The 5 Creepiest Moments in Survivor

Since we recently said goodbye to everyone’s favorite feathered friend in episode 2 of Worlds Apart, I thought it would be a good time to catalogue the top five creepy moments in Survivor history (also known as the first five creepy moments that I could think of). Plus, as the token chick, I do feel I am more qualified than John, Andy, or Matt to analyze creeps. Not to say there won’t be any women on this list. In fact, due to using reverse chronological order, a woman is the first entry!

Without further ado…

Sarah Dawson Goes for Probst – Survivor: Philippines

With Matsing dissolved, Kalabaw could not find a way to beat powerhouse/dysfunctional shit show Tandang. Given Denise’s uncanny ability to kick ass, she was safe despite being the newest member of the tribe. With the guys aligned, Dana “pulling herself from the game” because she had the fucking flu (production was feeling extra stingy with the med-evacs that day) left Dawson and Katie as the likely targets. Dawson felt her best strategy was to troll former NL MVP (Go Giants!) Jeff Kent with baseball references alluding to his former occupation. This backfired, as Kent decided she was a threat to out him to his tribemates and he was able to convince his alliance that Dawson should go over Katie.

And that’s where the magic began. Screw it, I’m not writing this part up. Just watch the clip; I’ll wait.

In case you’re unable to watch videos at the moment, I will do my best to break it down for you.

First Dawson puts her torch in the slot thing in a fantastically sassy way that I can’t show you because I don’t know how to make gifs.

Then she zeroes in on her kill.

Run, Jeff!
Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 10.05.31 PM
This is a full five seconds later. Maintaining uneasy eye contact is the first rule in the Creep handbook.
“This is getting a little weird,” thinks Katie. She is correct.
“This is getting a little weird,” thinks Katie. She is correct.
Seriously. It’s been ten interrupted seconds now and she’s still staring!
Seriously. It’s been ten interrupted seconds now and she’s still staring!

Then instead of leaving, she walks towards Jeff, probably with that same look in her eye.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 10.10.01 PM

“What the fuck?” wonders Penner. Indeed.
“What the fuck?” wonders Penner. Indeed.
Thanks, Obama.
Thanks, Obama.

Then she strikes, leaning in for a kiss.

It’s happening!
IT’S HAPPENING!!! (P.S. Nice dodge by Probst to keep it a cheek kiss. Who hasn’t pulled that move? I did once when I actually wanted to kiss the dude, but that’s a story for another time)

It’s still happening??

Dawson, speaking for the audience.
Dawson, speaking for the audience.

An underrated part of this moment is that it’s foreshadowed. When her aforementioned alliance mate Dana falls ill, Probst shows up to camp to check up on her. Here’s Dawson’s reaction: “Jeff Probst is in our camp and typically I’d jump up and down and maybe jump on him, but it just wasn’t good timing. 

Legitimate creepy moments: In her various exit interviews, she described the moment as “just so romantic” and also said that Probst “had no choice but to hug me back, which is what I wanted.” Which, no. That’s precisely why Vince making Jenn hug him was so gross, although at least Probst is in a position of power.

Brandon Hantz and the Jezebel – Survivor: South Pacific

In which we all feel uncomfortable forever.

Though ultimately not voted out until the third tribal council Upolu visited (fourth voted out overall), Mikayla was targeted by Brandon Hantz from day five, due to her audacity to be young and attractive even though Brandon had a wife.

That’s it. That’s the reason. When Coach asked Brandon why Mikayla made him so uncomfortable, he said, “Because I’m faithful to my wife.” Which… sure. Of course, knowing what we know now, perhaps being near an attractive woman really is all it takes to make Brandon stray. This is why you don’t get married as a teenager, kids.

If for some godforsaken reason you’ve chosen to rewatch South Pacific  (or SoPa, as the kids are apparently calling it these days) and you start to feel bad for Mikayla again, just picture the image below and those feelings will all go away.

They dated. It’s gross.
They dated. It’s gross.

