In addition to tropes inherited from the show, this story provides examples of the following tropes:
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Adaptation Expansion: The reimagining is not constrained to 20-minute segments like the original, and exploits this freedom by including much more personal byplay and additional ancillary scenes. The result is a more character-driven story than the original.
All There in the Manual: The Notes (aka trivia) section is extensive, and mainly explains the more obscure allusions. The Notes also include hyperlinks to supplemental information on ancillary topics, mostly things alluded to in the story.
Antiquated Linguistics: A mild form of this is the author's natural writing style. It is more prominent in certain incidents, most notably rendering the date of the camp's rediscovery as "The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Six".
Aside Comment: The Storyteller occasionally makes comments during a tale that are ostensibly directed at her son, but are in fact also directed at the reader.
Catch Phrase: The Storyteller uses three notable catch phrases as narrative devices/flourishes:
The phrase, "but that is another story for another time" foreshadows later (sometimes much later) subplots and plot points. Taken from The Sword of Shannara, wherein the Druid Allanon used this phrase whenever he mentioned anything touching on the origin of the elves.
Cliffhanger: Every chapter except for the last and the epilogue ends or is scheduled to end with a cliffhanger, because the story is patterned after The 1,001 Nights. These cliffhangers include that rare type that cuts back just to watch the hanger fall.
Darker and Edgier: The author achieves this by several methods, most notably by playing for drama certain incidents that the original played for laughs, and by replacing certain cartoonish elements of the original with some pretty stark realism.
Description Porn: Description-rich narrative is a major element of the author's writing style. This excerpt from the funeral scene is illustrative:
Grasping the [memorial] marker assembly by the makeshift handle that linked the two ends of the chain, Eva twirled it around a few times to build enough momentum so the crosspiece wouldn’t scrape the ground. Then, after the elaborate windup characteristic of competitive hammer throwing, she cast the marker out over the lake, toward the descending sun whose afternoon gold was now showing the first touches of sunset orange.
The marker hit the water somewhat farther out than the spot where [the deceased] had been last seen, but reasonably close. Within a few moments, the weight of the chain pulled the bottom of the cross down, and the cross now bobbed upright on the water. Satisfied with her handiwork, Eva rejoined the others.
Doorstopper: Estimated finished length is 300,000 words or more. The author has a richly descriptive style, and a high word count is the price of that.
Dramatic Ellipsis: These appear with some regularity, usually to indicate a pause in dialogue and always with the regulation three dots.
Every Episode Ending: Except for the prologue, every chapter posted to date ends thusly: "The hour was growing late, so Brett's mother left off her tale and suggested that he prepare for bed."
Exposition Cut: The Storyteller regularly skips over repetitive content with the line, "But nothing would be gained by repeating it here." Taken from the Mardrus & Mathers translation of The 1,001 Nights.
External Retcon: The reimagining has elements of this, as is perhaps the nature of reimaginings. The Storyteller tends to depict the contestants more realistically and multidimensionally than the canon does, justified in-universe by her insider perspective. She also makes references to manipulative editing by the in-universe producers, who wanted the finished episodes to suggest that the teams don't get along as well as they do.
Flanderization: Inverted in-universe. The Storyteller tends to depict the contestants more realistically and multidimensionally than the canon does, due to her insider perspective. She also makes references suggesting that the finished episodes mentioned in the reimagining didn't depict the contestants any more multidimensionally than the canon episodes did.
Footnote Fever: The Notes section is quite extensive, mainly serving to explain the more obscure allusions.
Framing Device: When Brett learns that he will be a contestant on the the newly revived Total Drama Island: The Next Generation, and learns that his mother was a contestant on the first season of the original Total Drama Island, he asks her to tell him all about her experience. Her tales comprise the inner story, with the byplay between Brett and his mother comprising the frame story.
Greek Chorus: At the end of each "episode", Brett and his mother discuss it, usually briefly, sometime less so.
The Metric System Is Here to Stay: The Storyteller is Canadian, so she mainly uses metric units of measure. The few in-story references to imperial units appear in dialogue, as opposed to narrative.
Narrative Filigree: Numerous ancillary scenes have far more detail than is strictly necessary to advance the story.
Next Sunday A.D.: Written in 2010-1?, the frame story is set in the year 2023 with no mention of intervening progress or events.
Opening Narration: Every chapter except for the prologue and the first chapter of the inner story begins with stock narration based on that in The 1,001 Nights: "The next morning… and then she began to speak." There is some variation, most notably between weekday and weekend.
Pastiche: Although The 1,001 Nights is a prose work, some of the component stories have a good deal of poetry. LTDI somewhat duplicates this feel by insertion of (mostly famous) poems at various points where they fit or enhance the scene's mood. These poems are usually part of the narrative, but characters occasionally recite them in-universe.
Point of View: True omniscient, befitting the story's "legendary" quality. Unspoken thoughts largely replace the confessional spots usually seen in Total Drama competition stories.
Bridgette: I am going to make you eat… every… word.
Reconstruction: Although LTDI is neither intended or billed as a reconstruction, it does a fair amount of recon work. This stems largely from the author's fondness for explaining things, a generally higher level of realism than in the original, and a tone change from comedy to drama.
Signature Style: Description-rich and dialogue-light, with a flavor that readers have described as "19th Century", "elegant", "nearly poetic", and so on. The author is also inclined to explain things in detail, whether in the story or in notes, and to use "death and renewal" themes, although the chapters posted to date have only the “death” part.
Sophisticated as Hell: The narrative tends to be flowery and faintly antiquated, but the dialogue is modern teenspeak or middle-of-the-road colloquial English.
The Stations of the Canon: A central conceit of this reimagining is to play familiar scenes for drama instead of laughs, creating major changes in tone from sometimes minor changes in events, so it tends to track the canon’s major incidents relatively closely.
Title Drop: The chapter-opening boilerplate drops the title of the season (Season 1, Total Drama Island) that the story is reimagining.
Unreliable Narrator: Although Brett's mother recounts long-past events with inhuman precision, she also embellishes some details, fills in gaps with informed guesswork, and lets her biases influence some characterizations. Indeed, those cartoonish elements in the original that are retained in the reimagining could well be chalked up to her embellishments. It’s called a “legend” for a reason.
Webcomic Time: Chapters are published bimonthly, but some chapters covers only a few hours' worth of events.
What If?: The story is a reimagining of Total Drama's first season, but can be reasonably described as, "What if Total Drama Island had been played for drama instead of laughs?" The result is one of the darkest Season 1 remakes in the fandom.
Played for drama when Lindsay scores the first kill of the match, hitting Bridgette despite aiming for the nearby D.J.
Played for laughs when the last ball of Tyler's wild fusillade comes hurtling straight for Leshawna’s head. Tyler was actually trying to hit Cody, who was halfway across the court.
Added Alliterative Appeal: The Storyteller shows some fondness for alliteration (which is, after all, a basic poetic device) in the narrative. The dialogue includes a full-fledged alliteration "duel" between Noah and Izzy (full text on the Quotes page), with Chris even getting into the act as he interrupts it.
Ahem: Chris does this, quite theatrically, during the orientation tour to get Courtney and Lindsay's attention when the girls are talking about something unrelated.
And That's Terrible: The Storyteller usually describes Heather in neutral terms ("the queen bee", "the dragon girl", etc.), but describes her in negative terms ("the Dark Queen", "the Princess of Darkness", etc.) when Heather is planning or doing something underhanded.
Animals Not to Scale: The lake is allegedly infested with giant man-eating lampreys, which become the unlikely subject of a running gag. Some of the sharks are improbably large as well, big enough to “down a fully loaded canoe at a gulp”.
Anime Hair: When the vain Chris refuses once too often to let Katie and Sadie be on the same team, they physically assault him and, among other indignities, forcibly restyle his hair to “an irregular, spiky mane, the likes of which is rarely seen outside of anime.”
Arc Words: The chapter-opening boilerplate periodically mentions in passing that Brett’s mother has “neither spouse nor partner”. For most of the story, this appears to be merely a narrative flourish. Appears to be.
Artistic License - Nuclear Physics: Used to provide a plausible(ish) explanation for the detonation of Izzy's firestarter. note The canon counterpart of this scene was merely a sight gag that viewers weren't expected to dwell on, but the fanfic author is fond of explaining things. According to the story's notes, the story accepts as true the exaggerated claim, from a 1961 Popular Science article, that a californium bomb with a 10-ton yield could be the size of a pistol bullet.
