It’s all come down to this, my friends. An episode MTV has chosen to call the “Summer Finale” of Floribama Shore – a term that seems more than a bit optimistic considering the fact that my tan has long since faded – is upon us, and we all know full well that there’s no way this group would ever enter a mini hiatus without experiencing and inflicting a heap of carnage first.
So here’s what’s been happening:
Nilsa and Gus are hooking up, but she swears she’s only looking for fun, that not even a dash of her prototypical brand of jealousy will rear its heavily-contoured head the very next time she spots Gus feeling up some girl at a bar.
(The only person on the planet who believes Nilsa about any of this is Nilsa.)
Kortni has a legitimate crush on Jeremiah, incest comparisons be damned.
(The only people who think such a pairing would actually be a wise idea are the always-hammered people who live in that filthy house. Perhaps the fumes of kitchen mold have driven them clinically mad.)
Logan now creeps around the streets of Panama City Beach in the dead of night to drop bouquets of cheap flowers and close-up photographs of Kortni’s face onto her doorstep.
(The only people pleased about Logan’s nocturnal strolls are the producers of Dateline.)
Candace publicly dates a man who made the conscious choice to randomly insert a set of numbers into his name.
(Not even her mother can get behind such a moronic decision.)
Codi insists on wearing a cropped tee to work out. He ends every single set of burpess by chugging a minimum of two cheap beers.
(Not even the founders of Coors view this guy as a role model.)
In other words, everything is going exactly as expected down at the Floribama Shore.
I’m a big fan of horror movies. I’ve seen ‘em all. In some perverse sort of way, the stages of my life can almost be catalogued by which movie was scaring the living shit out of me at that particular moment in time. April Fool’s Day, with its Muffy/Buffy twins (trust me; they were terrifying) and that old rickety well filled with dark water and dead bodies tormented me during my elementary-school-sleepover days. Friday the 13th used to slip into my mind constantly back when I was a sleepaway camp counselor and I’d find myself creeping through the woods to my bunk in the dead of night after having sex with my boyfriend on the kickball field. I think about Rosemary’s Baby during every single gynecologist appointment I’ve had since I was seventeen and Goodnight, Mommy – with those creepy little boys who share a penchant for gluing together body parts – entered my life recently, meaning that even my adulthood is defined by having the bejeezus scared out of me. I guess I’ve always succumbed to the notion that there is a joy inherent in the embracing of vicarious fear. Part of that joy involves spotting iconic horror conventions in a piece of entertainment. You just know that the second you see a long narrow hallway or you hear a pronounced creak of a floorboard or a doorway is open just a tiny bit in the back of the frame, it’s time to actively prepare for some onscreen doom. When what you’re watching is fiction, the identification of those terrible elements of horror feels satisfying. When you spot the same tropes in the real world, however, all you are left with is dread. And it turns out that Logan, Kortni’s ex-boyfriend, is a fucking walking horror movie trope.
There have been moments throughout the years when events so questionable transpired on reality television that they caused me to question whether or not there could possibly be a God. Does that sound harsh? Well, you watch someone named Snooki get punched directly in the face on camera and then go ahead and take a gander at the allegedly sane people on Ex and the Beach who cavort like hedonists celebrating successful lobotomy operations and tell me such displays did not prompt you to wonder if 1) You were staring at the literal dismantling of society’s mores or 2) God had grown tired of locusts and instead created a brand new plague that anyone blessed with basic cable was able to watch in high-definition. I’ll admit that there have been a few incidents shown on Floribama Shore that caused the God question to creep menacingly into my head. Those incidents involved Kortni squatting in corners, extreme close-ups of chunky vomit, or Candace referring to her boyfriend as “GatorJay231SouthsideGawd” with a straight face. Still, for all the Gator-pissing-puke moments that propelled me to wonder if crawling into an underground bunker so I could eat canned goods and pray for absolution was maybe a wise idea, there have also been some truly heartwarming moments. Floribama Shore doesn’t cause me to fear the End of Days like many reality shows do on a regular basis. There is an inherent goodness inside the cast members of this show. True, that ingrained goodness tends to dribble out when they are hammered – and they are usually hammered – but as sober people, they often illustrate kindness and empathy and they exhibited both last week when Jeremiah found out his grandfather died.
Listen: I refuse to even entertain the notion that Jeremiah and Kortni would make a good couple. I don’t care that people have caught them sharing long and seemingly profound glances. I don’t care that Jeremiah has the power to sort of neutralize her crazy, like he’s a vet who just shot a rabid animal with a tranquilizer dart. I don’t care that it would probably be good for Kortni to date someone normal – especially a man who could conceivably act as a bodyguard and protect her from a lunatic she actually needs to be protected from – and I really don’t care that it might prove interesting to watch Jeremiah shake up his life by cuddling with a woman born with limited bladder control. I don’t even care that Jeremiah clearly has a bit of a savior complex (you didn’t think those Clark Kent glasses were just a fashion statement, did you?) and that Kortni would be his toughest assignment yet. These two together as anything other than friends is pure idiocy, but I suppose contemplating the will-they-or-won’t-they is at least more interesting than wondering if Codi will ever actually bang Candace (he won’t) or if Kirk will puke all over the floor of another dining establishment (he will) – and it’s definitely more comforting than wondering if Kortni is pregnant with Lucifer’s child.
I suppose the only positive thing about Logan stalking Kortni while cameras follow his every terrifying move is that we now have yet another visual example of toxic masculinity should anyone still be unclear about what it looks like. TMZ reported just a few days ago that Logan was arrested for violating the restraining order Kortni eventually had to take out on him and every single sign that he is legitimately and dangerously unbalanced has played out on our television screens – and it continues to do so this week.
A few of the men I’ve dated have had some flaws. One had severe commitment issues. One’s favorite hobby was telling me complicated lies. One thought it would be totally normal if we eventually had separate bedrooms. And one was a clinical narcissist who should really be studied by a team of very brave experts who do not scare easy. But not one of them ever grabbed a phone out of my hands when a male friend called and blubbered, “Who is this?” in a manner that required both subtitles and a straightjacket.