As I settled in tonight for the second episode of “The Search For The Next Doll,” with my remote control and a nice cold beer by my side, I pondered its place in reality television. Would it successfully differentiate itself from the Mother Ship, “America’s Next Top Model?” Which girl would out-pop the others? How many seasons/new members does Ken Mok plan to add to the Dolls? Do we really need another beauty competition show?
Fuck yeah we do! Otherwise, what would you (we) read about while procrastinating at work?!
This week’s episode started off with a recap of last week’s voluminously vomitous fun and Mark McGrath talked about himself in third-person voiceover. This week the real credit sequence was revealed, introducing The Special Nine, each with her own cute little whiparound to the camera and fierce smile section. Robin warns us that here is where the competition REALLY begins. Here, on the glossy Sunset Strip of Los Angeles, (a.k.a. Pussycat Doll Land).
That’s exactly where we open, as the girls move into their new home for the next eight weeks, entering an awesomely screech-worthy house filled with floor-to-ceiling prints of the Pussycat Dolls (strangely, no Janice Dickinsons) and their very own dance studio, which happens to be Anastacia’s lifelong dream home. Yes, I remember as a child, I would sit and dream that someday I could inhabit a place decorated with gigantic posters of pop stars. Then, Mark McGrath and I would go out on dates, and we would jump out of pools with our hair perfectly spiky.
Speaking of decoration, this place looks like it was done up by mismatched team on Top Design, complete with olive-colored walls, perfectly matched furniture and pillows, and hot pink faux fur wall bay window insets. They even get leopard print bedspreads, one of which Melissa S. promptly claims by placing her shoe upon. Meanwhile, Melissa R. shows her subtlety and sophistication by claiming her bed via licking the headboard. Mmmm. Headboard.
Before long the girls squealingly find a message for them beside the television. Tyra mail! I mean, Nicole Sherzingshmami mail! Sure enough Nicole has left them an adorable video message, echoing Robin’s sentiment about the competition beginning……. NOW! Then some other chicks in the background read from the TelePrompTer. Dunno what they were saying. I was distracted by Nicole’s enthusiastic posture.
The girls go to see Robin in the danc studio and she introduces Jessica something-or-other from The Dolls. She gets her very own montage of accomplishments in sassiness. Nicole must have been twitching on the side, wondering where SHE had gone during all of these clips.
Jessica brings all of the girls li’l flowers to “welcome them to the family” and then launches into a spiel about confidence. She reintroduces our favorite song-and-dance team, Mikey and John Beasely, who will help them with their next challenge. What will it be, you ask? Well, dears, Jessica has all the answers. They’ll be performing at… the….. PUSSYCAT LOUNGE! Oh my God oh my GOD! The girls gasp so much that I wonder if they’re all trying out for a high-school murder mystery dinner theatre.
The groups are announced and in the side notes we’re told that Asia is a dancer for the Knicks. Um, excuse me, McG? Why wasn’t I informed of this during the VERY FIRST episode? This changes things completely. All kinds of things race through my mind, such as, isn’t she the teenage mother? and, I wonder if she’s slept with Nate Robinson? Then, WHOA. What if Nate Robinson is her baby’s daddy????? Then, why don’t they have cheerleaders for the Yankees, dammit?
Sigh. ANYWAY. The rest of the groups are announced, and Sisely complains that as a white girl, she doesn’t think she can handle “Pon De Replay.” Well guess what sister? It ain’t all Green Day covers and Shirley Manson imitating out there. You’ve stepped into Pussycat Doll Land, so now you’d better step up.
The first group to rehearse is performing “1, 2 Step” and for some reason, they don’t play a video clip of THAT fourteen thousand times as an intro. Guess Chiara didn’t pay for advertising on the CW. The least they could have done was Photoshop Nicole’s head onto Chiara’s body. Jaime butchers the notes a few times and after being berated by Eric Dawes and Beasely, complains that it’s just because she’s been sick and needs a minimum of two days to recover. That bile racing up your throat can really make your songbird voice crack, huh?
Could Jaime and Brittany be more different?
Cut to the “Crazy In Love” group, where Asia’s wearing a “THAT’S HOT” wifebeater and Melissa S. is packing about 4 J-Lo’s into her short-shorts. Both of them are banging it out just like their mamas (and Miss Mikey) told ‘em to. Chelsea, on the other hand, is shown slowly gyrating her ass, gazing at it analytically, as though it’s some kind of zoo animal she’s studying for Bio 101.
