Manhunt Finale 11/30 Recap: Tasteful Nudity, Tasty Nudes
Why should I stand idly by and watch one of the pretenders usurp my rightful place? I refuse to allow it. It may be a bit late, but look out, Kevin, Bruce and Carmen! I’m throwing my hat into the ring. And I will claim my crown as the most gorgeous
malemodel in Americathe world!
- excerpt from the diary of spegs
“People walk twice as fast as I do here.” - Jon
We join our finalists as they cruise the streets of New York in a limo. Jon is especially impressed. “Everything is tall,” he sighs. Someone is feeling vertically challenged today.
Jon and Rob both weigh in on their chances. Jon says, “I was just stoked to be in the top five,” and Rob says, “I’m confident I can win.” Given that America loves a humble winner, I think Bravo just tipped their hand with the editing. You might say that they exposed themselves. Har har har.
The boys go to the Carnegie Deli, for no reason other than that the Carnegie Deli paid big money to get multiple shots of their insanely huge, “whole cow between the slices” sandwiches. “This is some good-ass meat,” Jon says, demonstrating how vital a hyphen can sometimes be.
“This blows.” – Jon
Surprisingly, he’s not talking about the recap, folks.
Our models move into The Time Hotel. Mole-del Kevin Peake tells us that “We got a nice surprise for the guys—we’ll see how they handle it,” with all the smuggery and cockifiedness we’ve come to expect from our Kevin.
In their room, the finalists find three bright boxes with tags that read, “Your wardrobe for tomorrow.” Ever one step ahead of the game, Rob guesses, “It’s probably empty.” Would the producers do that to our guys? Of course not! Each box contains a lovely piece of jewelry.
Rob takes it in stride, professional as always. “I’ll be naked to win this. You guys can bow out now.”
Jon begins a downward spiral of panic and despair. He looks more and more nauseated as he considers his options. “I don’t want freakin’ pictures of my [manly accouterments] all over the internet!”
Smug Kevin wonders which will triumph, Jon’s physical perfection or Rob’s perfect confidence?
“When it’s revealed, they’ll be kicking themselves.” - Kevin Peake
Or maybe they’ll be kicking you, you cocky punk.
It’s time for Kevin to expose…his moley traitorousness. Jon, Rob, and Kevin are led to a bright orange room to wait. For what? They know not. Or Jon and Rob don’t, at least. They wait nervously for some new tricky twist that will make their lives miserable.
Suddenly, out of the blue, like golden mana dropping from heaven, Paulo is on my screen! I can barely hear over my screams of joy, but it seems that the top ten have been reunited for the finale. Bless you, Bravo.
In confirmation of this statement, Maurice walks in on our anxious finalists. There is much rejoicing, and everyone breaks into wide grins. Except Maury, whose face maintains its rigid, expressionless state.
Maury, obviously struggling to remember his lines, announces that he has good news and bad news. The good news? I’m not really sure, it got cut off weirdly in editing, but it sounded like he said, “I’m here.” The bad news? “Someone is going home right now.” You can actually watch as Rob’s forehead veins bulge in preparation for the stroke.
“Naw, I’m just playing with you,” Maurice says with a mechanical laugh. Rob and Jon are relieved, and they say much which must be bleeped as they thump Maurice’s back with the intent to cause pain.
“I had ants in my pants.” – Paulo
Paulo says something, but my notes are sketchy, so caught up am I in the enjoyment of hearing that lovely accent again. Hunter enters the reunion room next, so obviously they are going in order of elimination. Matt and Jason follow, and Jason tells Rob he’s got a lot of money riding on him. Jason is excited to see who made the finals, and to see everyone’s reactions to the final three. Paulo is just happy to see his friends.
“Where’s the trilogy?” Kevin P. asks. On cue, Kev O. (Dang it, I’m back to two Kevin’s again) announces, “I’m ba-a-a-a-a-ack!” K.P. wonders where his man Tate is, and Paulo tells us that he missed his flight. Clearly, drunk again.
The boys socialize as they wait for the alcoholic to show. Jon says he’s been kind of freaked out by the elimination process—how his friends just disappear one by one. He’s ecstatic to see them again, especially Paulo (me, too!), Matt and Jason.
Tate eventually stumbles through the door. “Same outfit,” his good friend Kevin P. announces. The top ten is assembled—it’s Mole Time.
“I’m not who you think I am.” – Kevin, who is exactly who I think he is
Maurice—and it’s painfully obvious that he is still working from a script—now asks for speeches from the finalists. Kevin P. seconds the motion.
