Huge, Episode 9: Standing here on this frozen lake.

By | August 24, 2010

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It probably comes as a surprise to no one, at this point, that I like the fat boys. I also like the fat girls, but I am inclined to think that the sexualization of fat men’s (or male-identified) bodies tends to receive less attention than it does with the females. This is undoubtedly because women are under far greater and more specific cultural pressure to be sexually appealing than men are, and thus the sexualization of fat women’s bodies is a heated and popular topic of conversation.

However, what is occasionally lost in these discussions is any recognition at all of a) what pressure does exist for men to be attractive, and b) the fact that men, unlike women, tend not to create spaces in which they can talk honestly about their hypothetical feelings of inadequacy. The fact that women often bond over diets and aspirational beauty culture is problematic, for sure, but women do have the option to talk about these pressures with one another in a frank way. Worrying about your appearance, most specifically your size, is a woman’s problem, and not something your typical red-blooded straight cisgendered man is allowed to openly discuss, at least not without having his sexuality challenged by any homophobes in the room. As I recently observed on Fatcast, fat’s tendency is to fuck with gender on a equal-opportunity scale. Culturally-speaking, fatness exerts a masculinizing (or defeminizing) force on women’s bodies, and a feminizing (or emasculating) force on men’s bodies, and if you identify as falling outside the convenient gender binary, well, then it tends to strip you of any sexual identity at all, so far as mainstream recognition is concerned. No matter how you identify and present yourself, gender-wise, fatness is going to fuck with it.

In the course of these recaps, I’ve focused a lot of attention on sexualizing and even objectifying (in a good-natured way) the male bodies. And yes, I do think a certain degree of friendly objectification can be positive if it helps us to see our bodies — no matter what we look like — as sexified vessels of awesomeness. A goodly portion of my urge to stubbornly conceptualize the sexy fat man is because, indeed, I really do find them attractive. Hell to the yeah. But that’s not the only reason: the secondary impetus for my relentless demands for boys’-cabin pillowfights and less clothing is because framing fat men’s bodies in these terms is a process of queering mainstream standards of sexual attractiveness. Here I use “queering” not to mean “making it gay” (although that’s fun too) but to mean taking sexual convention and fucking it up, turning it inside out, and challenging its assumptions. I’m not queering the individuals or even their bodies — what I’m queering is how we read bodies as sexually attractive, and trying to bring a sexualized, semi-objectified (in a pleasant way, I promise!) fat male body into the light of day. Being attracted to fat bodies specifically, if not exclusively, is a queer-ish way of seeing the world, and it’s not one we get to see represented very often.

I’m not arguing that everyone universally has to find fat people attractive. That idea, no matter who’s discussing it, tends to draw the accusation that fat people who want to talk about beauty standards are only interested in being validated, told, “You’re attractive too.” Personally, I don’t give a shit about being found attractive by random strangers; I really never have, which explains many of my sartorial choices over the years. But furthermore: you get around in this world for long enough and you come to understand that sex appeal is utterly unique to the individual, fascist beauty standards notwithstanding, and that there are loads of people out there attracted to all kinds of bodies — just some of them are more ashamed and silent than others, because what pushes their buttons isn’t in line with what is considered “normal” or acceptable. Thus, instead of arguing “WE’RE HOT, DAMN IT, AND YOU SHOULD AGREE,” I would rather argue that the concept of finding fat bodies attractive be recognized and even respected as a valid and real possibility, without being fetishized, pathologized, or otherwise made freakish or secret or embarrassing.

Of course, when I explain it like this, it’s like the least-sexy thing ever.

All of this evolves from the fact that this past Sunday, Ari Stidham — the actor who plays the highly-crushable Ian — turned eighteen, and a whole heaping helping of you, my adored chubbalos, let me know it, on Twitter and Facebook and even via email. Which is hilarious and brilliant. There have been many impassioned votes in favor of dirty-fying the recaps (even from my imaginary teenage boyfriend), but I’m inclined to think they’re just dirty enough for our purposes. I should leave something to your filthy imaginations, my dears. I’d hate to be responsible for y’all getting lazy.

Previously: A game of truth or dare ended badly. I know, I didn’t see that coming either! Also, Dr. Gina banged the Tennis Douchebag King in the back of his truck, and Amber and Will reluctantly bonded. With puke.

