It’s either love or desperation that’s brewing in the Floribama Shore house between Gus and Nilsa. Fortunately for us, neither driving force is ruled by the desire for privacy. It appears their entire courtship — from Nilsa’s bold flirtations to Gus eventually giving in to the imminent sex recorded by night vision cameras to their subsequent alcohol-fueled drag out fights — will all be televised, and I suppose I should be concerned for the mental wellbeing of all the other roommates as they become forced spectators of this probably doomed relationship, but really? I’m just one person. I can’t afford to expend energy worrying about everything that can go wrong, especially since I’m far more apprehensive about the moment Kortni decides to break someone’s nose for doing something unbelievably egregious like moving her contouring kit. Still, a romance between housemates cannot possibly be a good idea, so I think it wise that we organize – that we benefit from this madness in some way. Here’s what I propose: we set up some sort of bracket wherein we place bets on all the crazy shit that will eventually transpire in that house, including how and when things between Gus and Nilsa will eventually crumble beyond reason and comprehension. And I think this bracket should involve money, as I have recently decided to redecorate my living room and the hammered stainless steel block coffee table I have my eye on doesn’t come cheap.
Speaking of cheap, the cheap beer Aimee guzzled at the bar earlier in the night has officially gone racing through her bloodstream and she falls up the stairs and lands with an unceremonious thud at the top. Gus is there to help her to her room. Why is Gus standing at the top of the stairs? Well, he and Nilsa had a little chat a few moments ago that culminated in her saying she is ready for a relationship and him maintaining he’s not, so he walked off to bed but could not sleep knowing a girl, who had all but offered herself to him on a Styrofoam platter, was sprawled across the couch downstairs. Heeding the advice given by only one of his heads, he appeared ready to creep downstairs and that’s where Aimee stopped it by unknowingly becoming a human barricade. I realize her actions were incidental, but I’d hereby now like to tell all of my friends who have never once thrown their bodies up some stairs to prevent me some sleeping with the wrong guy to fuck off because now I know what real friendship looks like and it resembles a blonde girl in a heap being carried to her bedroom all for my greater good.
Bright and early the next morning, Candace chats on the phone with her boyfriend. A sweet reader of my recaps tweeted at me that the name Candace called her boyfriend in an earlier episode had to be some sort of terrible joke, but it turns out this girl is in fact dating a guy who goes by “Gator-J-281-Southside-Gawd.” I don’t quite know where to even begin in this sort of situation. My guess is this is not the guy’s given name – though I do enjoy all those hyphens – but considering I once read that New Zealand had to actually ban parents from naming a child “Anal,” one really never knows. While Candace chats away, the rest of the house is downstairs contemplating whether one can die from a hangover and adding up the number of girls Gus kissed last night. (The total comes to approximately nine, but since he wasn’t able to remember at least one of them at first, the number could be higher.) Hearing this news causes Nilsa (Kisser #9) to climb beneath her covers and burst into tears – which means that anyone who chose the bracket SHE CRIES RIGHT AFTER THE SUN RISES wins five bucks. Aimee follows her and lets her know that she needs to feel happy with herself and to stop requiring a man to complete her. Hovering near alcohol poisoning or not, Aimee is able to make some very good points. There’s obviously not a shot in the fucking bowels of Hell that Aimee’s points will make a humungous amount of headway, but her advice is still solid, as is the prayer Candace recites on request for Nilsa’s behalf.
Things eventually calm down for the moment. Candace cooks some food. Gus clips Nilsa’s weave into the back of his head to create a mullet situation. Aimee swoons over said mullet. Kortni reclines on the couch and doesn’t threaten to beat the shit out of anyone. In other words, it’s a great evening, but nothing made out of tarnished gold can stay and it’s just a short while later that Aimee reveals her hangover is nowhere near gone and her feet feel numb and she’s seeing white spots. An ambulance is eventually summoned and she’s taken to the hospital where she is poked and prodded with needles to diagnose exactly what is wrong with her. Turns out she just has a really bad hangover, and perhaps you’d think that Aimee’s trip to the hospital would serve as a mild cautionary tale, but the rest of the group is already doing shots because it’s been almost seven hours since they’ve done a shot and it turns out that dealing with the realization that you’ve made the choice to have all your mistakes filmed and then rerun on television for years just feels better when the entire world looks hazy.
While Aimee’s insides are torturing her, Gus’ conscience is torturing him. He calls his mother to ask if simply wanting to be casual with girls these days makes him a bad person and her response sends him into a tailspin of despair. She says that he can have fun, but he must also live by the moral, ethical, and biblical doctrines with which he was raised and that advice sends him spinning into an existential crisis. He’s a tortured soul, Gus is, and that, of course, means he’s positively irresistible to Nilsa. She follows him outside to find out why he’s crying and he explains the phone call he had with his mother and how her biblical shit is haunting him and he just wishes he could casually hook up with random girls like Jeremiah and Kirk do without feeling such stabbing pangs of guilt.
Also: If you noticed that Gus did not include Codi in his list of guys who regularly get girls, you are not the only one. But perhaps all that will change once Codi breaks out his white pants. Someone please add CODI GETS LAID BECAUSE HIS WHITE PANTS ARE MADE OUT OF MAGIC to the bracket, okay?
