Making the Band
Goodbye Friends

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Two Winners, Five Losers?

Mike picks up the phone and calls someone that the producers don't bother to name. Mike tells "woman" that he didn't make the cut. "Woman" is perplexed and sad, and before Mike opens his mouth again, the screen splits and we hear Ashley telling his mother the good news. "She was like, 'Whooo!'" Ashley grins. "I've never heard her scream that loud." Ashley makes a bizarre comment about wishing his stepfather could have been there too, so he could get on the phone and hear Ashley's news. But we all know Ashley's stepfather was indeed there, sucking back Old Milwaukee beer, spewing obscenities and reading Creative Medicine 101: How to be Allergic to Tenors When Your Son Joins a Boy-Band. Ashley profusely thanks his mother for her support, while his father makes a series of gestures that, roughly translated, say, "Honey, I'm momentarily indisposed and cannot personally tell my stepson of my renewed disgust in him. Pray, dearest, might you pass along that he's disinherited? A thousand thanks." Bryan calls what we assume is his house, and chats with "boy." "I'm coming back home," Bryan says with a calm smile. "And I hope my room is intact." This "boy," probably a brother, expresses total shock, because at that point, he hasn't seen the show yet. Bryan promises that the guys who made it are worthy, and he says he's completely fine with how things are ending.

In the room they share, Ashley asks Mike how he feels. "Honestly? I knew it," Mike says, surprising Ashley and flashing an encouraging sign that he's a smart guy. Before the old crony Ken brought the contracts over, Mike apparently paid attention to the body language of Jay, Lou and Ranger Marc -- none of them caught and held his gaze, neither did they make eye contact with Bryan. "It'll hurt for a long time, and I'll probably never get over the fact that I could've been in that group," Mike says in voice-over as we watch him pack. He talks about his hope that school and modeling -- huh? -- will preoccupy him enough to help him forget. Bryan says he's rarely gone into situations and had them go the wrong way, but when it does happen, he tries to take a lesson from it. Like, say, "Never do anything like this again."

Sunrise. Bryan's making his bed and finishing up the packing. He tells us the biggest struggle for O-Town will be staying humble. "We've all been incredibly blessed," he says. "I hope they don't lose focus of how hard it is to get to this point. We've skipped steps a lot of people struggle to go through." Meanwhile, Mike's leaving a note for everyone, scrawling "Make us proud!" on a piece of paper. I hope it's his contract. He then goes into Jacob's room and high-fives his half-asleep friend; in the living room, Bryan taps on a goose-down cocoon and Ikaika emerges. He's chained to Malia via the telephone, and breaks from his futile booty call long enough to say "Peace!" to Bryan. It warms the heart, doesn't it? Hammering the point home, background music plays: "Time for me to wave goodbye…Did you ever think I'd be the one to wave goodbye?" Um, yes, actually. As Mike and Bryan board the Man Van for one final time, it's clear no one bothered to get up and say a proper goodbye. A pox on those selfish shitsacks. Mike admits he's going to have mixed emotions when he sees the guys on television. "To not be part of it…It crushes me," he says. Bryan tearfully tells the camera, "If someone came up and offered one million dollars in exchange for this experience, I wouldn't take it." The mind boggles. If someone offered me a million dollars in exchange for sharing their experience, I'd be on it like Jacob to a mirror. And so it ends for Mike and Bryan. The Man Van revs up and pulls out.

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Making the Band

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