It’s been a nasty three days for my idea of TV ”villains” — first Gokey, and now Coach. If only Ben would have taken a knife to the chest instead of Jacob, then I, too, would be feeling euphoric while quoting Marcus Aurelius and making up shockingly decent poems about loving this game and wanting people to remember my name. Either way, it was a bummer week for Dalton Ross to be MIA (though I doubt he’s feeling the regret while currently frolicking along the Champs D’Elysee on vacay). Before we hit the tape, a spot of business to discuss: on May 20, CBS will announce its plans for the 2009-10 TV season. It’s unlikely that eye topper Nina Tassler will mention (much) about the future of Survivor — but it certainly can’t be far from her mind. CBS has already ordered the 19th and 20th installments that’ll take ‘em through next May. Beyond that, who knows? And that, my friends, is the burning question: When will it be high time to bid adieu to this aging — but still spry — franchise? Though Survivor is hardly the blockbuster it once was (The Australian Outbreak in 2001 attracted a whopping 29 million viewers), it still routinely wins its time slot (12.8 million) on Thursdays. But could a young and promising drama do better (and make more money for CBS)? Should the 20th edition — and make it a celebrity one, please — be the last?
But first (after a little shout-out to the Chenbot and the fact that there’s less than two months until the start of Big Brother), on to Coach’s demise. After we heard him talk of being ”almost speechless” that J.T. and Stephen had successfully mounted a counter-attack to save him at the last tribal council, Coach then futilely attempted to convince the boys he’s far too weak to do Exile. My lungs, my back, my goiter, he complained — all of which didn’t appear to sit well with J.T., who believes ”he shouldn’t be scared to go.” And yet Coach hardly moved like the old rickety shriv he purported to be during that reward challenge, though it didn’t take a lot of effort to follow J.T. through the maze. If it weren’t for his lousy attempt at stick making, Coach probably would have been the one to enjoy a feast of meat at the Governor’s Retreat and not J.T. Instead, J.T. told Coach to ”be noble” and make the Moses-like sojourn across the desert to Exile, where the warrior vowed to take a ”monastic approach” and eschew food, water, sleep, air — you name it. F’ that, said Erinn. ”He’s gonna take the martyr approach,” she blurted out, before whining about how Coach was minimizing the experiences of those who already did their hard time. It’s hard to argue that sentiment; just when you think Coach couldn’t be a bigger douche, then he suddenly double-douches down by quoting Pat Benatar. But this wasn’t the time for Erinn to voice her objection — something she obviously realized back at camp while a cute little frog and turtle looked on. (Nice editing, Survivoreditors!)
NEXT: Coach’s fine lines