Asian Speekee Engrish: When the Asian or half-Asian Heather tries to sit with Duncan and Ezekiel during the Awake-a-thon, Duncan invokes this trope by saying, "She so horny, love us long time" with a stereotypical Far Eastern accent and a bad imitation of Heather's voice.
As the Good Book Says: During the first challenge, the devoutly religious Ezekiel prepares for his dangerous cliff dive by reciting Psalms 23:4 to himself: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."
Chris invokes this trope during the orientation, when he grants the contestants amnesty to surrender forbidden electronic gadgets.
When two contestants are in urgent need of medical attention, Chef Hatchet reminds a couple of interns that the infirmary can only handle one patient at a time.
At a certain elimination ceremony, Chris reminds the contestants and the audience that there is no set procedure for breaking tie votes.
Attack Pattern Alpha: During the dodgeball match, when the Muskies adopt the tactic of having everyone throw simultaneously at the same player, Courtney devises organized patterns with names like "Coffin" and "Die Five".
Awful Truth: When one contestant suffers brain damage after she "dies" and has to be resuscitated, the other contestants reach an unspoken agreement to keep the victim ignorant of her condition because her symptoms are mild enough to allow this.
Barely-There Swimwear: Lindsay's costume for her talent show act (a ballroom dance with Justin) is a repurposed "barely legal" bikini converted to a dance costume by adding sequins.
Bawdy Song: During the camping challenge, the Muskies sing several such songs after dinner, including "Barnacle Bill the Sailor". They would even have sung "The Good Ship Venus" if enough of them had known the words.
Beat Them at Their Own Game: The Eagles copy the Muskies' mass barrage tactics in the dodgeball match. It doesn't work especially well, thereby subverting the trope, because the Eagles don’t realize that the Muskies are throwing organized patterns.
Berserk Button: When Sadie tries to guilt Chris into letting her switch teams by accusing him of discriminating against her because she's fat, Chris gets genuinely angry—something he rarely does.
Chris: If you play the ‘oppressed minority’ card on me again, you’ll be out of here so fast it’ll make your head spin. Capisce?”
Berserker Tears: The normally mild-mannered Bridgette sheds tears of rage whilst denouncing Chris for his treatment of the interns.
Big Creepy-Crawlies: The scene where Lindsay is "cornered" replaces the canon cockroach with a large stag beetle - "harmless, but looking like something straight out of Hell." When Lindsay speaks of the incident a few days later, she innocently makes her "rescue" sound like "a pitched battle against a thousand-kilo, armor plated killing machine".
Big "OMG!": People say variations (“Oh gosh” and so on) as well as stronger things in various situations; but when somebody says the exact words, "Oh my God", it means that the speaker thinks someone's life is in grave—and usually immediate—danger.
Big "WHAT?!": Courtney reacts thusly when Chris awards a certain challenge to the Eagles after it appeared that he was going to disqualify them and should have disqualified them.
Big "YES!": Lindsay has been tasked with giving her friend Sadie a bad haircut during the phobia challenge, and cuts loose with a Big YES when she realizes that she can use extensions to do a reversible job.
Bile Fascination: Cody encounters an in-universe example whilst watching his crush girl Gwen and rival Trent trying to decide whether to take their relationship to the next level.
Cody, meanwhile, was certain that he would rather tear his eyes from their sockets than see that kiss if it did come to pass; yet he couldn’t look away.
There was no sign of blood or struggle, but neither was there any sign of Harold.
Bloodless Carnage: Uses the variant of describing a game like a real battle. Much of the game action in the dodgeball match, especially in the first game, is written in the style of a battle scene from The Iliad, which is probably one of the most blood-drenched epics of all time. There is a minor subversion in that Lindsay does bleed after being hit in the mouth.
During a challenge, Geoff describes Courtney's attitude as "harshness". Courtney replies, "Yes, it is. What's your point?"
During another challenge, Beth thinks that Chris has killed Courtney. When the (seemingly) offended Chris asks whether Beth really thinks he would do something like that, the contestants reply, "yes" in unison.
Brain Bleach: the following invocations (from separate incidents) are typical:
Bridgette: [H]ow about keeping us in suspense on that, okay? That’s a mental image I so don’t need right now.
Leshawna: If I even see one, I feel like I need a shower.
Bunnies for Cuteness: The gentle and inoffensive D.J. finds and adopts a bunny during the camping challenge, as per canon; but where the original played the trope more or less straight, the reimagining subverts the trope when the bunny's grisly demise triggers a conflict storyline.
The Bus Came Back: An eliminated contestant makes a guest appearance to help with a later challenge.
Calvinball: When Chris briefs the teams before the dodgeball match, he warns them that the rules might not remain constant throughout the match. When he later decides that a game is going too quickly, he springs a new rule on the contestants and tells them that he can restore the teams to full strength whenever he wants. The match is largely described in the style of a battle scene from The Iliad, and Chris’ fluid rules parallel The Iliad’s divine interventions.
The Cameo: Several characters who debuted in the canon Season 4 (Total Drama Revenge of the Island) make brief appearances as interns. Word of God also has it that Season 3 (Total Drama World Tour) debuter Sierra will have an important cameo near the end.
Cannon Fodder: In a confessional spot during the first challenge, Chris uses this term for the contestants whom he had expected to be early outs. He specifically identifies Ezekiel, Katie, Sadie, Gwen and Lindsay as presumed "cannon fodder". Subverted when Chris notes with mixed feelings that the "cannon fodder" is turning out to be more capable than he expected, for which he blames the profilers for not doing their jobs.
Captive Audience: In a downplayed example using the business definition, the first-day orientation includes a stop at the Tuck Shoppe, essentially an on-site convenience store. Chris informs the contestants that the Tuck Shoppe can provide various things to make their lives a little easier, but warns that they'll have to pay captive audience prices for those luxuries. In other words, everything will be expensive.
Cat Girl: Several contestants discuss the topic at the amphitheater whilst they wait for Chris to brief them on the Talent Show challenge.
Lindsay: I just love musicals! Maybe they’ll show ‘Cats’.
Sadie: I don’t think so, Linds. Today should be a challenge day—
Katie:—so if anyone has to dress up as cats today, it would probably be us.
[Duncan leers and opens his mouth to speak]
Eva: Don’t say it, Duncan. We don’t need to hear about your ‘cat girl’ fantasies.
In the phobia confession scene, the contestants have cause to suspect that Courtney is afraid of green Jell-O as per canon.note In the original, her fear was to green jelly in general, as opposed to the Jell-O brand specifically. This leads to a running gag wherein various people refer to this suspected phobia in passing and Courtney vehemently denies it. The alleged phobia is finally mentioned once too often, and "[t]he camp rang with Courtney's scream of frustration."
Various people are occasionally described as looking like they are ready to scream due to tension or exasperation. The first such incident comes when Chris, who is losing patience with the dimwitted Lindsay, addresses her by saying, “look, bra”, and she responds by looking down and inspecting her straining halter top. Chris looks ready to scream.
Celibate Hero: Heather forbids her lackeys to get romantically involved during the competition because she views romance as a distraction and fears its potential to create divided loyalties. Unlike most of the alliance rules she sets, this is one where she doesn't demand preferential treatment for herself.
Character Witness: Team leader Courtney is nominated for elimination and can’t defend herself because she’s in the infirmary. Ezekiel, whom Courtney has been re-educating to be acceptable to polite society, stands up for her. Ezekiel’s sexist attitudes are well known, so his “testimony” carries a lot of weight.
Izzy: Guys, you know what Zeke thinks of girls, and we can just imagine what he thinks of girls being in charge. And yet he was the first one to stick up for Courtney. That should tell you something.
Chariot Race: During a canoe race, Courtney and Heather get into a paddle battle that parodies a chariot racing scene from Ben Hur, wherein the racers took to whipping each other instead of their horses. Ezekiel and Lindsay are the obedient "horses" who continue to paddle whilst the alpha cats have their fight.
Chekhov's Gun: Lindsay's bandana. When Lindsay arrives on the island, the Storyteller notes that her bandana would serve her well, but leaves the details as "another story for another time". Sure enough, several chapter later, the presence of that bandana mitigates the damage when Lindsay's hair is burned.
Chewing the Scenery: When the normally deadpan Noah gives a flowery blank verse speech based on the “St. Crispin’s Day” speech during the dodgeball match, he's oblivious to the fact that he's hamming up the delivery. The Storyteller also notes that “a swell of dramatic music” accompanied Noah's speech in the finished episode.
Clothing Damage: When Sadie must treat Katie for severe hypothermia and has nothing suitable for the job except her own body, she rips open her and Katie's pullover dresses to allow effective skin-to-skin heat transfer.
