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Graham
Killer Wildcats

Graham

GrahamMakeover

Gender Male
Hair color Dark brown
Episode Eliminated "Extreme Birdbotching"
Place 5th
Relationship Kelsey
Family Mother, grandparents
Friends Kelsey, Miles, Rachel, Roald, Suvir, Wolfgang, Frances, Christian
Enemies Erica, Kaitlin, Whitney
Fear Crippling loneliness, spiders
Talent Composing music, writing poetry
Graham, labeled The Gentleman, is a contestant on Total Drama Lakeside. He was placed on the Killer Wildcats team.

Biography

Graham's mother had him at an early age and realized she wasn't fit for parenting, leaving him in the care of his grandparents. His appearance, lifestyle, and general mannerisms are somewhat out of touch with modern society, which made him an easy target for bullies growing up. He's always been a "sensitive intellectual" type, having read his grandparents' classic British novels from an early age and applying the philosophies found in them to his daily life, as opposed to making friends or playing sports. His distance from people his age has made him develop a bit of an ego, and he sometimes comes across as unintentionally smug, mostly due to isolation and an inability to relate to others. Graham did well in high school and attends a highly-ranked college, and ever since getting there, his loneliness has slightly subsided after befriending a small yet solid group of women. He has secret crushes on most of them, but they all think he's gay due to his dapper appearance, emotional nature, and fear of publicly discussing his crushes. Graham loves poetry and romance novels, and since he has nobody to talk to about his feelings, he pours out his emotions into the written form and has no idea what to say when actually confronting them in real life.

Graham joined Total Drama because he wanted to make friends, meet a woman, and get out of the house, so he's not alone with his thoughts.

Total Drama Lakeside

Graham was the penultimate contestant to arrive to the competition, and once there, happily introduced himself to Chris. Suvir ran up to him and started yelling about aliens, then Whitney made a pointed remark about his mustache, which flustered Graham. Once Artemis was introduced, she did a bizarre performance art routine in front of Graham, which just made his face redder and redder. He said in the confessional that he felt drastically different from everyone else in the contestant and just wanted to make friends, but was already feeling apprehensive. He was placed on the 'Killer Wildcats' team.

When his team moved in, he bunked right next to Miles, who he struck up a conversation with about Miles's ex-girlfriend, Jackie. Although Graham proceeded to be nothing but friendly to Miles, he was put off by Miles's gloomy nature and constant pessimism. During the first challenge, he tried to talk to Whitney some more, but she shut down all his attempts at flirting and being friendly, then walked away. He admitted in the confessional that he had a crush on her, feeling ashamed because he'd only known her for less than 12 hours and felt like a 'weirdo' when talking to her, so he decided he'd write some poetry about her. He then went back to trying to bond with his teammates, but deep down, just wanted to talk to them about his crush on Whitney.

In the second challenge, he partnered off with Kelsey to search for eggs, saying that Kelsey seemed like a compassionate person and reminded him of his friends back home. The two discussed Miles and Rachel's shaky relationship, to which Kelsey revealed Rachel only liked Miles as a friend, then Graham asked Kelsey what she thought about Whitney. She told him she thought Whitney seemed off-putting, but empathized with him, saying she'd had many crushes from afar on gross guys herself. In the subsequent challenge, Graham was paired off with Rachel in a canoe, which made him anxious because Miles had asked him to set her up with him, but he knew she wasn't interested. He wore a vintage striped swimsuit for the challenge, which invited more mockery from Whitney. In the canoe, he tried to awkwardly bring up the subject of Miles, and Rachel said she was only interested in him as a friend. This made way for a Graham breakdown—first, he noticed Roald and Whitney laughing together in their canoe and sped over to hit Roald with water balloons, then he word-vomited to Rachel that he felt horrible, both about how upset Miles was going to be and how upset he was after seeing Roald and Whitney together. His team somehow won, though. Later, even while bonding with other women like Rachel and Kelsey, he admitted he was constantly thinking about Whitney in the back of his mind no matter what. 

