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Review: Blow Out: Season Two

Dock a star from Bravo’s Blow Out for stealing the title of one of the cinema’s great political thrillers.

Blow Out: Season Two

Dock a star from Bravo’s Blow Out for stealing the title of one of the cinema’s great political thrillers (turning what was once an invitation to look and listen beyond deceptive surfaces into a facile slogan promoting Los Angelean fabulousness), as well as for appropriating “It’s Your Thing”—that annoyingly overplayed ode to caveman machismo—as its theme song. Otherwise, bask in the Hollywood lifestyle of hairstylist Jonathan Antin, an alpha-male straight guy of the Warren Beatty Shampoo School of Life whose love for women is only overshadowed by his love for hair.

The show’s first season followed the follicly sensitive Jonathan’s trials and tribulations as he opened a second salon in Beverly Hills; in season two (soon coming to a close) Jonathan’s trying to get a new hair product line off the ground and the sparks are flying. The best sequences this season have been the confrontations between Jonathan and his hot-headed product designer Scott: the two start off on the wrong foot when Scott is late to their first meeting and the tensions escalate from there with each guy trying to outdo the other in pure vicious rebuke. It all culminates in an expletive-heavy, ahem, blow out between the two with Scott turning tail and Jonathan punching a door to near-smithereens. (Bravo played this moment so often in previews that it’s surprising it maintained its effectiveness.) This being the ultimately cozy world of reality television, the two reached a fragile truce in episode five, with the usually headstrong Jonathan apologizing for his past actions—now recorded for both posterity’s and schadenfreude’s sake.

This story arc exemplifies the big, blubbering sentimental heart at Blow Out’s center, which, this season, has rather jaw-droppingly allowed its viewers into Jonathan’s personal therapy sessions (“Only in L.A., kids!” sighs the West Coast Cindy Adams.) Watching this quintessential man’s man break down into confessional tears should be off-putting, but there’s something undeniably electric and attractive about this guy, a passionate brutishness that cuts against his frequently weepy plays to the pit. To an extent, Jonathan Antin is an actor and he milks it for all its worth. I’m hard pressed to say if the results are subversive or sniveling (probably both), but there’s no denying that Antin exudes an honest kind of movie star charisma—showing off his talents, confident all eyes are on him, and having, all said, a damn fine time doing it. It’s his thing…

Cast: Jonathan Antin, Alyn Topper, Annie Covell, BethAnn Catalano, Edward Morgan, Erica Reiss, Jason Low, Kelly Bulen, Kevin Josephson, Kiara Bailey, Kimberly Sanchez, Michael Solis, Rosie Acosta, Scott Cunha, Tina Hedges Network: Bravo, Tuesdays, 9 p.m.

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