Will and Salty Dad are shooting hoops on the empty field in the morning. Will says she’s looking forward to parents’ weekend, mostly so she can rip hers some shiny new assholes. Salty Dad: “Well, family time is always special.” OH SALTY DAD. You are a treasure. I also love how Will is making baskets even though she is of a wee height, in flagrant violation of the conventional wisdom about who can succeed at basketball.

Later, in the girls’ cabin, Sierra is in the bathroom, wailing hysterically. Poppy asks if anyone said anything to her, and the girls all say no, while Will says, “She’s never not crying.” Poppy tries to remind the girls that living in close quarters means there are going to be things that “rankle” people, be it fights over who gets the shower first, to someone walking around topless — this with a glance at Will, who says, “Come on, they’re just boobs, people.” Chloe assures her they don’t want to see them. Uh, is there any room for me in that cabin? Caitlin’s bed is still unoccupied, right?

Poppy sends Carter, Chloe, and Mystery Girl Camper — my apologies dear, I don’t know your character’s name — to fetch Sierra. Man, occasionally I’m amazed at how epically tall Carter (Ashley Fink) is compared to the other girls. Body diversity for the fucking win. When they’re gone, Poppy tells Becca that she’ll be her “make-believe mom” for the weekend, “like Wendy in Peter Pan!” Becca seems unthrilled. I guess the kids whose parents can’t make it get Poppy as a consolation prize.

Sharing circle! Dr. Gina wants to talk about parents’ weekend. Evidently having their parentals visit means they have the option to leave the confines of Camp Victory and eat out, and Dr. Gina asks them to make “healthy choices”. Then she asks who’s excited about seeing their folks. Will, Chloe, and Trent are! Ian is not. His parents fight constantly, so being around them is kinda stressful for him. “At home, at least, there’s like, Facebook.” Oh, if Ian were but a real boy I would totally Facebook-stalk him. And then Dr. Gina supplies: “Or, cake.” Hell, why not both? I know I personally deal with stress not by playing Rock Band or going to the gym, but by eating cake whilst using Facebook. One of you needs to create an “Eating cake whilst using Facebook” fan page. I would totally click the “like” button on that.


Dr. Gina asks Trent what he’s like totally stoked to do with his parents, brah, and Trent’s all, “Introducing my dad to my friends. It’ll be like tooootally bitchin’.” I lied about that last part. Trent’s cadence cracks my shit up, to the extent that I did an impersonation of it on one of the Fatcasts, which Marianne found very funny. Chloe smiles to herself at this, no doubt thinking he means her. Alistair looks forward to “being himself.” Dante wants to hug his mom. No, seriously. That’s so sweet. Girls, pay attention to how a boy treats his mother, or other female family members. It says a lot. Ian doubts Dante’s sincerity and they have a brief shouting match before Dr. Gina puts a lid on that shit.

Returning to Alistair’s comment, Dr. Gina asks Chloe if she feels the same way. “I know you two aren’t the same person, but since you are from the same family…” Where the hell did Dr. Gina get her PhD? The fifth moon of the planet Blunderdonia? Chloe’s look of mute shock says it all. Both Ian and Dante are all WHAAAAAT and Amber looks at Chloe with bewilderment, while Chloe blurts, “Yeah, so?” Dr. Gina abruptly ends the sharing circle.

As the campers disperse, Chloe approaches Alistair and asks to walk to the pool together. Is the guilt getting to her? Alistair’s not interested, and he leaves with Becca. Then, Dr. Gina asks Will to stay behind for a moment. Apparently her parents have emailed their regrets, but they won’t be there this weekend. But they need new assholes! And Will was going to create them! Will seethes and asks, in monotone, if there’s anything else. They’ve sent her a package. Maybe the package will be filled with unconditional love and support her parents have withheld! Yeah, I don’t think so either.

Pool time! Man, I wish we had a Boston chapter of Chunky Dunk but I don’t want to organize it. Dante swims past Chloe and uses it as an excuse to ask her to apologize to her brother for him. She tells Dante to do it himself.

Amber gets in the pool and joins Chloe, saying, “Something’s wrong with me.” What’s that, dear? “I’m just so stupid, I didn’t realize Alistair was your brother.” Here’s something I don’t miss about being a teenager: the egocentric conviction that everything is about you and your insecurities. Amber assumes the failure is hers, and not that Chloe was actively avoiding any association with her brother. She also didn’t know that Piznarski’s name is Dante. Chloe assures her, “Nobody did.” I did! Chloe’s worried that Amber’s mad at her for something, but Amber says, “I’m just weird. I’m just a big stupid weirdo.”

