Cheerio, pip pip, and all that rot, my dear ANTManiacs…Why am I dressed up like a chimney sweep as I write this recap, you ask? Because we’re going to London, duh! Plus, I happen to have a fetish for Dickensian stereotypes, and so can often be found dressed like this when relaxing at home—Would you Adam and Eve it?!! But you’re here for the recap, mate and likely don’t give a toss how I get on in the bedroom. So why waste another moment dithering with my Cockney? Roight you are, guvnah! On to the recap, tally ho!
As the show begins, we are in the mansion in Los Angeles where Jayla and Nicole are still a shambles after Tyra’s dirty trick during the last elimination. I think the technical term for it is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Nevertheless, everyone in the house is excited at the prospect of going to London. Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
TyraMail says, “Get ready to meet someone whose modeling career has based on individuality and self-awareness.” Who’s that knocking at the mansion door? Why it’s none other than Jenny Shimizu, remembered for being the first, high profile, Asian-American, out-and-proud lesbian models to reach stratospheric success in the fashion industry. But with all of Jenny’s many trailblazing accomplishments, the most important one is not landing campaigns with prestigious clients like Calvin Klein, or appearing on the cover of Vogue. Let’s get real, she is most often remembered for having HAD SEX WITH ANGELINA JOLIE!!! Did you hear me the first time? SHE TOTALLY DID IT WITH ANGELINA JOLIE! Angelina frackin’ Jolie. If that does not make her a role model, I don’t know what else does!
Jenny sits down with the girls to share the story of how she broke the mold of the model industry after being discovered by Kelly and Calvin Klein on her motorcycle. Warm and down-to-earth, Jenny tells the girls, “My big story is I’m a minority, I’m 5’7”, I have a lot of tattoos, and I’m a gay model…” WHO DID ANGELINA JOLIE!!! “I’ve always been a tomboy, and I wanted to tell you guys that the differences in modeling are actually beautiful things.” What a wonderful message of acceptance and empowerment from an important icon in both the Asian-American and LGBTS communities WHOM ANGELINA JOLIE ONCE SAID SHE WOULD HAVE MARRIED!
Meanwhile, Kim is leaning in with her head in her hands, staring googly-eyed at Jenny as if she was thinking, It’s a damn shame you’re not blonde. Kim asks how she reconciled her tomboy nature with wearing feminine items on the runway, and Jenny gives her good advice: to consider everything she’s wearing as a work of art you are presenting. Jenny wishes them all luck before bidding all adieu. Kim says that Jenny’s story has given her hope that she can “get farther.” In the competition, Kim, or in ANGELINA JOLIE’S PANTS?!! (That would have to be Angelina Jolie in Girl Interrupted, Gone in 60 Seconds or Life or Something Like It, though.)
I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watchin’ Me
When TyraMail tells them to “Prepare to meet a ghost from your past,” Bre speculates that maybe they will get to see their parents or boyfriends and girlfriends. They are shuttled off to a theater someplace in L.A. where “Entertainment Tonight’s” Kevin Frasier greets them and informs them that as America’s Next Top Model, you will be a “celebrity” (in the loose, VH1 sense) and therefore subject to all the scrutiny and paparazzi-stalking that high profile stars enjoy.
For example, he shows the girls a happy, smiling, red carpet picture of “the Tyra we know and love.” The second shot: a truly frightening, candid shot of Tyra hugging Jennifer Garner with no makeup on, baseball cap backwards like a rejected member of Kris Kross, ratty red wig looking like a drag queen after a looong night on Fountain Ave. Kevin actually says “Ewww,” then says pictures like this can easily land in a magazine and cause much embarrassment.
He warns them that, as they are going on a trip, they need to be aware that they are representing Tyra and ANTM at all times and need to maintain a good image (Should someone have said something about this before Lisa urinated on herself at the last shoot?). Furthermore, he has a little surprise for the girls. It’s a little haunting from the Ghosts of Episodes past. The girls, it turns out, were unaware that they were being followed by “stalkerazzi”-type photogs, who snapped a few choice shots of them looking less than lovely at photo shoots, around town, even “grubbing” down like there’s no tomorrow. Kim is even busted in a pose that clearly shows her imitating Tyra (the “sincere-hands-over-heart” pose)! The Foreshadowing Fairy has Kim musing that she should be more careful of being caught poking fun at others in the future.
