If some small (and definitely misguided) part of you believed Kortni couldn’t possibly come off any worse than she appeared in the premiere episode of MTV Floribama Shore when she pissed all over her roommate’s bed: wait. She begins episode two by crawling out of Jeremiah’s room dressed in a giraffe onesie, her hair in a rumpled ball on top of her still spinning head. She sort of looks like something a hungover giraffe recently coughed up – and if you think I’m being rude by saying such a thing, you should know Gus greets her by announcing, “You look like shit.” It’s okay, though. Kortni doesn’t remember getting into Jeremiah’s bed in the first place, so chances are she won’t recall this kitchen insult either. And there’s probably an excellent chance she won’t remember most of what transpires this entire season, but at least there will be a ton of footage to eventually provide her with both receipts and lifelong regrets.
Kortni may have no clarity, but Jeremiah’s brimming with the stuff. The guy wakes up and immediately decides he needs to make sure Kortni understands that he’s not interested in her like that. See, he just wanted to take her out to see what she’s like away from the house, and since it turns out she’s the same drunken mess in the outside world as she is in the inside world, well, his mystery has now been solved and that’s the end of this non-romance. Kortni takes the news easily. It’s likely she’s heard this speech before and something tells me she’ll hear this speech many more times in her life. But do not feel badly for her! Kortni wants everyone to know she’s “not a normal female,” which I guess translates into the fact that she’s missing those pesky feminine traits of logic and human emotion. It’s pretty obvious her need to be seen as “The Cool Girl” instead of “A Real Girl” will end up biting Kortni on the ass at some point, but she’s probably got a few more years to play this silly game where the only one who ends up losing will be her. I tell you, I watch this show and I no longer miss being twenty-one for a mere fucking second…
And now that Kortni’s off Jeremiah’s mind and flirting with Candace in the kitchen, Nilsa’s on a mission to make this man-child her newest boyfriend. It doesn’t matter at all that her friend was interested in him first, she calmly explains to Aimee. Kortni is irrelevant in Nilsa’s mind! What is at the forefront of her mind and remains very relevant is that Jeremiah is ignoring her and that must mean 1) She looks chunky in the shorts meant to highlight her ass cheeks and 2) The dabbing man better fall at her feet immediately so she can prove to herself that she still matters. And here’s a quick – but very legitimate – question I have after watching this scene: does whatever compensation MTV gives these people involve a healthcare plan and might that plan allow some of our Floribama women to quickly get themselves some therapy? They could use it – STAT – even Candace. Sure, she seems normal, but let’s face it: after living with Kortni, the girl is gonna need some help recovering from her trauma. It’s also probably a very good idea to get some of these guys therapy, especially the two who insist on partaking in daily craft projects that result in flannel shirts resembling tragic thongs.
For their next big night out, the roommates head to a local bar where Kortni double-fists drinks and Nilsa looks around for Jeremiah so she can end the night by “climbing him like a tree.” She’s crushing on every single thing about him now, including the way he dances, though Codi and Aimee – neither of whom harbor hopes to climb the guy like a tree and therefore see the world somewhat more clearly at the moment – think Jeremiah’s a shitty dancer. Facts do not matter to Nilsa right now, much as sobriety never seems to matter to Kortni who is writhing against guys and tonguing girls and jumping fully clothed into a pool and is so trashed yet again that her roommates are already rolling their eyes at her antics. Meanwhile, while everyone else is trying to figure out if it’ll be possible for them to ditch Kortni at the bar and change the locks of the house before she sobers up and wanders home, Candace is making a love connection on the dance floor with Matthew, a guy who actually knows how to dance and probably doesn’t own even one flannel shirt-thong.
Also: it’s very sweet the way Gus rounds everyone up at the end of the night and makes sure a taxi gets them home safely.
Also: Kortni randomly shouts out the word “warts” and I think we all know exactly what this means.
Back at the house and hammered almost beyond comprehension, Nilsa tries in vain to order a pizza, but she’s initially unsuccessful because one restaurant is closed and one is unable to deliver to her because she no longer remembers her address and the pizza delivery guy feels it would be unwise to just go ahead and ping her phone to ascertain her location. Since she can’t swallow some pizza crust, she moves onto the idea of swallowing some of Jeremiah, a notion that excites her even further after she busts in on him showering and sees his “wing-a-ding,” which I suppose is a euphemism for “penis” and conjures up confusing feelings in me that I’ll deal with later. Anyhoo, Jeremiah sees exactly what she’s doing as Nilsa is currently the least subtle girl on the planet (“You should see my vagina,” she plainly tells him, before pressing her nipples against the glass door), but Jeremiah isn’t, um, biting here. He knows Gus likes Nilsa and, unlike Nilsa, Jeremiah doesn’t find his friend irrelevant.