Elsewhere in the pool, Will is ranting about her parents’ impending absence. She had planned the installation of their new assholes so meticulously! How dare they not show up! Will: “I’m just a rage-filled donut right now!” Mmm. Rage-filled donut.

Will says Poppy’s going to be worried about her, and tells Becca they should stick together over the weekend. Maybe they can do the rune thing, finally! Becca gives her an icy “yeah, maybe” and swims away. Will’s face registers a tiny flicker of confusion.

In Dr. Gina’s office, Salty Dad is just hanging up the phone as Dr. Gina comes in. He tells her Wayne stopped by, and that he’s apparently been trying to call her. She knows. She was gonna call him back, but her grandmother dropped acid, freaked out, and hijacked a school bus full of penguins. The subject changes to the approaching parentals, and Dr. Gina says Will’s parents have just blown it off, which she calls “sickeningly selfish.” She also thinks it’s “weird” that Chloe and Alistair have been keeping their sibling status a secret. Salty Dad is unimpressed: “Better get yourself some curtains for that glass house.” Salty Dad accuses Dr. Gina of keeping him a secret — his being her dad, anyway. Oooh, burn.

Bacon! It's funny!

In the common room that evening, Love Handles is on. Y’all, I wish Love Handles were a real show that took itself 100% seriously. The possibilities for epic camp are astounding. Our Luke surrogate introduces the challenge by saying, “Even though I’m a dot-com millionaire…” HAAAAAA. The fake contestants are to carry a plate of bacon to him without spilling it. Will asks, “Why is pork so funny?” I think bacon in particular is funny because it’s a food that we as a culture have decided is basically without nutritional merit. It’s fat and salt held together with a bit of meat. Chloe wants Will to shut up. One of the fake contestants confessionalizes: “So, you know how bacon’s greasy?” Will: “I used to, before I became a bacon nun!” Even Becca smiles over her book. The fake show goes to a fake commercial featuring a fake actress talking about how awesome it is to go to the gym all the time. The gym is called Core and it will “change you forever.” Will’s face falls and she looks almost morose. The room is silent as Amber looks down and tugs her shirt away from her stomach. Becca tries to keep up the critical commentary: “I live in a patriarchal society that assigns women merit based on their looks. That’s why I live.. Core.” She turns to Will and smiles, but Will just stares silently at the TV, looking more and more despondent.

Some time after, Will stands at the mail window to pick up the package her parents have sent. In it, there is a postcard with a picture of the Eiffel Tower, on which is written, “Can’t wait to see you in this! Love, Mom & Dad” The “this” is a pink fleece hoodie with the “Core” logo embroidered on it. In the source material for Huge, Will’s parents owned a chain of high-end health clubs, so this was not a surprise for me, but Will’s obvious wavering between sadness and anger is heartbreaking.

The commercials feature an ad for the “Lysol No Touch Hand Soap System”, a gadget that uses a motion sensor to squirt soap in your hand. The promo text reads: “Never touch a germy soap pump again!” I find this hysterical for some reason. If you’re afraid of your soap pump, wouldn’t you also be afraid of touching the faucet? THE FILTH THE FILTH IT IS EVERYWHERE.

And the day has come: the parentals are arriving. I think I spy one same-sex couple so far. Some parentals are fat, some are not. This whole thing is making me EXTREMELY NERVOUS. Ian, too, apparently, as he fidgets beside Will, looking for his own folks. He doesn’t want to inflict his parents on anyone, apparently, because just being around them is a constant source of tension. Poor Ian: “They’ll argue about anything! Anything! This shirt!” referencing the plain beige t-shirt he has on.* Will: “That shirt is pretty polarizing.” Finally, they arrive, and Ian crosses the field to collect a two-parent hug, leaving Will on her own.

Amber is also on her own, looking around anxiously for her mom. Chloe comes over to talk, when she spots Trent standing with his dad — who is tall and athletic and very familiar, though I can’t place him — and pregnant stepmom across the field. Trent sees her as well, and smiles broadly, which his dad picks up on. He wants to guess which girl Trent likes, and guesses Amber, to which Trent says, “Well, actually–” but his dad cuts him off with such conviction that Trent doesn’t correct him. When stepmom tries to intervene, Trent’s Dad asserts, “I happen to know this guy really well. Am I right?” Awkward (DRINK!). Trent, not wanting to let his father down, nods unenthusiastically, which gets him put in a playful headlock.

