This story is rated PG-13.
There is some language or violence that may not be appropriate for people under thirteen years of age.

Four years after the resounding success(?) of Total Drama: Superstar Showdown, Chris McLean is out of work and none of the former contestants from the Toad-al Drama franchise want anything to do with him. Craving more drama, he decides to rent out an absurdly expensive lakeside club 45 minutes north of Revolution City, round up 16 new young adults from every corner of North America, and make them partake in yet another competition for $1,000,000. Between the grueling challenges, the strong personalities, and Chris being more burnt out than ever, Total Drama Lakeside is sure to be an eventful coda to the Toad-al Drama series. 



















Chapter 1 - Lake Meet Arrive

The evening skyline of an expansive, familiar-looking city resting beside a lake comes into view. As the camera zooms through the south side, the bustling downtown, and then the northern suburbs, the city eventually fades out and the tall urban setting is replaced with greenery, suburban mansions, European-style architecture, and beaches. It finally settles on a group of large, mostly residential buildings by the lake, surrounded by rows of houses, small shops, and the city plaza.

“We’re coming at you live, 20 miles north of Revolution City!” shouts a graying, mildly wrinkly Chris McLean, popping into view in a grassy field with the lake right behind it. “After an… extended and not-quite-voluntary hiatus, the drama has returned, and we’re about to follow 16 new hopefuls on one final chance to win a million-dollar prize! One of the thousands of colleges around here, don’t care which one, has rented a few buildings out for us to use this summer… including their country club! Yeah, this is gonna be awesome.”

Chef Hatchet walks up in a tightly-fitting Speedo and water wings. “I was born ready,” he grunts.

“These 16 contestants are currently taking the metro up from downtown Revolution City, and upon arrival they’ll be thrust immediately into the drama. Trust me, we’ve got a pretty intense cast this time around, and I don’t know if all of these guys passed the psych evaluation,” continues Chris.

“What psych evaluation?” asks a confused Chef.

“Yeah, uh, we’ll edit this intro later,” says Chris. “Anyway, they’ll be staying in dorms revamped entirely for Total Drama purposes, meaning they’re in peak physical condition, and competing in challenges around here, on the beach, and everywhere in between! Chef’s a certified bus driver, so if we’re feeling especially dramatic, we may even go into the city! I feel like we didn’t use that place to its full potential last time, so I’m tempted to make up for that.” He grins evilly. “After the usual routine, only one will remain to claim the million-dollar prize, and in this day and age, that’s gotta be looking extra pretty. When we come back, we’ll get our first taste of the contestants! Gear up for more action, more drama, and more gratuitous beach shots, right here on Total… Drama… Lakeside!”

[theme song]

After the theme song is over, Chris’s voice is heard over shots of the metro traveling through the city. “It looks like our first four are officially in transit! Let’s get to know them, shall we?”

A massive red-headed man with a fedora, a graphic tee depicting a cartoon pony, and a thick neckbeard stares out into space while chomping loudly on a bag of chips. Sitting right next to him, looking like he’d rather be anywhere else, is a tall, tan blonde boy with a prominent jaw and preppy clothing who’s listening to loud rap music.

“Yo, uh…” says the prep, taking off his headphones.

“No, you CANNOT have a chip! I spent over a dollar on these, and they will all be going into my mouth!” snarls the fedora-clad redhead.

The prep stares at him, wide-eyed. “No, I was just saying, bro, could you scoot like four inches to the left? You’re getting all up in my stuff.”

“Hmph,” he snorts. “Well, I suppose.” He begrudgingly moves to the side.

“Ugh!” shouts the neckbeard, named Boris, in the confessional. “I cannot believe that those filthy Chads are following me to the ends of the earth! All I wanted was to join this series, woo some fine damsels, and showcase to the world what a nice guy I truly am, but of course I have to be showed up by some Neanderthal within mere seconds. No worries, though, he will see… They will all see.”

“Man, I dunno what that guy’s problem is,” says the preppy boy, Christian, who’s next in the confessional. “I mean, I get it if he’s jealous of my glistening bronze tan, or my fluffy blonde locks, or my outfit which I got all by myself without dad’s cash. But the thing is, most people are. He’s just gotta tone it down a notch.”

Up further a few seats, a short blonde is seen giggling to herself, then taking various photos of herself and the landscape with her phone. Sitting in the seat across from her is a curly-haired brunette with a jean jacket, who’s listening to classical music and typing something up rapidly on her laptop.

The blonde pauses from her photo shoot. “I love your jacket!” she says across the aisle. “Where’d you get it? You’re really slaying that look.”

“Huh?” asks the other girl, in a surprisingly deep voice. “Hang on, sorry, trying to concentrate on this.” She resumes typing rapidly.

“Oh no, girl, I totally understand. I had to go through my sorority’s applicant list last semester, and it was like 20,000 pages long,” says the blonde.

“Whoa, my condolences,” says the brunette. “This is a grad school application. Third one of the afternoon.” She laughs uncomfortably.

“No way! I’d love to go to grad school!” responds the blonde. “I just think it’s so cool that you’re so passionate about academics.” The other girl says nothing. “Hey, want to be in this photo?” She nudges her way in and takes a selfie with the brunette, beaming wide.

“Can we retake that? Ohhhh boy, I look rough, I guess I’ve been sweating,” asks the brunette after a long pause.

“No, you look totally fine! I mean, skin’s a little moist, but this pic’ll be popping in an hour,” says the blonde.

The brunette smiles at her as her left eye slightly twitches, then goes back to her laptop.

“I guess I probably shouldn’t have signed up for this show with so much on my plate,” says Kelsey, the brunette. “But it’s time for a change. Last summer I interned in DC, the summer before that I was in China, and the summer before that I was at national debate team championships. This is gonna be a great decompressor, and if everyone else is as easy to deal with as that girl, it’ll be a breeze! I think!” She pauses. “I hope?”

“This is going to be awesome,” squeals Isabella, the blonde. “That girl reminds me of so many of my sisters, just total ride-or-die types. This place’s whole city-lake vibe is so exotic too! I’ve never seen anything like it. All I can compare it to is the pool in my backyard, and that has nowhere near the ‘gram potential.”

The metro pulls up to the station, where Chris McLean is now lying in wait. All four contestants exit the doors at varying speeds and walk down to Chris and Chef.

“And here come our first four contestants - Boris, Christian, Isabella, and Kelsey!” announces Chris.

“Hey man, hold this for a sec,” says Christian, walking up with a giant suitcase and throwing it directly at Chris.

Chef grabs the suitcase out of the way at the last minute, and grunts, “Nice cast, Chris.”

“Yeah, I don’t think so,” says Chris, walking up to the blonde. “You’re Christian, eh? When did I ever approve your casting? This already happened once before! My personal brand is going to take so many blows!”

“Uh, you can call me ‘Bleach Blaze’ instead, that’s my rap name,” says Christian, flexing unsubtly.

“...On second thought, Christian is totally fine,” shudders Chris.

“Your name is not Chad?!” Boris bellows. “Color me shocked! Truly!”

“Hey fedora bro, I’m sorry, I have legit zero idea what you’re talking about,” says Christian. Boris starts breathing heavily.

“I dated a guy named Chad once,” says Isabella to Kelsey. “He was pretty cute. Not really my type, though, he was waaaay too clingy. I ghosted him real quick.”

“Of course,” mutters Boris. “I should’ve expected Stacys of your caliber to reside here. Chris, this is rigged!”

“What? Rigged? I don’t want to ruin the game or anything,” says Isabella.

“Relaaaax, you’re fine,” says Chris. “If anything, I’ll be the one doing the rigging.”

Kelsey, still with her laptop out, clears her throat. “Hey guys, I hate to interrupt, but does anyone want to help me out here? I’m doing a philanthropy thing that goes toward a children’s hospital for cancer treatments, and if I raise the most funds I’ll be considered as the next president of our club next year.”

“Sorry, fresh outta money,” says Chris, and he and Chef giggle sinisterly.

“Cancer? The only cancer I recognize is modern feminism,” says Boris. “Women like you wielding power? Flabbergasting! Chad, are you not appalled she isn’t bowing down to you?”

“Uhhhh, actually I think it’s pretty hot,” says Christian.

Kelsey inches away from the two men. “Okay, thanks. I guess I’ll ask the next guys.”

Meanwhile, the next batch of four is en route, getting ready to arrive at the station. Sitting next to each other near the back are a small, paranoid-looking boy of Indian descent, who is wearing a fleece zip-up sweater yet visibly shivering, and a tall, lanky African-American man dressed in a fluffy hat and vibrant clothing.

“Dude, I’m telling you, you gotta move! You’re too close! So many life-threatening substances can be transmitted just by sitting next to each other!” stammers the shorter boy.

“Hm?” asks the taller one, flipping through a tabloid magazine. “Oh Kylie, hun, what are you doing? Not a good look…”

“All right, that’s it, I gotta go take a walk,” says the shorter boy, standing up.

The taller man looks up from his tabloid, seemingly noticing his seatmate for the first time. “Oh, hey sis, who’re you?”

“I don’t think I can disclose that info… It could go anywhere! Like, to the government! I don’t mess with that kind of stuff, man!” says the other guy.

“Are you competing on Total Drama?” asks the tall man. “Because you do know that you’re being broadcasted to the world right now, honey? Anyway, I’m Kingsley. You’ve probably heard of me.”

“Kingsley? Okay, that doesn’t sound TOO suspicious… I’m Suvir,” he responds. “Gotta keep your allies close in case of an emergency!”

“Yeah, um, sure?” says Kingsley. “You’re reeeeal funny.”

“That guy seems fine, a lot better than I was expecting, but I can’t let my guard down just yet!” says Suvir in the confessional. “Maybe ‘Kingsley’ is just an alias. I’ve heard too many stories about guys who’ll go around saying their name is ‘Joe’ or something but it’s actually, like, ‘Thaddeus Skullcrusher XIV.’ Scary stuff, man. If I’m gonna win this thing, I gotta stay cool, calm, and collected!” He takes a deep breath, then starts coughing.

“Hey fans, welcome baaaack!” says Kingsley in a singsong voice. “Let me tell you something dramatic that just happened to me. I was HARASSED on public transportation. This, like, totally weird guy came up to me and started rambling on about stuff I did NOT care about, and I was like ‘girl, this is NOT worth my time at all,’ but he just kept going! He needs to take, like, 5,000 chill pills.” For some reason, a studio audience is heard laughing.

Two girls are sitting a few rows ahead of Kingsley and Suvir, one of them a slender Latina girl wearing a bright red jacket and holding a notepad and newspaper, and the other a petite Chinese girl, who is staring out the window, listening to music, and looking relatively hostile.

“She’s not very approachable,” the Latina mutters, jotting down notes rapidly. “Hiding something, maybe? Hopefully something juicy.”

The other girl takes one earbud out. “Did you say something?”

“Oh no, I didn’t mean any harm at all,” says the journalist. “I’m sorry! I was writing about science or something.”

“Huh? Do I look angry? I’m not, trust me,” the shorter girl smiles. “Sometimes it comes off that way.”

“Ha, yeah…” says the journalist, and the other girl puts her earbuds back in. “Nice save, Frances. Okay, she’s obviously suppressing certain parts of her personality. Hmm…”

“Five minutes in, and I can already tell this place is going to be rife with potential stories,” says Frances in the confessional. “Sometimes I scare people off pretty quickly when I get too excited about journalism, so it’s all about making myself look as chill and detached as possible. After all, the best stories come from sneaky and astute observation.”

“My whole life has been a struggle with resting bitch face,” says Erica. “I mean, when I was younger, it matched my personality pretty well, but now I’m looking to grow up a bit, you know? I don’t like that girl who sat next to me, but I feel like maybe I should. If I just go in not wanting to be friends with anyone and complaining the whole time, I’ll be gone immediately.” She pauses. “But I don’t LIKE her.”

“Here’s our next four!” says Chris, as the train car pulls up to the station and the four walk out. “Erica, Frances, Kingsley, and Suvir. How’s THAT for a ‘diversity quota,’ TVS?”

“Uhhh, Chris,” mutters Chef.

“Chiiiill, I said we were going to edit this later,” snaps Chris.

“Hello, everyone,” says Frances, with her notepad out. “Good to see a solid group forming, if I could get a quote from someone about being here that’d be great…”

“Well, hey,” says Kelsey, walking up to her. “I’ve been on the front page of my college newspaper 14 times. So basically, I think it—”

“You have?! No way,” interjects Isabella. “Did you get to do a photoshoot? I did one of those last week with my friends up at my cottage.”

“No, uh, I was most recently quoted discussing the lack of practicality apparent in the school’s new funding for some gym building nobody’s going to use,” Kelsey says. “And the time before that, I was talking about my experiences abroad—”

“Abroad? Did you go to Spain? I’d love to go to Spain,” gushes Isabella.

“Good material, guys, keep it coming,” says Frances, frantically jotting down notes.

Suvir tiptoes over to Christian, who is juuling. “Dude, what’re you doing?!”

“You talking to me? What’s up?” asks Christian, and he holds out his fist. “You tryna bump it?”

Upon seeing Christian’s extended fist, Suvir jumps back and yowls in fear. “No, man, I ain’t touching you! I bet you didn’t know dihydroxyacetone contains the same chemicals they use in toxic glue, and if your skin comes in contact with enough fake tanner, you’ll drop dead!”

“Huh?” says Christian. “This is all real tan. We can play some ultimate on the beach tomorrow morning so you can catch up to me.”

“Don’t listen to him,” says Boris, materializing out of nowhere. “Trust me. All he wants to do is get you out in a public location where your pale, doughy body will be visible to hordes of beachgoers, and then you will be humiliated for eternity!”

“Bruh, are you on crack or something?" asks Christian.

“Talk to me when you are interested in more sophisticated activities, like Luncheons & Laggins,” snorts Boris.

Suvir begins to sweat, then utters a small yelp and runs away from the two, hiding behind Kingsley.

“Wow, gorgeous top,” says Kingsley, excitedly chatting with Erica. “You’d totally fit in on my weekly style vlog.”

Erica laughs cheerfully. “Thanks! I got it on sale a few weeks back, I’m in love with it.”

“That guy’s fashion sense scares me,” says Erica. “And he thinks my top is nice?! Shame, I’m going to have to burn it tomorrow morning. Did I even pack extra clothes?”

“What do you mean they were on the same train, just one car back?” Chris says, talking into a headset. “You’re telling me they already got off? Then why didn’t we pan in and do the whole dramatic intro thing?! Ruined everything! Yeesh!”

“Ahem,” says a female voice.

Chris looks behind him to see four more contestants - a rustic-looking Southern gent with poofy hair, a squat, grinning boy with a strong resemblance to a past contestant, a scowling woman with dyed grey hair and fashionable clothing, and a tall, awkward-looking blonde who resembles a giant avian - waiting at the train stop.

“We’ve been here for like 15 minutes,” says the grey-haired woman.

Chris glares at Chef, who says, “Don’t look at me, I was responsible for none of this.”

“Okay, well,” continues Chris, after a long pause. “Looks like we’re going back to how we used to do it, one-by-one! Ladies and gentlemen, this is, uh…” he fumbles with a few notecards, “Rhett!”

The Southern boy comes down from the station and smiles a toothy grin at Chris. “Yer Chris, huh? Wowie! Ah’m in the presence of a real-life celebrity!”

“Okay, now we’re talking. More contestants like you, please,” says a flattered Chris.

“Yeah, I saw you in that one show on cable, y’know? Th’ one where you were naked, servin’ waffles, righ’?” Rhett guffaws. “Funniest thing I ever seen!”

Chris looks horrified. “I take back my previous statement. Go talk to the others.”

“His career has taken such a downturn that he has to resort to cameo appearances in mediocre prime-time comedies? Good content, but yikes,” says Frances with her notepad out.

“Yeah, maybe he’ll realize reality TV hosting isn’t a sustainable career and will leave you broke and depressed, you know?” adds Kelsey.

“Only way I’d ever watch that show is if I was 20 beers in,” says Christian.

“20 beers?!” exclaims Rhett, popping up out of nowhere. “Didja say 20 beers? Haw, that’s nothin’!”

“You’re funny!” says Isabella. “Do you, like, get really drunk and ride horses and stuff?”

“Naw, man, I ride horses ev’ry time o’ the day,” says Rhett. “Ain’t gotta be liquored up.”

“All these big ‘n tall buildings are freakin’ me out, man!” says Rhett in the confessional. “And th’ lake? It’s so clear an’ blue! Alls we got down south is th’ bayou. It’s all slimy an’ gross, an’ there’s gators down there, I don’t mess with that kinda stuff! This is a breath o’ fresh air!”

The squat, penguin-shaped guy and the tall, gray-haired woman walk down towards the emerging group, seemingly in the midst of some sort of intense argument.

“And here’s our next two,” says Chris. “Now I strictly said one-by-one, but I don’t care enough to dispute it. Anyway, Roald and Whitney!”

“Perfect timing!” exclaims Roald. “Yo, guys, settle this. Whitney here says I don’t have any athletic skills! Insanity, right?”

“Look, dude, you’re misquoting me,” says Whitney flatly. “I just said your body spray was overpowering, I could smell it from seven seats away.”

Roald’s scowl twists into a giant, goofy grin. “Haha! That’s what I like to hear! My ‘Pineapple Breeze’ gives me a natural yet exotic musk!”

“I wish I was born without a sense of smell, then,” says Whitney, rolling her eyes.

“Um, sis,” says Kingsley, touching Roald’s shoulder. “Is it just me, or do you look… flabby?”

“Rookie mistake, king man!” says Roald. “My body is fine-tuned with the most solid, rippling muscles on the planet!”

“Not even gonna ask how you know my name, buuuuut I don’t buy it,” purrs Kingsley.

“Don’t buy it, huh? Right now I’m doing squat thrusts at such a speedy pace they’re invisible to the naked eye,” says Roald. “Jealous? I bet!”

Whitney walks over to the collective of girls starting to form. “I’m going to pretend the last 20 minutes didn’t happen and start fresh. Hi, I’m Whitney.” She takes out a fashion magazine and starts reading.

“That shirt is soooo stylish!” says Isabella. “Get it at Suburban Dressers?”

“Oh, save it,” says Whitney, not looking up from her magazine.

Isabella gasps slightly and turns to Erica and Kelsey. “That was beyond rude, I’m going to tweet about it. Give it a like once I post it, okay?”

“There’s only one reason I came on this show, and it’s to win,” says Whitney. “My brother was on like 5,000 years ago and did really well, and his life has improved a ton since then. Plus I’m older, prettier, and more sophisticated than him, so really, what’s stopping me from achieving the same success?”

“Man, I can’t wait to see how I look on TV! I hope they showcase all the spots where my muscles bulge out the most,” gushes Roald. “I was gonna try and lay low for the first few days, but that Whitney really brought out the fire within! Only reason I was bantering with her so much? She’s a cutie! Boo-yah!”

“Is it my turn now?” asks the tall blonde woman, standing uncomfortably close to Chris.

“Yes, Kaitlin, it’s your turn. Thanks for reminding me for the fifth time,” says Chris. “Everyone, this is… Kaitlin.”

She faces the camera. “Hmm, not loving this angle. Can you turn maybe three inches to the right?” The camera inches to the right. “Wait, now that’s just unflattering. Left a little?” It moves to the left. “Okay, there we go.” She turns to the other contestants and greets them. “Sup, boners?”

“Hello!” says Erica, forcing a wide smile.

“Something off about her for sure. She’s a narc. Calling it now!” says Suvir under his breath.

“Hmmm, you think so? Keep the observations coming, maybe I could get somewhere with that,” says Frances.

“Wow, warm reception,” says Kaitlin, facing everyone. “Maybe I wasn’t ‘upfront’ enough. Yeah, okay, I know what the deal is. Take two.”

“What is she…” begins Whitney.

Kaitlin clears her throat. “Sup, boners?” she repeats. Then, after a slight delay, she falls flat on her face out of nowhere. She stays lying face down on the ground for a few seconds, then gets back up like it was nothing. “Oh, there I go again, clumsy old me, huh? Gosh diddly darn!”

“I’m real uncomfortable,” says Christian quietly. “Maybe if she kept her mouth shut, and wore a bikini or something, I’d be more on board.”

“What was that, you bleached asshole?” Kaitlin snaps. “Don’t think I didn’t hear you. I’m ready to go whenever you are.” She takes a beer bottle out from her purse and takes a swig of it.

Boris’s eyes well up to the size of an anime character’s. “M’lady! You look like a level 43 Stymphalian Warrior Goddess,” he says, rushing up to Kaitlin.

“Warrior goddess, hmm? Okay, I like that, keep talking,” she says, flipping her hair back.

