Remember when this show first started and eight people most of us had never heard of crawled – evolution style – out of the ocean and wandered into a house stuffed with alcohol, cameras, and the scent of desperation? Remember how Angela and Tor’i took one glance at each other, ripped their clothing off, and ended up doing it – probably doggie style – while their new roommates listened from the kitchen? Remember how Angela’s ex showed up the next day and tossed the lawn furniture into the pool – douchebag style – because he once heard that’s how morons who dream of being on reality shows express frustration? You guys? Those were the good old days.
Episode three plunges us immediately into the chaos. Andre is gone forever, or at least until he appears on MTV’s next show. New exes are due to crash upon the shores at any moment. The “bonds” some of these people have formed are falling apart because the only thing holding it all together is a thin layer of cheap lube. And those who have yet to couple up or engage in vivid fantasies about castrating an ex as they step into the elevator of doom that brings them down to the Shack of Secrets are starting to get a little bit bored and when tragic people get bored, carnage can ensue. So send a quick text to your latest ex and thank him or her for never once accusing you of f*cking a family member and then get ready for the crazy because it turns out Tor’i may not feel as sure about Angela as she’s decided he should.
It all starts about as innocently as anything can on this show. Tor’i stumbles upon Faith changing in the closet and the two begin twerking because sometimes conversations are just too complicated. They are drawn to one another, but Faith knows their flirtation could lead to violence and she’s properly terrified of Angela. Still, not one of these people made it onto this show because they are known for making good decisions, so I fully expect Tor’i and Faith to get naked and for Angela to rip out a bit of hair from each of their heads because voodoo works way better when there’s an actual resemblance between the dolls and the people you plan to eviscerate. Then there’s Cory and Taylor. They are looking pretty happy together and Cory appreciates how Taylor was totally cool with hearing he had a daughter and he wants this connection they have to last and that means it’s about time for the producers to toss some human grenades their way. The grenades are announced via flags emblazoned with faces and this time Jasmine, Cory, and Chris (again!) must make their way to the beach so they can see who floats towards them. Cory is fully expecting Alicia to show up. She’s the ex he broke up with two weeks ago. Two weeks ago. Um, how many weeks ago did the casting for this show begin? Because my bet is that it was way longer than a couple of weeks.
And how does Taylor feel about Alicia? Well, she sums up her feelings like this: “I really hate this bitch.” They have a complicated history, these two, what with their proclivity for sleeping with the same men in sequence, but at least this sort of complicated coupling is something the others in the house can understand. Take Chris. Chris thinks the next ex heading his way will be Haley and Chelsko is apprehensive about such a prospect since she’s the reason Chris and Haley didn’t work out. You know what? If the entire world wasn’t such a total sh*t show right now, I’d say that house in Hawaii would be the very worst place a normal person could find herself, but since we all know the worst place in the free (for now) world is the bathroom where the President sits throne-like and tweets nonsense that has both far-reaching and legitimate consequences, I think it prudent that we all at least consider applying to be on season two of this show. I already know which of my exes would show up and yes, it would be pretty awful, but I’m trying to look on the bright side here. At least he was amazing in bed and there’s no internet in that house. In these times, I call that a f*cking paradise.
Chris was correct. Appearing from the bottom of the ocean is Haley, so now the International DJ better pull from his arsenal of tricks (DJs have tricks, right?) so he will be able to effectively juggle all the women in the house he once put it in. But Haley’s arrival is different than the others. She smiles brightly at him and they hug hello and nobody screams about uncle f*cking. Maybe these two have a shot! As for Jasmine and Cory, it seems they were called down to the beach just so the producers could giggle at their burgeoning paranoia, but nobody is sliding out of the sea for either of them at the moment. Still, this chick Alicia has been spoken about so often that her name might as well be Bloody Mary and the editors even created a graphic just to indicate how very furious her appearance would make several houseguests so it’s really only a matter of time before she makes her entrance.
Despite Chris’ dalliances with other women, Haley is still interested and Chris admits he’s still in love with her. I imagine such a revelation will eventually lead to Chelsko donning yet another cape and stalking around the premises, but for now she will just sit atop the kitchen table in pigtails talking about how hot she is. Men love that. Besides, she thinks it patently impossible that Chris will look at anyone else. She is a Malibu Princess! She is awesome! She did >i>not f*ck his uncle! What other qualities must exist before some wayward cherub flies down from the heavens and declares these two f*cking soul mates? She does, however, find it prudent to drag Chris outside the second he arrives home to ask whether he’s going to advocate to send her or Haley packing and Chris would like to talk to her about such matters – really he would – but his first priority is to go get lit.
