I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on TV. Some guy lost consciousness and fell, face first, on a small pit of fire.
He ran to the water and when he came up, a huge chunk of his face was burnt and both his palms lost the skin.
Mike Skupin was evacuated from the Australian Outback and became one of the most well-known castaways of all time.
That moment was TV gold. It was unexpected. It was shocking. It was raw. It was real.
This is one of the many appeals of Survivor. And for 17 years it has never failed to deliver when it comes to providing us with moments that are shocking, hilarious, and totally unforgettable.
To commemorate Survivor’s 500th episode, which happens to be Season 34’s premiere, we gathered some of the favorite moments from the show’s biggest and most passionate fans we know.
We asked help from some of the biggest fans and players from the online Survivor community.
So let’s get started. I’ll start with mine.
3rd: Amanda Kimmel blindsides James Clement and his two idols, Survivor: China.
Amanda showed how serious she was at playing a highly strategic game by helping James find a hidden immunity idol and then voting him out. James then became notorious as the dumbest Survivor player (prior to HvV).
2nd: Parvati plays two idols for her tribe mates, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
Using JT’s hidden immunity idol, Parvati pulled a crafty move at a crucial point in the game by giving Sandra and Jerri her idols despite being on the chopping block.
The move turned the game on its head and allowed the Villains to gain control until the end of the game.
1st: Erik gives away individual immunity then gets voted out, Survivor: Micronesia.
Cirie has always been a strong social player but she proved how cunning and strategic she was when she devised a plan to vote out Erik, even though he has immunity!
Ivan Laurence. Travel enthusiast. Survivor: Brazil.
3rd: Sue’s Snake and Rat Speech, Survivor Borneo Final Tribal Council
I have been a fan of Survivor since I was 11 years old. And I wouldn’t forget this scene where a hateful woman addresses two other human beings, to the extent of comparing them to a snake and a rat. I nevee thought that this scene which caught my fascination would mark the start of my religious following of the show I love.
2nd: First Tribal Council of Solarrion Tribe, Survivor Cagayan
Survivor Cagayan is one of my favorite seasons made more remarkable by the epic first merge tribal council. Two alliances struggling for power were in the dark of what would become one of the most memorable tribal councils of Survivor. It seemed at first that Spencer’s alliance would prevail when Tony and LJ misplayed their idols. Jefra was almost bursting in tears as the votes were read. When the last vote was revealed, I can still remember clapping and shouting as if I was a part of the Tony-LJ-Jefra-Trish-Woo alliance. All these adrenaline thanks to a lady who calls herself Chaos Kass.
Still my most favorite Survivor moment was the legendary idol play of Parvati to two other debaucherous villains which marked the downfall of the Heroes. I have probably played back this scene a hundred times and still gives me the chills and excitement. Parvati is Queen.
Stan Sy. TV host and podcaster. Survivor: Juan World.
3rd: Tony talking to Kass in llama, Survivor: Cagayan.
I mean, what’s not to love about that moment?! That was Tony at his most Tony. He just messed with Kass because she pushed his buttons, but he didn’t do it out of malice. Hell, through all of that, the jury STILL voted him Sole Survivor!
2nd: Kimmi gets voted out in crazy tribal council, Survivor: Cambodia.
Next up is the Second Chance Final 6 TC. You wanna talk about live Tribal Councils? This changed the game because it showed how far the game has gone in terms of instinct and strategy. Plus, it was a master class in live gameplay. Sucks for Kimmi that she got taken out, but she took a risk and it didn’t go her way.
1st: Malcolm saves The 3 Amigos, Survivor: Caramoan.
My all-time favorite moment has to be Malcolm keeping the Three Amigos safe and sparking one of the first ever “live” Tribals. Sure, he got voted off the very next TC, and it wasn’t a smart move longterm. But it’s the move that cemented Malcolm’s legacy as an idol pioneer in the modern game and a Survivor legend.
Martin Vicencio. Senior writer for When In Manila and Channelfourteen.com Jobber Talk.
3rd: Russell Swan addresses Jeff as God, Survivor: Philippines.
“Lord…I mean..Jeff.” Nothing much to say but, lol, Russell Swan.
2nd: Russell Hantz finding hidden immunity idols without any clues, Survivor: Samoa.
When you thought he would only have one HII in Samoa, he used another one to take out one of the Galu alliance. This play in the episode where he idol’d out Kelly from Galu was glorious and shifted the game to his tribe’s favor.
1st: Johnny Fairplay plays the dead grandma card, Survivor: Pearl Islands.
First time ever would a Contestant use a dead relative as their advantage to haggle/negotiate their stay in the game during Pearl Islands. Johnny Fairplay (who was also a pro wrestling fan) played it out with his friend during a family visit to say his grandma was dead. This really made me admire him and at the same time feel bad for Fairplay’s Granny.
Paul Enriquez. Project Manager. Survivor: Malapascua.
3rd: Skupin falls in the fire, Survivor: The Australian Outback.
It was the moment that changed my perception of Survivor. Suddenly, everything was real, and not just made-for-TV. From then on, Reality TV became more of reality than television and that the element of danger does exist in the genre.
2nd: Erik Reichenbach gives up immunity, Survivor: Micronesia.
Still the dumbest move in Survivor history. The jury and remaining players’ reaction said it all: jaws dropping, heads shaking, disbelieving grins… it’s the classic guilt-tripping technique that only fools fall for.
Jeff said it best afterwards, describing it as a “life lesson” for poor young lad Erik.
1st: Sue Hawk’s Snakes and Rats Final Tribal Council speech, Survivor: Borneo
33 seasons, 33 Final Tribal Councils, hundreds of FTC speeches… and none still holds a candle to Sue appealing to the Borneo jury to let the snake eat the rat. That speech was so intelligently and eloquently put together; it still stands as the best FTC speech in Survivor history. That Sue articulated the Survivor metaphors so well in an impromptu speech is a feat in itself.
So there you go. Out of the 499 episodes, which ones are your favorites? Share yours in the comments section.