“Yes! 50% female deity, 50% large predatory bird, 100% pure cuteness,” says Boris. Kaitlin’s eye twitches.

“I was totally willing to lap up that dork’s compliments, right up until that last part,” she grunts. “I came here to AVOID being compared to a bird for once in my life. Whatever, I get it. I’m tall, I’m bony, most ladies out there would kill for my body. And I’ll have the last laugh when my hilarious and charming personality makes it huge and I become the biggest star this goddamn show has ever seen.”

“Uh, Chris,” says Chef. “She went like three minutes over her intro time. We’re runnin’ late.”

“Oh, come ON!” shouts Chris. “Have I really lost that much mojo? Let me guess, we can’t do any more train scenes?”

“Well, I mean…” says Chef, pointing up to the station, where the remaining four contestants are standing and looking rather impatient.

Chris groans loudly. “Fine! Here’s our 13th contestant, I think… Miles.”

A tall, gangly, odd-looking young man with pink hair, a beanie, and overalls walks up to the group, trying to make himself look small. He is carrying multiple duffel bags and what looks like an electric guitar case.

“Uh, hi,” he says in a soft voice, taking out an e-cigarette from his pocket.

“Broooooooo,” says Christian, his eyes wide. “What model is that? It looks sick! Mind letting your boy take a drag?”

“No, I need it,” says Miles. “It’s the only thing that takes the edge off.”

“Well, fine,” scoffs Christian. “Be that way, but it’s your loss. Christian out.” He walks to the edge of the group and puts his headphones back on, and the sound of explicit hip-hop is heard.

“Miles, right?” Frances says, walking over to him. “You look… different. Tell me—I mean us—about yourself.”

“I play music… sometimes,” he sighs. “I used to do it a lot more.”

“You got a banjo in that case? My uncle Gus is a pro at banjo-pickin’!” says Rhett, attempting to make conversation.

“No, it’s just a guitar…” says Miles. “My mind is in too much turmoil for banjo…”

“What, are banjoists less stressed out on average? Someone want to help me find a banjo, then?” asks Kelsey, giggling awkwardly. “It was a joke. Hey, help me out and sign this?”

Miles looks at Kelsey’s politely smiling face and then her laptop, which is opened to her fundraiser, and a single tear runs down his cheek. “Oh…”

“Something wrong?” asks an alarmed Kelsey. “Did my computer switch tabs? Oh god, I hope not. Sorry about that.” She closes her laptop and walks away.

“My friends told me I needed to do this show to get my mind off of Jacqueline,” Miles sighs deeply. “My ex. She liked it when I called her Jackie… but I guess that’s beside the point. We’ve been done for two years, but everything reminds me of her… That Kelsey girl’s smile just brought me back to those deep summer nights we’d spend together by the river… God, my life is a pit of despair.” He lets out a deep, mournful sigh.

“Chin up, brozinsky!” says Roald, patting Miles on the back forcefully. “Let’s do some crunches to lighten the mood!”

He immediately drops down onto the ground and starts to do crunches while sweating profusely.

“One! Two! Th-th-three!” gasps Roald, as Miles backs away.

“Here’s our next one, speaking of lightening the mood…” says Chris. “Say hello to Rachel!”

“Hello!” says the newly arrived girl, who has auburn hair, a septum piercing, and an intricately designed skirt. “That’s me, obviously.”

“Are those tiny elephants?!” Isabella says, rushing up to Rachel and examining her skirt. “This is gorgeous and I need to know where you got it.”

“I wish I could say I wove it myself, but I got it online forever ago,” says Rachel, walking past Isabella and stopping at Miles. “Do you play music?”

“Kinda,” says Miles, his pale face turning pink.

“Wonderful,” says Rachel, twirling her hair. “The plant life here is beautiful, you guys. Chris, what is this?” She holds up what looks like tall grass of some sort.

“Ask Chef, he’s the exp—” begins Chris.

“Are you on another form of ‘plant life?’” asks Whitney.

Rachel pauses, then laughs. “I like you! Isn’t this lake gorgeous too… I live by the ocean, which is nice, but this is nicer, for sure. Feels a lot more au naturale. Fewer tourists. Fewer guys like that.”

She glances at Christian, who is on the ground, shirtless, and sunbathing for some reason while continuing to listen to his loud rap music.

“You can join in any time you want, mama,” he says, patting the ground next to him.

“The lakeside is gorgeous,” says Rachel. “But I prefer rivers. Hey, guys, you can call me River if you’d like. Sometimes I get upset about how common my name is… I feel like rivers match my intensity, sometimes bubbling softly, sometimes rushing rapidly.” She sighs in happiness.

“I don’t really know how to address any of this, so I’ll just keep going, okay?” asks an antsy Chris.

“Smell this flower! Natural beauty makes me so thrilled,” says Rachel, waving a black-eyed susan around in Kaitlin’s face.

“I will jam that flower right up your nostril,” retorts Kaitlin.

“I haven’t found anyone yet who I feel a deep, spiritual connection with, but then again, I’ve only been here for like five seconds,” says Rachel. “I can already tell this place is special. It’s just got that magical energy that only the most sacred places on the planet can claim… I need to make the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

“Salutations, Chris,” says a peculiar-looking young man. He has a bushy mustache and a bright blue hat on, and is dressed in a formal manner similar to a detective. He is only carrying one piece of luggage, a small brown trunk.

“Our fifteenth contestant, who really should’ve waited until I called his name…” says Chris. “Graham!”

“Hey!” yells Suvir, running up to him. “Are you a detective investigating recent alien abductions? Wait, no, are you a government plant? Wait, don’t answer that!” He immediately runs away.

“Oh no, I just like this style, I suppose?” says Graham. “Pleasure to meet you all.”

Chris side-eyes the conversation. “Why’re they talking about clothes so much? This is like the most boring episode ever. No drama, no intrigue!” he says to Chef.

“What’s with the face fluff? You look 80,” says Whitney to the newly arrived contestant.

Graham’s eyes turn wide. “I mean, I can shave it off if you’d like?”

“Huh? I didn’t—I mean—” says Whitney. “Did you think I was insulting you? I guess I wasn’t not insulting you, but…”

“I understand,” says Graham somewhat smugly. “I… guess I’ll keep walking.”

“He’s weird,” mumbles Isabella.

Graham continues to make his way through the crowd, but is stopped by a woman who seems to have just arrived. She’s very short, has thick dark brown hair and heavy makeup, and is wearing some sort of avant-garde cowboy outfit.

“Excuse me, who are you? I didn’t notice you... well, 30 seconds ago,” says Graham.

“Who am I?” she responds in a deep, sultry voice. “I’m just a small-town girl, who moved to the big city with big dreams…”

“Big city? Haha, I hate to burst your bubble, but we’re in the suburbs right now!” says Graham.

“Just to find out,” she continues, seemingly ‘in the zone.’ “The only way to make it in the big city… is to shake it. It’s what I do. I shake it.” She inches closer to Graham. “You wanna see me shake it?”

“I mean, maybe later?” stammers Graham. “I did just get here and all, you know?”

The woman laughs heartily. “‘Course you do. They all do. They all want to see me shake it.” Graham’s face starts to turn redder and redder.

“This is… bizarre,” comments Erica.

“Yeah, who does she think she is?” Kaitlin says. “Trying to steal my thunder, ha, loser. Method acting is so two centuries ago.”

“Well, I see you’ve all met our final contestant!” says Chris. “This is our performance artist, Arte—”

Chris is interrupted by a loud shriek, and everyone turns to see Artemis licking Christian’s face.

“I don’t know WHAT just happened, but I’m not about it!” he yells. “I just got my facial hair waxed yesterday!”

“Whatever,” says Artemis. “You’ll be ready soon enough.”

“Hey, I’m glad she deflected the attention off of me, I guess,” says Graham in the confessional. “She’s very pretty, I suppose, but something about that interaction was… weird. I feel drastically different from everyone else here, and I don’t just mean the mustache. My dream is to bond with my team so deeply that we can stay up all night talking and laughing, but I’m feeling scared already!”

“Chris told me I couldn’t do my intro naked,” says Artemis. “Yes, I’m bitter. However, if he thinks I’m going to go this entire show without incorporating any nudity into my performance, he’s mistaken. Too many beefcakes here to pass up an opportunity like that.”

“Okay, everyone, we’re almost done here,” says Chris. “Just have to do a few ‘housekeeping’ things beforehand.”

“Man, I’d love t’ keep a house!” says Rhett. “Farm life ain’t cuttin’ it lately.”

“In this economy? Same here,” says Chris. “Anyway, as I was saying, each team will get a run-down—I mean, newly renovated—dormitory to sleep in, one room for the guys, one room for the ladies! They’re right by the lake, so if you’re dying for a gorgeous view of the water, you’re in luck. Your first challenge will be, uh… tomorrow!”

“Chris, this is riveting and all, but what are our teams?” pipes up Whitney.

“Jeez, I can already tell you’re going to be a fun one,” grumbles Chris, as he unfurls the first team’s flag. “Here goes. Team #1 will consist of Artemis, Boris, Frances, Kaitlin, Rhett, Roald, Suvir, and Whitney, and your name is… the Artisanal Cheeses!”

Everyone stares blankly at the maroon-colored flag, decorated with a giant logo consisting of three large wheels of cheese.

“Listen, Chef and I did all the planning when we were out to dinner last night, cut us some slack,” says Chris.

Suddenly, Roald breaks the silence. “Whoooooooooo! Go Cheeses! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” He rips both his coat and shirt off, swings them around in the air, then drops to the ground and starts doing clap push-ups.

“Aw, come on, I’m vegan!” protests Suvir. “You guys have no idea what sorts of chemicals they put in cheeses, I swear, they can control your mind.”

“If you have not enjoyed a fine bag of Doritos, you are not a true gentleman!” says Boris.

“No, Chris, it’s fine,” says Frances. “We like artisanal cheese… right, guys?” Nobody says anything, and the Artisanal Cheeses all start to make their way to their dorm.

“Sure, whatever, we’re almost done anyway,” says Chris, now unfurling a deep purple flag. “Now, Team #2 will consist of Christian, Erica, Graham, Isabella, Kelsey, Kingsley, Miles, and Rachel, and you guys will be known as… the Killer Wildcats!”

Kingsley’s eyes begin to water. “That shade of purple… GLAM. My wig is in orbit.”

“Are you kidding me?” snaps Kaitlin, walking back towards Chris. “They get a cool name, and we’re dairy-based?!”

“Kaitlin, get out of the frame, okay?” says Chris through his teeth. Kaitlin stares into the camera one more time, smiles wide, then leaves.

“I mean, the name’s not that cool,” says Kelsey. “Wildcats don’t even live in North America.”

“Yeah, what does any of this have to do with lakes?” adds Erica.

“And if those guys are the Cheeses, shouldn’t we be like the ‘Wacky Wines?’” Graham says. “That’d be so classy, too!”

“All valid complaints,” shrugs Chris. “However, I don’t care! We picked the name because it sounded cool.”

“Can’t argue with that, I LOVE cats!” says Isabella. “But I’m such a dog person!”

Chris hands Kelsey the flag, which has an aggressive-looking feline as its logo. Before she can say anything, Christian grabs it out of her hands.

“Man, this goes so well with my tan,” he says. “You guys think you can, like, drape it over me after we win challenges?”

“Let’s, uh, move in first,” says Kelsey, walking to the dorm with the others. “Go ‘cats!” The Wildcats exit the frame, with Miles lagging slightly behind the rest of them.

“So there you have it!” says Chris, getting back into the center with Chef. “Our 16 teens have arrived, and if you ask me, things really started picking up by the end! It wasn’t nearly as boring as I had expected. Anyway, there’s going to be conflict, and drama, and romance, and really all the things you could ask from a show that’s been going on for over a decade. So tune in next time, where we’ll get to our first challenge and see which unlucky schmuck is voted off first, right here on Total… Drama… Lakeside!”

Chapter 2 - You Snooze, You Lose... Literally

“Last time on Total Drama Lakeside!” begins Chris, who hasn’t moved at all since the previous episode ended. “We met our 16 contestants, watched them argue with each other for about 20 minutes, then did some pretty exciting introductory stuff. They were divided into two teams, the Artisanal Cheeses and the Killer Wildcats! Despite loads of complaints about my team names—I don’t get it, I think they’re both awesome—the two teams set off to their new dorms, where we’re gonna watch them get settled right now! Dear god, I just hope this time they talk about more interesting things than fundraisers and clothes and pineapple-scented body spray. I guess there’s only one way to find out whether they will, though, huh? You got it, that’s by tuning in right here, right now, on Total… Drama… Lakeside!”

[theme song]

The Killer Wildcats open up the door to their dorm, which looks shockingly well-kept - two distinct rooms with an old-fashioned college aesthetic, featuring giant windows with the curtains down in either room.

“I can’t wait to see that lovely view Chris told us about,” swoons Rachel, as she opens the curtains in the girls’ room to see… a giant dumpster completely blocking the lake.

“Oh, gorgeous,” says Erica, setting her stuff down. “Really showcases the lake well.”

Isabella takes a selfie with the dumpster in the background. “Haha, I’m such trash!”

“Yeah, I’m not gonna say I didn’t expect that,” says Kelsey. “Okay, I’m in the bottom bunk here. If you guys don’t want to see my computer screen at three in the morning, I’d suggest moving to those other beds.”

“Are you going to be binging Webflicks?” asks Isabella. “Because I’ve got to join in.”

“Uhhhh, that sounds a lot more fun than ‘writing a thesis,’ I’ll go with yes,” says Kelsey.

Rachel somehow jumps from the floor all the way to her top bunk and lands on her back. “This bed! So soft,” she says. “Soooo soft.”

“Okay, so I think we’re like the cutest girl gang,” says Isabella. “Like, did you see those girls on the Cheeses? Weird, right? We’re so much more adorable! Let’s take a group photo. Ooh, can we get Kingsley to take it?”

Kingsley, on cue, pokes his head through the door. “Excuse me?”

“Take this photo of us! You can be in the next one if you want,” offers Isabella.

“Ummm, I’m good, but I’ll take the pic,” says Kingsley dryly. “Let’s just get this over with, I guess.”

The four girls get into a pose with their arms around each other, all smiling to some degree with Erica’s exaggerated smile being the biggest of all. Kingsley takes the photo, then hands Isabella’s phone back to her as she giggles happily.

“Okay, they better not be turning me into their ‘honorary fifth girl’ or whatever,” grumbles Kingsley in the confessional. “I mean, that’d be less of an issue if they all slayed as much as Erica, but truth is, she’s the only one I can vibe with. Sis is, like, me-level funny and stylish. The rest just don’t have what it takes.”

“The Killer Wildcats aren’t too bad so far,” says Kelsey optimistically. “The name reminds me of that one musical about basketball or whatever. Maybe Chris is a fan? I don’t blame him. Either way, I can be all chill and friendly with the others no problem, but when I get stressed out I sleepwalk, so that better not happen for everyone’s sake.”

The boys of the Wildcats are unpacking their belongings as well. Christian unzips his giant suitcase to reveal many polo shirts and neon-colored shorts, all matching perfectly.

“Okay, boys, we’re gonna have to do some male-on-male bonding if we want to dominate,” he announces. “Let’s start with some icebreakers!” He walks up to Kingsley. “Rachel, smash or pass?”

All three pause for a while. “Are you kidding me?” asks Kingsley.

“Oh! Right!” says Christian. “Not your thing! How ‘bout this? Me, smash or pass?”

He stares at Christian, then walks over to Graham and Miles on the other side of the room. “Hey ladies, let’s get to know each other.”

“No homo, but that Kingsley dude is pretty hot,” says Christian. “I mean, I’m not saying I’d spoon with him in the middle of the night or anything, but I’m also not saying I wouldn’t.”

Miles unzips his small, trendy-looking backpack and takes out a Polaroid photo. It depicts a grinning brunette boy, who would be completely unrecognizable if not for his glasses, with his arm around a girl with wavy, dyed pink hair and winged eyeliner. He looks at it, sighs, then tapes it next to his bunk.

“So that’s the girl, huh? She’s beautiful!” says Graham.

Miles jumps up. “Uhhh, you weren’t supposed to see that.”

“You’re hanging it on the wall,” says Graham. “It’s going to be broadcasted to the entire Total Drama viewing audience very soon.”

“Fine, yeah, that’s Jackie,” mutters Miles. “We ended things two years ago, and ever since then my mind has been a swirling miasma of tears and suffering… I still see her in the face of every girl I talk to…”

“Young love is so heartwarming, yet heartbreaking,” says Graham with his hand on his chest. “My condolences, but I think the best thing to do would be—”

He looks over at Miles, who suddenly has his headphones on and is vaping, then shakes his head.

Meanwhile, the Artisanal Cheeses are also moving into their dorm and having just as eventful of a time.

“Gorgeous view, y’all. That dumpster’s really tyin’ it all together,” says Rhett, looking out his window. “Y’all ever been dumpster divin’?”

“Are you kidding me, man?! You could get ebola from that!” says Suvir.

“Aw shucks, I don’t want no ebola! S’actually my greatest fear,” says Rhett, looking frightened.

“That’s what I like to hear,” says Suvir. “Your third eye will soon be opened! Dude, want to bunk together?”

“I don’t see why not,” chirps Rhett, as he climbs onto the top bunk.

“Rhett could totally be an alien or something, and if he is I just became the stupidest schmuck in the universe, but I’m going with my gut on this one,” says Suvir. “He’s super non-threatening! Now, those two other guys… I’m scared already.”

“So that means I have to be with you, Mr. Muscles?” complains Boris.

Roald grins and slaps Boris on the back. “Get pumped, Bro-ris! We’re gonna be going through a workout regime so rigorous you’ll be sweating BLOOD!”

“Oh, please. I do not concern myself with trivial activities such as gym-going,” says Boris smugly.

“Then what do you wanna do? Play croquet? I’m a pro-quet at croquet!” says Roald, as he laughs hysterically at his own pun. Whitney winces from the other room.

“I do not wish to socialize with you, or any of you other Cro-Magnons,” says Boris. “I will be competing in this game as a solitary figure!”

“Huh? I didn’t mean to insult ya, b-b-buddy,” says Roald. “Just extendin’ an olive branch!”

“Well then, I scoff at your puny olive branch,” says Boris. He takes out what looks like a giant manga compilation and starts rifling through it.

“What’d I do to grind that guy’s gears so quickly?” asks Roald. “I was just tryin' to do some gym-induced bonding! Aw, barbells, I’m so awkward sometimes...”

“I know he’s just trying to make fun of me, I was not born yesterday!” says Boris angrily. “Maybe if he shared some of my more esoteric yet sophisticated interests, such as Japanese catgirl anime, I would be more likely to socialize. But that is obviously not the case.”

Kaitlin, who is chugging her fifth beer of the afternoon, slumps onto a bed in the other room. “Okay, this is my bed, if anyone tries to steal my bed they’re going to regret it.”

“Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone’s begging to sleep with you,” says Whitney with an eyebrow raised.

“You know what? I didn’t come here to be victimized,” snaps Kaitlin.

“Look, I’d rather sleep with Artemis,” says Whitney. “Which is saying a lot.”

Artemis walks up to Whitney and pinches her cheeks. “Who wouldn’t rather sleep with Artemis?” she purrs. “You’ll have a front-row seat to exciting and sensual late-night performances, some involving that dumpster outside.”

Whitney blinks. “Never mind.” She walks over to Frances and sets her belongings down right by her bunk.

“Hi, don’t worry, I’ll be the perfect bedmate,” assures Frances. “I probably won’t even be in here much. Gotta get out and about and do as much reporting as possible.”

“That does sound promising, but I’ll believe it when I see it,” says Whitney.

Artemis walks over to Kaitlin. “Hello,” she says. “You and I? We’re going to have all sorts of fun. I can teach you about interpretive—”

“Yeah, okay, fine,” says Kaitlin. “You do like acting. I think I can work with that, huh?”

“Sweet, sweet Kaitlin, I don’t just like acting,” says Artemis. “I THRIVE in the world of the theatre.” She inches closer to Kaitlin, who looks at her skeptically. “Wanna smoke some hash?”

“Not… really,” says Kaitlin.

“Whatever,” says Artemis. “I’ll be outside. I'mma go house some beef.”

“That Artemis is making me deeply uncomfortable, but I think that’s her goal here,” says Frances in the confessional. “The whole licking people’s faces thing was weird enough, but now I hear she’s brought illicit substances to the competition? I think it’s hilarious, but she better not get us disqualified…” She gasps. “That is, unless Chris TOLD her to do it to increase ratings. Now that’s a story!”.

