Hello, Total Drama fans, this is Concernedalien11780. My history with the Total Drama franchise has been interesting, to say the least. I was initially not into it because I wasn't quite ready for Cartoon Network to air TV-PG-rated shows. However, after learning about how my younger cousins were interested in it (yes, younger, I was twelve and they were eight and seven, respectively, and could handle more things meant for older audiences than most kids their age could because of a lazy father and an overly lenient mother, which also had the consequence of the two of them growing up without learning the concept of personal responsibility, the older daughter of the two of them having an irrational hatred of her mother simply because her mother now tries to set boundaries and be a part of her life, and the younger son, who is perpetually lazy and doesn't trust anyone in his immediate family, but that's not what this blog is for, now is it?), I gave it another chance and it became my primary obsession for my sixth grade year of middle school, much to the chagrin of many of my friends, who only liked it in moderation. This caused me to misappropriate comments meant to defend the show from haters and use them in response to when my friends expressed a desire to talk about anything else, believing the immature idea that anything sounding even slightly negative is hate when it was just a reasonable desire to hear about something else. I also thought that League of Super Evil was a really bad show just because it often filled Total Drama Island's airtime, when I later learned that it was a bad show because it was an unfunny semi-ripoff of Invader Zim.
Regardless, I practically worshipped at the altar of Jennifer Pertsch and Tom McGillis at that age, probably because with the change of age from eleven to twelve, I actually started to want to watch something that advertised itself as slightly more mature than the average kids' cartoon, yet still was considered a kids' cartoon. Of course, as I have learned in the past seven years that have slowly taken away what little innocence I had left, infrequent use of "crap" and "suck", mild suggestive dialogue, and some anatomically correct slapstick isn't very edgy compared to all of the things I have learned about human behavior since then. Even though the show was rated TV-PG on Cartoon Network and had warnings before the show and after every commercial break stressing the TV-PG rating that was TV-PG-D roughly every other episode, they edited out the majority of the content that would have made it worthy of the TV-PG rating in the first place from the original Canadian airing. This was how I learned that, for reasons people know the textbook reasons for but probably will never be able to truly understand, different countries have different standards of what is appropriate for kids to see. The only scenes that remained uneditied in the American versions of episodes of Total Drama Island that were really impactful that I remember were Trent saying "hell" uncensored in "X-Treme Torture", Heather having her top ripped off in the same episode, Lindsay giving Heather the middle finger in the bike-racing episode (though the extended bleep was replaced with a various assortment of G-rated insults), and the still-pretty-explicit reference to eating bull testicles in "Brunch of Disgustingness", which could've made the show TV-14 if it were on another network. Eventually, Teletoon made the executive decision to go, if we're going to use TV Tropes terminology, lighter and softer with later seasons so that Cartoon Network wouldn't need to censor the show, which opened the door to Cartoon Network airing Adventure Time, Regular Show, and MAD, which all earned their TV-PG rating for various reasons, and made Cartoon Network rate the majority of their shows TV-PG even when they didn't really earn it, in the case of Teen Titans Go, Uncle Grandpa (unless they're talking about the implications of the title), Clarence, and Steven Universe, though they seem to be more reasonable now with giving Gumball and We Bare Bears TV-Y7 ratings, though they apply an FV to Gumball even though it's not really an action show. While I did genuinely like the show, I definitely bandwagoned more than I should've with liking Duncan, Gwen, and Cody simply because they were Internet fan favorites and not because I found a reason within myself to like them. The same went for hating Heather and Owen, though the Owen-hating was slightly more reasonable, considering how he was a Creator's Pet (more TV Tropes, sorry) that was constantly being forced down our throats in the show's marketing and through his inevitable first-season victory. I was led to believe an Internet rumor that Owen would win in the Canadian broadcast, Gwen would win in the American broadcast, Heather would win in the Japanese broadcast, Duncan would win in the German broadcast, Leshawna would win in the UK broadcast, and Izzy would win in the Austrailian broadcast, and got my hopes up to see Gwen beat Owen, triumphiantly get Trent back, and stick it to Heather. While the latter two things happened with both endings, Owen won worldwide, and I now realize that it would be really dumb of Teletoon and Fresh TV to create six different versions of the first season's final episodes and only dub them in one language for different ones. If I'm honest with myself now, I think my favorite characters in "Island" are Beth, Bridgette, Chef, DJ, Harold, Izzy, and Noah and Tyler in small doses. Now my least favorite characters are Courtney for pretty much everything about her, Duncan, who I would've liked more if he got more proper comuppeances after bullying Harold and had a few more redeeming qualities, Geoff for the same reason, Gwen after the decision to pair her up with Duncan, Katie and Sadie for their excessive squeeing, and Lindsay for never really learning from her mistakes. I can't hate Chris and Heather too much because they were meant to be the villains, and I definitely dislike someone more if the writers think they're making a character likable when they're doing the exact opposite, and Chris and Heather were always meant to be hated, and filled their antagonist roles well.
