Welcome to Total Showdown Drama, a blog series that will run alongside Project 10. Each week I'll be taking a look at two characters/episodes/seasons/couples/etc. and compare the two of them. The way this works is that I present both sides for the two subjects at hand, both sides being in favor of one and being against the other and vice-versa. The rules are quite simple. The two subjects must be either quite similar in character or quite similar in their purposes within the Total Drama franchise. Alternatively, they may be compared for being close in popularity. Keep in mind this is all opinionated by meand if you think differently I'm not stopping you from voicing that in the comments at your own free will.
I will try my best to avoid my own bias in analysing these subjects. And in honor of this being Pahkitew Island month, the first topic we'll be taking a look at is quite a controversial one; Dave vs Sky.
BackgroundDave and Sky are quite an interesting set of characters to analyse through when coming to the culmination of which one you feel is better, due to the fact that the situations and negative development they both go through is quite evident however it's highly contrasting; Dave slowly becoming crazy and Sky turning out to have been crazy. They're also the first two-sided attraction to NOT end up a relationship, most likely due to both of their actions and values being too unhealthy for them to ever work as a couple.
The fairest way to start this is with the first person alphabetically and also because he was eliminated before her. This is the case for why Dave is better.
The Case for Dave
Now I know what you people who prefer Sky far more might be thinking. How could Dave be the better and more easy to be drawn to character when his mind is haywire and is objectively just all over the place? But in Dave's case I actually feel as though it betters him. For you see:
1. Dave is the superior character because he has more variety to him in what he offersRegardless of whether you enjoyed Dave in Pahkitew Island, between him and his opponent Sky, Dave is a much more versatile character in what he offers and overall adds more to Pahkitew Island, ignoring whether or not he succeeded at everything in his characterization.
Dave being a deadpan snarker of his crazy team is important, working as a prelude to the more over the top theme the season is going for, also working as an ironic foreshadowing to the events leading up to Dave ultimately becoming the most insane and irrational of the cast he negatively judged in this way. Likewise, Dave being crazy himself is important to the season, showing it as a mirror to Jashawn of how a two-sided attraction doesn't work through their problems well enough, and this is far more evident in Dave than it is in Sky, as her more heinous actions don't really come to fruition till the later episodes. This is why Dave ultimately adds more between the two, while also being a lot more adaptable than she is in the situations he gets into, either being a sane and mild-mannered yet judgemental individual or an absolutely insane one with no rational judgement of anything. Which brings me to my next point. Dave is the better character because
2. he is the much funnier and livelier characterThis sort of coincides with the first point but the variety Dave offers between being a deadpan point of view while tranversely becoming crazy himself means he is much more consistent in the comedy and jokes he gets whereas Sky gets virtually none. Because he's the member of Skave who ultimately loses their mind and rationality more, it's a given he offers more laughs in the entertainment value he gives. Whether you find him funny or not is purely subjective but it's very clear which one between him and Sky is at least supposed to be the most laugh-inducing one. In Sky's case, all she is is just a CPP/M reactor to Dave's many memorable outbursts. In some respects, his humor is quite self-aware of his circumstances, such as the ever so memorable "The guy gets the girl, the girl gets the money! ...That came out wrong" line or his insanity allowing him to play off with others, honorable mentions going to how Shawn and even Sugar are confused by Dave's odd behavior, the focus not only going to how his actions affect him, but also how they affect people whom he interacts with. Which brings me to my next point for why Dave's superior. Dave is the better character because
3. he is far more fleshed out and paced better than Sky isLots out there may complain that Dave went a little too crazy and was 'out of character' but I'd argue he was perfectly paced in the step-by-step way he lost his mind after inducing the trauma of not only Sky's mixed messages but the Pahkitew Island cast in general. He went from the sanest person to the most insane within one season, which on paper is already so much more than I can say for whatever minor things Sky developed with. This ties into what I said before about Dave's variety and how hilarious he is. They all culminate together to form a highly adaptable character and because he flips between sane and deranged it opens the door to him being entertaining in almost all of the situations he gets into, which reminds me of my final point. Dave is the superior character over Sky because
4. his actions that he causes are meant to be more empathetic and understandableFrom a narrative sense at least. Let's not deny it here. Dave is a pretty terrible human being. But from an objective standpoint at least, his thought process with these actions is laid out to the viewer quite commonly throughout Pahkitew Island, as is his eventual downfall into insanity, something I can appreciate. His motivations are much clearer than Sky. This is someone who's become too attached to their hormonal crush on a girl who calms him down over people much crazier than he is on the surface, only for this crush to get the better of him multiple times. It's quite powerful and debatably pretty realistic for them to do a storyline in which even having a simple crush can really take over and potentially ruin you for a little bit. All Sky's motivation is "she wants to win the finale" and "she's a team player" and "she can't let Dave distract her." Oh yeah... sooooo interesting, Sky. So although I acknowledge Dave's clingy actions and his denial of the simple word "No" are unapologetically deplorable, it does make for quite an explosive and well-written character Not much more else to say here. This case is closed.
