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CourtneyTDI

Welcome to Courtney Character Analysis, a blog dedicated to Courtney. I have always loved Courtney, but lately I've realized how truly amazing she is. Courtney is easily the most deep, complex, and intriguing character, and pretty much the most interesting masterpieces that Total Drama has ever produced. I am stunned whenever I see Courtney on the show, because her amazing character never ceases to amaze me. She seems different in every season; yet she's still the same Courtney. No character's personality has been more fleshed out or explored than Courtney. This blog details Courtney's journey throughout Total Drama, the trials she faces, the development she goes through, and by the end of it, I hope you too share the love that I bear for this inspirational character.

Total Drama Island

Not So Happy Campers - Part 1

Courtney's wild, complex and somewhat traumatizing journey has it's humble beginnings in Episode 1 of Total Drama. She is the twentieth contestant to arrive, only arriving before Justin and Izzy. Courtney greets the contestants in a very friendly manner; this suggests that she is not an inherently nasty person. She is the only contestant who is concerned for Izzy, and that shows how kind of a person Courtney is. But on the other hand, it shows a deeper meaning that many people may not see at first sight. Later episodes reveal Courtney to be extremely competitive and cutthroat; it's highly possible that Courtney is nice to everyone because she considers them a stepping stone on her path to greatness. You never know when someone could help you in life; would Courtney really want to take that risk? Courtney is a person who looks deeper into life; she takes a deeper perspective and knows what she wants. Furthermore, she knows how to get it too. And if someone can potentially help her on her path, then she's not going to alienate them. This is supported by Courtney greeting the others as the "other contestants", which shows that her head is already in the game. She knows what type of show she's in for, and she's not afraid to set the foundation of her reputation.

Not So Happy Campers - Part 2

Things take a darker turn for Courtney here when she damages her reputation with her team in this episode. It all begins with the first challenge in Total Drama history. To be fair, it's not entirely Courtney's fault – she faces a lot of bad luck in this episode. Anyway, the first challenge. Courtney has just been sorted onto the Killer Bass, and she refuses to jump. She describes it as a "medical condition", which prevents her from jumping off cliffs. Obviously, Courtney doesn't actually think she has that medical conditions. This is the first scene where we see strokes of Courtney's more snarky side; the side that she can't help letting out when she's about to face danger. And who can blame her? Having to complete such a daunting task is horrifying, and making snide remarks appears to be Courtney's coping mechanism. Sadly, she needs to find a new one as she still can't jump. However, Courtney shows that, unlike DJ or Beth, Courtney thinks these things through and won't just quit without reason. This automatically makes Courtney one of the smarter contestants in the game. She says it's a calculated risk, and that's why she's refusing. Had Owen not jumped, and he almost didn't by the way, Courtney's calculation would have been right, establishing herself as one of the top tier threats.

Courtney ends up being wrong, which makes her credibility fall. She feels the need to compensate for this, and she does this by reminding everyone that she is a Counselor-In-Training; which she's kinda infamous for by this point. I like how Courtney continuously stresses to the team that they are losing, when it is actually partly her fault that the team is in this state to begin with. Despite this, Courtney actually does put in the extra effort – and tries to reestablish her credibility with her C.I.T. comments – to help her team get back in the running. Unfortunately, luck is against Courtney in this episode, as she gets a bug bite. Courtney's consistent bad luck streak, starting with her calculation being wrong, to her lack of respect on her team, being humiliated by having to wear the chicken hat, and now the bug bite. Courtney continues to have the fates go against her, and that's not her plan. It's the complete opposite of what she wants. Any reputation she built up in Not So Happy Campers - Part 1 is wrecked by Courtney's mistakes and bad luck, and the bug bite just adds to this. Courtney assuming leadership of her team also shows her high-handed nature; something we haven't seen before. It's episode two and we already have so much information about Courtney.

Eventually, the time comes to vote someone off. Duncan suggests voting off Courtney; his reasons are legitimate. Courtney, whether intentionally or not, on the surface shows a tendency of assuming the weaknesses of her fellow teammates and her opponents (such as her "calculated risk" with the Screaming Gophers), and thus making her an ineffective leader. Courtney is actually shocked by this. She doesn't believe that anyone would actually want to vote her off. In Courtney's mind, she's already built up a reputation as a hard-working, self-made and independent girl to her fellow teammates. Her constant mentioning of her Counselor-In-Training status, her stepping up as leader when no one else did...in Courtney's head, that's all great, amazing stuff that she's done so far which no one else on the island has. Courtney at this point is grasping for straws; she points out her C.I.T. status again, as if she is trying to remind everyone of that one specific fact, so they won't vote her off. Then, Courtney tries to turn attention toward Tyler, saying they should vote him off, despite the jock not having done anything wrong – he was even the second person to complete the challenge. But the amount of disrespect for Courtney is shown in the elimination ceremony.

This elimination ceremony becomes a huge, major defining moment for Courtney and truly begins her journey on the show. Courtney has become a target for elimination, but you know who was a bigger target? Ezekiel. After suffering so much throughout the day, that night comes down to this: After all of Courtney's work, her effort, her determination to lead her team and win, her team tries to vote her off. To Courtney, this is a mindset-changing event. Has it truly come to this? Am I truly that bad? Do I deserve this? ...These are all thoughts that fly through Courtney's head as she tries to determine what happened that she could be voted off for. Courtney cannot acknowledge her mistakes at this point, and this is shown later. Another thing shown about Courtney in the elimination ceremony is her complete lack of respect from her team. Remember earlier, when she tried to vote off Tyler? Things turn against her when Tyler ends up being the second camper to receive a marshmallow – NO ONE voted for him, meaning not a single person listened to Courtney. Even Courtney didn't listen to herself! Courtney is, fortunately, saved from elimination. Courtney is then angry. She shows her antagonistic side for the first time. "I am gonna win this competition! And no one is gonna stop me!". Courtney has realized that the Ms. Nice Girl attitude isn't getting her anywhere, and she's done playing that role.

