Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Let the Screams Begin...America's Next Top Model is BAAAACCKKK!!!!

This pic kinda creeps me out, but Jaslene's face is killer (pun probably intended).

Ah, it's Wednesday night and the monkey-screeching models have returned to prime time and I feel a certain calm wash over me with every high-pitched squeal that ensures irreversible damage to the ear drum. You just know that someone behind the camera is leaning away from his lens shouting, “Now, girls, now! The Tyra Mail has arrived and you must run to it and scream at blood curdling decibels as if it were the greatest thrill of your life to receive fake mail you already knew was coming!” It’s disconcerting and yet simultaneously soothing, reassuring us that for the next twelve weeks, someone will always—wait for it…wait for it… say it with me now —still be in the running towards becoming AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL!

We know it all so well. We can announce the prizes on demand, we can introduce the judges by heart, and we can pause the exact amount of seconds that pass before Tyra tells us that she only has two photos in her hand. Yes, much of Top Model is by now as worn out as a flannel shirt at the Good Will where the girls soldiered through their first challenge (Someone please tell me how every girl managed to find an outfit exactly her size within three minutes.), but worn out flannel is comfortable flannel (okay, maybe all flannel is comfortable flannel). And if you bought it at Good Will, what was old to someone else is new to you. So on the eve of this eighth cycle of The Tyra Banks Show, oops…er, I mean ANTM, let’s take a look at what’s old and what’s new, shall we?

Tyra’s voiceover over the intro montage announced that she’s been modeling for a cajillion years, of which we are all painfully aware. The Top Model franchise has reached ridiculous heights of success. We know this too. However, I had absolutely no idea that Heidi Klum hosts the German version. How much better than ours is that version?!?!

The gathering of the semi-finalists is usually in a hotel. This time they went straight to boot camp. I was waiting for Tyra’s entrance to be cringe worthy, and it was, but somehow the stepping wasn’t quite as egregious as last season’s Norma Desmond display, and strangely enough, Tyra seemed relatively restrained throughout most of the show. There were some attempts at utterly un-spontaneous, spontaneously zany moments, but they were mercifully brief and a few were actually, well, funny. Go figure.

As usual none of the girls seemed to know a damn thing about fashion until one of them stepped forward to correctly identify Richard Avedon. And another chick mentioned John Galliano. That almost made up for someone not knowing Caroline Herrera.

Plus sized models have returned and this time, “dere’s two of dem!” (This is to be said in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice. It’s a actually a line from one of his movies, surprisingly, not Twins.). This is a first in Top Model history.

Someone apparently tried to put the breaks on Tyra’s raging narcissism as her face is not lurking, larger than life, around every corner of the house. She was actually gracious enough to allow other models on the walls, but of course, they’re only other Top Model winners, well because, all roads lead to Tyra. And she made up for the fact that her picture does not adorn every wall by spicing up the Tyra Mail which is now written on a photograph of Ty Ty AND bears a stamp that is a picture of yours truly. Why hasn’t the United States Postal Service gotten on that yet?

And of course there are the girls themselves. A new bunch, but not a new breed, to be sure. The Mall-of-America-parking-lot auditions continue to give us the best and the brightest!

On to deliberations!

Brittany: Despite claiming she was particularly loud, I can’t recall hearing a peep out of her. Her pro-fur photo was lovely, so onwards for Brittany.

Cassandra: A bit bland, but pretty and she’s representin’ Seattle so I’ll give a nod her way. And hey—let’s not forget, she sewed a wig on to her head. I don’t have much to say about that other than, hey—she sewed a wig on to her head!

Diana: As they commented, excellent proportions and a pretty face, but perhaps some of the worst modeling I’ve seen in a while. So yeah, I’m rooting for the bigger girls, but I dinged her for saying, “Guns are bad, but some people need them for protection.” X (buzzer sound!).

Dionne: I gotta love Dionne, not because she somehow managed to turn a discussion of veganism to jalapeƱo peppers, and not because of her 1B30 hair color, but because she said, and I quote, “Dentistry and modeling are my passions!” Aw yeah.

Felicia: I don’t quite see the Baby Tyra thing, but she has a nice face and I think they managed to find a nice shot. All quite nice.

Jael: If Jael doesn’t start opening her mouth when she talks, I’m going to jam a hoola hoop down her throat. And enough with the pissing and moaning about winning the challenge. Oh you poor winner, you! Same thing with the fever. HEY—Tyra has to come to panel when she has a fever! Oh, Tyra. If only we all had your fortitude.

Jaslene: Aside from being frighteningly thin, Jaslene has done nothing to annoy me, has a pretty great walk, and took the best pic of the week. Walking every day, all day, might pay off.

Natasha: I know the Eastern European model is IN, and she’s certainly beautiful, but she’s going to drive me to drinking large amounts of vodka. Straight. Right out of the bottle.

