Remember that episode of Friends when Phoebe changed her name to Princess Consuela Banana Hammock? Well you guys, sometimes-fictional stories morph scarily into real life. That’s right – it’s time to meet GatorJay231SouthsideGawd! To be clear, this is a name a grown man chose for himself.
The last episode ended with Candace storming down the stairs to confront the guys who said they have no intention of addressing someone with a ridiculous fake name, a pronouncement that caused Candace – who apparently happily calls him by this idiotic name – to explode. We begin with her fury still ignited, but it abates slightly when Gus explains his issue is with the “Gawd” part of his name. It doesn’t matter if there’s a bullshit “W” shoved into the word; Gus is not about to call any mortal man a God. Candace accepts this and says they can all just call him Gator and everything seems like it will be okay for a second, but then Candace tells them how petty they all are and Gus responds that she shouldn’t even be called a woman. It’s a weird fucking insult that doesn’t make any sort of sense, but Candace reads it as him saying that her speaking her mind as a woman is not okay. Maybe Gus meant it that way. Maybe the guy is just terrible at verbal comebacks. Maybe they’ve already called one another every other insult in the book and now they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. All I know is that I don’t much care; I just want to meet Gator.
Also: Candace decides that since Gus declared she’s not a woman but she’s never been a man, that must mean she’s a monster. Then she makes up a little ditty that goes, “I’m an asshole lying monster,” and fully I expect Nilsa will sing this song during the talent portion of the very next bikini contest she loses.
I kind of expected the fight to just dribble away after Candace’s song ended, but now Candace has decided she’s angry with Kortni for not jumping in during the fight. Candace claims she always has Kortni’s back – and she’s completely right about that – but Kortni wanted to stay out of it for once and not end an evening threatening to hit walls or people. Her tactic does not work as planned. Candace explains that Kortni is her only real friend in the house, but Kortni doesn’t feel the same way. She has lots of friends! And she also does not feel okay with being spoken down to by Candace or being made to choose between her roommates just because she’s told that she should. And if Candace’s behavior continues, Kortni sees nothing wrong with knocking out both Candace and her visiting Boo-Thang with only her fists and whatever petrified clumps of hocked-up loogies still live in the bottom of one of the kitchen glasses.
The next day is Gator Day, but it doesn’t begin with balloons falling from the sky or with gators crawling from the water to protest how their species is being portrayed. Instead, Gus confronts Nilsa for her instigation of the fight the night before. Her immediate response is she was just keeping it real, and I truly pray I’m not the only person out there who contemplates flinging my TV off a balcony when someone on a reality show defends bullshit behavior with the excuse that they were “keeping it real” or “just saying what everyone else is thinking.” See, the easier way to sum it up is by saying, “I just felt like being an asshole,” but Nilsa doesn’t say that and Gus and Jeremiah decide they’re through with her, so much so that when Codi, Aimee, and Nilsa leave the house to go to work, Gus shouts out, “Bye, Aimee! Bye, Codi!” Nilsa doesn’t even get a goodbye, but she just laughs at them and – still – not a thing has been resolved.
Through the magic of editing, work at Shore Dog goes by in a flash. When the three arrive home, Candace has just finished cleaning the place in an effort to remove both the grime and the shit energy. She’s pleasantly surprised to see Nilsa and Aimee brought a hot dog home for Gator because now that Kortni has proven herself disloyal, maybe those girls can be her closest friends. As for Kortni, she walks downstairs with a puss plastered across her face and, by using a very mature form of silent treatment, she tells us she is above all the petty drama. I’d jump up and down in excitement that this show has just given us yet another visual form of irony, but there’s no time because here comes the man of the hour. Codi takes himself a quick shot when the doorbell rings, Nilsa screams because she likes to make everything about herself, and Candace – who looks very pretty – opens the front door to a man who greets her with the words, “Daddy’s home.”
Also: I just puked on my laptop.
So Gator. He has a nice smile, a beard but no mustache, a man-bun, and during his first confessional, he mentions maybe fucking some shit up. In other words, the man is clearly husband material. He sits down with everyone and he is very friendly and incredibly smiley and his words, though he’s just from Atlanta, require subtitles. Into this lovely scene walks Kortni, and she makes sure to grunt, “What’s up?” at him while keeping anything resembling politeness out of her tone. The girl is a fucking child. I mean, even Codi is nice to Gator! He even legitimately likes him – for now anyway.
