ANTM4 Ep.4 Recap: The Floundering Fish Who Almost Foundered
Another episode jam-packed with, not jam, but plenty o’ sweet, sweet drama. This week, someone earns the unfortunate distinction of being the girl with the “worst photo in the history of America’s Next Top Model.” The Red Menace returns, as Brandy proves her attitude change didn’t quite take. Meanwhile, Brandy and Tiffany have become tight, but who’s influencing whom? Will the belligerent Brandy lead Tiffany into a rage relapse? Plus, my prediction that an ANTM model will have crustacean parts at the end of her limbs comes true!!! Move over, Miss Cleo! Get bent, Dionne! In yo punkass face, Nostrodamus!
All Disquiet on the Western Front
It’s morning in the Fashion District loft that houses our twelve remaining ANTM hopefuls (and no matter what the editors tried to make you think in the first ep, this area of downtown has been one of the hippest places in LA to live since its gentrification in the past few years). We relive the thrill of Rebecca’s action-packed impression of Humpty Dumpty from last week (the producers are really keen on getting as much usage out of that clip as possible, it seems); despite her dramatic fall, Rebecca says she’s “back on track” and won’t let this one incident get in the way of her bum-killing sprees or modeling career.
Meanwhile, Brittany says “porn”—NO! After criticisms of being too [bow-chikka-bow-bow] sex-ay at the last elim, she has decided to diligently strive towards projecting a different, i.e. less skanky, image. Already, the toning down of the makeup and her “Crazy Girl” (coincidentally also the name of a fine topless establishment in Hollywood) behavior goes a long way towards improving her look. See girls? Your Mama was right, all that makeup does make you look slutty [SFG licks finger and wipes eyeliner off your face in motherly gesture].
All the girls (well, almost all) are in the living room trying to devise a way to divvy up phone time, and come up with a pretty good plan to go from East Coast to West Coast, due to time zone differences. Seems fair, right? To any sane, reasonable person, it would; however, neither of these terms seem applicable to Brandy, who has returned to her angry, ranting self. She has a hissy fit that, in its sheer incoherence, is not worth the transcription. Suffice it to say, Brandy is again on Bitch-o-Matic™ status.
Tiffany, whom we all know has shown real growth in controlling her temper and redefining her character (and in so doing seems to have her empathy in overdrive because she always seems to see herself in everyone now), is the only one who seems able to get through to Brandy. She physically yanks Brandy out of the heated situation and tells her, “You remind me of the old Tiffany, but don’t become that girl. Don’t be that Tiffany because she was crazy!” Speaking of clips getting good mileage, to illustrate just how crazy she was, we are treated to her beer-soaked bar fight from Cycle 3 auditions. It just never gets old, does it? [Sigh] Good times. This quiets Brandy down for now.
Dancers in the Dark
TyraMail tells the girls to be “on point” and later that afternoon they are taken to The Dancers Studio where they discover they will be practicing ballet with Stefan Wenta, whom Lluvy describes as a “little man with a beard and a cane…it was the most exciting thing ever,” and if that’s the case, Lluvy needs to get out more. In his charming Eastern European accent, the stubby but powerful-looking Stefan tells them “You are goink to use your body as an eenstrument of expression, eh? The very good models must be form-conscious, that means she knows at any given moment how she looks.” He then demonstrates by sashaying with perfect serpentine grace across the floor. This guy might look like someone’s grandpa, but make no mistake: HE…CAN…SERVE.
The girls change into little leotards and slippers and look pretty as a Degas painting—that is, until, they get moving. Oh then the wacky music starts and the slapstick begins, and I mean literally slap-stick: whenever the girls make a mistake (or even when they don’t), Stefan gives them a judicious whack with his wooden cane. Violence shouldn’t be funny—so why am I laughing my ass off? “You are lucky I am such a gentleman,” he says as he thwacks, slaps, and bends the girls’ limbs around as if they were Gumby figures.
“Stefan did recognize I had ballet training,” Naima remarks, “I would hope so; I’ve been dancing for a few years!” Stefan is, apparently, a tough-love ballet instructor—he tells them “this discipline will affect many other things, maybe even your life.” In short: he hits because he cares, and strangely, the girls don’t seem to mind (Hello Kinky!). Not even Tiffany, who doesn’t seem to resent Stefan’s strict tack, even when he singles her out. “I’m not used to controlling my body, my body controls me,” Tiffany confesses, ominously.