Chris: The greatness of a pun is measured not by the laughs, but by the groans.
Combat by Champion: During a momentary lull in the dodgeball match, Eva steps forward and challenges any comer to single combat. Subverted in that when Leshawna accepts the challenge, Leshawna's trash talk leads to an offer of friendship, so the duel doesn't take place.
Cody tries to "comfort" Gwen after her boyfriend is eliminated. This is worsened by the fact that Cody himself was instrumental in the events that led to Gwen needing comfort in the first place. The trope is subverted when Gwen reacts poorly.
A half-platonic variant arises during the camping challenge. Katie and Sadie go missing, which has a distinct possibility of costing their team the challenge, so Cody and Noah see it as a potential opportunity to get Sadie out of the way so that Noah can "comfort" Katie.
Compensating for Something: :During the camping challenge, Izzy pounces on an innocent remark by Ezekiel to suggest that Duncan's swagger might be his way of compensating for an inadequacy.
Ezekiel: Duncan, can I borrow your knife?
[Duncan obliges. Ezekiel inspects it.]
Ezekiel: It’s kind of small, but I guess it’ll do.
Continuity Cameo: A few characters who debuted in the canon Season 4 cameo as interns with no lines. The only reason why the Storyteller bothers to describe them at all is to make a subtle breach of the Fourth Wall. The expectation is that the reader will recognize those interns from the descriptions.
Curb-Stomp Battle: One team scores a "flawless victory" in the paintball deer hunt challenge, thanks largely to the stratagem of "borrowing" Chef Hatchet's plane and hunting from the air.
Dangerous Sixteenth Birthday: Katie and Sadie get lost and find themselves in mortal peril on what turns out to be the night before Sadie's 16th birthday. The morning of Sadie’s birthday doesn’t bode well for them, either.
The Dead Have Names: When the Muskies find the body of an intern who had apparently made a heroic last stand, Ezekiel pulls her dog tag out from under her shirt in order to learn her name.
Death from Above: During the paintball deer hunt challenge, Duncan and the Muskies hunters invoke this trope (and the corresponding catchpharase) when they decide to hotwire Chef's plane in order to hunt from the air.
Death Glare: This expression of displeasure gets a lot of mileage, especially among the girls. Chris and Duncan are the most common targets.
Tyler plays dumb when his teammates confront him for nearly getting them all killed during a challenge. “What?” is all he says.
When the contestants are angry with Chris, who has just revealed that he laced the buffet with sedatives to speed up the Awake-a-thon, Chris defensively says, “What? We’re on a schedule.”
Development Gag: Alejandro the intern once competed on a show called Camp TV, which got cancelled partly because of its bland name. The joke is that Camp TV was the original name of the show that became Total Drama Island, with the name being changed because the networks didn't think the original name was catchy enough.
Devil's Advocate: Although Courtney is as offended as the other girls by Ezekiel's sexist remarks during the first challenge, she later argues that he doesn't deserve to be eliminated for them because he did his part in the challenge.
Dies Wide Open: During the first trip to Boney Island, the Muskies find an intern's body in this condition. Ezekiel closes her eyes when he prays for her soul.
Dinner and a Show: During the phobia challenge, Duncan invokes this trope when Courtney starts stripping off her "contaminated" clothes. He and the other boys are disappointed to find out that Courtney's wearing a wetsuit underneath.
Dirty Business: Heather appears to take this attitude when she resorts to outright cheating in a challenge.
Heather: I know, I know, I’d rather play a clean game, too, but not at the cost of giving away challenges…Without the edge that my plan can give us, we don’t stand a chance.
Disproportionate Retribution: Leshawna and Heather’s argument on the diving cliff ends with Leshawna nearly killing Heather (albeit accidentally), whereupon the Storyteller invokes the trope.
Atop the cliff, the mortified Leshawna breathed an immense sigh of relief, for she understood only too well how close she had come to exacting a terribly disproportionate price for Heather’s vanity.
The Storyteller lampshades this in regard to Cody's idle "sleeping with the enemy" fantasy during the 20K run.
Granted, there would be no sleeping and Courtney wasn’t really an enemy, but that’s the way it is with figures of speech.
Katie and Sadie invert the trope when they scoff at how people supposedly can't tell them apart. One of them says, in pertinent part, "Like, hello, we're totally different." It’s not made clear which one says this because they are treated as being utterly interchangeable in this conversation.
Dissonant Serenity: When Heather's phobia challenge drives her beyond the limit of her ability to feel fear, she speaks calmly and appears composed. The Storyteller likens Heather's demeanor to the serenity “which comes with ceasing to fear death when about to die." Heather faints moments later.
Distracted by the Sexy: When the contestants assemble in their swimwear for the first challenge, Justin appears wearing only bikini briefs. This leaves the female contestants, interns and camera crews unable to function, so Chris orders Justin to change into something less revealing.
Dog Food Diet: Played with during the first meal. The sloppy joe meat looks suspiciously like dog food.
Double Entendre: Duncan serves up a fair number of these, in keeping with his tendency to view girls as objects.
Double Take: During the first meal, Gwen does a double take when it seems to her that her food has moved. On the second part of the take, she eyes her food warily, trying to convince herself that the seeming movement was just a trick of the light.
Played straight in Episode 1, which begins with an account of how the abandoned summer camp came to be abandoned in the first place.
Exaggerated and played for laughs in Episode 2, which begins thusly: "The next morning, their first at Camp Wawanakwa, the campers awoke to the end of the world." The wakeup call is the “Dies Irae” from Verdi'sRequiem, which Chris plays over the PA system at “cabin-shaking volume".
Drama Bomb: Through the first several chapters, Katie and Sadie are almost exclusively comic relief. Then, during the camping challenge, instead of a reimagined version of the quarrel they had in the canon after getting lost, they are stranded overnight in the woods without adequate shelter, facing a very real possibility of decidedly uncomic deaths.
Dreaming of Things to Come: On the morning of the second challenge, Bridgette sees numerous parallels between the day's events and her dream of finding Harold alive. The trope is subverted when she comes to the place where she dreamed of finding Harold—a spot she had never been to before—only to find no sign of human presence.
Elimination Catchphrase: Expands on the canon version (“walk the Dock of Shame, board the Boat of Losers”) by adding, "and make the Voyage of the Damned".
Empty Shell: For a couple of days after a traumatic challenge accident, Lindsay is only dimly aware of her surroundings. She doesn’t even have enough self-awareness to eat or use the toilet without assistance.
Epigraph: The main story uses the opening verses of The Kalevala as an invocation. The verses are slightly altered in that Total Drama character and place names replace the original mythic Finnish names.
Et Tu, Brute?: Courtney invokes this as a stock phrase when Izzy "betrays" her and the other girls during the camping challenge. The boys want to sing bawdy songs at the campfire, and Izzy offers to sing the "fair young maiden" lines in "Barnacle Bill the Sailor".
Everyone Gets Their Turn: Group discussion scenes tend to have this flavor, which helps stop certain supporting characters (especially early outs) becoming too minor.
Evil Lawyer Joke: The sharks won't harm Courtney out of "professional courtesy" because she plans to be a lawyer when she grows up.
During her argument with Leshawna on the diving cliff, Heather says "make me" as per canon, and the Storyteller describes that phrase as being “Famous Last Words”.
During the paintball deer hunt, Courtney describes the phrase, "It seemed like a good idea at the time" as Famous Last Words.
Fan Disservice: The obese Sadie has a brief scene where she's in the woods wearing nothing but shoes and panties. Even if you’re into that sort of thing, the situation is decidedly unsexy.
Fanservice: This is one of the reasons why the reimagining carries a stricter rating than the original.
At the first challenge briefing, Chris notes that the fledgling show needs to do something to grab the audience’s attention, and that one of the ways he intends to do this is to put the contestants in their swimwear so the viewing audience can ogle female curves.
When Justin and Lindsay dance during the talent show, Justin is shirtless and Lindsay's dance costume is a converted micro-bikini, and the dance itself is highly erotic.
Fartillery: Owen gasses Gwen and Trent during the Awake-a-thon, causing them to briefly fall unconscious.
Leshawna: Losing your first is always hard. You think there’ll never be anyone else. But it’ll pass. Take it from a sister who’s been there.
First Episode Spoiler: Not actually in the first episode, but in the first challenge (2nd episode), which is close enough. Seeing the sharks get someone during the cliff diving challenge has a lasting impact on the other contestants, and is repeatedly referenced in later chapters. The schemers still scheme and the backstabbers still backstab because there's still a game to be won; but because of that one early incident, they're all in it together when someone gets into serious trouble.
