Total Drama Review Week 2: The Big Sleep

By: Justin Cummings

 

Welcome back to the Total Drama Weekly Review. This week we’re going to look at a very underrated episode, one I would argue is one of the most important in the history of the franchise, “The Big Sleep”. While most people forget about this one because it was so early in the first season, it established some of the relationships that still exist in the franchise to this day.

First off, the challenge in this episode was absolutely brilliant: on the surface it was simply an endurance challenge to stay awake as long as possible, but in reality it was a way to show as many character dynamics as possible. It was ingenious and made you feel close to so many of the characters after just a few minutes.

The biggest thing to come out of this as far as the season is concerned is the alliance of Heather, Lindsey, and Beth. I’ve always loved the interactions between these three and this first encounter is hilarious. Heather is built up as a villain both in her description of the other two as dumb and desperate, and in her stealing of Eva’s mp3 player and sabotaging the Killer Bass. This was a great way to take Heather from just being a jerk to being the main antagonist of the season.

Speaking of jerks, this episode does a lot for Duncan as well. It sets up his bullying of Harold which will play out heavily in both season one and two, and will even influence several votes. It also is the first time we see Duncan and Gwen face off and start their friendly rivalry, which reappears several times this season and influences the events of season two.

That wasn’t the main moment for Gwen though, as probably half the episode was spent focused on her and Trent falling in love. These scenes were absolutely adorable and set up probably the biggest relationship of the season.

Lindsey gets her shining moment of the week when she begins crushing on Tyler and gives the quote “Heather said I couldn’t date Tyler, she never said I couldn’t like him.” It’s cute, fun, and leads to some unfortunate injuries for Tyler at the hands of Heather later in the season.

Finally, we have what should have been an inconsequential moment. In a gag Noah and Cody wake up cuddling with Noah kissing Cody’s ear: both scream and run away. I don’t know if it’s because of this moment or because it was referenced later on, but the fandom ran with it giving us the famous NoCo ship. This is one of those love it or hate it ships in the fandom, with some people thinking it’s completely unfounded, and others thinking it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

So with all of these relationships and dynamics developing it’s hard not to think of “The Big Sleep” as a pure animated clinic in how to write television. Next week we’ll get into a fan favorite episode, but I hope everyone gives this episode another look. See you guys next week.

I’m currently studying Communication at Lynchburg College with an emphasis in Electronic Media and a double minor in business and gender studies. I’ve been a huge fan of animation since I was little and thus have very eclectic tastes. Outside of animation I love Survivor, comic books, and a whole treasure trove of other things.
 

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