Manhunt: the Search for America’s Most Gorgeous Male Model 10-12 Recap – It’s Raining Naked Men…Hallelujah!
Welcome to Bravo’s latest offering: Manhunt. I’m spegs, and I’ll be recapping this premiere episode for you. This will be a new experience for me: I’ve never recapped a show that I was already planning to watch. Shockingly, I even liked the show…on many different levels. I’m concerned that the distraction of enjoying the program will affect my recapping skills, so I’m sorry if I fumble around a little bit here. If something seems incoherent, just assume that there was an attractive, half-naked man on my screen at the time that I wrote it.
“It all begins with the search for hot guys.” – Voice Over Man
The opening sequence is a bit confusing; it almost feels like we missed the real premiere episode as Bravo brings us quickly up to speed. “It all begins with the search for hot guys,” the voice over man tells us, and we see blurry figures darting around parks, streets and car lots snagging muscle-bound men. Here’s something new I learned: If you want a cute guy to take his shirt off, the magic words are, “I’m a casting director.” We see the guys lined up for casting calls, and a few audition videos filmed in the shower.
“I used to have a poster of her in my room.” – Blake
We are told that the top thirty finalists were flown to L.A. for their first photo shoot, which appears to have a blue jeans, bare chest theme. Our host, Carmen Electra, poses with the beefcakes declaring, “I have the best job in the world.”
Ten finalists are sent home before we’re even introduced. We just get a brief glimpse of what we’re missing as the boys are called up one by one to take the walk of shame. Carmen congratulates the remaining twenty. We get a quick look at some of the upcoming photo shoots, and for those of you who—like me—are watching this show because you’re a fan of America’s Next Top Model (and you think—like me—that the only thing missing from that show is aesthetically pleasing men), then it looks like we’re in luck. The shoots look creative and visually stunning. A tarantula will be involved.
This will be no joyride for the guys, though. We are promised that some of the men will find the glamorous life more than they can handle. Their physical abilities and emotions will be pushed to the brink (so if it embarrasses you to watch grown men cry, you might want to bow out now.) At least one man will be eliminated each week—oh the twisty promise inherent in those words!
There is also an enemy in their midst. One of the men is a mole—a working male model who will tattle on the guys to the judges. Keep your eyes peeled for the one taking notes.
The winner gets a six-figure contract with IMG modeling, who put up the first contract for ANTM, too, before ANTM got popular enough to be serious about their prizes.
“I’m all thumbs.” - spegs
Let’s meet our eye candy:
(For specific stats and pictures, go ahead and check out each man’s thread in this forum. Yes, I am exceedingly lazy).
Hunter’s country accent is a surprising contrast to his So Cal surfer look. He says that he’s always had the dream that people would know who Hunter Daniel was. “Since the day I took a breath on this earth, I knew I wanted to be a male model.”
Paulo shows off the weight he’s recently lost by holding up an old pair of pants, Subway Jared-style. He says that competition is what brings out the best in him. He must have had a lot of competition in his life, because, whew, he’s looking good. In my opinion, Paulo is one to watch. In the competition, I mean. Mmmmm. Er, sorry, where was I?
Maurice says women tell him he’s beautiful all the time. And he says, “Naw, naw,” because he wants to hear it again. Vain much?
I’m not going to bother to tell you what Brett has to say, because it is lifted word for word out of his bio. He is apparently so one dimensional that he only has one description to give. He seems pretty old for this competition, and he needs a makeover haircut desperately.
Sean philosophizes about how life is easier for the beautiful. Better jobs, prettier girls, more girls… He trails off in happy contemplation of his beautiful life.
Casey Weeks is threatened by everyone there. He comes across as a paranoid uber-wuss. A blond cockatoo crest decorates his head.
Kevin P., when asked what he would change about himself, says that he would advance himself and try new things. He seems a stranger to the concept of imperfection as it relates to Kevin P.