Chloe, well out of earshot but able to see the trio, catches Trent’s attention and gestures to ask if she should come over to be introduced. Trent first pretends not to understand, and then turns his back to her. Burn. Amber, clueless as ever, is fixated on her no-show mom, and says she’s going back to the cabin. Chloe stands alone, watching Trent and his parents, verging on tears.

Elsewhere on the parental-meeting ground, Becca is in the midst of talking shit about Will to Alistair — she thought they were friends! — when Will comes over and asks if Becca wants to shoot some hoops. Becca quietly says no, refusing to look at Will. Will is confused, aware that something’s wrong but totally oblivious to what it might be. After a few awkward (DRINK!) moments of silence, she leaves. Becca is all, SEE? SEE? Apparently she’s mad that Will wants to hang out now that her parents aren’t coming. On the one hand, I think Becca’s entitled to feel a little taken for granted by Will, but on the other, Will wasn’t exactly looking forward to having a splendid time with her folks, leaving Becca behind, but was rather hell bent on reaming them out and forcing them to leave.

Alistair and Chloe’s parents have arrived, and Chloe gets to them first. Alistair, still chatting with Becca, is in no hurry, and so they get a chance to survey him from afar. His mom says, “He has definitely slimmed down,” while his dad argues, “He looks the same to me.” They call him and Becca over — do remember that Becca and Chloe were BFFs last year, so she’s met Chloe’s parentals before.

Dante and his mom are sitting together, and she tells him how good he looks. “How bad did I look before?” Dante inquires. His mom assures him she didn’t mean it like that. See, this is the problem with our habit of telling someone they “look good” when what we really mean is that it is good to see them. Mom catches Dante watching Chloe and asks if she’s a girl he likes. He says no, and tells her not to ask questions like that. She agrees sheepishly.

Chloe is getting her folks some lemonade, and so is Trent. As she pours, she says, “Trent?” inquiringly, uncertainly, almost pleadingly. Then she says, “Hi,” half to him, half to his family, to which Trent responds — awkwardly (DRINK!) — “Oh, hi,” and then promptly turns away from her again, saying to his stepmom, “Here’s your drink,” ostentatiously neglecting to introduce them. Chloe, wounded, walks away. Damn. Girlfriend is going to need some aloe to soothe all the mad burns she’s getting in this episode thus far.

Ian’s parents are telling him a charming story about almost running out of gas on their way there, and they are not fighting at all. Ian seems to be waiting for a bomb to go off, but his parentals are cheerful and gracious with each other.

For the record: this is the point at which I began to suspect what would ultimately come of this subplot. Just putting that out there.

Alistair’s dad wants to know what sports he’s playing. Becca volunteers that he’s been playing softball, and that he’s good at it. Alistair says he’s enjoying yoga. Mom thinks this is wonderful, but dad has to comment, “Yoga’s not a sport.” Mom asks Becca if her parents are there, and Becca says no. Mom then asks after her grandmother, who apparently came to visit during Parents’ Weekend last year. No, she couldn’t come. Well, then Becca should join them for dinner. Mom then makes a comment about Becca and Alistair “finding each other” and oh, she thinks they’re a couple. Alistair is totally willing to go with this, and Becca begins her new role as Alistair’s beard.


In the girls’ cabin, Amber sits worrying about whether her mom is going to turn up. Carter comes in with her rail-thin big sister. Finally Amber’s mom comes in, like a massive whirlwind of annoyingness. OMG! OMG! I’m here! Wow! Amber’s so thin! She shouldn’t get too thin! No, that’s a joke! Wait, Carter’s sister is really thin! Why is she here? Oh she’s visiting! Oh okay! Carter’s sister looks deeply self-conscious when called out like this.

Amber shows her mom her bunk, and introduces Carter and — halfheartedly — Will, who is lying in her bunk with her headphones on. Amber’s mom looks at Will and whispers, “Is she the one we hate?” Amber flails for a moment and corrects her, “We don’t — really hate her.” Mom: “Oh, so she IS the one.” Ugh. Amber’s mom wants to go to the yoga demonstration, and in her rambling mentions that on the drive up, she thought “Indigo’s car” was going to blow up. Will asks, “You know someone named Indigo?” Amber’s mom explains, rather haughtily for my taste, “My sister’s name is Indigo, my name is Teal, and I named my baby Amber. I am colorful.”