The next morning, Graham sat at the picnic table with Kelsey and the two discussed poetry. Kelsey offered to peer review his recent work, which he got anxious about due to the subject being Whitney. She took back her remark about Whitney being off-putting and told Graham they'd make a cute couple, likely just to placate him, which he was overjoyed about. He read his poetry in the confessional, but then admitted it was horrible and asked if he was turning into Miles. During the volleyball challenge, Erica sat next to him and tried to befriend him for the sake of manipulating him. Sure enough, he quickly told Erica everything about himself, Whitney, Miles, and Rachel, then immediately regretted it. The two were matched up against Roald and Whitney for a round of volleyball, where Graham accidentally spiked the ball into Whitney's face, to his horror. Whitney quietly seethed and Graham spent the rest of the day moping. Thanks to Erica's manipulation and Miles's heartbreak, Rachel was voted out, but an indecisive Graham voted for Christian instead, which made Christian incensed. At that elimination ceremony, Christian was swapped to the Artisanal Cheeses while Roald and Whitney were brought onto the Wildcats, to Graham's further horror.

Roald tried to get to know Graham and Miles in the subsequent days, but was met with only curt remarks from Graham. During the snack shack challenge, he tried to engage Whitney in conversation for the first time in a while, but she was completely unresponsive (as usual) and made a pointed comment about the volleyball incident. When Roald wanted a smoothie, Graham spitefully made him an unappetizing smoothie consisting of giant, solid chunks of mango, but Roald still loved it. Graham lamented in the confessional that he knew his behavior toward Roald was immature, but felt heartbroken over Whitney. After the challenge, he decided that in order to win her over once and for all, he had to shave off his mustache. When going to the bathroom to do so, he accidentally ran into a nude Roald taking an ice bath, who confided in Graham that he himself had a "super-mega crush" on Whitney, and wanted Graham to be his wingman since he seemed like a "romantic type of guy." Graham was shocked and appalled but Roald was beyond excited, and once the team went to elimination, Whitney said nothing about Graham's newly-shaved face while Kelsey gave him a compliment.

Graham was in a crabby mood the following morning. He sat with his teammates at breakfast and listened to them all complain about their various issues, responding with bitter snark clearly directed at Roald and Whitney. Once those two got up from the table, Graham revealed to his other teammates what Roald had said to him the night before. Kelsey responded with sympathy but also told him not to blame it on Roald, so Graham developed an "ingenious plan" in the confessional to divert Roald's attention to Kelsey, the only other single, non-threatening woman there. The challenge was announced as performing a play, and Graham paired up with Kelsey to write the script—once he showed her the rough draft, though, she was perturbed as it was an obvious allegory about Graham's romantic troubles. She admitted she didn't judge him, however, saying true art comes from the artist's heart, and the two bonded some more while workshopping the script. Kelsey's one reservation was the idea of making out with Roald's character, which Graham pried about, but his efforts failed as she said he wasn't her type at all. 

The other Wildcats returned and looked at Graham's script, which prompted a variety of reactions: Whitney refused on performing at all, Erica insisted on being the lead, and Kelsey was forced to play the character based on her; all these things stressed Graham out because he didn't want to change the script. However, while rehearsing the Kelsey and Roald kiss scene, Graham changed his mind and decided they wouldn't kiss, saying it didn't fit well with the play's mood. Kelsey instead became Graham's co-director. In the confessional, he stressed that it was a strategic decision, as he wanted to respect Kelsey's lack of interest in Roald and wanted Roald to make even more of a fool of himself. Despite the sudden presence of Miles's ex Jackie, the play went well enough where the Wildcats won the challenge, to Graham's delight. Back at the cabin, Roald approached him and told him he was a great wingman, and Graham shockingly said in the confessional that his crush on Whitney was finally over, having decided to stop wasting his energy on those who didn't care about him. Kelsey then gave him the flowers from Chef, telling him he did most of the "heavy lifting."

The merge arrived the next day, and Graham befriended Suvir, the only remaining male contestant he hadn't met. He also told Erica and Kelsey that he was no longer interested in Whitney. Chris brought out the contestants' loved ones to participate in the challenge, which meant a visit from Graham's cantankerous grandma, Ursula. However, he was much more excited to see Whitney's brother, Wolfgang—his all-time favorite Total Drama contestant. He stressed that his crush on Whitney was still over, but he approached Wolfgang and told him how much of a fan he was, which warmed Wolfie's heart. By default, Graham and Ursula survived until the final portion of the challenge, a competition of pure luck against Kelsey and her mother Susan. Graham did end up winning the challenge, but was a little nervous because it meant he'd have to pick another contestant-family member pair to take on a double date to the Cheesecake Warehouse. Wolfgang pulled him aside and pleaded for him not to pick them, telling him to not waste his time with Whitney. Graham took it to heart and hugged his favorite player.