The Big Sleep

Despite Courtney's anger in the previous episode, while not as obvious as Eva's, Courtney calls out Eva on her behavior. This shows that Courtney cannot see her own faults – as far as she knows, everything she does is justified in her own way. This leads us to gain some insight into how Courtney has been brought up; was she raised to be this way? Competitive, confident and perfect? Does Courtney have a lot to live up to? Am I reading way too much into this one moment? Probably. But you can't argue that several Courtney moments do portray this in her. And it's not like Courtney makes empty insults, she actually does list off reasons why she's stating that. Courtney seems to be skilled at debating, as she has generally solid arguments when she can keep a cool head. However, sometimes it seems that situations become too tense for her to handle, as seen in the previous episode with her interactions with Tyler. Courtney doesn't do much else in this episode. During the Awake-a-Thon challenge, Courtney believes that if she keeps moving, she won't get tired. No one else really uses this strategy. Gwen and Trent talk, Duncan pranks people, so really everyone has different ways of tackling the challenge. Courtney uses this unique method, which ultimately fails, marking yet another time where Courtney can't succeed.

Dodgebrawl

As I mentioned in the previous episode's section, Courtney has had two losses in a row. First, she fails to jump off the cliff in Not So Happy Campers - Part 2, along with all the other hits she took. Then, her strategy in The Big Sleep fails, marking her second major loss. Two in a row. For a perfectionist like Courtney, this must be frustrating. When she entered the season, Courtney was organized. She had a plan for what to do. At first, Courtney is simply crabby about it. She's pissed off, and this is shown when she flings her oatmeal at Heather, and accidentally hits Gwen. In this fragile state, Courtney is easily provoked. Her agitated state is further shown when she gets mad at Harold, blaming him and his snoring for Duncan's sleepiness and bad mood. Courtney can't just let an event pass – she wants to justify it somehow, and she does that by playing the "blame game". This gives us a look into her inner psyche. Courtney, despite failing, berates Tyler. For some reason, it seems she likes to target Tyler. First, she targeted him for elimination, and now berating his dodgeball skills. I think Courtney has detected that Tyler is one of the weaker links on the Killer Bass, and she's going to exploit Tyler's incompetence to her advantage. Along with that, Tyler is also very eager to compete, making things easier for Courtney.

So, in the first half of the challenge, the Killer Bass are actually losing the challenge. This infuriates Courtney – ANOTHER loss? How could she let her record take this hit? Three in a row? You must also consider that Courtney is a complete perfectionist. She wants everything to go her way, and she's angry when it doesn't. Courtney looks around, and tries to find a way for her to succeed. Her pissed, hotheaded nature from earlier turns around and she cools down considerably. Rather than berating team members like Tyler and Harold, Courtney does the opposite and, like a good leader, she tries to find a stronger link of the Killer Bass: Duncan. Even so, Courtney pawns off the job of waking up Duncan to Harold. She doesn't really do stuff, she delegates jobs to others. This is actually brought up again in Total Drama All-Stars in Saving Private Leechball. Next, Courtney has yet another big defining character moment. Her confidence seems to have restored itself, and she threatens to eliminate Duncan. This threat of elimination is VERY different from the one she gave to Tyler – this time, Courtney has legitimate, solid reasons to eliminate Duncan. And he doesn't appear to be as popular as Tyler either. Courtney effectively turns her team's condition around, and even sticks with a "if ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude when she refuses to let Harold participate.

Not Quite Famous

Courtney's time in this episode starts off directly with her, once again, asserting leadership over her team. I love this continuation of Courtney's role on her team from Not So Happy Campers - Part 2 and Dodgebrawl. Courtney decides on her own what's best for her team – probably through her C.I.T. experience – and shuts down Katie and Sadie's dancing talent. Courtney does the same to Bridgette. Something interesting to note about Courtney as the talent judge is her treatment of Harold. Courtney seems to have somewhat warmed up to Harold after his excellent performance in Dodgebrawl's dodgeball challenge, yet here she is, not even wanting to watch his performance. This displays Courtney's stubborn nature, even when it comes to changing her opinion of people. Harold made a bad first impression on Courtney, and Courtney seems to take first impressions to heart. This is interesting to note because Courtney herself makes an excellent first impression on people. She's not a hypocrite. If she makes a good first impression, she expects her peers to do the same. And since Harold's start on the show can be considered very weird – breathing down Chris's neck, calling Leshawna "big and loud", that gave a bad impression and it seems Courtney takes these things to heart. Harold apparently needs to prove himself to Courtney, which shows how high her standards are.

Courtney barely likes any of the other campers' talents, but when it comes to her down, Courtney does not disappoint. Her violin playing is quite exceptional, and she knows it. The fact that Courtney has an interest in the violin also gives us insight into the type of interests that Courtney pursues. Along with her aforementioned Counselor-in-training experience, Courtney seems to practice mature hobbies. I think this shows Courtney's uptight and high-strung nature, along with her need to impress others with these type of practices. One group in particular that I believe she wants to impress are adults – the ones that will get her into a good university, the ones who will hire her for a high paying job, and in general the ones who will help her on her path to greatness. Courtney wants to show that she's above what a normal teenager is, how she's above them. And I can't say Courtney is wrong. She fights hard, and she makes an effort to be perceived as a hard worker. But besides all of this future planning, I actually do think Courtney is generally interested in these type of things. I like how they use this to display Courtney's maturity from the other contestants; they're all typical teenagers, interested in things like surfing, movies, video games, but then you have Courtney who holds all these special things to her.