“My team is a bunch of goddamn lunatics,” whines Kaitlin. “Seriously, with these bozos as my competition, how am I supposed to get any camera time?!”

Later that night, as the sun is beginning to set by the lake, the teams exit their cabins and head over to Chris and Chef.

“Greetings, lakemates!” Chris says, and everyone stares at him in bewilderment. “Oh, come on. I thought that’d be a fun, quirky name for you guys. You’re a quirky bunch, and…” Crickets chirp. “Okay, fine, do you want me to just explain the challenge?”

“Yeah, Chris, just… do that,” whispers Chef.

Chris rolls his eyes. “Well then! You may notice that we’re standing on a paved path that snakes around the lakeside for a mile or two, maybe five. Your first goal as teams is to run to the end of that path, loop around, then run back to me and Chef! The first team to get all their members back will win something crucial! Capisce?”

“Caposh!” says Roald.

“I’ll give you guys five minutes to do a team huddle or whatever, and then we’ll get started,” says Chris.

Immediately, the Killer Wildcats huddle up and attempt to strategize.

“Okay, everyone,” says Kelsey. “Do we want to run in one big block so nobody can pass us? Or do we want to just spread out and rely on our obviously superior athleticism to do the trick?”

“I’m so ready to just start running right now,” says Rachel. “I can’t wait to breathe in the lake’s crisp air.”

“Sure, that’s great and all, but we need a strategy, don’t we?” asks Kelsey.

“I dunno, let’s just wing it,” says Christian. “We’re hunks. We can run fast. Simple.”

“Yeah, I like what he’s saying!” says Erica. “I’ve done dance for ten years, this is nothing.”

“I’ve never ‘winged’ anything in my life!” says a visibly stressed Kelsey in the confessional. “This team and I definitely have some… creative differences, so maybe I’ll step back from the leader role? I’m not about to put that level of pressure on myself.”

Meanwhile, the Artisanal Cheeses are also attempting to strategize for the upcoming race, but their definition of strategizing seems to differ quite a bit.

“I don’t feel fit to run, guys,” says Kaitlin. “Like, I’m already woozy.”

“C’mon, Kaity-bo-baity!” says Roald. “If you believe, you can achieve!”

“Okay listen, penguin boy, I had a heart attack three years ago,” retorts Kaitlin. “I’ll walk at a leisurely pace, but that’s IT.”

“I will not run either!” says Boris. “If the Warrior Goddess can’t do it, then I certainly cannot! I will stay here and not get involved with this so-called ‘challenge.’”

“Aw, c’mon, y’all,” says Rhett. “It’s as easy as one-three-two!”

“Yo, big bro, I got this,” assures Roald, and he takes Boris aside. “So you know that big orange guy on the other team? How he’s all muscly and hot and stuff? The best way to just stick it to him is to go BEAST MODE in this race! You gotta beat him!”

“Hmm…” contemplates Boris. “A very enticing offer indeed.” He pauses and thinks for a second. “Okay, I suppose, but only so I can assert my masculine dominance!”

“AWESOME!” cheers Roald. “Yo, Chris, we’re ready!”

A few minutes later, the contestants are all lined up at the beginning of the sidewalk, while Chris is on the sidelines with Chef, holding a supposedly fake gun.

“Total Drama Lakeside’s first challenge will be underway in five… four… three… two…” he says. He then fires the gun, which is definitely not fake, and yells, “GO!”

Most of the contestants take off sprinting, and in the front of the pack is Suvir, running at a breakneck speed. The other contestants stare at him in awe, some even pausing completely.

“Hey, when you know the world’s out to get you, you gotta keep your mind and body sharp!” says Suvir. “I know organized sports are just a front so the government can get kids all buffed up and send ‘em to sweatshops, but did I run track five years to hone my skills? You BET!”

Chris takes out a lawn chair and some sort of alcoholic beverage, puts on a pair of sunglasses, and sits down. “Chef, this really is the life.”

Chef is reading a dense mystery novel written by a “Helga Schreiber.” He side-eyes Chris and asks, “Hm?”

“Yeah, now that those teens are gone for hopefully like an hour, we can just sit and relax and—” Chris looks up, and Suvir is already back, breathing heavily. “HOW?!”

“Bro, I got the reflexes of a speeding tiger!” he says.

Before Chris can say anything else, Rhett, Roald, Erica, Christian, Isabella, and Kelsey arrive in one giant pack.

“Whoooo, that was nothin’!” says Roald, who is wheezing and looks on the verge of fainting.

“That was really fun, and I’m not even a big runner,” grins Isabella, looking up at Christian, who smirks.

“It only just hit me when we were running together, but Christian is totally cute,” squeals Isabella. “He’s exactly my type. I know I didn’t come on here to find love, but now I almost feel like I gotta!”

Rachel arrives next with a fistful of cattails. “I’m going to weave a dress from these. I love crafting wirh organic materials birthed from our Earth mother!”

Graham shows up soon after, panting. “Hey guys, just a PSA: Miles is back there walking!”

“Walking? Are you kidding me?” Erica says. “We’ll lose!”

“Yeah, I kept trying to socialize with him,” reasons Graham. “He’s a kind-hearted soul deep down, but he doesn’t really seem to care about… anything!”

Whitney and Artemis then show up, carrying an unconscious Kaitlin with one of her arms around each of their shoulders.

“She passed out about a mile back,” says Artemis matter-of-factly. “Think she’s drunk. Blackout, maybe.”

“This wasn’t something I agreed to do, by the way,” adds Whitney. The two let go and Kaitlin falls to the ground.

“Hmm, maybe she wasn’t kidding when she said she'd had a heart attack…” says Chris. “I probably should’ve examined those med forms a bit more carefully.”

Kingsley and Frances walk up to the group, deep in conversation. “Wait, so you wrote an exposé and showed it to the whole school just because she pissed you off?” he gasps.

“Well, it was technically an ‘editorial piece,’” responds Frances. “But… yes.”

“Bless,” says Kingsley, clasping his hands together. “We love a vengeful queen.”

“Hmm, isn’t that girl on the other team?” asks Kelsey quietly, and Erica nods.

“Okay, so that leaves two contestants left still running,” says Chris. “Miles and Boris! I think?”

Christian points to the slight turn up ahead, where Miles is sluggishly walking around the bend. “Ayo, there he is! LET’S GOOOO MILES!”

“You can do it!” cheers Kelsey. “Think of something happy to motivate you, like cupcakes or something!”

Miles sighs and takes off his headphones. “There’s no purpose in running…” he says. “Just makes me feel sad and tired, and I’m always sad and tired anyway.”

“Where th’ heck is that tub o’ lard?” asks Rhett.

“Oh, he’s coming,” says Whitney dryly, and she points to something.

Sure enough, Boris is right behind Miles, trying to run but wheezing and drenched in sweat. Miles walks up to the finish line, shrugs weakly, then sits down next to the rest of his team. Boris finally arrives seconds later, then collapses onto the ground and starts moaning.

“That was… disappointing to watch,” says Chris. “Anyway, the Wildcats win the first portion of the challenge! Here’s your reward!” He tosses them a single cup of coffee, which Erica catches.

“Wait, that’s not the whole challenge?” she asks. “I don’t even like coffee!”

Chris and Chef look at each other, then giggle mischievously. “Everybody, come with us to the director’s pad, we’ve got a special surprise for you,” says Chris.

“Ugh, I already don’t like Chris at all,” says Erica. “I came here for the competition, and the manipulation, and the social politics! Not to watch some washed-up 45-year-old man screw with us all day.”

The contestants are gathered around Chris in the “director’s pad” - a small but nicely furnished house that looks inhabited by college students thanks to the giant couch, the TV, the liquor bottles strewn about everywhere, the empty pizza box on the countertop, and the various questionable posters hung up on the walls.

“Here’s the deal. I know everyone just got here earlier today, and you’re not ready to actually compete in a challenge or vote someone off, blah blah blah, whatever. So, I’m gonna take pity on you guys,” says Chris. “I’m throwing you a party!”

“You ain’t lyin’?!” Rhett exclaims.

“Not at all, my friend,” says Chris. “For one night only, Chef and I are letting you into our exclusive living space to party it up, get to know each other, all the works. There’s food, drinks, and karaoke… somewhere, and Chef will be bringing a surprise up in just a sec!”

Chef trudges in, pushing a giant keg. “Ain’t that the truth.”

“Whoooo boy, I don’t even wanna know what’s in there,” says Suvir.

“Fun and fancy, huh? This went over our budget by quite a bit, so don’t expect anything else like it,” says Chris. “Just putting that out there. Anyway, Chef and I will be upstairs if you need us, but I assume you won’t. And we won’t need you! Ha-ha! Happy partying!”

He and Chef walk away, giggling to each other once again once out of earshot.

Once the two get upstairs, Chris stops. “Let me just make some things clear,” he says in a hushed tone. “The Total Drama executive team is not responsible for any injuries, illnesses, or decapitations that may occur as a result of tonight. And besides, that keg is filled to the brim with non-alcoholic beer, so these kids don’t know what’s about to hit ‘em. Placebo effect, man!”

“Okay, there’s something reeeeally off about this,” says Frances back downstairs. “But I guess—”

A loud shriek is heard, and she glances over at Rhett and Roald who are already shirtless.

“My buddy Rhett’s about to do a KEG STAND!” yells Roald. “Aight Cheeses, let’s cheer him on!”

“I actually think I might’ve died during that race and gone to purgatory,” says Whitney.

“I’m a pro at chuggin’ down fluids,” boasts Rhett. “Once I even drank gasoline! Didn’t taste too great, but it went down nice n’ smooth, and how many dudes can say they done that?”

“Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!” cheers Roald, holding up Rhett’s legs as he guzzles down the non-alcoholic beer. “C’mon, pals, cheer with me! Chug! Chug! Chug!”

Rhett utters a primal roar as he continues to chug the beer. Suvir looks at him with wide eyes, but Roald grins and keeps cheering. Suvir then slowly tries to back away towards the door and bumps into Frances.

“Whoa! Sorry!” he yelps.

“Oh, hey,” says Frances, who has her notepad out. “All good. You trying to escape too?”

“Yeah, there’s bad juju in there!” says Suvir. “Gotta go outside and take a breather, you wanna come?”

Frances nods, and the two walk out the door and onto the porch, where they take a seat on the doorstep.

“Okay, I’m trying to formulate a piece right now, specifically one about our teammates,” says Frances. “They’re really something else. It’s a journalist’s paradise in there.”

“Yeah, it’s intense!” says Suvir, his eyes widening. “Here’s what I think so far: everyone else is a paid actor and they’re observing me from afar and trying to trap me in their world, like that one movie I saw! Also, there’s no way everyone else is fully human. Short guy on our team? I bet he’s a genetically modified penguin. And those other two girls are definitely a wolf and an ostrich, right?!”

Frances’s mouth is hanging slightly ajar like a fish. “I…” she begins. “I don’t think I’ve ever gotten this much juicy material in one sitting before.”

“Whooo boy, there’s plenty more where that came from!” says Suvir. “Like, I’m pretty sure Chris McLean is a lizard person. Have you seen his weirdly smooth face and that evil grin? He totally got Slowtoxed up to hide his scales!”

“We’re really getting somewhere here,” says Frances, who's now beaming. “Okay, here’s my plan. I’m trying to lay low for these first few days and gather intel. Whitney and those two messy actress chicks were arguing earlier, right? Kept my lips super zipped.”

“That’s what you gotta do!” gasps Suvir. “Otherwise they’ll rope you into their weird cult!”

“Exaaaactly. Dude, you have some great ideas,” says Frances. “Want to be my associate editor?”

“Heck yeah, I do! You’re the only one with any common sense around here,” says Suvir, and the two high-five.

“This is exactly what I had hoped for!” says Frances in the confessional. “All afternoon, I was pretty nervous about having to do this alone, but Suvir is a perfect partner in crime. Sure, his methods of thinking are… unorthodox, but journalism in the modern era thrives on exaggeration. Just look at BumbleFeed.”

Back in the living room, Rhett is in the midst of yet another (or potentially still the first) keg stand, while Roald continues to cheer and Whitney looks on in horror.

“Chug! Chug! Chug!” whoops Roald, and Rhett grunts again.

The others glance at him as his legs start to wobble until he suddenly collapses onto the ground, unconscious. A loud dinging sound is heard, and the two team logos appear on the top of the screen with a “7” next to the Cheeses and an “8” next to the Wildcats.

Nobody says anything for a bit until a door swings open upstairs. Sure enough, only seconds later, Chris walks down with a cup of coffee.

“The hell is he doing here?” grumbles Kaitlin, who’s apparently conscious again.

“I see we’ve had our first victim!” laughs Chris. “You guys didn’t really think I’d let you off the hook that easy, did you? Nope, this is our first challenge!”

“So you’re telling us that five-mile ass haul was for nothing, dude?” asks Christian. “...Sick.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re familiar with Total Drama’s iconic first season, then you’re familiar with the Awake-A-Thon,” says Chris, and most of the contestants groan. “The goal is simple, stay awake as long as you can, and whoever can dodge sleeping for the longest wins the challenge for their team! We figured the running, the partying, and the beer would just loosen you guys up a bit, and it sure has! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an episode of Catching Up With the Carcrashians to finish, so I’ll be upstairs. Nighty-night!” He smiles smugly, then leaves.

Artemis attempts to drag Rhett’s unconscious body onto the couch. “There, there,” she says. “You’ll be back and ruggedly handsome as ever in just a few.”

“Whoa, guys, Rhett went down swingin’!” says Roald. “I gotta break his record, someone hold me up!”

“Wait, no, that’s the worst idea you could possibly—” shouts Whitney.

Kingsley rushes over, grabs his legs, and Roald starts to chug. After not even five seconds, he falls backwards onto Kingsley and is knocked out cold.

“Had to snatch that opportunity,” says Kingsley, crawling out from under the fainted Roald. “Sorry not sorry!”

Over by the kitchen, the three non-Frances female members of the Artisanal Cheeses are standing awkwardly by each other and all seemingly avoiding a conversation.

“Okay, I don’t really want to engage with you two again, but we do have to stick together,” says Whitney, who’s reading a fashion magazine.

“Yeah, half our guys are down for the count, huh?” a once-again-drunk Kaitlin says. “Pfft. Pathetic. You’d think they could hold their beer better.”

“I’m not drinking tonight,” shrugs Artemis. “Gotta keep the mind and body fresh.”

“This party’s pretty lame anyway,” says Kaitlin. “Nothing interesting! No studs, nothing illegal going on, so I don’t care.”

“Mm, it certainly needs some spicing up,” says Artemis. “Guess I’ll take off my bra, blast my nips—”

“Okay, let’s hold off on that,” says Kaitlin. “Let’s just try to look cool, let the people come to us, you know?”

“I suppose,” responds Artemis, then she jerks her head violently and gasps. “Ooooh, hottie alert at 11 o’clock.”

Graham, holding the Wildcats’ cup of coffee, awkwardly walks up to Whitney as Kaitlin tries to avert her eyes and Artemis stares him down.

“Hey,” he says to Whitney. “I needed to get away from it all, you know?”

“Yeah, I do know,” she responds, and starts to walk in the opposite direction.

Graham starts to follow her as she keeps walking. “I’m sorry, I really just wanted to chat!” he calls out. “Shoot the breeze, you know?”

“Listen, dude, have we even talked before? Aren’t you on the other team?” Whitney asks skeptically.

“You do know me… kinda,” he says, blushing. “Earlier you asked me what was wrong with my mustache, then said I looked like an octogenarian. I wouldn’t forget that.”

“That’s an issue, because I already did forget it,” says Whitney. “I’m sorry, I’m not really gaining anything from this conversation.”

“Oh, I-I-I understand!” stutters Graham. “I guess I’ll go talk with… my teammates.” He winces. “See you around, I suppose?”

Whitney grunts slightly, then walks towards the bathroom. Suddenly, the bathroom door bursts open and a curtain of smoke comes billowing out. Boris, fully nude except for a towel wrapped around his waist, steps out and breathes a satisfied sigh.

“Ah, that was refreshing!” he proclaims. “My body has been given a 1up!”

As Whitney takes one look at the near-nude Boris, her eyes widen and she collapses onto the ground. A nearby Graham facepalms and walks away.

“Do I have a crush on Whitney?” he asks himself in the confessional. “Well, it’d be silly to say yes since I’ve known her for less than 12 hours and have traded maybe five sentences with her, but she’s wonderful! I know I come off as some sort of weirdo when I talk to her, so maybe I’ll just keep my mouth shut and write some poetry. She’s so beautiful in the abstract…”

The four female Killer Wildcats are visiting on the couch, each holding a red cup filled to the brim with beer.

“So guys, tell me about yourselves,” says Isabella. “Any boys here you think are cute?”

“Um, I actually have a boyfriend,” says Erica.

“Do you?!” exclaims Isabella, touching Erica’s shoulder. “That’s soooo romantic! Have you guys been dating for like five years? Did he get you a promise ring?”

Erica looks at Isabella, confused. “We’ve been dating for a year and a half. Ugh, he’s such a sweetie. I never really thought I was into guys like him, but I guess… I am.”

“Wow, a year and a half?” gasps Rachel. “That’s intense! I’m more of a one-to-two-month type of gal.”

“Oh, I totally get it,” says Erica. “I know tons of girls like that. Nothing but respect.”

“Mmmm, good,” nods Rachel. “I just… don’t like to be tied down, you know? I prefer to drift along with the wind. And usually I date angsty musicians, like that Miles guy.”

“Ew, you’re into Miles?” says Isabella. “He’s… weird.”

“Noooo, I never said I was INTO him, I just have experience with a lot of boys like that,” says Rachel. “They’re sweet. Misguided, but sweet.”

“Okay, I think that Christian guy is suuuuper cute,” chirps Isabella.

“Christian, really? He’s one of those classic athletic boys,” says Erica. “See, that’s the type of guy I used to like, but… not anymore.”

“So you guys all have experience, I take it?” Kelsey pipes in. “Ha, I don’t. Sometimes I wish I could go out there and date, but I do so much with my free time already. It’d be the straw that broke the camel’s back for sure.”

“You poor soul,” says Rachel. “Having someone to take in the regal majesty of the world with is always worth it.”

“Okay, like, no need to feel sorry for me,” laughs Kelsey. “It's a conscious choice. I’ll go to club formals with guys, but otherwise I wouldn’t want to put anyone through… me.”

“Yeah, drinking isn’t my favorite because it makes my emotions just spill out,” says Kelsey. “But I guess there are worse ways I could be spending my time. Like, I could be having a full-on sobbing breakdown in the library at 3:30 in the afternoon again.” She blinks. “Did I say again? I didn’t mean again. I meant… wow, that’d be a lot worse than getting drunk, wouldn’t it?”

“Kelsey, uh…” says Isabella. “I just wanted to know if you thought any boys here were cute. Didn’t want to talk about all those emotions and stuff.”

Kelsey looks at Isabella with an eyebrow raised, then Rachel pipes up. “Who wants to see my tattoos?” Rachel rolls up her jacket sleeve and shows off a tattoo of a giant purple feather on her shoulder. “I got this one last year. I just think feathers and I have so many similarities… floating around aimlessly, but carrying this serene beauty as well.”

“Love it,” says Kelsey dryly. “I’m sorry, uh… yeah, those are some cool tattoos, Rach.”

“Great! I just want us all to be as happy as possible,” says Isabella. “Don’t worry about boys, they’re not worth you. You’re so gorgeous.”

“...You two want to go for a walk or something?” Erica asks, unsubtly eyeing Rachel and Kelsey. The two nod, and begin to stand up.

“Wait! Guys!” says Isabella, rushing over to the TV. “Check out this karaoke! Want to do a round?”

Rachel is about to say something until Isabella turns on the machine, a ‘70s Europop number starts playing, and she begins to belt. “OHHHHHHH, YOOOOOOU CAN DAAAAAANCE—”

The other three leave quickly, and Isabella continues to sing. A wasted Christian carrying three empty red cups staggers up to her, and she turns around and gasps.

“Christian! Oh no, did you hear my singing?!” she yelps.

“Yeahhhhh baby, I did,” he says. “Yo, you and me, let’s leave this room. C’mon baby, let’s go get to know each other upstairs.”

Isabella’s face turns red and she nods excitedly. “Okay!”

“Hahahahaha,” says Christian in the confessional. “She’s hot, man.”

He puts his arm around her, and the two dart upstairs and open up a random door. To their shock, the room is already occupied… by Chris McLean, wearing a red velvet bathrobe and watching TV, and Chef, who’s in nothing but boxers and reading his mystery novel.

“HEY!” yells Chris, jumping up. “This is a contestant-free zone!”

