Manhunt 11-23 Recap: Getting’ All Kinds of Dirty for the Manhunt Lather
I’ve been chiseling away with my nail file all night, and the results are perfect, if I do say so myself. In bright light, and at the right angle, you can very clearly see the “WO” I’ve scratched in front of the “MANHUNT” on the trophy. The “FE” in between the “GORGEOUS” and the “MALE” doesn’t look quite as good, but who reads that part anyway? The point is, when I award myself the trophy, one look at the new inscription and no one will be able to argue! Once again, I am the fairest in the land!
- excerpt from the diary of Carmen Electra
We join the three remaining Manhunt contestants, and the unpleasant growth named Kevin that they carry with them unwittingly, for a little rehash. It’s all very routine. Everyone is happy to still be here. Jon is stoked. Rob is grateful (as he should be after that horrific runway display that is still etched painfully in my memory). Maurice is boring. Kevin is pretending to be sad that his friends are leaving one by one. Or maybe I do him an injustice—perhaps this is a new, kinder, gentler Kevin. Let’s just see how his newfound compassion plays out tonight.
“If I have to bend over in the shower to pick up the soap, it damn well better be Safeguard that I’m picking up!” – Rob
Tray mail magically appears at the door. Once you get past the tired clichés about “talking the talk,” it tells the guys that, working as a team, they are making a soap commercial. Everyone is nervous about the idea of needing a team in the shower. Kevin predicts that they will be lathering each other up, and Maurice doesn’t see the humor in the joke.
We are shown an outdoor iceblock beach shower with a camera and soap. The challenge is for them to make individual commercials for Manhunt Soap, with the other three guys acting as photographers/crew/directors/props. Their script is something along the lines of: “When I get home from a long day as a _____________, I look like this. So I jump in the shower and lather myself up with Manhunt Soap. Good, clean fun.” They have 90 minutes to finish. Random thought: wouldn’t it have been more productive to choose a number evenly divisible by four?
Rob is pleased with the creative liberty, but annoyed by Kevin, who goes to scout out his own location instead of helping with Rob’s commercial.
Rob rubs unhealthy-looking mud all over himself, and then reveals that he has chosen to play a zookeeper. Just for the sake of being able to say, “There’s no telling what crap I have on my shoulder.” Tee hee <-- weak courtesy giggle. Everyone takes a minute to comment on how much of a perfectionist Rob is (trans: anal). It’s seems he took up a lot of time, and even a lot of soap. Maurice is mad because there are only four bars and Rob soiled two of them. I’m more concerned about the solid inch of brilliant white plumber’s crack that Rob is sporting.
“My name is Hunter Daniel, and I’m a Chippendale’s dancer.” – the clearly not kinder or gentler Kevin
Kevin goes next, and he decides it would be funny to mock the most recently outed (no pun intended…originally) model wannabe, Hunter. Kevin mimics some of Hunter’s stripper runway moves, even dunking his head in a convenient pond (anyone else praying for leech-infested waters?). Rob thinks it’s harsh to kick Hunter after he’s down, but Kevin assures us it’s all in good fun. Good fun for him.
“I’m not so fresh.” – Maurice
Maurice decides to pose as a personal trainer. Oooo! What a stretch there, Maury! Really. Don’t hurt yourself.
He starts out in the gym, where he calls his own freshness into question (and I challenge anyone to hear those words and not associate them with a commercial for feminine hygiene products), and then moves to the showers. He requests a “lady to come in here and sniff me.” A hard offer to resist[/sarcasm]. But somebody knows what they’re doing: they send a half-naked Jon Johnson to find a volunteer. Suddenly all the sarcasm is sucked right out of my joke. Show me a straight woman who can say no to a bare-chested Jon Johnson, and I will show you a woman who is not me.
We see Jon recruiting a cute young brunette in chef’s clothing. I tried to read her lips, and it looked like she said, “Oh, hell yes!” I’m sure she was disappointed when she found out that she had to sniff Maurice, but she did a really amazing job for someone who doesn’t have a /actor tacked to her name. Her little, “mmmmmmm,” as she smelled Mo’s shoulder was quite believable—and that’s acting people!
Maurice gives her a smarmy “hey baby” look…and blows the line.
“When I get done knocking fools out, I look like this.” – Jon (shirtless…just f.y.i.)
