Survivor is a show that asks, “what if you put people in a remote location, away from food, family, personal belongings, and then made them run obstacle courses, all with a promise they might win a million dollars?” The idea is to simulate primitive nature. They divide the groups into teams and call them “tribes.” Each episode they vote off one tribe-mate from the game.
I’m not so sure how primitive it is when they have so many specific, unspoken rules. No punching of the face or pulling of the hair. No beating to death. No pooping on TV show host Jeff Probst. If it were my Survivor, pooping on the host would be allowed.
People do get very raw though. My favourite Survivor moment is where this one contestant, Coach, gets a life lesson. Coach is an honest guy, but he’s weird. He’s spiritual, he’s new age, he’s got tattoos, he’s called “The Dragonslayer.” One tribal council (where they have to vote someone off) someone calls him a liar and he comes back to camp crying. He goes to other contestant, Tyson, and says, “You know man I come out here and I play with my heart, you know? I put it all on the line. Honour and integrity. Am I such a bad guy? What am I doing wrong?”
We have this false belief that adults are perfect adults and have no more lessons to learn, but we all have our work to do – our own personal quirks or problems to work through. So here’s Coach (who needs a lot of lessons) at his lowest moment: remote location, surrounded by guiling, cruel, strangers, with not even his belief in being a decent person to uplift his spirits. He asks Tyson for help, and Tyson takes his opportunity to just plow over his spirit and self worth like a bulldozer.
“Don’t wear your STUPID feathers to tribal council. Stop telling your DUMB stories, nobody wants to hear them. And don’t do your STUPID yoga on the beach where people can see you; do it somewhere else in the forest.”
I can’t imagine a more horrific time or place to get that kind of tough love. And it was comedic GOLD.