Episode 2 Recap: Attack of the Crack Monkey
Last time on The Starlet, we met ten young women who had come to Hollywood to compete for the opportunity to fulfill their dream of becoming an actress. After failing to impress the panel in their first screen test, Andria the beauty queen and Andie the comedienne were sent home, their dreams dashed. Whose hopes and dreams will be crushed to a pulp tonight?
How to Win Friends and Influence People
The young starlets-in-training are trying to get a few minutes more beauty sleep when they are awakened by the sound of Katie and her hair dryer. They bury their heads under the covers, trying to tune out the sound, and its obvious that this activity will not be increasing her popularity in the house. To add to the annoyance factor, she also seems enjoy talking endlessly about herself, her butt, her belly button, and other body parts - much to the chagrin of her housemates. If this were a show where the contestants vote each other off, she would be up the proverbial creek.
However, it is up to the judges who stays and who goes, and today’s elimination will be decided based on the girls’ ability to convey their sensuality and passion in the next screen test. Michelynne is nervous when she learns they’ll be doing love scenes, because she is very inexperienced and this is all new territory for her. Donna says that training is necessary so that you have some technique to fall back on if you should find yourself in a scene with no inspiration.
Seduction Junction, What’s Your Function?
The group arrives at the Bernard Hiller Studio, where they are greeted by Host Katie and Bernard Hiller himself, former acting coach of Cameron Diaz among others. She informs the girls that their focus in this class will be their sexuality, because the next screen test will be a scene involving seduction and passion. The person that performs best in class will win the rights to the coveted Diva Suite until the next screen test elimination.
Bernard explains that they’ll be focusing on the tool every starlet must have, sensuality. He encourages them to get rid of their fears and doubts so that they’ll be able to do a romantic scene with any partner, regardless of whether or not they have any chemistry together. Cameron Diaz also had fears and doubts when she came to him, he claims. Just look at her now, would ya?
Oh! So That’s Where They Got the Term “Bear Hug”!
The first exercise will be one of substitution. In layman’s terms, what he means is that the girls will be making out with a teddy bear. Ahhh, I love acting.
Lauren is first, and she is all over the bear, using its paws to caress her neck and moaning like a good little porn star.
Michelynne, the youngest of the girls at age 18, breaks out in giggles because she feels very awkward – she confesses that she has never really kissed a guy before.
Cecile, on the other hand, comes after that bear like a pro, stripping down to her bra as she kneels down before it seductively. Michelynne’s eyes bulge out of her head. Next thing you know she’s going to say she has never seen anyone make out with a bear before – talk about sheltered. Cecile explains that by staring directly at the bear’s eyes, she is able to block out the fur and imagine that they were the brown eyes of a person. Imagination at work, people.
Katie, walks up to the bear, flings her jeans on the ground and kneels before it, looking as if she is going to cry. I can’t decide if she is upset or this is a conscious acting choice for her, but it gets weirder as she pulls the bear to the ground and rolls around on the floor with it, laughing and hugging it. The rest of the girls cover their faces and stifle laughter as they are visibly embarrassed for Katie and don’t know what to make of her, uh, inspired, performance. The bear sits in his chair, drinking a scotch and enjoying a post-makeout cigarette.
You Can Leave Your Hat On
Now it is time to see how they perform with a non-stuffed-animal partner. I guess that makes sense, since when you are cast in a romantic love scene, there is a good chance that your partner will be a live person. I’d say its at least 50-50. Eight handsome guys enter the studio and the girls laugh with nerves as they wonder what is coming next. Bernard explains that this is their last chance to prove to him how much they have learned during the session, and he wants them to do the sexiest dancing of their lives for their male partners. I guess I missed the part where he said strip down to your underwear, but he must have, since nearly all the girls essentially perform a striptease.
Katie is up first this time, and she wears a pink coat, feather boa, and yellow hat. She peels her clothes off and ends up dancing a not-so-sexy jig for her guy in her black bra.
Courtney stands out from the crowd in that she appears to leave her clothes on, confessing to the camera that grinding for a stranger doesn’t really do it for “the Courtney”. Uh huh, she called herself “the Courtney”. Darn tootin’, she did.
