Rock Charles

What is the definition of a hero? If you’ve ever wondered that then you should have been watching Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new show on TNT for the past couple of months. It’s great entertainment that covers every aspect of the word. Mentally, physically and spiritually “The Hero” challenges contestants to look deep within themselves for the answer.

Early on I put my chips in with the hero Charles. Here’s what I said after the first episode:

Currently, my early favorite is Charles, a policeman and SWAT officer. Unlike some of the other contestants, who seem to be filled with pride, Charles appears to be a rather humble guy. He’s not showy. He’s not flashy. He’s just a man who seems to be seeking the inner peace that confronting one’s fears can provide.

As the show nears its conclusion, I’m more confident than ever that Charles embodies my definition of a hero. And in the show’s final episode with a “hero’s challenge,” he didn’t just knock one out of the park — he owned the park.

Here’s what Charles faced with 35 minutes to complete the task at hand. Victory meant $80,000 for the American Red Cross or his family. Failure meant going home.

  • 8 flares within a giant soccer stadium marked the location of tablets that needed to be reached.
  • Each tablet came with a question that had to be answered correctly.
  • Wrong answers penalized him 30 seconds.
  • After correctly answering each question he had to unlock a bag filled with $10,000 from the seat it was secured to and run back to the 50 yard line.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

Charles soccer field

The pressure was on. Mentally, there was almost zero margin for error. Physically, a contestant had to be at the top of his game. Spiritually, he had to have an unwavering belief that he could will himself to victory. Charles delivered on all three counts, which are the kind of results the average American takes for granted when it comes to first responders, fire fighters, law enforcement and military personnel. TNT viewers should be thankful to whomever decided that ‘The Hero’ was worthwhile programming to take a chance on — because it is. If there is justice, there will be a second season of “The Hero.”

With that said, the question moves from “Did he do it?” to “How did he do it?”. The answer can be found by reading this simple exchange between The Rock and Charles:

The Rock: As a very proud police officer you sacrifice you life every day. You put it out on the line. When does the search for yourself not trump the needs of your family?

Charles: I can’t answer that right now. I think that’s part of this journey.

Rock: What are you searching for?

Charles: My search is this: When your family, your brother, your daughter, your kids need a hero — do you want me there? Because I struggle with that. I strive for that every day. When I’m filled with fear, I want to be fearless. When I feel spite in my heart, I want to find compassion. To answer your question: When I care for my family more than anything I want to be able put your family — the public’s family — first. I hate to say that to my family because my family means more than anything to me. That’s what I’m searching for.

In some sense the answer to “What is the meaning of life?” is a simple one. The meaning of life is to realize at the core of your being that you are worthy of it. How that is determined can only be answered by you. Hero Charles says more in one interaction with The Rock than many people I’ve met say in a year. The reason for that is because he gets it.

Every human being wants to be loved, but they also want to feel worthy of that love. Every human being is his own distinct and separate spiritual being, but he also possesses a connection with the rest of humanity (and the universe for that matter). Every human being is paradoxically filled with fear and filled with courage; they are filled with anger and filled with compassion. They have the power to be completely selfish or completely selfless. They are a bottomless receptacle for love but also a giver of love from a well that never runs dry. Charles “struggles” with all of this because, quite honestly, it is a lot to wrap his mind around. The good news is, he’s made it quite clear to the viewing audience that the struggle is worth the fight.

From afar I tip my hat to Charles. He is a good man, and one worthy of the title “hero.” If I ever meet him in in real life it would be an honor to shake his hand. In a television landscape littered with junk, The Rock’s “The Hero” is a diamond in the rough.

Charles The Hero

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

38 comments

  1. To all of you who have come here from The Rock’s RT of this story, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read and thank you for lending your time to such a positive show. We need more role models like Dwayne Johnson and Charles to get exposure, and the continued success of shows like “The Hero” will make that possible.

    1. Thanks Douglas for your well deserved praise of Charles, I was glad to come across you and others that get it and praise it. The Hero is the standard I love to see incorporated in to TV. Yesterday I saw Charles bow out, I cannot put into words my respect for how he conducted himself and he is by all standards a true hero.

