Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Survivor 46 Fans Are Eviscerating One New Contestant - But Is He The Worst Player Ever?

The 46th season of "Survivor" has only just begun ... and one new player is a serious contender for the worst contestant in the show's long history.

The cast of "Survivor 46" is shaping up to be pretty great already, with one glaring exception: David Jelinsky, a slot machine salesman who hails from Las Vegas (a fact that's impossible to forget because he mentions it in every one of his confessionals). Jelinsky speaks in the third person and goes by his last name — perhaps hoping to emulate "Survivor" greats like John Cochran and Jonathan Penner — and also immediately messes up the very first challenge for his purple tribe, Yanu.

When Yanu comes in last place at the first all-tribe challenge, they're tasked with completing the typical Survivor "Sweat" challenge of filling giant urns with water using leaky buckets. Jelinsky convinces his fellow Yanu castmember Q Burdette that the challenge is impossible because the note says it will take "several" hours. He insists that "several" means "seven," and the two give up (and go back to camp without any supplies).

On the heels of that embarrassment, Jelinsky then volunteers to go on a journey and represent Yanu — only to immediately fold when he's tasked with outwitting and tricking Maria Gonzalez (Siga) and Tevin Davis (Nami). No, really; as soon as Maria challenges him to tell the truth and says she'll tell everyone if he's lying, he just gives up. Finally, in the immunity challenge, Jelinsky manages to whiff an astonishing third time and fails to complete a puzzle alongside his Yanu cohort, Jess Chong. Having lost his vote on the journey with Maria and Tevin, he's unanimously voted out by Yanu at Tribal Council and never even gets to cast a vote. Naturally, fans are going wild.

Fans think David Jelinsky is an absolute joke on Survivor

"Survivor" fans certainly didn't hold back when it came to David Jelinsky's utter tomfoolery. On X (formerly known as Twitter), people had a lot to say about Jelinsky and the fact that he botched not one, not two, but three opportunities to prove himself. @rebekuhsdavis summed it up pretty nicely, writing, "David came into this show, told Jeff [Probst] to call him Jelinsky so he could be like [Kelly] Wentworth and [John] Cochran, quit a challenge 2 hours in, caved to a mama, called himself a 'Survivor' legend despite doing nothing, got humbled by [Jeff], then booted FIRST." Yeah, that's pretty much it.

@evswhr mocked Jelinsky's inability to lie or bluff, posting a GIF of past Survivor players counting stacks of money with the caption, "Literally anyone after playing poker with Jelinsky." @SashaKirik utilized a GIF as well, of "Survivor" host Probst looking baffled, and wrote, "Jelinsky: There's no stopping in #survivor. Also Jelinsky: stopping and giving up every step along the way so far."

This was the overall gist; users laughed at the fact that Jelinsky threw in the proverbial towel at every opportunity, lied to Probst during Tribal Council about giving up, and then said, upon being voted off first without even getting to vote, that he was simply "too comfortable," and that's why he was ejected from the reality show. So what did Probst have to say about this whole thing? 

Jeff Probst challenged David Jelinsky during Tribal Council ... here's what he said to say

After the "Survivor 46" premiere, Jeff Probst spoke to Dalton Ross at Entertainment Weekly, who was on set for David Jelinsky's brief stint on the show. As Ross pointed out, the longtime "Survivor" host didn't take Jelinsky's comments at Tribal Council lightly. When Jelinsky said nobody quit the "Sweat" challenge, Probst fired back that he absolutely did and more or less forced Jelinsky to own his failure. So why did Probst feel like he needed to push back against Jelinsky?

Ultimately, Probst told Ross that he wants contestants to just admit when they screw up or don't want to deal with the challenges presented by the show: "'I tried. I'm going to quit. I tried. I've done that enough. My feet hurt, and I don't have any stake in it.'" (Jelinsky later said that his feet were causing him significant pain during challenges.) "But you can't quit and then say something about the word 'several' meaning "seven' — that's just not going to fly."

"'Survivor' is a game," Probst concluded. "You play, you take a shot, it works. It doesn't work. But all you can do is play your game. Jelinsky played his game. It didn't work. He got voted out." 

To add insult to injury, Ross, who was present at Tribal Council, revealed in his official EW recap that Jelinsky embarrassed himself way more at Tribal Council in moments that didn't make the episode's final cut, admitting that he lost his water bottle (as did his sleep-deprived tribe-mate Jess Chong) and pushing contestant Bhanu Gopal to say, "I can't be with this kid, I can't handle him anymore." So, is Jelinsky the worst player in "Survivor" history? 

A few playors in Survivor history have made fools of themselves

To be fair to David Jelinsky, it's not like he's the first person to ever act like a total dingbat on "Survivor." In Season 45, audiences were stunned by Hannah Rose, who quit during her very first Tribal Council because she hated sleeping outside and just generally being on the show (which leads one to wonder what exactly Rose expected from the experience). Then you've got James Clement, who was voted out with two Immunity Idols in his pocket during "Survivor: China." Colton Cumbie faked a hand injury to leave "Survivor" during his first run on "One World" and then quit during his reappearance on "Blood vs. Water." 

There's more! J'Tia Hart became infamous during "Survivor: Cagayan" when she dumped most of her tribe's rice onto their lit fire because she was annoyed with everyone else. Brandon Hantz was at the center of one of the show's most jarring moments when, during his second appearance on "Survivor: Caramoan," he also destroyed his tribe's food and then threatened violence during a challenge; there was no Tribal Council in that episode because he was simply voted out at the challenge and escorted off the show. Jeff Varner brought Tribal Council to a screeching halt on "Survivor: Game Changers" when, in an attempt to save himself from being voted out, he outed his fellow player Zeke Smith as a transgender man. Not only did this not work, but there was no vote because Jeff Probst simply booted him from the council. Then there's the reason Dan Spilo was removed.

Point is, tons of people have done horrible or boneheaded things on "Survivor" — but none of them are as dumb as Erik Reichenbach. Not even Jelinsky.

Only one man earned the title of dumbest Survivor player — and his name is Erik Reichenbach

It's just like "Survivor" legend Parvati Shallow once said: Erik Reichenbach "officially [goes] down as the dumbest survivor ever. In the history of 'Survivor.' Ever." So how exactly did Reichenbach earn this dubious honor? It all comes down to a now-iconic Tribal Council in "Survivor: Micronesia—Fans vs. Favorites."

Reichenbach won the individual Immunity Idol at the pre-council challenge and, as such, it sure seems like he's sitting pretty for the vote. That's where the "Black Widow Brigade" comes in. Reichenbach's four remaining opponents — Shallow, Cirie Fields, Natalie Bolton, and Amanda Kimmel — immediately begin plotting against him, which is when Fields presents an intriguing idea. Per the oral history of the moment in Entertainment Weekly, nobody could quite believe it when Fields asked, "I wonder if he would give Nat his necklace. Probably not, huh? You think you could talk him into giving you the necklace?"

By convincing Reichenbach that he'd never amass enough jury votes to win if he didn't make some sort of grand gesture — and promising him that Kimmel would go home as a result — the gang of women somehow trick the 25-year-old ice cream scooper into giving up his immunity necklace at Tribal Council. In one of the least shocking and yet most delicious twists in "Survivor" history, Reichenbach is voted off 4 to 1, leaving the brigade intact. Shallow put it best; Reichenbach cannot be beaten. He truly is the dumbest Survivor ever in the history of "Survivor." Ever.