I’m going to be honest here: I’ve sort of forgotten about most of what went down during the inaugural season of Floribama Shore. The day to day activities of the cast went fleeing from my crowded mind months ago, probably to make room for more important things, like how the Democrats seriously need a solid candidate in this next election and how badly I probably need to hire a bodyguard after writing incredibly accurate recaps of Ex On the Beach. (By the way, if anyone knows Angela from that show, please inform her that I’m a black belt in some form of karate that doesn’t even exist yet — that’s how impressive it is. Not a bit of that is true, of course, but as we’re dealing with a woman who doesn’t particularly truck in what’s real, I think I’ll be able to buy myself some time.) But when it comes to our Floribama friends, I have few linear memories of the show. Still, the memories that do remain fragment-style are not so bad. I recall Gus has very tall hair and a sweet relationship with his mommy. I know Aimee believes herself a feat of evolution, what with being born a mermaid goddess princess and all. I recollect that I never once spelled Jeremiah’s name correctly without the aid of spellcheck and that his brother has a tail. I remember Candace wisely ditched a strip-club-loving guy, Kortni pissed a steady stream of urine on her roommate’s bed, and brawls occurred pretty much whenever the group walked into any establishment that served alcohol. But I can also call to mind the evening the entire group took Aimee out to cheer her up and how they got her flowers and her very first pedicure and I appreciated that collective kindness. I hope there will be more of it this season, but in a time where blatantly bombastic behavior leads to a contract for a third season on a reality show – or the presidency – I’m not all that optimistic.
We probably all have questions as the new season begins. Me? I’m ready to find out how many new thigh tattoos have been inked and whether Kortni mastered the art of the potty during the hiatus, but the first question the show answers is that the idiotic chant of “chi-chi’s up!” continues to be something this group is desperately trying to make happen. (For those either new to the program or those fortunate enough not to be fluent in Moron, chi-chi’s are tits – and now my lesson in what I’ll coin “Desperate Linguistics” is complete.) What we learn next is that Aimee has decided to be completely over her ex, and she proves it by sticking photos of him into some flames while her mom watches. I support this charcoal exorcism! As the rest of the group heads over to the house, it’s revealed Codi got himself a fresh spray tan, Jeremiah’s muscles are bulging more than ever, Nilsa now loves herself enough that she will not allow some barrel-chested freedom fighter with a tail to define her self-worth, and Gus has been busy modeling for book covers that look like the sort of female erotica I’d only read if someone double-dog-dared me – and then also paid me a trillion dollars. They’re all excited to get back together, well, except for Codi. He’s decided Jeremiah is the kind of guy he’d rather only deal with in moderation, and with that comment, the seeds of Conflict #1 have been sown. What is the root of this conflict, you ask? Well, it’s all due to the age-old issue of Instagram. It seems Jeremiah doesn’t follow Codi, and as such a slight is simply unforgivable in this digital age, Aimee decides right then and there to unfollow Jeremiah in an effort to show solidarity with Codi. Ah, it’s like the battles of yore…
The next battle that will be waged even before the sun goes down will be between Nilsa and Kortni. Since Kortni and Candace had the big room last year, Nilsa told her that she and Aimee should get it this year. One version of Kortni seemed amenable to that request, but then the evil version that I suppose lives in her urethra proceeded to text Nilsa that she was going to get her ass whooped, which is a totally normal reaction to something like a bedroom preference. The two play nice when Nilsa picks her up, but Kortni is proud to let all the viewers know that she is still “Crazy Kortni,” so it’s really impossible to decipher at this point which personality of hers will unleash itself when she eventually climbs out of the car.
When they arrive, Nilsa pulls out her Jesus Candle and some holy water (What? You don’t travel with that shit, too?) and proceeds to cleanse the house. They eventually head down to the kitchen to unpack alcohol and trash bags, and Nilsa finally chooses to confront the demon elephant in the room by bringing up the bedroom situation. As far as Kortni – who is wielding a huge loin of some kind of packaged meat like it’s a machete – is concerned, she marked her territory last summer by pissing on the rug in that room, so the room shall forever remain in her ownership. (In other news, upon seeing this scene play out, my Maltipoo moved all her toys and bones into my bedroom and shoved my shit out of there because she figures that since she has peed in that room, now it should belong only to her.) As Nilsa and Kortni circle one another and my dog smirks at me, Codi and Aimee see a large white house in the distance. They are convinced it’s the actual White House and that they must have somehow ended up in the state of Washington (?), so they climb out of the car to warble the Pledge of Allegiance in front of some random white house that appears to be adjacent to an Econo Lodge, much like our forefathers wanted the actual White House to be.