    2. Cozie,

      I agree with you 100%. Charles might not go home with the cash, but in my book he’ll always be the Season 1 winner of The Hero.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  2. I agree with so much if this well written and much deserved commendation if Charles. Before I ever watched the show Once I heard policeman SWAT I said, well there ya go.. But it takes time to see at least see something in a person that speaks to your gut profoundly. Last episode was a culmination of all character traits that I’d want in a best friend. And someone I’d have to call on for help. I’ve been exited for this show since Mr Johnson first announced it. I’m not big on TV or movies. But this one Show filled me with hope for serious entertainment that I could take something away from. I don’t care what it is I’m doing or watching. I want to gain something that will help me grow as a person and also to share with others to benefit them also. Thank You Mr Johnson Thank You Ms Garcia. Thank You TNT and crew for all your hard work AND thank you contestants present and future ones. Because good or bad, right or wrong, you’ve all helped us learn something good or bad, right or wrong about ourselves. Continued success.
    PS Charles Your Wife is Precious !!

    1. Thanks for commenting, joysy1015. I really appreciate it. Like you, I don’t like much of the programming that is on television. However, I’ve liked The Rock for a long time and thought “The Hero” looked incredibly promising. I wasn’t let down. It’s entertaining, thought-provoking and it’s something that families can watch together. KUDOS to TNT and The Rock for making it happen.

    2. Thank you Douglas for the blog! Sorry for the typos. I’m on my phone and it rebels against me often. Haha. I too really like Mr Johnson. I figured his true character, would bring us something worthy if our precious time. Because time is the most precious thing we have. Kudos to you for keeping the momentum 😉

    3. Thanks for the comment. No need to worry about the typos. This is a grammar-police free zone!

      In regards to The Rock, I agree with you: he’s put together a show worthy of our time.

      Thanks again,

      Doug

  3. Beautiful article Dwayne Johnson is an amazing man and role model. Charles seems to have those same qualities. I think the show is a great success and should run for more seasons.

  4. I agree, it is a great program. It is nice to see a person do the right thing on a television program.

  5. Hello Douglas-
    You, Dwayne and Charles have something in common……you guys *get it* 🙂
    Thank you for writing the words others find difficult to express.
    Friend of Charles,
    -M

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, M. I appreciate it. The world needs more stand up guys, so if someone like Charles ends up on TV I’ll try and write about it.

      What’s the quote: “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are,”? I suppose this post also reflects on you…

      Best,

      Doug

    2. Love that Quote about the friends you choose reflect who you are! I get to watch the show today thanks to iTunes :-). I’m stunned this blog hasn’t gone crazy yet with reply’s But let’s keep hearing from YOU Mr blogger , because you’re a rare breed yourself 😉

  6. This is complete bullshit. Why is Patty in there? I feel like they sympathized for her. Charles should have been one of the finalist.

  7. Now that Charles is out, there’s really no candidate left who fits the bill for true hero. Charles was it. He fit the bill. He was modest, strong, kind, and wise.

  8. Charles should indeed have been a finalist. He’s really the only one of all the candidates who is truly hero-like. Modest, brave, kindhearted, wise. May he go far in life.

  9. Even though he will not win I think we all see the hero as Charles. I do not like most “reality tv” but this show was something special.

    1. I’m hoping TNT gives it a second season. Sometimes networks don’t give things enough time to gain traction. I also don’t think TNT marketed the show correctly. The seemed to think just having The Rock’s name attached to it would draw in enough of an audience to make it a success. I think they missed the boat with reaching out to people who are looking for good wholesome television the family can watch together…

  10. I agree with you on all accounts. I think Charles stayed true to himselg until the last moment, when he bowed out, unable to put his desires over everyone elses’, unwilling to strip someone of their dreams by achieveing his. I have to admit, a part of me twisted with pain and frustration when he told everyone his journey was over, but that also (in a weird way) increased my respect for him. A hero is the one who does the right thing, even when no one is watching andI am positive he will continue to do what he does best: being a selfless hero.
    Still, i think people forget that there is still someone that i think has the makings of a hero (not as purely as Charles, but definitely there). That’s Lydia. Mostly because in her solitud she finds strenght, anf in her dreams lies the salvation of many orphans if she does use the money for that. I only hope that she manages he money well for it to last, for her endevour is ambition and truly, beautifully honorable.

    1. Giselle,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’ve been trying to think of who should be the “Hero” since Charles left, and Lydia is high up on my list. It will be interesting to see how everyone reacts when the “winner” is announced. At that point in time … their true character will likely emerge.

    2. I have to admit, a part of me twisted with pain and frustration when he told everyone his journey was over, but that also (in a weird way) increased my respect for him.

      That’s a great way to put it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Giselle.