Ron’s morning ritual is to shower for twenty minutes, and then spend another forty-five minutes forcing the front of his afro up into his ridiculous Don King coif. (We see a clip of Kevin P. asking Ron how he does his hair that way, to which Ron answers, “Hairspray.” Ron doesn’t seem to realize that Kevin wasn’t really asking “How?” He was asking “Why in the hell?”) Ron thinks his gay man’s fashion sense will win this competition. The other guys can just keep their testosterone!
It was unavoidable. Seth is already talking about being a virgin, as is the law on reality tv. He calls the choice to remain celibate “strenuous.” His biggest role model is Jesus Christ. Second place: Justin Timberlake. Despite all this, I like young Seth. He’s one of the select few who get my prestigious “thumbs up” award, like Paulo. And I’m sure that just warms the cockles of their muscular hearts.
Jason calls himself a good ol’ Southern boy, and there is a definite “Luke Duke” vibe to him. I worry for his future on the show when he expresses his worry about the make-up and clothes aspect of male modeling, calling these things “what women do.”
Jon is at a crossroads: modeling or astrophysics? I’m guessing he’s leaning toward modeling at this point, since he’s here instead of in a classroom. He’s content with what he has, and happy with life in general. But he still wants to win. He is the lucky recipient of another spegs’ “thumbs up” award.
Micah wishes he was six foot two, and is willing to do anything to win this competition. Except for one specific sexual act that he refuses to participate in if another man is involved. All other acts with men are okay, though, I guess.
Blake admits that he’s been slacking on his exercise routine, and it’s really the wrong time to be doing that, surrounded as he is by all these ripped guys. He thinks he’ll go far if he can keep his head in the game. He gets the Mr. Congeniality award, but I’m undecided about his potential as a model.
John with an H, much like Maurice, has been plagued all his life by strangers asking him if he’s a model and commenting on his amazing eyes. He’s not about fame, though. Modeling is just something he’s always wanted to do.
Kevin O. thinks he’s funny, but I’m not laughing. He totally destroys my plan to quote Zoolander in this recap by doing it himself. Kevin O. waltzes effortlessly into the top slot on my “lose him” list. I feel justified in this action because he is ugly as well as a saboteur.
Tate wants to be successful at modeling so that he can provide “everything” for his live-in girlfriend and his son. He thinks God throws challenges at you to show who you are. He doesn’t seem to worry what his floppy, girl-curl hairdo says about who he is.
Bryan: “What do I like about my body?” We get the feeling that Bryan’s answer probably lasted through three or four batteries on the video camera. A few hours later, he gets around to telling us that he is going to bust the male model myth by “showing that you can be very decent, good-looking, as well as very smart…in the head.” I’m sure glad he cleared that last part up for me.
Rob is just a normal guy who hangs out with his friends and has fun. A psychic he met in the gym told him he was going to do well in his present endeavor, so he feels confident about his chances. Very normal. But he has an interesting hairless pet or recovering-cancer-patient look, and he gets a “thumbs almost up” nod.
Casey Ward says he is very competitive and used to winning, but admits there are a lot of pretty people here besides himself.
Matthew, like Rob, says he’s just your average college kid, and this one I believe. Maybe because he has all the definition of the Pillsbury Dough Boy. He says he’s not that guy who wakes up and looks in the mirror and says, “Oh, diz is my life! My looks!” in a really bad French accent. He says it without the accent. He talks about his serious responsibilities as a batboy. But he doesn’t mean that he’s Robin, so I’m disappointed. He just works in the Atlanta Braves clubhouse. Despite the absent six-pack, his pretty face earns him another “thumbs almost up.”
If the bewildering mass of names confuses you, I’ll pass on my tip for keeping them straight. I like to print out a cheat sheet when I’m recapping a show. For this show, I found large, glossy, full-color pictures to be the most helpful.
“Just like we’re important somehow.” – Tate
The boys move into The Standard Hotel, and all are pleased with the five star treatment. The next morning, they are loaded into shiny Cadillac Escalades that get more camera time than they do. I have a suspicion that product placement will be a big part of this competition.