Out of nowhere, Graham instead picked Kelsey and Susan to go to dinner with. He was excited until Ursula revealed she'd skip the dinner to go take a nap in the cabin, and things got worse when Susan promised she wouldn't "make things awkward," appearing to think Graham and Kelsey were together. The three had a great time at the restaurant, though, and Graham was caught off-guard by Susan's friendliness and sincerity. He mentioned their play at one point, which caused Susan to spill that she'd wish Kelsey would write more—as she had a history in writing cheesy, romantic poetry. A horrified, embarrassed Kelsey tried to get her mom to stop talking, but it was too late. That night, long after the dinner was over and the elimination ceremony had ended, Graham sat on the porch flipping through his old poetry and grumbling. He muttered to himself that nothing he wrote about Whitney made any sense, then prepared to rip the pages up, but paused, gasped, and suddenly realized that all of his poems sounded like they had been written about Kelsey. 

Audition Tape

A light flickers on, and melancholy piano music begins to play, revealing Graham sitting in a leather armchair at a desk covered with scattered papers and a typewriter. The room behind him is filled with antique furniture, from a coat hanger to a rococo-styled sofa to fancy glass shelves. 

"Hello," he says somewhat dejectedly. "I'm not sure why I'm doing this, but here goes. My name is Graham and I'd like to compete on the next season of Total Drama. I've felt woefully lonely as of late, and I find my mind drifting to the darkest places possible. I'm trying to write a book of poetry, but I've been struck with writer's block, and I think the only way to solve that is to go out, make friends, and maybe find a woman to lay all my love on. Please—don't make me stay here, in the depths of despair, for the entire summer." He pulls a lamp cord and the room turns to darkness.

Trivia

The National - Slow Show

The National - Slow Show

Theme song for Graham - "Slow Show" by The National.

  • Graham's appearance was inspired by the character Beardo from the Animal Crossing series.
    • I first decided I'd write this story after drawing human versions of three characters in my Animal Crossing: New Leaf town—Roald, Whitney, and Beardo (Graham)—and realizing I could create a love triangle between them.
    • He was meant to be a deconstruction of the typical Toad-al Drama Animal Crossing character, similar to Wolfgang, as opposed to the other three—who generally stayed faithful to their in-game personalities and were more comedic than anything else.
    • He's also the only Animal Crossing-based character of mine whose name differs from his inspiration. "Graham" is the name of another villager in the series, who couldn't be more different than this Graham, but his basis's original name ("Beardo") is both barely a real name and was somehow already used for a canon Total Drama character.
  • The original version of this story, Mt. Total Drama, featured two characters named Vaughn and Cristina who were based on singers from Postmodern Jukebox. Although they were both scrapped, their personalities were combined in a sense to make Graham.
  • Graham was always planned to get far, though for a while I didn't quite know where his plot would end up after he moved on from Whitney. When I eventually decided to give Kelsey a love interest, Graham fit the bill, and their pairing seemed so obvious that I'm shocked I didn't think of it from the beginning.
    • A certain line in Graham's audition tape, written after his elimination, foreshadows his relationship with Kelsey. 
  • He was written to initially appear as a joke character, much like Miles or Boris, before slowly revealing that his entire outward persona was a facade.
  • Unlike certain past Toad-al Drama characters like Tolkien, Graham was never actually meant to be a self-insert, but I did start noticing similarities midway through the story. A few of his romantic monologues ended up hitting very close to home, and I gave his "made-over" picture an outfit that looks like something I'd probably wear as a nod to that.
  • Graham's whole plot ended up revolving around romance, while Kelsey's relationship with him was only one of many aspects of her character. I consciously did this after reading old Total Drama fics, mine included, and realizing that male characters in relationships were usually far more three-dimensional than female ones.
  • Graham was one of my favorite characters, both in the story and in general. I think he's also one of my most unique characters period and figured you don't see too many male characters like him in stories like these, so I wanted to do his story justice.
  • The "theme song" I picked for Graham is "Slow Show" by The National. It felt perfect for him, since it reminded me of his anxiety, how it manifested in his interactions with the others, and how comfortable he eventually felt in his relationship with Kelsey.

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