Total Drama Review Week 6: Phobia Factor
By: Justin Cummings
You know now that I have actually listened to Celine Dion, this episode takes on a whole new meaning. The way the episode is structured here is absolutely brilliant. It starts straight from the end of episode six, which is exactly what Survivor does; considering that this show is a send up to Survivor it makes sense they would do that in at least one episode. We see so much character development in just a few minutes which would usually be bad, but here it just feels organic. It truly feels like just a bunch of teenagers talking around a campfire being honest with each other. It’s real, it’s informative, it’s entertaining, it’s great.
Moving past that scene, what makes this so unique is the way the whole episode is the challenge. Everyone is doing their own challenge, and as such they keep cutting back and forth all over the island, meaning this episode is just a grab bag of slapstick and fun. A couple of recurring bits begin in this episode too, including the spider costume, the jelly high dive, and the terribly cruddy plane. In addition, I doubt I need to say this, but the episode is a parody of Fear Factor. It’s rare for the show to parody a specific show outside of Survivor, but here it worked pretty well.
Moving past the episode’s format and place in the franchise we dive into the character interactions. This is the first time we really see the three amigos of the Killer Bass unified. Geoff, DJ, and Duncan are all friends, and the way Duncan goes soft here in his support of DJ while Courtney barks orders is a complete subversion of their normal behavior, and an important one. Last week I said that the Courtney and Duncan relationship was very problematic, but here it begins to redeem itself. The pair is shown to be very supportive of each other in this episode, and it seems genuine. Geoff and Bridgette meanwhile take a backseat and Gwen and Trent hit a bit of a snag. Usually leaving your crush buried alive is a bad idea, and trust me, she won’t forget it. Izzy and Owen don’t have anything specifically romantic here, but boy are they cute together. This episode is mostly focused on slapstick after those opening moments, but major props to Beth. In this season her character gets downplayed so much, but she’s grown so much since that cliff dive. I didn’t notice until just now, but she really is admirable in these first few episodes.
For my closing thoughts on this episode, how about that closing scene? Is Lindsey secretly evil? Clueless? Mean? I still don’t know what to make of her tone in this confessional. I’ve seen this episode so many times, but still I have no clue what was going on her head here. If anyone has a guess please, please let me know. We’re down to just sixteen contestants now, and the show just keeps chopping away at them. We’re really getting into the thick of things now, and I’m stoked to watch it with y’all. See you next week for “Up the Creek”.
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