They’re transported to an airfield, and some are immediately nervous, most notably Casey Weeks, whose wuss status was already firmly in place after the introductions. Paulo says something about sky-diving in the most adorable South African accent, so I missed the point of his comment. Kevin O. teases his anxious companions: “Don’t forget to give a pose as you plummet to your death. Show me Blue Steel!” Stupid joke thief.
The guys are met by an older man whose swagger as he approaches prompts Rob to comment, “Who’s Derek Zoolander? We’re gonna have a walk off with him.” I guess the Zoolander thing was never meant to be. I didn’t realize that this movie was the aspiring male model’s bible.
“You’re Fired!” – would have sounded better
Bruce Hulse, who will be a judge on this show, greets the boys by tooting his own horn for a prolonged moment. He is, apparently, “The Calvin Klein Model.” Bruce announces, as soon as he is finished—which is not soon—that four of the contestants are going to be eliminated immediately, before the photo shoot. He claims that this is a realistic situation in the world of male modeling; shoots are often overbooked and guys get sent home. He does not give us the criteria for the eliminations, so as far as we know, he uses the eenie-meenie-mienie method.
He calls four men to stand aside in this order: Kevin P., Carey Weeks, Kevin O., and John-with-an-H. Jason immediately thinks something is up, because, “there is no way these are the four going home.” Jason is right; Bruce announces that these four are safe.
Also safe are Paulo, Tate, Jon, Maurice, Jason, Matt, Brett, Blake, Rob, Seth, Ron—who swears he “was gonna bawl, straight out cry if they didn’t call me!”—and finally Hunter, who was so nervous at this point that he was “ready to piss all over myself.” I’m so glad these two weren’t cut.
Of course that leaves Micah, Bryan, Sean and Casey Ward with a long ride home—and it probably won’t be in the Escalade. “For the purposes of this show, your services are no longer needed,” Bruce says—is this the new catch phrase? It doesn’t quite have the ring of “You’re fired.” Simplicity is the key, my friends.
There are no tears, but a lot of anger and arrogance. Bryan is the most vocal: “I should be *bleep* top five. I’m just being *bleep* realistic. I’m going big—just not here, obviously. What got me eliminated? Over-studly? Too muscular? Maybe models are *bleep* sucked-up twigs. I eat food.” Casey Ward is the only one who isn’t offensive in his wounded vanity, and he is also the only one I’m sorry to see leave. Given the improbable situation of having two Casey W.’s, I fear a mistake may have been made. And we’re left with Casey Wussy.
“Do it! Strip! Now!” – Bruce Hulse
Thank you, Bruce Hulse!
Bruce congratulates the top sixteen. They hug and celebrate, and Hunter does a back flip. Bruce cuts the party short, announcing that they are about to do a tandem sky-dive with an instructor. They will do this to learn teamwork. How this teaches teamwork is not explained.
Also, they will be jumping in their skivvies. Bruce tells them to strip down at once. All over America, viewers wish fervently that the Bravo channel was HD compatible.
As no one is immediately naked, Bruce starts yelling like a drill sergeant. The guys pull their clothes off with identical “you’ve got to be kidding” expressions. Kevin P. seems comfortable; he gives a little eyebrow-flirt to the camera.
“Never go out without wearing clean underwear. Because you never know.” – My mother
Bruce lines the guys up and goes down the row critiquing both their bodies and their undies:
Hunter’s are too skimpy.
Blake needs to build his chest up, but his undergarments pass inspection. He has a pear shape. Blake says, “I don’t have a pear shape! I don’t know what that means!” So how do you know you don’t have one, love?
Jon has a nice shape, but his underwear is “raggedy.”
John looks good. His underwear says “San Trope Beach” to Bruce. (Tangent: I wonder what my underwear says?)
Casey is out of proportion.
Maurice looks like a wrestler, and this is a plus to Bruce.
Jason’s arms are out of proportion, but Bruce likes the baby blue drawers.
Brett gets a nod for looking like “a world class tri-athlete.”
Paulo has a good shape, but is too muscular up top. Bruce calls the look “men’s fitness-y.” Paulo says something about looking heavier than he really is, but I am again distracted by the accent and my notes are confused.
