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You know, for someone who has had basically the same hairstyle since, well, puberty, I sure do like these hair shows. First it was Blow Out and now here I am with Shear Genius. At least with Blow Out, I could imagine having my hair styled by Jonathan Antin or one of his stylists. As far as I can tell, the stylists on this show like to cut their hair with a weed whacker. No thank you. For me, Shear Genius is the hair equivalent of an accident on the freeway: I can’t look away, but I don’t want to be involved. Still, if anyone this season yells “It’s a hair emergency!” I’ll be elated.

Tonight, we start with twelve stylists. By the end of the season, we’ll see twenty challenges. The winner will receive $100,000 and will be the stylist for a shoot in Allure magazine. Plus, you know, they’ll be called “Shear Genius.” From the looks of the potentials, none of them even comes close to being as hot as last year’s winner, Anthony and that means we all lose.

The season officially begins at the Shear Genius Salon, where the twelve stylists enter, hollering and clapping at the sight of Jacklyn Smith. Sadly, it looks like our favorite Angel has finally gone under the knife....or at least under the needle. So much for aging gracefully. Jacklyn welcomes them to the Nexxus Salon….even though it says “Shear Genius” above the front door, we all know Nexxus will be mentioned 8,000 times per episode. They have to pay the bills somehow. Jacklyn then introduces Kim Vo, who actually admits to styling Britney’s hair, although probably not recently. He’s also worked with Teri Hatcher and Kate Hudson.

Each week, Jacklyn tells the, they’ll have two challenges: the first will be a shortcut challenge, which will test their skills in a limited amount of time and the second will be an elimination challenge. The first shortcut challenge is going down right now! In this challenge, their clients will want a new look. The stylists will have 5 minutes to consult with the clients and then 45 minutes to style.

Before we go any further, let’s get to know our stylists a bit better.
Charlie, 38, Denver, CO: Charlie thinks wearing gigantic accessories will distract people from the fact that he has no hair. Nice try, baldie. Charlie tells Jacklyn that he’s from Hell, but lives in Denver. He then assures her that he isn’t scary, just bitchy.
Daniel, 28, Dallas, TX: In the heart of Texas, big, teased hair is still the thing and Daniel is more than happy to oblige. From the look of things, Danny boy might have just a tiny addiction to teeth whiteners.
Dee, 37, Miami, FL: Dee is out and proud – she mentions her partner in the first 2 seconds of being on screen. From the look of Dee’s hair, her partner is Pepe LePew.
Gail, 25, Columbus, OH: Gail claims that she began cutting hair at the age of 12. Well, so did I if you count Barbie. That girl worked a crew cut. *snap* Gail then talks about the sacredness of steel razors. Honestly, she lost me. It was a bit creepy.
Glenn, 36, Decatur, AL: Gail is happy that Kim is on judging panel because he’s all about color and she is too.
Matthew, 37, Dallas, TX: Like Dee, Matthew declares his sexuality within 2 seconds by saying the only thing he loves more than cutting hair is his wife.
Meredith, 36, Chicago, IL: Yeah, and here’s another one who doesn’t have a self-esteem problem – she tells us she’s the cutest thing she’s ever seen. Meredith needs to get out more.
Nekisa, 29, Concord, CA: Can you believe that in 6 pages of notes I barely wrote down one thing about Nekisa? This must tell you something.
Nicole, 24, NYC: Nicole is and perky and obviously has a dependence on hair bleach.
Oshun, 31, Los Angeles, CA. Oshun tells us he’s going to let his hands move through the hair like the ocean….because he’s deep……oh, whatever, I hate people who speak in the third person all the time and who rhyme their name with things.
Parker, ageless, West Palm Beach, FL: Parker says everything his scissors touch can bring about world peace or some such crap. He then boasts that he’s definitely going to win this competition. Parker looks like he styles his hair with the aforementioned Weed Whacker.
Paulo, 37, San Jose, CA: See: Parker, only with piercings and some bad facial hair. Paulo will try to paint himself as the big villain but really: not working.