John plays a boxer. He wraps his hands in tape, and finds a bottle of ketchup to decorate himself and his competition with stage blood. I am impressed with his resourcefulness…and his chest… Kev and Maurice lie in pools of their own blood at his feet for the shoot. I notice Jon chose Rob to stay behind the camera—probably didn’t want it to look like he was beating on the skinny kid.
John is mellow and easy to please as usual—he is done with his commercial faster than the rest. Which leaves time for…Rob to obsess over himself again! Woo hoo!
Rob wants to redo his commercial after watching all the creativity that went into the others. He hops into the same brown, leech-infested pond that Kev dipped his head in. Maurice is annoyed that Rob is able to capitalize on the rest of the group’s creativity. Maurice is annoyed at Rob so often that it’s, well, annoying. Rob thinks he and Jon had the best commercials.
“Har, har, har!” *slapping knees, wiping tears* – Bruce Hulse and Marissa Miller
The boys set off for some no-strings-attached water fun with jet skis. This is to get them out of the way. Now the judges are free to choke up their lungs laughing at the commercials.
Each commercial is introduced with a cute little title card announcing (in this case): “Rob as Zookeeper.” Bruce likes that Rob picked a character that was creative and outside of his normal range. Bruce thinks he put his heart into it. All this is said later, Bruce is laughing too hard while watching to say anything coherent.
The laughs get more boisterous; next is “Kevin as Hunter.” Bruce says later, “Part of me was laughing, but part of me was thinking this is not cool…this is sort of mean spirited.” From the footage we were given, I’d venture to say that the part of Bruce that found the commercial mean spirited is weak and pale compared to the part that was laughing. Part of me has to ask, “Why are they even judging this one?”
The judges are not impressed with the creativity of “Maurice the Trainer,” and find his character in need of freshness. But they were impressed by the “great twist” of having the girl included.
Bruce thinks “Jon as Boxer” didn’t quite work, but it was funny for just that reason.
“Party like Puerto Rican rockstars!” – Marissa Miller
I will give Marissa a pumpkin roll if she can name just one Puerto Rican rockstar.
The merry judges welcome the boys back from their water sports. Marissa tells them that all the commercials were really good. Very specific and helpful feedback. Bruce gives Kevin (a very little) grief for the Hunter stunt, chuckling through the chastisement. He tells Rob that he’s redeemed himself from the runway nightmare, and then he and Marissa make fun of Maurice’s Schwarzenegger-style delivery.
Their reward is a limo, complete with its own Carmen Electra, and a night on the town. And before you get all excited by that, wait till you hear the best part! Dinner with none other than Bruce Hulse and Marissa Miller!! In person!! *faints*
But that Bruce is a sneaky one…this is a hidden challenge. The guys will be secretly judged on their table manners. Because models have to go out with clients all the time, and if they comb their hair with a fork, the job is off. They’ll also be judged on whether they can converse pleasantly and stay sober. (Watching at home, Tate shakes his head in sorrow. This is a trick, a test that no one could pass!)
“Rob is openly gay, which I love.” – Bruce Hulse, revealing too much
Dinner goes smoothly, without a hint of impropriety…and is dead boring. No one even picks his nose. Everyone seems to hold their own in the conversation, except Maurice. Bruce thinks Mo is shy, and that’s okay by him. But Maurice tells us the real problem is that he’s overwhelmed by the presence of hot women. Bruce approves of Rob’s “psychological understanding of who he is” and Jon’s ability to discuss everything from surfing to Buddhist philosophy. Rob thinks the judges see them more as humans and friends now, which is good.
In the limo, the talk turns to Jon’s girlfriend, Jillian. I think Carmen was sizing up the competition. Kevin turns to the camera (you’d think the other boys would notice his penchant for addressing the cameras directly) and assures Jillian that Jon talks about her all the time and she doesn’t need to worry.
Cut to Club Element, where Jon is getting nasty on the dance floor with Carmen. Interspersed with the dirty dancing, is this semi-coherent confessional by Jon: “I’m still in love with [my girlfriend]. We’ve been freakin’ separated, kind of against our will… My libido’s gone crazy out here.” Yes, dear Jillian…nothing to worry about at all… And now let’s all get Jon’s libido off our minds and forge ahead. Well, okay, you can have one more minute.
