Dougie has owned the West End Salon in Provincetown, Massachusetts since RuPaul was in bedazzled diapers. When we meet him in the 4th episode of Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, he has Dougie-ed himself into a very large financial hole. Despite the increasing popularity of Provincetown as a Cape Cod tourist destination with a booming gay population, Dougie is not seeing the business.
Even Vera de Milo couldn’t stomach it.
The northeastern summer season is a infuriatingly short 16 weeks. So most of the year’s business has to be crammed in in under 4 months. Dougie, a professional stylist with 30 years of experience claims he, “doesn’t want to be like every other salon.” In order to distinguish himself from the din of the beachtown’s beauty industry, Doug E. Fresh has resorted to cheap shtick in order to get customers in. He has a human salon sign, a stripper pole and more prop comedy that Carrot Top — unfortunately, only a fraction of his fan base.
The only true fans are his staff that follow his foolish lead, including his Loompa-colored protégé Robbie.
Snookin’ Good Robbie!
“Think of it like a squirrel and nuts… you could say I spend 16 weeks gathering nuts,” Dougie says as he tries desperately to make sense of the last 28 years of his professional life.
… in the voice of
Tabatha arrives in the New England beach community and gives Dougie a ring. Doug E. Doug emerges from the salon dressed in an homage to Little Kenny Fisher…
Pretty Fly? …for a white guy?
…to meet Tabatha who is dressed like she’s been shopping the clearance rack at Sharon Osbourne’s garage sale.
40% off if it has stains from the Osbournes’ pomeranian.
She is aghast at the situation Doug E. has created for himself. Provincetown is poppin’ like Studio 54, and the gay community is not shy about spending their on dollars on beauty, so why is Dougie only pulling in scraps? Dougie is in debt, he supports his boyfriend who is disabled and has fallen behind on the 1st mortgage on the salon, the 2nd mortgage on his house and has over $30K on credit cards. Doug E. is nearly 60 and working 100 hours a week. He should be thinking about retirement, but he’s can only think about keeping the doors on the salon open. He’s stressed and sweaty and at the brink of tears…
I am so… frick-in’… pissed!
The footage rolls and we sees Doug E. in his true form, he’s working the street will more one liners than a Mitch Hedberg DVD. He’s handing out flyers in a yellow shirt, orange pants and his favorite accessory, the Guy Fieri visor. Tabatha says, “It looks like you’re accosting people on the street.” With bad puns and neon fabrics, I think that’s a Class 2 Misdemeanor.
The next batch of footage shows Nikki the human billboard, painted up to look like a bastard Na’vi child, from the clan TACKY. She’s handing out coupons and flyers on the street. Doug E. says he prides himself on being innovative, so he likes to promote his salon in ways other salons don’t. Or wouldn’t dare.
Dougie explains some of his other “marketing techniques” to Tabatha, including the ‘dancing for discounts’ stripper pole. Every minute the client dances on the pole they get a dollar off. And every set of eyes in the salon are in for a treat.
In the next batch of footage, Doug E.’s protege Robbie’s in doing his best to sell the spray tans on the street. He goes after “an Irish guy on a bike” …
Only to discover that’s not the best segment of the population to target.
Tabatha asks Doug E. if he supports this marketing efforts and Doug E. says he does, he appreciates a level of “theatricality”. Even if Robbie is less effective in bringing in new customers as he is getting run out of business by St. Patrick.
Robbie has finally sold a woman on a spray tan, but when he brings her into the desk to pay for the services she’s surprised to learn that a spray tan is $49. Robbie tries (not really) to repair the breach by saying “Was there miscommunication?” No. because there wasn’t any communication. So Robbie tells the client, “Well thank you for being my model huuunnnnnney.”
…so costly to be so orange.
With that the client leaves, Robbie dismisses her rude behavior by saying, “she’s from New Jersey, okay?” Tabatha turns to Doug E. and asks if knows where her salon is. It’s in Jersey. So is Robbie’s behavior acceptable? In P-Town? In Jersey? Ever? No. Doug E. has to admit that his Boy is Wonderless.
Next Doug E. has a client and offers the client a surefire way to save a buck, dance on the stripper pole that’s located in the center of the salon and she’s receive a discount. Yuck and yuck. The client bolts and Miss T is outraged. Dougie defends his behavior, it’s Provincetown it’s a different audience, it’s a difference experience. Tabatha tries to get Doug E. to understand that just because people are on vacation, it doesn’t mean they will come into the HA HA Hut for a haircut. They still want the salon experience.
Tabatha is ready to have her way with the West End, she takes the keys from Doug E. Fresh and heads into the salon. Tabatha is annoyed before she’s even been asked to open a can of peanut brittle or be seated on a whoopee cushion.
“Quickly please, I don’t like to wait.” She bellows when her entrance to the salon renders the staff is mute and immobile.
Tabatha wastes no time nailing Robbie’s ass to the wall for the New Jersey comments…
Guilty and sentenced to Bayonne.
He knows he’s busted and takes the public shaming. Tabatha asks the whole staff if they share that attitude, “It’s Provincetown, so it’s okay?” To be bitchy? To tourists… from New Jersey? They agree, there is no excuse for it.
