Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

The Tournament: Teenage Battle Royale Day One!

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And so it begins...

The opening moments of the Battle Royale are fraught with peril as combatants are tossed their gear and shoved into the open. Most of them will retreat immediately for the safety of the woods, keeping their distance from would be assailants. Others will desperately start forming alliances. And then there are the bloodthirsty few that just can’t wait to start killing…

Ferris Bueller vs. Cady Heron vs. Joey Potter vs. Olive Penderghast

If Cady and Olive weren’t convinced they were doomed before the competition started, the soul-sucking pessimism of Joey Potter really drove that home. “I’ll never get to choose between Dawson and Pacey, blah blah blah…” But while our three girls-next-door were trying to balance sarcasm and fatalism, along came Ferris Bueller. He’s sort of charming in a weird 80s way, right? His glibness in the face of danger, his assertion that they should really l-i-v-e if these were indeed their last hours, and his karaoke machine convinced the ladies that, cheesy as he is, they might as well take a chance on Bueller.

RESULT: Bueller is building an army

AC Slater vs. Regina George vs. Kathryn Merteuil

Having separated himself from the initial mob, and feeling supremely confident after finding a loaded gun in his backpack, AC Slater paused to remove his shirt and knock out some pushups in the hot morning sun. He was wiping down his glistening pecs when Regina George approached. Regina hadn’t yet consulted the dossiers on her opponents, but she could already tell Slater would make a valuable ally. Slater was hesitant to make friends with someone who reminded him of the snotty Valley High girls from back home, but he was seriously considering it when a freshly made-up Kathryn Merteuil sauntered onto the scene. Noticing Slater’s formidable physique and the gun in his pants, Kathryn immediately set to driving a wedge between the jock and the mean girl. As Kathryn and her new boy toy walked away, she looked over her shoulder and seductively blew Regina George a goodbye kiss.

RESULT: Kathryn brings Slater under her influence

John Bender vs. Gogo Yubari

Bender spotted the slight frame wrapped in a schoolgirl outfit long before he saw the spiked ball and chain. Convinced that Gogo didn’t really know how to use that thing, he charged toward her with his baseball bat raised high. He was ten yards away when the metal spikes penetrated his skull. Gogo was still admiring her work when Hit Girl ran past the body, snatching up the bat without ever breaking her stride. Gogo jerked the mace free from Bender’s corpse, removing half of his face in the process, but Hit Girl had disappeared into the trees by the time she was ready to strike.

RESULT: Gogo notches the first kill. Hit Girl gains a basbeball bat. 39 remain.

Jed Eckert vs. Torrance Shipman

Jed Eckert dated a cheerleader for 5 months in high school. Before the Soviets invaded. Before his father was executed. Before he was forced to take up arms. Jed Eckert has faced war before. He’s not afraid of the fighting, he’s just afraid of facing it alone. With an ally at your side, there’s always a reason to keep fighting. Without that, you’re no different than the commies. And besides, some of the finest soldiers he’s ever known were girls. Eckert barely said a word as he grabbed Torrance Shipman by her dainty wrist and headed for the faraway hills. Torrance didn’t mind too much. She’s used to competition, but Nationals were never like this. And anyway, he’s kind of cute.

RESULT: Two wolverines in a pack

Zack Morris vs. Jake Tyler vs. Max Fischer

Spotting the shrimpy Max wandering alone, Jake Tyler saw easy pickings for an MMA badass like himself. He was about to unleash the fury when Zack Morris emerged from the treeline holding his hands up in the shape of a T. Zack turned away from his competition to explain to no one in particular that in the muscle bound jock and the nerdy beret wearing eccentric, he saw replacements for his two best buds, AC Slater and Screech Powers. Jake and Max watch the monologue frozen in bewilderment, until Zack finally turns around and explains to them that together they make a formidable team: the mind, the muscle and the mouth.

