Hey hey everybody, welcome back to Next Action Star! The, uh, lodestone of interest and excitement that it is. Oh well . . . if you’re here, and I’m here, I guess everything’s copacetic.
You know, a thought came into my head the other day. I was sitting, thinking, and I realized, “Hey! They’re going to make a movie with two of these contestants! Will I be able to watch this film?” Because seriously, can we take a full-length motion picture with two of these contestants headlining it? Do we even know what they’re capable of, aside from bickering? Well, perhaps we’ll find out this week. Hope is all I have to cling to.
In this episode, the contestants will participate in an “intense” screen test titled, “Last Kiss.” Oh where oh where can my baby be? The Lord took her away from me! The eight contestants will be paired up and play two people in lurve, one of whom is a very bad driver, and has crashed through the guardrail on a bridge. Thus, they teeter on the brink of life and death! The car is suspended on a bridge 200 feet above the ground, and one of the contestants will have to plummet to obliteration! No, sorry to get your hopes up . . . they will perform a controlled fall, attached to a cable. Will they be able to do it? Find out on . . . Next Action Star! Wah wah!
Hey, I Can See My House From Here!
The tranquil dawn arises over the Next Action Star mansion, and we find Jared, Mark, Mélisande, and Mae practicing martial arts outside. Mélisande “accidentally” kicks Mae in the head . . . is the competition coming to a boiling point? No, that would be too . . . interesting.
Later, the contestants begin to file into those omnipresent white vans, with Jared and Mark merrily skipping along the path, hand-in-hand. No, I’m not even making that up! None of the contestants know where they are going. One would think that they could take an educated guess after reading their scripts, but apparently not. Surprise! They arrive at the Rose Bowl and are greeted by stunt supervisor Kurt Bryant. Kurt explains that today they will practice controlled falls on a cable and harness, called a “descender.” Mark feels that the only point of the descender is to make you feel uncomfortable and make it more difficult for the men to sire children, if you will. Talk about getting your shorts in a bunch!
John is afraid of heights, so this will understandably be a difficult exercise for him to complete. I wonder if The Powers That Be are just trying to scare him off the show, as there was a scene called “Leap of Faith” just a few weeks ago. Everyone glides down the cable with minimal difficulty, and John must go last. Jeanne yells up to him and advises him to stop looking down. Jared senses the lack of drama thus far in the episode and retorts, “Stop telling him what to do, Jeanne! Let him do it.” The two then spat back and forth, with Jared telling Jeanne to act her age. I find this terribly ironic for a man who eats unmanageably hot peppers for laughs and cheats on his girlfriend on national television, but I digress. Oh, yeah, John jumps, too! I almost forgot. Good job, John! The ladies all cheer, and John does an Incredible Hulk-like flex when he touches the ground.
We now come to the NetZero High-Speed Challenge, where the contestants take turns hanging from a bar 65 feet above the ground. Whoever holds on the longest will win a night out on the town, accompanied by another contestant of his/her choice. Sean thinks he has this challenge in the bag, so he goes first and proceeds to slip off before a full minute has passed. I’d say something about pride and falling, but no . . . that would just be too much.
Jeanne, who’s desperate to get out of the mansion with her buddy, Corinne, holds on for an impressive 3:10. Only one person can possibly beat her, and that is Jared. It looks like it will be a showdown! Jared somehow manages to upset Jeanne and hold on for 3:13, so it looks like the two ladies won’t be painting the town red tonight. Jared chooses Mélisande to join him on his hot date, and Mélisande also wins the retake card for having the best “form” while falling. Jared heartily agrees with that supposition.
This is Not the Type of Action I Signed Up For!
There is a sped-up scene of the sunrise to open the scene, and it is pretty. I felt the need to comment on that because these little “flux” scenes seem to be popping up more and more. Or maybe they just stand out more against the inherent lack of action in this show. Nevertheless, the contestants arrive at the Howard Fine Studio for acting class, and today they will be working on eulogies. What a sick mutha Mr. Fine seems to be. All of the acting classes thus far have involved death, intimacy, or things that easily could be likened to S&M practices. I’ll say it again . . . pain! Um, not that I’d know about any of that, of course!
The first eugoogolizer is John. What . . . did you not think I’d be smart enough to know what a eugoogoly was? John does a great job and gets the tears to start a-flowin’ from the other contestants. Sean, Corinne, Mae, Jeanne, and Mark all follow with solid performances, and we are somehow spared from Jared’s performance. Grace . . . it’s a cool thing. Maybe Jared spoke on the theme of “The Death of My Ego.” Wait . . . that hasn’t happened!
Mélisande goes last, and stuns everyone when she speaks about her aunt, who talked Mélisande out of suicide after Mélisande’s mother had passed away. Mr. Fine affirms that it was very courageous of her to expose such a personal part of her life. He awards the casting cards to John and Mélisande for their excellent work.
Enough of all that morbidity—it’s time for the decidedly non-morbid casting call. Mélisande and John pick first, as they hold the casting cards. Mélisande picks her beloved Jared and John picks Corinne. The other matchups are Mae/Mark and Jeanne/Sean.
Mmm . . . I Love You. I Hope my Girlfriend Won’t Mind.
Ah, love. It’s such a beautiful thing. They say you can fall in love at any time in your life, under any circumstances, blah blah blah. Well, that’s cute and all, but there’s also a thing called restraint. I think more people would find it helps things out tremendously if they show a bit of it. But, hey, I guess hedonism never goes out of style.