The Black Light Zone
The girls are finally free to relax and have a night to themselves, so they head out to dinner at the famous Pacific Dining Car. Tiffany admits she’s “never been to a nice place like this” and is having a hard time dealing with the big changes in her life. The waiter comes by to take everyone’s bevvie orders, and Tiffany confesses to the table, “I act like a fool when I get drunk, so I don’t drink anymore.” So why, Tiffany, whyyy do you say, “Same here,” when Rebecca puts in an order for white wine?!! [SFG runs in slow motion à la bad action picture, hand outstretched, with a low cry of “Nooooo!”]
One glass, two glasses, three glasses, four…before you know it, Tiffany is in “loving drunk” mode, telling everyone if/when they all get cut, she wants them to know, “You, you and you, and even you, have touched me and made me think different about a lot of things and I love you, I do.” Some of the girls are laughing at Tiffany’s sudden outpouring of affection, others look a bit concerned or even a bit disapproving.
My friends and I used to have classifications for the different phases of being drunk: green light, you’ve got a nice buzz on; yellow, you’re schnockered, but not obnoxiously so; red, you need to stop. And, ooh girl, there is [whispers with trepidation] the black light zone, and trust me, you did not want to be there. Sadly, before long, Tiffany is speeding her way to the black zone, halfway to unconscious, slumped over like a rag doll, and puking over the arm of her chair.
Tatiana provides the helpful description that “the room started stinking” and I’m thinking thank God I don’t have Smell-o-Vision™. While some of the girls band together in a sorority of disgust (Rebecca and Tatiana look like “Ohmigod, Becky! Like, how grody!”), Michelle is holding back Tiffany’s hair and Brandy is wiping her face. THAT, my friends, is friendship. Keenyah says, portentously, “Tiffany can be professional and make it appear like her problems are all out the window, but sometimes she can be Old Tiffany.” Noooo!!!
Later, in bed, Tiffany moans with deep regret, “I’m miserable, this is not me.” Michelle is at Tiffany’s side, nursing her back to sobriety and lending a sympathetic ear. Tiffany talks about how hard it is to be thrown into this completely new and stressful environment, away from her family, particularly her son. Oh Tiffany, your personal story has always made others root for you a little bit harder—pleeease don’t let us down!
Beverly Frickin’ Johnson—Need I Say More?
The next day, the girls are brought to the lovely Il Cielo for a surprise lunch with Beverly Johnson. THE Beverly Johnson. The LEGENDARY Beverly Johnson. Being in the presence of the world’s first black super model seems to stun the girls into their best behavior. She talks about her experiences, like being the first African-American on the cover of Vogue in 1974 and dealing with rude photographers. Tiffany says in the same situation, “I would have broke down like a baby.” Later, she declares Beverly to be an “inspiration” and “I think she looks like me a little bit.” Like the way Tyra looks like you too? See what I’m saying here, with Tiffany seeing herself in everyone (although in this case, yeah, I do see the resemblance, especially since they have the same hair). Boundaries, girl, boundaries!
Brandy asks Beverly’s advice on “attitude” and makes the understatement of the year when she dares utter: “I don’t really have like a bad attitude, but I can get to the point where I just want to go off on somebody.” Although, I guess she wasn’t exactly fibbing. No, you don’t have like a bad attitude, you HAVE a BAD ATTITUDE, Brandy! Beverly says, “As far as having a temper, you have these photographers, editors, and stylists that are very temperamental, so one has to not take everything really personally.” A true class act.
My Big Fat Obnoxious Photographer
Back at home, TyraMail announces: “You are in control of own destiny, be ready at 1:00.” It’s like the TyraMail author’s lazy, apathetic little sister is subbing this week. That afternoon, the girls are taken to a hilltop tennis court, where Jay is nowhere in sight. Oh no, as the tricky little minx himself reveals, he will be monitoring them in secret during today’s challenge, which will test how well the girls do under “extreme pressure.” Alex Reznick, the photographer, says, “I was instructed to pretty much tear them to shreds.” As Jay points out, this is a very realistic scenario for model: a jerky photographer, a client that hates you. “The only thing you have control over is how well you do,” Jay says, “Prove to them that you’re the star.”
