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Welcome to another episode of Blow Out! In last week’s season opener, we all got re-acquainted with Jonathan Antin and his supporting cast of minions. Also last week: Jonathan had another hissy fit in a business meeting, ran rough-shod over the designer’s wishes at a photo shoot and appeared on Good Morning, America. This week, Jonathan heads off for the Sundance Film Festival, the epicenter of tragic hipness, and helps his sister Robin choose a new Pussycat Doll.

Tonight’s episode opens at the West Hollywood salon as Jonathan returns from his Good Morning, America appearance in New York. He must be there bright and early, because Rosie isn’t even in yet. I thought she slept in the salon, but here’s proof to the contrary. After making his morning rounds, Jonathan heads upstairs to his office to deal with all the stuff on his plate. First up is a call from Jonathan’s business manager, Rob Lee, who says that the people at the Sundance Film Festival want Jonathan to come dispense free Jonathan Product to the very rich, who wouldn’t actually shell out money for the stuff. (<----paraphrasing)

Jonathan makes contact with the guy at Sundance and practically wets himself as he says yes. Jonathan says that he’s “all about the film festival.” I thought he was all about hair. I suspect that what he’s really all about is self-promotion, however he can accomplish it.

Blind, er, Blonde Ambition
At the Beverly Hills salon, some of the other stylists grill Kiara about the semi-nude photo shoot that she worked with Jonathan. Salon Assistant Scott, in particular, hangs on her every word. He says that hearing about the photo shoots and other stuff that Jonathan does just makes him more confident that he will able to do that kind of thing in the future. Just watch, season four of Blow Out will feature Scott going all Single White Female on Jonathan’s ass.

Jonathan calls Clarissa into his office and tells her that, not only is he going to the Sundance Film Festival, he’s taking her along. She’s excited, but in the low key way that Clarissa gets excited: it’s not the reaction Jonathan would have gotten from Scott. Scott probably would’ve squealed like a little girl and started humping Jonathan’s leg.

You know, from time to time, I’ve wished I had enough money to book an appointment and have Jonathan cut my hair. After watching the show though, I realize that it would be “Critical’s Haircut, done by whichever salon assistant is there….with a special appearance by Jonathan Antin” He doesn’t do the shampoo, or the comb-out, or the sectioning off of the hair. Clarissa seems to do all of that. Then Jonathan enters like a rock star to cut the hair. Then Clarissa blow dries. Apparently, this doesn’t seem to be an issue with Jonathan’s clients, who probably drop $700 to have him spend 15 minutes on their hair. Anyway, the woman whose hair Jonathan cuts in this segment doesn’t seem to mind.

But Will Kiara Take the Baby Again?
Jonathan is making on of his very special hair-styling appearances when Rosie finally shows up. He tells her that things went well on GMA, even though things were crazy with the extra models. Before Rosie lets him get back to cutting hair, Rosie tells him that Rob Lee has called and Charles Nolan wants Jonathan to do the hair for his show during New York Fashion Week.

Jonathan and Rosie are taking a moment in the office at the West Hollywood salon when Rob Lee calls again. What’s the deal with this guy? Until this season, we’d never heard of him and now he’s calling every five minutes. This time, Rob’s calling about Fashion Week. Jonathan whines a bit about not having any rest or days off. Rob does his best to coerce Jonathan into doing the Charles Nolan show – as if he actually wouldn’t do it. While Charles Nolan’s show last year featured very understated hair, he wants Jonathan to do something completely different this year. Be careful what you wish for, dude. He could have your models dragging the clothing behind them down the runway while wearing only hair, like Cousin It. While Jonathan says that he’d like some rest first, he agrees to do the show. With scotch tape holding his eyelids open, Jonathan mugs for Rosie (and the camera) about how tired he is.

The Land of the Tragically Hip
Jonathan’s on his way to Sundance, but he has to say goodbye to his fiancée and his new baby. We finally see the new baby and you know what? He looks just like Jonathan. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but there you have it.

Once at Sundance, Jonathan and Clarissa make their way (whining about the cold the whole time) to the storefront where they will be handing out the Jonathan Product schwag. The event promoter welcomes them and shows them where they will be setting up. There’s just a big pile of boxes that still need to be unpacked. To his credit, Jonathan gamely grabs a box cutter and gets to work. I was expecting him to call for someone to do it for him.

As he and Clarissa get to work, Jonathan pulls out and unfurls a giant poster of himself that will be displayed on the wall behind the product. He then tells Clarissa, “There’s nothing more nauseating to me than a picture of me behind me.” Yeah, right. You know you love it, ego boy. Up goes the poster, out goes the product and soon enough, they’re in business…. or not business, since they’re giving the stuff away.

Oscar Winning Hair
Everything is in full swing at Schwag Central as the booth opens and people start pouring in. Jonathan fondles lots of hair and gives away bags of product. All of a sudden, someone comes in and tells Jonathan that Marlee Matlin (who Jonathan doesn’t seem to know, since it sounds like he calls her “Marlene”) is there and wants him to do her hair. Since Jonathan has never met a celebrity who he didn’t want to suck up to, he jumps at the opportunity.

Jonathan meets Marlee and her interpreter Jack. Jonathan talks to Marlee and makes those exaggerated mouth and hand gestures that people do with deaf people….she can read lips, dude. Chill. He agrees to go do her hair the next day and seems very excited. As the day progresses, Jonathan and Clarissa hand out more product and things are going well. Then Jonathan notices a small booth in the corner and goes to find out what free stuff he can get out of them. As it turns out, the company in the booth is putting together a CD of readings of children’s stories. Of course, because this is Jonathan’s show, the guy in the booth asks Jonathan to do a reading.

Nursery Rhymes, Cali Style
Of course, Jonathan agrees to do a reading for the children’s CD. What follows is so hilarious, I don’t think I can even do it justice in the re-telling. Jonathan stands in the sound booth and reads “Hickory Dickory Dock” in that California dude accent that he has. He reads the first line and then pauses like Ted Logan and says (I swear) “Wow man, that’s heavy.” He then launches – in kind of a singsong-y voice- into “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” only it’s now the “Eensy Weensy Spider.” At this point, I was laughing so hard that I had to pause the tape. Man, this is reality TV gold. He does take after take “singing” about the spider. Then comes the piece de résistance: he nearly tears up telling us about the experience and how he pictured his son when reading the story.

Somebody Validate Me
Jonathan’s now on his way to do Marlee Matlin’s hair. So continues the bad pantomime of how he will cut her hair. It’s the same way Americans communicate with people who don’t speak English. She’s deaf, man. Speaking louder won’t help. Still, she’s probably used to it. Apparently, Marlee will be speaking – or signing…whatever – at a big conference, so she wants to look good. Jonathan and Marlee manage to communicate well enough and he gets started on her hair.

Marlee’s best friend, Liz also makes an appearance and gets her hair done (by Clarissa) as well. All the while that Jonathan is blow drying Marlee’s hair, she’s asking him questions through Jack. She asks how the baby is and if he could just move in with her and do her hair every day. He says that he’ll just bring Sescie and the baby. With Jonathan’s one baby and Marlee’s four kids, that makes some sort of sports team….doesn’t it? I must say, she looks great for having had four kids.

Clarissa is working on Marlee’s friend Liz and it’s looking good. Jonathan tells everyone that Clarissa is taking her test to be a stylist soon. Hopefully, it will be better than when Kimberly took her test. Man, that was a nightmare. Even I wanted to quit and I wasn’t even taking the test. Finally, Marlee’s hair is done and it looks good….if not a bit like it did before. She seems really pleased with it, so that’s probably what’s important.

Forget Clarissa. Where’s Jonathan?
Back at the hair booth, Jonathan is giving away product and pimping his salons. All the while that Jonathan is touching hair and schmoozing, he’s thinking about all that snow out there, just waiting to be skied. He tells Clarissa that he’s got snowboarding equipment with him and is going to hit the slopes….he wants to get just get eight runs in. I’m not really an expert on skiing, but isn’t eight runs a lot? Clarissa looks like a deer in headlights and totally clueless as to how long Jonathan is really going to be gone.

Jonathan takes off to go snowboarding and leaves Clarissa all alone with the demanding rich people who want free stuff. She admits to us that she flipped out a little about being left alone. Jonathan tells us that he knows she was probably freaking out, but he wouldn’t have left her if he didn’t think she could handle it. Rob Lee is waiting for Jonathan at the ski slopes and they snowboard for the cameras. It’s better than what I could do, but since I’ve never been on a snowboard, who am I to judge?

Back at the Jonathan Product booth, Clarissa’s getting her bearings and passing out product like a pro. Of course, you know lots of those women were hoping that Jonathan was going to be there to fondle their hair. Clarissa is pretty soft-spoken, so this seems like a tough gig for her. She tells us that she thought Jonathan would be back “in a few minutes,” proving that she, like me, knows very little about skiing. By the end of the day, Clarissa has completely run out of product….and Jonathan is still not back.

Time for more footage of Jonathan faux-skiing, Honestly, with the big ski jacket and goggles, it could have been anyone out there on the slopes. Jon and Rob finish up skiing and Jonathan tells Rob about the booth and how many people were there. It’s a very pre-weepy moment. They share a manhug (distinguished by the sturdy back slap) and Jonathan heads back to see if Clarissa has been eaten alive or trampled.

Back in West Hollywood, we get some episode filler and meet Nikki, a new stylist. Could she be Sweaty Bobby’s replacement? The mystery deepens… I could recap this part, but really, it’s like a commercial for Jonathan Salon. …like this whole series.

Jonathan gets in his second actual haircut of this episode, and he spends half of the time making a big, fat, hairy deal over how young his client looks. She tells him she just turned 30 and he tells her she looks 18. Angling for a bigger tip, I see. While he’s cutting her hair, sister Robin (who is now being played by Donna Karan) shows up to have a pow-wow. She asks him to help him judge at the upcoming Pussycat Dolls auditions. The very thought of all those half-naked women gyrating around sends Jonathan to the phone to tell Rosie to reschedule all of his appointments. Thaaat’s the Jonathan I know and love.

Say Cheese!
In the car on the way to the Pussycat Dolls auditions, Jonathan tells us that he doesn’t have to go help his sister today: he gets to go help her. See, this is no big sacrifice for him. He says it’s about family, but we know the truth. Robin tells us that Jon will be looking at the girls from a guy’s perspective.

Cut to plenty of shots of naked flesh at the audition: butts, bellies and breasts…some of which should be a little more covered up than it is. Robin tells all the would-be Pussycat Dolls that Jonathan is there to help judge. He looks like the cat that ate the canary, as all the girls applaud for him. Robin gives Jonathan a little introduction, telling the girls that he’s styled the hair of stars like Ricky Martin and Madonna….when did he style Madonna? For the “Lucky Star” video?

The audition begins and we meet Robin’s choreographer, who starts in teaching the girls their audition routine. Of course, it will be danced to that Pussycat Dolls song that’s all over the radio now….and that I hate. This choreographer is like Salon Assistant Scott, only with a little growth hormone thrown in. Jonathan flirts with him and makes him blush, just ‘cause he can. As the girls all learn the routine, the camera pans on this sea of badly dressed rejects from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Although….if they were dressed like Magenta, it would be an improvement. Is this what girls wear to all auditions now? Times have changed since I was doing this.

After a short break, the auditions start. One of the girls actually explains to us that they just learned the choreography and now they are going to do it for the judges – they’re going to audition (<--said really slow, like we’re retarded). Thanks for clearing that up, sweetie. I had no idea. The girls are broken up into smaller groups and perform the routine. It’s montage of bad outfits, bad dye-jobs and semi-gynecological shots. So far, no one is all that impressive.

As the auditions continue, it just gets worse and worse (or better and better, depending on how you look at it). At one point, a girl in a demi-bra, torn fishnets and panties (the exact same thing I’m wearing while writing this recap – quelle coincidence) gets into the routine so much that she fails to notice that her bra isn’t covering what it should be. As if there was any doubt, her naughty bits are pixilated, lest we see a nipple and be scandalized. Cut to Jonathan, his eyes glazed over. Even he has seen enough. The auditions go on and on…. and finally they finish the dancing portion and move on to the singing.

I have a confession to make: While I generally watch American Idol, I watch the first, say, 5 weeks of it with my finger on the mute button. I am really sensitive to bad singing and man, this is looking worse than the early AI auditions. Girl after girl sings and Robin, Jonathan and the choreographer try to keep straight faces. I do not. The song for the day is, apparently, “Amazing Grace.” Some do better with others….and some do WAY worse. There is a hidden camera moment where a girl with impossibly blond hair sings a song she wrote herself. Honestly, I couldn’t even watch the whole thing. It’s bad enough to have to listen to bad signing, but when the “singer” in question is dressed like Barbarella on crack, I draw the line.

It’s time for a decision for call backs and the list of who will move to the next round. Those girls were come back tomorrow….but Jonathan won’t. Sadly, we won’t probably get to see which girl gets the one slot with the Pussycat Dolls. Jonathan dances to the door Michael Jackson-style. It is, mercifully, short.

Make it Stop! Make it Stop! <---- me screaming about that stupid song
Okay, so maybe we are going to see who got the Pussycat Dolls job. Back at the office in West Hollywood, Jonathan gets a call from Robin. She needs him to style the winning girl’s hair for her first night in the show – tonight! So, this probably means that it’s not a tough show to learn. Jonathan is excited and says that he loves the new Pussycat Dolls song, which I then have to hear again as he plays it for her on his iPod. Robin won’t tell him over the phone who won. She wants it to be a surprise.

Soon enough, Robin and new Pussycat Doll, arrive for a new ‘do. This girl is one of the ones that Jonathan liked, so he’s pleased. Robin says she wants “the bomb hair” that Jonathan does. In a very short amount of time, Jonathan adds some temporary extensions and does a cut. With a flight to catch, the new girl’s hair is finished in the nick of time. He plays her out of the salon with that infernal song.

Next week: Jonathan returns to New York Fashion Week and the fur flies.

Seriously, where is Sweaty Bobby? Critical@fansofrealitytv.com