8: 13 Extra Episodes Could've Made the Season Good
I made a blog earlier detailing the things which I actually liked about All-Stars in general. And with that said, it makes me realize that this season came SO, SO, close to actually being good. That's what the real pain to think about is. There's so much stuff that, if actually executed better, could've made for a great season. But with there only being 13 episodes, everything's so compacted and rushed. Sure, with 14 contestants and an elimination nearly all the time, 13 episodes seems like a good length on paper. But like ROTI and PI, if the season was way longer, much more could've been fleshed out. Say what you will about the many non-elimination episodes in TDA (which I don't even mind). At least those non-elimination episodes fleshed out the characters. In fact, if AS had many reward challenges, it would make more sense since, you know, this is the "Ultimate" Season.
There's no real need of me to go over the missed opportunities a third time. It speaks for it self that these would've factored into making the season good, but apart from those, here's some other things that should've been much more fleshed out:
If More Had Been Done with Sam
It only felt like yesterday. The AS cast was announced and people were predicting just how well every contestant would do in the competition, who the Final 2 would be, etc. People were baffled however when they noticed Sam being thought of as one of the best of the 2nd gen cast. It caused people to have two different viewpoints on how well he'd do in the competition.
There was those who complained that Sam was only brought into the season so that it would have a fodder character to go in the first few episodes, while there was others who thought that, at the very least, Sam would still be around when the teams merged.
And sadly, the former were true. Sam served barely any purpose whatsoever, which I thought was pretty unfortunate. Sure, he doesn't have that much of a fanbase and I'm mainly impartial towards him, but the Underdog label couldn't be more clearer. Remember how many people loved Harold ever since TDA? How he was an underdog nerd with funny quotes and many entertaining plotlines? Why couldn't Sam have been the Harold of TDAS? The signs were all there. I mean, let's actually think about who Sam was competing alongside. Lightning, Heather, Duncan, Alejandro, Courtney, Scott, and even Mal could've made for some amazing conflicts with Sam, each for obvious reasons. But nothing is ever expanded on with him.
TDA has a very mixed reception but Harold was probably the most popular male contestant of the seven to choose from. If Sam had a similar role to him, people would be saying the exact same thing about AS that they did about TDA. You Total Drama writers are CHEEKY MONKEYS. You made Sam fantastic in the episode he was eliminated in where he defeated Alejandro. I've never seen cheekier monkeys.
Ugh. Now I can finally talk about Gwen. I mean, I already mentioned how dumb she was in the previous part, but there's more to it than that.
I truly believe that if Gwen's character was worked in a better way, her character would regain her large fanbase again. Unfortunately, Gwen is now one of the most popularly inconsistent and confusing characters in the entire show. I really can't exactly pinpoint whether I liked or disliked Gwen in this season because it really made itself look like it didn't know what to actually do with Gwen.
Gwen was incredibly flanderized when it came to her interactions with Courtney. She tries to make amends with her and feels bad about her actions. Okay. Great. Whatever. But what's the point of exaggerating this to no end? SHE GAVE COURTNEY FLOWERS. I WISH I HAD FLOWERS.
By the time of Suckers Punched, I was nearly ready to just give up on Gwen. The writing of her line of forgiving Courtney followed by You Regatta Be Sh***ing Me made me vomit.
And it wasn't just that. Her treatment towards Duncan was just not understandable at all. Let's look at all the nice things Duncan does to Gwen in AS.
- He calms her down when she complains about being on the Villain's team.
- Says in the confessional that he only returned to the competition for Gwen.
- Cheers up Gwen's mood when she's irritated by Courtney's glaring by supportively glaring back.
- Asks Gwen to supportively kiss him before he jumps off a cliff.
- He is concerned for her when she falls close to the mouths of sharks.
- At breakfast, when he sees her sad, he seems to be curious about her mood.
- Attempts to flirt with her at the beginning of the challenge in Evil Dread.
- Congratulates her when she finds a puzzle piece.
- Makes himself a human shield when a leech is fired right at her.
- Kisses her a goodbye on the cheek before he moves to the Heroes.
- Says in the confessional about how he's missed her ever since moving to the other team.
- Concerned about her when she falls into a trap in the eating challenge.
- Saves her life by throwing bait to wild animals.
Was Duncan derailed horribly in Moon Madness? Of course he was, and it's the reason Gwen broke up with him. But she hardly took into account any of these genuinely nice things he's done for her. Sure, he was annoying her by suddenly asking about Courtney, but this is the exact same episode where he saves her life. For her to just declare "It's over" couldn't make me madder. Say what you will about the Gwent breakup. At least Gwen has a whole discussion with Trent, telling him why she broke up with him. She literally just childishly shoves Duncan away, not really caring about explaining anything.
To have her somewhat unfair treatment towards Duncan, along with her annoying love story with Courtney, Gwen was really declining. But there's true signs of what could've been a good character in this season, maybe even the season's MVP.
Yes. I know that Gwen constantly sucking up to Courtney was pretty annoying, but an interesting scene in Food Fright had one of my favorite scenes of the series. Gwen talking in the confessional about how she only came back to make things up with Courtney and now Courtney hates her, before breaking down and crying. This is a powerful scene and caught me very off-guard, showing Gwen in a likable position. Why wasn't more done with this? Sure. It was rewarding to see Gwen manage to make things up with Courtney and all, but when I see a scene like this and it gets overshadowed by worst scenes, I begin questioning what Gwen is even doing here. She needed to have more done with this storyline for definite.
And in general, why couldn't I see more of the Gwen I loved in TDI? Take this moment for instance:
"Did you kiss Alejandro?" "Okay. I'm outta here."