Robbie is in confessional, trying to explain the experience of Tabatha “the mac truck coming through,” and is quite obviously skeptical of Tabatha’s expertise and her understanding of the P-town market.
This boy is not shy.
It’s time for the tour, the salon is tiny and gross. The front desk is unorganized and they bring people into a gross utility closet for the spray tans. Oh… and they leave out the used wax strips.
Tabatha’s head looks like it’s going to explode as she asks the staff to return to the salon the next morning for a full staff meeting. When the staff is assembled, they all agree that quality is being sacrificed for quantity in the short summer season. Doug E. wants to get as much in as possible, at any cost.
There are a lot of summer events, but they’re not getting the business from the young, hot and fabulous, because there is constant chaos… and then there is this:
The staff things that Doug E. is a little silly. The clients don’t appreciate it like he thinks they do. They also agree that Robbie feeds into the silly-factor too. He’s modeling himself after Doug E.
“We created a fun Provincetown atmosphere, that can’t go…” Robbie tells the camera. “I wouldn’t work there if it was a typical salon.”
Tabatha is ready to see the quality of hairdressing done on the small square footage of The West End Salon. She’s brought in a wedding party to receive services. It’s a lesbian wedding, which means two brides to please. One of the brides is seated with John, who does his best to create an updo, but falls short. Dougie has the other bride, only to disappoint as well.
Sasha, the faux hawked-Guy Pierce of West End, is the only talent to emerge.
Meanwhile Robbie is desperately trying to impress Tabatha. He tells his client that he’ll give her a chignon, which is “just a fancy way of saying bun.” Not only does Tabatha not like his consult, she doesn’t like his chignon. John steps in to help out and earns back a couple points for knowing the definition of the term ‘chignon’ (it a way of folding the hair, not just a granny bun) and getting something suitable for wedding photos complete. Tabatha thinks the work is very dated…
As the stylists are at work Tabatha takes delivery of a box that is full of “Dougie Dollars”. As a way of promoting the salon Doug E. has printed up money with his face on it, a la Shrute Bucks, and planned to give out the coupons on the street. TC decides to show Doug E. the image he’s presenting of the salon when he hits the streets…
Miss T, freestylin’…
The next day Tabatha arrives at the salon to set up and finds Robbie out on the porch prepping himself for a spray tan.
Busted with his hose in his hand, Robbie offers to share the mist, but Tabatha insists he lay off the juice and head upstairs so she can start the day.
Tabatha is ready to teach this group a lesson about customer service, so she rounds up the staff and takes them to a local restaurant she’s staffed with actors to create a environment of poor customer service. The hostess fails to recognize Tabatha…
Gasp. Strike 1!
…then the waiter eats fries off the table and the waitress drops a couple utensils which she then presents to the hairdressers of the West End Salon.
The staff is outraged that a local restaurant would treat them this way so Tabatha retakes control of her ploy. The staff then continue to discuss following Doug E. down the road to prop comedy… Robbie tells Tabatha that’s worked at the top salons in the world, or the Denny’s nearby, and he LOVES West End. The rest of the staff thinks this is just because he is Doug E.’s favorite and he receives preferential treatment.
I wouldn’t work in YOUR salon for all the self-tanner in NEW JERSEY!
As the lunch wraps up, Tabatha sends the staff back to the salon, she takes Doug E. into another room in the restaurant where his boyfriend of 30 years is waiting to have lunch with him. Tabatha wants Dougie to start taking time for himself and allow the staff to step up and run the salon.
After Doug E. returns to the salon, before leaving the staff he had empowered John to be manager in his absence and the entire staff thinks John did a good job. Now it’s time for Tabatha to kick off the rennovations on the West End Salon. Tabatha takes all the entire staff to a bonfire at the beach where she asks the staff to write down the behaviors they don’t want to see in the salon — and they toss the pages and the Pretty Fly for a White Guy visor in the bonfire.
1. Stripper Poles and Solicitation
When rennovations are complete, the staff returns to the salon. It’s been repainted and the stripper pole has been removed.
Everyone loves the change, it looks larger and cleaner.
Time for a new set of clients to come in for the final assessment. Tabatha is not wow-ed by the work, but her problem child Robbie tried to listen and he even manages a better chignon on his client.
Tabatha takes Doug E. aside to make her final recommendations, she tells Doug E. that professionalism has to come first, he has to lead by example.
Tabatha tells the staff to keep the professionalism. When she returns 6 weeks later she learns that Dougie has returned to his wacky ways. Sasha has left and Dougie and Robbie have obviously hit the tanning machine hard. Robbie has also started channeling Magnum PI as his style inspiration.
My heart hurts for Dougie — I think this is the first episode TC wasn’t completely outraged that the salon didn’t seriously take put her recommendations in to practice — just disappointed. What did you think? Would you venture into The West End Salon? Would even let a middle aged man in a faux-blonde blowout and visor wash your hair? Anyone else disturbed by Robbie and Doug E.’s makeovers?