Which brings us to the quote of the night, brought to you by, of course, sound bite whore Mikey: “Miss Chelsea. These girls are POPPING YOU OUTTA THE BALLPARK.” He continues with a steady combination of criticizing and scolding Chelsea, insisting (as he seems to love doing) that she’s bringing the entire group down with her lack of skillz. But sweet Chelss doesn’t let him deter her. She insists to the camera that she is learning, step by step and hopefully it’ll all be okey-dokey in the end.
Meanwhile, the third group is practicing “Pon De Replay” and even non-whitey Tia Carrere agrees that this song is, like, hard, because it has, like, a lotta words. And stuff. Sisely worries in a confession-booth type of shot that if she doesn’t get this down, she just doesn’t know what’s gonna happen, especially if she doesn’t get a chance pack another bowl by the end of the afternoon.
After a short break from our sponsors, we return to the house, where the first bubbles of conflict may be arising. Melissa S. and Chelsea are making some hot cocoa together (so sweeeeet! where’s the campfire?) and Chelsea, despite being sugary sweet and agreeable during this exchange, confesses to the camera that Melissa is too perky, all “Hiyeeee, nanananananana!” I totally fucking HATE people like that. I’m automatically on Chelsea’s side.
But sadly, that’s where it ends. Dammit! I was hoping for at least an awkward silence, if not a catfight, by Episode 2. Hopefully by the next few episodes we’ll get some real drama, even if it’s just passive aggression.
So here we are practicing with the “1, 2 Step” girlz, all dancin’ around using our waterbottles as microphones. Mikey breaks it to us that Brittany is “a REALLY confident girl.” He does NOT say this flatteringly. He says it in the same manner that one might blurt out, oh, I dunno, “Brittany uses Rogaine. Okay? So LAY OFF.” This is nicely accompanied by a Brittany voiceover saying, “Heck yeah, I’ve got the whole package. I was just BORN with it. I don’t even have to WORK.”
Editors? Any good clips for that?
Mikey: “UNFORTUNATELY, that confidence makes her dance like a Stripperella.”
YESSSSSSSSS. Gold, Jerry, gold!
The Classy Pose
Later that afternoon, there’s trouble in paradise as Chelsea realizes that she’s being left out of extra-curricular dance practice by her now-arch enemy, Melissa S., and Asia. She concludes that it must be because she’s not a classically trained dancer, but no matter, she’ll just approach them politely and say, “Hey, let’s work as a team!” Either that or she’ll hang out on the couch directly behind them, brood silently and try to burn holes through their asses with her demon eyes. Yeah, that second one sounds more appropriate.
Beside the piano, Jaime is having a heart-to-heart with Eric Dawkins, as she tells him in her most fragile, wounded-bird voice that, like anyone else, she has her insecurities. Sniffle. But Dawkins looks up at her with puppy-dawg eyes and tells her she has nothing to worry about, there’s something about her that’s so beautiful. For a moment I wonder if they’ll pull an ebony/ivory makeout moment, but unfortunately it’s not meant to be. In the next scene Mariela helps Jaime out with her confidence as well (still no making out). Mariela says that as a group they need to help each other out, and build each other up. Hope Melissa S. heard that from the other room.
That night Robin announces that she and Mikey are taking the girls out…. to dinner! The girls collectively swoon, “Awwwww!” and it seems from that reaction that they should be getting corsages and a set of wallet-sized photos from the evening as well. But it’s no prom, it’s just dinner at L.A. hot spot Basque. They drink up pretty fast and before they know it, the lights suddenly dim and the glass cages on the side of the room light up all in pink. Two mostly-naked women enter the cages and start tearin’ it up like it’s Barbie Burlesque. Or maybe like, the Sunset Steak-N-Strip. Nice. Now I know what I’ll call my club in L.A.
“WHAT are they DOING?” one of the Pussy Hopefuls asks. That’s when Robin drops the bomb that, in an effort to promote their confidence levels, each young Pussy debutante will have to spend some time in the cage, in befitting attire, and show her and Mikey what she’s got, sealing this show’s fate as America’s Next Top Stripper. Stripperella should be perfect at this, right?
Almost every girl freaks out a little bit. Sisely remarks that she doesn’t even shave her legs, why should she do this? Melissa R. says, “I do NOT do that.” And Chelsea says that even though she loves her body, as a formerly overweight girl, she is NOT cool with this. What I wanna know is, what is so different about dancing suggestively in skimpy clothes from dancing suggestively in skimpy clothes while singing?
We cut to a commercial with Brooke Shields telling us her toothpaste affects her mental health. Huh? Did anybody else notice this?