In the Dark
The victims idiots clients file into the salon wearing those hideous safety glasses I had to wear in chemistry class. Fancy. Jacklyn tells them that many of them have probably said they could do hair with their eyes closed. In this challenge, they’ll be cutting and styling their client’s hair while blindfolded. This challenge isn’t about speed: it’s about accuracy. Kim Vo will be judging the stylists on skill and the overall success of the hair style. The models have been chosen at random and the stylists will find their blindfolds at their stations.

Everyone runs to their stations like it’s Supermarket Sweep or something. The stylists pow-wow with their clients – not blindfolded – and decide just how badly their hair will be butchered. At least they didn’t combine the blindfold challenge with the hedge clipper challenge. Someone would lose a limb. Since this isn’t Fox, it’s just one major hazard at a time.

The challenge starts and the stylists begin cutting. Nicole, who has only cut hair for 5 years, laughs as she cuts. Her model looks terrified. Matthew almost immediately jabs his model’s ear with the scissors. Then he cuts his hand and starts bleeding. They have to be paying these models big money ‘cause I’d have been out of that salon in 1.2 seconds after seeing blood.

Yeah, this is a great challenge for the first episode. I don’t even know their names yet and then they cover up half of their faces? Thanks, Bravo. At the 15 minute mark, there’s still a lot of wet hair. This isn’t looking good. When time runs out, the stylists all remove their blindfolds to survey the damage. Everyone claims to be happy with the results. Let’s see how happy they are after Kim Vo gives them his opinions. Kim thinks Glenn’s blunt cut showed her ambition: it’s a tough cut when you aren’t blindfolded. He then notes that Daniel managed to tease his client’s hair Just like a good Southern boy should, boasts Daniel. Dee was daring and used a feather razor, impressing Kim. Paulo isn’t too happy with how closely Kim examines his client’s hair. Oshun’s work merits a “hmmmm”….and not the good kind either. Matthew, who cut his finger during the challenge, admits his cut is uneven. Nicole’s cut impresses Kim: her client is Asian and Asian hair is hard to cut. I had no idea. Put that on the list of things I learned from reality TV.

Kim sums thing sup by saying some of the stylists impressed him, while others fell short. He names Nicole and Dee as his top two and honestly can’t believe they were blindfolded. He says Dee gave a creative flair on each side. The winner – by a hair (couldn’t resist, but aren’t you glad I got it out of my system early?) – is Dee. Both Nicole and Dee go stand by Kim. The rest of the stylists were ranked in this order for the challenge:
That leaves Nekisa and Oshun in the bottom two. Oshun is outraged. He throws out some more words that rhyme with his name. Whatever. Kim says Nekisa’s cut just wasn’t beautiful: it was barbaric. You think “barbaric” is bad? Get a load of this: he tells Oshun he’s never seen such a butcher job. Ouch. Obviously, Oshun is the big loser and Nekisa takes the number 11 spot. Why is this ranking important? They’ll be picking their clients for the elimination challenge based on how they perform in the shortcut challenge. Oshun vows to step up his game, but assures us that the best finish last….but then he’s going to be first…because he’s the worst (I added that last bit. I love a good rhyme, don’t you?).

Why Not Smurfette?
The first episode of most of these competition reality shows is basically the same. We meet the players, they all love each other and they all check out their new crib and drink, possibly too much. At their new digs, the stylists have a love-fest and toast each other over a bathtub full of wine. Oshun tells us he’s there to stay. Hey, who’s that 13th person over in the corner? Foreshadowing, is that you?

The next morning at the Shear Genius salon, the stylists’ mentor, Rene Fris, makes his first appearance. Jacklyn Smith tells them that Rene will just be offering advice: he won’t be judging. Rene promises that this challenge will be tons of fun. They’re all accustomed to having clients bring in pictures from magazines and ask for hairstyles of celebrities. This challenge will be very similar. The clients all file into the salon, each holding a black folder. Rene asks them to reveal the celebrity photos they’re holding. Everyone gasps and laughs as they see pictures of cartoon characters. Each character will be tackled by two stylists. They will be judged on creativity, skill and the interpretation of the character’s style. The challenge winner will have immunity at next week’s challenge. It’s immediately clear that no one wants to get stuck with Marge Simpson.