Rob goes first and gives a very sweet tribute to his friends, who didn’t ostracize him for being homosexual, and were “so cool with me.” He says everyone there has the potential to be something amazing. “You should write for Hallmark,” Maurice says as Rob takes a seat. “I should,” Rob agrees.
Jon continues the eloquence: “Seeing you guys is freakin’ awesome!” Kev O. is touched.
Kevin Peake stands and announces that he is dropping out of the competition. Everyone stares at him, waiting for the punch line. Someone shouts, “Yeah right!” Tate shakes his head slowly from side to side, his eyes so glassy that I doubt he even heard what Kevin said.
“The only thing you know about me is my name,” Kevin continues, and I beg to differ. They know he’s a smug jerk, too. Then he goes into his “impressive” modeling resume, while the other guys continue to stare in disbelief. Reality never sets in until Kevin drops the next bombshell: “I’ve been reporting to the judges on you.” The looks of amazement slowly shift to looks of murderous rage. Well, maybe that’s overstating it, but they were definitely pissed.
“Bleep!” - All
The TV comes to life with some clips of Kevin’s “reporting.” We see him give Rob a thumbs up, Maurice a thumbs down, and get really negative about Jon’s height and teeth.
So much bleeping! Censorship guy was having a field day. “Now the boss man will appreciate me!” he thinks to himself.
Everyone reacts to the news. There is much chagrin at being fooled. Jon feels deceived and Kev. O. feels totally dumped on. Tate rambles incoherently. And Rob immediately realizes that he is now in the top two. He has no problem with Kevin’s announcement.
Kevin leaves after threatening, “See you at elimination.” No one hits him. I am sad.
“Posing nude is iffy.” – Kevin Peake
Tray mail arrives. It announces the final shoot, and promises, “All will be revealed.” Ho ho ho, good one, Tray Mail Guy.
To the accompaniment of tense string music, Jon goes to the bedroom and begins packing. Rob seems genuinely upset and tries to talk him out of it. (Rob, too, wants to see Jon naked.) But Jon says he will not do the shoot, no matter what. Rob begs him to stay until the judges make him leave, and Jon doesn’t leave, so I guess Rob convinced him.
Rob wants to win this fair and square, not by default. He hopes Jon will pose.
Jon and Rob don bathrobes to ride to the shoot, for no good reason except that the producers want us to imagine Jon naked. It’s a trap! He’s fully clothed under there.
They go to Milk Studios, where they meet Photographer Karl Simone, of Abercrombie & Fitch, Nautica, and Brazillian Vogue fame. They all sit down to discuss comfort levels. Rob asks to see some of Karl’s work, and Karl just happens to have a computer on hand in the otherwise Spartan studio so that Rob and Jon can see his on-line portfolio. Karl promises that “nothing” will show in the pictures, and no one will be standing around gawking (unless you count the television audience). Jon continues to insist that he’s not doing it.
“There’s no difference between covering yourself with an arm or covering yourself with underwear.” – Rob
Rob and Jon are both impressed by the photographer’s portfolio. Rob takes his admiration to the suck-up level.
The photographer suggests that they shoot Rob first, so Jon can see how it’s done. Jon shows the first signs of wavering, saying that he’d “love” to shoot with Karl…but it’s not his thing. Like a crafty high school boy in the back seat with his date, Karl promises Jon that they will take it slow.
Rob is prepared with tanning lotion and, inexplicably, a trim to his nonexistent hair. While Rob’s getting pretty, Bruce calls to give Jon a stern talking-to over the cell phone. Jon gets in a little zing when he mentions feeling a lack of trust after being duped by the show and Kevin. Bruce says the shoot is Jon’s choice, and mentions that he can ask for a closed set.
Bruce talks to Rob, too, and is impressed by his attitude. Meanwhile, makeup artists apply blush to Rob’s kneecap.
“Did anyone disinfect that arm of that chair?” – spegs, worried
Warning: the pixilation throughout this segment is sparse and inconsistent. If you wanted to see either Jon or Rob’s tushy, you are in luck.
Rob poses first on the arm of a chair, and then standing in front of a window. As promised, he is angled carefully so that none of his naughty parts are showing. He seems totally at ease, and the photographer gets his shots easily.
Jon is deep in thought. When Karl and Rob are finished, he asks for a closed set. He tells us that this is the very last challenge, and he just wants to get it finished.
Jon poses on the same chair (see section heading *shudder*) and, in case you missed it, Jon is just as pretty naked as you would expect—he was giving off a serious Adonis vibe. There is no sign of nerves from Jon as the shoot progresses. And that’s all I have because my notes get real sparse through this part.
When it’s over, Jon is surprised by how easy it was, and feels like he can do anything now. Like jump out the window and survive. We are all relieved when he doesn’t test that theory.