Coming back, Jaime volunteers to go first, earning Brownie points with the confidence judges, and Melissa frets that her grandmother and priest are going to see this. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this situation?
Chelsea, who seems to have a brain, drops the insecurity, embraces the bra, and says, “I’ve got this Pussycat Doll outfit, let me represent who they are.” Then she prances around the cage and does a backbend against the glass. That’s right girl! Get comfy in those skivvies and you might just be the next Pussycat Doll!
And though Stripperella was right in her element, Mikey complained that she put herself in Club Cheetah, not Club Basque. Indeed, the excessive finger-in-mouth move was a little less than understated.
“Two snaps ’round the world in a Z-Formation!”
As we head into the next commercial, Asia, the winner of the challenge, is crying on the phone with her baby, Stripperella is sticking by her confidence as a skank, and Jaime is still fucking worrying about her bile-ridden voicebox. Mariela tells her to calm the fuck down, and enjoy every moment, because at every elimination it could be any one of them to be killed by methodical, frequent injections of Botox.
At the performance at the Pussycat Dolls Lounge, the girls get made up and dressed down into their Hardcore Ghetto Fabulous gear, ‘do rags and all, and Jaime suddenly looks like something other than a frightened rabbit – she looks hot! Good for her!
Mark McGrath announces the judges to a live audience of extras enticed to the club by the prospect of free drinks as long as they applaud. Robin bounces out in one of her delightful little outfits, hopping to her seat like a 20-year-old whose hip replacement is about to fail. Chairman of Geffen Ron Fair is another judge, and woodenly delivers a very sassy line fed to him by the judges: “Good luck to all of you… I hope you realize this isn’t a game.” But wouldn’t that make a freaking awesome game? Pussycat Dolls Monopoly. “Go directly to Mark McGrath. Do not pass Robin, do not collect 200 rhinestone bras.”
Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Li’l Kim is announced as the third judge, and enters the stage rocking an ankle cuff, Michael Jackson’s nose and Lisa Rinna’s lips.
The “Crazy In Love” set is up first, and though Chelsea’s ass cheeks hang out of her miniskirt and she doesn’t swing her hips as much as she certainly should, she sounds pretty good. Melissa dances well but forgets all the words, duly noted by the judges. Asia… well she’s okay but she keeps tapping her fingers on the microphone like she’s got some kind of weird twitch or something, which is pretty distracting. As they sing the chorus, we cut to the judges all bobbing their heads hard to the music and I embarrassingly realize that I am doing the EXACT same thing.
“Pon De Replay” is next, and here, Sisely looks awkward trying to dance like a hootchie, yet Anastacia makes it look totally natural and totally sexy. But maybe that’s just because her titties were bursting out of her shirt. In any case, Melissa R. is wearing a neat-o shirt that I need to get my hands on NOW.
Work it out, ladies. Work it out.
2 out of 3 girls in the “1, 2 Step” wore an oh-so-clever “Stick Wit U” shirt for their performance, and either Stripperella got a hold of the absolute best sports bra in the universe, or she was not, in fact, born with the whole package. ‘Cuz those things STAY PUT.
The editors LOVE it when Mariela does this.
Mariella commands the most attention of the group, despite Stripperella’s obvious, desperate tries with a weak solo and melisma that just goes nowhere. Kind of like her boobs.
After the break, the judges count off the contestants. Asia Mama Drama is safe from elimination because she won the challenge. Chelsea is on the fence because she isn’t so good at dancing; Brittany’s there with her because she’s got no class. Anastacia: “She stays!” Li’l Kim commands, interrupting Robin’s all-important opinion. “She STAYS!” Sounds like someone’s got a crush!
Melissa and her made-up lyrics don’t fare so well with the judges either, because, as Li’l Kim so eloquently states, “You’ve only got ONE CHANCE TO BLOW!” I think the same sentiment applies in many situations life.
… The Grinch’s heart grew three times that day…
Robin slowly reads off the names of the girls who get to keep their attractive hot pink feather boas this week. The end brings Melissa S. and Stripperella down to the wire. Robin explains everything that’s wrong with them, and, to no one’s surprise, Melissa S. is allowed to stay this time.
Asia breaks into tears as Stripperella hangs up her boa and says in conclusion, “Everything happens for a reason. Now I know what I have to do.”
Yeah, we do too. Just gotta take your immoveable feast of a bosom back to the Hot Chixxx Club put that whole package to good use.
What did you think about this episode? Who deserved to go? Who should go next? Will Chelsea ever learn to shake her ass?