"I met you the other night," Jessie says when introduced, for the second time in two episodes, to Devorah Rose. "Oh, did you?" the adult Social Life editor responded, as the Dalai Lama might respond to one of the millions of pilgrims who flock to His Holiness for an interaction, the benefits of which are entirely one-sided. This was one of the more subtle of the horrifying moments that occurred in last night's episode of NYC Prep, in which our embattled reality stars were haunted at every turn with three of New York's bogeymen: pretentious monsters, predatory monsters, and monsters in the sense that Elmo from Sesame Street says he is a monster, but is really a Muppet. Those best able to deflect their insidious remarks won the episode, and will, we suspect, eventually win at life.
Sebastian has lost his mojo. Public-school succubus Taylor sucked it out of him, and now he is doomed. From now on, he will mark the passage of time not with notches on the post of his Power Rangers–sheeted bed, but by the golden hairs that fall from his head and the widening girth around his waist. The first sign came when he was rebuffed by Kelli. Later, a promising date with an exotic brunette, Daniela — with whom, he marveled, the level of conversation was so much higher than it was with Taylor — took a shocking, almost Crying Game–esque twist when his companion revealed she went to public school, then asked if she could touch his hair. "No, that's weird," he said, quite firmly. "What am I, a dog?" Fortunately, like so many men, Sebastian's perception and sensitivity appeared to increase as his sexual magnetism decreased, and he made several insightful observations about others, noting, for instance, that PC seemed "so mad, or sad, or depressed" during his altercation with Kelli — and noticing that PC and Jessie had better seats than he and Kelli, but not saying anything about it because he knew it would upset her. This new skill needs time to develop, however, as his diagnoses of Kelli as "bipolar" for her on-and-off flirting with him was less than convincing.
Once again, Kelli proved that beneath her sweet munchkinlike exterior lay a steely core. "You shouldn't be mean to [Taylor]," she snapped, after Sebastian bragged of brushing off his public-school fling. "I feel like I'm fighting with a chick," she snapped at PC. "I don't want you to apologize if you don't want to apologize." And regarding her friend Camille (theirs and PC and Jessie's friendships appear to be the only real ones not trumped up by producers), she gripes: "Camille's really well educated, but I'm the one dealing with the whole music industry right now, so I think I know more about what I'm actually doing right now than she does." The whole music industry? That seems, um, unpalatable. Also, untrue.
Camille: Was wrongfully accused of "not getting" that Kelli needed to have a stylist create an image for her before she was famous when, in fact, she merely (and quite rightfully) thought it was stupid and excessive. "Well, I don't know any 17-year-olds who have a stylist before they have a professional career," she muses. "And I don't think it's correct to change yourself just to be in the music industry." Unfortunately for Camille, she appears to only have been inserted using footage from an old episode, so she wasn't in the running this time around.
Taylor: We liked Taylor better in this episode than we had in recent weeks. We enjoyed that when Cole (rightly) pointed out that PC was "not even your friend — he talks down to you!" she replied with that squinty smile of hers, "Yeah, but he's nice." (False.) "I love everything about PC," she giggled. "He's, like, older than me." She also made the amazing point that PC is apparently openly into girls and guys. "I mean, I don't know if it's cool to be bisexual," she moans. "But it's cool that HE'S bisexual." Oh, how well Intel Chris remembers that particular phase.
But after all that gushing, Taylor immediately disregarded PC's advice at the Jill Stuart show to "Just like act like we don't give a shit about celebrities, because it makes us look cool," and rolled her eyes openly at his and Kat's decision to wear sunglasses during the entire show, and at his imparted wisdom of "It's not, like, just about the clothes, it's the makeup and the hair, the whole thing, so just, like, take notes on that." Whatever. Taylor and Cole just like purple. Also, she just wants to "to go up to Paris Hilton and hug her," which seems ill-advised.
It's a testament to the vulnerability of young PC's sense of self that the person he has seemed most impressed by all season long is Devorah Fucking Rose. (More on her later.) You could see in his face how hard he knew he was fucking up, but his little hands in their fingerless gloves couldn't stop flitting about her and her entourage, who progressed this episode from merely sketchy (remember last week's photo shoot??) to downright vampiric. When, after Devorah's cooing, he said "People said [the Erin Fetherston show] was one of the best shows of all of Fashion Week," you could tell even he knew not one person had said that. In the end, he exhibited humility, admitting that he was "a little schooled" when Kelli yelled at him, and apologizing to Jessie for being a jerk, eventually. This earned him a few points, but not as many as when Kat stole his seat and he called her a fat c***, which was awesome in the brutally honest way one can only be when speaking to a person wearing sunglasses in a dark room.