Jared and Mélisande prepare for their big night out on the town, and we find Jared waiting impatiently in the driveway for Mélisande, who’s doing her hair and whatever else the ladies do preparing for a first date. Easy, tiger. Waiting another five minutes won’t hurt you, I don’t think. Mélisande finally comes down, and Jared presents her with a little nosegay of flowers which he tenderly plucked from the yard. Aw, how bloody sweet. I wonder if he’s so romantic with his girlfriend back home? Then again, I shouldn’t fret about it . . . she’ll probably get plenty of bouquets once Jared returns home . . . it’s just the way things work. Their fellow contestants gather to see them off, like a family, and Mark and John throw rice as the car drives away. I find this highly ironic, as the throwing of rice is symbolic of marriage, a monogamous ceremony of faithfulness and devotion.
While Jared and Mélisande enjoy a romantic, candlelit dinner at “The Lobster,” the contestants back home rehearse their lines. They can’t really do much else, I guess. I’m supposing there isn’t a TV anywhere so they can watch cheesy reality shows like the rest of us. Apparently Jeanne does not want to practice with Sean, so they go back-and-forth as a sort of “he-said-she-said” subplot. But back to the focus here, people. Our star-crossed lovers feed each other (a popular reality-TV dating thing) as they gaze tenderly into each other’s eyes. They practice their lines, too, but it’s in a much more bathetic manner. Finally, the pair returns home, and no doubt there’s a beautiful, beautiful future in store for them. Gee, I hope Jared’s girlfriend will understand.
Inquiring Minds Need to Know
The next morning, it’s time to wake up early and head to the screen test. Mélisande seeks out Jared in his trailer to find out the truth: Do you like me, or like like me? Jared says that he really does like her, and though he loves his girlfriend, he doesn’t like this thing that’s holding him back from his impulses. Just ace, ain’t it?
Meanwhile, Jeanne and Sean get into a tiff again, and Jeanne runs away to her trailer. Sean is terribly befuddled, and heads off to John’s trailer to run lines with him. Maybe because their names are so similar. Eventually, Sean and Jeanne meet again and kiss & make up . . . sort of. Apparently Jeanne heard Sean venting about her in the neighboring trailer. Wahkka wahkka!
Director Gerry Lively is happy to see all eight contestants back and says that they richly, richly deserve to be there. He adds, in his clearly enunciated British accent, that he hopes they’re all good with heights. John half-smiles in that weak, sickly kind of way. Jeanne and Sean kick it off, and do a very good job despite their earlier squabbles. Mae and Mark do a decent job, but Mae forgets her lines at one point. As we watch these two, a few things pop into my head. First off, it’s funny to see the wide shot of this scene—it shows that Mark is actually kneeling next to the car. Secondly, Mae is “driving” the car, and is clearly buckled up for safety. The passenger’s seat is empty, and Mark is hanging from Mae’s side of the car. How the devil did he end up over there!? Jared and Mélisande do a maudlin job, but their erumpent passions were somewhat squelched as they had to stretch reeeeally far for the “last” kiss. Aww. Sad. Mélisande does not use the retake card so they can kiss again. John and Corinne do a fantastic job, with Corinne performing the fall instead of John—the only woman who did so! With that, it’s a wrap, and it is up to our judging panel to decide.
Hasta La Vista
As usual, several contestants chat and complain after the screen test, but I’ll spare you all that flapdoodle. The judging panel comes into the “War Room” and Victoria proclaims that there’s a good set of choices tonight. They watch the screen tests, and so do we . . . sort of. I wonder if we’ll get to see the final episode’s screen tests in their entireties? John and Corinne were unanimously good, according to the judges, and they liked the fact that Corinne stepped up to the challenge of doing the fall. Might I add, Corinne looked very, very nice in this week’s screen test. For the rest of them, the judges are in their typical conflict, and my notes get a little sketchy . . . somebody didn’t like Jeanne, and they were divided on Mark and Mae. Alan does not like Mélisande at all, but Louis defends her and thinks she’s coming into her own. It sounds as though . . . *giggle* . . . somebody’s got a crush on Mélisande! Why not? We need just a little more romantic embranglement. This is, after all, Next Action Star.
Victoria announces that tonight’s decision is huge, and with that, we are whisked back to the mansion’s glass room. Tina is there with the scripts, and two more people will be heading home this evening. Receiving the coveted scripts are: Sean, Corinne, John, Jeanne (anyone else noticed that these two are always called up in succession?), and we come to the dramatic pause. Two scripts left, for one man and one woman. The bottom four are . . . the same as last week’s bottom four, with Mark, Jared, Mélisande, and Mae on the couch. Even Jared realizes the pattern, and we are spared another rodomontade from him about how good they all are and how they don’t deserve to be there. They can’t all stay again, and receiving the scripts are . . . Jared and Mélisande! So the lovers will remain another week. How saccharine. Mark and Mae are given ten minutes to say goodbye, and then we actually get to see them kicked out the door. It doesn’t, however, hit them on the way out.
With that heart-warming ending, my friends, the show reaches its conclusion. Tune in next week, if you can stand it, because Tina’s description of next week’s screen test is no longer applicable—we’re heading straight for the finale. Look forward to a showdown (yes, even NBC wants this show to end and is scrapping an episode) between the final four: ****, as they square off in a Matrix-style frenzy of bullets and wired Wu Shu fighting. Yes, novel concept that it is, we might get some action on the show. I hope you’ll be there to join me!Click to see Spoiler:Sean, Jeanne, Jared, and Corinne
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