In hip-hop music, a hype man supports the rappers with exclamations and interjections and attempts to increase the audience’s excitement. In the past, I’ve done these to get you excited for the upcoming season or to get you to vote for someone. But today’s hype post is in honor of one of Survivor’s often-overlooked legends: Sean Rector.
(Quick disclaimer: Normally when it comes to hype posts, it’s a one-man show. I look at a cast, pick a player I think I’ll like, and bring you to my side. But for this specific hype post, you can call me a Lannister. Because a Lannister always pays his debts.)
Ah, 2002. You were updating your Friendster account and renting movies from Blockbuster, Winona Rider was acquiring a wardrobe on the cheap, and R. Kelly was peeing on people. It was a magical time.
That same year, Survivor aired its fourth season. And as they started that fourth season in the Marquesas, the Maraamu tribe paddled their way to their beach upon an inflatable raft. Well, most of the Maraamu tribe did, at least.
Just a few moments later, we would see Sean Rector deliver his first confessional:
Sarah’s arrival was almost like Cleopatra. The servants were paddling and lifting, and she’s sitting on the crate looking soooo mah-velous with her boobs hanging out and her goldilocks in the air.
Talking tits in your first confessional? It wasn’t until Sandra came along and went all potty-mouth in Pearl Islands that we got a better first confessional from someone.
But Sean did not stop there, my friends. No, Sean would go on to provide us with weeks of entertainment. Let’s take a tour through Sean Rector’s greatest hits, shall we?
Within a week of paddling Cleopatra to the shore, Sean had started a morning show with his tribemates to keep their spirits up. And they needed it, as they routinely got destroyed by the Rotu tribe in immunity challenges.
Clearly, Sean was good TV. But Survivor needed more. They needed great TV. Remember, this was airing in 2002. Sure, Survivor was the fifth-most popular show on television and twenty million people were watching every week. But they were up against Friends, one of the most popular shows of all time. They were competing against the Joey-Rachel-Ross love triangle and the fascinating mystery of who put a baby in Rachel! What could they possibly do to create a memorable season that would rip American eyeballs away from that and turn Survivor into must-see TV?
The answer: show a montage of Sean Rector ripping ass.
Twenty million people watched Sean farting- and people talking about Sean farting- for over a minute. Just imagine the meeting that led to this.
Mark Burnett, Executive Producer: We’ve got about two minutes of air time left to fill in this week’s episode. What footage do we have that will summarize the past three days?
Field producer: Well, the tribe went hunting for sea urchins.
Mark Burnett: We’ve seen that before. We get it, they’re hungry.
Field producer: Paschal tripped over a log.
Mark Burnett: We’re competing against Chandler and Monica! I need something the American public will want to see! Didn’t anything interesting happen here?
Field producer: Sean farted a lot.
Mark Burnett: Brilliant! Now that’s what I call an ace in the hole, pun intended! Next time don’t bury the lede like that, kid. Have some editor watch hours of footage to find every air biscuit that passed Sean’s butt cheeks in the past three days.
Maybe a few laughs aren’t your thing, though. Maybe you’re one of those gamebot types that demands cold, emotionless strategy, not hilarious flatulence. Was Sean part of any big strategic moves? Ask this man, who apparently took a bath in KY Jelly just before this picture was taken:
Soon after the merge, despite all the joy he had brought us already, Sean was doomed. John- that glistening stud in the picture above, showing off the killer body that all guys named John have- wanted Sean gone. Sean was on the outside of John’s dominant alliance, and he was both an annoyance and a threat. And after a completely bullshit immunity challenge that gave Sean absolutely no chance to win immunity, it looked like Sean’s fate was sealed. But ten minutes later: “Checkmate, bruh. Thought you had me. I tell you, anytime you go to Vegas, bet on black.”
Sean and a patchwork alliance of underdogs flipped the script. And it’s a good thing Sean survived that vote, because in the very next episode we got to watch Sean win a reward challenge. His reward? A Marquesan feast, perfect for a man who has been starving for weeks. He just has to hop on a horse and ride to it. What could possibly go wrong?
Even after that horse put a hurting on his scrote, Sean had the good sense to smuggle some food back for his fellow tribemates, who had eaten bland taro while he was on the reward trip. It was a nice gesture, and his tribe appreciated it.
So what, you say? That’s basic human kindness, you say? A few days later, Neleh- decaffeinated young Mormon beacon of kindness and love- returns from a reward trip with no food for her remaining tribemates. Well, not *no* food. She offers them all an opportunity to share a mint. A mint that she currently has in her mouth. They could all pass it around and take a few licks of it. What do you think, Sean?
You’re offering seven starving adults a piece of candy out of your mouth. Keep your mint candy, man. That’s like saying ‘Anybody want this piece of doo-doo?’
How has this man not been back on Survivor already?! According to Sean, he almost was. They asked him back for All-Stars, and he said, “Ok I’ll do it, because I thought, ‘Shit, I need the money.'” He signed the paperwork and told his work he was going to be gone on the date the producers had given him. And when that date arrived, nobody called. Nobody has called in the years since then, either. When he texts them now, they just text back with “new phone who dis”.
Survivor has done the casting equivalent of offering Sean a piece of doo-doo. Fix this mistake, Survivor. Give the people what they want. Bring back Sean Rector.
If you’d like to donate to Sean Rector’s non-profit organization, which offers enrichment programs for African-American and Latino boys in Los Angeles, you can do so here: http://www.thetymefoundation.com/
John is the co-host of the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast. He can get loud too, what the fuck!
Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, Pearl Islands, Tocantins, Cambodia