There are a few television shows I’ve never seen and I have pretty decent reasons for missing them. After all, I have important things to do in my life, like go to work or giggle at people heaving Keurig machines off balconies; I don’t have time to watch everything. But when I realize I’ve skipped a show that made an indelible mark on the cultural landscape – whether that mark was positive or positively tragic – I can’t help but feel left out. That’s how I felt back in the day when I was the only person on the planet who never watched Jersey Shore. That’s right…I have never seen a full episode of Jersey Shore. I turned it on once and saw a girl who looked weirdly like a foot get punched in the face by some guy in a bar and the visual was so staggeringly unpleasant that I never tuned back in. But even though I didn’t watch the show, I do still live in this world. The cast became so infamous that I eventually knew all their names and which product each endorsed. I hear about them still. In fact, one of them just got the cast together to celebrate both her wedding and her brand new face! I guess what I’m trying to say here is twofold:
As I have no long-harbored affinity for the original installment of Jersey Shore, I am coming into MTV Floribama Shore fresh. Though Jersey Shore may be this series’ distant cousin – the one who probably takes a sh*t in the potato salad during the family reunion – MTV Floribama Shore is very much its own entity and I intend to recap it as such.
Nobody knows who these cast members are right now, but that will change and it will change quickly. I predict at least three of our Floribama friends will end up endorsing a workout plan, a waist cincher, or a rehabilitation center by year’s end.
Make no mistake: the participants of this show were raised on reality television like it was spiked breast milk and they know exactly what to do to deliver ratings. And with their unabashed debauchery and ingrained willingness to beat the hell out of one another after last call, I am certain this show will be an absolute smash. Moreover, there’s sort of a feel-good aspect that comes through because these kids are youngish (all under the age of twenty-six) and you just know they will learn important life lessons along the very bumpy way so, in a sense, MTV Floribama Shore is sort of like a very special episode of Full House, the one you watch after taking a shot of ayahuasca and puking out your spleen.
Within the first few seconds, we hear a sound bite informing us that simply walking down Panama City Beach will cause one to go “buck booty wild.” (Incidentally, I’ve now decided to name my first child Buck Booty Wild, but I shall call him BBW for short because I’m not cruel.) We also get a graphic that shows us exactly where Panama City Beach is located, and that’s something I appreciated because I was absent the day they taught GEOGRAPHY and HOW TO EARN A LIVING BY BEING DRUNK ON TV in high school. PCB is beautiful and people show up to drink and dance until the end of the night when, apparently, you must throw down for no good reason whatsoever. According to one of our new TV friends, these brawls happen frequently and they’re probably a southern thing because, as she says, “I don’t see no bougies northern people get crazy like that,” and all of a sudden I feel like I understand the current political divide better than I ever have before.
Entering this heightened environment for the summer are MTV’s next big stars – at least they hope to be – and from some of their antics on just the first night, well, let’s just say they’ve got way more than a mere shot in hell at ending up on TMZ before Spring. Nilsa and Kortni arrive first. They’re PCB locals who are excited to spend the summer in a house with tan boys and a stocked bar. Nilsa is only twenty-three, but she’s already been married and divorced and she is looking to embrace some freedom. Unfortunately, she brought with her a friend she’ll have to babysit more than she would an errant toddler who just snorted an envelope of cherry Fun Dip. At twenty-one, Kortni has never been on her own and she proves just how ready she is for independence and responsibility by immediately getting buck booty wild. (See? It’s a fun little phrase! You too should use it in a sentence today!) Kortni ends up passing out before everyone heads to the bar. While they’re gone, she first drools out an absolute pile of thick saliva onto her pillow and then pulls her tiny jean shorts out of her labia, slides them down, and proceeds to pee all over her brand new roommate’s bed. This, my friends, is Night One and I’m already betting it’ll be Kortni who will land the first endorsement deal and sure, maybe it’ll be for Depends, but who cares? Girlfriend is going places.
