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Thursday, December 14, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #11

Once again in life, I find myself looking for answers in the words of Alicia Silverstone. I'm paraphrasing, but this week's episode is a Monet - from far away it looks okay, but up close it's a big old mess. No discernable theme. Multiple scenarios plucked straight from previous series. Modules falling to bits before our eyes. Spunky judges getting all hoity and cross with little justification. There's only a couple of episodes left, and I desperately need some plot cohesion in this, the "Take The Bully By The Horns" episode of America's Next Top Module.

· There are only five modules left, two of them are virgins, one of them is gay, and they've been virtually deprived of any meaningful male contact for eleven weeks. By my initial calculations, that means they're roughly ninety-two percent randy, and, being in Spain, a joke about bulls and horns would probably be appropriate here. Never mind. Melrose jumps on the dog & bone (that's rhyming slang, people – get your mind above the curly zone) and calls Lucas, one of the Spanish male modules from last week's episode. She asks him to accompany the girls to dinner that night and to bring some friends, finishing the call with "Bye, sexy". Even Amanda, the straight twin, gets excited and comments that "Spanish guys and American guys are very similar. They all have the same jokes and stuff, but Spanish guys smell better". Considering their diet is mostly cured meat and garlic, I can only surmise that American guys should seriously consider having a wash. Amanda even adds "What happens in Spain stays in Spain", which would be more convincing without the presence of a camera crew, several boom mikes and Amanda's obvious inexperience in the squelchy realm.

· Dinner is a speedily-edited affair, which is disappointing – it's not really a proper series of ANTM until we're witness to some drunken stumbling, badly-concealed up-chucking and some cross-cultural dry-humping. Despite Melrose's previous diva boast that she likes "a glass of wine or four", no tangible evidence of off-trolleyness ensues. Then what could have easily stretched out into a half-hour of fuzzy-focus soft porn is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it montage of Caridee and male module Victor heading out to the balcony for a cigarette, Caridee and Victor going the pash, and, seemingly much later, Caridee farewelling Victor at the front door in hushed tones and quite possibly a change of clothes. No big deal whatsoever is made of this highly entertaining development, which I think sells Caridee a bit short. She's not just a prime example of human perfection, she's a bit of a slut as well. What's not to love?

· The next morning, the girls visit with Tyra for a one-on-five Condescension Carnival. Tyra contorts her face into her all-knowing, all-caring grimace and tells the modules she wants to talk about the "harsh realities of this industry". What follows is a jaw-dropping stream of megalomaniacal twaddle, the main gist of which is to tell the girls that Tyra knows best, and that if she ever says anything harsh that makes them feel bad about themselves (and vomit, or cut themselves, or whatever it is contemporary modules do these days), that it's for their own good, and they'll thank her for it one day. There are several highlights, including the statement that the modelling industry is the toughest industry of all. Sure, physicists and microsurgeons have to study for a decade and a half, but they don't have to look fierce in heels at the same time. Other highlights include:
o "America's Next Top Model is your coach", which I guess makes Miss Jay the head cheerleader;
o "I'm gonna sacrifice myself for you", which turns out to be an empty promise, as I envision Tyra falling on her own sword, or being pecked by crows, or something. She's probably speaking metaphorically though, huh.
o "It's coming from a place of love and a place of mama". What, is she breast-feeding the girls now? I hope it goes down better than last week's prune juice.
o "When you're in the jungle and then things are happening that the coach said, you're like 'Dang. Tyra said that". Grammatical atrocities aside, I can't actually fault this one. I love it when people say "Dang".

· A Tyra-Mail arrives, warning of the Impending Go-See Frenzy, and the modules meet at Elite modelling agency, ushered in by Pancho, the aptly-named director. If any of you have watched more than one series of Top Module before, you'll be able to easily predict the coming events – a time limit, a number of designers to "go-see", modules walking up and down under the critical eye of some bitch company director, confusion over getting cabs in another language, a ticking clock super-imposed on the screen, and at least one module turning up late at the final muster-point, red-faced and panting. Blah-di-blah-di-blah. Eugena and Caridee pair up, Mimanda forms another predictable duo, and Melrose craps on and on and on about how she's happy being by herself, and she doesn't need "a little counterpart buddy". I'm sure the voices in your head are keeping you plenty company, my unbalanced friend. The twins take an hour to get to their first appointment, complaining that they don't know what street signs look like in other countries. It's easy, girls – they're on street corners, and they look a bit phalli…. oh. I see your point. The other modules go through their separate predictable motions, and all except the twins arrive back at Elite in time. Like gastric reflux in its ability to both repeat itself and turn my stomach, Melrose wins the go-see challenge, and picks Caridee to share in a dinner cooked by a personal chef. Yawn.

· Photo-shoot time, and the girls gather in a bullfighting ring, met by Mr Jay in a matador's outfit and more smudgy eyeliner than Chrissie Hynde the morning after a bender. Eugena comments that Mr Jay "doesn't look like a matador, he looks like Mr Jay dressed as a matador". Um… yes. Choice burn, Eugena. Mr Jay announces that today the girls will be shooting with a "bully", and in saunters today's photographer and my reason for shaving, Spunky Nigel. The Spanish sun don't half make him look edible. The girls are then introduced to the other sinewy piece of meat taking part in the shoot as an angry-looking bull is released suddenly into the ring, thundering towards them. The modules scatter and bolt to safety like screaming wheatgerm in a high wind, and I tip my sombrero to the show's writers. I always thought this show was only so much bullshit, and here's the brilliant, ironic proof.

