7: Everybody is Dumb
I mentioned previously that there were a lot of things in the season that made really no sense. And to go along with that was characters with brains that had no sense. I could really truly say this about all 14 contestants. The only contestants where this dumbness and gullibility makes sense is Scott, Sam, Lightning, and Lindsay. But then you have everyone else.
So, Jo. What was really the point of doing this random dumb moment to her if she was going to be eliminated early? If you don't realize, in this moment in Saving Private Leechball, the Vultures shoot their leech guns at the Hamsters. Jo uses her cannons, but accidentaly shoots Scott, blaming him for this, saying he got in the way. I realize that Jo is a very reckless person. It's clear that she values brawn over brain most of the time. But you cannot flanderize that and make it that Jo is too blind to see how to do actually smart things.
What was forgotten about Jo in this episode is the fact that ROTI already previously established that even though Jo is a very tough contestant, she can also be keen on the uses of strategy, leadership, and most importantly of all, concentration. Say what you will of Jo's harsh behavior. She played the ROTI game in a pretty clever way. She knew who to make as allies (Cameron, Lightning), and she knew who it was standing in her way of victory (Brick, Scott). Her only flaw with her strategies was that she underestimated the skills that others possessed. But what exactly does that flaw have to do with her needlessly gunning down a teammate? It's even worse when you consider that someone like Jo would be expected to have a decent way of operating weapons. Even though Jo was an ultimately more enjoyable character than most of those that surpassed her in the game, this short moment can make any fan of hers scratching their head in confusion.
News flash, Heather: You don't eliminate allies this early. As it's known about Heather's elimination, she is eliminated out of being out-betrayed by Alejandro. But seriously, let's actually look at why it is they even became allies at the beginning of this episode in the first place.
Cameron and Gwen already seem like they're not voting for each other, the same case being with Courtney and Scott. That only leaves Heather and Alejandro. And since they're, you know, supposed to be incredibly clever strategists, capable of performing horrible deeds to others, it would only seem logical that they'd stick with their alliance to help in votes, right? Nope. Instead, they both say that they're eliminating the other. WHAT?! WHY?! This just seemed like a dumb excuse to come up with a way for Heather to be eliminated. Although to be honest, that would be so easy. You could still have them as allies but with Heather being voted off by her four other teammates. Do you realize how simple that would be? Instead, we get this plot in the episode going in circles before being stuck in a corner for no good reason. Even ignoring that, why does Heather plan this? She's even the one who points out to Alejandro that they're both in trouble should their team ever lose again. Even if she wanted to eliminate Alejandro later in the competition, why didn't she keep him as an ally until then? She already planned the perfect time to eliminate him in TDWT, and she's eliminated allies at smarter times before like she did with Lindsay. This is inconsistent with Heather's character that we've known about for the last five seasons. I mean, there's a reason the phrase "KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE, AND YOUR ENEMIES CLOSER" IS USED!
There's already what I mentioned in Part 1 of this rant that Duncan was incredibly obsessive in Moon Madness. His flanderized naivety was very out of place and irritating in that episode, inconsistent with his character and dumbing him down by a fairly large margin.
But oh, no. They just weren't done with Duncan's dumbness yet. A common subplot throughout the season was that Duncan was slowly growing to be a more heroic person, much to his dismay, and no matter how hard he tries, he never stops coming off as heroic. And when his villainous behavior is no longer taken seriously by anyone, he abandons the challenge in You Regatta Be Kidding Me to destroy Chris' home. This is completely insane to be writing, as is Duncan in this scene. What happened to his brain? I know he does bad things, but he's a rational thinker about bad things he does. Him trying to stop Mal was also a dropped storyline in favor of the conclusiion to his niceness storyline. It's a shame because that was actually going in a good direction. What it should've ended in was Duncan actually giving in to becoming a good guy, but that made him vulnerable enough for Mal, resulting in a much better elimination. Or if you really wanted him disqualified, you could've had Mal do something bad and frame Duncan for it. It's better than BEING INCREDIBLY DETESTABLE!
