With the growing popularity of Mark the Chicken, we (okay, it was Andy’s idea) thought it would be fun to explore some of the best chicken or chicken-adjacent moments in Survivor history.
For those of you who do not follow us on Twitter, but do follow Rob Cesternino, let me first of all say: ouch. Come on, we’re all great tweeters except Matt. What harm would it do? Sorry, got sidetracked. Anyway, those cruel few of you may have seen this tweet:
— Rob Cesternino (@robcesternino) April 19, 2016
And if you don’t follow any of us on Twitter, or somehow only follow Mark and Matt like some kind of monster, then you would have missed our blanketed defense, which included this evidence:
So let that show that we did not crib the idea from Rob. I was just not properly motivated to get the post up in a more timely manner. And with that cleared up, let’s get to the most important chicken-related ranking you will read all week.
10. “I Can Forgive Her but I Don’t Have to Because She Screwed with My Chickens” – Survivor: Cook Islands
In the first episode to one of our favorite seasons, we are introduced to the great Jonathan Penner, teller of stories. During the marooning, he managed to snag a chicken away from Yul and bring it back to Camp Whitey. But then Flicka accidentally freed the chicken, leading to quite possibly the greatest episode title of all time. Penner would go on to provide many episode titles, but none quite so legendary.
9. Boston Rob Learns That Chickens Can Fly – Survivor: Marquesas
Before he become one of the biggest stars of the Survivor world, Boston Rob was just some punk kid from Boston who was tired of eating fruit. So when he hears some distinctively poultry-sounding noises in the jungle, he decides to go for a hunt. It looks like he’s going to succeed: He has the rooster cornered… and then it suddenly flies into a tree. This apparently shatters Rob’s worldview as he was previously unaware of the flight capabilities of chicken.
8. The Surviving Black Widows Release the Surviving Chicken – Survivor: Micronesia
Proving that they were not merely evil, ruthless women, the remaining members of the Black Widow Brigade (Cirie, Parvati, and Amanda) released their final chicken, Gloria, into the wild. This moment is also used to highlight the fact that the women believe there will be a final three, as they are celebrating what they think will be their final day on the island. But just as Gloria returned to camp, Parvati and Amanda would return from tribal council.
7. Wes Nale and Chicken Nuggets, Jeff Probst and Bacon – Survivor: San Juan del Sur
Despite being the Survivor fan of the pair, viewers saw much less of Wes than his father, Keith. But as is often the case, we got some solid moments in his boot episode. During an endurance challenge where the contestants were tempted off with food, Wes stepped down for the chicken wings. See, the temptation was too much to bare (Editor’s note: [sic]), as he had previously competed in- and won- a chicken nugget eating contest. Now out of the challenge, Wes is free to chat Probst up about his recent Two and a Half Men appearance. It was an unusually meta moment for the show, and is responsible for the fact that this exists:
6. Jenn Brown is the Winner, Sans Chicken Dinner – Survivor: Worlds Apart
Being a vegetarian is usually a disadvantage in the game of Survivor. There aren’t many opportunities for alternative protein sources, and people always end up slaughtering chickens at your camp. But Jenn was able to use her disdain for watching an animal’s head get chopped off to go search for the idol. And the idol she did find.
5. Steve “Chicken” Morris – Survivor: China
It usually takes a lot for a first boot to be memorable, such as getting in a dramatic fight or being overly schemey. Otherwise first boots are lost in the sands of time. But occasionally someone manages to break through and embed in the memory of the fan community with one simple moment. And that’s what Steve “Chicken” Morris did. Though being named Chicken couldn’t have hurt.
4. Shambo Loses the Chickens – Survivor: Samoa
If there’s one other character you remember from Samoa besides Russell Hantz, it’s probably Shambo. Before flipping after the merge, she was most notable for her one-sided feud with Laura Morett, her mullet, and her over-attachment to the chickens. Despite claiming she could talk to them, she still managed to lose one. And when she did, Erik Cardona was on the hunt. But he was foiled during his quest, and was clotheslined by a clothesline, much to Dave Ball’s delight.
3. Clarence and the Egg – Survivor: Africa
Food always seemed to be a problem for Clarence. He first got in hot water after allegedly eating more than his share on the cherries and beans. Then on post-swap Boran, he got a real hankering for chicken. But the others were felt it would be more practical to get eggs from the chickens, although the chickens weren’t really producing any eggs. So Clarence made a deal: If there was one egg by the morning, the chickens would live. Kim Johnson woke up early to find one very small egg and in delight, left it right where Clarence would find it.
2. Jeremy Frees Juicy J – Survivor: Cambodia
Okay, technically this was a secret scene, but it’s too great not to include. Eventual winner Jeremy Collins proves that he’s more than a heroic firefighter family man who keeps his allies at ease; he’s also a secret animal lover. It was really the perfect crime, with famed chicken lover Kimmi Kappenberg (more on her in a minute) as a tribemate. Who’s going to expect that Jeremy would let a chicken go when Kimmi is right there? Unfortunately, after the season ended, Jeremy informed us that, much like Gloria in Micronesia, Juicy J came back to camp on her own, and was not lucky enough to have it be the last day of the game. Thus, the chicken was killed and eaten. RIP Juicy J.
1. Kimmi and Alicia’s fight over the chicken
Survivor‘s first chicken moment is still the most memorable. Kimmi, a vegetarian who respects the lives of animals (except, as we learn in Cambodia, filthy ocean-dwelling animals), is not thrilled about the impending deaths of the chickens. Alicia, with muscles on top of muscles, states they need protein every day and eventually accuses Kimmi of being emotionally attached to the chickens. Kimmi denies this, and an argument featuring emphatic finger-waving ensues. Kimmi objects to Alicia’s finger-waving, but is memorably informed that Alicia will always wag her finger in Kimmi’s face.
Bonus: the reward of chickens also lead the Kucha tribe to eat all of their chicken feed. Kucha Corn was fun.
Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Micronesia, Cambodia, Cook Islands, China, Philippines
Favorite players: Courtney Yates, Parvati Shallow, John Cochran, Cirie Fields, Yul Kwon, Kim Spradlin