Eric "Big Easy" Banks (Fresh Meat)
Big Easy competed on six seasons. SIX SEASONS. Actual legends have been cast less than him! WTF. Big Easy is a horrible competitor that is only redeemable through his lovely friendship with the icon, Katie Doyle. The BFF duo of the intimidatingly large Eric + tiny yet fiery Katie is hilarious and one of the more memorable aspects of Fresh Meat. Big Easy was the second to last male draft pick, and Katie picked him wisely over the very useless Ryan Kehoe. Their friendship throughout the season was super endearing! Big Easy just seemed like such a sweet and cool guy, far different from most of the trash that rolls through this show. The pair finally lost a challenge and were forced into Exile, where they were surely doomed since neither Katie nor Big Easy are endurance runners. Not to mention they packed 216 pounds of luggage.
Big Easy returned the following season on The Duel where he fared much better in the competition. Eric won the first challenge of the season and managed to defeat Tenderoni in an elimination! Eric was one of the five final guys standing in the competition even. Except Big Easy was in a pretty bad spot, considering he was part of the minority alliance group and was going up against one of CT/Evan/Brad/Wes in their primes. Eric selected Brad as his opponent in Pole Wrestle, which got him sent home. He still came across very likable, but added nothing to the season.
Eric would return for his third season in very controversial fashion. The Gauntlet III is a gutter-ass season, but the last thirty minutes of the season are so very glorious because of Big Easy. He alone gave us this moment, for which I will be forever grateful:
Eric nearly dying in the finals because all of the Veteran men were too chicken sh*t to go up against him in an elimination, which in turn caused all of the piece of sh*t Veteran team to lose after an entire season of treating Legends Coral, Katie, and Beth like scum for absolutely zero reason. The stuff of legends.
I really felt for Eric during the reunion though, since these people legitimately stopped being his friends in real life (sans Brad, Coral, and Katie) due to his collapsing during the finals. I was definitely happy with the way he defended himself during the reunion. I was certain that he would never return though, but he made his fourth appearance on The Duel II. Eric is essentially a non-factor this season as well, never winning a challenge and staying drama-free. Eric is called into The Duel by Derek and loses during mid-season. He still has his friendship with Katie though!
Up until this point, Big Easy is just a sweet guy. Pretty much a non-factor. Things definitely changed during his fifth appearance on Cutthroat. Eric is selected to be part of the disastrous Blue Team. Eric is the last person drafted, which is definitely a bummer. More of a bummer was the massive argument he engaged in with Laurel, where she essentially verbally assaulted him in one of the most heartbreaking scenes ever. Remember when the producers actually forced Laurel to film a whole PSA apology that was aired?! YIKES. Big Easy became such a bootable underdog in that moment, after being disrespected to the crazies degree by Laurel and disregarded by his team. Apparently, Big Easy is not innocent in his fight with Laurel. But she definitely crossed a line with him. Big Easy was sent in to the third elimination against Vinny, and he won! Except he was thrown right back in the following week against Luke, where they played the slapping fly swatter game.
Big Easy went home really early, alongside his forever BFF Katie. His final challenge appearance is most definitely where he stops looking like the friendly guy he was always portrayed to be. Eric made his sixth and final appearance on Battle of the Season, where he was part of the really hodge-lodge Fresh Meat team that came in to replace Team Austin. Eric formed a really bizarre showmance with Devyn that actually extended for a brief period into real life. Except I think he treated Devyn really poorly because of his own insecurities about sucking so hard at the game. Eric went into the first Arena against Wes in an iconic Hall Brawl, where Big Easy steamrolled the f*ck out of Wes and rang the bell with his opponent's head.
Big Easy won that first elimination with ease. Though his continued storyline for his brief stint on the show was his inadequacy - feeling lesser because of his physical body size. Totally understandable. But he took his frustrations out on his teammates and Devyn, all of whom were trying to help him. Eric was sent in to the second elimination as well, but he was successful in defeating Danny & Melinda. Eric lasted until the fourth elimination, where he controversially quit during the middle of the elimination because he just had zero desire to continue to push himself. This lead to an epic meltdown from Camila, rightfully so, except she maybe went a little too hard on him. Eric was never seen on the show again.
At least his failures on the show created some epic moments in the series' history. But I have no problem eliminating him!