Nick has decided to take his talents to New York City!
The simmering tension between Steve and Nick wasn’t going anywhere, and while Nick was ready to cut ties entirely with the club that brought him back to life, a chance encounter on Welcome to Chippendales Season 1 Episode 4 sets him off on a whole new journey.
But this journey will still include Steve Banerjee, and there’s no way that will end well for anyone.
Steve’s decision to make the calendars is a sound business choice. Chippendales has never been hotter. The demand is there, so why not take advantage of the opportunity in front of you?
But Steve is so blinded by money and this pursuit of being at the top that he’s completely lost focus of what it means to be a decent human being.
Otis has been nothing but loyal to him, willing to do whatever it takes for the sake of business. He looked up to Steve, believing them to have more in common than not. But as the sole black man on the roster, he finds out in the most embarrassing way that he’s good enough for the shadows of the club but not good enough for the light of day.
It’s a tough pill for Otis to swallow once he realizes the realities of working at Chippendales and for Steve. He’s the token. The one they can dress up as a pimp and dig into their bag of stereotypes to parade him onstage as a prop for the suburban housewives to play with. But he can’t be more than that. He can never be more than that.
Steve: Otis, what is the matter?
Otis: You really don’t know? The calendar, Steve.
Steve: They love it.
Otis: Yeah. I don’t know, I guess I just find it a bit odd that your most popular dancer, I’m the only one left out.
Steve: I know.
Otis: Yeah, why?
Steve: I should have told you that was my fault. I thought about it. I really wanted to put you in it because I love the pictures. But ultimately, I felt it would be bad for sales.
Otis: Bad for sales, how?
Steve: Well, it’s one thing for women to enjoy you in the privacy of the club. But hanging in their home. A naked black man in full view of their husbands. You know how white people are. They get threatened. At the office. The boss gets it –
Otis: I think people can handle a shirtless black man.
Poor Otis finally sees Steve for who he is here, which isn’t a martyr or a person to look up to, but a man willing to feed into the insecurities of the masses if it helps to line his pockets.
It’s “just business,” though, right?
We’re seeing many iterations of Chippendales over the years, and this one seems to be when Chippendales is at its most successful. The club is consistently packed, and the calendar signing is such a success that Waldenbooks (RIP) wants even more calendars to sell.
And throughout this hour, you can see how addicted Steve is to being the man on the top. The kingpin, if you will. He wants control in a way that kind of blinds him to everything else around him.
Purchasing an entire printing press for the sole purpose of producing calendars when he knows there’s a finite time they’re relevant is the opposite of smart.
But he saw an obstacle and fixed it without thinking about the ramifications. And surely there will be ramifications because he doesn’t need to own a printing press right now.
Everyone around Steve seems to understand that there’s not only something a little off about him, but he’s not exactly a good person. A little neuroticism is one thing, but Steve doesn’t listen to anyone, deeming himself more important.
It’s a struggle to get him to see beyond his narrow view, which is why Nick literally has to threaten him to get what he wants.
Nick travels across the country to escape Steve, but it’s still not far enough to leave Chippendales behind.
He’s got a bright idea in US Male, at least in the sense that he would be entering into an uncrowded market. And New York City at that time would theoretically be a great place for a male revue, especially one that was more diverse and catered to a more extensive clientele.
It wouldn’t be in direct competition with Chippendales because they’re not in the same city, but it would be an establishment that, if successful, could take over the name Chippendales was making for itself.
Nick seems hellbent on making it a reality, to the point that he needs his hookup to spell out why it would be easier and more beneficial to capitalize on an already established brand.
So, basically, the way I see it, you’ve got two choices. You and me stick together and take the big apple by storm. Or you and me go to war. I take my talent, my vision, not to mention half the dancers in this club, and I become your biggest competitor. And worsts nightmare. It will be ugly, Steve. Blood will spill. Everything you’ve worked so hard to build will be in jeopardy. Existential fucking peril, man. Those are your choices. I know which one I prefer. But I’m more than willing to take the other.
Nick [to Steve]
The thing about Steve and Nick is that their personalities were just truly not suited for one another. Nick would never be a fall-in-line guy, even if he sometimes took his lumps. And Steve was never going to be content allowing others to share his title or what he perceived to be prestige.
It’s interesting to hear Nick talking to Denise and seeming so sure about getting Steve on board with the expansion plan. Yet when he walks into Steve’s office, he isn’t there to try and convince him so much as he is trying to twist his arm and threaten him.
And he has one hell of a pitch.
You could argue that Chippendales finds a way to succeed without Nick, but you can’t say that he didn’t elevate them. Steve and company have surely picked up on things Nick showed them over the years, but they weren’t Nick. They didn’t have his creativity and determination to make that show the best goddamn male strip show you ever saw.
It’s why Steve eventually relents because he understands the stakes. At this point, it’s better to have Nick with you than against you. Because entering into a competition with the man is too much of a risk.
But notice he immediately takes credit for the idea when talking to Irene, unwilling to look like he’s lost any semblance of control and stature to the one person in the world he should be most honest with.
When you know where a story will eventually go, you’re waiting to see precisely when the tide changes. I’m not sure there’s one big thing that will push Steve over the edge in his battle royale with Nick. More like there is just a festering hatred and a series of events leading up to what will eventually be a very bloody conclusion.
Welcome To My Extra Thoughts
Andrew Rannells makes his series debut singing in a cabaret-like bar, and it’s fantastic. Bradford and Nick play off one another well, and it’s very easy to see these two sending Steve for a loop.
Steve incorporating a Chippendales membership card after being discriminated against at that posh Hollywood eatery is such a Steve thing to do. He continues to show his intelligence at times when it comes to the business. Because what did that little card really get you for what you had to do to get it?
Denise slapping Nick the first time she saw him made me gasp. She got him good.
Ray pledging his undying devotion to Steve like he’s Michael Corleone and not the owner of a Hollywood club was so strange. Why does he feel such a pull to the man when from what we can see, he’s not doing all that much for Ray besides employing him in a dead-end job.
I’m glad Otis is leaving the club in the rearview, but if this is the last we get of Otis, we’ll miss seeing Quentin Plair light up the screen!
This is the halfway point of the limited series, and we’re getting ready to see the club’s expansion outside of Los Angeles, which should be a very interesting time in this story. Steve can’t be in two places at once, so how does he reconcile that with his micromanaging tendencies?
We’ll just have to wait to see where things go from here, but in the meantime, make sure you watch Welcome to Chippendales online, so you’re all caught up with the new series!
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.