The Funny 115 - version 2.0

#96.  Coach's Poem
Tocantins - episode 13

You know, when it comes to talking about Coach, I really don't even know what to say.  He's just such a memorable character, and is so wonderfully delusional and unique and insane, that I almost feel like anything I write about him would sort of ruin the effect.  I mean, the guy is Coach.  That's who he is.  What more can I say about the guy other than "he does lots of Coach things"?

Exhibit A?  Well how about his final scene in Tocantins?  Where he recites a poem he made up for everybody at Tribal Council,

I swear, the first time I watched this scene, I knew it was going to wind up on the Funny 115.  I just knew it.  There was no doubt about it.  After all, awkward/funny/painful to watch/memorably crazy scenes like this are the reason the Funny 115 was invented in the first place.

And hey, lucky for us, Coach has about 5,000 of them.

The Legend

It's the thirteenth episode of Survivor: Tocantins (which, side note, is one of the best episodes ever), and Coach has just  returned from his 24 hour sabbatical/martyrdom/screaming cry for attention on Exile Island.   He has returned with a back injury, a new Dragon Cane (tm), and-- unbeknownst to him-- a blindside that is waiting for him at Tribal Council later that night.

And you know what?  Here is what I love about Coach.

The whole episode is structured around the fact that Coach is about to be blindsided at Tribal Council.  The whole episode revolves around the fact that this is Coach's Last Stand, and this self-important blowhard is about to be voted out of the game.

Yet when it comes to Tribal Council, what happens?

Yep, you got it.  Coach decides he is going to play editor again.

Coach is about to go home (presumably as a blindside), yet he still finds a way to make the episode all about him and his own journey, rather than about the other people who have put together a strategy to blindside him.  Yessiree, in two wonderful minutes at Tribal Council, Coach Wade is about to ensure that he will forever be remembered as a legend.  

Remember, this isn't Survivor.  When Coach is still in the game, we are only going to be watching The Coach Show.

On your knees

So anyway, here we go.

The players arrive at Tribal Council, including Coach with his beloved Dragon Cane

We go through the typical Tribal Council nonsense, blah blah blah.  Coach drops an analogy about pebbles.  Erinn bags on him for being dramatic and self important.  Taj and Sierra roll their eyes.  Coach defends himself by quoting Mark Twain.  It is pretty much the same stuff we have been seeing every episode.

Erinn bags on Coach for being a jackass, and smiles evilly

The Loneliest Samurai

Oh but then...

Then we come to the scene that officially turns Coach into a Survivor legend.

Because I'm serious.  There were a lot of moments in Tocantins that might have been memorable before.  There might have been moments where you watched Coach do Coach Things (tm) and just scratched your head, or maybe hung your head in shame.  

But this is the moment where he officially goes over the top and into the realm of just being plain ridiculous.

Ready for this one?

Oh, Coach?

"Alright, it is time to get to the vote."

Coach (interrupting):  "One more thing...?"

Jeff (slightly amused):  "Yes?"

"I wrote a poem for everybody to hear."

Stephen turns to look at Coach in amusement.

Erinn smiles evilly in anticipation.  Yay!  A poem!

J.T looks at the jury and tries to suppress a laugh

Debbie facepalms

Jeff says nothing.  He just smiles and nods his head.  Okay Coach.  Whatever.

And now comes one of the greatest Coach moments in a library that already contains dozens of other great ones.  This is Coach at... well... at his "Coachiest."

"With friend and foe we march to the battle plain..."

The jurors, who already are sick to death of Coach and his long, drawn out self important b.s., decide they are going to sleep.

"Some to seek success.  Others to seek fame..."

"We play with honor.  For the love of this game..."

More poem, as Debbie fixes her makeup:  "And with armor or without, we will toil in vain..."

"So that someday, someone, somewhere, will remember our name."

Nailed it.

Now... I've watched this scene about ten times.  And I don't know what is funnier.  The fact that Coach has prepared a poem, and has obviously practiced it so often that he can recite it from memory at Tribal Council?  Or the fact that the jurors immediately know what is coming, and immediately go to sleep.  Or hell, how about the fact that the editors love Coach and his ridiculousness so much that they throw in an artsy dissolve (which is something they rarely ever do), where we cut back and forth between Coach talking and the jurors sleeping through his poem.

Seriously.  Check out the animated gif of the scene that Juhani has prepared for us below.  Just check out the love by those editors!


Inspirational Fail

Actually no, screw that.  I know what the funniest part of the scene is.  The funniest part is that Probst doesn't even react to Coach's poem.  He doesn't even flinch, or smile, or comment, or shake his head, or ask Coach a follow up question, or anything.  He just deadpans right through it, like this is something that happens at every single Tribal Council.

Coach probably expected some great bit show of response from Probst, and all he gets is this:

"I can't think of a better way to lead us into the vote.  J.T., you're up."

Ha ha ha.  

Sorry, I just love Coach.

Oh yeah, and did the poem have any effect on Coach's standing in the game whatsoever?

Did the poem make a difference?



P.S.  Okay I better get this out of the way now because I know I am going to get emails about it.  No, I do not hate Coach.  I happen to love Coach.  As a character, in my opinion he is just about as good as any character in 21 seasons of Survivor.  Every single scene he is in is better and funnier (often unintentionally), just because he is in it.  

Now some people are going to read that and think "Well then, okay, now you're just making fun of the guy."  No, I am making fun of the character.  Remember, Survivor is not a documentary.  It is a fictional narrative that has been fabricated and made up out of real life footage.  It has been like that since day one.  The editors take real life footage, and they can (and will) do whatever they want with it.  

Above all else, remember this.  "Survivor the TV show" and "Survivor the game" have always been two entirely different entities.   And to be honest, they really don't have all that much to do with one another.  As viewers, the only one that we can really care about is the TV version.

So why do I bring all this up?  Well it's easy.  I bring this up so I can say things like "Coach is ridiculous" and "Coach is a buffoon", and you will know I have nothing against the guy in real life.  

I'm going to write a lot more about this as we get further and further into the countdown, but I have actually met Coach in real life.  I did an interview with him back in December where we talked about the show, and the way he was edited, and I told him how often he was going to be featured on the new Funny 115.

And do you know his reaction to this?

He wasn't pissed or upset or angry or embarrassed at all.  Coach knows full well that Survivor the game and Survivor the TV show are completely different entities.  He knows that he came off like a jackass on TV.  In fact he told me that if he only knew himself from his Toncatins edit, he probably would have hated himself too.  

The one thing Coach said to me was that he doesn't really mind his Tocantins edit anymore.   He did at first, sure, but he eventually made peace with it.  The reason he doesn't mind anymore is because... well, in his own words...  it sucked, but it also  turned him into "a legend."  And not in a conceited way, but in a way that he's just happy that people remember him.  Which, if you go back and read his poem, is exactly what he was talking about!

So anyway, there you go.  I don't want to get any angry emails about my Coach entries.  I basically already got a blessing from Coach himself to write about him, so there.  :)

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