“There’s always drama,” PC said wearily on last night’s episode of NYC Prep, and he was right, there is always drama, especially if you create it. Last night’s episode was as full of theatrics as a Greek tragedy, as the cast members were pulled together and pushed apart by the forces they could not control: Bravo producers, hormones, and their own internal demons. But, as in all plays, there was a hero, and one cast member managed to walk away with the win, trying hard not to smile.
Let’s review the performances.
Things seem to be going well for Kelli, who is confident enough in her imminent pop stardom that she was able to stand up to the creepy, aggressive college admissions officer with the “really weird voice” at Harvard without worrying that she was going to ruin her life, forever. Also, snaps to Kelli for not punching Camille in the neck for forcing her to come on a college trip to help her get “direction.” Still, overall, Kelli was too much of a nonentity this episode to score the win.
Camille thinks Sebastian is an imbecile, and every time he sees her, he insults her horribly (remember when he told her she had something in her teeth?). But that didn’t stop the producers for setting them up on a fake hang session at the Pulse Art Fair, where the interaction between them went predictably south. “I don’t think I should listen to Camille on that, because she’s not exactly the pro at dating,” he scoffed after she told him that, hello, telling Kelli that he was asking her out because he was done with Taylor now was not the wisest move. “Her sense of humor is, like, different from other people,” he went on to explain. “You have to be like, ‘My math book is 60 pages instead of 50.’” (That is actually kind of funny, if you think about it.) If these characters existed in a Jane Austen novel, their tension might blossom into true love, but as it is reality TV about high schoolers, it just fizzled. “Whatever. I think we should go,” Sebastian pouted, flipping his hair and looking about with an “Are we done here?” look on his face. Later, on Taylor wanting to be friends, he remarked, “Why would she want to be friends — so we can, like, talk about movies?” Someday, when Sebastian grows up, he will realize these kind of remarks will cause everyone around him to think he’s impotent. For now, they just cost him the win.
Though Camille had some missteps this episode — mostly when she dragged Kelli to Harvard and got really defensive around Sebastian — she displayed the wit that we think will keep her afloat freshman year on the Yard. “I think the Harvard guys are going to be the exact same as the guys we hang out with,” she mused, sagely. She also managed to get yet another dig in about PC being gay when she laughed off any suggestion that he could be actually dating Taylor. (“Well, yeah, I didn’t think that was happening.”) Next episode it seems Camille will have a Blairwellian showdown with Jessie, but until then, she falls short of the win.
During the epic sequence Jessie and Kat filmed at Selima Optique, we felt ourselves starting to weary of the ongoing saga of her doomed “friend love” of PC (because we’re pretty sure even she realizes that the likelihood of “heavy-petting love” there is basically nil). “I can’t let him fail! I’ve saved his ass since I was in seventh grade!” she wailed. Happily, she later got distracted by some shiny baubles and became Likable Jessie again: “Who needs a boyfriend when you have jewelry like this!” she sighs happily, giving us a glimpse at the sassy 50-something divorcée she will become. She fell victim to the producers’ editing malevolence a bit during the Operation Smile meeting (Adult: “It all comes back to the fact that what you guys are doing through this event is helping us change the lives of hundreds of kids.” Jessie: “Yeah, okay”), but we were proud of her for getting into F.I.T. and for being so proud of it in a normal way. Her parents bought her the plastic frame for the acceptance letter, we’re pretty sure. In the end, only the predictable fashion glasses, the distracting neon-green headband, and the fact that she referred to Nightingale-Bamford, a better school than her own, as Camille’s “girls’ school up the street” kept her from victory.
Like nearly everyone in this twisted rat king of a world, PC doesn’t know what to do with himself. He stays up all night at clubs, but he doesn’t do drugs (yet). He wants to be in Los Angeles, but he seems to think Occidental is the only school there. He’s “very comfortable with” his sexuality, but never answers anybody who asks whether he’s gay. He says he’s tired of high-school bullshit, and then he tries to stir up high-school bullshit by inviting Taylor to a party and not Cole, and trying to make things as awkward as possible for Camille and Dan at the same event. It was almost sweet (almost) when he told viewers that one has to be “open-minded” to see that poor, lowly, public-schooled Taylor is a “unique person.” And we laughed when producers edited him into all the awkward conversations at Pranna, even though he clearly wasn’t actually participating in them. But our favorite line, the one which probably cost him the win, was when he said to Taylor, “Life’s too short to waste time with people you’re not completely into.” Dude, you’re teenagers. Life is long, and high school is designed for wasting time with people you’re not completely into.
