Between the yacht birthday parties and his reputation as a player, Alex Kompo needed to change his image. In "How Am I a Lot to Handle?," we get the backstory on Alex's relationship with his two adult siblings, who both have autism, and the entire events of tonight's episode take place at the Kompo's Annual Autism Gala.
If you thought this episode would stray from its normal drama-fueled plots and barely-there bikinis in favor of using the MTV platform to talk about the very real issue of adults living with disabilities, don't worry. There's more time dedicated to showing the cast take showers before the gala than there is to the two speeches Alex makes at the actual event. As Juliette puts it: "The Autism Gala is one of the biggest parties of the summer."
Drama ensues. But this time, it's focused on Pauly, the sidekick to Alex who spends most of his time throwing back Mai Tais on the beach. He has a guest of honor for the gala, his sweet grandmother from Greensboro, North Carolina. The intergenerational discourse between old-fashioned grandparent and grandchild is a common sight in Sarasota and, just like in real life, it's hilarious. Choice moments include learning that Pauly squandered $500,000 in three years because "Sarasota drowned most of my money," or when his grandmother tells Jared that she wants "a good life, a really Christian life," for him. Or really any moment Pauly tells his grandmother his long-term career goal is to become a rapper.
Since Pauly's parents passed away, his grandmother has been paying for his lifestyle in Sarasota and Pauly decides that the quickest way to impress her is to play piano at the gala, while enjoying an evening of sobriety. (Spoiler alert: He does play piano, but only after downing a glass of champagne. You can hear his grandmother yelling, "No!" in the background of that scene.)
Kelsey, the model who went skinny-dipping with Jared in a previous episode, brings her boyfriend, Jacob, around. While introducing him to her on-again-off-again friend, Chloe, it slips out that she and Jared had some late-night shenanigans. Kelsey explains to Jacob that "nothing happened," meanwhile, several scenes later, she tells Chloe, "Jared kissed me. I didn't kiss him." Keep your story straight, girl.
Brandon, the aspiring rapper, wrote a song called "Somber," about his split from Madisson. He asks her to be in the music video, and she agrees, much to the anger of their respective partners. Pauly, fresh from overcoming his personal challenge of a few hours of relative sobriety, poses the following question to Brandon: "What's more important, the girl or the music?" Um, more MTV screen time.
Alex, meanwhile, tells Juliette that her enemy, Cara, Alex's old flame, was talking smack about Chloe. This represents a betrayal because it was Chloe was who first introduced Cara to the Siesta Key crew. When Chloe finds out, she confronts Cara and tells her she's not welcome to hang anymore.
Separate from the gala entirely, Canvas, the bisexual character whom we rarely ever see talking to anyone besides Chloe, confronts her mother about being absent from her life. Cue tears. Reeling from the conversation, Canvas asks Tawni, a friend whom she occasionally makes out with, if Tawni is interested in a relationship. She's not. Cue more tears.
As you can see, emotions run hot this episode. Nearly every character gets a chance to shed some tears on camera. Like Pauly's grandmother, I wish I, too, could have left Siesta Key behind at the end of the episode and flown to North Carolina, but unfortunately, I'll be back next week. Stay tuned.
Wanna brush up on what’s happened thus far? Read past recaps of Siesta Key here.