The Funny 115 - The Third One

#14. Katie and Her Glasses
Blood vs Water - Episodes 6-9

Guys, we need to talk about Katie and her glasses.

The Great One

If you don't remember the story of Katie and the world's biggest pair of novelty glasses... well... here, let me give you a quick recap.

So anyway, there was this player, Katie Collins

Who goes out to play Blood vs Water with her mom

Now, on its own, Katie just being on Survivor in the first place was already kind of interesting. Because as you are probably aware, this was the first time in Survivor history that a mom wound up playing Survivor against her own kid.

Oh, you are so grounded, young lady


There was also ANOTHER thing that was especially fascinating about Katie winding up as a player on Survivor.

Do you know what it is?

Here's a hint: Girls Rule!

I'm not sure if newer fans will all be aware of this, but Katie was also the first player in Survivor history who had actually been featured on the show before. As a child.

There she was, twelve years earlier, as part of Tina's Outback reward challenge

And here she is, swinging behind her celebrity mom

And here she is, as mom passive-aggressively talks shit about a unicycle

Yes, if you want a fun little backstory of Katie and her history on Survivor, go back and watch Survivor: The Australian Outback. She pops up a couple of times. Most notably in the episode "Back from the Outback," which talks about each Survivor player's family and their home life.

Where we learn that Katie is also a big fan of rollerblading

So Katie already had a long and storied career as what we in the roleplaying world would call an NPC, or a non player character. If you knew Tina's story at all, you probably also knew Katie.

Who seemed kind of dorky, and had just as strong an accent as her mom

Oh yeah. And there was also one really fun thing about Katie back when she was an NPC.

She didn't really seem to be into the fact that her mom was a major celebrity now

Seriously, go back and watch Back from the Outback sometime. And watch how Katie (who is likely a huge introvert) is just sort of over the fact that her family has to deal with autographs and paparazzi and celebrity shit every day now. It's actually kind of funny when you look for it.

She has to sit there, and watch her mom sign infinity autographs

And she's just kinda over it. She just wants her ice cream.

There are two other times where you can tell young Katie is just not really into this new celebrity life.

The first one is during the Outback finale, and it happens right when Tina wins.

There's a quick shot of Katie laughing and celebrating the fact that her mom just won Survivor

And then she suddenly notices that the camera is on her.

And she's like, oh shit

And here's my other favorite shot of Katie just not really being into the fact that her mom is a massive celebrity now. And this one is my favorite, because you've probably never noticed it before.

It happens during the Outback reward, but you only get a split second of it so you gotta look fast.

This is the greatest moment in Tina's life, and Katie is bored

So there's Katie's history as a Survivor NPC. Her mom won the second season of Survivor. And, as happened with almost all the early stars of Survivor, Tina became a celebrity. And there were endless shots of Tina afterwards in the news, or on the internet, or in magazines, walking around and doing celebrity things. And signing autographs. And visiting schools. And there was usually quiet little Katie right behind her, being forced to tag along. In sort of a hostage situation.

Which, when you think about it, is probably a pretty good parallel to how Katie wound up as a Survivor player.

So that's Katie's backstory. She was one of the most famous children of any of the Survivor players. And it happened right at the peak of the show, when the audience was the biggest. Her awkward teenage picture used to always pop up whenever people were talking about Tina. In fact, Katie might have been THE most famous of all the Survivor kids.

A fact that pisses off Bucky Bo Buchanan to no end

And then, randomly, Katie somehow wound up as a player herself. Twelve years later. On Blood vs Water.

Girls rule!

Where she was just as awkward...

And just as adorable...

And her face was just as expressive...

As before.

When your mom chaperones your class field trip

Although sadly, twelve years later, she had clearly lost her thick Southern accent.  :(

"My good man, fetch me a carafe of Doritos if you please."

But I'm not here to talk about Katie's individual Survivor moments. I mean, I could do that, but I've already given you most of the highlights. In two of my earlier entries, Katie's Poor Head, and Mom! Stop Setting Me Up!

No, in this entry I want to talk about her big thick telescope glasses.

Here she is, mapping the topography of Mars

Katie's glasses only show up THREE times in all of Survivor: Blood vs Water. And I know that because I just went through the season, scene by scene, and I looked for them.

The first time they show up is randomly at the end of the sixth episode. And then, at the start of the seventh episode, they show up again, when she's cuddling with spooning with creating grandbabies with sleeping near Vytas on the beach. And then we see them again one last time, at the start of episode nine. And that's it.

They don't show up prior to that. They don't show up after that. Just three times, unexpectedly, in the middle of the season. And they're gigantic and unexpected and incredible.

