|Episode Eliminated||"Safest Catch"|
|Relationship||A girlfriend back home, Imani|
|Family||Doctor mother, father, four siblings, uncle|
|Friends||Paul, Angel, Cara|
Out of the four Eckeheart kids, Robert always stood out because he radiated happiness. He befriended nearly everybody he met, as nobody could resist the kind boy with the contagious smile. As he got older, Robert knew he wanted to grow up to either become a doctor like his mother or play professional football. He idolized his mother’s success and intelligence, but he also spent a good amount of time learning the ins and outs of football with his uncle. He was a natural at the sport, so nobody was surprised when puberty graced him with the broad shoulders and muscular physique of a footballer. Robert’s life was fabulous when he hit the tenth grade: his grades were up, he was the star player of the varsity football team, and he had a wonderful girlfriend. One fateful game in October changed everything, as Robert was knocked down by an illegal tackle. Despite the helmet, his head absorbed most of the impact and he was knocked unconscious. He awoke five days later with a serious concussion, which had caused a severe loss in his ability to retain short-term memories. This new impairment completely changed his life, as he now easily gets distracted, is sometimes unable to follow conversations, and has a hard time remembering small things. Still, Robert has not let this destroy his optimistic demeanor, as the athlete still sees the best in every situation.
Robert wants to win the prize money on Total Drama Island: For Your Entertainment to pay his way into his dream college. He had a scholarship for football, but the school became aware of his condition and retracted the offer, as they thought he would not be able to achieve the grades needed to keep it.
During For Your Entertainment...
When Chris introduced Robert in ...Fifteen Minutes of Fame, the athlete didn't seem to be aware that he was spoken to. After a few tries, Chris got his attention, and Robert gave him a friendly greeting. The host whispered to the camera that Robert had memory problems due to an accident, and that even he feels bad for him. During his interview with Opal Winfrey, Robert told her the full story about how he lost his short-term memory. He admitted that he could not remember much of the incident and that he knew it had greatly affected his life, though he refused to let it bring his hopes down. Opal praised him for being so brave, and he earned a point for his team.
At breakfast the morning of The Bachelor Isn't Interested, Robert pointed Isaac towards the bacon and eggs and then accompanied an abandoned Cara back to their team's table. He hit his target during the bow and arrow part of the challenge. When Avery asked her team if they believed they were talented, Robert didn't notice because he was staring at a plant. Angel got his attention back and kept him on Avery's good side. Later, the jock watched Allison make her voodoo doll and was concerned that somebody might get hurt when she tossed her scissors.
Robert and Paul volunteered to make breakfast at the beginning of Video Killed the Reality Star. When he saw that many of the other competitors were in bad moods, he attempted to cheer them up and gave them extra French toast. When a jumpy Minerva came up to get her food, he asked what was wrong, and she confessed that she thought Elena and Gabe were after her. He tried to reassure her that they weren't, but when the two wealthy teens pulled her away he admitted that he couldn't see anything good in the pair. Later, Robert was chosen as one of the rappers for The Oscars' music video. When his team thought they couldn't make it through the challenge, he tried to change their minds and come up with ideas. After reading the lyrics, he said that he would have a lot of trouble memorizing them even without his short-term memory loss, though Irina improvised and solved his problem with a mask. Later, when Paul was watching Irina, Robert blew his cover and pointed him out to her. He was pleased when his teammates praised his performance.
When Angel, Allison, and Paul were talking in Safest Catch, they determined that Robert could not have framed Zack because he was with Angel and Irina at the time. When Paul put on his poncho, Robert believed it was a trash bag. The Oscars elected Allison as the captain of their boat, and they all latched onto Robert whenever she turned because he was the sturdiest object on deck. Despite the pouring rain, he tried to joke around with Cara and Camille. He tried to assist his team when they attempted to retrieve the heaviest crate, though he was distracted by a seagull and let the rope slide through his hands. He felt guilty and had received rope burn, so his teammates told him to stand off to the side. Avery marched up to him, though, and began scolding him because he should have been the team's biggest asset but had become a weakness. She blamed their failure on him and said she didn't feel sympathy for his condition. Even after Angel interrupted the drama queen and yelled at her, Robert sat silently apart from his team.
