Making the Band
New Year's Eve

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Mr. Pearlman and the Rats of N.I.M.H.

It's New Year's Eve, and Ashley's in the shower covered in foam. That makes two shower shots of Ashley since the series started, versus zero for anyone else. Mind you, I'm not complaining. We see Trevor in his underwear -- a little trick he must've learned from Paul -- and then Jacob and Mike clad in towels and laughing. The doorbell rings, and Herizon Heather arrives to accompany Mike to the millennium party. Ah, Cori. Dissed again. Heather looks really nice, and I almost forgive her error of judgment where Paul was concerned.

Jay gathers the group in the living room and starts in on the lecture. Tonight is O-Town's first public appearance, and Jay wants the gang to keep a low profile, avoid the cameras and just generally behave. "Are we supposed to be professional and low-key, or are we supposed to have a good time?" wonders Mike in the confessional. Ashley says the group needs to trust Jay, who's been in the business "a long time" and is "only going to do things that are positive for the group." Jay cautions the guys against underage drinking, or of-age overindulgence. Ranger Marc, his thinning hair slicked back, stands by futilely as Jay usurps the coveted Party Pooper mantle. Sparing no expense -- or rather, sparingly and at no expense -- Trans Con shuttles the guys to Planet Hollywood in their regular automobile. This is the last Man Van trip of the twentieth century, a historic moment to which I and the show's six other viewers bear weepy witness. "Remember how much people are giving up for you," Jay cautions one last time.

Pouring out of the car, the guys meander into Planet Hollywood as Jay instructs them to walk with guys on the left, dates on the right. Jacob ignores that, or shows blatant signs of the age-old "which one is left?" struggle. Earning my lifelong respect, a man in the crowd shouts, "Don't fool yourselves, you guys aren't that important!" Jacob's right ear -- or is that left? Dang -- is apparently the deafer one, as he takes this time to note, "Walking down the red carpet, with all the fans screaming and trying to take pictures, is something that you only see on TV." Inside, Trevor proclaims that this is the best moment of his young life, and Ashley gushes something similarly effusive. Jacob's voice-over tells us it's a star-studded event in which all the celebrities treated them as equals. But, despairing of the idea of appearing on the TGIF lineup, no one signed the requisite release forms and therefore all the footage we see is carefully filmed to leave out anyone but the six lads and their dates. Erik-Michael chokes out one of his trademark ineloquent tidbits, and here it is verbatim: "Talking to people I never even thought I talked to, like Jennifer Love Hewitt." Two words, Love: Rock Bottom. As we see them all eating, drinking and being merry, Erik-Michael confesses he feels sorry for Ikaika, who's missing "the best night of our lives."

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Making the Band

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