Sometimes I look back at the days in my life before I knew what a mermaid-goddess-princess was and I realize it was a much simpler time. It’s sort of like how I felt right after I made the moronic choice – dear fucking God, it was a choice – to sit through Human Centipede and then, for almost a year, I would hear the words “Feeeeeeeeeeed meeeeeeeeeee” every single time I closed my eyes to go to sleep. It was rough. I began to pray that a shiny Delorean (or really any vehicle with a Flux Capacitor) would appear as if from a dream so I could run towards it, hop inside, go lurching back in time, and reclaim whatever innocence I’d had before my mind was corrupted forever by a “filmmaker” whose idea of art was connecting three people from ass to mouth. Not for one second am I suggesting that Floribama Shore’s Aimee is in any way similar to a creature that relies on the fuel created by someone else’s colon to survive, but the girl does talk about shitting pretty frequently. She doesn’t gross me out, though. Sure, the shavings that came off the bottoms of her feet during her very first pedicure gave any hunk of parmesan a real run for its money and okay, her proclivity to beat up strangers without any internal debate about the merits of such behavior aren’t exactly positive things, but there’s a genuine sweetness to Aimee that I really root for. Unfortunately, that sweetness – which you just know smells like Anna Nicole Smith body wash – can’t completely mask the scent of sadness that also permeates off her. Maybe that’s the connection I see between Aimee and Human Centipede: maybe it’s that watching Aimee stumble through her life causes me feel emotions I don’t actually want to feel. Maybe the years of my life when I didn’t know so many Aimees existed were easier years because I never had to acknowledge that some people are dealt hands in life that are hard to win with and things sometimes get way worse before they start getting better.
What Aimee really needs is a huge support system, so it’s great Codi’s around. How can he not help burgeon her self-esteem when he tells her he wouldn’t look at her twice in a bar? What? He just tells it like it is! And this is America! #MAGA, you know? (By the way, in this case the abbreviation stands for Make Aimee Grief-Stricken Again and it makes just as much sense as the original meaning of that idiotic slogan and we all fucking know it.) At least Jeremiah sees the truth. He’s a man who knows that one need not be rude in a quest to be real, but Codi doesn’t understand such rational thinking and the regrettable truth here is that Aimee lives with people who were hired to be on a reality show mostly because they’re not rational.
It’s Nilsa who ends up taking control of the situation. Now that she’s no longer grunting goat-style under Jeremiah’s brother, she can take Aimee to brunch and explain 1) The meaning of the word brunch and 2) That time heals all emotional wounds and how one can most certainly get over one man by writhing beneath a hotter one. I’d totally make fun of Nilsa for brandishing such primitive logic, but I can’t because she’s totally correct and to all of you out there agreeing with me, please agree quietly so you don’t disturb the hot as fuck distraction currently napping beside me.
At a little restaurant called Liza’s Kitchen, Aimee tells Nilsa about turning down Codi’s repulsive toe-curling offer and how he retaliated by making her feel like garbage. His comment really impacted her and it’s devastating to see her cry and share her fears that her ex will be the best man she’s ever going to get. I understand Aimee’s thinking; she spent ten years with this guy. She was fourteen when they started dating, a fact that almost seems impossible and therefore is even more upsetting. She doesn’t know what’s out there and she only sees through a lens he helped fashion. I really hope she finds the strength to smash the fuck out of that metaphorical lens, slip on some spectacular symbolic shades, and realize a douchebag cheater with an impressive sperm count is hardly the finest she should hope for in this world.
Nilsa is good to Aimee over brunch. She validates her pain and shows her support and Aimee takes that aid and decides to confront the people who so willfully hurt her for sport. “Kirk, you really hurt my feelings,” she explains calmly. To his credit, his apology is both quick and kind. “From the bottom of my heart, I am so fucking sorry,” he tells her. Codi apologizes easily also and he tells her that she’s wonderful, but Aimee is correct when she says that words hurt and I hope these guys will be more thoughtful as they move forward, especially while living with a girl who honestly says, “I wish I could love myself, but I don’t know how.” Okay…it’s official: regardless of how she throws down at bars, I’ve decided that Aimee is awesome and I will fuck anyone up who makes her feel badly about herself. That said, as a recapper of this show, should she prepare an amuse-bouche that lands four of her roommates in the hospital puking up their spleens, I will have to talk some shit about her, but that sort of shit will be incidental and purely driven by plot. I have a job to do, people.
When Aimee decides to go to sleep, Nilsa gets everyone together and tells them they should throw the 1st Annual Aimee Appreciation Day. Aimee has never been to a nice restaurant, so Gus suggests taking her to the place where he dropped $150 on Nilsa and somehow didn’t get any tongue in the process and they all agree it sounds like a perfect plan. Her good deed now done, Nilsa decides it’s time to go do something else – and that something else is Josh. He tells her she’s more than just a great rack and proves it by complimenting her ass and then the two bone sober. It’s a lovely goodbye despite the fact that he leaves in the morning inexplicably wearing a shirt covered in pineapples and offers to bid her adieu with one final fuck.