After the challenge, he wouldn't communicate with his teammates, refusing to allow Angel to say what Avery had done. Despite how she had treated him, Robert would not vote out Avery. At the elimination ceremony, Robert shocked his teammates by quitting the competition despite being called safe. He admitted that he didn't want to go through the game as a charity case and didn't think it was fair for him to be there if he was going to be pushed through the competition because of sympathy. Robert said that he loved meeting everybody and eliminated himself with his head held high.
It was mentioned in Sing Your Heart Out that without Robert to volunteer, simple chores like washing dishes and making breakfast became a punishment for whoever was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Robert's image appeared onscreen at the press conference in Flashing Lights, many people commented on his positive personality and that he was one of the nicest people they had ever met. When Avery mentioned that she thought he personally pushed them through the music video challenge, everybody glared at her, though she pointed out that she'd already apologized.
Robert appeared again in Thirteen. When some of his former teammates were flipping channels on their television, they watched an interview with Robert and Josh at a press conference. The footballer said that he was having a lot of fun at the losers' resort and that most of the eliminated contestants get along. He mentioned that even Josh was having fun, though Josh denied it because of the camera. Later, Robert appeared as a zombie with a gash in his neck and a limp in his step. First, he and a group of undead attacked Chef's trailer, dragging him out of it. Just as the contestants recognized him, he started ramming the trailer. The contestants escaped just in time. He showed up again digging through a trash can near the sets. He played with a meat bone while Wes watched in disgust, and Donna exclaimed that the athlete could crush her with one hand. The two Emmys managed to sneak past him when he put his head back in the dumpster.
The video began with a clip from a high school football game. The shot followed a large player with the number seventeen on his jersey as he maneuvered the field. Eventually, he intercepted a pass and bolted for the end zone, dodging the opposing players to earn a touchdown. The spectators burst into cheers.
The scene cut to a face leaning too close the camera, brows furrowed in confusion. “Hey, how do you turn this on again?”
“The button on the right.” A female voice replied from behind him. The face blocking the screen’s confusion only seemed to grow. “Here, honey, I’ll do it.”
The scene cut again to show that the young man was now out of the camera’s personal space and sitting on a couch several feet away. “Hello, producers! My name is Robert Eckeheart, I’m eighteen years old, and I’m from Fort Wayne, Indiana. I’m very kind and friendly and enthusiastic, so I think I could get along really well with everyone just like … um …” Robert paused and scratched the side of his head. “You know who I’m talking about. The big guy with the bad gas?”
“Owen?” The camera girl suggested.
“Yes, him! I think I could get along with all of my teammates just like he did.” Robert gave the camera a huge smile. “My one greatest passion is football. I love to play, and according to a lot of people I’m really good at it. I really hope that I can find a clip to show you guys of me-”
“Sweetie, we already found the clip.” The camera girl supplied again. “The one from the game against New Haven?”
“Oh, right. Thanks, Imani.” Robert’s smile faltered a bit. “As you can see, I’m a bit … forgetful because of a football accident I had, but don’t think that’s going to stop me. With or without a short-term memory, I can still do well in the game. So, please pick me to be on the show!”
- Robert was the fourth contestant eliminated and the third from his team. He received three silver stars, but returned the last one when he quit.
- Though Robert's backstory is a serious one, he is meant to be seen as more of an inspirational character.
- It had always been planned for Robert to quit in the fourth episode. This is because if he didn't quit, there was no way his teammates would vote him out because of his personality. The only way he could be eliminated otherwise was if he automatically lost a challenge like Lindsay had in Total Drama Island, though I felt that this was a better way for him to exit the show.
- Robert is the tallest contestant this season.
- Because Robert is so much larger than many of the other contestants, his stereotype at one point was "The Gentle Giant." His size was only really featured in Safest Catch when he is used as a support when the ship is rocking, so I decided to change his stereotype to focus less on his height.
- Robert's character model was always meant to look older than eighteen, as I feel like every high school has that one guy who looks like an adult when compared to the other students.
- Robert was chosen to be a football player both because it is a sport commonly associated with concussions and head injuries and because most football players in fiction are portrayed as cruel or vain.
- Ironically, I ended up doing a large research project on concussions and head injuries in sports years after creating the character. The knowledge gained from this did change my writing of Robert a bit, as I'm a lot more well informed now, though the change is not significant.
- When redoing Robert's bio, I decided to add in that he has a girlfriend in order to show just how little he allows his injury to limit his everyday life. She is featured helping him in his audition, where her name is revealed to be Imani. Robert and Imani have been dating since before he had his injury and she stayed with him despite the memory trouble.