Survivor: All-Stars was monumental when it first aired in 2004 because it was the first time fans got to see all of their favorite Survivors on the same playing field.
The first seven seasons of Survivor introduced us to 112 castaways who made the show what it was. It was only natural that eventually the producers would round up the fan favorites and have them play against each other.
Season eight was just that – Survivor: All-Stars.
While not the most popular season (in fact, it’s normally ranked near the bottom on people’s lists), All-Stars gave fans something they hadn’t seen before and that was returning players. This was the first season to also give us three tribes at any point in the season, which has obviously become something we’ve seen more often since it originated in All-Stars.
Let’s take a look at some other memorable moments from season eight.
After seeing the first contestant to ever quit the game one season prior in Pearl Islands, we saw two more join the quitter’s club, but in all honesty, it’s hard to fault either one of them. Jenna Morasca – winner of Survivor: Amazon – quit because she had a bad feeling about her mother, who had cancer. Her mother died eight days after Jenna returned home, as a caption at the end of the episode informed us.
The other person to quit was Sue Hawk from Survivor: Borneo. We’ll go more into why she quit in another entry on this list, but no one really blamed her for leaving either.
It’s become more common for players to quit in recent seasons, but in the early years of the show it was less frequent and to have two people quit was shocking (Nicaragua says “Hold my beer”).
I mentioned above that we’d get into why Sue quit the game and this was what forced her to step away. Two days prior to her exit from the show, the contestants participated in a challenge where they had to cross a series of balance beams, grab a flag, and navigate back to the original platform to drop their flag off.
Sue was walking back to her platform and Richard Hatch – who typically ran the challenges in the nude – was crossing the same beam. Sue could have taken a longer path to the platform, but Rich was on the shorter route, so she decided to wait for him so she could go that way.
As Rich got closer to Sue, he made inappropriate gestures toward her. The challenge finished and little was made of what happened. Rich ended up getting voted out in that episode and at the next reward challenge, Jeff Probst brought up the situation to which Sue exploded with how embarrassed she was and that she was done playing.
This situation was horrible in 2004, but it was way worse watching it in 2020 when we saw what happened on Island of the Idols. The way people treated Sue for what happened to her was absolutely horrible and this is yet another reason why All-Stars is tough to rewatch.
The first seven seasons of the show had their fair share of angry jurors, but All-Stars gave us the first true bitter jury. Everyone on the jury had been burned by Rob and Amber during the course of the game – some worse than others – and they made sure the final two knew how they felt.
Lex van den Berghe and Tom Buchanan’s jury speeches have become legendary (“Don’t be stupid, stupid”) and when push came to shove, Amber won the season because people didn’t want to vote for cocky, arrogant Boston Rob.
While we’ve seen bitter juries throughout the years (though it’s not as common anymore, with Kaoh Rong arguably being the last case of it), none were as brutal as All-Stars‘ jury.
Without a doubt, everyone remembers Survivor: All-Stars for the romance that evolved between Amber and Boston Rob, who aligned on Day 1 on the Chapera tribe and made it all the way to the final two together. Along the way, the two fell in love and at the live finale, Rob proposed to Amber to which she said yes.
From there, Survivor‘s first true couple was born. Since then, the two have had four daughters, competed on two seasons of The Amazing Race, and returned to Survivor together for the first time since All-Stars for Winners at War.
When fans look back at Survivor: All-Stars, the only good that really came out of it was the relationship between Rob and Amber, who still remain Survivor‘s power couple to this very day.
Since All-Stars, there have been four seasons with all returning players and out of the five total all-returnee seasons, All-Stars is usually ranked at or near the bottom. Be that as it may, it set the trend for future returnee seasons, which have become very popular.