I’m not shy about my love of my guilty pleasures, and the Total Drama series has been one of my favorite guilty pleasures for years. As I remember, I discovered the series in college and I’ve been binging it on and off ever since. The show is split into five seasons: Total Drama Island, Total Drama Action, Total Drama: World Tour, Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, Total Drama All-Stars (Season 5 part 1) and Total Drama: Pakhitew Island (Season 5 part 2). I’ll be going through the seasons one by one, so I’ll be starting with Total Drama Island, where it all started.
For those not familiar, Total Drama Island is a completely and utterly shameless parody/rip-off of every reality show wrapped up in one. Though to be fair the show is primarily a parody of Survivor, as seen by the show’s elimination format and host Chris McLean’s uncanny resemblance to Survivor host Jeff Probst. There’s also a healthy dose of Fear Factor, Master Chef and Big Brother thrown into the mix for good measure. Of the show’s five seasons, this is the most “normal” season there is, though even in season 1 there’s hints of how crazy the story will get in later seasons. For example, the very first episode involves the contestants cliff diving into shark infested waters (yes, really! It only gets crazier from there).
And the show’s format isn’t the only parody/rip-off element of the story: each contestant is a walking, talking stereotype of contestants that always show up in reality TV shows. The 22 contestants in season one are: Beth, Bridgette, Cody, Courtney, DJ, Duncan, Eva, Ezekiel, Geoff, Gwen, Harold, Heather, Izzy, Justin, Katie, Leshawna, Lindsay, Noah, Owen, Sadie, Trent, and Tyler.
Of those contestants we have, just to name a few, the “Type A” girl Courtney, the “Girl you love to Hate” Heather, the “loner Goth girl” Gwen, the “delinquent with a heart of gold” Duncan, the “ditzy blonde” Lindsey, the “chauvinistic one who always gets voted off first” Ezekiel, and “the loud one” LeShawna (this is just a handful of the contestants but you get the idea). You’d think it would be boring with every character being a walking stereotype, but it’s quite the opposite. The show completely embraces this part of the premise and it’s so incredibly funny.
Now, all this being said, there are some moments even in this season where it becomes a little hard to suspend your disbelief that this is an actual reality show (albeit an animated one). For instance, late in the season, there’s an episode centered around horror films where the contestants have to evade a serial killer to win the challenge. Right up until the end we’re shown that the “killer” is Chris’ right hand man Chef in disguise. But then….it turns out there’s a REAL killer loose on the island!! It’s a shocking moment, but one that almost takes me out of the story….almost. Honestly, if you accept from the beginning to just roll with whatever happens, it’s almost impossible to not enjoy it.
If you haven’t tried Total Drama Island, it (and all the other seasons) is currently available on Netflix. I highly recommend it, it’s a really fun series to binge, as it’s the perfect blend of reality fun and mindless entertainment. It also helps that the series goes by really fast ( can easily binge two seasons a day if I start early enough).
Let me know what you think about Total Drama Island in the comments below and have a great day!
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