The Funny 115 - version 2.0

#31.  Coach climbs a tree
Heroes vs Villains - episode 1

It is the second day of Survivor: Heroes vs Villains, and Boston Rob Mariano is already facing a problem.

The problem?

How to get these palm fronds down from the top of this coconut tree

Rob sees the palm fronds way up there, and he starts climbing the tree

Rob calls for Jerri to come over to give him a hand.  

And that's when the two of them discuss if this is really a good idea or not.

Rob:  "Is it dangerous?"

Jerri:  "It's pretty precarious."

Rob's-Eye View

Rob:  "And the wind is blowin' up there now, huh?"

Rob:  (nervous laughter)

Rob is debating if he really wants to pull off this stunt or not.  And that's when a new voice suddenly inserts itself into the mix.  

Suddenly, from way off yonder behind him, comes the voice of reason.

Danielle (scolding):  "Amber's not gonna like this!"


Rob and Jerri hear this and they laugh.

Jerri (agreeing with Danielle):  "He's a father now!"

Amber sends angry thought waves from back home

In his head, Rob debates if it's really worth climbing up a 200 foot tree in a windstorm just to get some stupid palm fronds, and after about thirty seconds of deliberation he decides that no, it isn't worth it.   So he hops back down to the ground just like wifey would have wanted him to.


"Yeah, I was told not to do anything stupid.    You guys wanna try?"

Rob sits down for a confessional and he explains his reasoning.

"I could probably get up there and get them. "

"But why would I risk falling and getting hurt?"

"It's higher than it looks."


Rob and Tyson have a little strategy session to discuss how they are going to get those palm fronds now

And yep.  There they go.  They quickly come up with a Plan B.

And just what is that Plan B?

Well this is why I love the first episode of Heroes vs Villains so much.   I love it because the rest of this scene is presented to us exactly how I would have written it up as a Funny 115 entry.  

This is the point in Survivor history where the editors finally figured out how they wanted to treat Coach.   They finally figured out that they didn't want to treat him as a martyr.  They didn't have to show him as a hypocrite.  They didn't have to spend every scene building him up as a threat, just to tear him down later.

No, from this scene on, Coach would always be treated as comic relief.  From here on out, every single time we saw Coach Wade on screen on Survivor, the sole reason would be to make the scene funnier.

What is even better is that Boston Rob clearly already knows this (that Coach is kind of a joke), and he knows exactly how he wants to explain it to us.

One of the best Survivor narrators ever.   He is awesome because he thinks and presents things like a producer would.

And so here we go.  Rob sits down and explains who needs to go up there and climb that tree.

This is where Coach goes from "That hypocrite who everyone hated in Tocantins" to "the most unintentionally hilarious character in Survivor history."  

God bless you Boston Rob for finally giving him to us.

"I don't need to climb that tree."

"Because I know somebody that... you know... is so full of himself..."

"... when you give him a challenge..."

"... they're just gonna have to do it."

"Because they're the greatest and the best."

"And you know, every day out here they get stronger."

Just who is this mystery man that Rob is talking about?

I love the fact that the editors immediately cut to this shot, complete with inspirational heroic Jesus music.


So the Villains call Coach over, and Rob says something like "Hey I heard that King Arthur once tried to climb that tree.  Think you can get further than he did?"

Needless to say, this works.

"He wants to be a hero but he's really a villain.  So let's see how this goes."

Rob and Sandra watch Coach go off on his new quest

Sandra (calling over to Coach):  "I say don't do it!"

Rob (taunting):   "Get your ass up that tree, will ya?"

And what does Coach think about all this?

"I like Boston Rob because he sharpens me."

Oh yeah.  Something else that sharpens you?

Grinding your crotch against rough tree bark.

Coach starts to get sharp

"Climbing trees gives my penis the strength of Odin."

So Coach starts to climb the tree.

Meanwhile, Russell stands under the tree and starts baiting him.

Russell:  "Come on, you can do it!"

And now comes my very favorite line of the entire scene.

Most people remember the rest of this scene pretty well, because it was funny and memorable.   But a lot of people forget the awesome bluntness of Sandra.  

Rather than debate if Coach is going to make it to the top or not, she decides to take the "glass is half full" approach, and just point out the positives.

