I can honestly say that this week’s episode of Shear Genius resembles nothing so much as my worst recurring nightmare: circus clowns and the ’70s are alternately chasing and haunting me, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
And my first thought, even before we hear about either of tonight’s challenges: Oh Jaclyn Smith, how you taunt me with your fabulous locks.
OK, moving on. So the short cut challenge this week, titled "Rainbow Connection," is all about color. Big, scary, clown-wig, wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-in-public-with-this-hair color. And I’m absurdly excited that the stylists have four hours to properly process the clients’ hair. As are they. For once we won’t have gnarly looking color because they didn’t have enough time, right? Oh, but Nekisa proves me wrong. And the prize for this challenge: the winner gets immunity and helps to determine the outcome of the elimination challenge. Alrighty then.
And these are some seriously brave clients. Nekisa plans a purple base color with red bangs with a dark-brown undertone — kind of a flower on the side of her head, with fuschia stripes peeking out underneath. Glenn talks to her client about keeping it pretty too, not just crazy color. Dee wants to put yellows and reds on her client’s hair to create a bird-of-paradise look. Paulo, bless him, after hearing his client wants blue, decides to worry more about the cut than the color. Uhm, Paulo? Did you hear the instructions? Nicole’s going red red red, but it comes out kind of flat. Daniel’s going for three different shades of red. And Charlie’s just going hog wild. All I can think is that these women are going to come out looking like human Rothko paintings. Or an anime convention.
Disaster strikes when the sinks don’t drain, leaving blue-colored water stopped up in the bowls. Which immediately causes Nekisa to complain that her color got fouled up by the contact with the blue. That almost sounds plausible to me until, well, everyone else manages to pull their color off.
Unsurprisingly, Nekisa’s muted purple with fuschia bangs ends up in the bottom two, along with Paulo’s blue that ended up looking black because he processed too long. Snap! It’s harsh punishment to get the smack-down from Kim Vo, who incidentally seems like one of the more pleasant people ever on a reality show. Charlie had been planning to create flames on his client’s hair, but switched up in the end and went for carousel horse. Looking at the up-do he created, I couldn’t help but think My Little Pony on acid, but the variety and vibrancy of his colors — purple, pink, black and brown, with gold streaks — did really come through. That said, I liked Dee’s better. But I’m not a judge, and that’s why Charlie won.
And hoo boy, is Nekisa mad. She’s practically sputtering trying to defend herself and really unhappy that she keeps ending up in the bottom two. I have to wonder, shouldn’t that, well, make her wonder about the job she’s doing? Regardless, one of the best things about this show is how each contest creates a new opportunity for one stylist to really stick the shiv into another stylist. There’s an undertone in it that’s even meaner than the worst Project Runway catfight — and it’s undeniably entertaining. In this case, Charlie cannot help himself — he’s got to be a big bully and just needle Nekisa, who actually does a pretty good job of standing up for herself. "Whenever I get bored I just go and attack Nekisa," he says. "She’s the easiest target." Yeah, but Charlie, that’s just cheap. You don’t always have to taunt the weakest gazelle at the watering hole. Where’s the challenge? At any rate, Paulo comes out the loser in this one.
On to the elimination challenge — which is so fabulous I can almost not catch my breath. The stylists have to get into teams of two — chosen by Charlie — and each team has to work on three clients, giving them updated versions of the Charlie’s Angels hairstyles. Brilliant. They handle the odd number of stylists expertly by taking winner Charlie out of the mix altogether; not only does he choose the teams, but he plays roving stylist for the challenge, meaning he can neither win nor lose. So of course our little nefarious minx puts together teams of stylists who are ostensibly friends, but whose working styles are so different that they’re practically doomed: Dee and Nekisa, Paulo and Daniel, and Glenn and Nicole.
Almost instantly, there are problems. Nekisa and Dee are both headstrong and stubborn — I could’ve taken the number of times someone called Dee a "steamroller" and turned it into a drinking game. Paulo’s scared of Daniel’s Big Texas Hair technique. Nicole thinks Glenn makes everyone look like an old lady. Needless to say, this week is not a high point for anyone. Their "updated" Angel styles are a mess. Everyone does something very similar with Kate Jackson/Sabrina, all the Farrah Fawcett/Jills are a mess, and no one hits the mark with Jaclyn Smith/Kelly.
Wait — did I mention the best part of all? Kate Jackson is this week’s guest judge! And she offers up some hilarious semi-nasty comments about what it was like to work with the hair twins — Jaclyn and Farrah. And now I know without question that I want to invite Kate Jackson over for dinner. And I admire Jaclyn Smith even more for her save after Kate Jackson refuses to comment on Dee and Nekisa’s Angels. There’s no movement, no shine, the Farrah hairstyle, for which Nekisa was responsible, literally has holes in it. Nekisa tries to save herself, saying that she sees Carrie Underwood and Jessica Simpson wearing their hair like that. "They’re dated," Kim Vo responds. Snap! Says the man in my house: In case you closed your eyes, Nekisa, that was a bus you just got thrown under.
Paulo and Daniel don’t fare much better. Once again the Farrah style is just huge and dated. Glenn and Nicole have an equally bad "sausage curl" problem — seriously, why don’t any of these people brush them out and make waves? — but it’s on the Jaclyn Smith hair. Everyone’s bad, and I haven’t heard judges on a Bravo reality show this side of Runway (Who doesn’t heart Michael Kors?) be this nasty. It’s an ugly night in Mudville, ladies and gentlemen — there are no winners.
But there are losers. Glenn and Nekisa round out the bottom two for their dated, bad-curl looks. But in a surprise move, it’s Glenn who goes home. I’m as stunned as Paulo, who stands in the background with his jaw on the floor. Am I missing something? Is she being kept around for the drama? Glenn was totally graceful and classy in her exit, and to echo Jaclyn Smith, I’ll miss her too.
Finally, thanks to Liz for rocking last week’s recap and shaming me into trying to raise my game this week. I have no doubt her hair always looks better than mine.
What did you think? Did they send the wrong person home? Should they at least have tried to get Cheryl Ladd or Shelley Hack to be guest judges too? Does Charlie’s bad attitude make you like him or hate him more?