soft cheese, and she gets herself voted out.

Which means as we head into the sixth episode, there are only five players left on Kalabaw.


All we have left are Jeff Kent. Jonathan Penner. Katie. Denise.

And then the last guy.

The last guy is Jeff's imaginary friend, Carter

Okay, so here's the fun part

Jeff Kent and Carter have always been especially tight. From day one, the two of them have always had an especially tight bond in this game. Their long, meaningful conversations as they sit around the firepit and talk about strategy and life have already become legendary among the producers and the camera crew.

At this point in the game, with only five players left, they start discussions over who should be the next Kalabaw member voted out if they were to go to Tribal Council again.

Should they vote out Katie? Who has always been a pain in the ass? And who was the leader of the all-girl alliance who recently tried to take down the guys?


Or should they pull off a blindside and take out Jonathan Penner? Who thinks he's in tight with the all-guy alliance, but in actuality nobody trusts as far as they can throw. Oh, and who also has a hidden immunity idol that they'd really like to flush right out of the game.

Why does everybody hate me so?

At this point, the next vote is going to come down to Katie or Penner.  Katie or Penner.  Katie or Penner.

At the moment, Jeff and Carter are waffling between which one would be the obvious one to take out.


Carter has some thoughts on this, of course.

Oh, come on. I know he has SOME thoughts on this.

I mean, Jonathan Penner recently gave up all the tribe's rice in exchange for a reward. Surely THAT has to factor into this decision a little. I mean, Jonathan's mistake ensured that the rest the tribe would go hungry. Doesn't THAT at least sway you a little?

I hate hunger. It's hungry.

Fuck it. Now we know why he didn't get any confessionals.

My right hand man is a tool

Okay, so here we are. Here's the scene that made Carter an instant legend among the Survivor internet fan base.  

It's the infamous "Katie or Penner?" scene.

It's episode six, and Kalabaw has just lost immunity yet again

They weren't able to acquire the immunity chicken

With Kalabaw headed to Tribal Council, that means that Katie or Penner is going to go home.

Katie or Penner

Katie, of course, is aware of this. With no allies left, and as part of the obvious minority, she knows her head is going to be smack dab in the center of the chopping block.

Can't believe she is about to be outlasted by Carter

But Penner...

Well... in his case, maybe he DOESN"T really know this.

Look ahead to the future, young graduate

You see, Jonathan Penner thinks he's in a tight three-man alliance with Carter and Jeff. As far as he knows, the vote is going to be an obvious one for Katie tonight.

He has no idea that Jeff and Carter are back at camp right now, and throwing his name around as a possible candidate.

He has no idea that they're talking about potentially blindsiding him.

Okay, maybe Jeff is talking about it. Carter's mostly just laying there.

And here's their discussion.

Jeff and Carter decide if it's time to blindside Jonathan Penner

We like Denise, Jeff explains. It can't be her. Denise is useful.

But Katie is worthless. And Jonathan is someone you can't trust.

Also, we really don't want a returning player to win. So we can't let Jonathan Penner get far.

I don't know, Carter. Which one would you do?

Just like the choice of soup or salad with his dinner, Cater makes it clear he could go either way.

Although this is where Jeff announces the number one caveat, and the most important part, if they decide they want to blindside Jonathan Penner tonight.

"We just gotta make sure he doesn't see it comin'."

"We know he has an idol. We just want to make sure he doesn't play it tonight."

And so that's the rule. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, no one tips Penner off that he might be a target tonight.

Which shouldn't be that hard to do.

I mean, we're not idiots. Right?

Two minutes later, here's the scene that made Carter an instant internet Survivor legend.

Because you could not possibly fuck up this strategy any worse.

Jeff, Carter, and Penner are just hanging around in the shelter, doin' bro stuff

And this is where Carter decides to play with his food a little

Yep. Carter from Survivor: Philippines just got cocky and decided to toy with his prey.

In related news, Carter, no. Never do that.

Holy shit, he talks

Carter asks Penner who he thinks the Kalabaws should vote for tonight.

This little moment happens so fast, that unless you're paying attention you don't even realize that Carter just went Full Kat with his strategy. He actually asked Jonathan Penner if they should vote for Katie or Penner.

Naturally, the facial reactions from the other two players in the shelter are priceless.

Penner smirks and holds back a laugh when he realizes what Carter just said

And Jeff Kent?

Jeff makes the king of all "what the fuck?" faces.


His head immediately whips around as fast as it can go

Carter, what?????

Naturally, this is followed up by Carter immediately course correcting. And trying to play it off like that had just been a mistake.

"Er, um... I mean..."

"Katie or Denise?"


Now, to Penner's credit, I love that he didn't immediately comment on the fact that Carter just outed him as a potential target tonight.  Because you know he caught it. I love that he was smart enough (since this was his third time playing) not to hear that and immediately call Carter out and say something snarky about it.

You know Cook Islands Jonathan Penner wouldn't have done that.

Cook Islands Jonathan Penner would have probably been a smart ass if he had heard something like that.

He probably would have replied and said something like this.

"Well I'm Penner. So probably not Penner."