Here’s how the “assignments” fall out:
Betty Boop: Dee and Parker
Jem (and I say, “WHO?”): Nicole and Glenn
Judy Jetson: Meredith and Paulo
Wilma Flintstone: Daniel and Gail
Marge Simpson: Charlie and Matthew
Lucy from Peanuts: Nekisa and Oshun

The stylists will have 2 ½ hours to complete their look and they won’t win this challenge by playing it safe, cautions Rene. He then sends them off with a “Go shake it.” Yeah, that’s going to get old. Fast. As everyone gets started washing hair and talking color, the clients start throwing around the word “subtle.” That should be the drinking game for this show. I wouldn’t be able to finish the recap, I'd be so loaded. Nicole, whose inspiration is Jem, is having trouble with her model, who doesn’t want too much drastic color. She utters the s-word and Nicole looks alarmed. I don’t know who the hell Jem is but, based on the picture, the only cartoon character farther from subtle is Dolly Parton.

Nekisa tells us she’s going to make her model the college version of Lucy. Matthew is having trouble with his model, who has very black hair: how will Marge Simpson blue even be possible? Charlie decides to nix any sort of hair coloring and opts for blue extensions for his Marge-inspired ‘do. He tells an alarmed Rene Fris that he’s just going to rat the extensions into a “pubic thing.”

Oshun works on his Lucy ‘do and talks to himself. He says he’s going to make the hair crack…or that he’s on crack. That would explain some things. Nekisa takes the foil out of her model’s black hair and finds wide orange strips. Matthew’s also having issues with color. He doesn’t want to cause his model’s hair to fall out. I’m pretty sure that would get you an automatic trip home.

Hair Show! <----- Said like "Dog Show!" on SNL....Just me? Nevermind.
Two and a half hours fly by and it’s time for the hair show. This week’s judges will be Kim Vo, Kelly Atterton and Neeko who, although I’ve never heard of him, has styled celebs like Halle Berry, Charlize Theron and Pink.

On to the show! Up first are the Wilmas. Daniel’s model shows off her up ‘do with bangs that look like a giant pompadour. Gail’s Wilma also has a kind of up ‘do, but with odd pin curl bangs and some of the hair draped over her shoulder. It’s very Prom 1986. I should know and no one is seeing those pictures.

Next up are the Jems. Nicole put highlights in a halo on her model’s head and did a pompadour-ish ponytail. It’s all about the pomp tonight. Glenn’s Jem has a blonde flip with pink tips. It’s very “edgy soccer mom.” Turns out the model is, in fact, a mom, so there you go. Nekisa’s and Oshun’s Lucys couldn’t be more different. Nekisa solved the hair stripe problem by putting her model’s hair into an up ‘do. It’s actually pretty cute. Oshun’s model is an odd combination of a layered bob with two ponytails in the back.

Matthew’s Marge looks like she’s wearing a giant blue/black drag queen wig. The thing could have its own zip code. Charlie’s model steps out looking like the human incarnation of Marge Simpson: same color, same architecture. Did Parker’s client look like a boy in a dress before Parker lacquered her hair into a black bob? That hair looks bulletproof and the model really does look like a little drag queen. Dee, who says she tried to capture the 1920’s with pin curls also sprayed her client’s hair into submission. Seriously, I wouldn’t light a match anywhere near that woman.

Judy Jetson finishes the show. Meredith manages to create a bit of a mullet on one side of her model’s head and Paulo has created what he calls a “heavy bob” with lots of orange in the model’s blonde hair. Heavy bob? That’s a shag, my friend. I lived through the 70’s.