With that entire tangent about Courtney's pursuit of the finer things in life, there's also something to be said about how much she gets attached to things. She shows herself to be a sentimental person in this respect, going as far as saying that Bridgette "killed" her violin. While normally a person would just say that someone "broke" or "destroyed" their violin, Courtney feels some sort of attachment to her violin. Could it be because she feels like she's invested so much into her violin? She feels like a part of her is in that violin, that it is actually a part of her life, which in a way it is. Not to mention that Courtney seemed pretty excited to perform for everyone, she knows she's talented, and now all that is ruined for her. Courtney's moral compass is further set in stone in a later moment when she criticizes Heather's actions of reading Gwen's diary to a national audience. Even Courtney, a girl who has threatened to vote off someone for sleeping and berated numerous of her peers, still has enough morality to know the limit. Lastly, Courtney's acceptance of Harold is shown when he wins the challenge for the team, again. Courtney, at first, doesn't even think anything of Harold, but now her opinion of him has finally changed. This entire moment and interaction, spanning these five episodes, shows how much effort it takes for Courtney to approve of someone.

The Sucky Outdoors

After taking a break from it in the previous episode, Courtney is back to interacting with bad-boy Duncan. You can tell she doesn't trust him when she snatches the map from him. Along with her distrust of the delinquent, this also shows Courtney's need to control everything. She even leads the Killer Bass to their campsite. Not only does she feel the need to maintain control, Courtney also likes to take charge and get things done herself. It's highly possible that Courtney has trust issues, like that one student in your school project group that insists on doing more work than everyone else, but at the same time acts like a complete control freak. That's Courtney. This also ties in to her label: The Type-A. Courtney is later victim to sexist comments from Duncan, who asks her what they're going to eat, expecting a woman like her to be in the kitchen, cooking food for her. He even refers to her as "woman". It's clear that Duncan is not a misogynist in this scene; he's teasing Courtney. However, Courtney shows herself to be a very no-nonsense person. This is a competition, and she's here to win, not to make friends, joke around and have a fun time. She gives Duncan a serious response, saying "I hope you don't expect me to dignify that with a response." This comedic moment has underlying subtext that shows us Courtney's serious nature, along with her distaste for misogynistic comments, whether they're a joke or not.

Later, Duncan tells everyone a scary story. At first, Courtney doesn't take Duncan seriously. She doubts that Duncan's story can be scary at all, in fact, prompting Duncan to tell them. In the end, he scares everyone with a hook hand, which the killer in the story also has. Duncan begins to cackle upon seeing everyone's scared reactions. Courtney chews him out for this, saying that his practical joke wasn't funny, but Duncan continues to mess with Courtney. Then, Courtney gets particularly close to Duncan just because she heard an owl. She, along with the rest of her team, gets so scared by Duncan's story that she can't sleep. An interesting thing to note about Courtney in this situation is that she's the only one who denies being scared by Duncan's story. This is a good representation of how Courtney tries to be Miss Perfect; she tries to portray and carry herself as a flawless champion when in truth, her shortcoming hinder her frequently and greatly, and she's just as flawed as everyone else. Courtney still believes she's better than everyone else though, especially Duncan. This is interesting because not only is Courtney scared by Duncan's story, but she's also scared of an owl, and her first reaction is to...get close to Duncan? This is a good way of showing how Courtney, deep down, really does want someone to depend on but can't seem to trust anyone.

Courtney is easily the angriest camper there when Bridgette accidentally burns down the tent. Along with being a perfectionist perfect, Courtney expects everyone else to be perfect as well. She doesn't tolerate mistakes, and the bigger the goof-up, the more flack they get from Courtney. This says a lot about the type of teammate Courtney is. She'll put in her all, but even if she makes a mistake, you better not. This adds even more depth to Courtney; does she know that she's not perfect? Or does she choose to ignore it in favor of, somehow, making herself appear perfect? Her rage is further built up by Duncan, who says that it's "cool". The issue with this is that Duncan says it at the worst possible time, further fueling Courtney's rage. Due to Duncan's bad timing, Courtney shifts her anger from Bridgette to Duncan. You can see Courtney's patience with Duncan gradually wearing thin; I like this gradual progression here. It's very realistic, and very relatable as well. In fact, the same can be said about anything involving Courtney. Irony hits Courtney hard when she says things cannot possibly get worse; and then they do when it starts raining. Out of all the Killer Bass, I feel like the worst luck always goes to Courtney. Part of it is because she generally has bad luck, and part of it is because she has extremely high standards.

Courtney's interactions with Duncan don't end there; her rage continues to boil, and the thing about this is that it's not just Duncan agitating Courtney. Courtney herself wanders into these situations, albeit unwillingly, while actively pinning all the blame on Duncan, who's actually entertained by her behavior. Courtney wakes up the next morning to discover that she was cuddling with Duncan, and tries to deny that it ever happened. She even refers to the entire incident as "alleged cuddling with said neanderthal". Duncan has annoyed Courtney so much, yet Courtney's somewhat attracted to him. She's insecure about her feelings, and can't admit, even to herself, that she does like Duncan. Rather than coming to terms with these feelings, Courtney shuts them out and tries to forget that they even exist. Keep in mind that Courtney is still a teenager; all these romantic feelings are new to her, and she doesn't know how to deal with them. Before I get to the last Duncan moment, I'd like to point out how hell-bent Courtney is on winning; she even says that Katie and Sadie got eaten by wolves just so the team doesn't lose. Anyway, Courtney and Duncan finish off this episode. Courtney's hatred for Duncan reaches it's peak in this episode, to the point where she says she hates Duncan, right after continuing to deny that his story scared him. It makes you interested in their story, and want to know what happens next.

