And so we arrive at the final episode of Ex On the Beach. Three years ago or so, I would’ve claimed this program was the newest sign signaling the imminence of the End of Days, but since the world we’re existing in right now is so terrifyingly shitty, this show has somehow morphed, almost magically, into escapism. Allow me to be very clear here: I’m not saying this show is comforting escapism the way a quality program like The Good Place transports me all too briefly to My Happy Place. (Also: watch that show.) Ex On the Beach really only serves to remind us that a large segment of the population believes any sort of exposure is good exposure. The cast and their actions promote a quest for notoriety and an absolute refusal of growth. The women on this show allow the men to get away with total garbage and the men just shrug when the women act like total garbage and not for one solitary second do I believe — or do I care — if any of these couples have stayed together. I feel zero investment for any of them and I’m flat out confused by anyone who feels differently. Still, there have been some very nice wide shots of the ocean (the ones when desperate people haven’t come crawling out of the waves) and, at the very least, watching this show for an hour each week has meant it’s been an hour I’ve been away from the actual news that confirms each and every day that this country is becoming rapidly similar to Gilead, the dystopian America that is the setting of The Handmaid’s Tale. (Also: watch that show, too.) I guess what I’m saying is sometimes an MTV dating show starring people who have been treated like trash (yet will undoubtedly continue to appear on the very next show producers wave in their faces) can momentarily feel soothing to a viewer. Sure, one of the stars of this show is a spitter, but it’s not like her loogie can break through a TV screen, so we’re safe. Praise be.
I saw a quiz on Buzzfeed this week that allows you to, through a series of questions, determine which Vanderpump Rules character you happen to be. I didn’t take it. I mean, what if my answer to one of the questions veered to the sociopathic and I came back a Jax or – horror of fucking horrors – what if the questions reveal I’m a closeted lunatic and I subsequently get deemed a Kristen? But a quiz I probably would be brave enough to take would be about which Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor I’d be, and though I fully expect the answer would be Half Baked, I’m also fine hearing I’m a Karamel Sutra.
I bring up the concept of ice cream now for two reasons:
1. I think it wise that your mind embrace something sweet before watching this installment of Ex On the Beach because this is a straight hour of people behaving like the kind of hot garbage a cat with a bladder infection just pissed directly on.
2. Alicia yammers away at one point about flavors and I’ve already decided she is the walking manifestation of Ben & Jerry’s Fairly Nuts.
Should you ever find yourself stranded on a desert island with me, you’d be in luck. I was sent to sleepaway camp when I was only six years old and back then we learned real shit, like how to forage through the forest for sustenance and build fires. (Years later, I’d also learn at camp how to give a killer blowjob, but that’s really a tale for another day.) Anyway, I can collect you a leaf filled with berries that probably won’t kill you and then strip birch bark into kindling to keep us warm as we wait for either actual help or for the leader of The Others to arrive. And while we recline beside that roaring fire, I can take your mind off stressful things – you know, like forever solitude – by quoting entire movies. I am well aware that, in civilization, this quality of mine may not be deemed so adorable, but on a barren beach where there’s no Netflix? My friend, I will be like a God. Included in my personal repertoire is the full John Hughes collection. I can give you all of Caddyshack. I can Triple Lindy into Back to School, call you “Twin” after performing Overboard, and recite all of Pulp Fiction – and not just Ezekiel 25:17; I’m not some amateur. But should you find yourself still feeling blue due to concerns about imminent starvation, I will calm those nerves by launching into Clue. I will play all the characters. I’ll hold a petrified starfish by one of its spiked points and pretend it’s a knife to perform the part where Wadsworth explains how the cook was murdered. Clue is guaranteed to elicit at least a giggle while we huddle beneath palm fronds whispering comforting affirmations to one another about how it all could be worse because at least now we will never have to buy coconut water and, though we may never see electricity or good porn again, at least we are not stuck in that psychologically-haunted villa in Hawaii with anyone from Ex On the Beach.
I ran into an ex on the beach once. And I’d say I remember that day like it was yesterday, except yesterday was a pretty kickass day and the day I saw my ex on the beach was basically misery bathed in lemon yellow sunshine.
Welcome to MTV’s Ex On the Beach, a social experiment the founders of television could never have expected to transpire, not even on the days they drank straight scotch until they saw only static. This program brings reality stars and “social media stars” – and if you’re not already sighing heavily, we can never be friends – into a gorgeous villa in Hawaii so they can be manipulated while cameras film every second of their inebriated time. Join me from the comfort of your sofa (where, hopefully, there’s nary an ex in sight) as we witness fitness models, a DJ, and former contestants from shows like Big Brother, The Bachelor, and Are You the One as they head to what they pretended to believe would be paradise until the producers revealed the real plot: that their exes would eventually wash upon the shores like debris and subsequently scatter the senses of every single person present.