Five-Finger Fillet: Whilst the contestants who have completed the 20K run are waiting for the stragglers to finish, Duncan teaches teammates D.J. and Ezekiel how to play this knife game. The three boys then play for a time.
When Heather and Leshawna argue atop the diving cliff, they trade insults such as “call girl in training”, “morbidly obese cow” and “eating disorder poster child”. The battle continues with no further details beyond the fact that the girls cast aspersions on each other’s “tastes, attractiveness, sexual proclivities, intelligence, ancestry, social standing and probable place of residence in the afterlife.”
Forced to Watch: Sadie and Lindsay share a (canonical) phobia toward bad haircuts, so Sadie must watch Lindsay give her a bad haircut during the phobia challenge.
Foreign Cuss Word: The francophonic Leshawna occasionally swears in the Quebecois fashion of using the names of religious objects as cuss words. She later teaches Noah how to swear in this idiom.
Forgiveness: Cody asks Gwen for forgiveness when confronted with his role in eliminating Gwen's boyfriend (and Cody's rival). Later, Katie comes to Gwen for forgiveness for her role in helping Heather find Gwen's diary. Gwen forgives them both—for a price.
Freak Out: Lindsay is so shocked when her hair is burned that she becomes a gibbering wreck at first, then nearly mindless for a time.
Futile Hand Reach: Leshawna instinctively reaches for Heather and calls her name after accidentally driving Heather off the diving cliff during the first challenge.
Generation Xerox: The host for the upcoming Total Drama Island: the Next Generation is Christin McLean, a niece of Chris McLean, who hosted the original Total Drama Island. Christin is essentially a nicer, less experienced version of Chris.
Give Me a Sword: During the paintball challenge, Heather is in a point blank firefight with her rebellious allies Katie and Sadie when everyone pauses to reload. Heather, who has no extra ammunition, demands Lindsay's extra clips. Lindsay is still loyal, albeit not taking part because Heather has her gun, so she complies. The shooters then go right back to it.
Gratuitous Iambic Pentameter: During the dodgeball match, Noah rallies his team and usurps Heather's place as coach with a rousing speech in blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter), based on the famous "St. Crispin's Day" speech from Henry V.
Gray Rain of Depression: The rainstorm during the camping challenge is a steady drizzle during the period when Sadie believes that Katie is dead. The rain later stops long enough for Sadie to determine that Katie is still alive, if only just.
Green-Eyed Monster: After Gwen and Trent hook up, Heather appeals to Cody's jealousy to gain his help in blindsiding Trent.
Grief Song: Ezekiel sings Andrew Lloyd Webber's setting of the “Pie Jesu” when a girl he likes is eliminated. His team later makes it a regular part of the elimination ceremony.
Groin Attack: During the dodgeball match, Eva routinely throws at the groins of both male and female opponents—not because she's trying to hurt them, but merely because it's a difficult spot to defend well under dodgeball rules. Katie also does this for the same reason, but lacks the intimidation factor because she's not as strong.
Ground Pound: During the hot tub building challenge, the players are forbidden to use their hands to open their crates, so the ridiculously huge Owen cannonballs onto his team's crates from a height to pop them open.
The Grovel: After jealousy over Gwen drives Cody to help get his rival voted off, Cody sees that Gwen was hurt much more deeply than he expected. Cody subsequently apologizes and offers to do anything to make amends. Gwen then imposes terms that Cody considers harsh but accepts without question.
Gunship Rescue: The Muskies’ hunters, who are hunting from the air during the paintball deer hunt challenge, use a mass barrage to drive off a bear that has cornered a campmate.
Hand Signals: During the first challenge, when Sadie demands to be on the same team with Katie and Chris refuses, Sadie surreptitiously gives Katie a hand signal that Chris “didn't see and wouldn't have known how to interpret". This is the signal for Katie and Sadie to physically assault Chris.
Hat Damage: During the contestants' first meal, Chef Hatchet responds to Geoff's request for different food with a (seemingly) no-look knife throw that strikes Geoff's ten gallon hat off of his head and transfixes it to the wall.
He Didn't Make It: During the cliff diving challenge, Courtney uses a silent variant after she fails to locate a missing contestant. Shortly thereafter, when Alejandro is escorting Beth, he uses the standard phrase to describe the fate of a fellow intern who was killed whilst testing the challenge.
Tyler has one when Courtney fails to find a missing contestant, leaving said contestant presumed dead.
Lindsay has a more severe one when her hair is burned.
Heroic Safe Mode: When Lindsay is injured during the dodgeball match, her boyfriend enters a berserker fury worthy of Cu Chulainn and mows down the other team "faster than you could say 'Camp Wawanakwa'".
Heroic Second Wind: Sadie has a figurative variant. When Katie is dying, Sadie does everything humanly possible to save her. After falling briefly into despair when she thinks that Katie has died anyway, Sadie realizes that she can't actually make that determination with any certainty. That hope, however faint, gives her the strength to carry Katie and try to find help.
Hoist by His Own Petard: The Storyteller invokes the phrase in the dodgeball match, with Tyler's "petard" being his inflated and unrealistic assessment of his athletic prowess.
When Heather reads Gwen's diary to the world, she embellishes her reading to paint Gwen in this light, depicting Gwen’s schoolgirl crush on Trent as nigh-pornographic sexual fantasies.
When Duncan contemplates the fact that he likes Courtney more than he really wants to, he attributes this to “[s]tupid hormones”.
Horrible Camping Trip: Played for drama, as opposed to being played for laughs in the original. The teams don't fare too badly, but it's another story for Katie and Sadie...
Human Pincushion: Played for laughs. When Tyler tries to kill a porcupine for his team's dinner during the camping challenge, he ends up with “so many quills in him that he resembled a porcupine himself.”
When Bridgette accepts that Duncan has a point during a group discussion, she says in pertinent part, "I hate to side with the walking rap sheet".
When Lindsay wants to take time in a time-critical situation to do her makeup, Heather tells her that some things are more important than looking hot. A beat later, Heather adds, "I can't believe I just said that, but it's true."
I'm a Humanitarian: When Duncan suggests that Chef Hatchet is feeding the contestants remains of the interns killed on the job, he (Duncan) claims that the producers are much too cheap to let that much fresh meat go to waste.
I Meant to Do That: When Izzy arrives at the island, she trips and takes a header off the boat, but recovers in time to land on her feet, albeit in a deep crouch. She straightens up with a look on her face that says, "Of course, I planned that."
Immoral Reality Show: When new interns arrive to replace those who have been killed in the line of duty, Bridgette tearfully accuses Chris of running such a show.
Bridgette: I think the real reason he doesn’t want us getting chummy with the interns is because he doesn’t want it to bother us when they die. It seems pretty clear that he doesn’t care about them at all. He doesn’t even seem to care if we die, as long as we do it with ‘drama’.
I'm Standing Right Here: Owen makes this protest before the first challenge, when Chris casually disses his endurance or lack thereof.
I Was Having Such a Nice Dream: Bridgette dreams that she has found a previously eulogized campmate alive. She is awakened just before learning how he supposedly survived. Bridgette later comes to suspect that it was, in fact, a prophetic dream when she sees certain parallels between the day’s events and the events of her dream.
I Will Show You X: Chris and Sadie have this exchange when Sadie demands to be on the same team with Katie:
Chris: You and Katie won't generate enough drama if you're on the same team.
Sadie: You want drama? I'll give you drama! Don't say I didn't warn you!
Repetitive conversations are usually handled this way, usually with just one clause of description followed by the catch phrase, "but nothing would be gained by repeating it here."
Conversations involving interns are more likely to be informed than are conversations between more important characters.
In-Joke: An in-universe example is the contestants saying "Sunshine told me" in the same way that an angry mother might say to her misbehaving child, "a little bird told me", the joke being that Sunshine is Izzy's imaginary friend.
Inner Monologue: Characters’ thoughts are frequently contrasted to their speech. The unspoken thought is invariably less diplomatic, expressing things ranging from exasperation to uncertainty to sexual arousal.
Innocent Inaccurate: Inverted with Lindsay's description of Harold "rescuing" her from a large stag beetle. When Lindsay later tries to describe the incident, she makes Harold's dispatching of the beetle sound like "a pitched battle against a thousand-kilo, armor-plated killing machine."
