“When you’re our age, there’s nothing worse than being humiliated,” the heroine of Christopher Pike’s famed young-adult novels once said by way of explaining why her best friend had committed a series of elaborate murders after her diary was stolen and spread around school. “Nothing.” If, twenty years later, this is still true of young adults, then it’s a good bet that most of the cast members of NYC Prep woke up today feeling murderous. And with good reason! On last night’s episode, hardly anyone onscreen was spared. Whether the embarrassing incident happened in real time, occurred via voice-over, or was edited in by the producers (who, like the keepers of high-school slam books, are all too eager to categorize everyone as a loser or a slut or a dumb-ass), it barely even mattered. In the end, to paraphrase PC, it felt like everyone had had sex and then betrayed one another, and there we all were, “on the long road to Fuckville.”
Still, some people came off better than others. And against all odds, we were able to declare a winner!
In this episode we learned, as we had suspected, that Kelli is actually kind of talented at singing, in that baby-voiced/growly style made popular by Britney Spears. Her talent did not excuse her from the Humiliation Olympics, however. The nasty, mean-spirited teachers still made her go swimming, and after the series of visits from a variety of awkward voice teachers (who, obviously booked by the producers, were probably actors leftover from MTV’s Boiling Point) book-ended with sarcastic commentary from Kelli herself (“Bad call to bring up the mother, guy,” “Breck had a weird stare, I was scared”), there was a lot of blood in the pool.
Taylor wants to be a dance superstar now, not an elephant trainer or a philosopher. So it was extra saddening when, dressed up like a baby prostitute for her dance recital, she had a YM Most Embarrassing Moment when she realized, mid-splayed-leg performance, that she had a hole in the crotch of her fishnets. The teacher stopped the music. “Taylor,” she commanded in front of everyone. “Do you have something else to wear?” Everyone laughed. Then Taylor sheepishly pulled on some underroos so that she was no longer flashing her undercarriage to her mother and brother. (Except it was unclear that she had ever actually flashed anyone, as presumably she was wearing a leotard or some kind of underwear other than tights, but maybe we just went to a different kind of dance school growing up.) “It was so awkward,” she told producers, who would later portray her as a gold-digging whore from the wrong side of the tracks. “I just put it out of my mind.” Until now, when it’s on national television.
Our floppy-haired Lothario, Sebastian, was twice humiliated during his brief appearance on a date with a senior called Angel: first when she said he should go to college in California because of his hair, second when she revealed that she spoke French. “That just ruined me,” Sebastian moans. “I don’t think we’re going to hang out much after that.” We had a little trouble believing that this was his only move, but then we remembered that we had learned that “talking French” to someone on NYC Prep is code for hooking up, and if they weren’t going to do it, then the game was over for Sebastian.
Camille nervously forgot that even though everyone else knows that Dwight is a lesser private school, the people who actually go there, like Jessie and PC, will not necessarily be of that opinion. This was awkward, and Camille couldn’t stop herself from talking about it. Later, when Jessie relays the conversation, she is forsaken by PC, who declares there is nothing worse than “a boring, plain, really well-behaved girl” (this doesn’t sound so bad on paper, but when issued from the pouty lips of a guyliner-sporting aristocrat who is “bored with the drugs,” it is the cruelest trifecta of insults), and derided as “like, 12 years old” by the dwarfian sub-character that is Kat. And here Camille had been worried about “underexceeding” their expectations.
Bravo, luckily for us, has not yet decided that PC’s gay trajectory is the only plotline they care about. Blessedly, they sent cameras into his therapy session once again, and we witnessed our hero spit out some of the most awesomely clichéd bons mots, which actually looked like they pained him as they came out of his lips. “I definitely get bored,” he sighs, fiddling with his dozens of bracelets. “After a while, you have to raise the bar higher and higher.” Later, Bravo raises the bar on him by getting him to take off his shirt and snuggle with an older man for a pretend photo shoot. Obviously, this is the takeaway from the entire episode — it merited its own slideshow on Bravo’s website. (Not that it didn’t deserve it, to be honest. Way to go, PC!) Producers also made sure we noticed that PC rolled his eyes when Devorah Rose suggested he date the female model, but then he ran to get his phone when Trey the male stylist offered his number. And that when he was taped moving chairs around, they inserted his voice saying, “I’m not really used to manual labor.” But he was really game during the shoot in general, and finding out that he is nervous he won’t get into Occidental and that he likes to make fashion sketches in his spare time made us see just enough of the non–Cruel Intentions PC that he scored well this time around.
Jessie Ordinarily, we’d laugh if a 17-year-old told us she knew exactly what she wanted to do as a career and was ready to hit the ground running and start working. But what’s eerie about Jessie is not her laserlike focus in becoming a fashion publicist (or marketer, because she “can’t really do both“). It’s that she already is a fashion publicist. The average body wrapped in scarves and the perfectly groomed hair and the way she leans in during every interaction, even with her mom, like she’s about to say the bitchiest thing about the person that just walked into the room (which is the same thing she will say about you, later), and the way she condescends to everyone unless she thinks they are Someone, and the “Truth” tattoo on her inner wrist, and Operation Fucking Smile — it just all fits. Though she appeared in her meeting with Camille wearing a hideous outfit that resembled a maid uniform, for this, and for her utter self-possession during the C. Ronson interview, Jessica Leavitt, 17-year-old publicist, wins the episode. Remind us to take reality cameras to our next group job interview, by the way.
Aspen, Via Quadronno, Vong.
Charlotte Ronson: Really, those other girls didn’t know to wear a C. Ronson dress to the interview?
Cole: Because he manages to be cute and normal in every episode. That Kat gremlin should take notes.
Jessie’s mom, Susan: For seeming pretty normal and momlike, for reminding PC of the time he called her a “bitch,” and for saying that she “respects” people who don’t wear fur, the way she probably “respects” people who live in Staten Island.
That Social Life photographer: Because he was cute, and because he got to be fondled by PC.
Trey, the Social Life stylist: Because he is like the fourth adult gay on this show to cruise PC.
Devorah Rose: Because despite being the editor-in-chief of a typo-ridden pretend society magazine, she’s managed to make herself a permanent Bravo reality character. Even PC seemed skeptical about participating in a shoot during the dead of winter for a magazine that only comes out in the summer months, and said the name “Devorah” as though it is spelled with quotation marks around it, which is actually the correct pronunciation. When she had the model holding the camera during the “shoot” of PC and the photographer, we knew she was getting paid by Bravo, and why shouldn’t she be?