Hey, Cameron, do you mind filling me in on when it was that you became a HORRIBLE PERSON? Let's try to remember Cameron's actual key interactions towards Mike/Mal up to this point in the season. In Moon Madness, Mal takes over Mike and impulsively trips Cameron and breaks his glasses. Zoey luckily witnesses this and tells Cameron about it. Cameron tells Mike, not Mal, about this. Mike swears that this never happened. And (and this is the most important thing of all), Mike flat out tells both Cameron and Zoey that he hasn't been able to control his personalities lately and needs help. Cameron believes him, and promises that he will help Mike with this problem. Unfortunately, Cameron himself still witnesses horrible deeds that Mal does.
Once he changes to a different team, we don't get much interaction again until You Regatta Be Kidding Me. In this episode, Cameron says to Zoey that they'll have another friendship finale. Mal as Mike asks if he could be a part of that. Cameron nods gleefully with an "Of course", although says in the confessional, "For now." Even though I didn't like that he was talking behind Mike's back, and betraying him after promising to help him, I realized it was something smart for Cameron to be thinking about when it came to Mike, and that it was right for him to be cautious. Keep the "smart" word in mind.
After this, in Zeek and Ye Shall Find when Cameron is under the impression that everyone's out to get him, Mike tells him that himself, Cameron, and Zoey are against everyone else and they need someone on their side. In the end, he gives Cameron the idea to kiss Courtney, swear that she kissed him, and then get Scott on their side. Cameron, like any person with a functioning brain, feels that he shouldn't do this heinous action. And then, we watch as Cameron impulsively makes two people's lives miserable by kissing Courtney. He says a "Sorry," before correcting himself and saying "Ew, why'd you kiss me?"
Are you actually joking me right now?! This made absolutely no sense, and I really don't think the show understood the implications caused by this. If you don't see a problem here allow me to explain.
- Cameron's most defining character trait is that he is intelligent. Therefore, it's completely incoherent that he would actually go along with Mal's plan. I don't care how much of a friend he is to Mike. Cameron's only moments where he does bad things to others has been revenge towards those that underwhelm him and use him for their own benefit, such as Jo or Lightning. He does not go around doing things impulsively.
- What did Courtney or Scott do to Cameron to deserve this trouble from him? Sure, Courtney had a minor conflict with him, saying he'd be eliminated soon, and called him four eyes, while Scott had a major conflict with him in ROTI, and pushed him into the water in Regatta. But Courtney didn't spend as much time on Cameron as Jo or Lightning, and Scott's conflict with him subdued in this season anyways, and he pushed Cameron into the water as revenge for a horrible act Cameron did. Plus, in this episode in particular, Courtney and Scott have non-existant interactions with Cameron up until this point.
- What was he doing blindly believing what Mal was telling him the right thing to do was? Even if he was "sorry" to Mike, there's no reason that he'd do something a friend told him to do. This was completely inconsistent with the fact that Cameron actually was beginning to not trust Mike, and for good reason.
- HOW COULD ANYONE HAVE CREATED THIS LAME, STUPID IDEA?!?!?
This just flied in the face of what people liked about Cameron in the first place. Cameron was dumbed down like many others, but his is especially painful, because he's known as one of the show's most intelligent characters. He never even took responsibility for this in the end afterwards, so what was the point?
And that's not all. There's still the issue later in the episode when Alejandro tries to save Cameron from injury but he doesn't trust him as he'll eliminate him. So let me get this straight, Cameron. You would rather suffer intense injuries, maybe possible death, over being eliminated from a game? And it's pretty clear what Alejandro's cryptic talk towards Cameron was hinting towards in the first place. Him being a "lone wolf" wasn't the only trait he shared with Lightning. He was also coincidentally as dumb and conniving as Lightning was in these scenes. Just get him out of this season already and put his now damaged brain out of its misery.