Phobia Factor

This episode is a major one for Courtney. Rather than focusing on her Counselor-in-Training experience, or her cutthroat/strategic side, or even her romantic side, this episode explores something that should be done with every character: the vulnerability. Due to this episode exploring the theme of fears, and fears are psychologically where a person is at their weakest, this proves a brilliant time to develop Courtney in this area. As I have said before, Courtney tries to avoid displaying her weaknesses to the others; she tries to carry herself as a flawless, winning champion. But this episode isn't merciful to Courtney at all in that respect. You can easily see this when Courtney sets her eyes on the green jelly; she's terrified. She claims she simply doesn't "like" green jelly; yet her previous actions, coupled with the tone that Emilie-Claire Barlow uses confirms that this, indeed, is not the case. Speaking of Emilie-Claire Barlow, she is a brilliant voice actress. She voices Courtney so beautifully, so fluently, and adds a lot of depth to her character. I could listen to her all day. So Courtney has accidentally established that she's not afraid of anything, yet she still insists on keeping up this façade that she's fearless. She claims not to be afraid of anything, and pushes it so much that the others give up.

We get a callback to Duncan's scary story as well; Courtney's not just afraid of green jelly, but she has typical fears too. It's rare to see Courtney be so normal, when you think about it. Even so, it's still a surprise to see Courtney be afraid of, out of all things, green jelly. This adds an air of mystery into Courtney's past; what could have made it so that Courtney would have such an intense and irrational fear? It's never explained, or given any further background information on other than Courtney saying that it's like "warm, jiggly snot". I highly doubt someone as logical and calculating as Courtney would be afraid of something because it's "warm" and "snotty". I wish they had expanded further on this; sadly we don't get much. However, we can still use our imaginations. It had to be bad Courtney is afraid of something as innocent as green jelly. You can compare it to Tyler's fear of chickens, or Duncan's fear too. We see Courtney's bossy, leadership side make a return when the time comes for DJ to conquer his fear. It's no secret that Courtney frequently tries to assert leadership over her team, and this case is no different. Courtney seems to be fed up with DJ's pathetic fear of a teeny tiny little snake. Courtney, for once, has a small victory when DJ actually succeeds, scoring the Bass their first point.

Along with that, we also see Courtney's victorious and proud side. Rather than bragging about how she succeeded, Courtney explains why she was right – "fear is only in the mind", she says. This later proves to be a rather important statement since it actively makes her out to be a hypocrite when she cannot conquer her own fear. Courtney takes a rather different approach with Duncan; she gently encourages him. She describes Celine Dion as "pretty" and "nice"; and it's just a cardboard cutout of her! This brings to question why Courtney would be so gentle with Duncan's pathetic, lame fear and so abrasive with DJ's legitimate one. While it's not that noticeable, we see traces of Courtney's relations with her fellow campers come into play in these scenes. She expects DJ to fulfill the role that his size gives him – a tough guy. She obviously doesn't know DJ that well. With Duncan, she's sweet and caring. This is great continuity from the previous episode, where Courtney actively tries to deny her feelings for Duncan. An important moment for these two is when Courtney and Duncan embrace. This one moment has a lot of depth in it for these two; Courtney finally has physical contact with Duncan, and you can see the chemistry in between them. It's a very natural and realistic development in their relationship. Things take another unexpected turn when it comes time for Courtney to "encourage" Tyler.

She doesn't take the logical yet angry route she takes with DJ, or the sweet and loving route as she does with Duncan. No, Courtney is a straight up monster to Tyler. This shows that, unlike her interactions with Harold, her relationship with Tyler has not improved at all, and it doesn't seem like it's going to soon. Especially with the way it's headed now. Courtney realizes that she needs Tyler to win for the team, having no idea that she revealed her fear by accident. At this point, Courtney has absolutely no chill, especially with Tyler, who has messed up quite a bit in the past. Courtney has zero respect for him and it shows, even until this very moment. Now, consider the three scenes I just listed. Courtney with DJ, Duncan and Tyler respectively. Courtney acted abrasively with two of the three campers she dealt with. Now, it's time for Courtney's turn. She has to conquer her own fear; green jelly. The challenge Courtney receives is horrific as well; she has to dive from very high into a pool of green jelly. The aforementioned "vulnerability" returns into play here when Courtney just seems to be sunk. She loses her confidence, and what's worse is that she pushed the others so hard to succeed, forcing them to do so, and then she's unable to do it herself. Courtney seems to be absolutely wrecked inside; her confessional stating "Show some confidence, Courtney!", followed by her tearing up is a prime example of Courtney's weakness.

The elimination is yet another defining moment for Courtney. She ends up in the bottom two again, this time with another contestant she has no respect for (which is extremely similar to her position in Not So Happy Campers - Part 2). Tyler is voted off, and he's notably upset. Everyone begins to mock him for his uncommon fear; even Bridgette, who is normally one of the kindest campers. Courtney appears to resonate with Tyler; she understands what he is going through. She just had her confidence destroyed today, and now the same is happening to Tyler, who wanted nothing but to succeed and impress his team. Courtney stands up for Tyler, telling everyone that they need to stop their mockery. This is the first moment where Courtney truly recognizes and ACKNOWLEDGES that she makes mistakes as well. It may have been only one line, but it's an important and character-defining one. This boy, who Courtney has had absolutely no respect for, is finally appreciated by Courtney. Through the trials that Courtney went through in this episode, she recognizes how Tyler feels. She relates to him, and everything he goes through. She feels bad for him, and after harassing him for the whole season, Courtney, of all the campers, has come to Tyler's rescue and is standing up for him. She had no reason to do that – she could have stayed quiet. Tyler was eliminated, it's not like the mockery would continue much longer anyway. But the fact that Courtney did stand up for Tyler is so major. It takes guts to go against the majority like that, and I for one am proud of Courtney for this change.