Now onto the one who ended up lasting all the way to the end between the two and the saner yet more deceitful one. This is the case for Sky.
The Case for SkyYou people who much prefer Dave to Sky and feel sorry for him would probably be confused about how on earth this so-called "traitor" and "godplayer" and "bland" or "boring" contestant could be in anyway better than such an over-the-top and high strung character as Dave, especially seeing as how I used the opinion that Dave is more exciting to watch. But though on the surface this seems like a strengthening aspect of Dave, it's also quite a strength in Sky too. For you see...
1. Sky is the superior character because she's much more down-to-earth and easier to watch
Coincidentally enough, while Dave's biggest and strongest attribute is his variety and more over-the-top tendencies that increase over time, Sky is quite the opposite, her strongest attribute in my eyes being that she's a more straightforward character, not being nearly as complicated as Dave is. As Dave said himself; "Sky has a calming effect on me."I mean let's be honest here. When you watch most of Dave's scenes, irrelevant to whether you like or don't like him, I think we can all agree his storyline and the scenarios he gets himself up to can be pretty stress-inducing. Sky however doesn't suffer from this issue at all. I mean sure, she's definitely a flawed character who's flipped her lid at Dave and even Sugar a couple times in the episodes after he was eliminated but all in all, her reactions and character traits feel waaay more realistic and easy to gravitate towards than Dave is. That's not to say Dave is unrealistic, but the actions and personality he develops are so exaggerated and comical that it's much easier to take Sky seriously as a real human being, compared to him at least. Whether or not you condone her deceiting Dave in relation to her boyfriend Keith is another story but she just seems like the more real and run-of-the-mill character, a welcome change of pace in a cast full of nutcases. That said, she herself is still guilty of doing crazy things so it's clear there's some balance there with her and as a result is more fully-fledged and easier to keep track of than Dave is, leading me to my next point. Sky is the better character because
2. she doesn't use her relationship to be an important contestantThe whole point of Dave's character was for him to go too far with a crush he had and revolve around Sky because of this. But this is a huge drawback for him, as it limits what he accomplishes with his actual personality, almost needing Sky as a crutch to stand on. Although Sky needs Dave to make herself important on a couple occasions too, due to the fact that Dave leaves right when the teams merge, Sky gets a good three episodes apart from him, which is a fantastic accomplishment in a season that's a) 13 episodes long and b) full of 2-people interactions. The second point especially proves how strengthening this is for Sky.
Pahkitew Island is known for having interactions where the two characters practically REVOLVE around each other. But Sky is the one notable exception to this rule. In all the other two-person interactions, the two people left at either roughly close amount of times, or in Chris' case, the host of the show who can move onto other things. But after Dave leaves, Sky is a pretty great choice to have as a finalist at that stage. From her reluctant alliance with Sugar to her being the most down-to-earth in such an exaggerated cast, very apparent towards the end. Granted this is hindered a little bit by Dave returning to watch when Sky becomes a finalist but regardless she's still proven much better at showing independence in her character than Dave is. A given seeing as how he's meant to be the one more upset with her, leading me to that Sky is the better character
3. because her actions and circumstances have higher stakesDave may have gradually went totally berserk but despite this, most of the deep-rooted trauma he goes through is for mostly played for laughs. Sky on the other hand is a protagonist with complicated actions that have much more of a long-term effect. I don't condone her completely forgetting to have responsibility for not telling Dave about her relationship, but the fact of the matter is that the way she operates feels more genuine in the effect it has on the season. With Dave it kinda just lingers to him where the effects mostly only have an effect on him, at least before the finale anyways. With Sky on the other hand, she's...