When Jeremiah, Kirk, and Gus arrive, it takes not a second for Jeremiah to pour a shot into his mouth and then dab twice, an act that causes me to vomit three times. Candace arrives next. She’s armed with a pimp cup and a package of diapers for Kortni, and Kortni’s twerking ass sweetly meets her as she climbs the stairs. Down in the kitchen, Nilsa lets it be known that she’s looking for real love this summer and both Gus and his tower of hair blush just thinking about such a thing. They gather for a toast and it comes out that it’s not just Kortni who has a boyfriend these days. No, my friends, Candace is also dating someone and he sounds awesome. He’s got a luscious beer belly, a fleet of tattoos, and – if it can get any more amazing – he’s on probation! Can some kind producer please locate Candace’s strip-club-loving guy from last season, because it turns out that guy was the very best she could do. (And if Candace’s felon is reading this, I’m not only a black belt in imaginary karate, but my best friend is an actual headhunter. Please spare me. I’m very delicate.)
While Kortni screams adorably into the crocodile phone that I’m delighted to report is still in the house, Gus and Codi decide it will be hilarious to move some of Nilsa and Aimee’s stuff into Kortni’s room to stoke the flames of hell. Alas, Kortni was born without the normal set of synapses that keep the rest of us from plowing from Normal to Psychotically Full of Rage in under four seconds flat, so she reacts by stalking outside where she proceeds to scream profanities into the blank faces of two girls who were peacefully wiling away the dusk by discussing their toenails. Kortni eventually goes back inside, but Nilsa’s act of calling her psycho rubs all of her psychotic nerve endings and she bursts outside again, this time needing to be restrained from kicking Nilsa’s ass. So yes, Kortni was clearly birthed just so she could one day appear on an MTV reality show, and should her boyfriend be reading this recap, can you please do us all a favor and roll on, like, six condoms each time? I swear you’ll still feel something.
Now would probably be an excellent time for Codi and Gus to admit they were the ones who moved everyone’s stuff in jest, but they’re both too afraid. Codi tries to hide in the bathroom, but Kortni very rationally tries to kick the door in, so he slinks out of there. When he still refuses to fess up, Kortni pulls all of the clothing from his closet and throws it down the stairs and it appears there is a certain bit of mental kryptonite that will throw Codi into a tail spinning meltdown: the possibility that his white pants will get ruined. And when those tragic pants land on the stairs, Codi almost loses his shit, but he continues to keep his own secret because he’s terrified of a girl who bashes in walls, calls everyone “bitch,” and has somehow yet to be checked into a sanitarium.
As Candace bravely calms the longhaired animal beside the pool, Jeremiah tells the guys that they shouldn’t have pulled that prank because they knew what the reaction would be. This right here is logic, and the rest of the guys are allergic to logic. Logic causes them to experience brain hives or maybe pangs of realizations that could cause – gulp – personal growth, so they don’t want to hear anything the dabber has to say. Besides, anything Jeremiah is babbling about gets thrown on the back burner because Kortni is still not over the horror of HER BAG BEING MOVED, so she climbs atop the kitchen island, announces that next time she will pummel a face instead of a wall and kicks a few cans into the laps of men who stare, mouth agape in terror, at a being some swear is human, though I’d very much like to see the DNA on that one.
Kortni finally bursts into tears when her adrenaline depletes, and it’s then – when she looks weak enough – that Gus and Codi take her outside to let her know they were the ones who moved her stuff. The three hug and the mania appears to be over, but then they all decide to take the festivities outside of the house. They’re trashed before they even walk out the door, so what can possibly go wrong, right? Once they’re at the bar – and after Kortni dances for free shots on the bar – her boyfriend walks in. Logan is cute and he’s got nice teeth. Candace even thinks he recently brushed those teeth, so she is very impressed even though Logan may not have done time yet. As the night moves along and the drinks continue to flow, Codi tries to kiss Candace. She responds by wagging her finger and saying “No!” in much the way I attempted to do as my puppy packed up everything in my bedroom to make room for her plush pink dinosaur. Luckily for Candace, her efforts at dominance worked far better than mine. Codi manages to keep his tongue in his mouth, and if my dog allows me to enter her bedroom later, I’ll be sure to tell her all about Candace’s strength in this moment.
The night begins to wear down. Gus runs into some girl he knows from back home and soon swallows her face as they dance. Nilsa and Amy – who so far are showing real growth since last summer – wisely decide to take their drunk asses home. Codi, on the other hand, downs so many shots that he ends up puking in a urinal before rallying. He wanders onto the dance floor and – mouth still tasting like vomit – proceeds to make out with some girl who allows her face to be shown on TV. People! Do not sign release forms desperate associate producers wave under your tipsy nose as you walk into a bar! And with that lesson on Media and Foolish Consent now complete, let’s limp into the final moments of the episode. As you can imagine, the premiere doesn’t end with flowers and sweetness, but instead with Kortni being loaded into a car while she slurs, “Who wants to fight, bitch? I swear to God, I’ll deck your ass in the face.” Upon seeing this go down, Logan and his clean teeth storm towards the car to announce, “You’re my girl! You better stop acting a fool!” Then he turns and walks away. You’d think that would be the end of it, but Kortni is drunkety drunk drunk and she’s not at all stable to begin with, so she stumbles out of the car with the adorable intention of beating up her boyfriend before the credits roll.
By the way, should anyone be looking for Logan these days, my guess is you can find him in a safe house in the Caribbean. And if you head there for a visit, please bring him some toothpaste.
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. Her Twitter is @nell_kalter