Hi all, hope you’ve had a good Easter. It’s been a while since we’ve had a WLR, and I’d like to revive the format.
Today we have our first game show story to feature under the WLR spotlight – Bikini Showdown, written by Showdown_1242 and posted to the previous incarnation of the Wam Story Archive. It appears not to have transitioned to the new site, but remains available on the Wayback Machine.
The opening paragraphs set the scene for a televised battle between two sororities, with the contestants wearing bikinis as per the title. The teams will compete in four rounds, each followed by the victors nominating a member of the losing team to take a forfeit from the Wheel of Punishment. The overall winners will be rewarded with a fantastic prize, while the president of the losing sorority will have to accompany her team for an epic Final Humiliation. Overseeing all of this are two very bitchy female presenters, Sara and Kat. You don’t need to be told that this has the promise to be a brilliant tale, and notwithstanding one or two gripes, the story delivers on its potential.
The first round is over before the reader is aware it has started – an audience vote on the attractiveness of the contestants. While this may seem like a cop-out, it does at least demonstrate the shallow nature of the show. My least favourite round is actually the second, Gunge Roulette, for the reason that the outcome is completely down to chance. Don’t get me wrong, I love elements of bad luck, injustice and fatalism in a WAM story, but snakes-and-ladders randomness in a big-stakes competition feels very unsatisfactory to me. However, this niggle aside, the round does deliver some decent mess, and the subsequent Baker’s Dozen forfeit is, in my opinion, the best of the post-round punishments.
The third and fourth rounds are a big improvement on this dubious start. The third is a pie quiz game in the mould of College Madhouse (or Passa ou Repassa), and the fourth combines physical and mental ability in a wordsearch. This tense final round sees the emergence of underhand tactics, which are cleared by the presenters as being all part of the game.
Another nice touch is the intervals between rounds in which the two sorority presidents, Heidi and Jessica, give their reaction to the game’s developments. During these segments the nervous pair are also taunted with the prospect of being the most humiliated loser to leave our show so far, and learn of the ill-fitting swimsuit that the unlucky loser will have to change into for the occasion.
And said Final Humiliation is, without a doubt, the jewel in the story’s crown. I often skip straight to this part when revisiting the story for a casual read. I shan’t divulge all the details, but suffice to say, fans of swimsuit-filling, wedgies or toilet humour will find something to enjoy. Here is an excerpt (the identity of the losers is hidden).
Sara moved to talk to Jessica, “How’s that feel babe?”
“Oh my god, so uncomfortable” replied the helpless Jessica.
“Well it’s about to get worse” Sara said as ice cold water poured down on the four Zeta Phi girls, they all screamed as the freezing water soaked their dry swimsuit and bikinis. Jackie and Jessica were wide eyed as they shivered from the drenching water. Lindsey glued her eyes shut; trying to hide her humiliation of be hanged soaked with water. Cassie’s hair completely covered her face as it mated to her head from the water. Then it got worse for the losers, blue and yellow gunge pour down on the beach babes. Lindsey and Cassie got yellow slop nicely pouring down their backs, covering their naked butts and running down their leg to their bare feet. As for Jessica and Jackie, blue was their color and their entire fronts were turning blue as gunge ran down Jessica’s and Jackie’s hair covering their faces and then the shoulder, chest and stomachs. Jessica’s swimsuit was filling up and a lot of blue slop was running out the crotch area down her bare legs to her feet.
The four gunged and wet girls then heard Kat scream, “Next the beans”
At that moment four streams of baked beans came down and plastered the four girls in the head. Cassie made the mistake of looking up and ended up with bean running down her face, neck and boobs. Jackie and Lindsey kept their heads down but got beans down the back and on their shoulders. Jessica got it bad; the bean covered her sexy blue gunged hair and ran down into her one-piece. Jessica could feel the beans running over her nipples and down her body, just to pool in her crotch and then to come out of the bottom of the humiliating swimsuit she was wearing, covering her legs.
I can’t remember exactly when I first read Bikini Showdown, but it was before I started writing WAM literature myself, and it has had a huge influence on my own TV show stories. I have lifted a number of tropes, and in some cases direct phrases, out of this story. These include the mocking and merciless presenters (Kat was dancing for the camera, in front of the humiliated sorority girl), the braying, amoral audience (they were going crazy, watching this hot college girl get destroyed on TV), the losers’ horror (…all looked like they had seen a ghost), and the here’s-what-you-could-have-won (more cheering came form the winners, the losers just looked more miserable).
As you can guess by now, the reaction of the girls to getting messy is fairly uniform – squirming, fearful and “miserable” (one wonders why they signed up). Clearly this is an author who knows what he likes. It’s close to what I like too, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. With this many participants, a more varied range of attitudes could have had its benefits, not only in giving the story a broader appeal, but also in making the individual characters more distinct and memorable. Such variation is something I’ve been trying to do in my recent writing, and I’d be interested to hear opinions on this point.
One of Bikini Showdown’s biggest weaknesses is the high incidence of spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes. As much as I don’t want to get high-handed over such errors, they do distract the reader from what are some superb lines. 95% of them could have been eliminated by a careful proofreading (either by the author or by another member of the community, if this is not the author’s strong point). After all the time spent crafting such entertaining and arousing prose, it’s surely worth spending that half-hour more to iron out the careless errors.