Christian rapidly closes the door and the two start hyperventilating. “Uhhh, let’s relocate,” he says.

“I’m so glad to see you! I love my girl gang and all, but they’re kinda… downers,” says Isabella. “They gotta learn to appreciate la dolce vita, you know? That’s my motto!”

“Yeah, life, it’s sweet…” slurs Christian. “Super sweet. Hey, y’know what else is sweet? You.” She blushes again. “Wanna make out or something?”

“Hahaha, of course I do!” purrs Isabella.

The two open up another door, this one to an empty room, and instantly shut it. Seconds later, Miles trudges up the stairs with his guitar and opens up the same door. He sees the two canoodling on the bed, turns around with a look of terror, then slams the door shut.

“Of course there’s already love connections forming on my team…” says Miles. “I just don’t understand why it happens to everyone except me. The worst thing is, walking in on that reminded me of the time my brother walked in on me and Jackie three years ago in the back seat of my dad’s Prius… I’ll never have memories that precious again.”

Miles starts to walk back down the stairs, and runs into the other three girls from his team opening the door up from outside and walking in.

“Oh, it’s Miles,” says Rachel, smiling slightly. “Hi! Do you want to see my tattoo? I think if my whole team sees it, we’ll become harmonized.”

She lifts up her jacket sleeve again and shows Miles her feather tattoo. He stares at it, his eyes begin to water, then he gulps.

“I’m, uh, gonna go to sleep,” he says. “It’s fine if we lose… Just vote me out or something.” He walks away and slumps onto the ground.

Erica looks like she’s about to say something, but Kelsey interrupts. “You know, it’s cool. We still have seven… right?”

“Two of them are upstairs, exploring each other,” says Rachel cheerfully.

Kingsley then walks up to the three in a velvet purple robe that’s not too different from Chris’s and a pair of bunny slippers.

“Hey babes, I need my beauty sleep,” he yawns. “Nothing personal! Y’all are strong, you got this. Oh, and Graham’s out cold over there.” He points in a vague direction.

“This is totally fine,” says Erica, who doesn’t look fine. “If they’re… doing it, they’ll be up for a while.”

Rachel walks up to the snoring Graham, waves her hand in his face, and gets no response. She shrugs and lies down on the couch right next to him.

“I’ve heard that if you, like, sleep next to someone, there’s a chance you’ll have the same dreams!” she says, before yawning and closing her eyes.

“Are they seriously just letting us lose?” Kelsey asks. “I can’t belie… wait, I guess I’m a little tired too.”

“Sadly, I didn’t share any dreams with Graham, but he was snoring suuuper loud,” states Rachel. “I got a hint of his breath, and it smelled like those hard candies the elderly keep in decorative tins. I think his whole look is so beautifully postmodern.”

Right outside, Suvir and Frances are watching the drama unfold from the front porch window.

“Whoa, this is waaaay too suspicious!” Suvir says. “They’ve gotta be making some sort of nefarious plot to throw the challenge!”

“Yeah, you’re right,” gasps Frances. “Astute observation. I mean, I’m fine with winning, but this kinda cheapens it, huh?”

“It’s all good, I’m gonna win fair and square! I ain’t trying to sleep at ALL tonight!” says Suvir. “My average is three hours, but lately I’ve been pulling two and a half.”

Frances nods. “Hmm, I see. I assume it’s because you’re too wary of potential threats to be unconscious during the most crucial moments of the night?”

“You got it!” says Suvir. “I mean, I used to sleep like a dang baby. That was back when I was younger and more optimistic, and my mind hadn’t been expanded. It was only recently when I—” He turns over to look at Frances, and she’s asleep sitting up. “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Many hours later, it’s sunrise. An undead-looking Chris, still in his velvet robe, walks downstairs with a steaming cup of coffee to see most contestants asleep in various corners of the room.

“You’re still up?!” asks Chris, looking at Artemis who’s sitting perfectly still right next to a passed-out Kaitlin.

“Sure I am,” she shrugs. “A true actress never succumbs to the pressure of the elements.”

“Okay, well…” he continues, walking to the door. “All the Wildcats are down, I think? I don’t want to venture into that room upstairs, I think everyone knows what I’m talking about.” He opens the door to see Suvir, who’s shivering in fear and right next to the still-asleep Frances. “Whoa! Dude! You’re awake too?”

“Yeah, man, how could I not be?!” he answers. “Franny’s incapacitated! The pod people got her!”

Chris nudges Frances with his foot, and she stirs a little bit. “Nah, she’s fine,” he says, and he takes out a megaphone from his back pocket. “Prepare your ears!”

Minutes later, everyone is back in the common room of the director’s pad, looking very tired and grumpy and some even rubbing their ears in pain.

“Well, I don’t know how you guys did it, but Cheeses,” announces Chris. “You win our very first challenge!” The Artisanal Cheeses erupt into cheers. “Head back to your dorm, you’re safe tonight.”

As the Cheeses walk away, Roald approaches Boris. “Hey, buddy! I see you did pretty well last night,” he says.

“Why yes, I did,” says Boris. “I was in the midst of a very important anime! It was only my 17th time watching it, I had no time for sleep!”

“Haha, anime, cool and stuff!” says Roald. “Hey, listen. Y’wanna go to the gym with me tomorrow?” Boris looks at him, stone-faced. “C’mon! It’ll be a great time!” Boris continues to say nothing. “Uhhhh, maybe you’ll be able to beat up that preppy guy!”

“Fine! I am in,” says Boris. “But only this once. If I suffer any physical mishaps, I will never utter a word to you again.”

“Heh, that’s totally fine with me, bro!” says Roald. “Lezzdothis!”

“On the other hand…” continues Chris, standing by the losing team. “Wildcats, you’re not looking too killer tonight. Vote someone out relatively soon, then meet me at the bandshell by the water!”

Most of the Killer Wildcats gulp. “I mean, we tried… kinda,” shrugs Kelsey.

“I’m not surprised we won the challenge,” says Artemis frankly. “I may or may not have been on stimulants all night. What? It’s method acting.”

The atmosphere is tense in the Wildcats’ cabin, as everyone seems to be dodging the elephant in the room. Miles is sitting on his bed, tuning his guitar and repeatedly sighing.

“Hey man, stop playing. I’m trying to concentrate,” says Christian.

“I would if someone else asked me to, but as it stands, no,” retorts Miles. “Go hang out with your new girlfriend if it bothers you so much…”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, how’d you know about that?!” Christian exclaims. “I mean, it’s good that you do. It was some quality puss. But that was confidential!”

“It was written in the stars from the start,” says Graham. “Your personalities melded so naturally, and so…”

“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” Christian raises an eyebrow. “You wanna go, Abe Lincoln?”

“I wasn’t trying to insult you at all!” Graham says, shaking his head. “Plus, Abe Lincoln didn’t have a mustache, right?”

“Man, I’m outta here, you guys are the worst,” says Christian, taking out his vape and walking to the girls’ room.

“You know, I’d vote him out, but he’s nice to look at,” says Kingsley from the bed, taking out an earbud. “Plus, like—”

Kingsley is interrupted by Christian coming back into the room, this time with his arms around Isabella.

“Hello!” says Isabella happily. “Oh wow, Kingsley, you’re really working that pose.” She pulls out her phone and snaps a photo of him lying near-motionless on his bed. “Wait, where’s my sisterhood?”

Right on cue, the three remaining girls walk into the room. “We’re strategizing!” says Rachel, flashing a peace sign.

“Rachel, don’t SAY that,” hisses Erica.

“I mean, it’s true, is it not?” says Kelsey. “We’re going to have to vote out somebody. I’m personally undecided, but if you guys have any compelling arguments, hit me.”

Isabella frowns. “Can’t we just vote for Chris or something? That’d be funny! I don’t like drama.”

“Kelsey, I’ve got an argument,” says Erica. “It requires some privacy, of course.” The three girls leave the room.

An awkward silence ensues, and after a few seconds Miles starts tuning his guitar again. Christian shouts several bleeped profanities.

“I can’t in good conscience vote for anyone else except that turd Christian…” mutters Miles. “He reminds me deeply of the man my ex cheated on me with… Just some blonde slimeball who thinks he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.”

“I don’t want to vote for anyone,” says Isabella. “They’re all so sweet. I mean, most of them are… Graham and Miles kinda make me uncomfortable. They’re always talking about their feelings and stuff, and I thought guys were a lot more chill than that?”

“Hey fans, welcome back to another installment of ‘What Is She Wearing?,’” says Kingsley in the confessional. “Today’s victim? Isabella. What is she wearing? A plain black long-sleeved crop top, isn’t that a little impractical? And those grimy blue jeans? Horrendous. Ugh, she’s like the worst local I’ve ever met. Soooo yeah, I’m voting for her.”

Rachel is intensely eyeing the voting ballot. “Wow, this is so cool,” she says. “I wonder what it’s made out of? Recycled paper? If so, Chris, you have my respect.”

Night falls, and Chris meets the Killer Wildcats at the elimination ceremony, this season taking place at a large bandshell on a rocky outcropping overlooking the lake.

“Well, here we are,” he says. “Now, I’m not going to critique your skills just yet, but… come on, guys, that was pathetic. I mean, seriously?! You lost to the team that had two guys pass out within seconds? Anyway, let’s get right to it, huh? This time around we’re back to marshmallows, and that’s not because our budget wouldn’t allow for anything else. Trust me, I just like the nostalgia. But the rules are pretty simple: the person who does not receive a marshmallow has to walk down the Beach Trail of Shame, catch the Yacht of Losers, and fade back into irrelevancy. Oh, and you can’t come back, EVER.”

“With all due respect, Chris, can we hurry this up?” asks Kelsey. “I’ve got a Skype interview with my advisor in…” She checks her phone. “15.”

“Gosh! Fine!” says Chris. “You know, Kelsey, I’d eject you just for that, but unfortunately you didn’t get any votes. Marshmallows for you, Erica, Kingsley, and Graham!”

The four catch their tossed marshmallows, and Kingsley swallows his whole.

“Rachel and Christian, don’t ask me how, but you’re safe as well,” says Chris.

As the two grab their respective marshmallows, Miles and Isabella share a glance. Miles weakly sighs, while Isabella looks slightly terrified but is still grinning wide.

“Lady and gentleman,” says Chris. “There’s one marshmallow left on this plate. Miles, I think your fashion sense alone is grounds for an elimination, and Isabella… maybe you were too happy? Heck if I know. The final marshmallow goes to…”


Isabella stands up. “Wait, what? Me?” she says in shock. “Aw, you guys… I’m sorry if I did anything wrong.”

“Yeah, c’mon, this is BS!” says Christian. “Psst, babe, I know you gotta bounce and all, but one more kiss?”

“Uhhhhh,” she says, sweating. “Sorry, that was just a casual affair. It was really fun though!”

“I’m dreadfully confused as to why any of that happened, but regardless, I hope your life is fruitful!” says Graham, extending his arm for her to shake.

Isabella looks at Graham and shivers, then walks over to her female teammates. “I’ll never forget my girl squad,” she says.

“Bye,” says Erica curtly.

“Um…” continues Isabella. “One last selfie with everyone before I go? You guys can all get in… I guess! Even Chris, if you want!”

“Nah, I’d rather n—” begins Chris, but Isabella rushes up right next to him with her phone out. The majority of the other Killer Wildcats crowd in behind Chris, and Isabella takes about 10 selfies, then stuffs her phone back in her pocket while smiling wide.

“That was so presh,” she says, admiring her photo as she walks to the Yacht of Losers and begins to board. “See you later, everyone!”

The boat sails away as the Killer Wildcats walk back to their dorm room, most of them with relatively indifferent facial expressions.

“I know Isabella seemed all nice and sweet and everything,” says Erica. “But I didn’t buy that for one second. She’s just like the girls I used to be best friends with in high school, all goody-goody to your face but vapid and superficial and obsessed with the dumbest things. I’ve moved past that point in my life, and she was dragging me down. She had to go. One more thing? Christian was waaaaay too good for her.” She swoons. “Don’t tell my boyfriend!”

“Wow, uh…” says Chris, closing out the episode with Chef by the lake. “Chick’s got some baggage, huh? How will the Killer Wildcats deal with the wrath of a frat boy? Will they manage to pull it together for the next challenge? Will the Artisanal Cheeses recover from their non-alcoholic beer-induced hangover? Find out next time on—”

“Uhh…” says Chef, looking down at the ground.

“What now?!” snaps Chris. “Ruined my outro!”

“You, um, never specifically told me to get non-alcoholic beer,” says Chef. Chris looks at him in horror. "I'm sorry, I was jus' all engrossed in that mystery book, and..."

Chris stares at Chef, a gigantic fake smile plastered on his face. “Let’s talk about this later tonight, shall we?” he says through gritted teeth. “Tune in next time on Total Drama Lakeside, and just so you all know, all 16 of our contestants are well over 21! See ya later!”

Chapter 3 - Chris and Chef's Eggscellent Adventure

“Last time on Total Drama Lakeside!” begins Chris. “The contestants were thrust into their first challenge and had a pretty awesome time. I made them run a couple miles for no reason at all, then Chef and I got a keg of what I THOUGHT was non-alcoholic beer and let the kids run wild in the directors’ pad! I’m pleasantly surprised too, since they didn’t end up trashing any of my valuables. Maybe older, more mature casts are the way to go. Anyway, the Cheeses had a pretty embarrassing showing when Rhett and Roald passed out almost immediately, then the others kept falling down one-by-one… except for unexpected challenge beast Suvir. Thanks to his refusal to fall asleep, and the Wildcats throwing in the towel for some reason, the Cheeses won the first challenge! The Wildcats seemed to have some emotional baggage, or at least Erica did, as shown by her brutal booting of fan-favorite Isabella. These guys are showing no mercy, and I can’t imagine certain teammates of hers will be too happy. So what’s going to happen this time? There’s only one way to find out. Tune in right now on Total… Drama… Lakeside!”

Over in the Killer Wildcats’ dorm, the team members attempt to get out of bed as the sun rises.

“Man, that was lame,” says Christian, yawning and putting on his polo shirt. “Your boy got zero sleep. I miss Isabella already.”

“Yeah, um, I don’t,” murmurs Kingsley. “Her voice was really taxing on my eardrums.”

“Her voice? You kidding me?” says Christian. “It was like angels singing sweet nothings into my ear. Really hot angels.”

“I do hope you’ll appreciate the move in a strategic sense,” says Graham, who is applying mustache oil. “You and Isabella were a power couple, it was clear as day.”

“Power couple? Nah, I voted for her because she was annoying,” says Kingsley. Christian rolls his eyes.

“Did I have any part in voting Isabella? Hell no,” says Christian. “I voted for that emo loser. And now Mustachio is saying we were a ‘power couple’ and that it was strategy or whatever, but I don’t really care about strategy. I just thought she was hot.”

“The mood seems strangely light this morning,” says Graham. “That’s it! Where’s Miles?”

“Maybe off getting therapy, like she desperately needs?” suggests Kingsley.

Right outside the Wildcats’ dorm room, the female teammates are sitting in a circle in the grass and doing yoga, with Rachel leading the others.

“Thank you all for joining me on my morning routine,” says Rachel lightly. “I feel like last night was filled with negative energy, and this’ll quench that!”

She looks at Miles, who is lying face-down in the grass a few feet away and softly moaning.

“He’s been doing that for 20 minutes,” says Kelsey. “I feel like we should stage an intervention.”

“Yeah, it’s really messing with my positive energy,” adds Erica. “But also, Isabella’s gone! That’s positive!”

Kelsey nods apprehensively. “I actually think she brought more positive energy than the rest of us combined. But then again, talking to her was like talking to a cardboard box, so I mean...”

“Whatever, you guys know that was all fake,” says Erica. “Nobody’s actually that nice. Let’s focus on the yoga.”

Miles suddenly stirs a bit, then slowly gets up and sits down criss-cross applesauce next to Rachel.

“You’re alive!” says Rachel gleefully. “I knew the energy would strike your inner sanctum!”

“Yeah, barely,” mumbles Miles. “Thanks for sparing me last night, you guys… I really do appreciate it.”

“I mean, Isabella was far worse than you, so you got lucky, I guess!” says Erica, smiling.

“Don’t listen to her, Miles, you’re just as integral to the team as the rest of us,” says Kelsey. She does a stretch and her back cracks very loudly. “Jeez, okay, maybe the rest of us minus me.” She laughs nervously.

“Yesterday’s challenge… was rough,” says an exhausted-looking Kelsey. “The yoga isn’t helping, but I mean, I’ve certainly gone through worse. Last year, my friends and I did a fundraiser where we had to dance for 34 hours straight. Things got pretty ugly towards the end… Emma, I’m sorry I fell on you and ruptured your spleen.”

Erica begins to walk towards the door to the dorm and is quickly intercepted by Kingsley, who greets her with a cheerful wave.

“Hey, mom!” he says.

“Oh my god, you scared me!” Erica gasps. “What do you want?”

“I’m, like, beyond happy you got rid of Isabella last night,” says Kingsley. “She was the wooooorst. So listen here. I think you’re by far the fiercest bish in the competish. You and I could make a real hot power duo. What do you think?”

“Hmmm…” says Erica. “That sounds really good!”

“Really? Love it!” squeals Kingsley. “Like, you can still spend time with your ladies and all, but just know I’m gonna be super loyal. You deserve it, kween.”

“Okay, cool, now I gotta go use the bathr—” says Erica.

“And guess what? I’ve got some real good plans on who we should target first,” winks Kingsley. “But I’ll keep that on the DL for now.”

“Sounds great!” says Erica, wearing her signature wide grin. “Now I really gotta go use the bathroom.”

“I don’t like that Kingsley guy,” grumbles Erica. “He’s totally fake. I mean, who just goes up to someone and asks them to be in an alliance? There’s nothing subtle about that. But if it advances me in the game, then I guess he’s my newest ally!”

“Storytime!” chirps Kingsley. “My dream sidekick, Erica, is sooooo pumped to be in an alliance with me! I just can’t believe it, today is going amazingly. She and I are going to slay these Beckys.”

Meanwhile, the Artisanal Cheeses are (mostly) sound asleep. After a prolonged period of silence, the front door swings open and an extremely sweaty Roald and Boris slump onto the ground on top of each other.

“Darg blargit!!!” yells Roald. “That was a WORKOUT! My quads just grew quads!”

“That… was intensely awful!” bellows Boris in between heavy panting. “Why must you take me there for the second time in 12 hours?!!”

Roald laughs nervously, then stands up. “C’mon, big guy, we had so much fun!” he says. “Can’t you just feel the power approachin’ your loins?”

“You dunce, my loins are unchanged!” yells Boris. “Ah, wait, but not for long! I need to catch up on the past 24 episodes of Ness Genesis Seraphine!” He sprints over to his bed and frantically opens his laptop.

“I still cannot understand why Roald is dragging me to the home of the Chads!” says Boris. “I do not feel any better. I feel like an elephant sat on me! All these advertisements saying you will become ‘fit’ and ‘healthy’ upon going to the gym are filthy lies, I say. Lies!”

Roald shrugs and walks over to his own bed, where he’s greeted by Rhett.

“Hey man, there y’ are!” Rhett says. “I been all alone all morn, I think Suvir’s out with that reporter chick! They’re probably doin’ stuff they shouldn’t be doin’!”

“Heh-heh, them? A couple? Man, I dunno!” says Roald. “But hey, Rhett-o, wanna come to the gym with us tonight?”

“Yeeeeeeee, course I do,” chuckles Rhett. “We can make it into some manly man bondin’!”

“What’s this about manly men and bonding?” says Artemis, who has suddenly appeared right next to the boys.

Rhett and Roald both jump slightly. “Where’d y’ come from?!” gasps Rhett.

Artemis shrugs. “I needed some entertainment. I want in on this bonding.”

“Hey, I see no problemo with that!” says Roald. “If our whole team gets swole, then we’ll be totally unstoppable! Catch my ice drift?”

“The gym? Well, you didn’t mention that,” says Artemis. “But I’ll come. I’m sure there will be an Adonis or two over there.”

“Nice try, bozos, but I’m not coming,” says Kaitlin, walking in. “I have more respectable things to do with my time.”

“Like try to gulp down your 13th beer of the morning?” says an all-too-familiar voice from the other room.

“Who said that?!” snaps Kaitlin. “I swear to god, Whitney, I’ll eat your babies for breakfast!”

“Right,” says Whitney, walking in. “This team bonding is working well.” Kaitlin grimaces at her.

“That Whitney thinks she’s so funny,” says Kaitlin angrily. “But I’ll show her, oh yes I will. Chris, can we have an acting challenge or something? Really feel like I’m gonna have to one-up this chick sooner than later.”