- the cause of Dave's dramatic shift in personality
- the cause of a love triangle that prevented Ella from getting in a relationship with Dave
- deceited and manipulated Dave through her own irresponsibility
And that's only mentioning the Dave stuff. This isn't even mentioning how Sky's a catalyst for bringing out the more antagonistic streak in Sugar that was originally just being balanced with her role as a comic relief, Sky bringing this trait out in her. So ironically, even though Dave is the much bigger personality, it's Sky who's more common in overall season consequences, both for the better and for the worst. This only leaves me with one final point, a quite controversial one that could annoy Dave fans, even myself. Sky is the superior character
4. because she's more likeable
Apologies in advance. Now I know this one right here is totally opinionated but just hear me out here. I'm not referring to the fact that Sky was a manipulator and causer of Dave becoming traumatized beyond belief and losing all logic in who he is because that's totally unlikeable. That's not what's being taken into account.
The reason I say Sky is more likeable isn't because of her horrible actions overall, but more of a tie-in to my previous points. Sky is more likeable than Dave because she's noticeably more mellow than him and from a surface level at least, much more easier to grasp to and understand than he is. With Dave, it takes a lot of thinking in your head to really feel sorry.
I know this is a little contradictory to my last point on Dave that he's meant to be the more empathetic one but that's more of a "I feel sorry for him" point of view rather than a "I relate to this motivations and want him to succeed." The whole big thing of Sky having a boyfriend all along isn't really brought to the forefront until the finale. The worst thing she does up until that point is turn down Dave with verbal abuse. Which while yes is bad, she was still provoked nevertheless by him. And while I think Dave's motivations are much stronger than Sky from an empathetic point of view, her sports-like motives feel much more genuine than his crazy love sickness ever was, which explains why she lasted all the way to the end and he didn't. She generally just seems more interesting in a humane sense, her goals reonating more than Dave being written to not end up normal at all. And with that, this case is closed. Now onto the verdict.
There are two characters here with the same plot as each other, but vastly different in what they offer, which is what makes this choice so difficult for me. My brain is telling me to pick Sky but my heart is telling me to go with Dave.While I enjoy the idea and execution of Dave slowly losing his mind and all sense of humanity in himself, a big drawback is his story feels a little too self-contained to his interaction with Sky most of the time, at least up until Sugar gets involved in his ordeal. And while I stated that he's the more versatile of the two, Sky's overall purpose in the season feels far more genuine and meaningful, her core traits being what an aspiring olympian would be having, making her plight add up more than Dave's rather complicated portrayal.
But on the other hand, Sky feels much more blank compared to Dave, a given since she's the more grounded character in her overall role in the season. He feels more colorful in the way he slowly loses sanity and thus meshes well with the cast but in Sky's case, she kind of sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the cast. When you're in a cast full of big personalities like the Pahkitew cast, you better hope you have a big personality to offer yourself and Sky was just never intended to, which is why occasionaly she feels rather forgettable in the grand scheme of things, as her crazier side only comes into the forefront whenever she has to do something nasty to Dave.
If you noticed when I was doing this, I kind of avoided how responsible Dave and Sky both were for the overall destruction that came with them being an unnecessary couple. That said, both succeed at this quite well, even though I acknowledge both are pretty disgraceful and loathsome human beings I would always feel uncomfortable in trusting. That's why a choice like this first one in particular is so difficult.Dave is a terrible person but he's redeemed by being just as gimmicky and extravagant as the rest of the cast are in this regar, making his downfall in his normality easier to laugh about, even if it is a little cringey to sit through sometimes and borderline uncomfortable to watch.
Sky is a terrible person, but contrary to Dave being redeemed by his gimmick, she's redeemed by feeling more straightforward in what she offers as a somewhat normal girl who just really wants to win. She's not exactly "likeable" per-se but if you had to pick one to spend a day with, she'd be a pretty easy choice.
The verdict is very difficult. But if I had to choose between which of these two I like, I think I would have to go with.
Ugh. It paaaains me to not choose Dave, because it means I'm not picking "The guy gets the girl, the girl gets the money!" joke which is like, a Top 10 joke of the entire series. This is bearing in mind that in my personal rankings I do actually hold Dave to a higher degree. But this isn't about my own opinion, this is about who I believe is downright better And as much as I enjoyed Dave's insanity taking over his sense of better judgement, Sky is just the safer and more easier character to sit through than he is. This verdict is closed.'
But how about the rest of you? Did I make the right decision? Or was the more colorful and volatile choice the better one for me to go for? Keep in mind this will be a thing every Tuesday. I have more Showdowns along the way for now, but if you have suggestions I feel eligible enough to analyze I can happily go through them.