The kid outed me. So I'm burnin' it all down!

No, in Philippines we were treated to the wiser, much more gentle and diplomatic version of Jonathan Penner.

Even though Carter fucked up about as bad as a person can fuck up when you're trying to pull off a blindside on Survivor, you gotta give credit for Penner for responding like this. He underplays this so awesomely that it makes me laugh just as much as Carter's fuck up does.

"Er, um... I mean..."

"Katie or Denise?"

*Penner lets out a big sigh*

*still thinking*

"Well, I hate to lose Katie..."

And so yay, there you go. Carter and the one and only time he was actually relevant on Survivor.

I'm Jeff Kent. Please shoot me.

Oh yes, and Katie was the one voted out that night.

For some reason, the blindside of Penner didn't work.

You mess with the bull and I like sandwiches

P.S.  That Survivor Sucks thread about Carter is so much fun, that I pulled out the top twenty-five comments that people made as Philippines was airing, and Carter became more and more pointless and irrelevant to the storyline. This is why so many people wanted me to include a Carter character entry on the Funny 115. Read these observations and enjoy.

25. "
This guy should have For Rent signs in his eyes."

"I'm starting to think Jeff Kent is the only one who can see him."

23. "
He's like the love child of Leif Manson and Natalie Tenerelli, only even less eloquent. It's intriguing, really."

22. "

21. "It takes guts to Mr. Magoo your way onto a reality TV show. For all Carter knows he's sitting comfortably at home, staring blankly at the wall from two feet away."

20. "Carter talking about the spa reward: "And we get on a boat and pull into some tropical paradise. I mean, we were all joking this must be what paradise is. Everyone who imagines, you know, paradise... you got fruit, food, fish food, meat." I kind of hope for the guy who made those dramatic Leif scenes read in an English accent will do a little compilation of Carter. Oh, and who doesn't think of fish food when imagining paradise?"
19. "Carter looks like the older brother from The Wonder Years if he lost 50 pounds."

18. "I love how Jonathan/Denise asked Carter what he thought about the reward just so he could get a chance to speak, and then he started talking about different kinds of sauces. And then Abi interjected to talk for him."

17. "My mom legit said to me 'who is that guy in the red trousers' when we watched the episode."

16. "Did everyone catch Carter's extended gaze at his own abs in this episode? I was specifically waiting for him to say something in the conversation he, Dawson, and Jeff Kent had about Penner's idol, but he was just staring at his own abs."

15. "Putting "Uh" and "Like" in between every word is only so cute for so long. Besides, he constantly has this derpy look on his face. Everyone is excited at the sight of steaks and Carter is just :/

14. "They've cast some pretty random people who add no drama to the show whatsoever, such as little-guy Leif last season or the cowboy in South Pacific. But this guy takes the cake for most quiet castaway. In a way it's entertaining how apathetic he seems. I can't wait for him to get voted out and to see his Ponderosa videos, I mean what will they even show? They can't just fill 5-10 minutes with him just eating various sandwiches at the lodge and spacing out while looking at a wall. Or can they?"

13. "One of the few bright spots of this episode was a new Carter head bobble."

12. "It seems like there must have been some sort of mix-up that led to him being accidentally cast. Like he was wearing someone else's nametag at a casting call or something."

11. "
His bumbling and blandness are fascinating in the same way that The Room is. You go, Carter!"

10. "
I think it's wonderful that Survivor has finally decided to have a mentally challenged person compete. God bless Carter and all at Survivor. This is a giant step to allowing people like Carter feel that they really are like the rest of us."

9. "
If they do that silly segment at the end of the season where the final three talk about all the players voted off, I hope we get a quick montage of Carter's "Penner or Katie?" to Penner and his "I thought we were voting you out tonight" to Jeff quotes, followed by a nice, long, blank stare."

8. "He did a good job of reading what someone else wrote for him to say in his final words."

7. "He is so horribly awkward it's almost endearing. I wish he had to do all his confessionals with Pete. Pete trying very, very hard to come up with the right comments, while Carter has his mouth hanging open."

6. "
Did anyone catch the look on his face when Carter was voting tonight? If you missed it, just imagine the same expression he had on his face last week, the week before, etc..."

5. "Huge character development for Carter tonight. He really liked the salsa. It was spicy."

4. "In the same confessional, Carter talks about how they've got "about two weeks left in this game" followed shortly by "We've got two-thirds left in this game." In Carter's mind 2/3=1/3."

3. "I posted in this thread pre-season that I wouldn't root for Carter due to his face, but over the past several weeks, his vacant emotionless stare and apparent inability to communicate like a socialized human has grown on me. Not to the point that I want him to do well, but I do want his face to get several more reaction shots, hopefully ending with his blindsided derp face."

2. "It's really too bad that they have to waste an episode on voting him out. Hopefully they'll just skip it and when the next episode starts he'll suddenly be gone while everyone talks about how sad it was they had to vote out the special kid."

1. "The one thing I learned from Carter is how awesome bananas are when you smear peanut butter on them first."

P.P.S.  And the best one of them all...

P.P.P.S. And, of course, we can't end without including this little bon mot.

Our conquering hero

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