Alexis Jones, Single White Female – Survivor: Micronesia (Fans vs. Favorites) 

Okay, maybe this one is a bit of a stretch, but our friend Matt cracked me up so much with this assessment during last summer’s season ranking series that I had to include it over the more obvious choice from this season: Natalie Bolton’s jury speech. In fact, I’m just going to quote him on the subject:

“Alexis wanted to be Amanda so much that it turns into a horror movie, because first she tries to steal Ozzy away… and then when Ozzy gets voted out she tries to vote out Amanda so she can take her place!”

"I love you, Ozzy." "But I'm not-" "Shhhhh."
“I love you, Ozzy.” “But I’m not-” “Shhhhh.”

While it’s tempting to end the entry here because I’m writing before leaving for vacation and I spent way too much time on the Dawson entry, let’s delve a little deeper.

  1. At the tribe swap, Alexis buddies up with Parvati, Amanda’s best friend on the Favorites tribe. Parvati promises that Amanda will partner up with Natalie and Alexis.
  2. At the merge, Alexis cuddles up with Ozzy, Amanda’s island boyfriend.
  3. Alexis sends Amanda to Exile upon the latter’s request, which eventually leads to Amanda getting an idol and Alexis being eliminated. Thus Alexis’s simultaneous love and fatalistic obsession with Amanda leads to her downfall.

Again, I admit it’s a stretch. But I just loved hearing Matt sell it when I listened to that podcast. (I’m never going to hear the end of that.)

Jean-Robert loves and hates Courtney Yates – Survivor: China

Jean-Robert was so disliked that James said aligning with him would be the dumbest move in Survivor.

He would go on to make a worse move (or lack thereof) and witness several more. 

Jean-Robert was so disliked that he received the most votes that season. And no matter what Todd says, it’s not because he was a threat.

Most votes came from Courtney.
Most votes came from Courtney.
These were the only two I could find, but there’s a third out there.
These were the only two I could find, but there’s a third out there.

Why was he disliked? Because he was a creep. He made the girls, particularly Courtney and Amanda, so uncomfortable that they would do their best to avoid him while sleeping in the shelter. He claimed Courtney would keep him warm, despite him being at least twice her weight. (Which goes to show how creepy he is, because wouldn’t she want him to keep her warm in the shelter?)

He also was a self-described bad boy, which is almost as bad as being a self-described nice guy.

Bad boy.

What makes it all especially uncomfortable is the way he treats Courtney. Because it’s the combination of lusting after her while also behaving in a really demeaning manner towards her worth and lack of strength. Sure, the game is the game, but his tone was definitely troubling. It doesn’t give me a ton of confidence in his views towards women.

Matt von Ertfelda the Serial Killer – Survivor: Amazon

This one’s a given. The original creep, if you will. Although crush on Shawna notwithstanding, Matt was a different kind of creep.

Posting this photo is legally required when discussing Amazon Matt.
Posting this photo is legally required when discussing Amazon Matt. He’s just creepy.

Whether it’s obsessively sharpening the machete

 Unknown copy

or just his face…


Matthew creeped out his tribemates to the point where one of them asked if he was going to butcher them during one of his machete sharpening sessions and Deena told Rob they needed to exercise a 5150 on him. To our non-Californian readers, that’s the statute used to put into someone into a facility if they are deemed a danger to themselves or others. Think Amanda Bynes.

 Also another tribemate gave a confessional about how creepy he was.

Posting this photo is legally required when discussing Amazon Matt.
So creepy.


His formal manner of speaking probably didn’t help matters. Nothing like an emotionally distant, well-educated white man methodically sharpening a machete to give off serial killer vibes.




And there we have it, the five creepiest moments that I could think of, although episode one Vince would easily take Alexis’s spot. Let me know which ones I missed in the comments!

Emma has been a fan of Survivor since the beginning, when she was 10 years old.  She’s seen every episode except the pilot and a random episode in Amazon due to a VCR mishap.

Emma finally made a Survivor-based twitter account this season, so you can follow her at @purplerockemma for west coast live tweets and other Survivor thoughts through the week. If you want to follow her personal account, you can’t because she’s scared of strangers.

(Editor’s note: Emma also included approximately 75 tags on this post. I’m not even mad. That’s amazing.)