At one point does a person pass over the threshold from charmingly wacky to dementedly irritating? I think we’re there already. In the bathroom, Amber’s mom loudly announces, “What the hell, I’ve got my period! I’m supposed to be in menopause.” Poppy volunteers to get a tampon but Amber quietly tells her it has to be a pad. Her mom pokes her head out of the bathroom: “My uterus is tipped, for real,” gesturing, “like a teeter-totter.”

Will has stormed outside to escape the crazy; I don’t blame her, man. She’s sitting on the cabin steps, still listening to her headphones, as Salty Dad walks by with a basket of tomatoes. He enlists her help with dinner, and Will goes along.

Inside the boys’ cabin, Trent and his dad are standing and not talking. Of course, it is awkward (DRINK!). I’m assuming pregnant stepmom is in the bathroom. At this point I realize that the whole parents’-weekend event is a fucking misery. This is terrible. Everything is terrible! You’re terrible, Muriel. Dad asks if Trent’s been “working out,” which, duh, but Trent says he’s been doing “other things” too. THESE THINGS DO NOT INCLUDE HAVING SEMINUDE PILLOWFIGHTS WITH THE OTHER BOYS, I MUST NOTE. Pregnant stepmom comes out of the bathroom and Trent’s dad is all are you okay? Is everything okay? Are you sure? Do you need to sit down? Go back to the hotel? Ugh, he’s one of those expectant fathers. Ian comes in, pointedly telling his parents, “I’ll be right out!” but they come inside anyway. When Trent’s dad hears Ian’s name, he says, “This is the famous Ian? We’ve heard a lot about you.” Ian: “You have?” Ian’s mom: “You have?” Ha. Trent proceeds to hijack Ian’s parents to show them the camp garden.

The Famous Ian

In the kitchen, Salty Dad is educating Will on tomatoes. Dr. Gina, walking by in the background, stops to eavesdrop as Salty Dad instructs Will on knife technique, and when she says she’s never cooked anything, as he supportively tells her she’s “a natural”. Aww. Of course Dr. Gina’s phone beeps at the precise wrong moment, but she avoids discovery by ducking and beating it out of there. Turns out it’s a text from Jonathan.

In the yoga demonstration, George leads the class as the parents and kids follow along together. Amber’s mom is only watching, but is involved enough to stage-whisper “Good for you!” to Chloe and Alistair’s wheelchair-using mom as she participates. Oh. My. God. Chloe’s mom just ignores her. Amber’s mom goes on to explain that she’d try it too, except she has cramps, and then begins to tell of her tipped uterus again, while Amber loudly shushes her. George invites Amber’s mom to join in, and she does so, whispering to Amber how cute George is. Amber’s reached her limit and wants to leave. Now. She covers by telling her mom she wants to spend time alone together.

They get back to the girls’ cabin, which Amber’s mom calls “dirty”, then says she’s just kidding, but no, it really is dirty and they should clean it, for what the camp costs. Amber says she wants to hear how her mom is doing. “You’re so funny,” says mom. “You’re gone, and I’m stuck with my bitch of a sister. How do you think I’m doing?” Damn, y’all, if I had to live with this I’d probably save up for fat camp too. Hell, maybe boarding school. Mom has no filter at all. She then tells Amber to ignore her, she just misses her daughter. Then she presents Amber with a shoebox. Amber’s excited until she discovers that it contains cookies. Uh oh.

Dante’s mom comes into the boys’ cabin to use the bathroom, and finds Alistair knitting alone. They bond over their shared passion for knitting, until Dante comes in and mom goes to attend to nature’s call. Alistair puts his knitting on his bunk and leaves without speaking a word to Dante. Once he’s gone, Dante gets his journal and pulls out a page on which something is already written. He hides it under Alistair’s knitting.

In the girls’ cabin, Amber pulls her mom outside, explaining that she has to ditch the cookies, because she’ll get in trouble if she’s caught with them. Her mom doesn’t get it, and tells Amber just not to tell anyone. Finally Amber lies and says she can keep them in the camp kitchen. Instead, she takes the cookie-shoebox to the laundry room and stashes it behind a washer.

Alistair and Chloe are headed out to dinner with their parents. Chloe asks Alistair if they can just pretend everything’s fine while their folks are there, and then after that he can go back to hating her. Alistair refuses to pretend, just as Becca approaches. “Really?” asks Chloe, referring to his fake girlfriend.