In a surprise coup, Taylor won the episode. We finally understood why she has such an on-and-off relationship with Cole: He has multiple personalities! (More on that later.) Taylor scored points for defending PC behind his back at Pranna, and accurately assessing that the other younger guys are “just jealous.” She did as best as one could when faced with her boyfriend’s ex, who was clearly a bonier version of Taylor (“I don’t think she’s that pretty”), and had trouble breaking up with Cole in spite of it all, which seemed totally normal. She also managed to do so shortly after Cole’s friends reassured him that she was more into him than vice versa. If that weren’t a total win already, we loved that she wore her Dylan’s Candy Bar bag to the actual candy bar — just as one would wear a Dior dress to a Dior runway show. That’s just precious.
Pulse Art Fair: Because apparently you can touch the art there.
Selima Optique, Lilly Pulitzer, Dylan’s Candy Bar, Katz’s Delicatessen, Pranna, Japonais: Even though the last two appear to be perhaps a little too willing to allow teenagers to use them as a romper room.
6 Columbus: Even though PC would have rather been at 60 Thompson.
Kat: After performing terribly in previous episodes, PC and Jessie’s friend finally redeemed herself by trying to pour water on the fire igniting between them. “Don’t be dramatic — it’s not the end of your friendship,” she snapped to Jessie. “This is a phase You’re going to end up on Lexapro for the rest of your life.” She rightly noted that PC needs to be allowed to fail, and then later points out to him that in Los Angeles, “You’re not going to do any work, and you’re going to do the same thing you did in the city, and you’re going to get involved in the same drama.” Except there will be boys in short bathing suits lounging by the pool there!
Lexapro: Genius product placement.
Maite: She’s back! From “PATTERNS!” to “I need a nautical-themed pashmina afghan!” we loved her.
Taylor’s Dog: Just because. Taylor walking it was the only moment we think we’ve ever seen one of the cast members performing an actual household chore. And she didn’t even seem to mind!
Deniz: For correctly observing that a friendship with Taylor is “not going to happen.”
Ally Zarin: Because we love her.
David, the Harvard Tour Guide: Because he seemed normal. Unlike that other dude (Baruch?) who showed up.
That Girl Who Went on a Date With Gabe and Sebastian: For reappearing, and for delivering the line: “It was like me, Kate Bosworth, and Rachel Zoe!”
The Coat-Check Guy Who Cruised PC: Because he comes from a long tradition of adult gays hitting on this teenager.
Those Operation Smile Adults Who Have to Pretend to Kowtow to Middle Schoolers: The fact that they bothered to explain to Jessie why to not blow off Camille makes us worry that they are taking the wrong things seriously.
Scarlett the Russian-Literature Harvard Graduate: “I wish you the best of luck getting in here, although of course, you probably won’t,” she says to Camille. Come on, girl. Surely someone in the admissions office could have explained to you the concept of reality television.
Dan: Camille’s ex tragically can’t master the hair toss, in a show full of male hair tossers. It’s time for a trim, dear.
Cole: Oh, Cole, Cole, Cole. We loved you until this episode. You were rude to Sebastian, Taylor, Deniz, and PC, and everyone was pretty decent about it, but you continued your rampage. “Ex-girlfriend, meet girlfriend. Talk,” you commanded, like all beta males thrilled to be the center of two women’s attentions. “I wanted it to, like, end good there,” you said after the girls fled the scene, flummoxed that this masterful diplomatic move fell flat. Then you showed up to PC’s party like a drama addict looking for a fix. We could tell by the end of the episode you just wanted it all over with, and so did we. You could have starred in the spinoff if you hadn’t behaved so erratically in the final sketch! Oh, wait, now you’re even more likely to get a spinoff.