Kevin O. is too big up top, and he has chicken legs. Kevin’s response is something to the effect of, “tell me something I don’t know.”
Kevin P. needs to “swim down” his over-muscular chest as well.
Ron has a good, distinctive look, but need to hit the bench press. His chest is too skinny.
Is anyone else getting the Goldilocks, “this porridge is too hot, this porridge is too cold,” vibe?
Ah, Matt. Bruce is horrified by the “baby fat,” and looks like he wants to poke the dough boy’s stomach to see if he’ll “mmmm!” Matt says, “I got hammered about not being cut. I can laugh about it, but I was like ‘Dang, that’s gonna be on tv!’”
Seth is lookin’ good, but Bruce wants him to build up his body a little.
Hunter gets no critique. He is just the segue for Bruce to do a commercial for “the gold standard of underwear: Calvins. Put ’em on!” Jason salutes Sgt. Bruce when he receives his pair.
”Okay, gentlemen, get ready to jump into modeling” (groan) – Bruce Hulse
The potential models, in their matching brighty-whitey boxer briefs, stride across the tarmac to cheesy trumpets-and-strings superhero music.
Brett, Maurice, Seth, Kev O., Paulo, Tate and Jon pause to join in a prayer circle before getting on the plane. Seth, the religious virgin, whoops in righteous joy after the amens. Tate tells the camera, “I love you, if I never see you again.” I assume he’s talking to the camera itself. The remaining Casey really should have been part of the prayer, because he needs some heavenly intervention. He’s a mess. He thinks there is a very good chance that the parachute will not deploy. But he gets on the plane, so I suppose that means he’s willing to die for his career. Dedicated.
“It’s Raining Men” starts to play. Tee hee.
We get a close up of a sign that says, “Caution: Propellers Rip Heads Off.” Tee hee.
The guys enter the plane with the kind of high-spirited enthusiasm that all males habitually use to disguise fear. One by one they jump from the plane with hoots and smiles. Paulo wishes that, if he had to jump naked, there would be a woman strapped to his back rather than a man. He also thinks that whatever hair product Ron uses should give Ron an endorsement, because his hair never moved through the whole dive. We see a Brady Bunch screen-divide of all the men enjoying themselves.
Casey throws the lone hissy fit on the plane. It is amusing to watch as the instructor has to drag him, kicking and screaming “No, no, no!” to the open hatch. He shrieks like Ned Flanders all the way to the ground, where he collapses. Thankfully the underwear is still white. Later, Casey tells the camera that he felt “completely reborn. I conquered something I never thought I’d do.” I assume his sense of accomplishment stems from the unsoiled briefs.
The rest of the men celebrate the jump on the ground, though Paulo had some trouble with his harness and his family jewels. Seth says, “Woo! I got a monster wedgie, but it’s HOT!” Kevin O. kisses the grass.
“Blue Steel!” – Sgt. Bruce
Bruce lines the boys up, and hopes that they learned a valuable lesson in teamwork that will serve them well in the male modeling world. Again…teamwork? Couldn’t they have come up with a more reasonable excuse, like “facing your fears” or “doing whatever you’re asked to do,” for the clearly gratuitous underwear jump?
It gets weird. Bruce has them do a brief round of isometric exercises for no good reason, but the guys participate gamely. Then he circles them up for “a few tips.” The promised tips vanish like dew in the sun. Instead, Bruce puts them through an array of “looks.” If you’re thinking Zoolander again, then you’re dead on and Bruce knows it, too.
Hunter is asked to give “seductive.” He tries. Bruce (and I) are unmoved.
Jason is asked for “you just won the lottery, a million bucks—but from the inside.” With these strange directives, it’s no wonder that Jason’s “look” is more like “a car is about to run over you, dude,” in Bruce’s words.
Kevin P.: “Give me your dog just died.” His response prompts Bruce to ask, “Got any feelings in there?”
Blake gets “your dog died,” too. Bruce calls his attempt “Night of the Living Dead.” Blake says, “What I learned from Bruce is that, if I become successful, I don’t want to become a cocky *bleep*.”