Outside, Chris’s voice blares on the loudspeaker. “Everyone, meet in the parking lot in five for our next challenge! Get ready for a thrilling, slightly bumpy bus ride!”

“Ohhhhh no,” whispers Suvir, who’s hiding in the bushes outside the Cheeses’ window with Frances. “Bus ride? Man, I don’t screw with public transportation! We could fall off a cliff, then we’d be sent plummeting into the earth’s nether-regions!”

“Calm down!” says Frances. “We’re gonna be fine. We just spent two hours sitting out here observing, let’s focus on that. Got any good data?”

“Yeah, I sure did!” says Suvir. “Didja see how Kaitlin was putting on that lipstick earlier? And how it was all sloppy and grossly applied?”

Frances shudders. “Unfortunately.”

“She was totally trying to hide her beak! She’s a bird-woman, I swear!” says Suvir.

“Hmmmm, I see where you’re coming from!” says Frances. “Now, I personally think she’s 100% human, but maybe she was raised by birds? How about that.”

“Oooooh, yeah, and maybe they fed her worms and junk and raised her as one of their own! That’d be spooky!” says Suvir.

“That would be spooky,” says Frances. “But it’d be thrilling! Would you pick up a newspaper with the headline ‘Controversial Reality Star Revealed To Be Bird-Woman?’ I know I would.”

“Hecks yeah, I would!” cheers Suvir. “The paper is the only wholesome news outlet left! It hasn’t been taken over by the Russians just yet!”

Frances grins wide. “Amazing,” she says. “Now, let’s… get to the challenge.”

“Chris said something about a bus ride, so I’ve narrowed it down to a few strong possibilities,” says Frances. “The bus ride IS the challenge, and he’s pulling another Awake-a-Thon on us. Or, knowing Chef’s driving skills, more like a Stay-Alive-a-Thon. The other possibility is that he’s taking us somewhere grotesque, like a gym or something. Let’s hope it’s the former.”

A giant, poorly-kept green bus with Chris McLean’s grinning face painted on the side haphazardly pulls out of the parking lot, rear-ending another car in the process, and jerks onto the road. Chef gulps from the driver’s seat.

“Hello, friends,” says Chris to the contestants, all sitting in seats in front of him. Nobody says anything. “Hmm, tough crowd this morning. Okay, I get it. Who wants to know where we’re going for today’s challenge?!” Still, nobody says anything. “Fiiiiiine. I’ll tell you anyway. We’re headed ten minutes northwest to the McLean Memorial Botanic Garden! Named after myself, of course.”

Chef snorts loudly from the driver’s seat. “Chris, don’t pull that sh—”

“Fine! It wasn’t named after me! How’d you know?!” pouts Chris. “It was this philanthropist guy, Brian McLean. No relation. He kicked the bucket a couple years back. The guy did all sorts of charity work, planting trees and feeding starving children and whatever, I think he ran for mayor or something and might’ve won. Pffft, lame if you ask me.”

“Wow, I’d take Brian over Chris any day,” whispers Kelsey. Rachel nods in agreement.

“I HEARD that!” scolds Chris. “Kelsey, you’re really pushing it lately. One more comment and you’re out of the challenge. Yeesh, you’re almost as bad as that British guy!”

Kelsey opens her mouth again, but then closes it and smiles politely.

“Yeah, maybe just shut up for now,” Erica says.

“Anyway, before that series of rude interjections, I was explaining the challenge,” continues Chris. “These gardens are… pretty big. Perfect size for a super duper scavenger hunt!”

“Scavenger hunt? I’ve always wanted to relive my preschool days,” says Whitney.

“WHOOOOOO! Let’s hunt those scavengers!” yells Roald, jumping up and down in his seat. Whitney takes an aspirin out from her pocket and swallows it.

Chris clears his throat. “I see we’ve got some… mixed reactions. But in any case, I figured I’d let you all acclimate to the lakeside surroundings by letting you wander around and search for magical rainbow eggs! There’s about 50 of ‘em hidden around the garden, and whichever team comes back with the most eggs in two hours wins the challenge.”

Frances raises her hand. “This challenge seems simple, deceptively so. Are there any obstacles, Chris? Any death traps we’ll have to navigate?”

“Come on, why would there be? It’s the second challenge,” says Chris. “Your true obstacles are… each other! Okay, we’re here, happy hunting or whatever.”

The bus pulls up to the parking lot, and as the doors swing open the contestants sprint out and into the massive garden.

“I finally realized why Roald is so infuriating,” says Whitney. “The pudgy body, the constant over-enthusiasm, the onslaught of puns… He’s related to my brother’s worst nightmare, Puck. They’re probably cousins or something. Good god, McLean, why would you do this to me?”

The Artisanal Cheeses are in a very reluctant team huddle right by the garden’s welcome center.

“Okay, Cheeses, I’m thinking we should split up for maximum efficiency,” says Frances. “Suvir and I will scan the outer areas of the garden.” She winks at Suvir.

“Why the hell are you always with that guy anyway?” asks Kaitlin. “You two banging or something?”

“Bangi—” begins Frances. “Huh? Yes, Kaitlin, we are. No, our strengths just complement each other well.”

“Whatever, I’ve got my gal pals who complement ME well,” says Kaitlin. “Come on, ladies. I heard the cafe has an open bar.” She walks away with Artemis and Whitney.

“Wait, the cafe?!” gasps Suvir. “Hey Franny, I’m heading there too. There’s mosquitoes all over the garden and I’m not trying to get malaria!”

“But my partn—” protests Frances. “Fine, I’ll get a sandwich.” She and Suvir follow the three.

“Aight, fellas,” says Rhett, once the majority of the team has left. “Manly man bondin’ time?!”

“Oh boy, you know it!” says Roald. “Wait! Let’s go to the gym! I bet they totally have eggs there!”

“The gym?!” grunts Boris. “You dullard, this is a botanical garden, there are no gyms anywhere near us! I am going to the Japanese garden, thank you very much.” He struts away.

“Looks like it’s jus’ you and me then, buddy,” says Rhett. “Don’ worry, we’ll find that gym!”

“Roald an’ I really know how to live it up!” whoops Rhett in the confessional. “It almost don’t even feel like Total Drama when I’m around him an’ the boys! Feels like one of my cousin’s barn parties!”

The Killer Wildcats are walking around the garden, some periodically stopping every few seconds to glare at each other.

Christian sighs loudly. “Man, this ain’t cutting it,” he says. “I’m out. Gonna go do some hunting by myself, y’know? Catch me later with all 50 eggs.” He makes a clicking noise, then leaves.

“Mmmmm, well, good riddance?” drawls Kingsley. “Erica, wanna go to the Japanese garden? There’s gotta be gold there.”

“I’m… Chinese,” says Erica flatly.

Kingsley gasps. “I did NOT mean it like that! Wig. No, I just thought it’d be a good place to hunt.”

Erica shrugs half-heartedly, then looks at Kingsley and beams wide as the two walk off.

“Well, I suppose it’s just us four, huh?” says Graham. “Great! If we put our minds together, we’ll be unstoppable!”

“I wouldn’t get your hopes up,” mutters Miles. “We lost last time.”

“Man, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today,” says Miles. “No matter how long I continue on in life without her, it doesn’t get any easier… Graham wants to be my friend or whatever, but look, I’ve seen this kind of thing before… He’s just pitying me. Everyone is.” He pulls out his vape and takes a drag.

“Okay, we did lose last time,” says Kelsey. “But let’s move on, huh? Failure is inevitable every once in a while, but when it becomes a pattern… yikes.”

Rachel gasps, and the three turn to her. “Oooooh, I found an egg already!” she coos, cradling a small blue egg in her hands.

Kelsey grabs it and examines it. “Uh, Rachel? I think this egg belongs to a bird.”

“Does it really?!” gasps Rachel. She takes it back and holds it closer to her ear. “Wait, now that you mention it I can hear tiny chirping! Awwww!”

“I didn’t think bird fetuses could chirp, but then again, I’m not a bio major,” says Kelsey.

“Ahhhh. Maybe the chirping was just in my soul,” says Rachel.

Miles looks at Graham and sighs his usual sigh. “The way she’s so aligned with nature reminds me of Jackie… She had three betta fish once and they all died within a week…” he whispers.

“Ah, yes,” says Graham. “It’s wonderful, huh? There’s so much natural beauty to be found around us.” He looks to the side and at a fairly average tree. “Like that tree… who knows what secrets it holds?” He steps closer to it and pulls something from a branch. “Apparently an egg!”

“Whoa, nice job Graham!” smiles Kelsey. “Let’s keep trucking, guys. These eggs won’t find themselves.” The four walk off.

“I’m growing to love my teammates!” says Graham in the confessional. “Well, most of them at least. I think we’ve made a splendid egg-gathering team, I already feel a lot more comfortable around them. Only one thing…” He blushes. “When should I tell them about my big crush on Whitney? I feel like they should know. Maybe they can help me out!”

“This egg and I are going to blossom together,” says Rachel, who has fashioned a pouch out of grass for her egg. “She’ll be our new mascot, representing our team’s rebirth! Last night we lost Isabella, so I’ll call her… Eggsabella! It’s perfect.”

The Artisanal Cheeses, or most of them, are pacing around the visitor center. Frances, Suvir, and Whitney are in what looks like the garden’s gift shop, rifling through the items for sale.

“Euch,” grunts Whitney, holding up a sweater with the garden’s logo emblazoned on it. “How could anyone purchase this? Horrendous.”

“Found one,” says Frances, holding up an egg. “Psst. Suvir. I’m going to try and do my first interview of the season. Want to be my cameraman?”

“Interview? With who?! We gotta keep searching, though!” pants Suvir.

“It’s fine,” says Frances, giving him her phone. “Artemis and Kaitlin have it covered.” She glances over to the cafe, where Artemis and Kaitlin look in the midst of a argument.

“Frances is GREAT, don’t get me wrong,” says Suvir. “She’s a totally cool alliance-mate! That is, if she’s not secretly conspiring against me. But anyway, she has to realize we’re in a competition, because if we lose, I’m 100% going home, and I’m NOT about to risk that! We don’t have time for interviews, man!”

Suvir reluctantly begins filming as Frances walks right up to Whitney, who looks at her dismissively.

“Good afternoon, everyone,” she says. “Frances Valdez here with the Total Drama Lakeside News. I know you’re all out there looking for hard-hitting journalism, and don’t worry, we’ve got that covered! Our first interviewee is… Whitney, my teammate! So Whitney, I was just wondering, how do you feel about this challenge?”

“No,” says Whitney.

A long silence ensues. “Uhhhh, okay, cool,” says Frances. “How did you feel about the last challenge? The one we won?”

“Glad we won,” says Whitney.

“Hmm, not getting much,” mutters Frances to herself. “Oh, I know. Different angle. Do you have a ‘special someone’ in this competition? The viewers want to know!”

Whitney takes one more look at Frances and walks out the door and into the gardens.

“...So, are you hungry? Kinda want to get that sandwich now,” says Frances, but she turns around and Suvir is already gone. She sighs.

“Well, that didn’t turn out as great as I had imagined,” says Frances. “Maybe that was a little much? Did I come on too strong? Should I ease them into my whole interview process? Hmmm, that’s a plan.”

In the cafe, Kaitlin and Artemis are still sitting at the bar, looking rather antsy.

“Do you see that egg? There is an egg RIGHT there,” says Artemis, pointing to an egg resting on the top of a large bottle of gin.

“Of course I see the goddamn egg, Artemis, do you think I magically lost my sight?” snaps Kaitlin. “Let’s just get a drink and get the egg.”

“Oh, I’m not getting a drink,” says Artemis. “I’ve already had three. Now I can’t remember the past 20 minutes.”

“You…” begins Kaitlin. “Jesus Christ. We’ve been sitting here arguing for the past hour.”

“Well, that doesn’t sound very productive,” says Artemis. “Why have we been arguing?”

“Just—just move past it, all right?” snarls Kaitlin. “I’m done with this. BARTENDER!”

A disgruntled-looking man with a bandana around his head, a beard, and voluminous blonde hair walks up from behind the kitchen.

“Ugh, what do you want? I was on break,” he says. “Understaffed piece of…”

“Listen, you see that gin over there? I’m not ordering it, in fact I hate gin. It’s disgusting. That’s beside the point. There’s an egg on that gin. Give it to us,” demands Kaitlin.

“Wait, who even are you?” says Smoothie Guy. “Not a fan of your attitude.”

“I’m not a fan of YOUR attitude,” says Kaitlin. “But I’ll let it slide for now."

"Listen, I’ll take a shot as well," adds Artemis. 

“A shot? Oh, come on, we have to focus!” says Kaitlin.

Smoothie Guy shrugs. “Sure, I’ll get you one. Free of charge. But only because you’re a fox,” he says. Artemis bats her eyelashes seductively.

“Her? A fox?! Wait, why don’t I get one?!” complains Kaitlin.

“Ew, you? You’re not a fox,” says Smoothie Guy. “You’re like… one of those giant prehistoric man-eating birds.”

“Okay, screw it, I’m out of here,” says Kaitlin. “Artemis, you can have your goddamn gin if you want.” She gets up and walks away.

Once she is gone, Artemis whispers, “Hmmm, looks like someone’s a little jealous.”

Smoothie Guy comes back with the shot, and Artemis downs it and immediately walks away as well, leaving the egg there. Once Smoothie Guy walks back into the kitchen muttering obscenities, Erica and Kingsley show up out of nowhere, sneak behind the bar, grab the egg, and run off.

“I don’t like Kaitlin,” says Artemis. “She’s a talentless hack, and she wishes she had the natural charisma and sensual charm that I do. We make a perfect pair.”

Erica and Kingsley, now with their grand total of one egg, are back to patrolling the outskirts of the garden.

“Mmmmm, girl, that was sneaky,” says Kingsley. “I cannot believe you spotted that egg. We’re on a roll!”

“Well, I wouldn’t say that,” says Erica. “We have one egg so far.”

“Psssh, whatever,” snorts Kingsley. “I bet the other team has zero. Hey, so wanna talk strategy?”

“When do I not want to talk strategy?” asks Erica excitedly.

“Hahahahaha!” chirps Kingsley. “Good one. So listen. How would you feel about making a huge power move tonight and targeting… Christian? Yeah, he and I seem like we’re buds, but he’s such a threat.”

Erica gasps. “Christian?!” she says. “Well, you’re not wrong… Plus, I can already sense he’s charming those other girls. I’m on board.”

“That’s what I like to hear!” says Kingsley. “You’re goooood.”

“I can already see it,” says Kingsley. “Erica and Kingsley, slaying the screen in the final two. The Total Drama franchise’s most adorable, charismatic, and plain fab final two in history! Wait, actually, Layla and Roz were pretty cute too… But they’ve got nothing on us. Christian, you’re going down.”

“Am I really targeting Christian?” asks Erica to herself. “Oh, no way. Kingsley thinks he and I are running things together, but really, what I’m trying to do is turn it around on HIM. The guy’s way too trusting, and at this point I’m starting to think he’s kinda stupid.”

In the outer limits of the Japanese garden, Christian is walking around with his headphones on, holding zero eggs.

“C’mon, man,” he says to himself. “Don’t get yourself down. Isabella was hot, sure, but plenty of other girls here are hot too. Erica’s pretty slammin, of course, even if she has a boyfriend already. Rachel’s probably great in the sack. Kelsey’s… fine, I guess. Those chicks on the other team are pretty hit-or-miss, though. Shit, the ratio’s off now.”

He walks up to a rock, lifts it up, and sees nothing but a worm crawling around underneath. He sighs and puts the rock back, then sifts around in some bushes and finds nothing.

“This is hard!” he sighs, as he takes out his e-cigarette and shakes it around. “Dammit, I’m outta juice too!”

“Serves you right…” says a familiar voice. “Nothing personnel, kid.”

Christian glances behind him, looking slightly scared. “Huh? What’s going on?”

“You fool…” says the voice. Boris then jumps out from behind a tree, shrieking loudly, and Christian just stands there and rolls his eyes.

“Bruh, really? You again?” says Christian. “I got no time for this. Wait actually, you got any eggs? I’ll trade up.”

Boris’s face turns extremely red. “I am NOT trading with you, you knave!” he booms. “I am challenging you to a duel, right here, right now. We are in the Japanese garden—thus, we will brawl like the days of feudal Japan!”

“Dude, I need what you’re smoking and I need it now,” says Christian. “Damn, I knew I should’ve gotten a new dealer.”

“Smoking?!” yells Boris. “No, a samurai’s mind and body must be in tip-top shape! No unlawful substances shall be involved in this duel! Just man versus man, to determine the ultimate Chad!”

“Ohhhhh,” says Christian. “So that’s what this is about. I still don’t know what all this Chad stuff is, bro.”

“Of course you do not!” says Boris. “Typical Chad, so self-centered he does not even realize the greater societal implications of his wrongdoings!”

Christian yawns and takes out his headphones again. “Listen, can we make this quick? I was right in the middle of a good verse.”

Boris stares intensely into Christian’s eyes, breathes in deeply, and begins charging forward. Christian steps out of the way, only inches to the right, and Boris trips over a root and falls face-first into the sand. Christian shrugs, then puts on his headphones and walks away.

“Yo, I’m actually kinda glad I got out of that situation,” says Christian. “Boris is a dork, sure, but I think all those gym trips have been paying off. Guy’s looking kinda swole. Scary stuff.”

“Blech!” says Boris, whose face is covered in sand. “What a coward he is. I would rather spend the rest of my days on a treadmill with Roald shouting motivational phrases at me than say a single word to that clod again!”

The majority of the Killer Wildcats are in an area of the garden featuring picnic tables and rose bushes, sitting down for a break.

“Okay, I get the challenges are going to be hard, but really, this hard?” asks Kelsey. “We have one egg and time’s almost up.”

“Hey, look on the bright side!” says Graham. “One egg has indeed been found.”

“Yeah, that’s great, but I’m sure the other team has like twenty…” grumbles Miles.

“Guys?” says Rachel. “I hate to correct you, but we’ve gotten two eggs! Eggsabella is just as valid as the other one.”

“That’s right, how could we forget,” says Kelsey dryly. “What’s she saying?”

Rachel holds the bird’s egg up to her ear and thinks for a moment. “She’s saying… Oh, that’s rude! Wow, I didn’t realize she had a tongue like that…”

“Jackie had a tongue like that,” whispers Miles to Graham. “And I mean literally. Like, you should’ve seen her go d—”

“...Miles, that is MORE than enough,” says Kelsey, cutting him off.

Graham stands up and clears his throat. “Okay, well, Kelsey and I are going to go search elsewhere. Divide and conquer, huh? I wish you two luck in your endeavors!”

The two of them walk away, Kelsey giving Graham a discreet thumbs-up after they’re gone.

“Kelsey is the perfect first person to talk to about multiple issues that’ve been bugging me lately,” says Graham. “She reminds me so much of my college friends! Just a great, compassionate person. I’m sure she’s had past loves just like Whitney… or Jackie.”

“Okay, listen,” says Graham. “I hold Miles near and dear to my heart, but this is getting ridiculous. Should we set him and Rachel up?”

“Him and Rachel?!” gasps Kelsey. “I mean, might be nice in theory, but she’s definitely not interested. Plus, I feel like Miles is waaaay too preoccupied.”

“Are you sure?” says Graham. “I suppose it’s just the hopeless romantic side of me.”

“Awww,” says Kelsey. “I mean, I don’t know. Weirder things have happened.”

Graham starts to blush and fumble with his hands. “Speaking of, uh, romance,” he says. “What do you think about Whitney?”

“Whitney?” asks Kelsey. “On the other team? Don’t you think she’s kind of… off-putting?”

“Off-putting? Not at all!” protests Graham. “What makes you say that?”

“I mean, she just seems like she’s got a stick up her butt 24/7,” says Kelsey. “And if I’m saying that, you know it’s bad.” She laughs.

“Oh,” says Graham. “Okay, it’s fine. Forget I ever said anything.”

Kelsey looks at him, confused. “Uh, let’s keep searching?” she offers.

The two walk off into the distance, looking in the bushes for eggs on the way.

“Poor Graham,” laughs Kelsey. “Guy’s hilarious. He’s obviously into Whitney, now that I think about it, and unfortunately I can relate. I’ve had plenty of crushes from afar on really disgusting dudes. Like Dylan from Zeta Beta Tau, who I thought was cute because he cared about international politics, but then I went to formal with him and he—jeez, no, I’ve already said too much.”

“Can’t believe they left…” mutters Miles, now sitting at the table with only Rachel.

“Yeah, bummer, huh?” says Rachel. “But it’s fine with me. This spot is gorgeous, no? Just feel that light breeze against your cheeks.”