Up the Creek

This episode isn't that special when it comes to Courtney. After being a major character for three episodes in a row, I'm not surprised that they wanted to rest and give other characters a chance. One of these characters includes Bridgette. Bridgette's important friendship with Courtney is established here, along with the episode comparing the two girls. Bridgette is the type of girl everyone knows; the sweet, caring surfer girl who everyone likes. This is a drastic change from the type of person Courtney is; stuck-up, overbearing, and hard to please. Bridgette is one of the few contestants who haven't gotten on Courtney's bad side, and one of the few that Courtney hasn't pushed away in some manner. And Bridgette's not just trying to be nice either – she actually believes that she can confide in Courtney about whatever is going on in her life, in this case her drama with Geoff. This shows Courtney's friendlier side. As of now, we've mostly seen what a terrible person Courtney can be, but this shows how great of a friend she can be as well. Courtney patiently listens, and reacts exactly the way Bridgette wants her to react. In between that, there are some moments where Courtney's lack of credibility is shown; she says left, the team goes right. Although, we do see Courtney's improved leadership skills when she orders her team to collect more firewood. Anyway, another comparison between the two girls is seen when Bridgette decides to mend Geoff's gift, and Courtney is disgusted, wondering why Bridgette would do so.

Paintball Deer Hunter

This episode, similar to The Sucky Outdoors, focuses primarily on Courtney's interactions with Duncan again. Continuing from the previous episode, this one too gives Courtney less focus, which is a shame. The first time Courtney is relevant in this episode is when we see her disapproving of Duncan goofing off in the challenge and painting a skull on a tree in the forest. This, once again, shows the huge contrasts between the two; we have reckless, laid-back Duncan, and uptight by-the-book no-nonsense Courtney. Things take an awkward turn when the two get their antlers locked together. Duncan's confessional confirms the aforementioned contrasts between them, as well as further solidifying it. He states that Courtney would probably bust him and herself to Chris if they took off their antlers, and if what he's saying is true, then that shows Courtney's willingness to play by the rules and be honest. However, while Courtney would disapprove of that, she may not tell Chris. Even so, the fact that Duncan simply says that shows that Courtney has made a huge impression on her team; everyone knows her pretty well, even the ones who don't care about most of their teammates, like Duncan. That's not a surprise with how she has been trying to take charge of her team, being a stickler for the rules, and in general a very uptight girl.

Recall the events of the previous episodes – Courtney clearly displays attraction to Duncan. However, she still refuses to admit it. It's clear that Courtney struggles in common social situations, including romantic ones. Another example of her social struggle is how she deals with teammates; especially the likes of Tyler or Heather. Courtney and Duncan's antlers get locked together, leaving both in awkward positions. Duncan's first reaction is to suggest that he and Courtney make out; this is yet another contrast. While Courtney refuses to admit that she is attracted to Duncan, Duncan is very forward about his attraction, flirting with Courtney, teasing her and now even asking her to make out without even being in a relationship with her. Alternatively, if Duncan was joking, then it shows how he doesn't take Courtney as seriously as she takes herself. The interesting thing is that Courtney doesn't even show any sort of a strong reaction; she just stares at him blankly. Courtney obviously doesn't know how a relationship with anyone progresses, this is all new to her. This could suggest that Courtney hasn't had a deep friendship before, that she's spent most of her life trying to be Miss Perfect, and as a result, she's lonely.

We get another Courtney moment towards the end of the episode. Here, Courtney and Duncan still seem to be stuck together. The Killer Bass have already won, and Harold asks where the two are. So, that means that Courtney and Duncan are late to return. On top of that, as soon as they arrive, Gwen says that the show those two put on is "too much"; and who can argue with her? That was quality entertainment. But on top of that, Owen calls Duncan a "sly dog", which prompts Duncan to respond to Owen's remarks with "The girl can't keep her antlers off of me". Now, consider Duncan's earlier actions. He argues with Courtney over which direction camp is in. He gets locked to her, and continues to fight with her. Then, he suggests that the two "make out", which to Courtney is some new level of relationship that confuses her. She has to spend the entire length of the challenge stuck to this boy, in a very awkward position I might add, who annoys and teases her with sexist and generally bothersome comments on a regular basis (remember "Woman" in The Sucky Outdoors? Not to mention the "Princess" nickname). So then, Courtney kicks Duncan in the groin. For the previously mentioned reasons, which can be summarized as Courtney's pent up frustration with Duncan, it really shows how feisty Courtney can truly be.

If You Can't Take The Heat...

If You Can't Take The Heat... gives us yet another Courtney episode where her main interaction source is with Duncan. Not that I'm complaining. The thing about these interactions is that Duncan seems to bring out many emotions in Courtney. So far, we've seen Duncan turn Courtney into a strategic monster, an even more uptight version of herself, an emotionally unstable wreck, and a little package of anger. She finds out she's going to be paired with him for the challenge, and what's the first thing she does? She goes into the confessional and rants about him. I slowed it down, and wrote down the full confessional: "He's totally unmotivated. And he never washes his hands! He's so obnoxious. He's completely delusional. Owning sunglasses doesn't automatically make you cool. If you're gonna wear sunglasses, at least get the stylish ones, he's such a poser! People like that are so annoying! I mean, honestly! Who does that? And don't even get me started on his hair!" ...Wow. Clearly, she has a lot to say about Duncan. It's worth noting about quickly she opposed to having Duncan as a partner; even though she likes him, and she knows she likes him, she still knows he's trouble and doesn't want to risk working with him. This is an important moment for Courtney because it shows that, unlike many girls in this show such as Zoey, she doesn't let her game get thrown off because of a guy.

In fact, at this point, if it came down to it then Courtney would definitely be willing to vote off Duncan if it meant saving herself. This shows how focused she is on the competition; not only does she claim that she's determined, she backs it up, too. Also, she seems to have some VERY long complaints about Duncan, but did you notice that none of them are really "insults"? Most of her argument is about sunglasses (which we never even see Duncan wear lol) and filler phrases to make it seem longer, like "I mean honestly! Who does that?" Anything else was about his physical appearance or actions; "He never washes his hands!"/"And don't even get me started on his hair!" – and then she calls him obnoxious. We know Courtney is probably one of the only contestants that can see through Duncan's bad boy act, but she is probably not sure of it herself after the way Duncan's treated her – womanizing jokes, scaring her repeatedly, and even proposing that they make out come to mind. Still, Courtney seems to have cooled down since the last challenge. At least she hasn't resorted to groin kicking this time around. Either way, this one confessional says a lot about Courtney's personality and her feelings towards Duncan. Oh, one more thing: notice how Courtney doesn't point out Duncan's "bad boy" traits – she's totally into that part of his personality, and she's not even good at hiding it.