The girls are thrown into hair and makeup. Kahlen is the unlucky first, and gets only 5 minutes to prepare. She rushes out in her little preppy outfit (though who doesn’t look instantly cute in a tennis skirt?). Alex brusquely gives her instructions, and when she asks, very politely, for clarification, he gets impatient. “If I can do it, you can do it. I look good doing it, too” he says sarcastically, as he demonstrates what motion he’d like her to perform. “Need some coffee? Cuz you look like you’re still sleeping,” he snaps. It is actually hard to convey in writing how hilariously mean he is, as so much of it is in his delivery, which never gets too over-the-top even as it slowly escalates from just rude to plain abusive throughout the day. Poor Kahlen, however; I truly feel sorry when she returns to the other girls in tears, and asking, “I don’t understand why he would be so rude and so mean to anyone.”
At least he doesn’t actually go “Aaaaargh!” at Kahlen, as he does with Tatiana, who says, “Feels like my confidence has been thrown out of moving car and run over a few times.” He incites Noelle to violence, “I wanted to slap that boy upside his half-balding head.” He rattles Brittany by literally tearing his hair out. The only person who maintains her composure is Naima. “The longer the shoot lasted, the more neurotic this man seemed to be. I had to laugh at this guy,” she says. Jay is impressed with the way that “on the surface,” at least, Naima looks like she can handle it.
Jay notices Michelle crying a bit as she leaves the court, though she recognizes that in real life, they may have to work with people like this. Rebecca seems perplexed; Keenyah does fairly well at keeping cool; but when he says “Note to self, do not print this roll,” Christina shoots her evil, psycho, laser glare in his direction. The old cliché, “If looks could kill” was never more apropos. She is followed by Tiffany, and the girls watch fervidly, in hopes that Tiffany will “please hit Alex in the head with his racket,” as Tatiana informs us. No!!! They actually want Old Tiffany to re-emerge! He claps and makes her do some ridiculous hopping/dance/not sure, then verbally abuses her and tells her to leave her attitude at home for her “grandmother” (oh no, don’t you talk about nobody’s grandma!) and she returns with, “You save that for your grandma or whoever.” Still, she manages not to turn green and explode out of her polo shirt, and she says she just wanted it all over so she could “laugh about it afterwards.”
Lluvy has problems like everyone else, but not as much as Brandy, who asks how he wants her to do her face. “What kind of a question is that?” he snaps. Brandy says people are always saying they should look fierce, and he goes off on her, “Fierce? What is fierce?” He then manipulates his face into the funniest caricature of model attitude I’ve ever seen (try pausing it on your screen, it’s like Zoolander just sucked a lemon) and says, “Is that fierce? No, I want you to be yourself.” Brandy cannot hide her emotions well at all, especially after he mocks her severely, but he still presses, “Don’t look mean! Look at my face, ‘I’m happy, I’m coming to get the ball’ not ‘I’m coming to kill you.’” Speaking of coming to kill you, you better watch your skinny ass in the parking lot on the way home.
When Brandy returns to where all the girls are relaxing, post-shoot, she gripes loudly about the shoot and how it might affect the way the judges perceive her since they already associate her with anger. “I don’t even be angry half the time,” Brandy claims. Tatiana makes a remark about how the judges will say, “Your hair looks like crap, why is your eye twitching?” and I don’t know if it’s the way it’s edited, but I’m not entirely convinced she was trying to say it about Brandy in particular. All I know is the girl who just got through claiming not to be angry says to Naima, “Is it okay to slap somebody that gets on your nerves?” Well, TyraMail authors aside, nooo, no it is not okay to physically abuse someone simply because they’ve annoyed you. And it’s illegal, and it’s called assault!
Oh yeah, then it’s on. Naima, appalled, says, “Brandy, relax, please.” Tatiana, hearing the threat, tells Brandy to shut up. Then RrrrrrreeeeeAAAArrrrRRRowwwrrr rEEER, folks we have a catfight. Brandy says if it weren’t for the fact that she would get thrown off the show for attacking someone, “YO ASS WOULD BE TO’ UP RIGHT NOW.” Naima tries to stop the fight by reminding them that they’re in someone else’s house right now, and Brandy says she doesn’t care, clearly having no respect for anyone. “Maybe you should care,” Naima says and, disgusted, gets up and walks away from the screeching twosome.
