When Kortni’s mom asks to hear some interesting things about the people her daughter is bunking with for the summer, she learns Aimee dropped out of high school and Gus has been out of his house since the age of seventeen and a broken arm kept him out of the military. Realizing they have had it rough, she tells them she hopes they can serve as sources of strength for one another. It’s a lovely moment and she’s a kind woman and I hope one of her daughter’s friends can provide her with a large handful of Valium when the time comes for her to watch her daughter’s antics on this show.
Away from parental goodness, Nilsa is still dealing with the self-created trauma of Kayla Jo having the audacity to not eat the piece of frozen pizza she so tirelessly stuck inside of an oven. It’s around this time that Kortni informs her that The Pizza Abandoner practices witchcraft and that pronouncement immediately causes Nilsa to run around the house like a banshee searching for her Jesus candle (I’m guessing Bath and Body Works came up with that scent exclusively for the holidays), and she declares she was correct about the girl all along. A true master of stirring up suspicion as long as the people she’s surrounded by are morons, she tells the rest of the group that she knew – she just knew – something was off with that girl and Codi leaps right into the idiocy and decides that next time Kayla Jo flies her broom over to the house, he’s going to make her hold his rosary beads, toss some holy water on her, and stand back to see if her skin melts off. “We need to burn her at the stake,” declares Nilsa. Then she proclaims to Jesus himself that she is his girl, so if you’re wondering, that rumble you suddenly felt beneath your feet was clearly caused by Jesus shaking his head back and forth in pure f*cking terror.
Gus overhears what his roommates are saying and informs Jeremiah that they are being really judgmental about Kayla Jo, a fact that doesn’t surprise him in the least. Still, he’s finally come to the conclusion that Nilsa is a bonafide assh*le and it’s time to confront her in a Family Meeting. (This little gathering seems like it’ll go even worse than the Thanksgiving my family had after the Presidential election when half of us voted for Clinton and half of us voted for Trump and I shuddered whenever someone touched a carving knife.) Once everyone gathers in the living room, Jeremiah asks why there’s chatter about a girl he likes and Nilsa responds that she heard his beloved is a witch and it freaks her out. The Wiccan thing weirds Candace out, too. See, she doesn’t truck with witches. She also will not get on board with mythical creatures, and though I think it’s cruel for these people to rip apart something they don’t actually understand, I will say that I also live in deathly fear of mythical creatures for reasons my psyche will not allow me to understand and I do want to support Kayla Jo and her beliefs, but should she come riding into the house on a f*cking Pegasus, I see no good reason why she shouldn’t be immediately lynched with a curling iron. At any rate, Jeremiah is sick of all of it and he directs his anger towards Nilsa because she’s the one who has been consistently terrible to Kayla Jo and when she bursts in to justify her actions, he interrupts her.
“Be quiet. I’m talking,” she retorts.
And to that Jeremiah responds, “You can talk to me like an adult. Alright, woman?”
Kortni’s mouth falls open at his words. Mine does, too. Because here’s the thing: this guy could very easily get his point across without tacking the word “woman” onto the end of his sentence in a manner that is meant to be both derogatory and misogynistic. That word alone – which is clearly stated as an insult – makes him lose an argument he never should have lost. Then he continues his diatribe and tells Nilsa to kiss his ass when she suggests he get the tacit agreement of the entire house before Kayla Jo stays over again. Her response is to tell him he’d better not speak disrespectfully to women in her presence and somewhere a few miles away, I think Kayla Jo just performed some spell and it caused Hell to freeze over because suddenly I am firmly on Nilsa’s side.
The argument then somehow gets directed at Gus and when he’s accused of being disrespectful to women also, he breaks. He grew up in a house where women weren’t treated well and he will not have that accusation pointed his way. He is so hurt that he begins to tear up and it causes Codi to also tear up and embrace him and tell him everything is okay and suddenly we’re at the heartwarming portion of Floribama Shore and the whole thing feels almost nice so there had better be a major bar fight in the immediate future to balance these emotions out but quick.
We’re in luck! Miserable Family Meeting over, they head out to a bar to meet up with some of Gus’ friends. Candace ends up seeing the guy she met a few weeks ago, Nilsa apologizes to Jeremiah, and the night is going swimmingly until yet another assh*le sees a fleet of cameras and realizes he can quickly snag his four minutes of revolting infamy by calling Gus a disgusting name. Gus confronts the guy – and that confrontation is this d*ckhead’s wet dream come true because now he can get into a fight in front of cameras and nothing would make him happier, but security steps in. They tell Gus to leave it to them and he’s wise enough to know that taking a swing at a troglodyte in a trucker hat could land him in jail, so he goes to the other side of the bar and tries to calm down. But when Candace hears that someone she lives with was called a f*g, she is not having it. She walks over and listens as this disgusting specimen says about Gus, “He don’t need to come up in this bar shaking his d*ck around.” Let’s for a second remember that Gus was playing a rollicking game of Jenga when this guy felt the need to use a gay slur against him – and then let’s all sit back and applaud for about an hour for the way Candace knocked this guy’s hat clear off his head.
It should have ended there. The guy should have apologized. The roommates should have left. But the thing is, we just don’t live in that kind of civilized world anymore. Of course the guy walks up to the table to further provoke everyone. Of course yet another huge fight breaks out to end this episode.
Listen, I know Nilsa considers her Wiccan-non-grata and all, but is anyone else wondering if maybe Kayla Jo can perform a Calm Spell? And while she’s at it, think there’s a chance one of her incantations can cause that horrible guy’s d*ck to shrivel up and fall off at Candace’s feet so she can kick it into the gutter where it belongs? I’ll provide the sage.
Nell Kalter teaches Film and Media at a school in New York. She is the author of the books THAT YEAR and STUDENT, both available on amazon.com in paperback and for your Kindle. Also be sure to check out her website at nellkalter.com. Her twitter is @nell_kalter.