Kevin advises, “You can never, ever, ever let your guard down,” adding helpful tips like smart celebs always keep sunglasses on, are aware the paparrazi’s always watching, etc. and adding that the pictures that appear in magazines can “make or break you.” “Perception is reality,” Kevin says. Wow, is that a depressingly superficial, cynical view of celebhood or what? Although, the SFG knows how damaging certain photos can be to one’s image, after that incident a few years back when some personal shots of me dressed as a chimney sweep were leaked to the general public…
Gossip Girl: Because I’m Bitchy
Back at the mansion—Oi, when the bloody ‘ell are we actually getting to London, mate?—Kim and Nicole are in the confessional booth, talking smack. Well, Kim is mostly doing the smack talk, but Nicole certainly seems to be enjoying it. Kim’s opinion is that she and Nicole are the only “sane” ones left, then she qualifies that remark by breaking down how she feels about the rest of the girls: Nik is “sane but a little boring”; Lisa is “alcoholic” (and “insane,” Nicole contributes); Jayla is an “ugly, annoying, bad joke-deliverer.”
It’s a pretty catty session in there, but perhaps the competition is getting to them and they’re merely blowing off steam. Or they share the same menstrual cycle. Or perhaps they’re just a couple of big, ol’ bitchy twunts all the time. Kim talks about how hard it was for her to lose Kyle, Coryn, and Sarah; and now she must turn to Nicole for support. Kim plays her new girlfriend a special song on her harmonica (just like in a women’s prison!); Kim says the sad, plaintive tune is what she would have played, had Nicole been eliminated. She then plays a second tune—a chirpy, happy little jaunt—which is what she would have played had Jayla been eliminated.
Bre, who was also Kim’s friend, is concerned about Kim’s predilection for talking behind people’s back because, quite reasonably, it makes her suspicious about what Kim might say about her behind her back. Then, quite un-reasonably, she decides to confront this problem by, you guessed it, proceeding to talk about Kim behind Kim’s back. Where is the logic? She and Jayla yenta it up in the backyard; their conversation concludes with Bre waggling her finger and rolling her noggin around so dramatically I fear her head will fall right off her neck while she says, “That bitch ain’t right. I have a problem with her.”
The next day, still in LA—for the love of Pete, when are we leaving for London?—Nik and Bre are in the phone room (a.k.a. “Chat Box”) while Nik is on the phone with her friend, Visa—yes, Visa (is this more product placement, or was Nik’s friend’s mom a shopaholic, or what?). Nik says she has a story for Visa, but Bre shushes her because Kim is walking by. Okay, who is talking behind whose back? Visa asks Nik, if she’s opening up, and Nik cautiously says no. Next thing you know, Kim barges in and asks to have the phone so she can talk to Visa, “Your girl, she is like the most careful person in the entire world…it’s like her mouth is stapled shut.” At least in this case, Kim is talking in front of Nik’s back. Or…in front of her front? I dunno, you catch my drift. Kim’s not too keen on the criticism, and says this is “the last straw.”
Some Day My Prints Will Come
The bags are packed, the girls have been waiting, and they’re showing signs of boredom. Lisa, “antsy-pantsy” like a bratty child with ADHD, on crystal meth, nearly destroys the living room with some stringy toy while she waits. They’re not the only ones anxious to get out of LA and head to London. Sweet, fancy Jesus on a whole grain cracker, are we there yet?!! Alas, no. TyraMail says that they’re still going “but snap, one more fierce photo before [they] go.” Nicole says she needs to get out the house because everyone’s going crazy, and the producers use this as an excuse to trot an utterly superfluous flashback montage of the past weeks’ wackiness.
The girls are brought to a One Hour Photo shop where they are met by an employee in a blue smock who welcomes them to “Prints of the City” (yuk yuk—and reality TV writers actually think they deserve more money for this dreck) who says he is here to take their passport photos. Let’s forget for a moment that these girls really should already have their passports, as it can take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to receive one from the government. Or does Tyra, in her infinite power, have some kind of special pull in this department?
The “passport” photos are snapped, processed, and printed, then the nondescript photo shop employee takes his smock off to reveal that he is no mere minimum wage slave, but celebrity and fashion photographer Mark Anderson, and today’s little shoot was a test to see if the girls remained on their guard as advised. He says you have to know your best look, even for a passport photo (I notice they do not mention the DMV, as that agency I think is actually paid to do their damnedest to make you look as horrible, and possessed-by-satan in your Driver’s License as possible).
Mark believes Bre was the most prepared and took a “nice, clean shot,” so she wins the prize, that she and a friend of her choice will enjoy once they finally, frackin’, at long last get to London. She selects Nik. That’s not the only surprise however: the girls will all get fancy-schmancy new Sprint phones that are not only a phone but also a video camcorder, a camera, a TV, a car, a robot, a kinkajou, and a chimney sweep, all in one!!!