Oh, Alejandro. How the mighty have fallen. I've already discussed the complete ridiculousness of both him and Heather attempting to get rid of the other, but Alejandro also had a few other different stupid moments. For one, after Heather was eliminated, Alejandro was a pretty obvious target for elimination, only lasting a bit longer than he did because of Sierra's elimination, and Duncan and Cameron's disqualification. During that time, he didn't get a single ally, as if he was taking an elimination in stride or something. He doesn't even try to get allies, and it wouldn't have been too hard. All he needed was Scott, whom would be very easy to get on his side, and Gwen, who had already asked Alejandro if he wanted to work with her in Zeek and Ye Shall Find. Had he gotten actual allies, he would've lasted a little longer than he did. This is the guy who masterminded a ton of WT eliminations. What gives?
His elimination was one final failure in his character. When eliminated, he says that he is not the only villain, and that a greater evil is lurking, and also says that "The truth is in the art." From our perspective, we know that he's referring to Mal. From Zoey's, she does not. Now, in Total Drama canon, they normally do a certain thing with antagonists. A person, right before being eliminated, points out who people should be watching out for, but is interrupted by Chris getting rid of them quicker. Examples of this are Bridgette's elimination. In fact, had they done this with Alejandro, it would be clever irony since he would be expected to be the cause of an eliminated contestant almost blurting out who the secret antagonist is. With Alejandro, he goes on with this cryptic nonsense, and even worse, he had so much times to say "Watch out for Mal", or "Mike is evil", or something along those lines. With different wording from Alejandro, it would've made his elimination less of a really slow and painful thing to sit through.
Yes. I am aware that "Alejand-row-row-row" is a terrible and out of nowhere line. But Courtney's stupidity in Sundae Muddy Sundae is infuriating. She starts a confessional by saying the order that she wants people eliminated in, with Gwen at 3rd and Scott as the runner-up. Now that's bad and inconsistent enough that she would actually use her two best friends like this, but it's not even a good strategy move in the end. Courtney carelessly leaves her list in the confessional for Mal to pick up and show everyone inconveniently. The real Courtney would be way smarter than that. I can't really detail much more since Courtney is being saved for a future part, but in short, Courtney was smarter than this up until this confessional event.
Gwen is probably the most difficult character to talk about in AS when it came to her level of intelligence. Her brain power was so inconsistent that I don't know where to start. What can I even say? I suppose I'll have to make this brief. Gwen kept sucking up to Courtney no matter what, despite Courtney constantly being ignorant towards her. It was like a dog that keeps being loyal to a cruel owner; It's just hard to watch.
Along with this, Gwen was trying to teach teamwork to a team of villains. Just because she's founded "The Church of Teamwork" doesn't mean she has to preach it to everyone.
After the events of Suckers Punched, Courtney and Gwen's friendship was flanderized to no end. I can say this against Courtney too, but I suppose it's better to say it for Gwen. The reason behind this is that Gwen was constantly trying to make Courtney like her, and when she finally succeeded, it should've been something we were cheering at her for. Instead, her and Courtney's dialogue is just so horrible and had to listen to. This isn't the Gwen I remember. If Gwen is friends with someone, she's always been much more subtle about it. Why was she so fixated on Courtney the whole time? More to say about Gwen in the future.
I already discussed Mal previously, bringing up the missed opportunities with him. But that wasn't his only problems. When you compare him to antagonists like Heather, Alejandro, or Scott, there's one thing missing from the guy: planning. Mal's tactics throughout the competiion rely on complete chance. He does everything without planning in advance, which may occasionaly backfire on him, causing him to have to come up with something off the top of his head to prevent this. Take this conversation for example:
A blue harvest moon. How fortuitous.
What was that, Mike?
*clears throat* Uhh, just, you know, uh, sweet moon.
Overall, this makes Mal a pretty uninteresting villain. The only planning I remember him doing was sabotaging Cameron's opportunity in the competition, and him getting rid of Alejandro. Everything else done by Mal was pure adrenaline. There's plenty of other headings that he'll be going under in future parts, but for now, I can call him out on just how dumb and lame he was.
Oh my god, Zoey! She was the image I put under this heading and for good reason: She was quite frankly the dumbest contestant this season, not counting Lindsay or Lightning. But there's so many things with her, but it's worth going over, as she's the mascot of dumbness in this season.
