Before I welcome you to the Shear Genius/Nexxus Salon, I want to tell you about the Shear Genius drinking game I invented. It goes like this: Every time a stylist or a judge insults a client to her face, or insults a client in the third person when she is sitting right in front of them, take a drink. You’ll be passed out before the Elimination Challenge, I swear.
Anyway, Jaclyn Smith welcomes you and the 11 remaining stylists to the salon. Daniel‘s style from last week is on the Allure Wall of Fame, and he pees a little just looking at it. Jaclyn introduces the Short Cut Challenge hair models, and says the stylists will take these women from “drab and uninspiring” [Drink!] to fun and flirtatious.
Daniel gets to pick his model first because he won last week’s Elimination Challenge, and he chooses a curly, brown-haired girl whom he calls “a big, fuzzy frizzball.” [Drink!]
This week Nekisa gets the client who doesn’t want to have her hair cut. And it’s a shame, too, because her client’s hair has been bleached to the point that it’s actually breaking off her head.
Paolo‘s client is like, “Um, hey, is my hair still going to go up into a ponytail?” And he’s all: “What’s a ponytail? There’s your ponytail.” And, in fact, her ponytail is lying on the counter right next to his bottle of volumizing mousse. See, and that is the part of the show when I would get up and shove Paolo’s giant curling iron up his — “Stop!” says Jaclyn. She has a surprise.
In sashays last year’s Shear Genius fan favorite, Tabatha Coffey, who probably would have shoved some styling tools in some unmentionable places if she’d stayed on until the end. She is this episode’s guest judge.
“Holy s—,” interviews Dee. “The bitch is back.”
Tabatha says they have 30 minutes to impress her, but I’m pretty sure most people could work a lifetime and still leave Tabatha feeling underwhelmed. She kind of walks around and insults all the stylists, ruffling practically everyone’s feathers, except for Charlie, who sort of flirts with her in that special way only gay men and lezzie ladies can flirt. Rene calls time and tells them to step away from their combs.
Tabatha surveys the finished ‘dos, and is as unimpressed as we all knew she would be. (I’m pretty sure this is her reality television persona: she actually seemed pretty nice last season when she wasn’t trying to murder Tyson in his sleep.)
She really pisses off Nekisa when she touches her client’s hair and says, “So you tried to blend this in or something?”
Nekisa retorts, “I didn’t try, I just went ahead and did it.”
Tabatha sort of smirks. Then she tells Gail her client’s hair is going to look like a football helmet when it dries. [Drink!] She tells Parker his client’s hair looks like a pyramid. [Drink!] And she practically tells Dee’s client that her hair looks so bad she should call Tabatha tomorrow for an appointment. [Drink!] Charlie’s Mia Farrow wins the Short Cut Challenge.
The next morning the stylists wake up to TYRA MAIL! and it’s a bowl of oranges with numbers written on them. When the stylists get to the salon, Rene halts them at the door and says today is the day they face the toughest clients ever: The Real Housewives of Orange County! Daniel actually almost faints: Paolo has to catch him.
Daniel interviews that he loved the show so much that for last season’s finale he and his friends dressed up and had some appetizers and pretended like they were at one of the housewive’s weddings. Nicole is like, “Dude, never admit that.”
OK, I’m not going to clown on Bravo too hard here, but I have to say this: They have the most meta-programming ever on television. It’s no L Word/Lez Girls masturbatory opus, but it is notably self-referential in the crossover between reality shows.
I can describe the Real Housewives styling experience in five words: No one wants a haircut. Seriously, with the exception of a few of the daughters, all of the women want to keep their hair fried and blond, signature style.
Jaclyn calls time and we see quick shot of a hand slamming down a curling iron, and another hand with a leather wrist cuff slamming down a comb. (Guess which hand belonged to the gay lady.)
It’s time for The Hair Show, and it is just an excuse for the housewives to suck up some more Bravo air time, because, like I said, their styles are all pretty much the same as when they came into the salon. The exceptions are Dee’s and Charlie’s clients, who look much better.
Daniel, Nicole, Matthew, Nekisa, and Meredith are all safe. (Read: un-Genius.) The other six contestants have to stay behind to be ridiculed by Tabatha’s reality television persona some more. Gail explains that yes, her client’s hair looks exactly the same, but that’s because her client threatened her. The judges say “stringy.” [Drink!] Parker is up next. Kim says he has made his client look like an old woman [Drink!], and asks if he had a magic wand would he maybe lighten up the black hair a little bit. Parker says, “Nope.” (Wrong answer, kid.)
Glenn says her housewife wanted to keep her hair. Charlie’s only real complaint comes from Tabatha, who says she’d like to see the bangs a smidge shorter. Charlie says, “I’ll take it, Mommy” and Tabatha full-on belly laughs. Dee’s client got her signature lowlight, which looks really good on her. And then one more Housewife whose hair is exactly the same. (Aren’t you glad you’ve been drinking the whole time? All this sameness could get a tad wearisome.)
During the elimination, Daniel starts crying in earnest. Jaclyn asks him what’s wrong, and he sobs that he loves the whole world, it’s such a brilliant place.
Charlie interviews: “Girl, the Oscars are over. I know you want to win best supporting actress, but really.”
Charlie wins the Elimination Challenge because his client’s hair looks like a rock star’s. And Parker has made his final cut. He says Shear Genius was a wonderful experience, that he’ll go home with some humility — and, presumably, the knowledge that when someone offers you a magic wand, you take it.