"Well at least he'll land in the water."

Ha ha.  Sorry.  Sandra kills me.  

Oh yeah, and now Rob turns to Sandra.  Since they have nothing else to do at the moment, he decides he wants to make this interesting.

"You wanna make a bet?  If he makes it or not?"

Rob:   "I'll bet you a dollar."

Sandra:   "A dollar that he won't make it to the top, and you're sayin' a dollar that he'll do it?"


"He's gonna do it."

Meanwhile, Russell continues to give Coach positive inspirational advice from below.

Rob (yelling over to Coach):  "I BET ON YOU!  

Coach:  "What?"



Coach continues to try to climb the tree for a few more minutes.  

But, alas, even the Mighty Dragon slayer knows when he is facing an impossible task.  After a few more minutes, he realizes that the odds are that he is probably going to fall and get hurt.

Coach comes to the realization that this really isn't worth it.

And so... tucking his tail between his legs, and his sword back in its sheath... he turns around and gives up.

Slayer slayed

Russell:  "Oh no.  He's givin' up!"

Back on the beach, Rob and Sandra react just like you would expect them to react.

Rob (taunting):  "YOU'RE NOT A WARRIOR!!   GET UP THERE!!"


But it's over.  Coach is coming down.   He never did make it to the top.

Sandra just won the bet.

Well if nothing else, at least I'm sharp

Rob:  "Mannnnn."

And with Sandra winning the bet, now it is time to remind Rob what he owes her.

After all, as Sandra once proudly proclaimed, you don't mess with a hustler.  Because this is what she does.  You should never bet against Sandra on anything (right Jonny Fairplay?), because she is going to hustle your money off of you.

Time to pay up, Mustache Boy

Sandra explains what she wants written on the dollar he owes her.

"Write: To Sandra, the winner..."

"From Boston Bob the loser."

Rob laughs

"Haha.  Boston Bob."

Fist bump

Meanwhile, Coach is walking back towards them now, and he has his tail between his legs.

Coach:  "Not worth it!"

Rob (disappointed):  "Man, you cost me."

Sandra (proudly):  "I won!"

"I coulda probably made it up to that... where it starts getting...."

Rob (annoyed):  "Coulda, shoulda, woulda, didn't!"

And then we end the scene with this great capper, where Rob again shows why he is one of the funniest Survivor narrators ever.

Coach:  "Oh well.  From the hero to the zero."

"From the hero to the zero?"

Coach:  "Yep."

"From the Villain to the never-was!"

Not sharp anymore

And thus ends one of my favorite scenes involving three of the greatest characters in Survivor history.

And also Russell.

P.S.  A lot of people out there (including me) were curious why Sandra called him "Boston Bob" and not Boston Rob during their exchange at the end.  

When the scene first aired on TV, I mistakenly assumed it was because Sandra wasn't really all that close to the Survivor community.  I figured, well since she doesn't go to all the Survivor events like some of the other alumni do, maybe she just sort of forgot Rob's name.  In the hilarity of the moment, maybe she accidentally kind of just said his name wrong.

Turns out I was wrong.  In a Facebook chat with Sandra a couple of months ago, I asked her why she called him "Boston Bob".  She explained that the night before this scene, the Villains were telling stories around the campfire, and Rob told a story about some fan of his who always called him the wrong name.  Apparently there is some chick out there who claims to be the number one Boston Rob fan on the face of the Earth, but every time she talks to him she calls him Boston Bob instead of Boston Rob.

Well needless to say, Rob and Sandra found this story hilarious.  So during the "Coach climbs a tree" scene, what you are seeing is Sandra making a callback joke to the story that Rob told around the campfire the night before.  That is why Rob laughs so hard when Sandra makes the "Boston Bob the loser" comment.  He laughs because Sandra is stealing his material.

And anyway, so there you go.   Thank you for the back story, Sandra!

P.S.  Oh and by the way, here is the actual dollar that Boston Rob sent to Sandra in the mail.  

Let it be known that Boston Rob pays his gambling debts.  He is good like that.  He would never sell out a friend over something as simple as a greenback.


Um... crap.

Well now this is just awkward.

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