In Spite of a Nail: After Sadie switches teams (with Beth) instead of Katie, Heather recruits Katie and Sadie (instead of Beth) into an alliance during the Awake-a-thon. The dynamics of Heather's alliance remain much the same as in the canon, except that (1) the larger bloc is perforce more powerful; and (2) Heather finds Katie and Sadie harder to control than Beth was in the original.
Played straight when Duncan calls Chris "sick" during the phobia challenge. Chris replies, "Should I try for 'depraved'?" and then speculates that being known as a "depraved reality show host" might be good for ratings.
Defied by Heather during the same challenge, when she tells Chris that the test he has set for Sadie is "low", even for him. Before Chris can respond, Heather adds, "And no, that's not a compliment, so don't try to twist it into one."
Intimate Healing: After Katie falls unconscious from hypothermia, Sadie warms and shelters her with her own body as best she can, having nothing else available.
Irony: The elimination following the dodgeball match serves up a generous helping of dramatic irony. This elimination is shocking in-universe (to the victim, anyway) but not to the reader, because all the real drama is in lining up the votes, with the ceremony itself being treated as a fait accompli.
Katie and Sadie's assault on Chris only works because they have surprise on their side. Nothing in their profiles suggested that they would respond with physical aggression to anything.
Eva's climactic maneuver in the dodgeball match works largely because she had been hiding her ambidexterity for just such a need.
It's a Long Story: Invoked in the prologue. Brett's mother warns him that the story is much too long to tell in one night, Brett is undeterred and wants to hear it all, and it turns out to be a very long story indeed.
It's Always Sunny at Funerals: The memorial service (not technically a funeral because there's no body to lay to rest) is held on a sunny or partly cloudy afternoon, after which the contestants watch the sun set.
Jerkass Realization: After seeing a contestant apparently die during a challenge, the Eagles mess with Beth's mind (Beth being the last Muskie to face the challenge), trying to get her to forfeit the point by suggesting that she will also die if she does what the challenge requires. The Storyteller notes that this was terribly callous of the Eagles, and that most of them would be mortified later when they realized what they had done.
Just in Time: Lightning and Alejandro find Katie and Sadie just in time for Chef Hatchet to resuscitate the mostly deadKatie.
Kiss of Distraction: Not actually a kiss, but it’s the same effect and the same purpose, with a hint of Intimate Healing into the bargain. When Katie is about to barf during the Awake-a-thon, which would have disqualified her, Justin distracts her with sensual caresses until her stomach calms down.
Lame Pun Reaction: The contestants groan when Noah figures out the "Pixie Chicks" visual pun (see Collective Groan above). Chris is pleased, and states that "the greatness of a pun is measured not by the laughs, but by the groans."
Lindsay has a (nonlethal, obviously) last stand in the dodgeball match. Alone against three opponents, she manages to frustrate them for quite some time.
An intern has a last stand against Boney Island's (canonical) giant carnivorous beavers, managing to slay two with a makeshift polearm. The Muskies find her partially eaten body.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Ezekiel does this during the dodgeball match when he makes a statement that could be construed as a reference to fanfic pairings involving him.
Ezekiel: You’d be surprised who I get fixed up with.
Let Me Get This Straight: When Chris reveals that he laced everything in the buffet with a mild sedative to make the Awake-a-thon end sooner, Bridgette is indignant, to put it mildly.
Bridgette: Let me get this straight. You’re saying that you drugged us?
Let's Get Dangerous: In the first three episodes, Katie and Sadie are almost exclusively comic relief. Then, in the dodgeball match, the first time they're on the court together they go through the other team like a scythe.
Limited Wardrobe: Enforced, as opposed to being played straight in the original. The Storyteller notes that the fashionistae Heather and Lindsay get few opportunities to show off their huge wardrobes, because the producers want the contestants to wear the same clothes most of the time for the sake of making it easier to splice in stock footage as needed.
Loud Gulp: In a downplayed example, Courtney “swallow[s] hard” when she gets a good, close look at the ramshackle light plane that she and her teammates are planning to commandeer. Courtney’s gulp would unquestionably have been audible if the story had been in an audio-visual medium instead of print.
Love Confession: Cody confesses his love for Gwen after she confronts him with his role in eliminating Trent. Cody's confession is missing the actual word, "love", but the sentiment is clear enough.
Love Is a Weakness: Heather forbids her allies to have any romantic attachments because she considers it a distraction and fears its potential to cause divided loyalties. She’s serious, too—she doesn’t even exempt herself from this rule.
The Makeover: Lindsay gets a new hairdo after her hair is burned. Her allies also get makeovers to show support for her.
Male Gaze: A close race sets up an in-universe example. When the race leaves the well endowed Heather and the superabundantly endowed Lindsay lying on their backs panting for breath, an alert cameraman records the scene, with particular emphasis on the girls' heaving chests. When Chris finds out, he warmly commends the cameraman on his viewer appeal instincts.
Manipulative Editing: The Storyteller mentions several incidents, such as Eva getting a "villain" edit and Bridgette getting a "hero" edit. During the Awake-a-thon, Chris all but admits that the finished episodes depict the teams as not getting along as well as they do. This revelation is partly what leads Eva to reconsider Leshawna's earlier offer of friendship.
Mating Dance: Justin and Lindsay perform a highly erotic dance for the talent show.
Meaningful Echo: When Katie is dying, her last words to Sadie are, "Best friends forever." When Sadie thinks of a way to possibly save Katie but must risk her own life to try it, Sadie says to her unhearing friend, "Best friends forever. Double or nothing."
Meaningful Funeral: The contestants hold a dignified funeral the day after the first elimination ceremony. Although they barely know the (presumed) deceased, they mourn him "not so much because he had been [who he had been], but because he had been one of their own." Chris reveals his callousness by refusing to officiate at the funeral, whereas Chef Hatchet shows that he's actually a pretty decent guy by agreeing to do so after Chris refuses.
Mega Neko: Ezekiel invokes this trope when he and Bridgette see a lynx at the camp. Although there's no evidence that the lynx is unusually large for its species, it’s certainly much bigger than the housecats that it superficially resembles.
Ezekiel: That is one big pussycat.
Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: When the Asian or half-Asian Heather tells Chris during the Awake-a-thon that she wants to talk to Duncan and Ezekiel ("these manly dudes" in Heather's words) Duncan invokes this trope by saying, "She so horny, love us long time".
Mile-High Club: When Chris calls Justin and Izzy away during the phobia challenge, the other contestants speculate on what their tests might be. Justin's phobia is kissing an "ungorgeous" girl, and Izzy's phobia is flying, so Tyler suggests that perhaps Chris will make them join the Mile High Club.
Mills and Boon Prose: Parodied in the Katie/Justin scene during the Awake-a-thon. The scene is written in the style of a romance novel (although the pregnancy imagery at the end is probably not a romance novel standard), but the situation is decidedly unromantic—Katie has overindulged at the buffet and is about to barf, which would disqualify her from the challenge. Her teammate Justin distracts her with sensual caresses until her stomach calms down.
Mood Whiplash: Happens with some regularity. A particularly notable example comes during the camping challenge. Most of the Muskies are singing bawdy songs around the campfire and having a rollicking good time. A few scenes later, Katie and Sadie are fighting for their lives, with the fight going poorly.
Morality Kitchen Sink: Most of the cast are varying shades of gray, but the following are notable and/or representative:
Black: Chris. He shows a callous disregard for human life.
Near-black: Heather. She seems to enjoy her antagonist role a little too much to be a “gray”; but unlike Chris, she draws the line at the prospect of bloodshed.
Dark gray: Duncan. He's an experienced knife fighter and tends to view girls as objects, but has too many Pet the Dog moments to be "black".
Light gray: Katie and Sadie. They are friendly, loyal and supportive, but are also willing to get their hands dirty to get what they want.
Near-white: Courtney. She is well-meaning and compassionate, but is also willing to do what she thinks she must.
White: Bridgette. She's almost incorruptibly pure and is the only contestant known to have mourned the dead interns from the beginning.
More Dakka: When one team's hunters take to the air during the paintball deer hunt challenge, they have the foresight to exploit their connections to obtain extra ammo. This allows the airborne hunters to unleash mass barrages without concern that the well might run dry, and also allows them to rescue a campmate who gets cornered by a bear.
Mr. Exposition: Alejandro takes this role whilst escorting Beth during the first challenge, when he counsels her on game strategy and describes Chris' treatment of the interns.
Murder the Hypotenuse: When Heather plots to hurt an enemy by voting off said enemy’s new boyfriend, she recruits the third leg of the triangle by appealing to his jealousy.
