Over the coming months, Inside Survivor is undertaking its biggest list ranking yet, as we count down the 100 best episodes of Survivor ever. As always with these kinds of lists, it’s entirely subjective, and we’re sure many fans will have different opinions. This is simply Inside Survivor’s ranking. Join us each weekday for a new entry.
Episode: “Stupid People, Stupid, Stupid People” (Episode 13)
Broadcast Date: April 22, 2004
Get exclusive content and features by supporting Inside Survivor on Patreon.
Most Survivor fans will remember the Final 7 episode of Survivor: All-Stars as the one where Shii Ann Huang pulls off a super clutch Immunity win, but that’s not all of the goodness this episode contains. Since this is the first time the original Chapera tribe has to turn on each other, it’s really the biggest glimpse into just how much of a tight grip Boston Rob Mariano has on each of the other players in his alliance.
The fun starts at the Reward challenge, momentous for a few reasons. This is the first time the Touchy Subjects quiz (first played in The Amazon and won by Rob Cesternino) is combined with the infamous three-strikes “coconut chop” challenge (first seen in Marquesas), and it pays off to brilliant effect here. Alicia Calaway is the answer to such “feel-good” questions like “Who least deserves to be an All-Star?” and “Who mistakenly thinks they’re smart?” which grinds her gears for the rest of the episode. Meanwhile, Boston Rob is the answer to the very telling “Who do you trust with your life?” question, showing off the hard work he’s put in with all of his allies.
Usually, the person in Rob’s position has a great chance of winning this particular challenge, as future seasons will attest. However, here, it’s Rupert Boneham who emerges victorious (similarly, he won the “coconut chop” challenge in his first season as well, albeit with the trivia question format). This sets up Rupert for some big decision making and one of the most awkwardly hilarious scenes in Survivor history.
The good news for the entire Chaboga Mogo tribe is they all get to eat, the catch being that Rupert gets to choose who eats what. As Rupert doles out all of the dishes, what was already clear becomes crystal: Boston Rob is at the top of the hierarchy. Rupert, himself awarded with a steak, gives Rob the second-best meal (a cheeseburger)! Jenna Lewis, the person Rupert’s been with the entire game, gets a hot dog, Amber Brkich a sandwich, Alicia a salad, Big Tom Buchanan potatoes, and Shii Ann is left with cold rice. Rupert spends the meal getting drunk while Shii Ann craves after his steak, much to her tribemates’ annoyance.
Based on Rupert’s meal distribution, it’s more than obvious that “The Robfather” has all of these people under his thumb, all save for Shii Ann, that is. The “Shii Devil” tries desperately throughout the episode to get people, anyone, to turn on Rob, tugging at any string in the hopes the alliance will unravel, but to no avail. With everyone giving Shii Ann the cold shoulder, her only hope of survival is winning the upcoming Immunity challenge, which, considering her track record, does not exactly bode well for her.
Yet, against all the odds, Shii Ann pulls out the Immunity win after lasting for over two hours in the classic “When It Rains It Pours” challenge. While she might not have gotten Rupert’s steak, she does receive the satisfaction of beating him in this particular showdown. It’s always exciting when the clear underdog wins Immunity, especially when they give it their all in a mammoth endurance battle like Shii Ann does here. Watching her celebrate and rub it in the others’ faces is also cathartic after seeing the door closed in her face during her alliance-building attempts. It also leads to her classic line that becomes the episode’s title, proclaiming her fellow castaways to be “stupid, stupid people.”
As the Chaperas now have to eat one of their own, there is one player still several steps ahead. This is the first time Rob has been vulnerable after the merge, but he knows he’s not going anywhere, and it’s time to turn the tables on Alicia. His alliance with her was the last one he made out of his core group, done only because he thought Amber was on her way out while they were separated. Alicia sure didn’t see it that way and is shocked when Rob says “See ya later” with his vote at Tribal Council.
After being the Reward challenge punching bag, only given a measly salad by Rupert, and turning down Shii Ann’s offer of an alliance, getting blindsided is a tough way for Alicia to go out. She is yet another casualty in Boston Rob’s all-star crusade but ultimately goes on to get her revenge by voting against him at the Final Tribal Council and denying him the title of Sole Survivor.
Check back tomorrow when we reveal which episode placed at number 93. You can check out the previous entries here.