Tales of dirty underwear, bitter enemies, and happy nostalgia filled Thursday night's post-finale segment of Survivor: The Australian Outback, which reunited all 16 of the CBS show's original castaways.
Tina Wesson, the 40-year-old nurse from Tennessee who took home the $1 million prize by being a self-proclaimed "strategist," glowed as she learned of her triumph. "Oh, my God," she exclaimed, embracing the runner-up, 27-year-old Texan auto detailer Colby Donaldson.
Wesson was declared the winner on live television, as host Jeff Probst counted the votes that had remained sealed since the seven-member jury cast them at the final gathering in Australia. Probst arrived at the CBS studio by helicopter, carrying a tribal drum with the telling ballots. When they were counted, Wesson had won 4-3.
All 16 competitors gathered on a CBS set made to look like their tribal council area in the Outback, tiki torches and all. Host Bryant Gumbel asked them to share some of their memories of the Outback, prompting some to reveal personal demons, nasty pranks, and people they just didn't get along with while playing the game.
Among the highlights:
Kel Gleason, the 32-year-old Army officer from Texas, still doesn't like Jerri "Evil Bitch" Manthey, the bongo-playing actress from Los Angeles, who was widely despised by her tribemates and viewers alike. "I forgive her, but I still don't like her," Gleason told Gumbel.
Personal trainer Alicia Calaway still couldn't find it in her heart to forgive New York bartender Kimmi Kappenberg, either. "We're never going to be best buddies," Calaway said. "I mean, we wouldn't have gotten along no matter where we were." Perhaps Kappenberg, who got into a shouting match with buff Calaway early in the game, ushered in an early exit by declaring her plans to get naked on her 28th birthday. Thankfully, Kucha sent her packing four days before the big day.
Corrections officer Debb Eaton, the first castaway voted off, said she didn't enjoy her experience at all. "I didn't want to be a part of it," Eaton confided. "I got home and the press pretty much tore me apart. It hasn't been fun." Eaton was featured in several tabloid stories after it was discovered that she was romantically involved with her stepson.
New York Internet guru Jeff Varner said he was disgusted by the thought of having sex with a fellow contestant. "I can't imagine anyone being attracted to someone out there … when you're not bathing, you're sleeping in dirt … there's just nothing sexy about it." Harvard law student Nick Brown agreed. "We had some cute women out there, but after 24 hours [in the Outback] they were all nasty … and so was I. I only had three pairs of underwear."
Maralyn "Mad Dog" Hershey, a 51-year-old former cop, called herself the "Prophylactic Police," noting that she closely monitored the 12 condoms the tribes had when they started. There were still 12 when she was voted off, she noted. Hershey also joked about loving the lack of food in the Outback, noting that she wished she'd been on the show longer in order to shed some weight. "If only I could have stayed there a couple more weeks, I'd be wearing a thong," she quipped.
The next Survivor will take place in Africa, according to executive producer Mark Burnett. That series will air this fall.