RESULT: “New Bayside” is formed

Cher Horowitz vs. Donnie Darko vs. Doogie Howser

Cher Horowitz lifted the gun out of her backpack with two fingers like it was a grungy plaid shirt from Josh’s gross dirty laundry. Ugh, stupid Josh. She can learn to handle this thing if that’s what it will take to prove to him that she’s not just some pampered space cadet. Faye Dunaway shot guns in Bonnie & Clyde and she was a total Betty. Cher grasped the pistol with two hands, lifted it in front of her face, looked down the sight and tried to get comfortable with the idea of aiming it at someone. Then she accidentally pulled the trigger. The gun jumped out of her hands and she heard someone scream in the distance. Squinting, Cher could just barely make out that goth from earlier, Donald Darko or something. He’s a total loadie, but she still felt bad. As she pondered her next move, a baby-faced preppy with a medical bag raced toward Darko, screaming at Cher to be more careful. Just another jerk who thinks she can’t do anything right. As Doogie Howser patched up Darko and helped him move into the woods, Cher collected her pistol and headed in the opposite direction.

Result: Accidental shooting. Doogie gets his first patient

Roland Bishop vs. Diana Guzman vs. Brendan Frye

“Top of the world!” shouted a delighted Bishop as he attempted to squeeze off a few rounds at a frozen Diana Guzman. However, Harlem’s finest forgot to check if his weapon was loaded. Before Guzman could slip on her brass knuckles, Bishop went to Plan B: beat this hood rat to death. Nearby, Brendan Frye was about to slip safely into the woods, but our chivalrous junior detective couldn’t turn his back on a dame in distress. He tackled Bishop, yet quickly had the tables turned. Bishop pummeled Brendan with his Tec-9, while Brendan employed his favored strategy of bleeding at people. It looked bleak for the boy detective until Guzman, reasoning a beaten up white-boy would be easier to deal with later than a kill crazy thug, caved in Bishop’s skull with a brass knucks assisted right cross to the temple. Looks like Guzman has the juice now.

RESULT:  Bishop killed by Guzman punching power, Frye/Guzman allies. 38 remain.

Jessie Spano vs. Lisa Turtle

In the chaos of the Battle Royale’s opening moments, Bayside’s finest young minds found themselves scattered. Only Jessie and Lisa managed to stick together, retreating into the woods. As the two used their Buddy Bands ™ to find the nearest Bayside beacon, they wondered where that short kid that Lisa once set Jessie up on a date with was right now. Probably not facing certain death on a deserted island, ladies.

RESULT:  Two are together, but where are the others?

An early disagreement between partners.

As Day One wears on, many combatants focus on finding hiding spots or defensible positions. It goes better for some than others…

Kathryn Merteuil & AC Slater vs. Regina George vs. Screech Powers

They’d barely gotten out of earshot before Kathryn started laying out a cold, logical argument for the two of them doubling back and killing Regina. Slater put up a fight, but with Kathryn pressing her taut body up against his, and complimenting his craterous dimples, he couldn’t say no. When they caught up to Regina, Screech Powers was instructing her on how to make his world famous spaghetti sauce. Kathryn pounced on the opportunity, convincing Slater that Regina was preparing to kill his nerdy friend. After all, has a girl like Regina ever been interested in Screech without ulterior motives? Screech was showing Regina a perfectly ripened tomato as a red pulp splattered all over his face. Unnerved by Slater’s willingness to kill and Kathryn’s manipulation, Screech reluctantly agrees to tag along, much to Kathryn’s chagrin.

Result: Slater kills Regina, and Team Kathryn adds some brain power. 37 remain.

Daniel Desario vs. Kim Kelly

Totally focused on his impromptu horticultural study of the island’s plant life, Desario didn’t hear the heavy footsteps crunching through the woods toward him until it was too late to hide. Lucky for him, it wasn’t one of the competition’s more bloodthirsty combatants, but instead his girlfriend Kim Kelly. As the pair set to arguing over how to best assemble a flamethrower, Daniel couldn’t help but think he’d have a better chance at survival if Lindsay Weir were here instead.

RESULT: Alliance formed, flamethrower assembled

Veronica Sawyer vs. Team Bueller

Veronica approached the abandoned cabin with care, but missed the improvised pit trap Bueller and his small army of girls had spent the afternoon digging. “If you think that’s cool, you should see what I can do with a mannequin and some string,” quipped Bueller. Thinking quickly, Veronica managed to convince Bueller and his crew that she posed them no threat; just another girl trying to spend her last days in relative peace. Teenage homicide, don’t do it.