Miles’s mouth widens slightly as he takes a notepad out of his overall pocket and starts jotting things down. “Keep saying stuff like that,” he says.

“Huh?” Rachel asks. “About the breeze against my cheeks?”

“No, just,” says Miles. “All that pretty nature stuff. You seem like the perfect muse…”

Rachel frowns slightly. “That might be an issue, since I also needed a muse but you’re a little too gloomy for me,” she says. “But okay. The flowers over there are just so…”

Miles starts to grin as he starts frantically writing down Rachel’s thoughts.

Elsewhere in the garden, Christian is continuing to wander around aimlessly until he bumps into Erica and Kingsley, seemingly in the midst of scheming.

“Yo! Teamies!” says Christian, waving. “What’s up? Found any eggs?”

“Um, yeah, we’ve found one,” says Kingsley flatly. “I assume you haven’t?”

“Nah bro, I’m not doing too hot today,” says Christian. “Don’t be salty about it, though. I’m putting in that work the best I can.”

“Yeah, it’s totally fine!” smiles Erica. “This challenge is stupid anyway, right? We’re probably done soon.” She and Kingsley start to walk in the other direction. “See ya!”

“Yaaaah, it’s tooootally fine,” says Kingsley in a mocking voice. “Ugh, come on, he’s just lazy. Don’t validate him. Focus!”

Christian looks at the two as they walk away. “Huh,” he murmurs. “That was… weird.”

Suddenly, Chris’s voice crackles on a loudspeaker over the gardens. “Time’s UP!” he shouts. “All contestants, head back to the entrance by the parking lot to be judged!”

Back at the entrance to the gardens, all seven Killer Wildcats are huddled up in front of Chris and Chef, but the only Artisanal Cheeses in sight are Suvir and Whitney.

“Okay, come on,” says Chris. “Where’s the rest of your team?!”

Whitney shrugs. “Don’t really care.”

“They must’ve been eaten by giant bugs,” says Suvir. “I knew this place was nuts! I stayed inside the whole time, and I’d still be inside right now if you didn’t drag me out!”

“Well, I guess we can’t tally the results until everyone’s here,” grumbles Chris. “How many eggs did you guys find, anyway?”

“Three!” says Rachel, holding up the Wildcats’ two eggs, plus Eggsabella.

“Zero,” says Whitney.

“Come ON!” says Chris. “Okay, that does it. Nobody cares about the challenges anymore, eh? Everyone just wants to wander around doing nothing until I say it’s over? Well, fine. Tomorrow’s challenge, I’m going to force you all to participate! We’re going physical!”

The contestants shrug and talk quietly amongst themselves, nobody really seeming to care.

“Damn millennials,” grunts Chef.

“Where even are the other Cheeses, anyway?” asks Chris impatiently.

The scene quickly changes to a nearly empty gym down the street, where music is blaring and the three other male Artisanal Cheeses are in the middle of some intense workouts.

“Whoooo dog! Keep that blood pumpin’!” says Rhett, who’s on an exercise bike.

“Big Boris, my man! I’m so glad you could make it!” says Roald, nearly out of breath on an elliptical.

“Do not get your hopes up,” says Boris, who’s lifting weights. “I only came because I was being harassed by that pleb Christian, and I needed to escape!”

Roald takes one more breath and collapses onto the ground. “Uuuuuugh,” he says, picking himself back up. “Hey, broskis. You think we should head back?”

“Naw, I’m jus’ getting started!” says Rhett. “But I am pretty tired, I could use a big ol’ nap.”

“Okay, I’m ready to roll,” says Roald, as the three head towards the exit. “But man, we didn’t get any eggs!”

“Wait a sec…” says Rhett. He stops, and points to a closet that has some sort of fabric peeking out from underneath the door.

“That looks dubious indeed,” says Boris. He grabs the doorknob and swings it open to find a bag filled to the brim with approximately 40 plastic eggs.

“WHOA!” all three boys yell.

“These are the real deal!” says Roald, grabbing the bag. “C’mon! Let’s head on back! For all Chris knows, we got these in the woods and stuff! Harharharhar!”

About a half hour later, the three boys make it back to the parking lot of the gardens, where Chris is looking more impatient than ever and almost every other contestant is on their phone.

“Jeez, it’s about time,” says Chris. “And what do you know, we’re still missing a few Cheeses, but at this point they can just stay here forever if they want.”

“Yo, Chris-o! Check it!” Roald says, triumphantly holding up the bag and then dumping all 40 eggs onto the ground.

Chris leans into Chef’s ear. “Why were all those eggs still in the bag? Did someone not complete his job for today?”

“Uh…” says Chef, beginning to sweat.

“We found ‘em in the gym!” says Rhett, beaming wide.

Boris elbows Rhett. “You imbecile, do not leak that information!”

“The gym, huh?” says Chris, growing irate.

“C’mon, man!” yells Chef. “Don’t get mad at me! Today was leg day! I wasn’t gon’ skip leg day! Jus’ forgot the eggs once I left!”

“Okay, fine. At least someone found them,” sighs Chris. “Anyway, for the second time in a row, the Artisanal Cheeses win today’s challenge!”

The Cheeses erupt into a cheer, while the Wildcats start to grumble under their breath.

“Now, can everyone get on the bus? We’ve been here for far too long, and I need lunch,” says Chris. The bus pulls up and everyone files in.

“Whooooo! I can’t believe we won that challenge!” says Roald. “Haha, Boris and I are really becoming buds, I think! The more we put our muscles to the test, the more challenges we’ll win! I’m so proud of the dude!”

“I’m telling you, Artemis, there’s no way there are any eggs left,” says Kaitlin, who is still in the cafe/gift shop area, with Frances jotting down notes only feet away.

“Or is that what Chris wants you to believe?” asks Artemis.

“Seriously, we gotta GO, I’m getting real tired of this,” says Kaitlin.

“Fine, then,” says Artemis. “Nobody’s stopping you. But I won’t rest until I buy out all the merchandise in this gift shop, sell it online and scam the crap out of some losers, and find at least three more eggs. Peace.”

“This… is fascinating,” says Frances.

Kaitlin turns around and gasps. “Wait, you’re still here too?! Goddamnit, I was hoping this would be a solo scene!” she whines.

“Maybe I’ll just kill all my teammates in their sleep tonight. Then I’ll finally get the attention I deserve,” says Kaitlin. “Wait, was that too dark? I feel like it was. Ugh, back to square one.”

Back at the Killer Wildcats’ dorm, the contestants are getting restless right before the elimination ceremony.

“Okay, listen,” whispers Kingsley. “We’re still going through with the plan, right? I want you to do the networking with our teammates. They’ll trust you more.”

“Wow, that was a lot at once,” says Erica. “But yeah, that’s the plan. I… guess I’ll go talk to them.”

“Yas,” says Kingsley. “We stan a social legend. This is gonna be sooooo good.”

In the other room, the entire rest of the team is sitting on a bed and attempting to strategize except Christian, who is on the floor juuling.

“Dude, why are you even in here? I thought you didn’t care about us,” says Miles to Christian.

“Yeah man, I don’t really,” says Christian. “But listen, we gotta vote someone out. I’m thinking Kingsley. Sound good? He’s a snake, right?”

“Sure,” shrugs Kelsey. “I mean, I haven’t really talked to him. Has anyone?”

“Nah,” says Christian. “Guy’s a weirdo. Anyway, I’m out.” He gets up and walks out of the room, right as Erica walks in.

“Hi, guys!” she says, as everyone shares glances with each other. “So that’s… his idea of strategizing?”

“The funny thing is, I was planning on voting for him,” says Graham quietly. “But I’m pretty undecided now…”

“You should be,” says Erica. “Things are intense tonight. Kingsley’s on a crusade to get Christian out, and I think vice versa.”

“Ugh, strategy is exhausting…” says Miles as he pulls his blanket up.

“Do this instead!” suggests Rachel. “I’m making a little bed for our new eggy friend.” She holds up a structure made out of leaves, fabric, and popsicle sticks, with Eggsabella resting comfortably on top. “I’m going to gather more materials!”

“Sweet, I’ll come,” says Miles, throwing his blanket off and following Rachel outside.

“Well, now we’re down two strategic minds,” drawls Kelsey. “Strategy session over? I need to get two more paragraphs done for my thesis.”

“Yeah, I didn’t realize how emotionally taxing this would be!” says Graham. “I really do appreciate everyone here, so it hurts.”

Erica gets up. “I gotta go meet Kingsley,” she says. “And by ‘meet,’ I mean decide whether or not to vote him out. Bye!”

Once she leaves, Graham shudders. “She… slightly terrifies me.”

Christian is outside on the porch, doing the exact same activities he was while on the floor of the dorm. The front door opens and Erica peeks out, eventually sitting down right next to him.

“Listen,” she whispers seductively. “What’re you thinking for tonight?”

“Another day, another high-stress situation,” says Kelsey. “We seriously have to stop losing. I know I’m coming across as all calm and stuff right now, but my insides feel like a mush. I’m probably going to throw up at the elimination ceremony, maybe on Chris. Anyway, I’m voting Kingsley.”

“Aaaaah, I feel so good,” says Kingsley. “Christian? Say bye.”

“Rach and I collected so many flowers, and I felt like my soul had been revitalized…” gushes Miles. “I feel so good around her, but like… not in the way I did around Jackie. It’s different. It’s fresh.”

“Hahaha, is it bad that I haven’t even thought about who to vote out?” Rachel wonders. “Miles is sweet. Now, I don’t like him romantically… like, at all. But I think if I’m able to get that boy to finally move past the heartbreak that’s been bothering him for years, it’d be wonderful.”

Chris meets the seven remaining Wildcats at the bandshell for the campfire ceremony, where the sun is setting peacefully on the lake.

“Welcome back, two-time losers,” says Chris. “Since I already went through the whole spiel last time, let’s just get to it, eh? Marshmallows go to Graham, Kelsey, Miles, and Rachel.”

He passes the four marshmallows, and they each catch one.

“Erica, have you been scheming? I think so,” says Chris. “But you’re safe.”

Erica catches her marshmallow. “Scheming? Uh, okay?”

“Christian, Kingsley,” says Chris, eyeing the two young men. “Lots of votes coming your way. In fact, every vote went to one of you two! Crazy how that works. Only one will be safe from the lakeside’s wrath today, however. The final marshmallow goes to…”


“Ayyyy! All riiiiiight,” says Christian, as he gulps down his marshmallow.

“WHAT?!” shrieks Kingsley. “Oh, no no no no no.” He pulls out his phone and instantly begins vlogging. “Hey fans, I am OUTRAGED. No time to explain. I want you ALL to get on your phones right now and tweet like crazy at that old, washed-up loser Chris McLean, and tell him—”

“Hey!” shouts Chris. “I’m not old!”

“And Erica, you?! You’re faker than faux fur,” says Kingsley. “I cannot believe I even trusted you for a second. Ladies, steer clear from this bitch, she knows EXACTLY what she’s doing and I can tell you it’s not pretty.”

Erica looks genuinely upset. “I’m sorry, I guess the strategy just didn’t work out! Love you though!”

“Yeah, sure,” huffs Kingsley. “Feeling not mutual. Anyway, uh, Christian, hit me up if you want. Everyone else, byeeeee.”

He storms away from the campfire ceremony and heads to the Yacht of Losers, where its horn drowns out the stream of expletives coming out of his mouth. The Wildcats all stare at each other, shrug, and walk back to camp.

“Well, that was… a lot of colorful language,” says Chris. “The censors are going to have a field day with that one! Anyway, tune in next time for even more drama, even more action, and hopefully much fewer Chef Hatchet screw-ups! Otherwise our staff will be one man short! We’ll see you then, on Total… Drama… Lakeside!”

“That was a breeze,” says Erica. “Once Kingsley started plotting, I knew he had to go. Poor guy lapped up all the positive attention I gave him, even though I kinda hated him from the start. And now Christian and I are tight as tight can be!” She pauses. “Wait, was that too mean? Is high school Erica coming out again? Oh no. I have to work on my social game! Girl gang, I’m coming back to you!”

Chapter 4 - Canoe Pornographers

“Last time on Total Drama Lakeside!” announces Chris, who’s wearing a tacky Hawaiian shirt, beach shorts, sunglasses, and a straw hat. “I sent the contestants out to the McLean Memorial Botanic Garden, which was most definitely named after me, Chef knows nothing. There, they competed in a grueling game of ‘find the eggs,’ and things got real intense real quick. Actually, they didn’t, it was one of the most boring challenges I’ve ever seen. EVER. And I had to watch that whale-watching garbage in Tokyo. So somehow, thanks to Chef being as incompetent as usual, the Artisanal Cheeses won their second challenge in a row after gym rats Rhett and Roald, and I guess Boris, stumbled upon a secret stash of unhidden eggs! The Wildcats had to claw their way to the campfire ceremony, where Kingsley was booted after his secret alliance with Erica and plan to take out fan-favorite Christian was revealed. Or maybe Erica was just being manipulative? It’s hard to know with that one. Now, if you couldn’t tell by my gorgeous outfit, today’s our first beach challenge! How wet will these lake-goers get? Will I ruin my perm? Wait, I don’t want to know the answer to that. Anyway, find out right here, right now on Total… Drama… Lakeside!”

Immediately after the elimination ceremony, the Killer Wildcats silently pile back into their dorm and get into their pajamas.

“So does anyone actually want to talk about that?” asks Christian after a long silence. “Because I don’t.”

“Yeah, me either,” says Kelsey. “Repress, repress, repress. Night, everyone.”

Graham begins to put on his nightgown while Miles’s head swings down from the bunk above him. “Psst,” he whispers.

“Whoa!” gasps Graham. “Miles, it’s awful late.”

“Listen,” he continues. “I can’t stop thinking about collecting all that nature with Rachel... Can you try to ask her about me tomorrow? Put in a good word for me, maybe?”

Graham starts to look slightly uncomfortable. “Tomorrow?! I mean...” he stammers. “Yeah, of course I can. Yes. Definitely.”

“Thanks, dude,” says Miles. “I’m going to bed now. Can’t wait to dream about her…”

“My buddies tried to find me a rebound after things ended with Jackie…” says Miles. “But it was just failure after failure. Jenny got up and left after five minutes of our first date, Cecilia didn’t even show up to our first date, and Maggie banged my former bandmate Sam… @#$% you, Sam. But Rachel… she’s a new dawn.”

“This is not good,” says Graham nervously. “I can’t even imagine the look on Miles’s face when he finds out Rachel is only interested in him platonically! I know it’s all an issue of his maturity, or maybe lack thereof, but if his soul is tortured over both her AND Jackie… that’d be bad.”

Rachel is brushing her teeth in the bathroom. The door swings open and in comes Erica, smiling wide and clutching her toiletries.

“Hey, girl!” she says.

Rachel looks at her, then spits out her toothpaste into the sink and takes a big swig of water. “Hello, Erica,” she says. “A little late for a chat, huh?”

“Well, you’re still awake,” says Erica. “Wait, you brush your teeth? Don’t types like you not do that, for the natural scent or whatever?”

“Oh, you see, this toothpaste is organic,” states Rachel. “It’s made of chamomile flower, coconut oil, and hemp.”

“Coconut oil?!” gasps Erica. “Coconut oil saved my life. I mean it. Like, my boyfriend and I used to not be able to… do it, but then I started using it as lube and it loosened things u—”

“Uh, that’s great and all, but…” says Rachel. “Is this the first time we’ve ever talked?”

“Maybe? Whatever, I don’t know,” says Erica. “Deep late-night chats! Aren’t they great?”

“Yeah?” smiles Rachel apprehensively. “I’m gonna go to bed now. Sleep tight.”

She walks out of the room, and Erica grumbles to herself, “So much for sisterly bonding.”

“Oh, come on, I was totally nice to that girl,” complains Erica. “I started out by asking her personal questions—you know, the toothpaste thing—and then I contributed a shockingly intimate story that revealed hidden depths about myself! What more does she need to be my friend?!”

The morning arrives, and Chris’s voice emanates from the loudspeakers. “Contestants! Head to the lake in thirty minutes with your finest beachwear for your very first water challenge!”

“WHOOOOOOOOO!” yells a voice from the Cheeses’ dorm.

“Those voices!” shrieks a sleeping mask-clad Suvir. “Are the aliens finally here?! Pack it up, this is the end!”

“Naw, bruther!” says Rhett, rolling out of bed completely naked. “It’s jus’ Roald! He’s excited, an’ I don’t blame th’ guy! We’re swimmin’!”

“Do you know how to swim?” asks Whitney, walking in unannounced.

“I mean…” falters Rhett. “I’ve been down to th’ bayou with m’ dad. We wade around in th’ mud.”

“More importantly, why are you naked?” adds a confused Frances.

“Why ain’t you?!” laughs Rhett. “I didn’t have th’ time to pack swimmin’ clothes. I’m swimmin’ in my birthday suit!”

“Well, that’s enough for today,” says Whitney, as she walks right out.

Roald bounces up to Boris, who is sitting in his bed watching anime on his laptop with a pair of gigantic headphones shaped like cats.

“Yo! Buddy! Listen up!” he says, tapping Boris on the shoulder.

Boris doesn’t budge at all, his eyes focused completely on the screen, and Roald continues tapping him, until after around ten seconds he finally snaps and throws off his headphones.

“What is it?!” roars Boris. “I was just in the middle of a very steamy scene! One does not simply achieve that entertainment level every day!”

“We’re doing a swimming challenge today, man! I’m an expert swimmer and I’m sure you are too!” says Roald. “C’mon, let’s pack in some nutrients!”

“Hmm,” thinks Boris. “Ah, yes!”

He runs over to his suitcase and unpacks what looks like a giant bottle filled to the brim with chocolate milk.

“Whenever I am not in the mood for Mountain Fizz, this does the trick,” says Boris. “I am chocolate milk obsessed!”

“Choccy milk? I mean, I like that stuff, but…” says Roald. “I was thinkin’ something a little more energizing that’ll give you the pep you need?”

“I do not need any pep, you squire!” hisses Boris. “But I suppose I could drink coffee. They call me the Coffee Prosecutor for a reason!”

“Nah, not coffee either,” says Roald, as he takes out a giant jar of white powder. “This!”

“What’s that? Are you trying to poison me?!” yells Boris.

Rhett’s eyes widen as he walks over. “Wait, ain’t that crack?”

“Crack?!” shrieks another voice. Kaitlin comes out of her room and rushes over to the boys.

“Sure thing, I know it when I see it,” says Rhett. “M’ second cousin was big into that kinda stuff. Think he’s in prison now.”

“Chillax, b-b-buddy, that’s no crack!” assures Roald. “This, my friends, is creatine. Brochacho, if you take this stuff you’ll turn into a demigod! You might get watery poops, but man, is it worth it!”

Boris grabs the jar of creatine from Roald’s hands. “I see. I shall consider it.”

“Goddamnit, those guys totally fooled me,” grumbles Kaitlin. “I heard crack and I came running. I mean, not that I’ve had any sort of history with crack. Definitely not. They do drug tests and shit before the show, right?”

“When I awoke this morning, I noticed my body appeared to be slightly more toned,” says Boris. “For all his infuriating personality traits, that Roald is helping me out quite a bit. All those roasties on the other team will flock to me once I showcase my chiseled beach physique!”

In their respective bathroom, the female Cheeses are attempting to get ready for the challenge.

“Okay, girlfriends, so here’s what I’m thinking,” says Kaitlin in an oddly cheerful manner. “We gotta look as TV-friendly as possible today.”

“I always look TV-friendly,” says Artemis, who is wearing heavy makeup and an incredibly revealing cow-print bikini.

“Artemis?” says Kaitlin. “What the hell is that?”

Whitney exits from a bathroom stall in a lavender one-piece and glances at Artemis’ suit. “For the first time in my life, I second Kaitlin.”

“Pssssh, come on,” protests Artemis. “If you want to look TV-friendly, you have to make a statement, and that’s what this is.”

“It certainly is,” says Frances, appearing out of thin air with Suvir trailing behind her. “At this rate, we’ll be in the tabloids within seconds.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, you’re not supposed to be in here!” snaps Kaitlin.

“Listen,” explains Frances. “He’s not too thrilled about the men’s room. Said he was trying to avoid the ‘bathroom gremlins,’ so he’s… here, with us.”

“They’re a very real concern!” shouts Suvir. “And I ain’t just talking about Boris!”

“Fine, whatever,” says Kaitlin. “You guys can have your fun with tabloids and bathroom gremlins and disgusting cow bikinis. I, on the other hand, am a classy woman with classy tastes, and THAT’S what the cameras want.”