Like Bella's mortal friends in Twilight, Jessie realizes immediately that there's something untoward about the interest Devorah Rose and her pallid, androgynous friends have in PC. For one, her concern is 100 percent justified — those people are creepy, and they're definitely not interested in PC for PC. However, she almost spoiled her chance at the win by being completely unaware of her privilege. "If I'm seven years younger than you, and I have as much experience, that's a bit pathetic," she exhales. "Don't you think?" But she was torn between this hubris (at one point, she says "I would have gotten more out of the experience with Charlotte Ronson if they had given me seats for the front row" ... we're pretty sure this was spliced together by producers, though) and a genuine work ethic and poise with adults. In the end, her correctness about Devorah & Co., her genuine, disturbingly deep care for PC, and her unflappability in work situations (when adults were watching, at least) gave her the win. Even though the way she walks, holding her handbag, kind of grates for some reason.
Devorah Rose's rack: To paraphrase Jessie: It may not be real, it may not be from New York, but Jesus Christ.
Cole: We still love Cole, for his simplicity and humor. "PC, you could have gotten us better seats," he cracks, allowing the snottiness of PC and Kat at the Jill Stuart show to roll off his back. "That girl is tall," he later muses, looking at a model. "She's got a mean face." So true! The best, though, was when he spoke in a British accent to tease the snobs around him.
Minardi, Aroma (Again)
The designers the Bravo producers got them tickets to go see, but then pretended they hadn't: Walter, Jill Stuart, Erin Fetherston, Pamella Roland.
Charlotte Ronson: Though really the hero in that sequence was the awesomely bitchy Eastern European intern Jessie worked with.
Carmen Marc Valvo: Because he and Frank clearly saw the PR opportunity of working with Jessie for what it was, and were pretty nice about it.
Paris and Nicky Hilton: We think this is a win, we're not sure.
Amanda Bynes: Because she looked so normal and we love her.
Michelle Trachtenberg: Gossip Girl tie-in! Again!
Kim Kardashian: Don't think we didn't see you there.
Katrina Bowden: Because she seemed appropriately appalled by Devorah.
Daniella: Sebastian's date was pretty, and when she said, "Do I look like I play sports?" we laughed. We say that too, but more because we are fat, not thin.
Kat: We bet PC's friend is regretting she didn't agree to be a full-time cast member on the show, because producers are clearly taking it out on her by making her look like an Ally Hilfiger knockoff, without the soul. (Yes, we said it.)
The rival vampire coven: Honestly, longhairs: GET OFF PC. It's so gross and unattractive, and you are adults. This is embarrassing.
Lauren, Kelli's stylist: Because Bravo edited it to look like she only goes to one obscure fashion show to pick outfits for her client.
Devorah Rose: Allow us to issue a little plea, directly to the editor of Social Life: Dear, we know your efforts to make your own reality show have been flouted, and you think this may be your only shot at fame. But it isn't worth it. You're a pretty girl! You've got the body every drag queen in Manhattan dreams of! You can do better than this. Acting as the secret double operative of Bravo producers and trying to stir up trouble among a bunch of hapless teenagers is just shameful. When you drawled, "Tonight's going to be insane, so buckle your seatbelt," and "Front row at Erin Fetherston," we worried for your soul that this is what you really live for — even though we know it's not. "I don't have an option," you said. "I have to look amazing. It's my job." No, Devorah. Your job is to throw parties and try to publicize a little-known, free-handout weekend magazine in the Hamptons. You just think playing the villainess is fun. But it doesn't last, girlfriend. This is reality television. On Bravo! Nothing lasts. Sooner or later it all just stops lasting.
FINAL NOTE: Commenters, can we please refrain from talking about the way that the characters look? Remember, they are teenagers being taken advantage of by adult reality-television producers; they deserve our pity, not our cruelty. You've been particularly harsh to Jessie and Camille in the past. We know you are wittier than that.