Nilsa is sad Josh leaves, but she’s looking forward to The Aimee Appreciation Jamboree and it kicks off with a breakfast they prepare before announcing that today will be all about her. “Is it?” Aimee asks sweetly, and I’m not sure if it’s because it’s holiday time and I’m feeling particularly charitable or because I know she has no college debt, but I sort of want to adopt this chick immediately. While the girls take her to get her nails done, Codi calls the restaurant and requests the finest table they have so Aimee will feel like a Queen who gets to stare at a pretty view as she lords over her subjects. Turns out the restaurant is in the middle of a shopping center, so Aimee will not be able to gaze at the sunset or anything that’s monarchy-adjacent, but the plan is brimming with excellent intentions and I just want to offer a quick prayer right here and now that nobody ends up punching the waiter because how great would it be if this episode was really only about kindness? (Fuck me. Has my cynical side melted? How could such a thing possibly have transpired on the same week the GOP passed a plan that will slaughter this country financially? Is there any conceivable way one of the aliens the government has secretly been tracking invaded my home last night, shimmied its way inside of me, and replaced my snideness with purity and good-fucking-will? These are very important questions and I propose that I will figure all of them out in the new year when I throw the 1st Annual Make Nell a Bitch Again Day where a group of us can ponder where my shit-talking self has run off to and who might be to blame for leaving behind a girl who gets positively misty watching a reality show on MTV in her place. Please bring your own drugs, but the gift bags I’ll provide will be kick ass and they’ll include a waterproof mattress just in case Kortni decides to swing by.)
The day is going perfectly. Aimee gets her nails painted the colors of a mermaid while Kirk and Jeremiah pick her up a corsage. The only dark (brown) spot on the moment is that Nilsa has to poop – a wet one – and they’re in the car and nowhere near a bathroom. “If you shit your pants, that will make my whole entire Aimee Day,” the guest of honor says, and if Nilsa were a real friend, she’d just let loose right there and maybe Aimee could wear that as a corsage. Nilsa eventually skids into a parking lot of a fast food place and runs towards a toilet and I write this sentence knowing my former writing professors are probably very proud of me. Anyhoo, when it’s time for dinner, Aimee appears looking beautiful and the whole house applauds. It’s like we’re watching The Partridge Family on speed. (Nilsa? The Partridge Family was a show people over the age of twenty-six used to watch because there used to actually be a time when televised entertainment was actually scripted by professionals and networks didn’t merely rely on bombastic people losing their shit inside of bars.) And now that my little history lesson has come to an end, let’s rejoin the group as they present Aimee with her wrist corsage and fine, she has never heard that word and she calls it a croissant, but who cares? It’s on her wrist and she looks happy.
The restaurant, however, makes Aimee nervous. There are two forks. There are two knives. She cannot for the life of her understand why she’s been given so many utensils. Codi is also having a rough time. He can’t pronounce anything on the menu and there are no pictures of the food on the wall and the waiter just offered him a meal that includes the words “gorgonzola” and “balsamic reduction,” so he’s about to break out in hives – on Aimee Day of all days! Aimee is also confused by the menu, but she knows what steak and lobster are so she orders them both and declares that this is the best restaurant she’s ever been to and she feels rich, like her daddy’s a lawyer and her mama’s a doctor, and I hope this girl gets to eat at places like this every night of her fucking life because she appreciates it so damn much and pure and unadulterated appreciation is hard to come by these days.
Aimee Day was a resounding success, but now it’s a new day and these people have to earn their keep as reality show participants. While Nilsa, Kirk, and Jeremiah are on the beach, some of Nilsa’s friends show up. One of them is Katrina and Jeremiah instantly develops a crush on her. And since his former paramour, the witch, was burned at the stake, he’s in the market for someone new! Gus also has a little crush on Katrina, but Nilsa’s pushing her friend to be into Jeremiah because that way the two of them can double-date with brothers who are sweet but have zero sense of style and really, what more could a girl ask for? Gus isn’t ready to concede this competition just yet, but that’s okay because Jeremiah doesn’t see him as a threat so if you’re asking yourself what could possibly go wrong here, you are clearly not paying attention.
Also – the competition would officially be cancelled forever if Katrina heard Jeremiah on the phone with his brother where the conversation went thusly: “Ya know it’s pimpin’ freezy fo’ sheezy.”
Also – my former writing professors just undoubtedly hanged themselves.
Josh isn’t actually calling to speak Faux Pimp with his brother. Instead, he’s checking to see if Nilsa is actually into him and she totally is and it looks like Josh and his barrel-shaped chest will eventually wade back onto her shores. And now she’s happy and it’s time for everyone to leave for the bar. They’re going to a place with cheap beer, but the bar is absolutely empty. The lack of a crowd doesn’t really matter since all of that empty space just makes it easier to see just how far Katrina’s ass hangs out of her, well, let’s just go ahead and call that scrap of material she’s wearing “shorts.” She is a pretty girl and the boys are drooling and it’s about to get ugly, and I don’t mean because Kortni just crouched atop a urinal. What I mean is that Katrina is torn. Should she go for the sweet guy with all the muscles and the worst fashion sense of anyone in all the world or the guy who can give her the right lines and share secrets about how to get one’s hair to rise as high as the heavens? It’s a tough choice, but she’s helped along by Nilsa who tells her that Gus made a bet that he’d land her first and Katrina is trashed just enough to lose her mind entirely upon hearing such news. “I’m done!” she yells – and then she bursts into tears in her friend’s arms because she is not some prize to be won, goddammit, and she will go home alone and puke all by herself. She will hold her own damn hair back. Her weepy fury aside, the truth is there was no bet. Nilsa misunderstood what Codi was saying and took her nugget of incorrect gossip to a very young, very drunk girl, but none of that really matters because now what’s at the center of the conflict is that Gus doesn’t trust Jeremiah and Jeremiah doesn’t trust Gus and Katrina is still bawling uncontrollably in an empty bar and I just hope none of this leads to our 1st Annual Katrina Appreciation Day because I’m sort of done with fake holidays and besides, Katrina may be a very nice girl, but she is no mermaid-goddess-princess.
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