The next day we learn Aimee rocks the thickest callouses ever recorded by modern man, so Kortni takes her to get a pedicure that’s meant to remove “twenty-four years of crust” off her feet. (Lord, I hope someone tips the person removing that crust really fucking well!) While those working at the nail place frantically draw straws to see who has to service Aimee, the guys head to work. Codi and Kirk are busy setting up chairs and cleaning trash, but Jeremiah is way more interested in rubbing lotion on girls and getting the number of someone named Kayla Jo because the guy is pretty much doing whatever he can to assure the ass he ends up nailing is an ass that doesn’t belong to one of his housemates.
Speaking of asses, apparently you cannot be female and go out for a night in PCB without showing yours to the world. Kayla Jo is a big fan of this town ordinance so she and her ass show up and begin dancing with Jeremiah. They then bump into Gus who explains that his heart was broken within the first two days of MTV’s terrifying new social experiment and even his hair looks droopy and sad as he recounts what happened with Nilsa. “Fuck that bitch!” shouts Kayla Jo, because she is supportive and very classy and she also heard producers are already casting for next season. And you know the absolute best way to make a first impression on a reality show? By antagonizing one of the show’s stars in a bar by making a combative gesture, denying it was your intention to provoke her even though it so clearly was, waiting for her to turn to the friend she deemed “irrelevant” for backup, and then catching your breath until that irrelevant (and very intoxicated friend) beats both that breath and the absolute shit out of you. And as the blood fills your mouth where your teeth used to be, you can sit back and wait for a contract for next season to drift slowly from the sky.
The fight doesn’t even involve Nilsa anymore! She reclines happily while Kortni literally fights her battles for her as a crowd gathers. “If you hit me, you will regret it,” announces Kayla Jo – who maybe isn’t all that ready to be a regular on a reality show. “I will knock your two fucking front teeth out, bitch,” responds Kortni – who was fucking born to be a regular on a reality show. And while it perhaps seems foolish to wonder at this very moment if there’s something clinically wrong with a person who’s so ready to knock someone’s teeth out without batting a mascara-smeared eyelash, perhaps it’s something society at large should contemplate eventually because whatever fuels Kortni – fury, a raging need for attention, a belief that life involves no real consequences – should definitely be gathered in a test tube and studied by a team of experts.
The evening doesn’t end in bloodshed, but it does end with Gus finally meeting a girl willing to kiss him. Jeremiah doesn’t get so lucky. Kayla Jo is terrified of having her face ripped off and then worn as a jaunty accessory by Kortni so she refuses to leave with him. And Jeremiah? Oh, my friends, he is pissed. He comes home and explains to Kortni – now wearing a zebra onesie – that her behavior wasn’t right. To her credit, Kortni apologizes, eats some cereal, and doesn’t pee anywhere but in a toilet.
Jeremiah spends the next morning at the gym where he can be amongst people he understands, those who value pectorals more than privacy. Later he goes home and decides to confront Aimee and her new smooth feet about the fact that she lives like a fucking pig. The guy has a point. Her entire closet is strewn across her bed and he doesn’t want to have to look at such a mess. That said, Aimee quickly says she’ll clean everything up, but Jeremiah continues on and on about how she needs to do something she already said she’d do and Aimee stares at him with her eyes flashing dangerously. You can see the steam start to seep from her ears and I’m relatively certain her head begins to slowly rotate as Jeremiah stands over her as she begins the cleaning process. Here are some things I just know:
1. Do not ever attempt to reason with a person so intoxicated that he cannot climb at least two steps without assistance.
2. Do not sign a release offered to you by an associate producer of a reality show when you are drunk on a dance floor.
3. Do not tell Aimee anything more than once because she will go from calm to killer in two seconds flat and such a thing was entirely evident to anyone who has been paying attention.
But if you expected it to be either Jeremiah vs. Aimee, Kortni vs. Kayla Jo, Aimee’s Feet vs. The Pedicurist, Nilsa vs. The Age of Thirty, or Nilsa vs. Self-Awareness to be the conflict that caused the episode’s greatest impact, you’re not alone, but you are also not correct. The biggest fight is between Nilsa and Codi because Nilsa – a girl on a reality show – decides Kayla Jo is desperate for attention and Codi attempts to scold her for being rude. Their conversation quickly escalates to Codi proclaiming about Jeremiah, “He’s not going to fuck you. He’s never going to fuck you!” and that bold statement brings Aimee out of her now-tidy bedroom to defend her roommate’s vagina and her honor because if this show can teach us anything, it’s that codependent insanity is a very good way to forge forever friendships.
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