“This doesn’t rhyme at all! This is the worst poem I’ve ever read.” – Rob, anal, but right
In the morning, it’s hangovers and Tray Mail. The rotten poem tells the boys they will be facing their most demanding shoot yet, and it will take place in the rainforest. They discuss possibilities, as unproductively as usual.
The boys take a jeep to the jungle. For some reason (possibly a producer request), Rob and Maurice feel the need to stand up in the back.
Doug Ordway, a.k.a. the only photographer in Puerto Rico, is there to greet them. He gives them the good news: “you’re going to be posing with other models,” and the bad news: “these models are creatures who live in this rainforest.” The guys respond with nervous laughter, except for Maurice, whose always expressionless face has solidified into rock.
Maurice names the one animal he absolutely can’t handle—a spider. Foreshadowing drops an ACME anvil on our heads.
“I don’t like that bird, he’s a liar.” – Bryan Fellows
Jon goes first, posing mid-waterfall with a cockatoo. “Forget the bird’s there,” Doug tells him. Someone should tell the bird to forget the model’s there. It flaps and claws and squawks and tries to escape. Jon, ever enthusiastic, tells us he loves posing with animals. He thinks Kevin will have the hardest time with this shoot. On the other hand, Jon feels like he is in his natural “island boy” element.
Kevin thinks high maintenance Rob will be the one to struggle, but we see both Kevin and Rob turn in professional efforts.
Maurice isn’t worried about his competition. He’s just worried that that crazy bird is going to bite his ear. Doug works with Maurice, trying to get a facial expression. But, despite way too much direction, he comes up empty.
After the bird work is done, Doug brings in the other models. The tree frog, the millipede, and *fanfare* the tarantula. “Holy crap,” someone says. Maurice flinches away from the millipede. “Is it alive?” he asks.
“And you never know where I’m going to put it.” – Doug Ordway
It’s fear factor time. Rob, city boy/metrosexual, reaches out voluntarily for the tarantula. “Look how pretty it is!” he exclaims as it climbs up his arm. In his head, Rob is visualizing the diamond-studded Verragio spider brooch he plans to buy with his winnings. Maurice is intimidated, as was probably Rob’s plan.
The guys strip down and slick up under the waterfall (throw back your shots, people). Kevin tells us in confessional that Jon has really stepped up his game. We see Jon posing with the frog on his neck, and I swear the pond water is turning to steam where it touches his body. Kevin thinks Jon is gearing his competition toward Kevin, hoping to get him eliminated. To confirm this, Jon tells us he would really love to beat Kevin. He’s still holding a grudge since the orgy that jeopardized the show, and Kevin’s cocky attitude at the intervention. I’m surprised that mellow Jon harbors so much bitterness inside his muscular heart.
We don’t get to see anyone else posing with the frog. My theory—the poor little thing was fricasseed by the heat coming off Jon’s chest.
Rob poses in a green t-shirt with the millipede climbing up his chest. Maurice does the same shot with the same shirt. Doug comments that Maury’s expressions are constantly blank.
“Don’t move or anything, and he won’t hurt you.” – assistant to Bryan Fellows
Jaws-esque music heralds the spider shoot.
Jon goes first, in a suit (drool-wiping pause), and the assistant plops the big hairy spider right over Jon’s pretty face. This is a crime. As my Big Fat Obnoxious Boss will tell you, you don’t put a Picasso in a frog suit. Being Jon, Jon is “stoked” by the thrill of wearing a spider.
Rob continues his aggressive professionalism. “Put the spider anywhere!” His eyes bore into the camera while the tarantula scrambles for safe footing on his shiny smooth forehead. The spider slips off, and Rob catches him. “I didn’t want him to die,” he explains. At least, not before Maurice can have his meltdown, right Rob?
Sadly for us all, there is no shrieking or crying or spasmodic flailing as Mo goes under the spider. Just the same dead zombie look that now is meant to convey extreme fear. Mo is pumped when he is done. He thinks Rob was the weakest at the shoot, due to his complaining (which we saw nothing of). Rob thinks he and Jon worked the best in the environment. There’s been a lot of Jon-focus from Rob tonight; methinks someone has a crush.