  11. Just wanted to add my two-cents …no matter who won (and congrats to Patty), for me? the epitome of this show …was Charles. His self elimination was epic …but for those of us that followed the show? He was the number one motivator in the house …Patty may have won, but she, as well as most of the entire house, owed Charles a HUGE debt! He pushed and encouraged, he was a calming presence during conflicts, and Could be the forceful leader when required. If I met him? Shake his hand (hell might hug the man), buy him a drink and (as Rock said on his TW) ” Thank you for all you do”.

    The Real Hero

    1. Well said, Vinny! After Charles was out I felt a bit deflated… I watched the show so I could see him find his “mana” and then kept watching because I wanted him to take it across the finish line. However, he did go out like a boss. He’ll always be the Season 1 winner in my book. Let’s hope the producers give it another shot. It deserves a second season.

  12. It was hard to watch. You have to respect what Charles did, as stated above, it clearly demonstrated why he is a true hero. After he bowed out, I looked at the remaining contestants and was at a total loss. True, Patty overcame a lot of fears and in many ways became a “hero” to some. But Charles encompassed everything that a true hero represents. Dr Dave is a hero to the many people he saves, but the remaining contestants were not on the same level as Charles.

    I cannot remember a reality show that I watched where I actually shed a tear. This show really brought out raw emotions as I found myself rooting for many different contestants. I have to give it to Dwayne, he really helped the contestants find the best in themselves. I can only hope that they give the show another chance. It was a pleasant surprise to my summer show DVR list. I wish I could find Charles to not only shake his hand, but give him something to thank him for everything he does. I plan on making my kids watch the series so they see how a true role model should conduct themselves.

    1. I’m really hoping TNT doesn’t pull the plug. We don’t need more “Jersey Shore.” We need more of “The Hero.” Like you said, it’s a show that families can watch with their kids and discuss around the dinner table. I really respect The Rock for pushing to get this sort of programming on the air.

      In regards to Dave, I remember him talking about one of the reasons he wanted to be on the show, and it was about getting over trust issues. That’s nice, but when Charles spoke it was really about delving deep within himself to figure out a.) some sort of universal definition of a hero, and b.) striving to live up to it.

      Is Patty a hero? Well, she seems like a wonderful woman and I’m glad she overcame certain fears. Indeed, overcoming those fears may allow her to take on the role of a hero in real life if the situation presents itself. (That walk across the buildings was no joke.) However, like you said, Charles really just embodied what the show was all about.

      I think it would be cool if they asked him back for the second season. “The Return of Charles”! The contestants would be sort of gunning for him from the start, even while they acknowledged just how true to himself he was during the first season.

    2. No. Dont invite charles back! Dont make him the focus on season 2 – Dont get me wrong. He was my hero and a true winner during the whole show.
      But by inviting him back, the ‘real’ world might lose a true hero. He becomes a star, paparrazzied (is that a word?)and lots of ‘horrible’ thing which might drive him off edge or the path.
      He lost, but showed to the world (and himself) what kind of hero he was. Being able to know that a man like him exist out there and (truly) ready to save people when needed.
      – Isn’t this much better?

    3. No no… what I meant was if they are doing a second season.

      I dont know if a second season is coming up.

  13. Charles definately would have won the show if he did not bow out.. he’s such an honest and all around good guy. Patty is also very honest and has good integrity, but she definately would not have made it that far without the encouragement and support Charles gave to her. It’s a shame he did not win, but he will always be the winner in my book. It looks like he “won” in his own book as well.

  14. Douglas Ernst on October 12, 2013 at 5:15 pm
    Are they even doing a season two? I hope they are, but I haven’t heard anything. Television has a thing about nixing good shows….
    >>> You are so right about that. We have netflix. Amazon prime and trying out redbox. I got NOTHING!!! Sheeesh. It’s like there are hardly any brains left in Hollywood. It’s all about how many special effects and blood can we fit into 120 minutes of viewing time. In between the Overly sexual vampire ware wolf Previews.

    1. Hopefully, the Rock has just been busy filming Hercules and they’ll hash out Season 2 details soon. It would be a shame if ‘The Hero’ wasn’t back for another round.

    2. I agree Douglas! I’m sure living in Budapest made it difficult to work on Many things , but now I hear he’s jumping right into Fast 7! Could workaholic be his real title in life?? He’s too much. Must see rest as death… Have u heard where Fast 7 is on location this time?

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