To keep them in touch with their friends and family, Mark says that, recorded on the chi-chi-poo-poo, posh, new (please don’t forget to buy) Sprint phones, are special messages for each one of them from a loved one, like Bre’s mom and Jayla’s boyfriend, whom Jayla has not “been able to get in touch with for the past couple of weeks.” If she is as remotely bitch-o-matic as she appears on the show, then I have an important public service announcement to make. Attention Jayla’s boyfriend: Save yourself, run…run like the wind!!!
At looong last, the girls are heading to the airport. Oh but we don’t get to leave juuust yet, because there is one more bit of drama to squeeze out Stateside. In the limo, Kim notices Nik and Bre “whispering” about her, so Kim leaps to the back end of the limo to confront them.
Sadly, the only girl-on-girl action that occurs in the limo this time is a bitchy, claws-bared catfight. Bre says, “You have talked about everybody in this house and this is not venting, this is you being obnoxious. Why should I feel like I’m the special one, when you talk about one person when they leave the room, then another person when they leave the room…” Kim defends herself by saying that when she develops a friendship with someone, she doesn’t talk about them; Nik counters quickly by alleging that she’s heard Kim talk about everyone in the house at some point or other, which Kim claims is not true.
While it’s true Kim indeed has a lot of fun at other people’s expense, the fight turns downright oogly. It’s an all out character assassination. Bre accuses Kim of being a liar, and even goes so far to say, “Your character is very ugly.” Bre argues with as much vehemence and outrage as if Kim had killed her grandmother! Lisa looks on with barely contained pleasure, chomping on snacks as she looks on, like she’s watching her favorite soap opera. “If I deserved to be in the hot seat that beginning,” Lisa says, “then Kim deserves to be in the hot seat.”
Nik contends that Kim purposely tries to humiliate people. Kim tries out a range of defenses, from That’s not true, to I was venting, to I was just nervous and messed up. In a strange reversal of fortune, Kim finally gets treated to an impersonation of herself, when Bre acts out what Kim said about Jayla, “If Jayla doesn’t know she’s about to be dumped, then God help her.” Kim gets all crumply-faced, as if she’s about to cry, when Jayla jumps in on her, spitting out how much she liked Kim until she found out that she’d “talked all this [sugar.honey.ice.tea] about me behind my back; how do you think that made me feel?” Probably no worse than Nik after all the incredibly bitchy, horrible things you said behind her back, you homeschooled hypocrite!
The whole fight is absurd, with everyone accusing everyone else of something everyone’s done. But really the focus of the beatdown is on Kim, who sadly got ganged up on—and not gang banged by all the girls as she might have wished. Kim admits she might have said stupid things “for comic effect.” Nicole, because she is after all Kim’s new biyotch, comes her friend’s defense, saying that she feels it’s wrong for Kim to be pinpointed for something of which everyone, including herself, is a little bit guilty. Hell officially freezes over, as I for the first time feel like Nicole just made a mature and reasonable statement with which I can agree!
Kim breaks out in tears and pleads that she’s never once said anything bad about Bre behind her back, even challenging Nik and anyone else to think of a specific time she’s ever said anything about Bre, period. No one has an answer, but Nik is unconvinced, saying that she thinks Kim is crying more because she got busted, not because she truly feels sorry for having hurt anyone. It ends with Bre putting her arm around Kim and encouraging her to “work on it.” Bre then pulls her closer and says to “Give Mama love.” I’m not sure what kind of cruel maternal figure Bre is modeling herself after, Mommie Dearest, perhaps? Kim thinks “the situation has been dealt with,” while Bre thinks “the tears are cute, but it just doesn’t seem real…You’re playing me, I’m playing you too, and in the end, I’m winning.” The plane takes off as we go to commercial…
Cor blimey! After the adverts are done, we are at long bloody last we are in Merry Old England—Miss J. (in a timely “Naomi Hit Me” t-shirt—who else is tuning in to Tyra’s show Monday, show of hands!) meets the girls outside of London’s Heathrow airport, waving from atop of one of London’s signature red double decker buses. After blasting Bre in panel for trying to sound more posh than she really is, Miss J. puts on the Posh Spice for us with a little faux English accent, asking if they’re ready for a tour. By the way, did I not already mention to you that you must read at least the remainder of this recap in your best (or worst) English accent? Come on then, don’t be a plonker, give it a bash.