Finally Jay comes out and tells the girls that today was just a big test. Alex puts on a red clown nose to show that he was just keeeedding (still, WATCH YO ASS IN THAT PARKING LOT, BITCH, I’M WARNING YOU). The girls laugh, relieved; Jay congratulates Tiffany, specifically, for looking like she wanted to hit Alex with her racket, but not. Nevertheless, it is Alex who must pick the winner for today, and the prize goes to Naima, who picks Kahlen and Tiffany to accompany her to a dinner with a mystery guest.
And what a guest! At the Pig’n Whistle (a much nicer place than the name suggests) they are met by Serena Williams! She gives Naima a signed tennis racket, plugs her clothing line, and helps the girls with their walks. Serena is bubbly and nice, and leaves wishing them good luck.
A Shoot of Astrological Proportions
That night’s TyraMail: “Lion’s roar. Feel in balance? Get ready to soar.” What the hell is that, TyraMail author’s little sister? The next day, they go to the studio, where Tyra greets them in a Sagittarius shirt, asking how many times they’ve been at a club and had a guy approach to ask them, “What’s your sign?” With Michelle, I’m guessing…um, zero? Oh, just keeeding, you dear, little Sapphic spitfire (see you at Girl Bar). Anyhooters, with twelve girls, it is the perfect time to do the twelve signs of the Zodiac! Or be the 12 Apostles and recreate the Last Supper (Tyra, naturally, would be Christ)—but nooo no one ever listens to my ideas. A stunt coordinator, Mike Li, will get them in harnesses and hoist them up for some floaty, celestial action and Tracy Bayne will be the photographer to shoot them. They also learn that it will be part of a calendar.
And so, it cometh to pass that the fortune of which I bespoke lasteth weeketh doth indeed become reality: Tiffany finds out that she will be transformed into a crustacean! Okay, so it’s not lobster claws, but crab, and not her feet, but hands—so, my second sight might be a leeetle off [cleans Psychic Glasses with special Psychic wipe] but hey, same diff. She learns she will be portraying the sign of Cancer. She’s not the only girl for the seafood lover in you, Lluvy will be Pisces, and she bugs her eyes out and does a pretty decent Nemo impersonation, but says she’s nervous that they’re going to give her “bigger lips than I already have.”
Naima is first up to shoot as Capricorn (the goat). She looks hot, but as Jay points out, is strangely not as graceful or physically dynamic as anyone expected, considering she is a dancer. Jay finds her lacking, her usual “pow.” Kahlen, as Aries (the ram) is initially nervous and has troubles balancing up on the block, but after finding her center, does a good job.
Meanwhile, guess who’s getting pissy? Oh, no need to phone a friend on this one, it’s Brandy, who had her makeup done first and is now waiting impatiently, and criticizing the hairstylist for not knowing what to do with her hair. Attitude? What attitude? Meanwhile, Noelle is showing no attitude, or character, or life as the Lion. Jay says, as a Leo, he’s pissed. He is, however, impressed that today Keenyah gave them a “range of expression.” Brittany, as Sagittarius (the archer) works diligently to tone down the sex kitten, and when she gets off the block, Jay congratulates her by saying, “You didn’t look hoochie in anything.”
Tiffany, as Cancer, has a hard job to do: looking glam with those gigantic, glittery claws on is no mean feat. Jay notes how much she’s improved in such a short time, saying Tiffany “commanded that set” today. She did look good out there, but damn it, now I’m hungry. Christina is Libra (the scales), and is actually successful at softening her (crazed, murderous, devil glare) eyes, and looks pretty when she does so. Tatiana as the Gemini twins, will pose in a picture that they will digitally combine, but struggles with the harness.
Brandy grows ever-more impatient waiting for the stylists to finish up with her, and aside from sitting around with a nasty look on her face, she even gives lip to the hair dressers. I’m sorry, there is no delicate way to put this: where does this bitch get off acting like this? She’s nowhere close to having earned diva status, and to be honest this kind of behavior would be unbecoming in anyone.