Nothing but class in that house.
And now it’s time for the Shack of Secrets to annihilate at least one person’s ego and self-worth! Taylor and Cory are called down and Cory is so pumped that his ex didn’t show up that it’s coloring his judgment – either that or he just doesn’t have any. He legitimately believes the Shack will hold something positive, like maybe a bed strewn with rose petals, and it’s cute to see such rabid denial, isn’t it? Down the two go and just as anyone with half a brain cell expected, Alicia is waiting for them. Her motive? To get back the man who two short weeks ago proclaimed he didn’t feel anything for her and has already moved on to someone else. I swear, this show is not just another piece of reality trash starring idiots. It is instead a litmus test for all of society. If you are rational, watching this show makes you reconsider your own romantic past and causes you to finally symbolically stab any assh*le who made you feel that you just weren’t enough. If you are a crazy person, you direct your hatred not at the ex who actually promised you something, but at the new girl or guy who will eventually end up in the exact same misery-laden hellscape you’re muddling through right now.
The Shack not only holds three stunned people; there’s also an iPad that plays footage of Cory and Taylor kissing. Alicia makes it through ten seconds of it – which is eight more than I could have handled – and bursts into tears. Then she and Cory head into a corner that’s within spitting distance of where Taylor stands and Alicia implores him to choose a good woman to be his baby’s stepmother while Taylor stands quietly waiting for all of this to go away. It’s so uncomfortable that had there been a lever that would have dropped a safe filled with Chelsko’s capes and her own tears on her head, I think it’s possible Taylor would have said f*ck it and pulled the thing. Instead she stands there and utters what I’m guessing will be fateful words: “I don’t think it could get much worse.” Oh, honey. That’s like a character in a slasher movie looking outside into the darkness and announcing, “I don’t see anything” before getting into the shower. But it’s actually Alicia it’s going to get really bad for because she flees the Shack, climbs into the elevator, and makes it up to the main floor where Angela takes one look at her and gets ready to brawl because Alicia used to hook up with Derrick. (Quick aside: if you’re asking yourself why Angela should care that a guy she no longer has any interest in was hooking up with some other girl in the past, you need to turn this show off immediately. It’s okay; I’ll take one for the team.)
I feel that now would be a good time to mention that I have not seen even one minute of any season of The Bad Girls Club because just the commercials made those women seem nuts, and I think watching Angela go apesh*t on Alicia is all I need to prove me right. Her fury is relentless and it’s revolting and it’s all based on some guy she doesn’t even care about anymore. Shouldn’t Angela’s hellfire be reserved for the man who deceived her, not some girl she barely knows? People, I need you to listen to me here. The moment this episode ends, please turn on The Handmaid’s Tale and watch the way real women in crisis behave. Then call all of your female friends and thank them for not being f*cking insane.
But it’s not just me having a bad reaction to Angela’s behavior. Tor’i is pretty horrified by it and we’ll return to his dawning understanding that he’s been cohabitating with a lunatic shortly, but first Cory takes Alicia outside to basically apologize for not feeling the same way she does. The way he goes about it isn’t terrible, but when he begins to logically explain that she doesn’t want to be there every night watching him cuddle with Taylor, Alicia loses any sympathy points she racked up by being harassed by a Bad Girls Club alumnus by declaring that she is staying in that house just so she can make things harder for Cory. Oh, honey. No. Just no. And speaking of no, Tor’i has now watched Angela become what the announcers so gleefully call “The Pop-off Queen” and he would like to maybe have just one night out in his foreseeable future where his girlfriend doesn’t try to drag some girl across the lobby of a hotel by her weave. Seeing an opening, Faith tells Tor’i that she’s really attracted to him, but she wants to be respectful of the crazy woman inside who would happily gut her spleen right out using only her fingernails if she had even an inkling that there was a vibe happening between some chick and the man she declared on night one as “her property.” Who else now thinks Andre was the luckiest one of them all for getting banished from this psychotic villa?
