Jessie Leavitt and Peter Carey Peterson, who were recently banned from a fancy Three-O Vodka launch party for being too famously underage, are the only cast members of NYC Prep who seem to have a real relationship. Unfortunately for Jessie she’s a little too attached to her “bisexual,” ennui-ridden, narcissistic companion who has his therapy sessions filmed and likes to swap spit with Barron Hilton.
On the show Jessie likes to “go places” exclusively with Peter Carey and is a broken record with the phrase “It’s not like I’m your girlfriend.” It’s painful to watch the many, many times Jessie waits in anticipation for PCs arrival, and he stands her up or comes at least an hour late looking stylish and bored. And it’s funny to watch her get jealous when he talks to other girls, even her mom. Jessie darling, it’s not the girls you have to worry about.
She yells at him, but it’s no matter. Her anger doesn’t make PC want to rip off her clothes, it doesn’t make him less gay, or less distracted. Or less bored with his fabulous life. It doesn’t even seem to make him sorry. He tells the camera she’s a “massive b*tch.” But her outbursts don’t push him any farther away than he already is: he still drops by her house, has breakfast with her. He’s still her date, even after the season’s ended, to a grown-up party where they could probably have gotten in if they weren’t so famous. He still tell her he loves her to end a conversation. It’s obvious her heart flutters and lifts when she unsuccessfully tries to not reveal herself too fully when she answers back “I love you too.”
Taking PC and Jessie separately, they come off as insufferable, entitled brats. PC is disgustingly dismissive of all the privileges he enjoys and Jessie feels entitled to things like internships with top designers and seems to be delusional about more than her relationship with PC. The are often mean to other teenagers.
But together they stand out because for whatever it is, their relationship isn’t mostly manufactured to fit a Gossip Girl inspired Bravo storyline, there is something real about it that the camera sneaks in and catches as these two kids strain to keep up their characters. They are playing sophisticated young things bored with the shiny toys that distract others their age, but they are really just confused 18-year-old kids who don’t yet know themselves.
Tonight’s episode, “Guests of Guests,” involves another almost touching tug-and-pull drama in the Jessie and PC’s “beardmance” where their teenage hearts can’t quite keep up with the artful way they sketch themselves. It’s easy to hate Jessie and PC because of their often snotty and annoying behavior, but they also show that all the money, accesses, excesses, and privileges in the world can’t protect you from the ravages of a teenager’s tortured soul. You still wish you were somewhere, someone different. You still love people desperately who don’t love you back, not that way.
~ Lynn Cinnamon