Washing Out
It’s time for the judges to criticize everyone. Before they get started, Jacklyn tells Nicole, Parker, Meredith, Dee, Glenn and Paulo that they’ve all made the cut and are safe this week: they all leave to go relax and drink. The judges need to take a closer look at the remaining six. The remaining six are the stylists that tackled Marge, Lucy and Wilma.

Charlie says his inspiration was the snarky matriarch of the suburban working class. Kelly says this definitely isn’t an every day interpretation. Charlie admits it isn’t wearable, but it’s fun. Kim wants to touch the blue pubes and questions Charlie about the structure of the style. Charlie explains that he built a lattice of bobby pins into which he wove the hair and then cobwebbed extensions over the whole thing.

Matthew explains that he mixed the big hair of the 80’s and the 90’s with Marge Simpson. He tried to push the hair color as much as possible, but the judges don’t seem to see “cartoon.” Nekisa says she tried something more conservative, but still wanted it to be fun. Kelly calls the style “sweet” and Neeko likes it too. Oshun tells the judges he felt Lucy needed some flair and color. Kim says he isn’t seeing flair: the style looks unfinished and Kelly agrees. Neeko says that the style is high, but doesn’t have the width needed to flatter the client’s cheekbones.

Daniel explains that he wanted Wilma to be glammed up. Kelly tells him the style jumps out. She could see Gwen Stefani with that style, but it still looks very Wilma. Neeko asks to touch the models hair and pronounces it too stiff. If the style had a better base, Daniel wouldn’t have needed to use too much product. Gail tells the judges she was inspired by old Hollywood glamour. Jacklyn says she likes to see one trademark characteristic in these styles and Gail explains that the curl in the front is what she used. Neeko doesn’t feel the style is modern enough – there was too much curling iron and not enough styling product and texture.

The stylists head back into the waiting room so the judges can deliberate. Kelly thinks Charlie’s style showed humor, but wasn’t wearable. Neeko says it’s too much a duplicate of Marge Simpson’s hair, but Kim points out that it took a lot of work to create the structure. Kim wonders why Matthew didn’t put his model’s hair up. Kelly thinks it looks too much like a Vegas lounge singer. The judges agree that Nekisa modernized Lucy well, while they all also agree that Oshun’s style was the wrong shape for his model’s face. Neeko adds that Oshun didn’t work with well with the model’s thin hair.

Kim thinks Daniel got the color just right: the model looked like Wilma, although Neeko wanted less hair spray. Gail should have put away the curling iron, says Kim. Kelly thinks the style looks like something a girl in the 1970’s would do for prom.

Buh and Bye
The six stylists come back for the judges’ decision. Three of them impressed, Jacklyn says, but three of them fell short. She then asks Charlie, Nekisa and Daniel to step forward. They are the top three. Charlie’s style was fun, it made the judges laugh and showed that he’s willing to take risks. Nekisa’s style was sweet, innocent and wearable. Daniel created a style that the judges thought was sexy, modern and innovative. This week’s challenge winner is Daniel. He’ll have immunity next week.

This week’s bottom three are Matthew, Oshun and Gail. The judges thought Oshun’s style looked unfinished and was unflattering for his model’s face. They thought Gail’s style was not well thought out and it wasn’t fun or modern. The judges definitely felt Matthew missed the mark on Marge: the ‘do lacked both height and playfulness. In spite of his tragic Marge, Matthew is safe. It’s down to Oshun and Gail and it’s really no surprise that Oshun is the one to get the boot. He looks both pissed off and shocked. He admits the playing field wasn’t what he expected. Oshun says his goodbyes and then leaves, swearing on his way out the door. Charming. Plus, he didn’t even rhyme.

Oshun tells us his strategy was to downplay his great work for the first few challenges so he could surprise the judges a few weeks in. Clearly, he didn’t think that strategy through.

Coming up this season: There will be lots of challenges and many major hair color catastrophes. We’ll also see at least one Angel join Kate Jackson for a Charlie’s Angel challenge. Also, the Real Housewives of Orange County it must be about 14.5 minutes into their time, because we’ll have to suffer through them as well.