'Survivor: Tocantins' Aftergasm: Farewell, Coach
Friday, May 15, 2009
We have never seen a character on Survivor as frustrating, as crazy, as self-righteous, or as bizarrely likable as Coach Benjamin Wade. He was a delusional man-child, a staunch narcissist, an arrogant prick. But, Coach was also a man with a positive outlook, a believer in the human spirit, a man unafraid to speak his mind. There is a lot to like about Coach Benjamin Wade, and there is a lot to dislike. There are many different ways to ingest the overall being of Coach. He comes off as a caricature, but how genuine is he? For the most part, he wasn't acting (besides those injuries). He may be full of crap, but he spouts his spiritual mumbo-jumbo with such passion that he has actually come to believe in himself. For these reasons, I cannot get myself to hate Coach Benjamin Wade, Lots of people do hate the man, but he's harmless. He's a curiosity, not a demon. The previously voted off Survivor castaways all agreed on this - Coach intends no malice, and he's mostly a likable guy, despite how annoying he can be.
Coach is the reason reality television can be worthwhile. Seriously.
Reality TV gets beat up on in the mass media as an example of our
crumbling standards as a culture, and that's often a reasonable way of
thinking, but sometimes reality TV offers insights into the human
condition. The good reality shows, like Survivor, can give us
interesting sociological looks at people and how they react to others
in given situations. I've said this before, but it bears repeating -
Benjamin Wade would make a great case study for any psychology
student. Coach has created a persona for himself that he believes is
the prime example of the alpha male. What would bring a person to act
this way? Is it vast insecurity? Did he have a rough childhood? Did
something harrowing occur in his past that makes him put up a wall of
false masculinity? Whether you love him or hate him, Coach is an
We all have friends who embellish the truth. One of my friends always
lives by the piece of advice "Never let the truth get in the way of a
good story." Coach weaves tales that have no basis in reality, and he
really pushes the limits of believability. No reasonable person would
fall for any of the outlandish stories he told throughout the season,
and it's amazing that Coach (who, honestly, can't be that dumb) thinks
that others will believe the nonsense he's saying. Again, I'd chalk it
all up to crazy levels of insecurity, but who knows?
With Coach out of the picture, and four Survivors left, who doesn't
think that J.T. will win it all? He has to, right? Maybe Taj and
Erinn will team up and try to remove J.T. from the game, but I really
don't see Taj turning on her boys. Let's hope something surprising
happens, because I have the feeling that we could be in for a very
anti-climactic ending to Survivor: Tocantins.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer