Next Action Star 7/28/04 Finale Recap: Running on Walls, Casting Calls, Racked (You Know) and the Curtain Falls
Greetings, my friends, and welcome back to Next Action Star--the Finale! I am bloody excited, aren’t you? Firstly, I am excited because I’ve stuck around for the whole season, and I’m curious to find out who the big winners will be. Secondly, I’m excited because it seems the screen test will actually contain some action, i.e., the whole premise of the show; and thirdly, I’m excited because after this very recap, it’s vacation time for the Manny. Huzzah! In the spirit of this big bubbly ball of effervescent ecstatic-ness, I offer you not one, but *two* recaps for this week. That’s correct, I will recap the show that we did not get to see, just to get you all caught up. Here we go:
Next Action Star 7/??/04 Recap: The One That Got Away
Welcome to the NAS free-cap. On this pulse-pumping and heart-thumping episode, arch-rivals Jeanne and Jared were forced to work together in the screen test, and much arguing and screaming ensued. Mélisande revealed that she was in love with Jared. Elimination time saw John and Mélisande eradicated, and it was sad. The end.
So, with that out of the way, let us continue down the path of mirth and merriment, as we savor the flavor of this Matrix-alicious finale. This week’s screen test, titled, “Score to Settle,” is a frenzy of bullets and wired-fighting. Who will fly right on into the starring roles of the upcoming film, and who will be relegated to playing “Thug #2”? Find out tonight!
Will Wu Shu for Food
The sun rises over the Next Action Star mansion, as it has on so many other mornings. Jared stretches on the lawn in a very Zen sort of way, and the contestants each tell us that they are thrilled and honored to be the final four in the competition, and now it’s show time! They get right to business and head to the National Wu Shu Training Center, where they work with world-renowned Wu Shu master Eric Chen. I bet they work really hard, but we don’t see too much of that, as we cut almost immediately to the NetZero High-Speed Challenge. It’s an obstacle course of sorts, where the contestants must climb a ladder, beat the living daylights out of the awaiting kicking shields, run a ways, scurry under some poles, vanquish some more kicking shields, flip over a mat, and jump down some stairs. The contestant who completes the course the quickest will win a “Hollywood Power Lunch” with film director Louis Morneau and producer Alan Schechter, where the winner may practice the vital entertainment-business skill of brown-nosing. “Who wouldn’t want it?” proclaims Jared. I rest my case.
Corinne is up first and performs a nice, quick run at 00:29:32. She probably would have been faster, but she had a little trouble jumping over the stair banister at the end. Jeanne seems rather slow to me while she’s running the course, and my suspicions are confirmed, as her time is 00:36:12. Sean narrowly edges out Corinne at 00:28:18, and it’s up to Jared for the last run. We’ve heard a zillion (slightly more than a bajillion) times over that Jared is very competitive, and he doesn’t like to lose. Can he win yet another challenge? Why yes, yes he can. He slips right past Sean at 00:26:57, and thusly wins the “power lunch,” while the others presumably go back to the mansion and pout.
At the lunch, not a whole lot happens. I’m betting that they all order the most expensive things on the menu if NBC is footing the bill, such as the endangered species kabob or the Bigfoot sirloin grilled over moon rocks. Jared asks a bunch of questions and “gets to know” the big guys a little better, while Alan not-so-discreetly looks at his watch several times. Connection? You decide. After Jared leaves, Alan and Louis both proclaim him a “good guy.” Jared must be on top of the world.
Life is like gravity. It can get you down in a hurry. Our quartet of action stars and starlets decide that after a hard day’s work of martial arts madness, it would be nice to go outside and play for a while. So, it’s sports time, and everybody’s having a fantastic time, until one apocalyptic moment arrives. You know those terrible and irrevocable moments of doom that seem as though they should go in slow motion? Well, that’s what happens here. Sean stalwartly throws a football to Jared, but the pass arcs down oh-so-tragically and hits Jared in the groin. Oh, the humanity! It hits so hard, you can hear the “thwack” of impact. I hurt after watching it. Jared swoons and collapses on the lawn as though a marionette cut free from his strings. Everyone runs over to see if Jared is okay, though the answer is pretty much a moot point. Sean apologizes profusely; he even lifts Jared’s limp arm from the ground and beats himself over the head with Jared’s ping-pong paddle. Jared manages to whisper out, “I think that’s enough football for tonight.” If there’s any positive part of all this for Jared, it’s that it occurred after Mélisande left the house. Just sayin’.
Well, it’s the finale, so it’s the last time I’ll ever get to use that pun. *sniff* If, perchance, they do a second season of this show, I do hope they keep with the Fine acting school, because how many jokes can you make with “Strasberg”? Yes, well . . . as I’m sure you’ve figured out, because you’re all very cool cats, it’s time for Howard Fine and his crazy hair. In this session, Mr. Fine has the contestants pair up in every possible (four) male/female combination to see who has the best chemistry together. Without the assistance of death, intimacy, hot wax, or whips this time, thankfully. There’s only one catch in the final Fine class, and that is that he won’t give out any casting cards at this point. Apparently he must meditate on the decision for a while, Grasshopper, and he will let Tina know all in good time.
When the contestants get back in the car and head back to the mansion, tensions erupt like Mount Vesuvius of old, flooding our poor Pompeian televisions with lots of screaming and bleeping. Corinne and Jeanne are yelling at each other about planning on working with certain people . . . apparently it all stems from the fact that neither one wants to work with Jared, and would prefer, as Sean modestly says, “the lesser of the evils”—him. Jared is saddened by the news that, quite possibly, nobody likes him. Aw, man, that sucks. But, what took you so long to figure that out?
We find ourselves at the
boring“calm before the storm” segment of the show, and that is what the subtitle of this section is. I just wanted to spice it up a little and put it in Japanese. Whaa!!!
The contestants meet with Tina for the casting call, and it is announced that Master Fine wishes Corinne to have the casting card, as he feels that she has grown the most throughout the competition. Corinne is thrilled, and verily trips over herself as she runs to select Sean to be in the scene with her. Thus, Jeanne and Jared are stuck together, again. Neither one gets up to pick his/her character, and Tina hazards a guess that they both wish to play a particular character. She is correct. Apparently this also happened last week in the “Lost Episode.” Rather than work the drama for all it’s worth, however, Jared resigns the role to Jeanne for the sake of a happy working relationship.
Later that night, we find Sean helping Jeanne get a little more familiar with boxing moves, as this is not her forte. Curiously, Jeanne didn’t want to have anything to do with Sean the week that they were scene partners. Hmm. Overhead, we see the mystical glow of the pale yellow moon, which looks as though someone has been snacking on it, leaving conspicuous bite marks amidst the craters. Or am I just getting too hungry here?
A Birthday With Style
The next day, the contestants will get their first taste of the stars’ life, and I don’t mean the lap of luxury . . . I mean . . . interviews! Gah! That’s right, the bane of every performer . . . interviews can solidify your place in history as a completely tactless idiot with the greatest of ease. Hence, it’s important for the contestants to look as good as possible, so their words will become a lower priority while you’re watching. The four contestants are thus styled from head to toe and are allowed to pick out their own, cool, action star-y clothes. The ladies go for the “tres chic” look, Sean takes a liking to a red ponyskin jacket, while Jared opts for the “pimp chic” look. They then file into a limo that seems to stretch out indefinitely and head over to their first interview, with Access Hollywood’s Tony Potts.
Later that night, we learn that today is Sean’s birthday, and let’s face it—you always have to make room for a little celebration. Jared volunteers to don the oven mitts and bake a cake for Sean, whom he apparently now gets along with, while Corinne takes him out to the hot tub to rehearse lines. So, as Sean and Corinne rehearse, Jared and Jeanne sneak up behind them with lots of balloons, the cake—a girly cake, which Jared decorated with pink icing and a Barbie decoration because Sean’s such a manly-man—and a gargantuan card signed by all of the top 14 contestants (except for Viviana, bitter one that she is). Sean is touched, and declares it a birthday he’ll always remember.
Never Mind the Bollocks
And here we are, everyone, at the final screen test. The big enchilada. Director Gerry Lively greets us in his usual pleasantly dry manner, saying that this scene is all about “attitude, attitude, attitude” and “communicating without speaking.” If you only knew, Gerry. . . . They begin shooting with Sean and Corinne, and though this pair is stunning to watch in the opening fight scene, they run into trouble right off the bat. Sean’s guns seem to lock up on him, and Corinne complains that he’s not paying attention and walking backwards in synch with her—something about her legs not being long enough to keep up with him. After they finish part one of the scene, Corinne summons Sean to her trailer for a “meeting.” Sean doesn’t appreciate being told how to do things, and much shouting ensues on both sides. I never know what to make of these scenes . . . we see the outside of the trailer and hear the barely-intelligible shouting from inside, and you expect the trailer to start rocking and stuff to fly out of the windows. Ultimately, Sean steps outside (or is thrown out by Corinne), the door slams, and we head onward to film part two.
Part two is the chaotic section, with lots of fighting, gunplay, and wired stunts. Jared watches nearby as Sean and Corinne film, explaining that if he watches how much his buddy brings to the scene, he’ll know how much he has to step it up. Sean and Corinne finish the shot, and it’s Jared and Jeanne’s turn. Jared, of course, is there and ready, but where’s Jeanne? Wherever she was, she didn’t watch how the scene was done, which about sends Mr. Lively over the exasperated edge. The first attempt at her fight scene doesn’t work at all, and Mr. Lively sighs, “Oh, bollocks.” That’s certainly one you don’t hear every day! She similarly encounters trouble while trying to, assisted by the wires, flip over an oncoming car . . . she can’t seem to land on her feet, and always ends up flying through the air again, a la Peter Pan. After 2,742 shots of her doinking into a nearby pole, she must finally land on her feet, as we move on. Jared runs into a little trouble, as well, trying to run along a wall in leather pants. Apparently it’s harder to move in cow-enveloped legs. I wonder why he’s even braving the leather pants after his unfortunate . . . uh . . . incident.
Meanwhile, Sean and Corinne decide to kiss and make-up before they finish the scene. Sean says, “I’m glad you picked me.” “Me too,” replies Corinne. Aw. A happy ending. They move on to the strenuous part three, in which they make their daring escape at 0.03 miles per hour in the Ford F-150. At least this show certainly knows how to make their sponsors happy. Mr. Lively directs Sean and Corinne from the back of the cab before filming. Bloody backseat drivers these days! The duo races, er, inches away, the special effects guy thrills all the pyros with a big, pretty Fiery Infernoball™, and that’s a wrap, folks.
Afterwards, the contestants keep the post-screen test theme of complaining alive and well by venting and cackling while lounging on the couch. Actually, most of the cackling comes from Corinne and Jeanne, as Sean and Jared look on helplessly.
Final Decision Showdown!!!
Things are not quite as mirthful in NBC’s secret subterranean lair which lies 5,000 feet below Los Angeles; the place we lovingly call the “War Room.” Here, Victoria says, they have the “privilege” of choosing who will become the first Next Action Stars. My inner grammar nerd weeps at that sentence. They begin by discussing Sean and Corinne: Alan loved watching their fight scenes, but didn’t feel a real incendiary chemistry between them, otherwise. In other words, they’re fighters, not lovers. Louis is concerned that Sean’s bag of tricks might be too limited to carry a film. I’m sorry, but, I have to say this now, as it’s the end of the season. “And *you* would know, having directed the film Bats? Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ahem. So sorry about that outburst.
Regarding Jeanne and Jared: Alan thought they were charming in the cab of the truck at the end of the scene, and Victoria was mesmerized by Jared throughout. Alan is uneasy with Jeanne’s inconsistency (cut to Jeanne, flying like Peter Pan), but Louis was thrilled with her gun-spreading moment. All in all, the judges have a difficult decision ahead of them and wish they had an extra week to decide. Well, guess what, you guys . . . you don’t! In fact, you took a week away.
It Looks Like We’ve Made it to the End
As the hours press on toward the callbacks, the contestants all reminisce over the days of old . . . or at least their days on Next Action Star. They all enjoyed the experience immensely and feel proud and honored to have taken part in it. Finally, they are each driven to the historic Crest Theatre in a white limousine for their final callback. In fact, I think they are each driven up to the theatre in the same white limousine, and it just went around the block to pick each one up in succession. “This is the bag of chips!” exclaims Sean after arriving.
Hmm. The bag of chips. But, what kind of chips are these? Tortilla? Lay’s original Deli potato chips? Barbeque-flavored? Sour cream and onion? And what size bag are we talking, here? A good sit-down-and-chill-out sized bag, or one of those measly things you get in sack lunches? Well, important and difficult questions are often left unanswered, and this is tragically the case here.
Tina greets the contestants and congratulates them for making it to the end. I’d like to congratulate Tina for winning “Manny’s Least-Annoying Reality TV Host of the Year Award.” Tina informs the contestants that since they are now on their way to becoming big stars, they get to watch their “Score to Settle” screen test right here on the silver screen. But wait! How could they possibly watch their debut without a few friendly faces in the crowd? Enter the other contestants (except for Viviana, bitter one that she is), much to the jubilation of Sean, Corinne, Jeanne, and Jared. There is joy, there are hugs, there is much merriment and elation. Jolly good! Harold, aka “House,” hopes that Corinne will win. Mélisande hopes that Jared will win. Linda hopes that she will still win.
Thus, we (and the contestants) get to watch “Score to Settle.” It is actually a very exciting scene to watch, though I wish we could have seen the two back-to-back rather than spliced together like a film golem. Sean, Corinne, and Jared all look very believable in their fight scenes, but I can’t help but notice that Jeanne sort of “hops” every time she throws a punch. Other than that and the “mystical” sounds that they tossed in when the contestants did the wired jumps and forth, the scene and all the contestants looked great. Yay! *sniff*
All the contestants discuss the scene a bit, and in come the judges to wish the contestants best of luck and a bit of sage advice. For example, “As they say in the film business, rock on!” – Victoria Burrows. It is now, at long last, the moment of truth. WHO WILL BE the Next Action Stars? Tina gets the final two scripts, which are just a tad thicker than the previous ones, and announces the winners. The lucky woman is . . . Corinne! Corinne is thrilled and overwhelmed, and Jeanne looks even happier for her. The lucky man is . . . Sean! Sean says he feels like the luckiest man in the world. Jared grins and gives his buddy a little guy-hug, and says in a confessional that he’s not disappointed or bitter at all. So, all is just peaches and cream in the world, and as our new winners take a bow, the curtain falls on the players of the NAS stage.
Thank you so much, everyone, for accompanying me on this long journey. I really appreciate all your comments and support. It’s a shame the whole season wasn’t as fun as this episode! If you dare, I hope you’ll join me for the world premiere of Bet Your Life, the film starring Corinne and Sean, next week. Sayonara!
That’s a wrap, folks. You may contact the author of this recap at firstname.lastname@example.org, and why wouldn’t you?