Meanwhile, Gus and Jeremiah are furious that everyone isn’t taking their sides about a fight that is pretty much already over, so everyone – including Candace and Gator – wind up upstairs where Gus announces to Gator that he has no problem with him. He explains that his problem is with Candace, which is probably not something you want to say to some guy you don’t know about his girlfriend, but all of that is nothing compared to the way Gus begins cackling when Gator announces that Candace should make sure to only crawl into beds with other girls when she’s drunk. Wanting to confront the issue before Gus makes a sign and hoists it over Candace’s bed, she admits that she’s slept in a bed with Codi. “When was this?” are apparently the words Gator uses to respond, though frankly his words sound like complete gibberish and you all know I’m right. Still, the fact that her boyfriend is unintelligible is not the point here. What is the point is that Codi looks terrified and I’d forgive him for shitting himself this time.
As evening falls, Nilsa and Aimee are still doing their makeup – how many fucking layers is that? – and that’s when Reggie, Candace’s former roommate, calls. And because a male friend had the gall to call her and because Gator gets furious whenever Candace has anything to do with anyone rocking a penis, Candace is now in the doghouse. Well, she’s in the Gator-house, and she should seriously consider gnawing her fucking way out of there because coining yourself a supremely dumb name is one thing and speaking like the Swedish Chef went on a southern bender is another. But refusing to allow your girlfriend to speak to any men? Give me a fucking break.
That, by the way, is how the night begins.
They all head out to a bar. Gator plays pool with the guys and Candace stews alone because a man she probably shouldn’t even be dating in the first place is spending his time with people who don’t like her. He eventually heads her way and the two of them end up fighting. He asks why some other guy would call her and then asks if she wants to be with him or be with everybody else. (Everybody else? Dude.) This is probably when Candace should have thrown off her shoes and just started running because if she thinks Gator is controlling now, my guess is she has no idea of the hysterical misery she will find herself in later if she stays with this man. Instead of running, she bursts into tears and when Aimee comes over to see what’s wrong and why her friend is weeping across a bar, Gator just causally answers, “She’s alright.” She is emphatically not alright, but perhaps when we get her into the Witness Protection Program she will be.
And speaking of scary men, here comes Logan! Just as Kortni begins explaining to him that she’s currently not speaking to Candace, he literally walks away from her without a word because he’s bored with that conversation and he’d rather his girlfriend speak to a shrub rather than to his face. In an effort to not have to continue this conversation with an inanimate object, Kortni goes to speak to Jeremiah about what’s been happening with Candace, but when Logan sees his property chatting with another guy, he decides he doesn’t care that she’s in the middle of a serious conversation because he wants to dance and Kortni can fuck off if she doesn’t run after him like he’s a prize. This particular prize is made up of shitty chin stubble and piping hot rage, and should you need more proof, Logan then walks up to Jeremiah to let him know that Kortni is his girlfriend and he will pull her away whenever he damn well pleases. Then he sticks her in a taxi while chortling, “You’re all mine,” much like how a serial killer would before slicing a lady into six parts.
To Kortni’s credit, she is fully freaked out and annoyed by Logan’s behavior. She should settle in, though; the crazy is nowhere near over. Back at the house, Logan calls and Nilsa answers. Thinking he’s verbally abusing his own girlfriend instead of her roommate, Logan launches into his own special brand of fury. He was worried! She was supposed to call two hours ago! When Nilsa finally manages to break in to announce that he’s yelling at the wrong person, his response is as follows: “Tell her I don’t give a fuck what she’s doing. I need to talk to her.”
Once again, I called this week one.
Once again, not even the teeniest tiniest piece of me feels any joy that Kortni’s boyfriend is psychotic.
So what’s Logan upset about now? Well, he got disrespected three times in one night. (Stop laughing, you guys. Logan is delicate. He’s also dangerous.) According to him, Kortni put her hand in his face and no woman has ever done something to him like that – and lived, anyway – so he wants to make sure she knows how terrible of a person she is and he will say it six hundred times to make himself clear because the only person whose feelings matter to Logan is Logan. Eventually, Kortni grows tired of him scolding her and she screams out, “Are you high?” He claims he’s not, but guess what? He is a man. He has testosterone. He will not be disrespected in front of his friends – you know, in much the same way he’s disrespecting his girlfriend in front of her friends…and a camera crew…and a viewing audience. And in different room, GatorJay231SouthsideGawd informs Candace that he should be the only man she ever calls for the rest of her life, and I don’t care if Kortni and Candace are pissed at one another right now. These two need to band together and they need to get away – from the blatant misogyny, from the threats of future violence, and from men who require fucking subtitles just so they can be understood.
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