“NYC Prep”: Don’t Go Changin’
Parting is such sweet sorrow. Or is it? Last night, we said goodbye to the Manhattan prepsters in the season finale of “NYC Prep.”
What have learned over the past few months from watching New York’s real “elite” private school kids? They dress really well, their lives aren’t as interesting as “Gossip Girl” (but they want them to be), and they like to air kiss a lot. While the show did make a mockery of the prep-school scene at first (and, boy, were school administrators unhappy), it managed to reveal some redeeming qualities. At times, these teenager portraits rang true, especially when it came to awkward, trying-to-be-cool conversation (Taylor), sky-high goals (Camille, Jessie), and the ups and downs of friendship (PC). Sebastian, our least favorite character, whose shtick about “just getting chicks” was old after episode one, was one of the youngest on the show, and trying his darndest to be the coolest. This episode, he gets in on the charity trend by hosting a benefit for making wells in Africa. Why? “Because it’s a good cause, and shows my sensitive side to, like, girls,” he explains. What he makes out to be a flashy event turns out to be a 15-person dinner in his friend’s dad’s restaurant where the attendees are mostly teenage girls. He asks Kelli to sing at his event, and she reluctantly accepts. She’s so nervous! Ahh! The fear is palpable. Luckily, she does great. As Sebastian watches her, he becomes entranced; his gaze softens. Revelation: Sebastian, the ladies man, is head-over-heels in love with Kelli.
Taylor has been summoned by the mighty PC to an Upper East Side corner. “Why did you not come to my party?” he demands bitchily. Ooohhh … girlfriend is pissed off! Taylor goes into her airhead mode: “Um, well, like, my mom, and like … ” In classic awkward-girl fashion, she lets it slip that she ditched his party for a concert in Brooklyn! Bonus points for thinking your “public school” plans were more worthy of your time. Minus 15 points because PC’s party was probably cooler and your explanation was lame.
PC’s problems make him the perfect reality character—his issues and outlook are so classic, they’re good enough to make an episode of “Dawson’s Creek.” Where will PC go to college? Everyone else has gotten into one. Will PC even go to college? What about his deteriorating friendship with lifelong comrade, Jessie? The two have a heart-to-heart on the banks of the Hudson. “I always feel like you’re trying to change me,” he tells Jessie. “I feel like sometimes you want me to be someone I’m not.” Wow, is this convo real? It has to be because only a gay man could let his guard down that much, talk so openly and truthfully. It’s a real-life Nate and Blair moment where the two agree, “We’ll work it out,” knowing that this is probably the beginning of the end. After high school, things change. And there’s no changing that.
Speaking of changes, Jessie, who I maybe once called shallow and horse-faced, became, hands-down, the strongest character on the show. She proved to be the most driven, and she doesn’t take sh*t. The focus of the episode’s second half is on her big charity gala for Operation Smile. Camille is mucho upset that she didn’t get to be involved with the swank organization and has a “meeting” with Jessie about it. (Meaning they walk down 5th Avenue while Jessie texts and acts like celeb. This girl is going to be the next Lizzie Grubman.) Too bad, says Jessie, YOU DIDN’T JOIN THE FACEBOOK GROUP, MKAY???
The event turns out to be a success—fancy venue, photographers, celebs, a fashion show, the works. Drama ensues when some clothes go missing, PC apologizes to Carmen Marc Valvo, and a bunch of kids are caught smoking weed. Jessie, the ringmaster, pulls it all together.
As the show ends, we return to Camille, who’s jealous and bitches throughout the event. I don’t get her whole “I’m a bitch” attitude. She tries so hard by saying downright stupid things: “Taylor is the most unique person—in a good way—that I’ve ever really met.” Meaning you’ve spent your life surrounded by rich girls like you? That’s something to be proud of?
At the conclusion, it looks like Camille is set to reign next year as queen bee of the prep school scene. Will there be another season to let her rule and unleash her wrath? We’ll have to see.