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Jerri Manthey, Wicked Witch of “Survivor 2”

by David Bloomberg -- 12/11/2002
Survivor 2’s Jerri acted as though she knew there would be a Reality TV Hall of Shame and was desperately trying to get in. She was nasty, picked fights, showed no regard for the feelings of others, and even continued this behavior long after the show was over. Her behavior was, simply put, shameful.

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Since opening up the Hall of Shame, one of the people most often suggested for induction has been Jerri Manthey of Survivor 2. Even before that, she was on our list of people who would eventually be inducted. Why? Well, it’s hard to even know where to begin. But Jerri has done so many shameful things – both during and after the show – that there is no doubt she has a rightful spot here.

Let’s begin early in the show. By the first episode she was already grating against Keith, and by the second episode, she would begin her torture of the professional chef about his rice cooking skills. She would furthermore accuse Kel, the soldier with a Top Secret clearance, of being untrustworthy and breaking Survivor rules by smuggling in outside food (the infamous beef jerky). When Jerri incited the group to search through Kel’s belongings, and still they found nothing, Maralyn suggested they apologize to Kel. Jerri, of course, refused.

Her behavior never got better. In fact, it got worse. She continually harped on people and rubbed them the wrong way. The only one safe from her barbs was her little pal, Amber. Once the tribes merged, the trend only continued. She was always – always – trying to push her plans on others. Colby just wanted to be alone, but she had to follow him and force him into a corner regarding the Tina and Keith situation. She apparently has no skills in the interpersonal interaction arena. Even when her enemies (such as Keith) reached out to her to try to heal the rift, she just kept picking at the scab. She couldn't even pretend to be nice to people. Her natural personality just kept shining through – and it wasn't pretty.

Let us pick one example to go over in more detail, the time when there was a reward challenge that involved an obstacle course which was run, and won, in pairs – one guy, one girl – most of the tribe wanted to pick randomly. But not Jerri. Nope, she whined that she wanted to be with Colby. Well, duh! The others pretty much ignored her as she rambled on about how nothing is fair and so this shouldn't be either. Later, Colby noted to a couple folks that she never bothered to think that maybe Colby didn't want to be with her! Ironically, they ended up as a pair anyway from the random draw and even won. But the highlight was definitely when Colby was helping Jerri over a wall on the course and pretty much dropped her on her ass once she got over.

Even at the reward – time away together on their own beach – Jerri went on about how it was “meant to be.” Colby had to flat-out tell her that he would not be talking about the game, strategy, or any of the other people. He just wanted to enjoy a day off. Jerri, meanwhile, concentrated on how romantic the whole situation was, even telling Colby that it's "one hell of a first date" and that it's the perfect honeymoon, just without the sex. Needless to say, this was not in agreement with Colby’s assessment of the situation.

Taking it still another step further, Colby brought back (illegally, as it turned out) some pieces of coral for everybody. Jerri, not understanding what a nice gesture is, took this as a strategic move, saying that in a perfect world, the two of them would be in front of the jury together, but now he'd be one up on her from his gifts. Did she really think that everybody loved her just as much as Colby, and the coral thing could push them over to his side? What color is the sky in her world?

When Jerri was finally voted off (much later than many viewers had hoped), Keith was not the only person singing, “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead.” The title of my summary and many other articles that week took the same direction. Even in her “final words” after the vote (which were certainly not her final words overall, much to our collective chagrin), Jerri claimed she saw it coming – which was utter BS – and that it must have been her remark about how the game isn't fair that set people off. Uh, sure. That was it. It wasn't that she had been a complete witch to everybody except Amber for almost a month. No, that couldn't be it.

But she was on the jury, which meant she got to capture the limelight for another few minutes. Before the question and answer period, she said that both Tina and Colby stabbed her in the back and she wanted them to be forced to look at who they were in the game versus who they think they are in real life. She showed once again that she still had no clue.

So she brought that cluelessness into the Q&A; for the final two. She said they both had to make and break promises and manipulate people, so she wanted them to clear their consciences by bringing up any times of guilt, remorse, or regret for what they did to somebody else. Yes, that’s right – she wanted them to look at how they treated others. The height of irony. Of course, neither of them kissed up to her like she hoped they would. Instead, Tina even gave her a little slap by saying her worst day was when she searched Kel’s pack (which was, of course, instigated by Jerri), while Colby was sad that he had to vote off Rodger, Elisabeth, and Alicia. No mention of “Jerri” in there.

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