Must Make Amends: Cody agrees to Gwen's harsh forgiveness terms after seeing how badly his hypotenuse murdering hurt her.
My Friends... and Zoidberg: When Izzy kills a porcupine during the camping challenge, the Storyteller mentions that "a man, a woman or an Izzy" can both catch a porcupine on foot and kill it with only a club.
Mythology Gag: Tyler's wolf whistle at the post-makeover Lindsay is a reference to their canon relationship.
Nailed To The Wagon: In three early challenges, peaking during the dodgeball match, Duncan suffers from nicotine withdrawal because he's out of cigarettes and the Tuck Shoppe doesn't carry tobacco products.
When Heather and Leshawna quarrel on the diving cliff, they cast aspersions on each other's "tastes, attractiveness, sexual proclivities, intelligence, ancestry, social standing and probable place of residence in the afterlife."
Heather is "cursing under her breath" after Leshawna nearly gets her killed.
During the Awake-a-thon, the Storyteller replaces a swear word of Izzy's with the milder "crap" with the disclaimer, "She actually used a far stronger word, but nothing would be gained by revealing it."
When Chris reveals to everyone that Heather and her staff had monopolized the washroom all morning because they were making themselves over, the narrator reports that much grumbling ensues, "mostly along the lines of suggestions for where the Eagles' power alliance could put their makeovers."
When the RCMP comes for Izzy, she defiantly points a finger at them—"not, it bears mention, the finger that most people usually point with".
Neck Lift: Eva does this to Cody on the first day, when Cody comes into the girls' cabin uninvited and tries to chat up Gwen. A later example between Eva and Ezekiel is essentially the canon incident time-shifted to take place during the first challenge instead of after it.
Never Found the Body: When the Sacrificial Lamb doesn't surface after his dive into shark-infested waters, Courtney searches for him but fails to locate him. He is then presumed dead.
Never Say "Die": Usually played straight, although the dialogue and the narrative handle it differently. The dialogue usually features colloquial euphemisms such as "gone" or slang terms such as "bought it", whereas the narrative sometimes uses fancier euphemisms such as "found his fate" for poetic effect.
Never Speak Ill of the Dead: At a funeral for a contestant who had been on the island less for less than 24 hours, most of the other contestants have little to say about him because they barely knew him, although several feel the need to say something. Courtney, an aspiring politician, gives a long-winded speech full of generalities and platitudes that she thinks will fit the occasion.
New Rules as the Plot Demands: The dodgeball match has an in-universe example. When Chris decides that the game is going too quickly and the camera crews aren't getting enough good footage, he tells the contestants that he can order the teams back to full strength whenever he wants. He then proceeds to do just that.
Non-Gameplay Elimination: During orientation, Chris warns the contestants that any attempt to contact the outside world during the competition will result in summary elimination, among other penalties.
Noodle Incident: D.J. apologizes to Heather for an undescribed prank the previous day. A seriously "compromising position" is mentioned, and sexual undertones to the incident are hinted at.
No Periods, Period: Defied during the diving challenge, when the sharks go into a frenzy after smelling traces of Katie and Sadie's menstrual blood. Given that one diver had already been eaten at that point, Katie and Sadie find it decidedly unpleasant to contemplate what could have happened.
No Sell: Initially played straight when Chris tries to shoot Duncan at point blank range with a paintball gun during a challenge briefing. Duncan catches the paintball without even breaking it and scornfully presents the intact paintball to Chris, setting up a defiance of the trope.
Nothing Personal: Several characters say this when casting or discussing elimination votes. They're usually being sincere.
Not What It Looks Like: After Cody's momentary panic when he discovers that Noah is spooning him, he quickly realizes that Noah was actually dreaming about an unidentified girl with a common name—a name that happens to match someone in camp.
The contestants’ very first wakeup call is the "Dies Irae" (“Day of Wrath”, i.e. Judgment Day) section of Verdi’s Requiem, played over the PA system at absurdly high volume.
When Chris is milking the tension before handing out the final marshmallow during the first elimination ceremony, the finished episode’s soundtrack features a swell of dramatic music that eventually segues to “ominous choral chanting”. The text of this chanting is not specified, but is conceivably another setting of Dies Irae. Indeed, the narrative includes a partial quotation of the poem at this point.
Only Mostly Dead: A challenge gone wrong leaves a contestant clinically dead but capable of being resuscitated.
OOC Is Serious Business: Heather regards beauty as Serious Business. When an accident leaves Lindsay in need of a new hairdo, Heather pronounces it an "emergency" and displays a very OOC level of generosity by offering any of her hair care products and equipment that the project may requires. (Yes, she had ulterior motives, and yes, Lindsay was about to go off the deep end, but still...)
Opera Gloves: Heather's makeover ensemble includes a pair of opera gloves as she channels Audrey Hepburn. Heather goes back to her normal look the next day because her makeover look was impractical for camp life and was chosen mainly in an attempt to upstage the unveiling of Lindsay's makeover.
Or So I Heard: In a meta example, the author has stated that he wrote the Awake-a-thon's Katie/Justin scene in the style of a romance novel according to how that style was described in an Internet article on the genre.
Pass the Popcorn: Noah and Gwen discuss variants whilst watching Heather and Leshawna argue on the diving cliff.
Noah: And me without my popcorn.
Gwen: The popcorn isn’t the half of it. We should be selling tickets. If push comes to shove, though, my money’s on Leshawna.
Noah: I doubt you’d find many takers. That’s a sucker bet if I ever heard one.
Pinky Swear: When Gwen forces Katie to become a double agent as the price of forgiving her for helping Heather to find Gwen's diary, Katie offers a pinky swear to show that she accepts Gwen's terms.
Pitbull Dates Puppy: Discussed when Geoff and Harold are sizing up their female teammates. Geoff warns Harold against pursuing Eva despite her "great curves".
Geoff: [T]he first time you got her mad, she'd snap you like a twig.
Playing the Victim Card: When Katie and Sadie are assigned to opposite teams, Sadie accuses Chris of having it in for her because she's fat, in an attempt to guilt him into letting her and Katie be on the same team. Chris calls her out on it.
Chris: If you play the ‘oppressed minority’ card on me again, you’ll be out of here so fast it’ll make your head spin. Capisce?
Potty Emergency: After the buffet preceding the Awake-a-thon, Izzy and Katie each have the variant where they're about to lose control at the other end. Izzy quickly loses her battle, but Katie manages to maintain control when her teammate Justin distracts her by performing what amounts to a G-Rated Sex act on her.
After the buffet preceding the Awake-a-thon, Izzy experiences the variant of losing control at the other end.
In the phobia confession scene, Noah speculates that he would probably end up crapping his pants if an outhouse (his phobia object) was the only alternative.
Prayer Is a Last Resort: When Sadie resorts to dangerous Intimate Healing in a last-ditch attempt to keep Katie alive, fear prompts Sadie to pray despite the fact that she "was not religious and had no tongue for prayer". Her prayer is not directed to a specific Power, but to any who might be listening.
The normally sweet and innocent Katie and Sadie call Heather a "bitch" at the moment when their argument with Heather becomes a (nonlethal) firefight.
The Promise: Cody is desperate to get back into Gwen's good graces after she figures out that he helped to blindside her boyfriend, so he promises that he will never vote against her, nor against her boyfriend if he should return to the game.
Puppy-Dog Eyes: During the camping challenge, Izzy pulls this on Ezekiel to get him to do a minor favor for her. She uses this tactic for no apparent reason except that it amuses her to do so, since her request was perfectly reasonable and Ezekiel was just as likely to agree anyway.
Purple Prose: During the "alliteration duel" on the diving cliff, Noah refers to dying as "leaving the land of the living" for the sake of having the "L" sound appear 23 times in one sentence instead of only 20. Without missing a beat, Izzy then refers to blood as "scarlet life liquid" and renders "if you're lucky" as "if Lady Luck likes you" for the sake of having the "L" sound appear 27 times in one sentence instead of a mere 23.
Putting a Hand Over His Mouth: During the phobia challenge, D.J. uses this technique to silence Heather, who he feared was about to say something that would give Chris ideas for making the challenge even worse than it already was. It was loose lips, after all, that set up the phobia challenge in the first place.
Quip to Black: After Katie and Sadie ungently "persuade" Chris to let them be on the same team, Noah says, "Hell hath no fury like BFFs scorned." A break in the filming ensues so Chris can be made camera ready again.
Red Shirt: Invoked with the interns, who wear uniforms similar to those of Captain Kirk's security personnel and have similar life expectancies.