Which, if you think about it, makes her glasses an even more amazing Survivor NPC than she used to be!


So anyway, enjoy this brief trip through Katie's amazing, underrated presence in Survivor: Blood vs Water.

Where I'll not only point out the three appearances of her giant novelty glasses, I'll also point out:

A) What a great character she was
B) What an incredible meme machine she was
C) How she gets beat up just about as much as Daisy Domergue

and my favorite

D) How, just like in Not Another Teen Movie, if you put a good-looking girl in glasses, a ponytail, and paint splattered overalls, she can teach you some valuable lessons about life.


Oh yeah, but before I get to her Blood vs. Water storyline, let me point out that there ARE a couple of clues along the way that Katie really does need those giant telescope glasses. And I say that with sympathy, because I am a glasses wearer myself. It sucks when your vision isn't that great. And I imagine it especially sucks on Survivor.

Check out her squinting at the screen during the Outback reward challenge

And here she is, squinting at something happening down on the beach

Here she is, squinting during a duel

Here she is, trying to find Denise Stapley in an ant farm

And with that being said, here we go. The tale of Katie. And her glasses. And her expressive face, and her strange quirky reactions.

Like when Monica tries to make a joke

My friend Adi Heller once referred to Katie as "The Ermahgerd Cat" of Survivor.

If you've never noticed it before, you're sure going to notice it now.


Okay, so here's her storyline.

Tell me if you can spot it when Katie's glasses show up.

Katie's Tale
The Story of a Girl and Her Glasses

It's episode one, and Katie is playing Survivor with her mom


But uh oh. They're going to be playing on opposite tribes.

Oh crap, mom's going to steamroll me

So Katie gets moved over to Tadhana. And thus begins her incredible introduction at the Survivor debutante ball.

Where, for the first time ever, people aren't just walking around asking for autographs from her mom.

So Katie goes over to Tadhana

And instantly, Tadhana goes on an incredible losing streak.


She almost single-handedly loses the first challenge for her tribe.

She loses a puzzle to her mom, no less

She then finds out that there's an all-male alliance in control. And she's not a member of it.

Turns out that, on Tadhana, girls do NOT rule.

The pillow was wrong!

Then she eats some fruit. And she spits out a seed.


And then she has to watch as Marissa is voted out.

Curse you, Brad Culpepper

All in all, she has a pretty crappy first episode.

I really wish I was rollerblading

But hey, in episode two, things actually start to look a little bit better for her.

Because that's when she reveals the first part of her quirky new outfit, her huge socks

Then she gets thrown into a barrel.

And her tribe loses again.


And we also find out (I love this), that she's just as picky about her rice as her mom was back in Australia.

Do you remember how terrible Tina was at eating rice that wasn't 100% perfect? It was one of my favorite little quirks about her.

When Keith leaves a small drop of water in your rice

Anyhoo, Tadhana loses immunity for the second straight time. And this time, they lose another girl. They lose Rachel.

And Katie gets to roll her eyes at the gender imbalance

Okay, so now we're in episode three.

Let's just say Katie doesn't have a very good episode here.

Although she does get to watch Colton quit

And she gets to eat melon

She even enjoys Brad doing shadow boxing with Vytas

But then?

Well, we get maybe the most perfect Katie Survivor moment of them all.

Where she gets beat up by her mom

Let's just say that losing to a woman who is not only older than you, but smaller than you, and who also happens to be your mom, was probably kind of embarrassing.

Oh, and this loss was compounded by the fact that Tina seemed to take extraordinary joy out of the fact that, once again, she just overshadowed her daughter.

Pumpkin, I'll sign an autograph for you after the show. Just like back at the restaurant.


So anyway, things aren't going all that well for Katie so far.

Although she does attempt to break up Dr. Candice Cody's marriage at one point

By some miraculous stroke of fate, Katie somehow survives the vote at the third Tadhana Tribal Council.

I can't believe they voted out John instead. Ermahgerd.

And the awkward one lives to somehow fight another day.

Wow, Jeff Probst has some interesting shoes

In episode four, she doesn't do all that much that's worth talking about.

Although she does give someone the stink-eye at one point

Although if you want to see some great Katie reaction shots, watch this episode. And watch her reaction when the Tadhanas vote out Brad "The Guy Who Gave Us All The Coronavirus" Culpepper.

Oh my heck, we did it

We voted out Brad!

The evil is gone. The evil is gone from here!


And you know I can't resist posting these side by side now.


Oh, and in her voting confessional, this is where we officially see the rage that is Katie.