Mercedes is up next and she is really uncomfortable, but does a decent job in my opinion. In confessional she worries that her insecurities really came through in her performance.
Donna is thankful that she is a model by profession, because she has learned to get over the body issues that some of the other girls are suffering from. She dances before her man with great confidence, and I think she might just have an acting career ahead of her should they ever film Coyote Ugly 2.
Neva, Lauren, and Cecile take their turns and all seem fairly comfortable with their performances. Next up is the virginal Michelynne, who has been watching the other girls before her with great attention. I can tell she feels like a fish out of water, but she is determined to do her best and show she can hang with the big girls. She starts out a bit timidly but gives it her all, really putting herself into the performance.
It is time for the guys to leave (not before they try to scam some phone numbers, I’m sure of it) and Host Katie returns for the announcement of the Diva Suite competition winner. Bernard says that one girl in particular started out in an area of the unknown and really came into something. That person is Michelynne. The other girls seem genuinely happy and proud of her. Michelynne is tickled pink as she accepts her statuette, and completely bowled over when Host Katie announces that she has also won a deluxe makeover at the Allen Edwards Salon. She rides off happily in a limo and the other girls hear about the screen test assignment.
Your Kiss Is On My List
The screen test will be a scene from Fastlane, originally starring Jaime Presley and Tiffani Amber Thiessen. It will be filmed in a hot tub, and there will be an on-screen kiss between the two women. Well! That’s quality programming, right guys? The girls will each pair up with someone else from the house. The girls’ smiles fall right off of their faces and a look of dread and fear comes over the crowd. Host Katie reminds them that Hilary Swank, Cameron Diaz, and Angelina Jolie have all done lesbian scenes at some time. Yes, and Angelina Jolie also made out with her brother at the Oscars, I hope that’s not the next assignment.
Michelynne arrives at the salon and is welcomed by Allen Edwards, who proceeds to give her highlights and trim her long mane of hair. She has her makeup and nails done and is just beaming. Having grown up very poor, she has never even been to a salon before and it is obvious this is a special treat for her. As she sits with her hair in curlers, Allen informs her that there is another surprise – she has also won a new wardrobe! Michelynne is choked up but tries not to cry and ruin her new makeup, saying that no one has ever been so nice to her. She models her new dresses and twirls joyfully in front of the mirror just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman – except without the horse mouth.
Back at the casa de Marilyn, the other girls sit at the table and talk about how freaked out they are by their assignment. They worry about their families seeing them kissing other women, and Donna makes sure that everyone knows she is not a lesbo. Never kissed another girl before, never! Never even thought about it, mmkay? Finally, Neva says that everyone has had a chance to express their doubts, and the time has come to get with the program and <strike>get it on!</strike> <strike>just do it! </strike> choose partners and get to work. Katie knows she isn’t popular and suggests that they choose names out of a hat. Nobody is on board with that plan at all. Cecile pipes up that she wants to work with Mercedes and Mercedes agrees. Katie says she would like to be <strike>get her hands on</strike> work with Donna, and Donna says, uh, okay. Lauren claims that she is most comfortable with Neva and Neva quickly agrees that they should <strike>get freaky</strike> <strike>be a couple</strike> work together. This leaves one woman without a partner until Michelynne returns. The Courtney stands alone.
A Kiss Is Just A Kiss
The girls go off with their partners and begin to rehearse. Katie confides in Donna that she was afraid of not being chosen. Donna tells her that she needs to quit worrying about trying to make everyone like her. Katie agrees that she needs to get a thicker skin and the two girls share a bonding moment. Aww.
Cecile and Mercedes start to work on their scene and Mercedes confesses that she is incredibly concerned about how she’ll perform in the scene. Cecile is all business and ready to try the intimate moments of the scene, but Mercedes breaks down in nervous giggles. Eventually Cecile tells Mercedes to close her eyes and she gives her a relatively innocent kiss on the mouth saying, “See? It’s done.”
Neva and Lauren also sit on the bed facing each other and prepare. Lauren, comfortable with her sexuality, seems undaunted by the task and leans in quickly for a kiss, causing Neva to pull back and start laughing.