Relationship Sabotage: No sooner have Gwen and Trent hooked up than Heather sets out to sabotage it by getting Trent voted off. She does this for no apparent reason except that she wants to hurt Gwen.
Resignations Not Accepted: When Beth is voted off after the first challenge, a challenge that left another contestant presumed dead, she pleads with Chris to be allowed to stay since her team is already a player down. When Brett asks why Beth didn't jump at the chance to escape, his mother explains that, among other reasons, the contestants were afraid of what Chris might have done to anyone whom he thought was deliberately trying to get voted off.
Revenge: When Ezekiel kills a rabbit that D.J. found before D.J. can explain that he meant to keep it as a pet instead of having it for dinner, D.J. vows to get Ezekiel eliminated.
Rhetorical Question Blunder: Lindsay does this to Courtney during the orientation tour of the camp. The trope is exaggerated in that Lindsay doesn’t even understand the concept of a rhetorical question, so Courtney finally has to explain that she was just thinking aloud.
Rodents of Unusual Size: Izzy refers to Boney Island's (canonical) bear-sized carnivorous beavers as "rodents of unusual size".
Romance Novel: After Heather reads from Gwen's diary to the world during the talent show challenge, Chris describes the heavily embellished reading as "Heather's impression of a trashy romance novel".
Roundhouse Kick: During the hot tub building challenge, D.J. and Eva use simultaneous roundhouse kicks to pop the lids off of the Muskies' crates because they're not allowed to use their hands.
Rousing Speech: Before the rubber game of the dodgeball match, Noah starts caring about the outcome and gives the Eagles a speech based on the "St. Crispin's Day" speech from Henry V. Courtney counters with a "win one for the Gipper" speech to the Muskies.
Rule of Three: During the contestant introductions, Beth commented Chris’ height (or lack thereof) in the original, but the reimagining expands it to a three-point running gag.
Running Gag: There are several, with some running their course in a single episode and others spanning multiple episodes:
Chris's height, or lack thereof. See “Rule of Three” above.
There’s a multi-episode running gag featuring lampreys, of all things.
Another multi-episode gag, as well as an in-universe in-joke among the contestants, is to name Izzy’s imaginary friend as an informant. Contestants thus say, "Sunshine told me" in the same way that an angry mother might say to her misbehaving child, “a little bird told me”.
Courtney's NOT afraid of Jell-O.
Sadistic Choice: During the phobia challenge, one contestant must choose between two fellow contestants who have been placed in a potentially lethal situation. He only has time to save one, and there is no third option.
Say My Name: Leshawna instinctively calls to Heather and extends her arm when she accidentally drives Heather off the diving cliff during their argument.
Scheherezade Gambit: Chris and Chef discuss this with tongue in cheek when a contestant thinks that Chris has killed one of their own.
Chris: Why would we kill you when torturing you is so much more fun?
Chef: For ratings?
The Secret of Long Pork Pies: When Duncan suggests that Chef Hatchet is feeding the contestants remains of interns killed on the job—or perhaps even eliminated contestants—he (Duncan) claims that the "beef" in the previous night's stew seemed suspiciously fresh compared to what the contestants usually get.
"There's hope for you yet." Most commonly said by a random girl to Ezekiel.
"Sunshine told me." This is an In-Joke amongst the contestants. When asked how they came by incriminating information, they name Izzy’s imaginary friend as their informant.
She Cleans Up Nicely: Heather invokes this trope whilst talking about her new allies in the confessional: "I'm hot and fashionable, Lindsay's hot and fashionable, and Katie can be made hot and fashionable." Heather's unsubtle implication is that Sadie, her third ally, is too fat to be salvageable.
She Is All Grown Up: When Katie and Sadie get makeovers after the talent show challenge (replacing their little girl pigtails with big hair, among other things) the Storyteller invokes this trope by noting that Katie and Sadie looked five years older than they had the day before. Also lampshaded by Noah, who says, "the kiddies have grown up."
The elimination following the dodgeball match is shocking in-universe, but not to the reader because all the real drama is in lining up the votes, with the ceremony itself being treated as a fait accompli.
To Shakespeare: Noah's rousing speech during the dodgeball match is an original blank verse poem based on the "St. Crispin's Day" speech from Henry V.
Shown Their Work: Most notably with the effects/treatment of hypothermia. More generally, the notes section is extensive, explaining the more subtle/obscure allusions
Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!: A pre-emptive variant. After learning that Sadie has been making eyes at Owen, and knowing that Lindsay is mutually attracted to Justin, Heather forbids her allies from pursing romance. Heather fears the distractive power of romance and its potential to create divided loyalties, so she warns her allies to "keep your eyes on the prize".
Smooch of Victory: Harold gets one from Lindsay after rescuing her from a large stag beetle.
Spear Carrier: Several interns, such as Jo and Scott, have this level of prominence. They are described but not identified by name in the scenes where they appear, although those with actual dialogue have billing in the Dramatis Personae. These interns have at most two lines each, although some have brief informed conversations.
Squee: Both Katie/Sadie (as per canon) and Lindsay are prone to this. When all three squeal at once, Heather finds it physically painful. In one of these cases, Heather can't suppress a cry of pain and Katie, misinterpreting her reaction, suggests that Heather's "happiness squeal" needs work.
Standard Snippet: The author being partial to symphonic music, there are naturally several examples:
Chris uses the “Dies Irae” from Verdi's Requiem for the contestants' first wakeup call, playing it over the PA system at "cabin-shaking volume".
During the talent show, Beth and Izzy perform their "dueling fire batons" act to Khachaturian’s "Sabre Dance".
Also during the talent show, Courtney plays "The Flight of the Bumblebee". On one string.
An emerging standard, the “Pie Jesu” section of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem, eventually becomes a regular part of the elimination ceremony.
Stealth Insult: When Chris leads the contestants to believe that one of their own has died in a challenge accident,Duncan accuses Heather of caring only for selfish reasons. The seriously provoked Heather defends herself and, in the process, makes it pretty clear whom she truly despises:
Heather: …but it’s not like I’d want anyone here to actually die! Not even you! Not even Gwen! [pause, deep breath]Not… even… Chris.
Take Our Word for It: Justin and Lindsay's incredibly hot dance in the talent show is described only in general terms, as are Heather's nigh-pornographic embellishments when reading Gwen's diary to the world. Specifics are avoided in the former case because no detailed description could possibly do the dance justice, and in the latter case to preserve a family-friendly rating.
Talking Is a Free Action: Usually averted, but played straight in the dodgeball match, which is mostly written in the style of a battle scene from The Iliad. Heather lampshades the trope during the Eva/Leshawna scene, observing that everyone is watching them talk at center court despite the fact that nobody ever called time out.
Tampering with Food and Drink: When the contestants first meet Chef Hatchet, Courtney asks rhetorically why summer camp chefs always look like escaped serial killers. She takes care to speak softly enough that he can’t hear her because she fears that he might slip "a little something extra" into her tea.
Tastes Like Diabetes: Invoked by Heather during the dodgeball match, when Eva and Leshawna meet at center court for single combat but essentially re-enact a scene from The Iliad and part as friends without ever facing off.
Heather: I don’t know what kind of trash-class ritual this is, but all this sweetness and light is going to give me diabetes.
Teen Pregnancy: Readers who did the math in the prologue learned that Brett is the right age to have been conceived either during production of the show (when his mother was all of 16 years old) or shortly after.
That Came Out Wrong: Alejandro narrowly averts this with Beth, then promptly lampshades it. See "Lampshaded Double Entendre" above for text.
That's What She Said: Izzy inverts this twice during the camping challenge when Ezekiel borrows Duncan’ knife and makes innocent comments on its size, switchblades not being designed for gutting animals:
Ezekiel: It’s kind of small, but I guess it’ll do.
Izzy: That’s what I said.
Ezekiel: Does anybody have a bigger one?
Izzy: That’s what I said.
Then Let Me Be Evil: Discussed by Heather and Sadie. When Sadie fears that the producers will give her a villain edit if she goes along with a certain scheme of Heather's, Heather replies in pertinent part that Sadie should "go with the flow" if the producers want to do that, because "There's no such thing as bad publicity."
These Hands Have Killed: Bridgette mentally accuses herself of this, and desperately tries to deny it, when she thinks that she's accidentally killed a teammate.
Thirteen Is Unlucky: The show starts with 13 interns, also known in-universe as "redshirts" for the red pullover shirts they wear. As they are killed off in various accidents, replacements are brought in 13 at a time. Lampshaded by Beth, who admits to being superstitious.