What up, Brad?

So Brad's gone at the end of episode four. And for the first time in the game, something good has actually happened to Katie.

But don't worry, it's not going to last.

Because episode five is where her toenails fall off

And then, to make matters worse, during the immunity challenges, her pants fall down.

Collins Behind

Also, the Tadhanas go up on a cliff to go sightseeing. But because she can't see, in most of the shots you can see her desperately squinting.

Hey guys, is that the ocean?

Okay, so we're now in episode six. And by some strange twist of fate, Katie is somehow still here.


And this is where we get the first big twist of the game.

The tribes are now going to be reshuffled.

And guess who winds up on the same tribe as her mom?



For the first time in Survivor history, a daughter is on the same tribe as her mom.


I love this next shot, by the way.

Here's Katie, gazing at their new eye candy, Vytas

While Tina is already brainstorming how to hook the two of them up

So Tina and Katie are now part of the same tribe. And it's just as weird as you'd expect.

When your mom shows up at your school

Then Galang loses the next immunity challenge.

Is it just me? Am I cursed?

And then Katie is suddenly my grandpa.


And then it's like...

Hey, wait a minute.

Did something just change with poor Katie?


Why does she suddenly have the world's biggest pair of grandpa glasses?


The editors seem to love this shot of Tina sitting next to her new, now extremely dorky daughter. Because they keep going back it. Over and over.

Jeff, I apologize for my loved one

This is even harder than listening to Jerri sing Fiona Apple

Jeff, my loved one needs a guide dog

And really, that's it. Katie's glasses just randomly show up right at the end of episode six. At Tribal Council.

Like Janey Briggs, they also put her in a ponytail. Gross!

Although I should point out these AREN'T the first time we actually see Katie in her huge glasses.

The first time you actually see them is when she's walking to Tribal Council

And, well, if you want to get technical...

She also wears huge goggles during the sixth immunity challenge

So Katie suddenly has the world's biggest pair of glasses.

Which is incredible, because from a screenwriting point of view, you rarely introduce a character THIS good THIS late in your storyline.


Oh, and it's also fun to watch her try to find the pen with her glasses on.

Let go, Luke, Trust your feelings.

So anyway, Katie never had mega-glasses before. And then she suddenly has them on now, at the end of the sixth episode.

WHY does she suddenly have them on now?

Well, I have a theory about this (it's my wife's theory, actually). But I'll save it for the end of the entry, because it's hilarious.

In any case, the next morning (episode seven), the glasses make an appearance again

When Katie suddenly joins the Scooby Doo gang

Good morning, grandma-daughter

She also has to suffer the indignity of her mom trying to set her up with a boyfriend all day.

Hi Vytas, have you mounted my daughter yet?

And honestly, that's the last time we're going to see the glasses for a while.

In fact, they only make ONE more minor little appearance later on in the season. And then they're gone.

Where'd they go?

In any case, so Katie's story continues.

She sits awkwardly at Redemption Arena

Only Katie would sit this way

She also randomly joins the Hoover Street Rolling-40 Crips for a while

She watches Laura Boneham crash into a glorious ball of flame.

Not good

At the end of the seventh episode, she goes back to Tribal Council.

And the glasses are gone

She does, however...

Bring back the really high knee socks

And I should point out that, just like Janey Briggs in Not Another Teen Movie...

The minute you take off the glasses and the paint-splattered overalls...

She starts to look really fierce

After episode seven, Katie's future in this game more or less implodes.

Because that's when her ally Aras gets blindsided

And from here on out, she's never going to be in the majority again.

Although at the start of episode nine, her glasses make one final random appearance

You can see them here, as Tina goes on an angry shalingua, shaqueela, shakwaria

For the first, and only, time, we actually get the full glasses and knee socks combo

As she thinks back to a simpler time. Back before there were talkies.

And really, from here on out, it's all downhill.

The minute the glasses disappear, so does her game.

Although before she is eventually rocked out of the game, she is forced to eat mealworms

Even worse, they have all this crap in them


And then, even worse, she is forced to listen to Monica try to make "What up, Brad" into a catchphrase.

And so then I said, "What up, Brad."

Katie does the most amazing fake laugh

By the way, want to know who Katie reminds me of in this shot?

Have you see Australian Survivor before?

She reminds me of one of my other favorite players, Kristie Bennett

From here on out, it's just all downhill for Katie.

As all her friends are voted out

And then her mom is voted out

"This is the sign of defeat. This whole thing, right now."

Although she does actually win an immunity along the way. Which is insane.

I've won one more immunity than Jean-Robert!