Meanwhile, Rebecca, as Virgo (the—what are you laughing at?—virgin), while comfortable in the wire, is not giving Jay the range of expression he’d like. Michelle, as Aquarious (the water bearer) shocks me with how soft and pretty she looks. Tracy and Jay rave over how well she does, with Jay mentioning “That was actually Michelle’s best shoot.”
Lluvy comes up as Pisces (the fish) and has major trouble taking directions as to how to pose her body. Also, she just looks grotesque in way that is not entirely her fault. The makeup people have, for some unknown reason, decided to place gigantic, glitter “scales” on her face in a way that makes her look like a character from Hellraiser, and she’s slung up in a net that makes her look like a Jane Doe washed up ashore. I’m sure there must have been some attractive way to make her into a beautiful fish (or maybe I’m just pissed, because I’m a Pisces—I am sure as hell not buying this calendar now!).
Behind the scenes, more trouble is brewing. Apparently, girls are talking smack about the Brandy incident from the other day, and Tiffany, in defense of her “little sister” confronts Tatiana on her “stink mouth.” She does not mean halitosis, and Tiffany tells Tatiana right to her face that if it weren’t for her catty remarks, Brandy might not have gone off. She says that most of the time, Brandy is sweet, “but when you have bitchy girls like Tatiana throwing fire at Brandy, of course she’s going to get an attitude.
Personally, I don’t think it takes that much to get Brandy’s knickers in a twist. Jay tells her even though it’s the last shoot of the day, he still wants energy from her—not that slouchy, grouchy attitude like from the Alien shoot. Brandy does not have an easy time on the harness, and Jay is disappointed that she doesn’t “lash out” as befits Scorpio (the scorpion). Oh no, she saves the lashing out for backstage, where she starts screaming at Tatiana for talking behind her back. Tiffany pulls her away from Tatiana, scared that she’s going to hit her, but in defending Brandy, a bit of old Tiffany comes out. Tiffany hollers at everyone for “gang[ing] up on Brandy” and goes on a freak-out, scream-fest, which culminates in her shrieking, “All y’all bitches evil!!!” (Could Tiffany be the most-quotable ANTM contestant ever?)
Back at home, Tiffany says she has a new strategy, “I’m being Tiffany, and they can either love me or hate me for it.” But which Tiffany is that? The sweet, protective, nurturing Tiffany, or the angry, violent, scary Tiffany? And could it get in the way of her becoming America’s Next Top Model? Will the real Tiffany please stand up?
Brandy, You’re a Swine Girl
Because everything revolves around her, this week’s elimination ceremony is heralded by a (quite stunning, actually) photo of Tyra posing as the Sun. After running over the prizes, and introducing the judges who are today joined by Beverly Johnson. Tyra announces that the test for judging this week is their photo shoot with the “Photographer from Hell.”
Michelle is up first, and at the sight of her tennis court pics, there are “oohs” of pity and distaste, then Nigel says, “No matter what happens, you have to always remember you are modeling.” She is saved by her gorgeous Aquarian pic, which garners “oohs” of delight and admiration, and is deemed “sparkle-licious.” Naima is probably the only girl to get a cute, smiling shot from the tennis photographer; Tyra says the great thing about it is that no matter what other nonsense is going on around here, Naima is still aware of the photographer and giving her best face. Unfortunately, Tyra is disappointed with Naima’s body pose in the Capricorn pic, especially because “you’re the ballerina girl” and Beverly isn’t keen on her facial expression.
Tatiana ‘s angry tennis picture is disliked by all except Nigel; they love her Gemini picture, though. Brittany is complimented by Tyra for looking beautiful without all the old makeup; but Nolé still thinks she needs working elegant in front of the camera (as in the tennis shots) as well as in person. Everyone adores her Sagittarian shot, and Tyra says, “I don’t see Playboy this week, I see a model.” Brandy comes up with a sourpuss, which Tyra immediately notes. “Why look so sad?” Tyra questions where the happy, spirited girl from auditions went, and says, “What’s going to send you home is the negative attitude, because you take beautiful pictures.” Brandy stays glum, even though her all her pictures earn praise from the judges.