She storms out of the bathroom, leaving the rest of the Cheeses staring at each other in befuddlement.

“She’s in a great mood today,” murmurs Whitney.

“Oh, Kaitlin,” says Artemis. “I’m growing rather sick of her. Maybe today I’ll try to branch out, talk to the hunks on our team instead. Less drama, more sex appeal. That’s what mama likes.”

Meanwhile, the Killer Wildcats are also getting ready for the challenge, with varying levels of success.

“That swimsuit is so cute,” says Erica to Rachel, who is cradling Eggsabella in her arms. “Like, it’s simple but stylish. Love it!”

Before Rachel can respond, Christian walks out of the bathroom looking tanner than usual and wearing a swimsuit designed after the American flag.

“What up?” he says coolly.

“Dude, that suit is ridiculous,” says Miles. “Nobody cares about how much you love the USA or whatever… It’ll just screw you over.”

“You’re right, the government is killing our Mother Earth,” says Rachel. Miles grins. “But Christian, that suit IS pretty striking…” He stops grinning.

“Yeah, I know,” says Christian. “Picked it up for 20 bucks cheaper than usual. You can keep admiring it if you want.”

“There’s nothing about you that I’m admiring…” grumbles Miles.

“Bro, what gives? Are you jealous of my beach bod? Your skin’s basically see-through, so I get it, but c’mon,” says Christian.

Miles is about to say something else, but Kelsey walks out and everyone gasps. She is wearing a nice enough bikini, but has massive bags under her bloodshot eyes and looks paler than usual.

“Kelsey?” squeaks Rachel. “Is… everything okay?”

“Oh yeah, I’m fine,” says Kelsey. “Why wouldn’t I be? Everyone ready for the challenge?”

“Did you get a good night’s sleep?” asks Erica.

“Of course I did,” laughs Kelsey uncomfortably as she starts walking. “Seriously, you guys, we’re gonna be late.”

“It’s not that I didn’t get a good night’s sleep per se,” says Kelsey. “I didn’t get ANY sleep. Not a second. I was up all night thinking about how we’ve lost twice in a row, and how nobody else on the team even cares about our success in this game. I’m absolutely freaking out, but I cannot let my teammates know that. I just have to relax, do some calm assertive leadership, and we’ll finally win. Deep breaths, Kelsey.” She takes half a deep breath, then starts sobbing.

The 14 remaining contestants, all wearing their swimsuits except for Suvir, convene on the beach right in front of a small boathouse to meet Chris.

“Sorry I’m a little late,” says Graham, walking up to his teammates.

“Uh, what are you wearing?” asks Erica, staring at his unique two-piece striped bathing suit.

“Vintage swimwear!” says Graham. “It’s comfy, stylish, and practical. I’m very excited to debut it for this challenge.” He looks over at the Cheeses and shoots Whitney a grin.

“You look like an escaped convict,” says Whitney.

Graham quickly looks away. “That’s a compliment, right?” he whispers to his teammates, who don’t say anything in response.

Out of nowhere, Chris finally shows up, still in his cheesy Hawaiian outfit and drinking a pina colada.

“What’s chillin’?” he asks, flashing a peace sign. After nobody says anything, he mutters something explicit to himself then keeps talking. “Fine, whatever, I guess I won’t try to make the challenges fun or anything. It’s your guys’ loss.”

“Uh, Chris, whut’s th’ challenge? We really swimmin’?” asks a still-naked Rhett.

“And you’re not wearing clothes why?” asks Chris. “Jeez, the censors are going to be rolling in the dough after tonight. But to answer your question, no, you’re not swimming! This is a little challenge I like to call ‘Capture the Flag: Canoe Style.’” Everyone groans. “You’ll all be divided up into pairs of two, and each team will occupy half of the playing field in the lake. There will be a flag with your team color on top of a buoy at the edge of the boundaries, and your goal is to snatch that flag from the other team’s buoy and paddle back alive! To spice things up a bit, we’ve added ammo to the canoes in the form of water balloons. If you throw a balloon at someone from the opposing team who’s on your side, they’ll have to paddle all the way back to their side, but you can only throw one balloon at a time. Got it? Oh, and of course, this challenge will test your teamwork and whatever, but I don’t really care about that part.”

“Chris?” asks Suvir. “Is this challenge mandatory? Large bodies of water freak me out!”

“Ugh, I knew that’d come up,” says Chris. “Well, I guess since the Cheeses are up two members, you can sit out on that bench over there. You and one ot—”

Before he even finishes his sentence, both Whitney and Kaitlin begin walking to the bench.

“Watch it, what do you think you’re doing?!” snaps Kaitlin.

“Not this challenge, that’s for sure,” says Whitney.

“Okay, well, neither am I,” says Kaitlin. “I bet there’s all sorts of gross shit in the lake. I could get AIDS.”

Roald gives Whitney a wave. “C’mon, Whitty-bo-bitty! You and I can canoe together! It’ll be all sorts of wild ‘n’ wacky!”

“That’s actually more of a reason for me to sit out,” says Whitney.

Chris gasps. “Wait, the ratings would love that! You two together would be comedy GOLD. I’m giggling just thinking about it. So that means Kaitlin, you get to sit out with Suvir, and Whitney, you’ll be competing!”

Whitney gives both Chris and Roald a fiery glare while Kaitlin smugly waves at her and walks over to the sit-out bench.

“Excuse me?” asks Rachel, following Kaitlin to the sit-out bench. “Would you be generous enough to look over my egg friend? I think she’s close to hatching, and I would hate for her to not make it there.”

“What the hell?” Kaitlin eyes the egg-pouch. “Yeah, sure, I guess.” She snatches the egg from Rachel’s arms and sits down on the bench.

Miles cautiously raises his hand. “Uh, can we pick our partners…” he asks meekly.

“Nope!” says Chris. “I know you guys too well, and I’m confident you’d just go to your usual favorites if I let you choose. There’s nothing fun about it. We’re gonna mix things up!” Everyone begins cursing under their breath. “So for the Cheeses, we have…” He clears his throat. “Roald and Whitney, as I said.”

“Shoosh yeah!” yells Roald, throwing his meaty arm around Whitney’s shoulder. “You’re gonna see the most extremest canoe-paddling this side of Antarctica!”

“Frances, you’ll be with Rhett, and that leaves Artemis and Boris,” says Chris.

“Balderdash!” says Boris. “I doubt our canoe will even stay above water for one minute!”

“Oh, please,” retorts Artemis. “If you’re implying I’m the big one here, my body is more voluptuous than yours will ever be. You look like a pack of lunchmeat.”

“Rhett and I haven’t spoken once, as far as I know,” says Frances. “And I’m not too thrilled about the fact he’ll be naked for the entire challenge. However, he does seem relatively harmless, and if the cameras avoid him like I predict, then we’ll be able to sneak through the shadows and win.”

Frances tries to inch away from Rhett and towards the canoes, but he quickly intercepts her.

“Howdy!” says Rhett. “You an’ I are gon’ have all sorts o’ fun! Like, more fun than Roald an’ Whitney times twenty billion!”

“Meh, fine with me,” says Frances, taking out her notepad and putting a waterproof bag around it.

“Now for the Wildcats!” Chris announces. “Heh-heh, this is gonna be awesome. Graham and Rachel will be in the first canoe!”

Miles looks at Graham in deep envy, and whispers, “Dude, I’m counting on you…”

Graham gulps. “Of course! I w-w-wouldn’t let you down, friend.” He walks up to Rachel, who smiles at him and the two walk to their canoe.

“Miles and Erica will be our second pair,” says Chris. “Which leaves Kelsey and Christian!”

“Okay, Christian,” says Kelsey. “This is gonna be… fine. We totally got this. Let’s just get in there and kick some butt, okay?” Her right eye twitches.

Christian says nothing for a second, then leans in and whispers, “Hey, uh… are you on coke? If you are, mind letting your boy do a line before the challenge? I need an extra kick.”

“What?” asks Kelsey. “No. Just, uh, motivated and ready to win.”

Christian shrugs. “Fine with that. All I do is win.” The two head over to their canoe.

A few feet to the right, Erica tries to pick up the massive canoe by herself but then drops it. She eyes Miles, who is slumped over on the ground and writing something in the sand with a stick.

“Uh, a little help here?” she asks passive-aggressively. “We’re gonna have to cooperate if we want to win, you know.”

“Yeah, whatever…” says Miles. “I can’t believe I wasn’t paired with Rachel…”

Erica rolls her eyes. “Come on. I’m just as upset as you are, but whining about it is gonna do nothing. So let’s do this?” She flashes her classic grin.

“Yeah, whatever…” repeats Miles.

“I swear, the day I finally decide to branch out and work my social game on the other girls, Chris pairs me with HIM?!” says a disgusted Erica. “It’s my worst-case scenario. At least Graham is slightly more normal, and Christian is my little crush, but Miles is just a whiny sadboy. I guess I should try to ‘bond’ with him or something, but what do we have in common? Nothing.”

Everyone is now paired up in their canoes, scattered about on opposite sides of the lake. A row of buoys marks the boundaries, with one golden buoy holding a flag at the edge of each side, and a thin rope divides the two teams in the middle. Chris is relaxing in a lawn chair with a speedo-clad Chef sitting next to him, reading another mystery novel.

“Okay!” yells Chris through a megaphone. “Challenge starts in 5… 4… 3… 2...”

“Ay, Chris, shouldn’t we give ‘em some time to strategize?” suggests Chef, looking up from his book.

“Nah,” says Chris. “They’re fiiiine.” He raises his voice once again, then blows his horn. “GO!”

As the contestants attempt to awkwardly paddle around the lake, Suvir and Kaitlin watch on from the sit-out bench—or rather, Suvir watches while Kaitlin concentrates on peeling her toenails.

“Scary, huh?” he says. “I’ll bet you at least ten bucks someone’s gonna dragged underneath by a lake kraken!”

“Okay, I’m really trying to focus here, so mind shutting up for like two hours?” asks Kaitlin, reluctantly holding Eggsabella in her lap.

“Focus on what?!” says Suvir. “These are important truths I’m leaking! You should feel lucky to even hear ‘em!”

“Focus on not killing myself. I’ll feel lucky if I get through this afternoon without blowing my goddamn brains out, okay?” snaps Kaitlin.

“Man, it’s a good thing I barely tried to talk to Kaitlin until now, she’s the worst!” says Suvir. “It’s probably her bird genes! They make her all squawky and cranky and stuff, I bet. That’s what happens when you’re genetically modified! Wake up, Lakeside!”

“Wildcats!” says Kelsey, as she violently paddles from the front of her canoe. “No time for strategy, but Christian and I are going to attack! Everyone else, stay here or whatever!”

A relaxed-looking Christian sits up. “Attack? Whuh? Aw, c’mon, I was hoping we’d be defense—”

“ATTACK!” says Kelsey harshly. Christian winces and starts paddling faster.

Graham glances at Erica and Miles, who are floating lifelessly on the other side of the flag. “So we’re guarding then, huh?” he says to Rachel.

“Seems so,” says Rachel. “I have no complaints! What a perfect day to just take in the lake’s beauty.”

“Right,” nods Graham. He glances at Miles again, who’s limply paddling with one arm while Erica shoots daggers at him. “So, er, what do you think about Miles?”

“What do I think?” laughs Rachel. “He’s friendly, and his heart’s in the right place. I guess he’s pretty fun to talk to.”

“Ah,” says Graham. “Well, I agree.” He pauses for an awkward amount of time. “Is that it?”

“Are you asking if I like him in that way?” asks Rachel. “No, sadly. He’s great, but there’s no way he’s gotten over Jackie, and I’d feel awful toying with him like that.”

Graham’s face turns bright red and he starts to sweat. “Oh, okay, I… understand. Let’s focus on the challenge now, I guess?” Rachel nods slightly, confused.

On the opposite side of the arena, the Cheeses are scattered about with no discernible strategy. Artemis and Boris are paddling in circles around the buoy, while the other two pairs are attempting to divide and conquer.

“I wish I had my laptop with me! I could be playing immense amounts of Poki Poki Math Club right now!” whines Boris.

Artemis looks at their canoe, which is sinking slightly into the water on Boris’s side. “Remind me again what you said about me sinking the canoe?”

Boris looks down and gasps. “Behold! My newfound muscle mass has finally set in!”

“Muscles?! That’s absurd,” says Artemis, rolling her eyes. “Boris, you will NEVER be a beefcake.”

“That is fine!” he retorts. “I no longer need your silly validation. I have ascended from virgin-tier and am now a Brad! One step closer to Chad-dom!”

“Awright, Franny,” says Rhett, in the front of his canoe and making a beeline to the Wildcats’ side. “Now what ya gotta do here is similar to herdin’ cows!”

“Tell me more,” says Frances, looking at her notepad through the plastic bag cover.

“Yeeehaw, now we’re talkin’,” says Rhett. “If yer tryin’ to get cows’ attention, ya can’t sneak up on ‘em too much. Just gotta barrel in like a big ol’ bullet and scare ‘em into the corner!”

“This may be good content,” mutters Frances to herself. “Okay, keep talking!”

“I could keep talkin’ all day, now don’t you worry!” says Rhett jubilantly.

“Sure, she’s kinda quiet, but Franny an’ I are havin’ so much fun! It’s been a heckuva time!” whoops Rhett. “Who needs the gym when you got that, man?”

On the other side of Rhett and Frances, seemingly stationary in their canoe, Whitney is wearing a completely defeated expression in the back while Roald is making low grunting noises.

Whitney finally breaks the silence. “Okay, Roald, you smell awful.”

“Do I?! Aw man, I must’ve gotten so hyped up that I forgot to put on my deodorant,” says Roald. “Sorry, Whitto! Wanna go sneak attack the Wildcats?”

“Not particularly,” says Whitney.

Roald cheers loudly. “That’s the enthusiasm I LOVE to see!”

He starts paddling so ferociously that the whole canoe is dragged along with him, despite Whitney not paddling at all.

Kelsey watches on as the Cheeses attempt to go on the offense. “Okay, Christian,” she says. “They’re coming. Look, they’re almost here. We have to go. Come on. Let’s do this.”

“Yo, we tried to attack five minutes ago and you freaked out and turned around right away,” says Christian.

“Yeah? So?” says Kelsey. “I wasn’t ready, physically or emotionally. But now I am. Let’s go!”

“We gonna just do a straight shot to the flag?” asks Christian.

“Of course we’re going to do a straight shot, Christian, what else do you expect me to come up with?! This is a high-stress environment!” says Kelsey, raising her voice and beginning to paddle.

“Yeah, tell me about it,” mutters Christian.

Kelsey’s paddling starts to pick up speed and Christian eventually joins in. “You know, I heard that,” she says. “And I don’t think that’s a very productive thing to say, especially when the person you’re saying it to isn’t feeling great in the first place and so you end up just salting the wound, you know?” The canoe crosses the boundary onto the other side, causing Artemis and Boris to notice the onslaught. “So when you want to make a snarky comment, maybe instead stop and think about how it might affect me, or our chances of winning? I really don’t want to sound like a bitch or anything but it’s been a rough day and I’m desperately trying to hold it in, and it’s HARD.” Artemis and Boris start paddling towards the canoe, but she continues to talk. “And I really want to win this challenge, and I’m trying my best, and I do respect you as a person which is why I’m so concerned, but I just—”

Christian, who has been juuling the entire time, suddenly pipes up. “Yo! Kelsey! Sharp turn left!”

“Huh?!” retorts Kelsey. “You gotta say these things ahead of time, or else—”

A massive wave comes out of nowhere and swamps Kelsey, partially hitting Christian as well, flipping the canoe over, and dumping them both into the water.

Kelsey resurfaces and spits out a mouthful of water. “That was a mistake.”

A visibly teary Christian comes up as well. “Jesus, my hair is ruined,” he blubbers. “I spent three hours on it this morning. Three, man!”

Boris and Artemis suddenly arrive in their canoe, and an evilly grinning Boris holds up two water balloons and gestures towards Christian.

“At least we’re already wet, I guess…” says Kelsey.

Boris flings the water balloon at Christian and it smacks him right in the face and explodes, causing him to gag.

“Th-th-that’s NOT water!” he yells.

“I’m done,” says a shivering, towel-wrapped Christian. “Just vote me out. Take me back to Isabella. This is too @#$%in’ much.”

Over by the Killer Wildcats’ flag, Miles and Erica are still floating lifelessly in their canoe while their teammates paddle elsewhere.

“So the second we met, I thought he was just the sweetest boy,” says Erica, in the middle of an extensive story. “And you know, that scared me since I usually don’t go for sweet guys at ALL. I like jocks, guys like Christian, because they’re the sexiest. I wouldn’t call Jake sexy, but he has this adorable charm like he’s a little teddy bear or puppy or something, and he just drew me right in!”

“Mm,” grunts Miles.

“And I have this other guy friend who I kinda had a thing for, and once when we were shopping at Victor’s Secret I told him I could see us dating in the future which made him suuuuper uncomfortable, and you know, it made ME uncomfortable too but I said it anyway, and it got even weirder when Jake and I started dating three weeks later,” continues Erica. “Then Jake went to go study abroad in Ecuador, which was heartbreaking since I missed him so much, but then one night at a party I got really drunk and things got pretty touchy-feely with that OTHER guy friend, and one thing led to another, and…”

“I think I’ve heard enough…” says Miles.

“Oh, was that weird? I’m sorry, I just thought it would be some good intimate bonding, you know? Set aside our differences and get to know each other?” says Erica rather sweetly.

Out of nowhere, Miles utters a primal roar several decibels louder than his normal speaking voice, picks up one of the canoe’s water balloons, and chucks it at Erica. The balloon splashes onto the back of Erica’s head and explodes.

“TAKE THAT, JACKIE!” he screams.

“What was that for? Who’s Jackie?!” yells Erica. “Ugh, I knew this was a bad idea! I’m done talking to you!” She turns away from Miles and starts frustratedly paddling.

“I don’t know what got into me, but I’m seeing her everywhere…” says a shell-shocked Miles in the confessional. “I recognize the pain of being cheated on, and to see that Erica is just as much of a heartless succubus is sad but not surprising… She needs to go.”

“Okay, Whitters, here’s the game plan,” strategizes Roald, guiding the canoe through a shortcut. “I’m ready to roll, and I think the creatine is finally workin’ its magic! So we sneak up behind those two over there, because they’re totes distracted,” he beckons to Graham and Rachel, “and zip zap zoom, we grab the flag!”

“Whatever helps you sleep at night,” says Whitney.

Roald giggles as his canoe approaches the Wildcats’ buoy. “C’mon, you know you lucked out being paired with a challenge beast like me!”

Whitney stares at him, then laughs loudly and mockingly. “Good god, that’s your best one yet,” she says.

As the two approach the flag, Graham watches from a distance as Roald says something and Whitney laughs loudly in response. He stares blankly towards the canoe with his mouth hanging slightly open.

“Uh, Rachel, I think we’ve got some visitors,” he says.

“Oh!” says a sunbathing Rachel, who abruptly sits up and grabs her paddle. “Good eye, Graham, I won’t let us lose.” She starts gently paddling, then glimpses Graham paddling much more urgently.

“I’m sorry, I’m just very invested in this challenge!” says Graham sheepishly. “Let’s go!”

The two paddle over to the enemy canoe, and while the duo of Cheeses attempts to slip past them and get to the flag, Graham picks up two water balloons and lobs them both at Roald’s face at once, hitting him from both sides.

Chris blows his whistle loudly from the beach. “HEY! One balloon at a time, Wildcats! You do that again, you’re disqualified!”

“Aw, so close!” says a sopping wet Roald. “Well played, Mr. Mustachio Man!”

“Remind me again what you said about being a challenge beast,” says Whitney as the two paddle back to their side.

“Chin up, bruther!” greets Rhett to his defeated teammates. “Ain’t nobody lost just yet!”

“Hey, Rhett, mind continuing your story from earlier? That was some super interesting stuff,” says Frances without a hint of sarcasm.

“‘Course!” says Rhett. “Okay, where was I, somethin’ about Uncle Cousin Lester gettin’ trampled last summer…”

Once the Cheeses are gone, Rachel looks at Graham. “Are you okay? That was pretty aggressive, especially for you. I can take over paddling duties if you’d like to meditate?”

“N-n-no, I’m fine,” stutters a red-faced Graham. Rachel looks at him skeptically. “Okay, I’m not fine at all! Today has been very high-stress. Miles asked me earlier to put in a good word for him, since he’s essentially in love with you, and I think you’re completely justified in not feeling the same way, but he’s going to be heartbroken and seeing that is going to pain me, and then seeing Whitney, who I’M essentially in love with, chumming it up with Roald also pained me. That’s where the double balloons came in.” He sighs. “Sorry about that.”