That's the Gwen I love. Unfortunately, all of the AS writers had different viewpoints on how to even write her.
Laurie Elliot: Marry me, Courtney!
Alex Ganetakos: Marry me, teamwork!
Terry McGurrin: I'm shouting!
Ed MacDonald: I hate all of you! Also, can any of you guess if I'm having a boy or girl?
Stick to some kind of Gwen. I don't like this lack of consistency in one of the show's most primary characters. Gwen was a puppet for cheeky monkeys.
HOW COULD YOU HAVE SCREWED UP SO EASILY?! Courtney was fantastic for me until her EOD (a.k.a. Episode of Derailment. Nearly every AS character has it). So much more could've actually been done for her. This could have been her season of redemption. This could've been her season where she's a protagonist. This could've been the season where she grows and develops more. And it's obvious to say as others have already said it, but this could've been the season where she's a finalist.
I'm saving Sundae Muddy Sundae for a different part, but let's discuss what more could've been done with Courtney. The framing of this season seemed to suggest that Courtney was intended to be a finalist when all was said and done. It also suggested that she was supposed to be someone we're to root for. She also had the most amount of plots going on, such as her interactions with Gwen, relationship with Scott, the Cameron kiss, her getting so much screentime, and more.
Courtney was this season's textbook example of flying too close to the sun. The season wanted to do so much with her but it overworked it self into removing a quarter of her fanbase. Even a Courtney fan like myself gets frustrated at this. Because it's like the show is trying to make me hate Courtney, and many Courtney fans such as myself are getting sick of this tease with her character that rushes it self.
Yeah yeah. I know that aboout 90% of the fanbase are not fans of this couple. I get that. There's plenty of valid reasons to not like Scourtney. The most primary complaint is thatt they rushed the shizz out of this. As I mentioned earlier, Courtney could've been so much better if they only paced thungs more with her. The same applies to this relationship.
Whether you like or hate Scourtney, it's fairly obvious to all of us that the season was TRYING to characterize this as one of the main couples of the season. There's certainly numerous problems with Scourtney, but there's clear evidence that the show was trying to make them a couple to root for. The most obvious example of this was No One Eggspects the Spanish Opposition. I mean, we got a whole new different side to Scott what with him accidentaly being close with someone, and it was probably the first time in a long time that Courtney shows affection towards someone. She even saves the guy's life. Moon Madness was a horrible episode, but Scourtney was okay in it I suppose, even if Courtney randomly started to say that she missed that "scuzzball."
But chop chop, guys. There's only 7 episodes left. There's no real way we can resolve this, so, uhh, let's just make them really funny or something. That means people won't be complaining because we're not actually taking this seriously, are we? Nah. Besides, kids love jokes, right? Yeah. Let's just make this relationship unrealistic, unrelatable, but so funny. People will find this funny, right? Lol, we're geniuses.
Courtney shown genuine compassion towards Scott beforehand. What was all this about her being grossed out by him in SMS? Where was the plot in all this. Were they funny sometimes? Sure. But if you want a relationship with funny moments that most people will still like, look at Izzy and Owen, Harold and Leshawna, or Bridgette and Geoff. They at least balance things. This season just seemed like it kind of gave up on Scourtney halfway through.
Had this been a 26 episode season, there could've been more balance, less things rushed, and overall a better relationship that wouldn't be forgotten by most of the fans. Once Gwentney came along, the season actually had trouble balancing which of these Courtney interactions it even could've focused on.
O MY GAD MAL. STOP COMING HERE UNINVITED I HATE YOU. I'm honestly sick of talking about Mal. He's been included as a problem in so many problems of this season, and this time is no different. I've discussed Mal being a missed opportunity, while I also discussed how he's one of the dumbest villains. This is the right time to discuss just how rushed Mal actually is.
Mal was first introduced in Evil Dread when Manitoba is hit in the head. From there, there's SO much that you can actually do with Mal. This goes beyond missed opportunities. Even in a 13 episode season, there was SO many times where Mal could've and should've actually have done something besides BREAKING INANIMATE OBJECTS.
I've always had this absolutely crazy idea that I'm sure probably no-one else has that Sam could've been to Mal like how Owen was to Alejandro. A one-sided conflict between an obese comic relief and a main antagonist of a season. It would've made a lot of sense for Sam as we got that between him and Scott in ROTI.
However, unlike the cunning ways of Alejandro, Mal is purely vindictive and agressive with all of his actions from what we know about him. From what we know of Sam, he's very loyal yet gullible, and looks for the best in people. Someone like Mal should not be relying on the two people who know virtually everything that they can about Mike like Cameron and Zoey. He'd need way more allies than that. Can you imagine how cool this forced alliance Mal puts on Sam would've been? I could already imagine Mal pulling off a SMART PLAN that would be interrupted by Sam's interference. I could also imagine Mal easily able to blackmail Sam and threaten him, as it would make sense with Sam's personality. Or we could've just got a basic interesting Alejandro and Owen interaction.
If the season had been longer, another person who I thought could've had a funny and interesting interaction with Mal would be Lightning. Maybe that Lightning stumbles upon who Mike really is and is the only one to warn this, and tries to stop Mal. Maybe that he warns his teammates, but they don't believe him because he's so dumb. Or we could get some funny moments of Lightning trying to rebel against Mal but getting distracted by himself and starts making love to his muscles.
Overall, Mal is not only a wasted opportunity of a villiain, but the length of the season causes him to be more secluded when it comes to his interactions with other characters.
That's it for this part. I really need to stop making one problem be the only thing in one part, but these problems are progressively getting longer, and for good reason. 3-5 parts left, folks. Pray for my sanity.