Next, we see Courtney berating Duncan's cooking skills, telling him not to let his big paws mash the pastry, followed by Duncan telling Courtney not to let her uptight butt curdle the custard. Courtney has a sarcastic laugh in response to this; the exchange that these two have is almost banter-level, rather than the hateful way they have spoken to each other before. They are slowly growing closer and closer, and they don't even realize it. It's a very natural growth, and we can even see Courtney beginning to accept it, even if she doesn't know it yet. This may be a contributing factor to her emotional instability regarding Duncan. Courtney likes to be in control of everything – she's made that quite clear. You could even call her a control freak, because she kind of is one. She's a perfectionist. The fact that she can't even control her emotions probably frustrates her greatly, but she can't help it, she really does like Duncan. Speaking of Courtney's perfectionist side, this shows again in her next scene. Not only does she show strokes of a perfectionist, it also seems as if Courtney is a bit OCD (Obsessive-compulsive Disorder). This would actually explain a lot of Courtney's behavior throughout what we've seen so far, really. Her need to dominate her team, her need for perfection in all she does. This scene does a great job of characterizing Courtney.

Not only does the scene characterize, but it also develops her incredibly. Courtney complains about Duncan being a slob, yet she doesn't take over. One can infer that this is a subconscious move; she's not taking over because a part of her seems to trust Duncan, and has faith in him to perform well. This is supported by Courtney watching Duncan thrive in his performance in Phobia Factor. The only difference between this one and that one is that previously, Courtney heavily supported Duncan through a much more difficult challenge, while here she seems to be degrading his skills. Duncan tells Courtney that she would be more fun without a "pole up her butt", and Courtney has a VERY interesting and actually shocking response: she says she's one of the most easy-going people she knows. ...What? It actually bewilders me that Courtney thinks she's an easy-going person. But really, if you think about it, Courtney's very definition of easy-going is messed up. Easy-going is someone like Duncan: relaxed, laid-back and not really worried about life. To Courtney, this is the mark of a failure. Someone who will never succeed, unlike her. But just imagine...if Courtney thinks SHE'S easy going, what kind of people does she surround herself with? Are her parents even more uptight than she is? One can gain some insight into Courtney's life here; it seems to be very hard, and she's held to an extremely high standard, which she may not even be able to reach.

We receive an absolute gem of a moment right after this exchange, where Duncan mocks Courtney about her previous statement, and squirts custard on her face, receiving a glare in return. The normally reserved and proper Courtney sets aside her average nature for a moment, and flings an entire bowl of custard at Duncan, both as revenge and probably to one-up his performance as well; we all know Courtney loves to be the best, like no one ever was. After she does this, she immediately calms down after getting so defensive about Duncan's comments about her nature. She even giggles upon seeing Duncan, unamused, with a bowl of custard dripping down his face. This is a very endearing moment to watch; it's one of the few moments where we see Courtney actually be happy, which is a good change of pace from her usual moments where she's either emotionally conflicted or a straight monster to her teammates. And by this point, the confessional she has just makes it completely obvious that she likes Duncan. She makes exactly six poorly stated phrases to solidify the idea that she and Duncan are indeed not a thing, and it's actually funny how pathetic her attempts at hiding her feelings are.

Finally, it's time for Duncan and Courtney to present their dish. The atmosphere (the tension of the challenge itself) along with the music playing provides a very intimate moment for these two; it's especially intimate when Duncan places his hand on Courtney's shoulder. Now, Duncan has gotten close to Courtney before. But on other occasions, it's been in a perverted, mocking kind of way that doesn't really show any respect for Courtney. This time...it's different. You can feel that their hearts are finally changing for each other, and Duncan's intentions are different. Rather than touching her to bother her or be perverted, he really does care about her, and placing his hand on her shoulder is his way of caring for her, being there for her, and showing her that he really does have feelings for her. Courtney senses that Duncan is genuine this time around; she looks at him warmly, and smiles. They look into each other's eyes, making this their first "moment". Courtney appears to feel safe in with Duncan; they score a 6 in the challenge, their lowest score yet, but Courtney seems to be just fine, only a bit (yet understandably) upset. The last Courtney moment we get is her strictly telling Duncan to put her down after he victoriously picks her up; she hasn't completely changed, and that's actually refreshing to see, in my opinion.

Who Can You Trust?

The beginning of this episode focuses heavily on the conflicts that the contestants have with one another; Heather and Gwen's conflict, for example. That's a classic "Mean Girl" rivalry. Then we have Courtney and Duncan, per the norm. We see Duncan stealing a mug from the mess hall, and Courtney catches him in the act. She appears to be quite observant – could it be because it's Duncan? It's quite possible that Courtney tends to keep a closer eye on Duncan than the others due to him being a troublemaker by nature. Along with that, their previous interactions also show that Courtney does care about Duncan more than she lets on. She's quite upset that Duncan stole a mug, and she seems to be in disbelief about it – "How could you just steal a mug?" Clearly, Courtney doesn't lead a rebellious life at all, and is a huge stickler for the rules. That's not surprising. This trait of hers is actually beautifully weaved into this interaction she has with Duncan, and flows well into the next portion of their conversation. Courtney doesn't leave Duncan alone either. Rather than just rolling her eyes and thinking, "Whatever, he's never going to change" like she did in The Big Sleep with Eva, Courtney takes a different approach with Duncan. She does have faith in him.