In the case of Total Drama Action, I played the game on Cartoon Network.com for the show called "Best Game Ever", which now I know really wasn't at all because I think you had to hack it in order to properly complete the hospital movie mission, they made the player character really dumb, and the concept of "alliances" was really dumb. If you make an "alliance" with a contestant, they send you to constantly prank the same person every week, whomever is their main in-canon rival for the season. After the prank is pulled off, you'll be revenge-trapped by whoever you pranked and fight spiders that are basically Eldritch Abominations in that you will always lose to them. When you wake up, the person you pranked says that you're even with them now, and your character says "I'm glad we can be friends again." Um, what? Clearly you don't want to be friends with them if you keep doing things that are essentially biological warfare to them once a week, and shouldn't the victim catch on a little easier and not fall for the pranks after probably two times? And if the person you were in an alliance with were actually smart, they'd target more people and do things a little more elaborate than just giving their enemies crusty underwear. I entered an alliance with Justin simply because of how my "Eenie-meanie-minie-mo" system at the time worked back then, and was repeatedly sent to harrass Gwen. Like, really? Justin had other enemies besides Gwen, and Gwen would probably know better than to fall for what was essentially the same prank nine times in a row. I broke the alliance with Justin after "The Princess Pride" aired and he was voted off, making a frenemy out of him. I don't remember if I created a new alliance with any of the contestants that were still on the show at the time, but it certainly didn't last long. However, the dumbest thing I did with it was play a game with my dad in which he played the roles of both Patrick Star and the Potter Puppet Pals incarnation of Snape taking jobs as interns on Total Drama Action, In addition to the situations presented in the game, I put the two of them in various highly sadistic situations, such as repeatedly almost dying at Cedar Point because I found humor in making an amusement park I liked yet had not been to dangerous for characters being played by my father. But what about this season of the show itself? Well, while the lighter and softer may not have been necessary, it didn't feel too unnatural, and it was probably the best way to keep it on Cartoon Network. The love triangle wasn't the best part, of course, and making Beth and Duncan's endings completely interchangeable makes it completely pointless to have either of them win, but the parodies of real movies were pretty clever, and it was good to see some lesser-used characters get at least a little character development.
For Total Drama World Tour, I don't have any bizarre personal stories connected to it, which makes me feel pretty proud. I think the addition of Alejandro and Sierra was helpful, though I think that Sierra should've been written as an antagonist, because that's what psycho-stalker-fans usually are in the real world. She did help Cody get some well-needed character development, even if it took psychological torture for it to happen. I would've liked to see Noah become a villain who uses underhanded methods against everyone, whether the people he's using them against are good or bad, and get farther than he really did through those methods. The Ezekiel-going-feral thing was out of left field, but it made for a funny Lord of the Rings reference, so I guess that's worth something. I still didn't like the whole interchangeable-ending thing they did with Heather and Alejandro.
I didn't see Revenge of the Island or any of the later seasons when they first aired thanks to going to a boarding school in 2011 that completely changed my life as it was up to that point (and that's only a little bit of a good thing). From 2013, when I left that school, to now, I've seen bits and pieces of Revenge, All-Stars, Pahkitew, and Ridonculous Race, and these are intermittently good and bad at different times. I've started watching Revenge of the Island on Netflix, and while the new cast is a good change of pace, the Mike-Zoe romance seemed too forced and by-the-numbers, with Zoe being a textbook Mary Sue and her romance with Mike feeling like it started before the season. Why not just have them be a couple at the season's outset and have them work through issues that way rather than testing our patience by creating unnecesssary build-up to something that has essentially already happened? And while Mike's multiple-personality-disorder is silly enough to not be too dumb, I'm not sure if he should be one half of the season's main romance. I'm not excluding him from romance altogether, but I don't think that Mike and his other personalities should've been as important to the series as they were, and that they work better as just a passing joke that maybe becomes the focus of one or two episodes. I understand that All-Stars was something of a misfire. Putting Courtney on the Hero Team and Gwen on the Villain Team seems wrong on every level, and going back to their conflict was pretty petty. If they're going to do this, I think they should've given a final resolution to Gwen and Trent's awkwardness, with them either getting back together or admitting to each other that they've both got their issues, can't go back, and resolve to just be close friends, but Trent wasn't even in this season. And do Duncan and Gwen really need to be a couple just because they're both sort-of-punk-rocker-sort-of-goth-sort-of-emo? I liked the original style of not-quite-opposites-attract-but-not-exactly-the-same-kinds-of-people pairings done earlier in the series. Pahkitew Island seemed to be a return to form for the show, and Ridonculous Race took that return to form even further... by completely changing the format. A less sadistic host, a parody of The Amazing Race rather than Survivor, and exploring more kinds of relationship, like strained parent-child relationships, really-strained stepbrother relationships, and other stereotypes explored and sometimes even subverted (though the Best Friend pairing seems like more treading of Mike-Zoe territory), and it uses just enough of the old cast to remind the audience that this is the same universe by just using Geoff and his new surfer dude friend (this season is still new to me, so I don't know everyone's names even with the ones I do know, sorry) as a team and turning Noah and Owen into a genuine old-fashioned comedic duo.
Just as Grand Theft Auto is England's most broad and surreal satire of American culture, the Total Drama franchise is Canada's most broad and surreal satire on American culture, at least that I know of. With plenty of characters being parodies of reality show personalities that make America look bad, situations that show just how evil the reality TV industry really can be at times, and a beating heart beneath its crass exterior, it's what you want when you want actual reality in your reality show, because writing an original story, even if it's an animated work of fiction, is still more real than making clearly bogus stories and calling them real. Maybe one of the franchise's future parodies will be a parody of The Bachelor? That might be a pretty good way to make romance a part of the story rather than just an add-on to give people the feels. No matter what direction the franchise takes, the show will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for reading this blog post, and I disabled comments because of not wanting to reignite flame wars I would probably be dragged into if I were to allow comments. If you want to talk with me about Total Drama or any related topics, please send me a direct message on my userpage at your leisure. See you next time on Total! Drama! Wiki Blog!