RESULT: Veronica joins Team Bueller

Dylan McKay vs. Moses

From his experience in Beverly Hills, Dylan McKay knew the best way to handle a black teenager was to cross to the other side of the street. In Battle Royale terms, that meant waiting for Moses to pass by his hiding spot before tackling him. In the ensuing scuffle, Dylan managed to get hold of Moses’ machete, keeping the kid at bay. He considered killing Moses, but the disembodied head of Andrea Zuckerman told Dylan that’d be the wrong thing to do. Instead, Dylan tossed Moses his rope and forced the kid to tie himself up. Ignoring Moses’ goading comments about his receding hairline, Dylan checked the knots and left London’s least favorite son for someone else to finish off.

RESULT: Dylan spares Moses, leaves him tied up

Gogo Yubari vs. Torrance Shipman & Jed Eckert vs. Cher Horowitz

Jed and Torrance were taking a break from hiking to high ground when Cher stumbled toward them in a daze. Jed slowly tried to ease the pistol out of her trembling grasp, but she jerked away at the last moment and fired the pistol into the air. Jed knew the noise would draw unwanted attention. He saw the sunlight reflecting off the steel ball speeding towards them just in time to grab Torrance and dive out of the way. As he pulled her up to make their escape, he noticed the blood flowing from her neck. One of the spikes must have gotten her. She was already fading away. Not another one. Not another dead friend. Torrance tried to speak. Jed put his ear to her lips as she exhaled for the last time, before hurrying further uphill. Gogo gave chase, leaving the shell-shocked fashion plate for another time. As the distance between Jed and Gogo grew, she landed a glancing blow, but Jed barely noticed. All he could think about was Torrance’s final plea. It started as a barely audible whisper, but it became deafening as it rattled around his head. “Be… aggressive. B-E aggressive!”

RESULT: Gogo kills Torrance and gives Jed something to avenge. 36 remain.

Hit Girl vs. Pony Boy

In the hazy late afternoon, Hit Girl might have missed the smoke, but the acrid stench of cigarettes was impossible for any disciplined crime fighter to miss. She spotted the denim-clad thug using a switchblade to carve something into a tree. She hoped it was profound. Her baseball bat connected with Ponyboy’s knee. His leg buckled but he didn’t panic; he was tougher than he looked. He turned to face his assailant. She hadn’t realized how young he was. She and Daddy never went after kids. She raised the bat above her head to end it, and Ponyboy took advantage of the opening, slashing across her midsection. The caped crusader hardly even flinched. He swung a few more times to no avail before noticing that she was protected by some kind of armor. “You use that blade like a pussy,” she said, as the bat started to come down. Ponyboy shoved the blade into her side. It barely penetrated the armor, but a look of discomfort registered on Hit Girl’s face right before the wood split his skull like a ripe watermelon hitting the sidewalk.

RESULT: Ponyboy heads off to the great big drive-in in the sky, but not before damaging Hit Girl’s vest. 35 remain.

Kelly Kapowski vs. Jessie Spano vs. Lisa Turtle

Tracking down the signal from the nearest Buddy Band ™, Jessie and Lisa found Kelly cowering under an overturned tree. “This is worse than that time I used Zit-Off right before the homecoming game,” whined Kelly. The trio shared a much-needed group hug, Lisa and Kelly not acknowledging the supernatural strength in Jessie’s grasp, surely a result of the caffeine pills she’s been maniacally chewing.

RESULT:  Kelly joins the ladies of Bayside, Jessie’s so excited

Team Kathryn vs. New Bayside vs. Winnie Cooper

Slater was shaken up after blowing Regina’s brains out, making it easy for Kathryn to convince him that she should be the one to hold onto the gun. And his meathead male chauvinism gave him a convenient excuse for passing the protection to a member of the weaker sex. He didn’t really think she’d use it, but moments after they came across Winnie Cooper cradling a bundle of dynamite, Kathryn was waving the gun in her face telling her to hand over the explosives. Winnie was on the verge of giving in when Zack Morris, Jake Tyler and Max Fischer showed up. Screech’s claims that Kathryn had turned Slater into a monster gave Zack pause, but they spurred Jake to action.