Since everyone is getting along so well, the house decides to throw a party. Don’t be silly! Nothing can go wrong as they down their weight in shots! Chris is outside on the veranda calling Haley “baby” and planning for Chelsko’s demise. Cory is dancing with Taylor and the mere sight of it is too much for Alicia, so she pushes him and then drags him aside to plead, “Why don’t you like me?” This tactic does not go well and Alicia eventually runs up the stairs in tears while Angela screams “Bye, bitch!” after her because that’s what she was taught on her very first day in How to Be a Reality TV Psychopath class. Derrick follows Alicia and hugs her while she is racked with real tears. We are watching a woman whose heart is breaking into small pieces and I want to feel badly for her, but I cannot fathom how she could have come on this show and I really cannot fathom why she’s screaming that Taylor – who didn’t say one word when they were down in that dungeon together – is a dumb bitch. That sort of hysteria will not turn out well.
“I don’t even know what to do,” sobs Alicia, and I hope I’m not the only person who stared at the screen and yelled, “Start swimming!” I mean, Andre is probably still on the next island over! Just look for his giraffe floatie and head his way! Alas, Alicia finds it wiser to lead Cory outside and profess her love for him one last time while Angela keeps things calm inside by repeatedly shrieking “That’s your man!” to Taylor because heaven f*cking forbid two people get to work through a relationship’s demise without Angela wrecking further havoc.
Also: By the time the party winds down, Skyler can no longer speak in full sentences.
The next morning dawns bright and sunny. A few of the guys (including Paulie, who I forgot was even on this show) lift some weights, Angela spreads cream cheese on a bagel because it’s best to carb up if you’re going to beat the sh*t out of someone, and Victoria wears a cute romper and reads the note that came from the message in the bottle producers sent up to escalate the insanity. Seems it’s time for Tor’i and Faith to head out on a little afternoon excursion because the party the producers expected would end in bloodshed just ended with a whimper and some gibberish from Skyler and these people have a show to do. To bring Angela’s fury forth, they send her man out on a date with someone else. Bravo, MTV. Seriously. The shot of Angela’s eyes burning with smoky hatred as Tor’i looks f*cking thrilled to finally be set free was one of the single best things I’ve seen on television all year, and I just started watching Trust.
My favorite line from the entire episode comes courtesy of Faith who sounds shocked as she and Tor’i walk towards a table. “Is that a bottle?” she asks – as though any activity on this show would be done sober. The two sit down and shower one another with compliments and agree that Angela will only drag Tor’i’s energy down – you know, once she’s finished dragging Faith across Hawaii by her nipples after she hears how these two do body shots off each other. And by the way, I’ve had body shots done off of me, but I have never had anyone suck a shot out of my ass the way Tor’i does to Faith while cameras are pointed directly at them. Once again, this show delivers nothing but class.
When the two returns to the house, Angela greets Tor’i by running over and wrapping her legs around his waist, but Faith knows that when she hears about all “the licking and the sucking” that went down, she will be none too pleased. But before that information is revealed, there are strategy sessions that must take place to ensure the right ex gets booted at the elimination ceremony. Chris realizes Alicia being there sucks balls for several people, but he’d really like Chelsko to be sent back into the sea so he decides he’ll put a heart in Alicia’s box to ensure her safety. This is not what he tells Tor’i, however. The DJ is playing dirty and there’s no doubt it’ll all come back to haunt him, but the smoothest of International DJs never worry about consequences. What everyone should actually be concerned about is not which ex will be sent packing, but the way Angela’s anger can go from simmering to hit-the-f*cking-ceiling-insane in less time than one can say “clinically psychotic.” Seriously – scientists should study her and maybe they can once she stops screaming things like “Sit down, you f*cking fraud!” to Chris all because the guy has the very same motivation she has: to eliminate someone from the house who causes feelings of discomfort. Angela, however, cannot see this logic from the cyclone of her spinning superego. Her feelings are the only feelings that matter.
Also: What in the hell is Romeo wearing?
But back to the ceremony. Angela once again shows everyone exactly who she is by shrieking, “I’m coming for you!” to Chris. Then Taylor decides to get herself into the fray by repeating “Be loyal!” to Chris over and over again. It’s around then when Faith explodes and calls those yelling at Chris “bullies” and somehow into this mess spills the news about the body shots and all of it ends with Tor’i storming away because he’s stunned – stunned! – that people he has known for less than a week revealed such very classified information (you know, so classified it was all recorded) and Angela responds to the news that Tor’i drank a shot out of Faith’s assh*le by jumping to her feet and bellowing that she’s done and to send her home and we have no idea at this point which ex will actually be eliminated, but suffice it to say, anyone leaving that house is the clear f*cking winner.
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.