Let’s get back to Gus now. Nilsa is doing two very wise things as she talks him down from his emotional ledge. The first is that she’s assuaging his guilt about things he probably shouldn’t feel guilty about – and if you’re thinking my saying such a thing means I must not have the type of mother who quotes Bible verses at me over the phone, you are correct. The second wise thing Nilsa is doing is in convincing Gus that something casual can potentially lead to something real, as long as it’s with the kind of awesome girl he can really talk to…the kind of girl who will truly understand him…the kind of girl who is standing right there on the dock and offered to undress for him yesterday! Nicely played, Nilsa, and whoever has NILSA COMFORTS GUS IN THE MOONLIGHT WHILE SWEARING GOD DOESN’T HATE HIM officially moves to the next round.
There is a large piece of me that cannot believe that I must recount what happens next, and I believe that piece of me is made up of my soul and a huge hunk of my dignity. Let’s just hope those things can be replenished because what is occurring onscreen in this very moment is that Kortni pulls on one of the diapers Candace bought her as a joke, walks downstairs to where everyone is gathered calmly in the living room, crouches down in a corner, and begins pissing to see how much that diaper can hold. I think the moral of this particular tale is that Gus should just relax because God can’t possibly have time to punish him for consensually nailing a girl when one of his roommates engages in shit like pissing in corners in front of a crowd before removing the diaper and waving in front of her friends’ faces so they can bear witness to the heaviness of her urine. Now, I have watched every season of The Real Housewives. I’ve stared at my TV while an anorexic lunatic dating a felon told a mother she was simply an egg donor on Southern Charm. I sat through all of Human Centipede, yet I’m quite sure this may be the grossest display of human behavior I’ve ever seen televised.
Also: If anyone had KORTNI PISSES IN A DIAPER AND THEN CHASES HER ROOMMATES AROUND THE ROOM WITH IT WHILE IT’S SLOSHING AROUND, you deserve to win the entire fucking tournament. Your mind can go places the average mind cannot and there ought to be a cash prize for being so fucking subversive. With your winnings, please buy me my coffee table and then go procure yourself some therapy because no mind should be able to conjure up such revolting images.
To offer us something resembling a mental palate cleanser, the editors allow us some fun footage of a few of the roommates shopping for silly gifts for Gus’ birthday. At the store, they choose matching tank tops for him and Jeremiah and then Nilsa sees a flyer for an upcoming bikini contest she decides she should enter. She talks Candace into doing it with her, though Candace is not nearly as excited because she sees Nilsa as an Instagram model and herself as just a real girl who has shit like razor bumps. Listen, the girl’s taste in men appears questionable – as does her proclivity for rage and her choice to gift her piss-happy roommate with a package of diapers – but Candace is beautiful and I hope she wins the contest. I also hope her winning will not lead to Nilsa crawling under a piece of furniture and staying there until she starves off a few more pounds because Nilsa looks great and it’s sometimes a bit heartbreaking to see such televised insecurity. We have all been there. Not that “being there” means having twerked on a stage during a televised bikini contest, but you know what I mean.
Back at the house, Gus works out by lifting patio furniture as the rest of the group decorates the house for his birthday. He eventually comes in and sees the balloons and the cheesecake they bought in his honor and he’s touched enough that he makes a toast requesting that everyone get as torched that night as he’s planning on getting. This is a request everyone feels fine fulfilling, though Aimee gets a pass since she’s basically still recovering from dehydration from the last time she got torched. They’re all pretty much drunk before they even leave the house. I mean, how else to explain that Gus and Jeremiah actually wear their matching tank tops out in the world where people with eyes can see them? This motley crew is already collectively hovering somewhere near oblivion, so you just know we’re about to watch a horror show play out before us and that horror show begins quickly when some icky man at the next table in the bar shouts out “Where’s the hoes?” while pointing at Nilsa. She tells him not to speak about her and this guy’s toxic piping rage bubbles over. Kirk decides to get involved by throwing crackers at the guy and he’s asked to leave by the bouncers because apparently the edges of Saltines are crazy sharp and can be seen as weapons. Codi decides the only reason Kirk was kicked out is because he’s black and Candace attempts to explain the situation to a cop outside when Gus chimes in to basically validate the claim that Kirk was in fact the sole antagonist when it comes to the hideous charge of throwing crackers at a misogynist. Candace is horrified. Gus refuses to argue with a cop and is instead seeking to diffuse the situation like a human being blessed with rational thought? That sort of shit is unforgivable in her eyes. They eventually all leave and head to another bar, but they don’t even make it inside – well, Kortni does. She meanders in, walks over to the bar, and orders a drink thusly: “Bitch, I don’t even care what you give me.” The rest of them are still outside and they’re fighting in shifts. Gus and Candace are arguing because she feels Gus didn’t defend Kirk at the other bar. Kirk steps in to say Gus shouldn’t have defended him because he was wrong to throw shit. And then some guy standing on the bar’s patio screams that Jeremiah is a pussy, a line Kirk responds to by telling the guy to come over and say the same thing to their faces. While Jeremiah is pretty much able to shrug that idiot’s comments off, Kirk is itching to fight. He knocks a drink out of someone’s hand and then punches the guy. Mayhem breaks out in the street before half of them eventually leave, but once back home, Candace decides the moment is the perfect time for her to pack her bags and leave because how dare Gus not defend Kirk even though Kirk flat out already admitted he was wrong and Gus was right. Candace is really not in the mood for anything that tastes remotely like logic, but she doesn’t have enough time to fully throw a fit or pack up her cowboy hats because the police show up at the front door in a fleet of lights and sirens. They’re there to arrest Kirk for punching the guy at the second bar. They load him into the squad car with Jeremiah and Gus looking appropriately concerned while, still at the bar, Kortni gets even more alcohol poured into her mouth because her bladder needs filling.
Diapers do not fill themselves, people.
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