Joining Nilsa and Kortni on this adventure are six other future household names. Gus is trying to move beyond a tumultuous past and is looking for a wife. I’m not sure anyone with a pulse actually believes he’ll find forever love on MTV Floribama Shore, but I suppose stranger things have happened. Just ask Aimee! She’s coming off a ten-year relationship that ended after the guy cheated on her with her cousin. Hideous though that experience was, Aimee swears a boyfriend cheating on you with a family member is just the kind of thing that happens in Alabama. (I could now make approximately sixty-nine Roy Moore jokes, but I honestly just don’t have the f*cking strength.) Candace is from Los Angeles and already burdened by the fear that, at twenty-four, her youth is gone and she’ll never find love. Kirk is looking to do something better with his life. Codi bartends at an “old people” bar and would very much like to have playdates with humans his own age. For the record, I’m rooting for Codi. He seems sweet. Besides, his last name is “Butts” and my guess is his life has already been difficult enough.
Things really get started when Jeremiah, biceps blazing, walks into the house. Upon seeing him, Nilsa manages to roll her tongue quickly back into her mouth so she can properly enunciate her greeting: “You’re cute. I’m Nilsa.” My first impression was this guy would end up deadlifting her naked her by sundown, but then he randomly dabs out of nowhere and Nilsa seems to reconsider. I hear you, Nilsa, but mathematically speaking, remember that seven shots of vodka are known to erase any and all memories of bullsh*t dance moves, so imbibe at your own risk, okay? His posing momentarily complete, Jeremiah shares that his parents met at a strip club where his father served as the entertainment, he was home schooled, and he believes his role as a proper southern man is to be both a gentleman and a douchebag in equal parts. Oh, Jeremiah. For the love of all that is holy, please believe me when I tell you that sane women do not crave walking douchebags. Also, there are stores that sell shirts with sleeves meant to cover the biceps, so there’s maybe no need to be a douchebag-dabbing-Hulk every single day of the week. Maybe just stick to that sh*t on Thursdays.
Once all the roommates arrive, it’s time for them to take a series of shots and get to know one another. (It might have been a better idea for them to collectively sage the place to ward off the waking nightmares that are to come, but I guess the production assistants who stocked the place with alcohol forgot to swing by the spiritual store.) We learn fascinating things about our Floribama friends quickly:
All the guys are interested in Nilsa.
Nilsa is just interested in having one-night stands now that she’s finally single.
Gus’ hair is as high as I wish I were right now.
Kortni is a crass drunk and the televised representation of that one person we all know who’s kind of funny when she’s sober but makes you question humanity in general when she’s not.
Aimee once drove directly into a beach house with her car.
Speaking of Aimee, she’s positively confounded by the “high-maintenance” fashion of her male roommates and their pink shirts and popped collars and I’d go on the record and tell Aimee she’s being ridiculous, but I’m not going to. For one, I’m already sort of scared of Aimee. Even though she plays nice this episode and only once mentions knocking down a place of dwelling with an automobile, you can just tell she’s a holy terror who will happily cut a bitch. Besides, the second she mentions how confused she is by the sailboats embroidered on the guys’ shorts, I realized I’d found my soulmate. I fully believe deep in my bones that whomever first designed pants with embroidered duckies or turtles or some such nonsensical sh*t did so as a dare and anyone who buys and then wears those articles of clothing deserves to be shunned by society at large. I realize such a punishment is harsh, but I think that may be the only way men officially learn this incredibly necessary lesson.
The plan for the first night is to head to Newbies, a combination bar and liquor store – and in the context of this series, such a combination legitimately frightens me. On the dance floor, Gus lavishes compliments on Nilsa, who accepts them warily and suspiciously. Her ex-husband used to compliment her the same way. Besides, Nilsa sort of suspects Gus is a player and he proves her correct almost immediately by flirting with some other girl who deigned it wise to sign a release that made it legal for her to be gyrated against on camera by a man with a wall of hair. Once Nilsa spots him sweating on another girl, she decides she’s not interested anymore, but the second he gives her some attention, her interest returns. I say such a shift happens in her mind because she’s young and a divorce can ravage one’s self-worth in ways that are difficult to quantify. She says the shift happens because she’s “a girl and an idiot.” As a fellow girl, I far prefer my reasoning.
The first night out ends without any of the bloodshed promised in the show’s trailer, but there are still adventures to be had! Returning home, the guys chivalrously hoist Kortni from the bed she passed out in back to her own bed, and that’s when Jeremiah notices a wet spot – and not the good kind of wet spot. After smelling the puddle and confirming a relative stranger’s urine is now drenching her mattress, Candace is stunned. She cannot understand how such a tragedy could have befallen her. “You could have peed in your own bed,” she explains longingly to the camera, and since nothing beats logic, Candace is officially in the lead as my favorite Floribama female.