In the mess hall, Amber’s mom is telling the assembled table that this place is awfully “dirty” to cost so much, but Amber wanted to spend her own money on it. Amber, in the meantime, is sitting, back rigid, intently chewing and staring at the ceiling, seemingly wishing she were anywhere else in the world but here with her mom. “Why are you chewing like that?” asks Amber’s mom. “That’s how she always chews,” says Dante, helpfully.

Amber goes to her safe place, the land of Epic Chewing.

Ian’s parents have a perfectly reasonable and friendly conversation about where to sit, and once they’ve walked off, Ian stands, open-mouthed, while a bemused Will says wryly, “Wow, I’m sorry I had to see that.” Ian says his parents have been behaving like this all day. Will suggests maybe they’ve gotten into couples counseling, which Ian says is impossible. Call me cynical, but my money is on a divorce announcement later in this episode.

Chloe and Alistair and their parents are waiting for a table at a restaurant when Trent and his parents come in. Trent introduces them as “Alistair, we’re in the same cabin, this is Becca, and this is Chloe… his… sister.” I am surprised that particular burn did not set off the building’s smoke alarms. Chloe, at least, is reaching the point where crying or beating the shit out of Trent are equally-possible options.

Of course, the families must now eat together, to maximize the awkwardness (DRINK!). Alistair is concerned by the portion sizes. Trent’s dad and stepmom agree to split a plate, which gives Alistair the idea to suggest the same to Becca. Trent asks Chloe if she wants to split, and Chloe’s like, “Fuck yoooou! (Ooo, ooo, ooo!)” Not really, but the sentiment is there. Instead she decides on ordering, “Fettucine alfredo with extra sauce, extra cheese, and a side of fried clams.” Her parents exchange looks, her mom concerned, her dad… almost angry. Now ain’t that some shit? (Ain’t that some shit!)

Happy family dinner times!

As a means of changing the subject, Chloe’s mom asks Becca why her grandmother didn’t come this year. Becca pauses for a split second before responding, as bluntly as possible, “She died.” Chloe’s mom looks stricken. Even Chloe is visibly moved, from which we can assume that Becca was probably being raised by her grandmother, or was at least very close to her. Naturally, this revelation brings the already-morose tenor of the dinner party to an absolute low.

Back at camp, Dr. Gina is making an announcement in the crowded mess hall — which turns out to be that she is grateful to have her own father with her this year. She turns and asks Salty Dad if he has anything to say, and Salty Dad gives us a thoughtful, “No seconds,” and giving Dr. Gina the most affectionate look we’ve seen yet. The campers smile. Aww.

After dinner, Ian and his parents are walking when his dad suggests they sit down for a bit. No sooner have their asses hit the benches of the picnic table does Ian’s mom begin, “We love you, so much.” Oh shit, they really are getting divorced. Damn this show. Ian asks if one of them is dying. Nope. Are they in couples therapy? Yes! And it’s helped. Then the hammer falls. “It’s helped us realize that we need to be apart.” To make it extra extra clear, Ian’s dad states definitively, “We’re getting divorced.” Ian tries to process it, tries to be calm and understanding for his parents, he even smiles.

It’s only alone in the laundry room later that he throws his basket of dirty clothes down and cries. I had trouble watching this scene. Divorce, they say, is emotionally harder on a kid than the death of a parent, and I fucking believe it. They also say that divorce is hardest on girls when they’re younger and boys when they’re older. I was a good eight years younger than Ian, but this scene still gave me a familiar sinking feeling, and I have another of my constant urges to crawl inside this story and give a character a hug, to promise it really will be okay.

A little predictably, Ian finds Amber’s hidden cookies. I’m not really loving this cookie subplot, I’ve got to say. He opens the bag and inhales deeply –

– and delivers them directly to Dr. Gina.

Chloe, Alistair, and Becca are returning from dinner and piling out of the parentals’ minivan. As their parents drive away, Chloe says in Alistair’s general direction: “I feel sick. I should have split with Trent.” Trent? Who’s Trent? Oh, you mean the guy who refuses to acknowledge his relationship with you to his parents? Alistair and Becca ignore Chloe and walk off together. Chloe: “Alistair? When you see Trent, can you tell him I said that?” Alistair: “Tell him yourself.”