Beverly Johnson tells Keenyah she is a “gorgeous girl” but her tennis shots “should never be seen by anyone.” Too late, hullo, you’re on (inter)national television. Keenyah needn’t worry though, her Taurus picture is no bull—she is “celestial” and “beautiful.” Kahlen unfortunately is docked some points for the judges for her lack of self-confidence. Again. Even Alex, the angry tennis photog, remarked that he could sense her insecurity the second she stepped on the court. She is redeemed by her “gorgeous” Aries shot, and Tyra likes the fact that even though she is the “timid girl” she was able to project a strong, confident image as Aries. “You look like you’re about to ram somebody into a wall,” Tyra says, pun intended?
In her tense tennis shots, Christina’s mouth is “extraordinarily cramped” Nigel observes. “Preparing for botox injections just doesn’t cut it,” Janice says, demonstrating with her own face. Tyra then kills me, because when she analyzes the Libra shot, she says, “You’re always the one that’s staring like ‘Bitcchhh,’” before instantly doing a spot-on impression of the murderous Christina laser glare, “but this one is like so soft, so pretty.” Noelle gets criticized by the judges for her hair again. Janice asks, “What is that poodle thing on your head?” It really is mall-girl hair. Her tennis shots are “disastrous” and the Leo shots, not much better. Regarding her lifted leg, Nolé says, “My dog can do that.” Come to think of it, I would love to see Empress Minnie in a photoshoot! Beverly says it doesn’t look like Noelle knows what she’s doing.
Tiffany steps up and the judges question her on whether she wanted to physically harm Alex on the tennis court. Tiffany says no, but maybe 6 months ago she might have. Her tennis shots are a wash, but her Cancer shot gets high praise for being “mysterious” and Beverly thinks it’s a “great photograph.” Lluvy is again criticized for having just one expression in the tennis shots and, oh dear, her Pisces picture looks, well, according to Nolé “like a dead fish.” Lluvy says she didn’t feel right in the fishnet, and Janice says as a model they need to work with whatever they’re given and “you failed miserably.”
Rebecca’s tennis shots resemble “a toilet bowl ad” to Nolé, her Virgo picture is brushed off by Janice as “pedestrian,” who adds, “it just doesn’t register ‘model.’” Beverly says it’s not seductive enough: she should be the virgin everyone wants. Janice then asks Tyra what she thinks of strutting down the runway in her Victoria’s Secret “bat wings” and Tyra purrs, “I ain’t thinkin’ I’m no virgin.”
The judges go into elimination and they basically reiterate their opinions from evals. They rag on Lluvy’s photos pretty viciously, with Nolé dubbing her “tuna tartare” and Tyra proclaiming it the worst photo she’s in seen this whole show started. This Chicken of the Sea seems to have gone bad! Janice says Brandy is “sooo angry, but so damn beautiful in the face” and Beverly wants to “run a lie detector test” on Naima, because based on her pose in her pic, she doesn’t believe she’s a dancer. Oh and they remark on the thinness of Christina’s lips, with Beverly saying, “If you don’t have it by birth, get it.”
They reconvene for the moment of truth. Photos are handed back to: Brittany, Keenyah, Michelle, Kahlen, Christina, Rebecca, Tatiana, Naima, Tiffany, and Noelle. The bottom two on this week’s menu are: the Failure-O-Fish and Brandy McBitchnuggets. Tyra does her dramatic speech, saying, “One of you has an attitude with a capitol A” and the other took “the worst photo in the history of America’s Next Top Model.”
Ultimately, however Brandy is out (!!!). Tiffany cries, and so do I (though in my case they are tears of joy). Brandy’s exit speech not only shows a terrible lack of remorse, but she still can’t accept responsibility for digging her own grave: “If they woulda took out the time to look past what they thought was an attitude, then maybe they would have saw the real me but whatever.” Okay, still blaming others are we? I do feel sincerely sorry for her when she talks about the bond she formed with Tiffany: “Never had a big sister, always wanted one, she became one for the short time I was here, and I miss her for that.” Yet I can’t help but think Brandy was holding Tiffany back, and bringing out a dark side that would keep Tiffany from succeeding in the competition. Here’s to hoping now that the Anger Management Twins have broken up, they both can move on to happier, healthier places.
Call me now, at 1-900-555-SNOW, for all your psychic needs! Or, email me at snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com