- Mike is Zoey's girlfriend, right? You know what it is that she does when she finds out that he broke Cameron's glasses? She talks behind his back to Cameron about it. You know what a person in a healthy relationship would do? They would actually talk to the person, conversing and asking them why they'd do this. Zoey does not do this.
- Mike tells Cameron and Zoey personally that he hasn't been able to get a good control of his personalities. This is important because it factors into problems with Zoey later on in the season to do with Mal.
- When Mal catches up to Zoey in Moon Madness and she asks where he was, he lies that a bear chased him. She points out that the bear should be friendly with the moon, before he dumbly corrects himself. Zoey should be incredibly suspicious.
- In Suckers Punched, Duncan mentions to Zoey about Mike. He also flat out tells her who Mal is. This couldn't be more obvious. Zoey knows who Mal is. Duncan told her. There's no ambiguity to this.
- In Izzy's cameo in this episode, she also mentions Mal, meaning this is even more incredibly obvious. And yet, Zoey is still friendly with the guy.
- You Regatta Be Kidding Me messes all of this up. While Cameron is freaking out about Mal like he should be, Zoey, just an episode later, just doesn't care. 'Cause you know, just because two people FLAT OUT TOLD YOU doesn't mean you have to stop loving your "perfect, non-bad boyfriend." Bleh.
- When Zoey, Cameron, and Scott catch up to Mike in this episode, Zoey wonders who it is that they will run into. With complete inconsistency, Zoey is now suddenly cautious like she should be. But then it goes completely overboard. Cameron says that it could be easier to figure out if Zoey "was in some kind of danger." She agrees, and decides to risk injury by clinging to a rod near hungry paranhas, just so Mike can rescue her...Hey, Zoey...here's an idea...TALK TO HIM!
- In The Obsta-kill Course, Zoey watches Alejandro refer to Mike as "Mal." That's right. The name that Duncan and Izzy called him by is now being said by Alejandro, who never had direct interaction with Zoey. By now, she should be furious. She should not be acting like this at all. It was pretty obvious to her that Mal was lying that Alejandro called him "Pal."
- Zoey brings Mal to the Spa Hotel with her as he helped her win the challenge, even though, you know, THERE'S NO REASON FOR HER TO EVEN BE FRIENDLY!
- During Alejandro's elimination, he brings up how there is a greater evil lurking. Zoey doesn't know what he means by this. OH MY GOD, ZOEY! The clues are right in front of her. How can she not figure this out at all?
- Zoey is seen with a somewhat suspicious look towards Mal when he laughs after Chris brings up interns that are nearly dying from hunger, knowing that this isn't like him at all.
- After Courtney leaves her behind in the challenge, Zoey believes that Courtney was the greater evil Alejandro was talking about, which is stupid because he never interacted with Courtney in that episode.
- It took her 12 episodes to catch on to the whole Mal act in the end.
There was no reason for this. The sooner Zoey was eliminated, the easier this would've been to watch. She pretty much knew about Mal already so why was she still giving in to him? This was just an excuse to make it so that Mal was practically invulnerable from eliminations. But the evidence was right in front of Zoey's face. It's even worse because we all know who Mal is. So to have one of the most prominent characters blurt out line after line after line of stupidity, it quickly becomes tiresome after a while to sit through. This goes beyond the whole "bland" complaint people make about Zoey. At this point, she's just a really, really dumb person. And do you know what makes it really, really infuriating? It's the fact that the writing of the season implicates the idea that Zoey will figure out who Mal is much earlier than the Final 4. In fact, it seemed more like her elimination was being built up. But since the season was going downhill pretty quickly, Zoey's stupidity was just the icing on the cake.
Okay, Alejandro. I'll cut you some slack. This image is hilarious after you witness the complete dumbness of this couple.
That ends things for Part 4. Since this was only one problem that covered a long blog post, the next part will consist of three problems. I hope I've made up for lost time in not making these after so long. Join me in Part 5 where I look further into how ridiculously insane all of this is.