Alistair walks Becca back to her cabin, remarking on how “date-y” it is. Becca tells him he’ll make a good boyfriend for somebody. Becca “can’t imagine ever going on a date in reality” and Alistair tells her to think of it as LARPing. Becca: “I cast level 9 flirtation!” But then she revises: “What am I saying? I’m level 9 awkwardness.” (Does it count if “awkward” is used in a quote? I say yes. DRINK!) Outside her cabin, Alistair asks if Becca knew he was Chloe’s twin when they met, and Becca says she guessed it based on his uncommon name. She never brought it up because she didn’t want to talk about it — her hurt from being cast aside as Chloe’s BFF is too fresh. Alistair rightly tells Becca she shouldn’t waste energy worrying about what Chloe thinks. Becca should be like, “Fuck yoooou! (Ooo, ooo, ooo!)” Alistair kisses Becca’s hand and says good night, while Becca lingers, ostensibly trying to work out whether she has a crush on Alistair or not.

Inside the girls’ cabin, Amber’s mom — Teal — continues to be the most annoying force in the known universe. When Poppy tells her the evening bell has sounded and she has to go, Amber’s mom asks, “Can’t I stay the night? Please? Pippy?” Poor Poppy tries to explain it’s not allowed, when Teal points at Carter’s sister and says, “She’s staying.” Carter’s sister hides behind her magazine as much as she can, as Teal is told that Carter’s sister got permission in advance. Well, Teal would have too, if someone had told her! Poppy doesn’t budge until Teal is all feigned resignation and adept manipulation and, “oh, ignore me, I’ll just sleep in the car.” Well, we know where Amber is learning this shit. Poppy relents and before she even finishes the sentence, Teal is all YAAAAY! because that is what she expected all along.

Amber bolts for the laundry room under pretense of having left something in the washer. She finds the cookies have vanished. What now?

Inside Dr. Gina’s office, she’s staring at the bag of cookies. She gets up and sticks them in a filing cabinet. My god y’all, they’re just cookies. They’re not heroin! They’re not plutonium! They’re not the fucking ebola virus! They’re cookies. I am a little enraged by the cookiephobia here. Dr. Gina steps back and stares at the cookie-infested filing cabinet when she gets a text. Jonathan is still trying to booty-call her. Fuck yoooooou. (Ooo, ooo, ooo!) Actually she just texts him back, “No.” Then there’s a knock at the door. It’s Wayne! With a basket of tomatoes from his garden. Damn, he gardens too? Wayne is a catch. Apparently Salty Dad called and asked him to bring some tomatoes for parents’ weekend. Oh, that meddling Salty Dad!

Wayne and his tomatoes.

Dr. Gina can’t keep her eyes off the filing cabinet, stuffed as it is with cookie-based explosives. She asks Wayne to get the cookies and take them home. THEY’RE! JUST! COOKIEEEEES! I get that Dr. Gina has an eating disorder, and if she were the only one reacting with abject terror to the cookie-presence, I’d probably be more understanding here, but I’m irked that nobody is being critical of this whole OH GOD WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE COOKIES madness. Wayne agrees, and decides this is also a good time to make out. All right! I bet Wayne is a good kisser.

Back in the girls’ cabin, Amber is laying out a sleeping bag on the floor when her mom marches over and asks if she should just leave. She then drags Amber outside and accuses her of not wanting her there. Mom is a total co-dependent freak show. Amber apologizes — for what, we don’t know — and then so does her mom: “I keep saying stupid things, and I’m just a big stupid weirdo.” Man, I still don’t like Amber, but she certainly has my condolences. Mom goes back on the defensive saying Amber “doesn’t know what it’s been like” and demanding that Amber tell her she wants her to stay.

Once inside, Amber seeks out Will, who’s sitting in the shower — the water’s not on — listening to her headphones and drawing on the postcard from her parents. “You still have that food, right?” Amber means Will’s stash from the first week. Will cautiously says yes, it’s buried in the woods. Amber “really needs some.” And thus when everyone is asleep, Will and Amber sneak out, flashlights in hand, to find and dig up Will’s contraband, bringing us full circle.

Almost. Because we get a “…to be continued.”

Next week: This preview trailer actually made me say OH NOES! aloud. It seems Ian and Amber share an intimate moment and I predict OUTRAGE — and possibly the gathering of pitchforks and torches and an angry mob — amongst Will/Ian shippers, which seems to be happening already on the Huge Facebook page.

* Incidentally, remember Ian’s giant fork t-shirt from the Talent Night episode? I do, because I found it hilarious. You can get your own — up to a men’s 3XL — at this Etsy shop.

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