So she continues to follow him, reminding him that he could get kicked off. This is a very important moment in their interactions and Courtney's character as a whole because, for the first time, we receive both interpretations of what Courtney could have meant by that comment. The first interpretation is the obvious one that Duncan states: she's into him, and actually cares about him, not wanting him to leave. This is countered by Courtney's claim that the Killer Bass are already one player short, and she doesn't want to lose. While a claim like that would usually be dismissed as "Oh, she's just trying to hide the truth!", it's actually highly probable that this was Courtney's intention. Courtney is very focused on winning, and it's already been shown that she doesn't want a boy getting in her way. When Duncan insists that what he said is true, Courtney just gets frustrated and gives up. Courtney still has a low patience with Duncan, but have you noticed that it's gotten much better? She couldn't stand him before, but now here she is, trying to give him advice, reason with him, only to get frustrated and leave in the end anyway ("Ugh! Why do I even bother!"). Duncan knows how to push Courtney's buttons, and Courtney has definitely figured this out by now. But still...she's got a thing for bad boys. Love is love, right?

While Chris explains the challenge, and calls the Killer Bass out on their behavior, Duncan nudges Courtney, implying that Chris is referring to the two of them. Here Duncan goes again with pestering Courtney. Rather than glaring at him or complaining, Courtney just pushes him over. I actually like how Courtney chooses not to take crap from anyone. Even if she goes too far sometimes, it's justified because she is still young. She's learning, she's overcoming her mistakes. This point will be brought up later, but note how Courtney doesn't get violent in Total Drama All-Stars; this suggests that her maturity level does actually go up. Eventually, Courtney does compete in the challenge. She's paired up with Harold at first, showing the continuity for their previous conflict, which is now pretty much settled. Sadie ends up competing, and Courtney seems to somewhat doubt her ability to shoot the crabapple at Courtney's head properly. While this itself isn't too interesting of a moment, what happens soon afterward is. Sadie and Courtney begin the challenge, and Sadie starts shooting. Unlike what she says, Sadie is actually a terrible shot, and ends up hitting Courtney's body many, many, MANY times. Along with that, she also hits a bear and Sasquatchanakwa. Courtney passes out, but before she does, she moans "You're going down..." at Sadie.

Courtney wakes up in the infirmary, looking quite shaken up. She sees Duncan luring a rabbit somewhere with a carrot, which obviously gets Courtney's attention – Duncan's not the type of person to surround himself with cutesy animals unless he had a good reason to. Upon further investigation (which really shows Courtney as a pretty nosy person), she finds out that Duncan is luring that bunny over for DJ, and pretending that it's the DJ's actual pet. Courtney confronts Duncan for this, and as she talks to Duncan about it, it's a very endearing moment that you can't help but smile at. As Courtney talks to Duncan, she seems very happy to find out that he is a nice guy. This shows that her care for Duncan does indeed go beyond the game and management of her team; she wants Duncan to be a good person because she cares about him. In fact, Courtney seems to be more than happy – she appears to be proud of Duncan. Her emotions are genuine, and it's a very different contrast from how we usually see her interact with people. Especially Duncan. This ends their plot for that episode beautifully, and now Courtney knows so much more about Duncan. By the way, she ends the conversation by saying that Duncan's "secret" is safe with her – this isn't true, since she goes and tells the girls later. This suggests that Courtney wants the others to know Duncan is a good person, she wants them to see him in the same light that she does.

Then, we have the elimination ceremony. Before I begin, I'm just going to say that this elimination ceremony is a legendary and VERY strong CHARACTER-DEFINING moment for Courtney. This elimination ceremony completely changes the light in which she's portrayed – not just as a stuck-up and bossy member of her team, but as a fierce, competitive, cutthroat player who you do NOT want to cross, or you die. When Courtney competed in the challenge, Sadie beat her down hard, and Courtney promised to beat Sadie. Courtney doesn't do things half-way; she strategizes and gets rid of her enemies. She says that when she wants someone to go down, they go down. Courtney just needed four votes, and it's quite clear where she got them from: Duncan, Bridgette, DJ and Geoff. This is absolutely brilliant work on Courtney's part. As of now, "Duncan's group" hasn't been formed, so in a way, Courtney's the one who forms it, not Duncan. She shows herself to be more strategically inclined than we previously believed, blindsiding Sadie. Not to mention that Courtney is absolutely RUTHLESS. She makes Chris hurry up because she's just CONFIDENT that Sadie is gonna be out! She eats her marshmallow mockingly while looking at Sadie, glaring, and the hate is so clear that you can feel it. This is definitely a remarkable episode for Courtney that explores many parts of her personality.

Basic Straining

The first time we see Courtney in this episode is when she reacts in disgust to Harold's underwear on the floor, but her first notable moment is when the campers receive their food after the canoe holding challenge. Chef Hatchet forces the contestants to eat garbage, and we get the following line from Courtney: "I am going to be running for office one day, and no one going to pull out a file of me eating garbage!" This line develops Courtney quite well; it's already shown multiple times that the contestants are quite hungry. Even if they didn't show it, they've been working all day. The fact that Courtney wants to preserve her reputation despite this hunger says a lot about her determination. Not only that but consider the most important part of that statement – she wants to run for office one day. We can assume that Courtney wants to run for president, or at least be involved in politics on some level. This doesn't seem too outlandish for someone as Type-A as Courtney; one can easily see her trying to be a lawyer or an accomplished businesswoman. Another thing we can infer from this line is that Courtney wants to be an independent woman, and isn't content with being second best. She has to be at the top, or she might as well just be a failure of a person.