“Nudity really makes me tired.” – Rob
The boys are exhausted at dinner. They toast the final two, and hit the sack early.
In the morning, Jon retrieves the Tray Mail with a crazy tumble weed on top of his head, or maybe that was his hair…? As expected, tonight is the final elimination.
First the models must meet with the executives at IMG Models, the provider of the $100,000 contract. Both get short interviews. Rob tells them that his favorite part of the show was working with the photographers. Jon is asked, “How do you go from astrophysics to modeling?” His answer, something about getting really excited about the shoots—except for that nude one—doesn’t answer the question at all. But it does change the subject, and the IMG people quickly assure him that nude shoots are “not required” by IMG. Jon looks for Bruce Hulse’s picture on the wall of models. The “old man golfing” shot really stands out from all the other “hot young stud” looks. No wonder Bruce is so insecure.
“I always knew it would be these two.” – Marissa Miller
Easy to say now, Marissa.
Jon and Rob show up for their final Gallery of Pain. They get their first look at their newest photos, as do we.
Rob’s photos are both very good, other than some distractingly pointy nipples. His face is probably the strongest we’ve seen it.
Jon’s photos…defy description. I have no words.
Marissa thinks the nude photo shoot was the perfect way to
see Jon nakedfinish the season. Bruce says they’ve ended up with two great male models. The contestants exchange a man-hug and wishes for good luck before they go stand by their photos.
Carmen arrives on the scene in a truly hideous dress that somehow manages to make her look heavy. She introduces the judges (thankfully for the very last time): Bruce, Marissa, Kevin Peake—now elevated from informer to judge status and wearing a ridiculous suit that makes Carmen only the second worst dressed person in the room—and Martha North and Chris Forber, the executives from IMG.
The guys are sent away, and Rob is brought out first to face the judges. Bruce says the shot is incredible. Marissa is impressed by the masculinity and sexy attitude in Rob’s face. Bruce promises that, if Rob wins, he will send him to runway school. (Paging Ms. Jay…) Chris calls Rob elegant, but is concerned by his high forehead. Kevin Peake thinks Rob is a GQ model, and his nudes are great.
“An exceptional body…of work.” – Bruce Hulse
It’s Jon’s turn. Bruce considers Jon’s reluctance to pose nude. “Something got through that fear,” he says, obviously adding “and I’m sure it was my phone call,” in his head. He thinks Jon did an exceptional job. Marissa says she can’t look away from Jon’s photo (we can all identify with that!). Kevin Peake calls the nude shot “phenomenal.” Chris Forber is more critical—he thinks Jon always has the same look and is concerned by his height.
Marissa and Kevin question Jon’s drive. He always seems so laid back—how bad does he want it? Jon assures them that he’s in this 100%, and he is dismissed.
“Thank you, Bravo, again. Really.” – spegs
The top ten is brought out again and lined up to watch the big announcement. Paulo is in a suit. It is a beautiful sight.
Bruce hands Carmen the final card and rambles on about hammers again. Carmen reiterates the prizes and gives a lame speech about missing her “good kids” when this is over. “I love you guys!” she claims like a happy drunk.
Carmen has a tough time with the envelope, but she finally gets the card out and says, “Jon Johnson…”
Both men wait, perplexed, not sure if she’s reading the winner’s name or announcing the eliminated.
“Congratulations!” she finishes. Jon Johnson is officially America’s Most Gorgeous Male Model.
“Aren’t you glad you got naked?” – Carmen Electra
Jon covers his face. Rob runs over, applauding all the way, to give Jon the first congratulatory hug. “I’m proud of Jon,” he says. “He deserves every bit of success he gets.” (I’d like to take a minute to say what a classy guy Rob is. From day one, Rob has behaved in the most professional manner possible. He always sought out the biggest challenge (remember, he chose to model toilet paper) and his enthusiasm never dimmed. Okay, so he can’t dance. But he is a great model, and I hope to see him succeed in the modeling world.)
Everybody hugs Jon, and the champagne flows. John seems, well, stoked. And I am pleased that Bravo, while fouling up in the past *coughPaulocoughSethcough*, has redeemed the integrity of this show. I can’t argue with the final result. Best of luck to you, Jon!
Jon’s final words: “Everyone needs a break. I definitely got it with this show.”
I’d like to cap off this happy ending by issuing a very heartfelt invitation for all the Manhunt contestants (yes, even you, Kevin Peake—I’m too happy right now to be petty) to attend FORTcon 2005! We’d just love to see you there. For details, or if you want to share a room…. firstname.lastname@example.org