“Oh well, he’s staying!” – Rob, upon viewing Jon’s photo
The guys go celebrate living through the shoot at a local bar. The bar did not pay enough to have its name displayed for more than a nanosecond, and thus it did not make my notes. Kevin toasts the final four again, and Rob (accidentally? Or is Rob on to the mole?) spills his drink on him.
And then, magically, we are transported the Rotunda of Anxiety. We get a quick peek at the final shots, and holy frog! Jon’s picture burns itself permanently into the plasma of my screen (or would have, if I was able to afford one of those temperamental beauties!). Jon’s close up with the frog is the best by quite a bit, followed by Rob with the millipede, Kevin with the bird, and then, trailing far behind, Maurice waiting for the Exlax to kick in while wearing a spider on his head.
Everyone raves about Jon’s photo, and Jon is predictably stoked. Carmen sneaks up behind them (shouts BOO!), lines them up, brings the familiar judges out, sends the guys away, and then brings them back again one by one. It’s like Simon Says.
“I was looking in the mirror before the
shoot_______.” – Maurice (fill in the blank however you want, and it will still be true)
Maurice meets the judges first. Again, he is told he has only one expression, but he is congratulated for his courage with the tarantula. He leaves with the impression that he did well.
(Again) Carmen has a hard time letting go of Jon when she presents him to the judges. Doug was impressed with Jon’s composure, but Bruce is suddenly feeling pissy. “You’re so good-looking, it’s almost too perfect. I’m having some problems with that.” Some problems accepting that someone is prettier than himself, that is.
Bruce thinks Rob has a heroic look in his photo (Look! In the sky! It’s Captain Millipede!!). Marissa finds fault with his posture, and Doug warns him about biting down too hard to get a good jaw line. He lost a few frames because it looked funny.
The Swan Song of the Mole – please, please, let this be the end
Kev pops in to hobnob with the judges in (hopefully) his very last “behind the scenes” report. He sucks up to photographer Doug, hoping for a good word thrown his way in the future.
Kev is a Rob fan to the end. He says Rob “pulled it together” and he has no complaints. He thinks Maurice also pulled it off, but Mo still doesn’t understand the concept of facial expressions. (Picture “The Moods of an Irish Setter,” by Gary Larson.) Finally, Kev says “the kid” (Jon) is overcoming his flaws.
The men file in and stand by their portraits. Maurice is nervous. Jon feels pretty good, but still unsure. Rob feels confident about his photo and his chances.
Just why? For some unfathomable reason, Kevin tells the other guys that he thinks there will be two eliminations tonight. Faces blanch. I think Kevin likes to torture kittens in his spare time.
“The Hammer has less and less to hammer about.” – Bruce Hulse, possibly high
Bruce rambles about the end of the long road and hammers and how they’re all going to make it before he staggers off into the night.
Carmen quickly relieves the tension she didn’t know was there by telling the guys that only one of them will be sent home. And the rest of them are going to New York City, that big, shiny apple, where the winner will be crowned.
Carmen opens the envelope, sighs, and says, “Maurice, that was your last shot.”
Mo shakes everyone’s hands and then leaves. He claims to be shocked (though his expression gives nothing away). He felt strong, and thought Rob was the weaker link. Like a sad little robot, Maurice mechanically hangs his head.
Kevin tells us he is stoked to go to New York, “as Jon would say.” Jon says, “I’m stoked beyond belief…again.”
Kev is excited to hit the Big Apple, because “that’s where we’ll find out who’s really gonna be a supermodel!” Kev, baby, you do understand that it’s not going to be you, right?
Bruce wets himself imagining the epic battle we are about to witness. It will be City Guy vs. Tarzan the Jungle Boy! And Bruce thinks it’s going to be a tough fight. (For those of you who’ve read Edgar Rice Burroughs, you know what would really happen if a metrosexual took on the Lord of the Apes! If Judge Bruce didn’t have such an inferiority complex, I’d say this one was in the bag.)
Next Week on Manhunt
Fasten your drool bibs, fellow Manhunters! It’s the season finale, and we’re celebrating with a nude shot! Not to mention that Kevin Peake finally has to fess up to his evil ways.
The most gorgeous male model will be crowned, and the leftovers will be tossed to spegs!
disclaimer: I wrote this recap while racing with a six o’clock deadline by which I was to have two pumpkin rolls and cheesecake completed. You do the math. firstname.lastname@example.org