Seth—“Give me flirtatious.” Bruce seems impressed for the first time, asking if Seth really likes the camera man.
Tate—“Heroic.” Response: “That’s it?”
John—“All night binge—gimme a little druggie. That’s too druggie.” But Bruce likes John’s look and says he has beautiful eyes. John says in an aside, “Did you guys all hear that? I have amazing eyes!”
Kevin O.—“Sexy.” His look cracks up Bruce, me, and himself. Bruce calls it “Lurch going after a swamp monster.”
Brett—“Did you see Zoolander?” (Even “The Calvin Klein Model” worships this work of modeling scripture). “Blue Steel!” Brett flips a Blue Steel pucker. “That works,” Bruce allows.
Jon—“You just caught the wave of your life, you’re standing on the beach, you’re stoked—give it too me!” Jon shrieks at the camera, an honest response, but Bruce thinks it’s silly.
Ron—“Blue Steel!” Ron’s stock goes up in spite of the hair. His Blue Steel is awesome. Bruce laughs.
Bruce congratulates the guys on graduating from modeling boot camp, and the boys applaud. That’s it? No wall?
For their efforts, they receive a shoulder bag with the word “Manhunt” in large letters across the front, guaranteeing that none of the straight men here will ever use it. Inside is a lot of sponsor stuff, that I will not give the space to, since they aren’t sponsoring me. But I’m open for the opportunity. Hint, hint, Nair For Men.
“I am not a beast” – Paulo (said in adorable accent)
Back at the hotel, the guys get TyraMail (a rose by any other name…). The gist of the note is that they are going shopping. All are giddy.
The Escalades make another appearance. Seth complains about sharing the bench: “We’ve got three skinnies here and then Paulo…who’s like a beast.”
They are transported to the Armani Exchange. Creative director Tom Gerald and “Star PR Girl” Alice Smith greet the boys. Alice makes an unnecessarily long examination of her raw material. She “woo”s and stutters. She personally dresses Jon, and I applaud her choice there. She calls Kevin P. and Tate, in their matching blazers, “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum,” and rips a pair of sunglasses off of a defensive Paulo. “You can’t wear sunglasses at night, you’re not that famous.”
Paulo feels like a child when he’s told to take anything he likes (besides the sunglasses). Blake wishes they all could have worked together better. He helps his roommate Jason, who apparently has no fashion sense. “I help my friends even though they’re the competition,” Blake says. Blake learned the naked-parachute teamwork lesson well.
Blake doesn’t feel the spirit of teamwork toward Kevin P., though, and neither does Rob. Both complain about Kevin P. going back for more clothes besides his allotted one outfit. Kevin P. explains, “I asked for the free clothes because they want us to wear their clothes. I’m a walking billboard for them.” Rob sees it differently: “If he’s modeling a $5,000 suit, they aren’t going to want to have to check the rack to make sure it’s still there when he’s gone.”
“I feel like a kid in a candy store. I think I’m going to eat all the candy” – Random Skank #1
Enter the skanks. Two girls, clearly planted by the producers since no one else is allowed in the store while the boys shop, and probably paid by the hour for their services, appear to give their opinions on the boys’ ensembles. John is the first one they hit on, but he refuses to be distracted from his shopping. Lest the skanks get their feeling hurt, I shall direct them to John’s bio, where he answers the relationship question by saying that he’s looking for “someone who takes care of himself.” This time, it really is him and not you, girls.
They have more success with Kevin P. and Casey. Casey invites them back to the hotel room later. Kevin invites them back to his dressing room…now. Alice gets an eyeful of this dressing room ménage a trios as she goes to round the guys up. Kevin P. shuts the door behind himself and says to the camera, “I keep them in there.” Yes, we all are beginning to love K.P., aren’t we?
Armani’s Alice and Tom give the boys a thumbs up (not as prestigious as a spegs’ thumbs up, let me assure you) and wish them a good time at their party.