· In today's shoot, the modules will be dressed as Hot Chick Matadors With Silly Hair, and will be required to wave a rod about, imagining it's a matador's cape. The actual cape will be Photo-shopped in later for dramatic effect. As Nigel is explaining the shoot and showing them the rod in question (Nigel. Rod. Phnar.), Caridee, being the Best Chick In The World Who Got Hammered At The Last Judging Panel, asks Nigel "Did you just remove that from your ass from last panel?". Now, a normal person's reaction to a pearler like that would be a high five, a round of beers, and possibly the shouting of the word "Psyche!". But no. Nigel goes a bit quiet and walks away, and Mr Jay steps in to give Caridee and the girls a gay-spray about respecting judges and photographers. Caridee defends herself to camera by saying that it was obviously a joke, and she was just being herself, but it seems Nigel is touchy about jokes involving the insertion and/or removal of rods from his bottom. Melrose milks the situation by blathering on about how respectful she is towards her elders, proving that she has no problem herself with scenarios involving the judges' bottoms and her own nose and mouth.

· Despite the unnerving appearance of an ambulance and the instruction "If you hear the handlers say "run", then run", all the modules pull some pretty brilliant poses out of their diminutive arses, and with the exception of Amanda, who looks like Marilyn Manson in a skinny-mirror, all look bloody good in their trampy matador garb. Eugena the Boring poses dramatically well, despite the presence of three hundred kilos of stamping, snorting rage behind her. The bull looks cross, too. Amanda's session is interrupted when the handler shouts "run!", and she leaps to safety like a terrified hat-pin. Michelle, according to Nigel, "uses her fear", possibly staining her matador-pants the new black as she does so. Mr Jay, somewhat redundantly, asks Melrose to show him some arrogance, but she seems to be trying too hard, and Caridee's performance is inhibited by her post-dressing-down sulks. She says, frustrated, that she "wants to do well for Nigel", which with the exception of the words "well for" is exactly how I feel. She's accused of looking too much like a porn star, which seems unfair considering she's wearing tiny, shiny hotpants that would make Linda Lovelace blush. She apologises again to Nigel for her previous rectal faux-pas, and he gives her another stern chat about respect again. Enough, Nigel. Oh, wow. I never thought I'd say that.

· Our modules are summoned to Casa De Elimination to face their fate, and I'm again disappointed to report that Tyra doesn't look like a five-dollar highway prostitute. Why does she let me down like this? Next week she'd better go see the Colonel and squeeze herself back into a toddler's corset, or I'll sue. The girls are asked to each tell the judges who they think has the most and least potential in the competition. Blatant excuse for ego and bitchiness anyone? Melrose elects herself as "most", due to her determination, and Eugena as "least", as she finds it frightening that she doesn't hear any of the psychotic desperation for attention and success that so often spurts from her own mouth. Eugena picks herself as "most" because of something boring about a journey, and Amanda as "least" because of her lack of confidence. Caridee picks herself as "most" because of her passion, and Amanda as "least" for her lack of it. Amanda, because she's an idiot, picks Eugena as "most", and Caridee as "least" because, apparently her look is all "country girl", and we've all seen it before. We've seen anaemic stick-figures with kindergarten-level educations and wing-nut ears before too, honey, but we're not getting all catty on your arse. Rowr. Michelle picks Caridee as "most" because of her bubbliness, and then gives an Oscar-worthy (I'm talking The Grouch, not The Academy) performance involving tears, sobs, and hair-pulling as she picks herself as "worst". Good strategy, mate. Sound.

· Photos are picked to bits, and Mimanda's are woeful – all ears, turkey-neck and pale blue skin, whilst the others are pretty decent. In an underwhelming ANTM world-first, Caridee pulls a crumpled piece of paper out of her pocket and recites an apologetic speech to Nigel and the judges about her inexcusable behaviour, proving that molehills can be mountains, and dead horses can truly be flogged. Nigel gives her yet another serve about respect and humility, and I almost don't want to lick his face for a second.

· The judges deliberate, and Nigel comments that Caridee is "a model falling apart in front of our eyes". Give it (or me) a bone, mate. The modules are called back into the room, and names are called out one by one, and I'm gushingly relieved when Caridee's name is called third, leaving just the Twins Mimanda to face the music. In her traditional character assassination, Tyra doesn't actually use either twin's name, making me suspect that I'm not the only one who can't tell the bastards apart. "You," she says, "have natural talent, but no passion". "And you", she continues, turning slightly, "have all the drive in the world, but no talent". In an underwhelming decision that smacks loudly of coin-flipping, Gay Michelle is given the boot, and Amanda is tearfully safe. As Michelle leaves, she gives what she thinks is a "V for Victory" sign, but which I read as an "Up yours, arseholes" gesture. Bye, Michelle. Mind you don't have a crisis of sexual orientation on the way out.

Next week, the modules learn flamenco, Melrose's Postal Worker Within inches ever closer to the surface, and Caridee gets some disturbing shakes in the swimming pool. Frilly. Silly. Chilly.


PetStarr said...


This is classic. I'm glad to find someone who loves ANTM as much as I do.

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