She also sees her mom win not come in last in a bunch of carnival games duels.

Collins/Wesson Girls Rule!

She even gets an idol clue at some point.

Which causes her to go out on a frantic, last minute scramble for a hidden immunity idol.

And you know...

If you want to see irony...

Reading tiny letters is the ONE time you think you'd want to wear glasses

Then she watches Ciera vote out her mom.


Then she draws rocks for the first time.

Well I guess that wasn't so bad

Then she gets bonked on the head several times.

Gravity rules!

Then she has to watch all the popular kids eat ice cream.

"Hey Katie, want to throw away my cone wrapper for me?"

Then she draws rocks for a second time.

And this one is decidedly less fun.


Oh, and then Tyson shits on her.


Although, just for the sake of Survivor trivia, I DO need to point out...

That SHE was the one who said "rustling feathers" first

And really, that's just about the entire Katie Collins story.

Her storyline ends with a whimper, as she heads over to Redemption Island.


When you forgot your giant glasses back at camp

And then her mom kicks her butt in a challenge again.

No grandbabies, no mercy

*insert pathetic, squealy noise*

And then she tosses her buff into the fire.


But not without one last iconic...


And that's the story of Katie. The Jan Brady of Survivor.

The awkward, bespectacled, most famous daughter in the history of Survivor who didn't vote out her mom.

Although... before we go... I can't resist pointing out that she really DOES have a Not Another Teen Movie storyline going on.

Janey, Janey, your clothes are so plain-y

Because the minute Katie winds up on the jury, and she takes off the glasses, and the ponytail, and the paint-splattered overalls, what's the first thing we hear?

Hair down, glasses off

And kids, that's story of how Tina wound up with Hayden-looking grandbabies.

When you realize there's another pretty blonde girl who actually DID make the merge

P.S. Okay, here's my wife's theory about Katie and why she suddenly has glasses in episode six. As my wife explains it, "I have a daughter, and my daughter can be kind of scatter-brained sometimes. So I'm always having to pick stuff up for her, or carry her stuff around. That's just sorta what moms do. So my theory is that when Katie and Tina were together on day zero, Katie must have left her glasses there. And then Tina picked them up, because that's what moms do. They clean up after their kids. And then when Tina and Katie were separated, Katie didn't have her glasses because her mom still had them in her bag." My wife goes on to point out, "If you'll notice, Katie's glasses IMMEDIATELY come out the minute that Tina and Katie are finally on the same tribe." So her theory is that Katie only has glasses on because her mom finally brought them to her.

When your daughter loses her glasses for the four hundredth time

The other theory, of course, is that Katie DID have her glasses, but she only wore them when her mom was around. Because if there's one thing we know about Tina, it's that if she's your mother, you DON'T want her mad at you.

Yes mom, I'm being a good girl

Please don't hurt me

Again, if you pay attention, you'll notice that Katie is never wearing her glasses unless her mom is around.

P.P.S. I have a friend named Ryan Weiss who actually asked Tina that question when he met her recently at a fan event. He asked, did Katie forget her glasses, and you had to somehow bring them to her? This is why I have the greatest readers in the world, they'll actually ask the players this stuff.

In any case, you can rest assured that Tina said no, that wasn't the case. But she was going to repeat that to Katie, and Katie was going to laugh about it. Tina thought it was hilarious.

The goofball twins

P.P.P.S. I've heard Katie described a lot of ways over the years, and the phrase that usually gets thrown around is "the most normal person they've ever cast on Survivor." But there's another description I've heard a couple of times that I like even more.

Because of her awkwardness, and her quiet demeanor, and the fact that she's an introvert, and just sort of a klutz, and because she's sneaky funny and seems to have a really good sense of humor about things, here's the way I like to describe Katie Collins these days:

Katie is the closest they ever came to casting Colleen Haskell again.

Katie version 1.0. Minus the glasses.

P.P.P.P.S. I can't resist pointing out that Katie actually makes one last ermahgerd face during her jury speech.


P.P.P.P.P.S. A bunch of people suggested I put this in the entry. A few years ago, the podcast Rob Has a Podcast (RHAP) ran a contest called "Miss Survivor." Katie was one of the nominees for the award. Well, Katie didn't really campaign for the contest at all. Other than this one, simple, awesome Twitter post.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. And, of course, I have to end on this quote. I found it on the internet months ago, and I just knew it would be perfect. What's the ultimate thing you can say about Katie?

"With those glasses, they probably didn't have any trouble starting a fire."


Thank you to Michael Harmstone for the FUBC/semaphore gif

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