Renee: I hate when they have moms on the show. Why? Because, like Renee, they prattle on and on about how they’re doing this for their children. However, I think not. If you really wanted to do something for your child, and you’re twenty years old, finish your education, get a good job, and raise your child. You can say you’re doing this for your kid all you want, but just like everyone else, you wanna be a model cuz you love thinking about people adoring you for your beauty. I once had a co-worker who did one of those Ivy League layouts in Playboy. She yammered about how she did it to make a feminist statement. That argument is about as old as Gloria Steinem. Who doesn’t want to be looked at in a glossy magazine and thought of as beautiful? Get off your self-righteous high horse and I’ll step down off my soapbox—which will probably happen soon because if Renee’s peace and love pic is any indication she’ll be going home to that kid pretty damn soon.

Samantha: Couldn’t tell you a thing about her except that she’s stunning. Oh, I can tell you that she had trouble doing the lesbian wedding shot because since she has a boyfriend, she had trouble pretending to be in love with a woman. Did I mention that’s she’s stunning?

Sarah: I had high hopes for Sarah until I realized the reason Tyra’s egotism had dwindled was because Sarah stole it. It’s great that she has experience and she certainly knows her stuff and is downright adorable with her pixie cut, but her photo was abysmal and if she’s not careful she’s going to go the way of that chick who’s family had “the pretty gene” a couple of cycles ago.

Whitney: I always root for the plus sized girls, and she’s a smarty pants from Dartmouth who cried when she looked at the view from the house. How could you not like her? Hard to comment on her photo since Samantha stole the scene, but hopefully she’ll step up and do us normal sized women proud!

And tonight’s elimination:

Kathleen: Oh, Kathleen. Always sad to see the first girl have to pack her belongings and go home. And I can’t even put into my own words what I’m going to miss about her, even after just one episode, so, in closing, I give you her words. The greatest hits of Kathleen, an ode to her, if you will:

  • “I think every model wants to date Nigel Barker because he’s so…tall.” Um yeah, that’s the only reason. This reminds me of a friend in high school who said, “The Flintstones is a good show, but it’s so unrealistic because they start their car with their feet.” Um yeah, that’s the only reason.
  • “My thing is anti-fur. It’s like I hate fur.” Got it. Thanks!
  • “I know I’m going to have to do something with crap. Not crap literally, but something someone threw away.” Got it. Thanks!
  • “You’re not the judge of you anymore.” No, but I’m still the boss of me!
  • I was going to go down the “animals die naturally—like when they fight in the jungle and the woods--and it’s okay to use their fur for coats” road, but it’s too easy and I’m starting to feel a little guilty…Kathleen will be missed, but most definitely not forgotten.

And with that, until next week, you are still in the running towards becoming America’s Next Top Model!

BTW—who failed to tell me that there’s going to be a reality show to find the next Pussy Cat Doll?!?!? Yeah, I’m going to watch it, but I woulda auditioned for crap’s sake! Sure, I’m a five feet tall, thirty-seven year old Jew, but I coulda BRUNG IT. I was just dancing to that “Loosen Up My Buttons” song in my gym class (Urban Dance—or as my friend and I call it, “So You Think You Can Urban Dance!”). I coulda KICKED IT. But whatever. I’ll just watch instead.


alisa said...

I had a close encounter of the ANTM-kind yesterday, and it gives you an indication of how much ANTM really does for these girls' careers: I was alarmed to see April (from season--excuse me CYCLE-- two was modeling in a catalog. And not just any catalogue... it was a SEWING PATTERN CATALOG! And I recall that April was modelling.... a jumper. Oh the horror!!!

sianwu said...

So I heard of a drinking game where whenever Tyra says "fierce!" people drink--I think it'd be more successful if every time the girls screamed, people drank. The current girls I love to hate are Renee and Sarah. I'm kind of disappointed that they kicked off Kathleen so early, because she would've been so entertaining! Jack said he was actually surprised that she hasn't died already, poor thing is so dumb you'd think the Darwin effect would've taken her little soul away. And I NEED to see April in that sewing pattern catalog--do you think you could get a hold of it?

gigi said...

Oooh, Alisa! A cycle two sighting! Cycles 1 & 2 are the glory days, when the show was actually about fashion, before Cover Girl got their grubby little corporate sponsor mitts all over everything. However, if April was seen in a jumper, she might have strayed from fashion...I think we might need to see this horrific image indeed!

And Sian, a screaming drinking gaming would have me piss drunk in about two seconds. Last night the ratio of screaming to use of the word "fierce" was a bout 67:1. However the premiere is always particularly scream heavy, what with all the excitement over the first spotting Jay Manuel, Miss Jay, Tyra, the house, the Tyra Mail (although that one never ends!), etc.
What I loved about Kathleen was how darn earnest she was about everything she said. Hard to believe she makes it through life on a day-to-day basis, but you can't question her sincereity!
Renee is SO going home.