Total Drama Review Week 3: Dodgebrawl
By: Justin Cummings
Welcome back everyone to the Total Drama weekly review. Last week we talked about what I considered to be one of the most underrated episodes and this week we turn to one of the biggest fan favorites. Before we dive into “Dodgebrawl” though I want to give the disclosure that I’m watching the Canadian version of the show and I highly suggest you do too. How can one tell if they’re watching the Canadian version you may ask? Well if it has the word “crap” in it you got it. Cartoon Network censored the show and sometimes it was okay: for instance changing “you look like crap” to “you look like death.” Other times though they just get lazy with “how does it feel to suck so much?” becoming “how does it feel to so much?” Both of these changes are just from this week’s episode so again if you want to see what many consider the best version, watch the Canadian one. With that out of the way let’s dive into the episode.
What’s really cool here as far as the franchise goes is that we really see the direct flow of episodes. The end of last episode, Duncan and Gwen being exhausted from the challenge, ties directly into not just the episode but the main plot. The idea of an animated series requiring you to watch each episode to the point that recaps are needed every episode is a rare one, but in this case it feels needed. If you missed any previous episodes here you’d be screwed as you wouldn’t understand anything without the recap, and it’s only episode four.
So why is this a fan favorite episode? Well for starters this challenge is great. It’s simple, it’s fun, and takes no explanation; it is just dodgeball after all. Second of all this episode is just fun. With cultural references from Fight Club to Matrix, it just has a lighthearted vibe. Third, this episode revels in its characters.
The interactions we see between Duncan and Harold are some of their best but Courtney shines as well. Honestly this is the first episode where the Killer Bass seem like legitimate threats, and even Katie looks dominant here despite barely speaking. On the Gopher side we don’t get a lot of dialogue but it’s not needed here. We know that Cody likes Gwen, we know Heather’s evil, and what we needed to see mostly was snarky Noah which we got in spades. It wasn’t very relationship focused except Lindsey and Tyler but sometimes we just need a fun episode. Especially knowing that the next one is very plot heavy, this is a great breather.
The one other thing I wanted to talk about with this episode is the fact that there are some clear errors in the game itself. The count of who’s in the game only makes sense half the time and little inconsequential errors like these occur all the time. It’s in spite of these goofs that I personally love the show even though they may bother some.
At this point we’re getting into a groove with the show and I’d argue that by this point it’s truly separated itself from 6Teen, the other show from its studio at this time. Next up we have a very famous moment from the franchise, so I’ll see you all next week.