Flashbeck – Remembering the Good Times of Elisabeth Hasselbeck-Filarski

Posted: July 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Let’s go back to a simpler time. A time where Apple retail stores were not yet a thing. A time where Russian spies still served as a threat within the United States. A time where man was traveling to Jupiter with the help of evil artificial intelligence (at least according to Stanley Kubrick). Yes, the time was February 2001, and America had just been introduced to their newest sweetheart…Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

I know Elisabeth, I’m shocked too.


As today was Mrs. Hasselbeck’s last day on The View, I thought it would be appropriate to pay respects to one of my all time favorite television personalities, but maybe not for the reasons most people remember her. You see, she wasn’t known as Elisabeth Hasselbeck at one time. She hadn’t yet met Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, Baba Wawa, or the other members of the shrieking coven seen every morning on ABC. She wasn’t known for her political affiliation, her feuds with celebrities, or her semi-famous professional football player husband. She wasn’t even known by her maiden name, Elisabeth Filarski. No, she was just Elisabeth, the spunky young 20-something from Massachusetts who graced the screens of 30 million people every week on the second season of Survivor.

Though she may have been known for her abs first.


Believe it or not, in the spring of 2001, Elisabeth was one of the most popular people in the United States, and it was no exaggeration to have called her America’s Sweetheart at one time. We need to remember, Survivor at one point was the single most watched show on television, and Survivor: The Australian Outback aired at the height of the show’s popularity, even beating Friends in the ratings. Had that season done a fan-favorite contest like most other seasons since then have done, Elisabeth certainly would have been in the top 2, maybe only losing to Colby Donaldson in the final showdown (and even then, I think she would have slipped through to win in the end). I’d venture to believe she still stands in the top 25-30 most beloved characters on the show 26 seasons later. Sure, she started mouthing off a lot a few years later, but I’m here to remember the good times! So, let’s talk about a few of Elisabeth’s best moments on the show, shall we?

Elisabeth and Rodger

Ok, it’s not really a moment, but the father/daughter relationship between 53-year-old Rodger Bingham from Kentucky and the 23-year-old Elisabeth was incredibly sweet to watch play out after the vicious (for the time) first season. It started with a simple moment where Rodger found a heart-shaped rock for Elisabeth to give to her boyfriend (and future husband) Tim, and from that moment on, the two were inseparable. It was one of the last times I can remember watching an out in the open alliance on the show that was not seen as threatening at all by any of the players, mainly because they were just so gosh-darn adorable. The two never turned on each other, and they were actually the last two standing of their original tribe. In many ways, Elisabeth was the Sarah Palin to Rodger’s John McCain, though Elisabeth’s clothing budget was considerably lower than Sarah’s.

The original Mavericks

Elisabeth, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate

Before Jenna and Heidi of Survivor: The Amazon ruined these two foods by taking their clothes off for them (or made the foods better, depending on your view), Elisabeth was the original chocolate and peanut butter connoisseur. She made her love known during the first individual immunity challenge of the season, when a jar of peanut butter was offered as a temptation, but she turned it down in fear of being voted out of the game.

Unfortunately, it was Australian off-brand.


A few episodes later, during the first ever Survivor auction, one of the items up for bid was a small dab of peanut butter and a few pieces of a chocolate bar. Elisabeth lost her ever-loving mind, giving up almost half the money she had for what amounted to maybe 300-400 calories of food. I’ve never seen a person cry over food before, but it’s part of what made Elisabeth so endearing in those days. She was earnest, you always knew what she was feeling, and she was willing to sacrifice whatever she needed to to get what she wanted, even if it meant spending a ton of money and physically abusing Jeff Probst to get it.

Wow, indeed, Mr. Probst.

The fall of Mike Skupin

I think this was the moment that solidified the nation’s love of Elisabeth. It was the 6th episode of Survivor: The Australian Outback. Elisabeth and her Kucha tribe were riding high after winning a reward, and they were ready to take on the other tribe and win. And then Mike Skupin had to ruin everything and burn his hands off.

His punishment 11 years later.


It was a crazy moment in Survivor history. Many viewers thought the contestants were in no real danger while they were on the show, and I imagine many of the contestants thought that as well. When Mike fell in the fire and burned his hands, his tribe was clearly shaken and had no idea what to do. But a lone voice of warmth would shine through the chaos as the producers scrambled to get help to the Kucha camp.

Really.


As Mike waited in the water for the emergency team to come, Elisabeth came directly to his side, pouring water on his back to try and make him feel better, giving him something to drink, and being a genuinely wonderful person. She stayed strong for him the entire time, hoping and praying he would get better. But when Mike left the game for good, she completely broke down, falling into Rodger’s arms. It’s one of the few times I actually cried watching the show. She was absolutely heartbroken, and the entire country collectively sent their heart to her. There is a gif out there of this moment, but it just seems mean to post it. I suggest going to watch this episode, especially if you’ve been an Elisabeth hater during her time on The View. You may not agree with her as a politician, but I think the episode shows that she was one of the few actually nice people to appear on a show of this type.

So there you have it. A little walk down memory lane to acknowledge one of the forgotten heroes of reality television. You may not like her now, but there was a time when almost every person who knew who she fell head-over-heels for her. I don’t watch The View at all, and my knowledge of her there is really based on articles I’ve read and what I see on The Soup, but I’ll always remember her from her time in the Outback. Apparently her old self comes out every once in a while, but she’s now probably going to be forever known as the conservative ding-bat who fought with Rosie O’Donnell and ended up on Fox News. So, children, what does this teach us?

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