Michelynne returns, looking beautiful, her arms loaded with shopping bags. Donna comments that she loves that Michelynne got the makeover and new clothes – she looks gorgeous. Michelynne makes her way into the Diva Suite and throws herself happily on the bed. She says her life is changed forever and she lays in the bubble bath, beaming with happiness and oblivious to the fact that she will soon be making out with The Courtney.
In the morning, Courtney wakes Michelynne and gives her the scoop on the day’s screen test. Michelynne looks a bit sick over this great news and the happy glow from the makeover suddenly seems quite dim. The Courtney jokes that it is fitting that the glamour girl is paired with the short-haired girl to create your lipstick lesbian/butch coupling.
Exploitation? It’s my Favorite!
At 2pm, a special guest – Jaime Pressley, who originally played the role of the seductress in the scene the girls will be shooting, visits the starlets. Donna says she is sooo glad Jaime is there to help them since she has never kissed a girl before, being a non-lesbian, 100% totally straight, bonafide hetero. Jaime explains to them that when you are acting, it doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight, you are what your character is. Mercedes explains that the girls aren’t thrilled about the assignment because they feel a bit exploited. Mercedes, I think we crossed that line a few minutes ago when you danced in your undies. Jaime tells them to get over it. She says you can’t take yourself too seriously, and that everyone in the business is exploited in one way or the other. Get used to it, ladies.
After a bit more coaching, the girls feel more confident and are ready to tackle the scene. Cecile, who was concerned about what her family might think, changes her tune and sees that this is an opportunity to make them even more proud of her for taking on such a challenge. That’s the attitude, you go girl.
Neva and Lauren don their bikinis and go out to the hot tub to practice, while Courtney and Michelynne go back to the Diva Suite to rehearse. Michelynne tells the camera that she can’t believe her first kiss will be in a hot tub with a girl. Neither can I. Welcome to Hollywood, girlfriend.
Katie tries to convince Donna that they can try to do the scene from a friendly angle rather than as a sexual crush. Katie, if they wanted you to do the scene as two gal pals, they would have given you Barbies to play with rather than ask you to make out with Winnie the Pooh and give a lap dance to a stranger. The scene is about seduction, not best buddies.
Mercedes is incredibly uncomfortable with the rehearsal process and Cecile is doing her best to calm her fears. She stresses to Mercedes that she is playing a role, that it is not Mercedes who will be kissing a woman, but rather Billie, the character. It doesn’t seem to be working, but Cecile stays optimistic and tells Mercedes that she has faith she’ll be able to pull through when the time comes.
Too Hot in the Hot Tub
Katie and Donna are first to film their scene and they both confess to having doubts about the other’s abilities. They do a number of takes that all look pretty awkward and Donna would like the record to show that Katie not only bit her lip during the kiss, but almost bit her nose as well. Alrighty, then.
Mercedes and Cecile are next. Mercedes says that Cecile could not be a more supportive partner and she hopes she can come through for her. Cecile hopes that Mercedes will rise to the occasion because she has the talent and the attitude, but is just lacking in self-confidence. Their scene goes quite well, and you can tell that they are both focused and trust each other, even though Mercedes pulls back a little during the kiss. After the scene, Mercedes agonizes over her performance, and Cecile tries to comfort her by telling her that she is a good kisser and she actually found herself somewhat attracted to her. I think that says more about Cecile’s ability to get into the character than about Mercedes talents, but it’s the thought that counts.
Michelynne and Courtney make their way out the hot tub, where Courtney proceeds to be very aggressive in her <strike>molestation</strike> seduction of Michelynne. While Michelynne does her best to stay in the character and not pull back from Courtney, it has to be awful for her. She explains in confessional that the way Courtney came on so strong was nothing like what they rehearsed. She says it is the first time she has ever been kissed like that, and it was not something she liked.
Last but not least, it is time for Neva and Lauren to do their scene. Neva expresses her concern over Lauren’s nerves, but is impressed that Lauren is able to give her all in the scene. Lauren says she expected that the kiss would be awkward and weird, but that it actually felt good – and that Neva is a good kisser. All I have to say is that I know you made a lot of guys happy tonight, ladies.