As they drive out of the parking lot, the guys pass the skanks, who holler, “See you tonight.” This is met with much dismay from the wannabe models, especially (and surprisingly) Kevin P. “No, no, no!” he moans. Kevin O. mocks the skanks, telling us what he’d like to say to them: “You’re freakin’ bald ugly—get away.” Kevin P. says he’s going to have the hotel’s front desk keep them out.
“Enough with the skanks.” - spegs
The guys dress in their Armani duds for the party on the hotel’s roof. Many hair products are abused and the ozone is depleted. Blake dresses Jason, but tells him that if anyone makes fun of the outfit, Jason should deny Blake’s involvement. Casey falls off a giant sculpture of a foot.
Kevin P. and Tate estimate how many girls they can fit in the giant tub. (10 petite girls is their guess). Tate, who has been living with his girlfriend for three years and has a son, worries about the temptations of beautiful women, seeming oblivious of the fact that the girlfriend is going to see all this.
The guys hit the party, and Hunter and Ron are immediately turned away because they are not yet twenty-one. Terrified that this is actually an elimination, Hunter removes his shirt. If this is his last moment on camera, he’s going out with a bang.
The skanks show up and are joined by a pixilated blond who gets all Dirty-Dancing on Kevin O. and Maurice. Virtuous Seth wanders about, looking bored.
“Some girls just shouldn’t drink.” – Skank #1
The Kevins and Tate bring a large group of girls home, irritating the guys who want to sleep in preparation for the morning shoot. Kevin O. admits that the girls, “weren’t all that good-looking, but they were there, right?” Kevin O. is going to have no trouble finding his soul-mate after this show. We see scenes of debauchery as the party rages on. The Pixilated Blond only gets her face protected by the pixil-man. Her derriere doesn’t get the same courtesy.
An anonymous female voice orders the girls out. The skanks beg for the boys to come stand in the hall with their shirts off before they leave. The Pixilated Blond lets out a “woo!” and collapses in a drunken stupor in the hall.
“Give me a robe and I’ll come out” – Mystery Manwhore
Bruce Hulse shows up at 2:30 a.m. for an “Ambush Photo Challenge.” Not bad, Manhunt, not bad at all. Tyra’s taking notes.
Bruce yells and flips lights on as the contestants stumble around like zombies. They have two minutes to get on their Armani clothes and get up to the roof to do a shoot with Marisa Miller. “You can’t keep the girl model waiting,” Bruce yells. Chivalry lives on.
Paulo, dazed by sleep deprivation, staggers into the bathroom and discovers a few naked girls in the bathtub. Bruce comes to see for himself—ever the thorough mentor—and jokingly invites the girls up to the roof.
John and Ron, both openly gay, find this development irritating. John mentions a curfew we were unaware of. Bruce enlightens us: the guys have a one a.m. curfew, after which no girls are allowed in the rooms. “But boys will be boys.”
Somebody is hiding in the closet. Possibly there are two somebodies in there. When questioned, the skanks insist that nobody is in the closet. Bruce is stern. “If they don’t want to shoot, they don’t want to shoot.” From behind the door, a voice requests a bathrobe before he exits.
“Next Week on Manhunt” – Voice Over Man
That’s it? Yep, a cliffhanger. We have to wait till next week to find out who the naked guy in the closet is, though we all are pretty sure it’s—well, I won’t ruin it for you if you’re slow.
In the next episode we are promised the men will cope with this “scandal” that could “bring the whole competition down.” (Though it probably doesn’t, because we’ve seen several week’s worth of previews.) The guys will pose with Marisa Miller, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model and Manhunt judge, who will give them a lesson in modeling manners (cue shot of Kevin O. groping Ms. Miller). The men will come together to break up an unholy alliance (assumption: the Kevs and Tate) and one contestant becomes the center of the storm (accompanied by footage of Tate). Anger and bad feelings will linger until the final moment when host Carmen Electra tells someone, “That was your last shot” (another weak catch phrase attempt). AND…we will learn the identity of the model mole.
You know you’ll be back.
Yeah I’m biased. Feel free to tell me why your favorites are hotter than mine at firstname.lastname@example.org . I’ll pay strict attention, scout’s honor.