Courtney witnesses Duncan and Geoff bully Harold again, and this time she makes sure to call them out on it. She refers to them as immature, obviously. Courtney thinks very highly of herself, especially when it comes to her maturity. It's no wonder she uses it as an insult on Duncan. She doesn't even seem that surprised when he doesn't care, as if she's used to it. However, she does bring up that she can't believe she ever thought he was nice, which Duncan refutes and tries to get her to keep quiet about. Courtney really does have faith in Duncan, as shown again during the next challenge, in which Chef threatens to make Duncan run fifty laps. Courtney pulls him aside, saving Duncan from that punishment. Unfortunately, she can't be there for Duncan when he finally pushes Chef over the edge. Of course, Courtney worries about him for the rest of the night until dinner. Adding to this now predictable behavior from Courtney, she refuses to admit that she likes Duncan, when she clearly does. Even Geoff knows it. Courtney has trouble coming to terms with her emotions; to her, Duncan is still an immature bully who she wants nothing to do with and isn't her type. On the other hand, Duncan is this sweet, insecure, attractive boy who seems to have many different layers to him.

So she ends up going to visit him in the Boathouse anyway, bringing food along with her. Courtney and Duncan engage in some playful banter, such as Duncan greeting Courtney by calling her "princess", and Courtney telling Duncan that "even pigs deserve a meal". The progression of this conversation is very natural, and the flow of it shows that these two have serious chemistry, even if only Duncan is willing to admit it. The conversation leads to the subject of rule-breaking, which is obviously Duncan's favorite subject. Courtney brings up a significant point when she says that she's probably an uptight loser in Duncan's book. One can infer that Courtney, to an extent, wants Duncan's approval. Even though they are wildly different people, Courtney wants to be accepted by Duncan, she wants the flirting, the love, the attention, and she wants him. Eventually, Duncan convinces Courtney to break the rules, and Courtney agrees. An interesting development occurs during the process of Duncan convincing Courtney. It starts with him asking Courtney if she wants something better to eat, and Courtney says she would love it, but Chef will never give it to them. It seems that she's not even aware that rulebreaking is a thing, or at least, it doesn't come to her mind easy. This is an important insight into Courtney's "proper" mindset.

While Courtney and Duncan sneak around the camp into the crafts services area where Chris and Chef eat, you can see that Courtney is just as thrilled as Duncan, if not more, by committing this act which is against the rules. The thing is, this is expected of Courtney. She likes "forbidden boys"; as if she would let herself date someone like Duncan. Courtney loves the thrill and appeal of "forbidden". Forbidden actions are no exception. She just needs a little push to get her going, and with someone like Duncan – who knows how to push Courtney's buttons – she gets going well. Courtney adopts this rebellious attitude rather well, and very fast. Notice how she's the one who puts the fish "courtesy of the Killer Bass" in the fridge to replace the food. It's highly likely that Courtney didn't just do this for her own amusement, but she did it to appeal to Duncan as well. It was established earlier that she does seek Duncan's approval. She wants him to notice her, give her attention, to love her. Even if it wasn't a conscious effort, Courtney just may have done this in an attempt to appeal to Duncan, and it worked for sure ("Now you're learning!").

Courtney's new rebellious streak doesn't end there, either. An important development that flows into something even more important occurs when the campers have a party in one of the cabins. Courtney is indulging herself on ice cream sandwiches. Consider the ice cream sandwiches as a symbol of Courtney's rebellious actions. She can't get enough, and keeps wanting more. One of the more grounded campers and one of Courtney's closest friends, Bridgette, tries to get her to stop, yet Bridgette seems to enjoy this change in Courtney. She's definitely become a more enjoyable person, and this reflects in her popularity. Courtney ends up eating so many ice cream sandwiches that she gets sick, leading to an interaction with Duncan. Courtney directly gives us her train of thought while talking to Duncan; once she did something bad, it felt so good, that she wanted more. Duncan and Courtney engage in more teasing, but at this point, Courtney knows that there's no hiding the fact that she adores Duncan, and her "you're not my type" seems like nothing more than a joke. It doesn't help her case that Courtney steals a kiss from Duncan only seconds later. This is a monumental moment for Courtney since she has finally learned to come to terms with her emotions and knows what she wants now, she knows how she feels now.

Then, we have the final challenge. Courtney's streak of doing rulebreaking or otherwise undisciplined things continues in this episode, and we can see how greatly Duncan has impacted her. During the challenge, she laughs uncontrollably, and tells Chef Hatchet to "take a chill pill". Courtney is acting very different; even Chef Hatchet points it out, saying he expected more from her. Even if not everyone appreciates this change in Courtney's behavior, the important part is that Courtney is happy with herself now, possibly much more than she's ever been. That's what really matters. The elimination ceremony is yet another important moment for Courtney. She's had an amazing few days, filled with epiphanies and even a new boyfriend. Courtney has presumably become popular among her team as well. She doesn't think she could possibly get eliminated – why would she? She managed to cause an elimination. She's very confident in the fact that she won't get eliminated. This is evident in the way she acts throughout the elimination, and her confident expression. She knows Harold is going to get eliminated. This is when Courtney is at her highest – popular, a strategic mastermind, and she even got to kiss the man of her dreams. Of course, everything comes crashing down for her.

Courtney may have just felt the shock of her life when she finds out that she is eliminated, not Harold. For a person like Courtney, there's no telling what went through her mind at the time – did Duncan betray her? Are she and Bridgette not really friends? Someone who is as big a stickler for the rules would never, ever stop to consider that someone rigged the votes against her. Even if they did, why would they? Why would Harold do that? He and Courtney buried the hatchet, as I explored earlier. Courtney's first reaction in this situation is to lash out, specifically at Chris. She says that she doesn't concede, which is apparent by her rage. She even says that she will send her attorney after the show. Courtney seems to be taking hints that she was somehow cheated out of the competition, but she's not completely sure what happened. In her mind, she's a changed, popular girl who has gone through a lot of growth lately, which is true. She feels better when she finds out that Duncan – uncaring, lazy, good-for-nothing Duncan, went through the trouble of making her a gift. Courtney realizes the value of substance over surface, and adores the gift that Duncan made for her. She tells Duncan she'll never forget him, which finalizes their relationship's development perfectly. Courtney finishes her journey on Total Drama Island cheated, but with a new sense of purpose, a changed personality, and has realized what she truly wants to be.


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