Sealed with a Kiss
It is time for the ladies to appear in front of the panel, see their screen tests, and receive their criticism from the judges. Although they’ll appear together with their partner, each girl will be judged individually. All the starlets will have the opportunity to see each other’s screen tests from the other room.
Donna and Katie go first, and are critiqued individually.
Vivica – You did better tonight, and I commend you on the kiss, I know it was weird but you were courageous.
Joseph – You over-act. It might have been real for a soap opera. You need to go study really hard for a year before taking another audition.
Faye – You didn’t take it far enough with a real connection, but I didn’t expect that much from you.
Joseph – That was the most awkward scene. I like you, but you are not that comfortable with your sexuality. (Katie starts to cry and explain how emotionally, this experience is like a roller coaster.)
Vivica – You have to get thicker skin.
Faye – Emotional accessibility is good, as long as you can do that in front of the lens.
Cecile and Mercedes are next and are also critiqued individually. Their scene is pretty damn steamy, and it’s not just the hot tub. When they kiss, Faye leans over to get a better look. Vivica says, “Word!” and fans herself. Joseph wants to bring in the first two to show them how it’s done, because even as a gay boy he found it hot.
Vivica – You were so seductive. That was a leading lady performance with starlet potential tonight.
Faye – I thought you were darn good, and I was astonished because I didn’t think you had it in you.
Joseph – Cecile took the scene from you - you did okay. You’ve met your match.
Vivica – If you are going to kiss a person, then kiss them.
Faye – You could have done more with the acting. I want to see that from you.
When they rejoin the other girls, Mercedes stands off to the side and sulks as Cecile enjoys the praises of her competitors.
Lauren and Neva are next, and for all of her worries about Lauren, Neva is the one who seems nervous in the scene. In my opinion, Lauren does a great job and her performance is just a few steps behind Cecile’s.
Faye – You are a good actress with a real personality that shines through and you use that to your advantage. The kiss was pretty hot.
Vivica – Not afraid to kiss, huh? The hair pulling and everything was great.
Joseph – You lit it up.
Faye – What I liked was the way you said “come here”. What I didn’t like was everything else. It was wooden and you kept your eyes down a lot, which is an indication you don’t know what you are doing.
Vivica – You were flat, but great in the kiss.
Joseph – So far you’ve felt very timid and lacking the excitement I see in the other girls.
Michelynne and Courtney are the last ones in. I’ve already tried to describe the mauling that Michelynne suffered at the hands of Courtney, but I have to say that if this were a vampire movie, maybe this would work – with Courtney as Dracula and Michelynne as the unsuspecting prey. It is uncomfortable to watch and as the scene progresses, Joseph covers his face with his hands, and a scream is heard from one of the girls (Lauren, I think) in the other room. Courtney stares down at the floor and I feel bad for her. She is just too over-the-top for this type of acting and the concept of subtlety is completely lost on her.
Joseph – You’re like a monkey on crack on her.
Faye – I don’t know what went wrong with the scene but it would end up on the cutting room floor, for sure.
Vivica – You dove right in there after that seduction, but failed to realize how uncomfortable your scene partner was.
Faye – You look phenomenal, like Brigitte Bardot. You seem more comfortable in yourself.
Vivica – I could see some layers in your acting and I liked that.
Joseph – I think that under the circumstances, you did a great job, and I’d like to see you work with someone more your equal.
Courtney and Michelle depart, leaving the panel to deliberate before calling the group back in to announce their decision.
Kiss of Death
The first girl to leave tonight, say the judges, was not able to master the art of seduction- a necessary skill for any starlet. She seems uncomfortable in her own skin, both in real life and in the scene…Courtney, don’t call us, we’ll call you. Except we won’t.
The second girl, the judges believe, is beautiful, but doesn’t have the sparkle necessary to be a starlet, and isn’t accessible to the audience. Neva, don’t call us, we’ll call you. Buh-bye.
Next time, on The Starlet: the girls shoot a Garnier Fructis commercial on the beach. No obvious girl-on-girl or girl-on-bear action, but one never knows.
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