After some macho posturing, the All State wrestler and the parking lot MMA fighter started to grapple. While they battled for position, Screech gave Winnie some pointers on handling dynamite. When Slater asked Zack to come to his aide and Zack simply stood by, the momentary distraction was all Jake needed to mount Slater and begin a relentless assault. Slater was slipping into unconsciousness when a loud bang snapped him back to the land of the living. Jake touched a growing red circle on his chest while Kathryn stood behind him with the smoking gun in her hands.

Frightened by the sudden outburst of violence, Max pumped his air rifle and pulled the trigger. The bee bee bounced off of Kathryn’s skull, causing her to send a stray bullet into Winnie Cooper’s chest, passing through her dynamite along the way. The ensuing blast showered the gathered with pieces of Winnie and Bayside’s valedictorian, sending Zack and Max back into hiding while Kathryn collected her champion.

RESULT: New Bayside and Team Kathryn each lose a member. Winnie Cooper joins her brother as a casualty of war. 32 remain.

As night falls on Day One, most combatants are able to find safety and get some fitful sleep. Others are not so lucky…

Time for evening patrol.

Hit Girl vs. Haley Stark

Hit Girl was distracted. She was still thinking about Ponyboy. That’s why Haley was able get so close. But Hit Girl immediately saw the fear in Haley’s eyes. Maybe it was a good thing she’d been distracted, because once she and Haley got to talking, they realized they actually had a lot in common, like an overwhelming urge to inflict pain on evildoers, especially adults, especially men. If all but one of them had to die, shouldn’t all the motherfucking perverts go first?

RESULT: Hit Girl and Haley become Lil’ Vigilantes

Daniel Desario & Kim Kelly vs. Moses

“Should we set him on fire, Daniel?” asked Kim, eager to test out their flamethrower. Lucky for Moses, Desario didn’t share his girlfriend’s bloodlust; there was something distinctly uncool about setting a tied up kid on fire. He wasn’t ready to go from juvenile delinquent to juvenile offender just yet. Of course, he did check Moses’ pockets to see if the kid was holding.

RESULT:  Moses lives… for now

Gogo Yubari vs. Brendan Frye & Diana Guzman

Diana wasn’t sure why she cared about the dumb kid that she’d saved from Bishop; maybe it was the weird way he talked. She tried to patch up his bruised face like her own trainer would’ve, but it was all for naught when the spiked metal ball came zipping out of the jungle to cave Brendan’s head in. Diana hopped to her feet just as Gogo Yubari emerged from the trees. Diana reasoned that if she could just use her footwork to get close, she could… oh, nope, mace to the dome. Cue that mischievous Gogo giggle.

RESULT:  Brendan Frye and Diana Guzman slain by a rampaging Gogo Yubari. 30 remain.

Ferris Bueller vs. Veronica Sawyer, Part II

With the rest of the girls sleeping after charmingly delivered tales of fancy lunches and day games at Wrigley Field, only Veronica was awake for Bueller’s last karaoke rendition of “danke schoen.” Parched from all that talking and singing, Bueller found his canteen empty. Veronica was happy to let him share some of hers. Of course, she’d poisoned it earlier. All that carpe diem bullshit was really getting on her nerves; she was a girl that preferred her 80s love interests with a sociopathic edge. As Bueller gasped through his rapidly closing windpipe, Veronica slipped out of the safe house confident that Joey Potter and the rest didn’t have the skills necessary for the emergency tracheotomy it would take to save Ferris.

RESULT:  Ferris Bueller killed by Veronica’s poison/negative outlook on life. 29 remain.

Cher Horowitz vs. Hanna Heller

Curled up on a tree branch, Hanna almost let the older blonde pass by without incident, lost as she was in her self-involved stupor. Then Hanna noticed the gun she was holding. She couldn’t let that get away. Dropping her encyclopedia behind Cher as a distraction, Hanna flipped Cher’s onto her back and disarmed her in one smooth motion. As quickly as she had materialized, Hanna disappeared into the night. Only now she was armed.

RESULT: Hanna’s got a gun

 How'd you do? [PROCEED TO DAY ONE LEADERS]

Or, answer our Day Two [BONUS QUESTIONS]

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