This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: The normally sweet and innocent Katie and Sadie call Heather a "bitch" at the moment when their argument with Heather becomes a (nonlethal) firefight.
Cody occasionally discusses the trope with Noah. These discussions typically take the form of Cody invoking the trope in reference to Katie and Sadie, and Noah defying it. Noah disdains threesomes because, as he puts it, “any bird worth making out with in the first place would be worth my undivided attention”; so if offered two girls, he would rather make out with them one at a time.
Tickle Torture: This is how Katie and Sadie persuade Chris to let them be on the same team.
Time-Compression Montage: When the contestants hold a funeral for one of their own during the competition, the Storyteller notes that the finished episode compressed the service and the preparations for it to a montage, due to time constraints.
During the dodgeball match, Eva and Leshawna talk trash in preparation for a one-on-one duel.
Heather and Courtney, as the leaders of their respective teams, occasionally trash talk each other, sometimes with tongue in cheek. A notable example of the latter follows the talent show briefing, where both repeatedly suggest that the other will be the next player eliminated when, in fact, neither expects the other to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Tuckerization: The Storyteller's son is named after the author's closest friend.
Twice Shy: Gwen and Trent both want a kiss, but Gwen is timid because she has no real experience with romance, and Trent is afraid of scaring Gwen off by moving too fast.
Two out of Three Ain't Bad: This stock phrase appears during the phobia confession scene, when D.J. is explaining his aversion to snakes.
D.J.: They’re so slimy and scaly and slithery…
Courtney: Two out of three. Worms are slimy. Snakes aren’t.
Villain Sue: Invoked. Whilst Alejandro is escorting Beth off the diving cliff, he tells her about the elimination game he used to be on, and says that he was so dominant that the audience would probably have regarded him as an unrealistic Villain Stu had his show been a scripted story instead of a reality show. This lampshades the fact that Alejandro's canon counterpart was widely regarded as a Villain Stu.
Virgin Power: A downplayed example occurs when Heather forbids her allies to get romantically involved with anyone because she sees romance as a distraction and fears its potential to create divided loyalties. In effect, the girls' alliance is their "power". It's also noteworthy that this is one of the few alliance rules that Heather sets—possibly the only one—where she doesn't demand preferential treatment for herself.
When Katie and Sadie are stranded in the woods overnight and Katie is in mortal peril from hypothermia, Sadie does what she can to share her body heat with Katie. Having made those arrangements, all Sadie can do is wait for morning and hope for the best.
After Chef Hatchet resuscitates and stabilizes a clinically dead contestant in the infirmary, all he can do is watch and wait to see if the patient will recover.
What Is This, X?: When Leshawna tastes the Jell-O used for Courtney's phobia test, she asks, "What is this, Overcooked Okra flavor?" note It's actually a mixture of the various savory flavors that bombed in the 1950s.
Xanatos Gambit: Chris plays with this when he briefs the contestants before the camping challenge. When he describes the (exaggerated) possibility of a camper dying during the challenge, he declares it a win-win situation because if any contestants do die, the survivors will get to skip the elimination ceremony and Chris will get the night off.
Yellowface: The phobia challenge features an in-universe example. When the gargantuan Owen plays a sumo wrestler for Heather's test, he appears in body paint. "A lot of body paint", according to the Storyteller.
You Go Girl: An early challenge has a focus flip, with the focus being on the skeptic rather than the girl. When Eva (an accomplished athlete with nothing to prove) stands as her team's last hope in a winner-take-all one-on-one against Justin, the sexist Ezekiel calls out encouragement to Eva and seems to like her chances. When asked, Ezekiel matter-of-factly points out that he's seen what Eva can do and that he isn't one to deny the evidence of his own eyes. This is the first solid evidence that Ezekiel has begun to re-examine his sexist attitudes.
You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Hatchet jokingly suggests to Chris that eliminated contestants could be killed for a ratings "blood boost" because they would no longer have any other use.
Heather: You heard him, Gothie. Be there or be square. Oops, too late!
Gwen: Better a square than a stick. You’re just jealous because some of us have profiles that are actually visible to the naked eye.
Your Little Dismissive Diminutive: In addition to the standard form, Heather is inclined to use the first person variant (“my little X”) in the same sense, e.g. “I can’t spring my little surprise on Weird Goth Girl if the team needs my score.”
Spoiler Tropes — all spoilers unmarked
Almost Dead Guy: The dying Katie snaps out of her delirium for long enough to say goodbye to Sadie and to say that she has accepted her apparent fate, thereby setting up a major character development scene for Sadie. The trope is downplayed in that Katie merely falls unconscious instead of actually dying, although the situation suggests that she's not likely to ever regain consciousness.
Can't Live Without You: When Katie is dying of hypothermia, Sadie warms her with her own body because no other heat source is available. What distinguishes this from simple Intimate Healing is that (1) Sadie must keep it up all night; and (2) it doesn't actually heal Katie, it just stabilizes her (sort of).
Death by Despair: Sadie loses the will to live when she thinks that Katie has died of hypothermia and Sadie is suffering from severe hypothermia herself, so she just sits there waiting to die. Subverted when Sadie realizes that she can’t conclusively tell whether Katie is dead and that Katie wouldn't want her to simply give up in any case, and this realization gives her the will to go on.
Death Wail: Sadie wails "piteously" when she thinks that Katie has bought it.
Disney Death: Double-subverted. Sadie thinks that Katie has died of hypothermia despite Sadie's pull-out-all-the-stops effort to save her. Hope Spot ensues, only to be crushed by Katie's "death dump". But lo, the unfortunate victim can be resuscitated.
Dying as Yourself: Katie snaps out of her delirium for one last lucid moment, during which she says goodbye to Sadie. The trope is downplayed in that Katie merely falls unconscious instead of dying, but the situation is such that she fully expects to die.
Face Death with Dignity: When Katie and Sadie are stranded in a cold rain overnight and Katie is suffering from severe hypothermia, Katie's last words make it clear that she doesn't expect to survive and has accepted her apparent fate.
Gut Punch: When a cliffhanger leaves a certain contestant whereabouts unknown, most readers naturally assume that the missing person will turn up alive and well, or at least not too much the worse for wear. Nope. This cliffhanger comes back just to watch the hanger fall, and after a futile search the missing contestant is presumed dead. It is at this moment that the story switches from a light comedy with some dramatic moments to a dark drama with some comic relief.
Heroic Sacrifice: Sadie's attempt to share her body heat with the severely hypothermic Katie is a downplayed example. Although it won't necessarily kill Sadie, her death is a distinct possibility because Sadie is in none too good a condition herself. Sadie is aware of this, and is willing to die for Katie if that's what it takes.
He's Dead, Jim: Played with. After Katie and Sadie are stranded in a cold rain overnight, during which Katie develops critical hypothermia, Sadie examines Katie in the morning and concludes that she is dead. Later defied when Sadie, grasping at anything to give her hope, tells herself that she doesn't have the medical training to make that determination and that the circumstances wouldn't allow her to do so in any case.
Hope Spot: Against all odds, Sadie succeeds in getting the dying Katie back to camp. Then she smells Katie's "death dump"…
How Dare You Die on Me!: Sadie has one of these moments, during which she drops the story’s only F-bomb, when she defies all odds to keep Katie from dying of hypothermia and getting her back to camp, only to discover that Katie has apparently died anyway.
Last Request: Just before the dying Katie loses consciousness, she asks Sadie to "[w]in this lame game for me".
Red Herring: During the phobia confession scene, Ezekiel's confessed fear is the Sophie's Choice scenario. During the ensuing challenge, when the contestants must face their phobias, Chris calls Ezekiel away along with Izzy and Justin. The other contestants naturally fear for Izzy and Justin, assuming that Chris will make Ezekiel choose between them. According to the story's notes, this is a red herring intended to stop Ezekiel and the other contestants (not to mention the reader) automatically guessing whom Ezekiel will really have to choose between.
Sorry That I'm Dying: When the dying Katie says goodbye to Sadie, she says in pertinent part, "I'm sorry that we won't be able to do stuff together anymore."
Together in Death: When Katie is dying and Sadie (who is in mortal peril herself) has done everything humanly possible to save her, only to be reduced to seeking supernatural aid, Sadie invokes this trope.
Sadie: But if it really is her time, then please, let me go with her.
Wham Episode: The first two chapters are mostly light and comic. Then, in the Third Night chapter, the sharks get someone during the cliff diving challenge. The campers realize that the game they're playing is potentially deadly, and the story has a much darker tone from that point on.