“Oh no, it’s completely fine!” says Rachel. “That’s must be awfully overwhelming. You can tell Miles whatever you want in the meantime, I’ll talk to him one-on-one. He deserves that. As for the Whitney thing, don’t worry, I think she hates Roald. Actually, I think she hates all of us.”

“Ugh, that’s what Kelsey said too,” says Graham. “But I don’t know, I can’t help but feel that there’s more to her hidden underneath.”

“Oh, isn’t that the case with everyone?” says Rachel. “I’m sure her soul is lovely. Now we’ve got a flag to guard.”

“Truthfully, I doubt her soul is lovely, but in that moment I just needed to comfort Graham,” says Rachel. “I’m not surprised at all that he’s into Whitney, but I truly hope it’s just a casual crush. Otherwise, it could reach Jackie levels, and I don’t think the Wildcats have room for two emotionally distraught romantics.”

Meanwhile, on the sit-out bench, Kaitlin seems to be desperately trying to hold in rage, while Suvir is chatting it up in a one-sided conversation.

“I dunno what’s in that egg, but I’m telling you, it ain’t gonna be pretty,” says Suvir. “It’s probably a GMO! Like a three-headed duck or something!”

“Okay, that’s great,” says Kaitlin. “That’s really great. Thanks for sharing.”

“Yeah, of course!” says Suvir. “See, I’m just trying to spread awareness. That’s why I even came on this hell pit of a show in the first place! Seeing all these cameras everywhere is freaking me out, but I gotta focus on the bigger picture!”

“Wait. Cameras?” says Kaitlin, then she gasps. “Christ, I look awful. Do I look awful today? How’s my makeup?”

“I’m not a makeup guru, how am I supposed to answer that?” says Suvir.

“By looking at my goddamn face, you bozo, how else?!” screeches Kaitlin. “I need to look presentable at all times! Otherwise they’ll say I’m some gangly whore!”

Suvir looks down at Kaitlin’s lap while she continues screaming into his face. Eggsabella is visibly starting to shake and crack, and small noises are emanating from it.

“Uh…” says Suvir, recoiling in fear. “Egg…”

“What about the egg?!” yells Kaitlin.

Sure enough, she looks down onto her lap to see that the egg is starting to hatch. The top of the egg bursts open and out pops a tiny, hairy, pink bird hatchling.

“Ohhhh man, what is that thing?” shudders Suvir.

The baby bird hops out of the egg and crawls onto Kaitlin’s arm, then steadily makes its way up to her shoulder. It looks her straight in the eye and chirps, “Mama?”

“Great, I’m a mom now,” says Kaitlin, as the bird climbs all over her. “At least I didn’t have to get pregnant this time. Been there, done that. It’s not fun.”

Back in the water, the three Cheese canoes are all lined up near their buoy while the Wildcats’ canoes are scattered about and all seem to be in the middle of conversation.

“Okay, Cheeses,” says Artemis forcefully. “It’s time to STRIKE. Boris, honey, it’s now or never. That goes for the lovers as well.” She gestures to Roald and Whitney.

“Why don’t I just drown myself in this lake instead,” says Whitney.

“No more squabbling!” bellows Boris. “It is time for us to win! With my newfound bulging muscles, I am even more of an asset!”

“Oh, don’t get ahead of yourself,” says Artemis, rolling her eyes. “You’ve only been going to the gym for two days. Still not a beefcake.”

“But it’s given him the confidence he needs!” says a grinning Roald. “I gotta respect that! You GOT this, B-Man!”

“Yeah, let’s just go,” says Whitney.

Intense music starts playing, seemingly on cue, as Boris and Artemis drift one way in their canoe while Roald and Whitney go the other. They both cross over to the Wildcats’ boundaries, which sends Graham and Rachel on high alert and the two start paddling over.

In her canoe, Erica flashes a grin at a half-asleep Miles. “I think we should be participating!” she says, and they reluctantly paddle the way of the Cheeses as well.

“This is good,” says Kelsey, looking on at the bloodbath from the outskirts of the arena. “This is really, really good. We can do it, huh?”

“I mean, I dunno, I guess?” responds an apathetic Christian. “Are you gonna yell at me to paddle now or something?”

“No, I won’t yell,” says Kelsey. “Yet.” She laughs stiffly as the two begin to slowly inch their way to the Cheeses’ side.

“Make no mistake, I’d still take like any girl back at home over her, but all her screaming at me today made me realize Kelsey’s kinda hot,” says Christian. “Now I don’t like getting bossed around anywhere except the bedroom, but man, I could see us making love like gorillas.”

After a heavy amount of frantic paddling that won’t be discussed in detail, Boris and Artemis’s canoe is face-to-face with Miles and Erica. Miles grabs one of the water balloons and chucks it at the Cheeses.

“SHORYUKEN!” screams Boris.

He somehow rises up from the canoe in slow-motion, jumps into the air like a whale diving out of the ocean, and sticks out his massive stomach. The balloon ricochets off of it without exploding, then flies back and hits Erica in the face.

“This is fine!” says a smiling, drenched Erica. “Wait, is this even water?!”

“Ha! You knaves, I have bested you!” says Boris. “Artemis, it is time for our final stri—”

Before he can finish, a balloon comes from behind and hits his back. Rachel smiles sympathetically from afar.

“It’s the thought that counts,” deadpans Artemis as the two start paddling back.

“Man, I’m too proud of Boris, it brings a tear to my eye,” says Roald. “I know he’s probably bluffin’ about being that strong, but I’m just happy he’s having fun! The guy was all salty about everything just yesterday, and I just knew the gym would lift his spirits!”

“So then Ma was like, ‘I don’t wanna clean it up!’ and Peepaw was like, ‘It’s in the middle of the kitchen, Kelly Sue, you gotta!’ and I just started hollerin’!” says Rhett. “Boy, my horse is too funny!”

“This is… fascinating,” says Frances. “Wait. Rhett, you mind keeping an eye out on the Wildcats? I almost want to take notes.”

“Notes! Yee, ‘course! I’d love to get my stories recorded,” says Rhett. “I gotcha covered, Franny!”

Frances eyes the zipped plastic bag on her lap that’s covering her notepad, then cautiously unzips the bag and pulls out her notes. She takes a pen from her pocket and starts frantically jotting things down.

“Uhhhh, we best get to steppin’ cuz Chris and Kels are a-comin’!” says Rhett.

Sure enough, the two are on their way to the flag, with the other two Cheese canoes still making their way back from Wildcat territory.

While paddling with one hand, Kelsey quickly checks her pulse. “This is HAPPENING, Christian! We’re about to finally win!”

“Like I said, all I do is win!” says Christian, attempting to sneakily pull out his juul again.

“Not yet!” says Kelsey, and he instantly puts it back.

“Sorry, could you repeat that?” asks Frances, still writing down notes with her paddle in her lap as Rhett speeds faster. “And jeez, why are we going so fast?” Rhett jerks the canoe to the right, causing the paddle in her lap to fall into the lake. “Wait, where’s my paddle?!”

“You lost it?! D’aw!” says Rhett. “That ain’t good! Hold on tight, I’m kickin’ it into high gear!”

Rhett clenches his fists and starts to concentrate, and the canoe begins to shake then starts roaring towards the Wildcat duo, who now have the flag and are paddling back.

“HOL’ ON! I’M TURNIN’ RIGHT!” warns Rhett.

“Wait, hold on, I’m almost—” says Frances, still with her notepad out. Rhett jerks the canoe to the right and she falls backwards, causing both her pen and notepad to plummet into the water and instantly sink. Frances looks at the water and utters a bloodcurdling scream.

“He’ll pay for that,” she says in a scarily quiet tone.

Christian and Kelsey make it to the middle of the arena and back to the Wildcats’ side with the flag in tow, and their other four teammates erupt in cheers.

“THE WILDCATS FINALLY WIN!” screams Chris into his megaphone. “Took you long enough!”

“Aw, Franny, you lost your book?!” says a disappointed Rhett. “Ah’m sorry, I didn’t know they could sink like that!”

“It’s fine,” says Frances calmly. “I have plenty more empty notebooks in my backpack.”

Back on the shore, Chris gathers the two teams. “Wildcats! Congrats,” he says. “You’ve narrowly managed to escape complete suckitude for the first time, so you should be proud of that. As for the Cheeses? Tough luck. Meet me at the bandshell tonight to dispose of your first team member.”

“I swear to God, I am completely done with you,” says Kaitlin, as she and Suvir approach the rest of the team from the sit-out bench. “Everyone, I’m voting this guy out. Who’s with me?”

“Huh-wha?” says Suvir. “Aw, come on! I was totally silent for the past 45 seconds!”

“Great strategy, Kaitlin,” says Artemis. “You’re truly showing your mastermind status. I’m just dumbstruck.”

“Can it, Artemis, or I’ll vote you out too,” snaps Kaitlin, as the rest of the Cheeses walk away.

“Maybe I will vote for her tonight,” says Artemis, shrugging. “It’d certainly be funny, and then I’d get to spend more time with the men. But on the less funny side, I’d no longer have anyone to make me look more charming, talented, and Rubenesque in comparison. Hard decision indeed.”

The Wildcats are gathered outside their dorm, celebrating their win with what looks like Chris’s leftover beer from the Awake-a-Thon.

“Hey, everyone?” says Kelsey. “Christian especially. Uh, I’m really sorry if I was acting… irrational earlier. I guess I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed or something?” She laughs nervously.

“Nah, we cool,” says Christian. “Bump it?” He holds out his fist for Kelsey to bump, and she does.

“I think we all put in wonderful amounts of effort today,” says Rachel. “The sun truly shined down on us!”

“Yeah, I’m fine with… getting a little wet,” says Erica, shuddering. “We did it! Yay us! Now we can have less stress, more bonding!”

“Mhm,” says Miles, looking at Erica with fire in his eyes.

“I’m gonna take a celebratory nap,” says Kelsey. “Who’s with me?” Graham, Miles, and Rachel stand up and follow her inside, leaving Christian and Erica outside.

“You did tremendously today,” says Graham to Kelsey as they head inside. “I’m really glad we’re teammates. Don’t worry about feeling down, it happens to us all from time to time. I’ll listen if you ever need to talk!”

“Really?” she responds. “That’s… super nice of you, Graham. You’re a cool dude.” She looks at her other teammates. “Actually, we’re all cool dudes here. Go ‘Cats!”

“That went a lot better than I expected it to,” Kelsey says in the confessional. “Hopefully all that ugly stuff will be swept under the rug by tomorrow. Usually those breakdowns only happen at 3 AM in the campus library while FaceTiming with my mom, so today was a mild catastrophe. But things are good! …as long as we keep winning.”

“I really felt some sort of harmony with my teammates today,” says Graham. “But there’s just one thing. This is going to sound so stupid, but I need to get it out. When I was talking to Rachel about Miles earlier, or what I said to Kelsey just now, I was always thinking in the back of my mind, ‘what if Whitney was there to watch?’. Like seeing me supporting my friends like that would instantly make her realize how great and caring of a guy I truly am…” He slaps his face. “This is pathetic. I need to write some poetry.”

In the Artisanal Cheeses’ cabin, some are attempting to discuss strategy before their first elimination ceremony while some are doing the complete opposite.

“Okay, b-b-buddies, who’s ready to gym it up tonight?” asks Roald. “I know I am!”

“Aw man, I am too!” says Rhett. “Perfect way t’ unwind after all that stress!”

“You simpletons, we must focus on the impending elimination!” whines Boris. “We cannot let our guards down like that, otherwise the women will descend upon us like a pack of hungry Stacies and devour us!”

“Hmmmmm,” says Roald. “Boris may be right.” He whistles loudly. “HEY! Anyone wanna strategize?!” Nobody says anything. “Mkay, maybe in like 20 minutes? Cool!”

Kaitlin is on her bunk bed, having gone back to peeling her toenails but now with the baby bird crawling all over her. “Like I said, I’m voting Suvir tonight,” she says to nobody in particular. “End of discussion.”

“Fair enough,” says Whitney, reading a fashion magazine. “I’m probably voting for you.”

“Okay, I don’t care, so—” says Kaitlin, then she pauses. “What? ME?!”

“What? Meeeeeee?” says Whitney in a fluttery, mocking tone.

Kaitlin looks at Whitney, gets up, storms out of the room, and slams the door.

“We’re voting for her, right?” announces Artemis to everyone, getting many nods in response.

Over on the other corner of the room, Suvir and Frances are having a pow-wow. “Man,” says Suvir. “I know they say they’re all voting Kaitlin, but I’m freaked out! They’ve gotta have a secret plot to blindside me!”

“I cannot believe my notes are gone,” says Frances in a hushed tone. “All the way in the bottom of the lake. I’ve spent this whole competition writing in that notepad.”

“Yeah, I get it, but I’m about to go home, I just know it! This is serious too!” says Suvir.

“What if I told you…” says Frances. “That there’s a way for us to both get what we desire tonight?”

“Huh? Tell me more!” says Suvir, perking up.

“Well, this hinges on whether or not we have a computer lab in the vicinity,” says Frances. “There’s going to be some heavy printing tonight.”

“Yeah, there is!” says Suvir. “I was hiding out in there last night at 3 am because I thought I saw Mothman outside the dorm window. Ready to roll?”

“Yes,” says Frances, smiling. “More ready than I’ll ever be.” The two walk out the door.

“Hmm, Franny an’ Suvir goin’ on one of their weird li’l walks again?” observes Rhett from the other corner of the room. “Seems suspicious this time!”

“Yeah, could be,” says Roald. “But hey, if they’re leaving, we should too! Gym?”

“‘Course!” cheers Rhett, and the two walk out as well with Boris in tow.

“There’s going to be some hard-hitting journalism hitting the Total Drama Lakeside public tonight,” says Frances. “The whole game so far has been leading up to this. I’m ready.”

“It’s truly sad that being in a canoe with Roald for two hours made me want to gouge my eyes out, yet he’d only be my fifth or sixth choice to vote out,” says Whitney. “This team has really been testing my patience lately.”

“That was th’ best gym trip yet!” says a very sweaty Rhett. “Maybe it’s th’ pressure of eliminanation gettin’ to me? And I still feel pretty bad about ruinin’ Franny’s notes, but if she said she’s fine, I’m sure she’s fine! Just helped me lift even more!”

“Ooooh, I’m all pumped up!” says Roald. “Man, this is some exciting stuff! I didn’t think I’d be so—” He is interrupted by a knock on the door, and then the sound of something sliding underneath through the crack. He bends down and picks it up. “Huh? The Lakeside News? What’s thi—” He shrieks. “OH MY WHAAAAAAAAAA?!”

Chris meets the eight Artisanal Cheeses at the bandshell for the elimination ceremony, where the sun is setting as usual. Seven of the eight contestants have a copy of the Lakeside News and are wearing a variety of very diverse facial expressions.

“Nice to finally see you here, Cheeses,” he says. “I’ll keep things simple and cut down on the usual routine. If you don’t get a marshmallow, you’re out, and that’s about all there is to it. And you can’t come back EVER, of course. The first marshmallow goes to Artemis.”

“Delightful,” says Artemis, catching her marshmallow.

“This may come as a shock to some, but Boris, Frances, Suvir, and Whitney are all safe as well,” says Chris, tossing marshmallows to the three. “I guess being a social pariah has its perks?”

“Didn’t go home!” cheers Suvir under his breath, and Frances eyes him.

“Rhett, Roald, Kaitlin. Three strong presences,” says Chris. “Two will make it out alive. Roald… you’re one of them.”

He throws a marshmallow to a distraught-looking Roald, who sniffles and then blows his nose loudly in a tissue after eating the marshmallow. Rhett stares at him in confusion.

“And here we are,” says Chris. “Rhett, I’m not sure what happened. Kaitlin, I feel like this one’s pretty self-explanatory. The final marshmallow goes to…”


“A-huh?!” says Rhett, shooting up. “Ah’m confused! What gives, y’all? What’s on all those papers?”

Roald walks up to him and shows him the headline of the Lakeside News: BACKSTABBING BUMPKIN? - RHETT’S SECRET PLANS TO BLINDSIDE #1 ALLY ROALD REVEALED.

“How could you DO that, duder?!” he sobs. “We were GYM BROS! Gym bros until the… end!” He starts crying even louder, and Whitney emotionlessly pats him on the back.

“Blindside ya?! What the crap? I’d never do that, buddy! Yer my number-one!” Rhett says. “Ain’t this fake news?”

Frances steps up. “Maybe,” she says. “But a good headline requires exaggeration. If you look closer, you’ll notice that the article itself is actually about why Kaitlin should go home, but I knew none of you would read anything but the title. Losing my notes was the breaking point here, but it turns out I could still write a hard-hitting piece without them.” She shrugs. “Who knew?”

“Wow,” says Kaitlin. “That’s dark. Like… real dark.” The baby bird nods in agreement. 

“Good golly,” says Rhett. “Yer real smart! Ain’t happy about it at all, so screw you, but well played!”

“So that was all a lie?!” says Roald. He turns back to Rhett and his distraught expression immediately turns into a smile. “Aw, why did I ever distrust you?! You’re the man! Let’s hang out when the game’s done, mkay?”

“Yes, I second that,” says Artemis. “Rhett? Now YOU’RE a beefcake.”

“‘Course,” says Rhett. “I had a great tahm, y’all. Canoein’ was a boatload o’ fun! Even if I spent th’ whole time yappin’ away to some rattlesnake!”

Frances looks to the side as Rhett hugs Roald, then heads to the Yacht of Losers as it chugs into the night.

“Well, it was another drama-filled evening and I can’t wait to see what happens next!” says Chris, closing out the chapter. “Will the Cheeses recover from their first loss? Will the Killer Wildcats turn into a full-on soap opera? Seriously, that angst on the canoes was insane! Find out the answers to all these questions and more next time on Total… Drama… Lakeside!”

Elimination Table

# Contestant 2 3 4
Artemis WIN WIN IN
Christian IN LOW WIN
Frances WIN WIN IN
Graham IN IN WIN
Kelsey IN IN WIN
Rachel IN IN WIN
Whitney WIN WIN IN
14th Rhett WIN WIN OUT
15th Kingsley IN OUT
16th Isabella OUT


  • I hadn't planned to write any more new fanfics after finishing TDSS in 2016, but a heightened level of summer boredom and the urge to practice my creative writing skills even more before graduating college made this happen.
  • As this story contains an all-new cast and very few references to past Toad-al Drama stories, I consider it more of a standalone entry than the 6th story in the canon.

Chapter 1

  • The setting of this story is an homage to Evanston, Illinois, a city 20 minutes north of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan. Revolution City wasn't originally supposed to be based on Chicago, but its description was so vague in TDRev that I was retroactively able to give it Chicago-like characteristics. 
  • Boris's talk about "Chads" and "Stacies" is incel jargon. I didn't want to make Boris a full-on incel, since that'd get rid of a lot of his comedy, but I figured the way of talking was funny enough to keep in.
  • Christian allegedly having a rapping career is a shout-out to Chris Noble of Survivor: Ghost Island.
  • Suvir's intro confessional was taken word-for-word from the first chapter of my failed fanfic Mt. Total Drama, which I wrote around three pages of before giving up. His entire introduction scene with Kingsley was relatively unchanged too.
  • Rhett's intro builds on his similarities to Wes Nale of Survivor: San Juan del Sur, in particular his reference to Jeff Probst's infamous nude scene. 
  • Roald's "Pineapple Breeze" deodorant was previously used by Puck in the seventh chapter of Total Drama: Superstar Showdown, being the first of many hints that they're related. 
  • Most of Kaitlin's lines are modeled after her inspiration from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but are still originally written, while Artemis's lines are generally taken directly from the show and slightly adapted. I've found it a lot easier to write for Kaitlin than for Artemis.
  • Miles's ex-girlfriend, Jackie, was named after the songs "Jacqueline" by Tracyanne & Danny and "Jackie" and "Jackie, Dressed in Cobras" by the New Pornographers.
  • The idea of Graham and Whitney's interactions first came from their inspirations, Beardo and Whitney, in my Animal Crossing: New Leaf town - who often had suspicious interactions that seemed more than platonic, but also very one-sided.
  • The team names were decided on a whim as I was finishing the chapter. The Artisanal Cheeses was decided as a sort of "fancy" name, something that Chris would use to try and seem more sophisticated, while the Killer Wildcats was a shout-out to Northwestern University (in Evanston) and their mascot, Willie the Wildcat. The Wildcats' team color has the same hex code as Northwestern's signature purple. 
    • I almost named one of the teams the Pecan Sandies, another It's Always Sunny reference, but wanted to ease up on those references.