The girls are so excited to be overseas, in some cases (like Bre) for the very first time, that they are too happy to be bitchy for the moment. After their whirlwind tour is over, the bus stops in front of the famed Savoy hotel where Miss J. hands them the key to their future. What the girls don’t know is that, waiting around the corner from their drop-off, is a phalanx of over-zealous paparazzi who aggressively run out to snap shots. Lisa deals with them by trying to duck and cover; Nicole chooses to smile and let them take her shot even though she has no makeup on and looks “like crap”; Bre finds the whole experience “scary.” When you’re scaring the girl from Harlem you know you’ve gone too far.
The girls take the lift—not the elevator, and you must say it with the English accent, say it, SAY IT!—up to their flat, where they eat chips and biscuits, put on their braces and smoke fags (okay, not precisely, but I can’t resist pointing out Brit-speak homonyms). Kim says that everyone’s worked out their differences, and then goes off to scribble in a mysterious little notebook.
Before long, two supposedly suave and debonair (but more unctuous and sleazy in my book) “gentlemen” in suits, that look like they could be the old enough to be these girls’ uncles, appear at the Savoy suite to take Bre and Nik to dinner. Yay for free food, but ewww on the creepy, mismatched hookup. The girls get gussied up in their glad-rags as quickly as possible, then the two men escort them (although who looks like the escorts in this situation?) to a horse-drawn carriage that will take them to Piccadilly Circus (which reminds Bre of Times Square). There, they have dinner with their male companions, whose genteel manners (opening doors, etc.) Bre appreciates. It is true that boys today could learn a thing or two about how to treat a lady from older gentlemen. Bre feels that being around Nik has made her “more conservative.” She doesn’t clarify what that means, although I hope that doesn’t mean she’ll vote “red” from now on.
At the end of the evening, Bre expresses her gratitude for the wonderful day she’s had. Then Bre, who is so intolerant of people who talk behind other people’s backs, proceeds to bitch about Kim and Nicole on the cab (or should I say “crab”) ride home. Nik, tries to be positive, saying she thinks everyone’s been really nice today. Bre gets a look on her face like she just smelled foot and ass (sorry, make that arse for the English episodes), indicating she does not agree.
Back at the Savoy, TyraMail says, “Who will be America’s Next Top Model? It’s your call. Be ready at 7:30.” All evening, Kim has been writing a letter of apology to Nik, which Nik discovers on her bed upon their return. Kim feels, “I bore the brunt of a lot of people’s frustrations and I know Bre and Nik didn’t mean what they said and our friendship is as good as ever.” Kim must have packed her rose-colored glasses, because Nik is still not convinced.
How Many Models Can You Fit in a Funky Phone Booth?
The next day they leave for an early morning shoot, taking cabs to an alley way where Mr. Jay meets them clad in a trench coat. Something tells me this is not the first time Mr. Jay has met someone in an alley way, clad in a trench coat. At least this time it’s the day, and he does have other clothing on beneath the trench…I think? In the middle of the alley is a classic, red English phone booth—that’s telephone box to the Brits. The catch to today’s shoot? All six girls will be posing in the phone booth together at the same time.
In keeping with the stalkerazzi theme, the premise for today’s shoot is this: the girls are models (that’s a stretch) being chased from backstage at a fashion show by paparazzi (“Benny Hill”-style, I hope) while they are clad in nothing other than their galoshes (or wellies to me mates in Eng-er-land) and tabloids to cover their nekkidness, so they all duck into the telephone box to hide, but are caught by the photogs and so have no choice to but give it their fiercest (okay, yeah, now that’s really a stretch). All this will be shot by Jean Reno-lookalike, Nick Maroudias, who I’m sure is a real “Professional” yuk yuk (I’m sorry, not all my jokes can be funny—what do you want, your money back?).
The girls are made up, accessorized with hair curlers left in their hair and wellies, and given their “tabloids” (really a mock-up with the famous picture of Miss J. emblazoned with the caption, “The Fashion Witch Strikes Again,” and various other ANTM related headlines—trust me, you guys do fan art that’s much more clever than this), and stuffed into the telephone box.
If the notion of six beautiful, naked girls being shoved into one, small space sounds hot to you, let ANTM disabuse you of this notion. Talk about cranky, and then…there’s the aroma. ”A lot of pretty girls don’t use deodorant,” Bre says, waggling that self-righteous finger like she does. Lisa then blurts out, “I farted.” Thank God ANTM is not broadcast in Smellevision, because, according to Bre, “I could have just died in that little box. Just died.” I hate to bring up old business, but I could swear Bre was the girl who confessed in the very first episode that she gets to lazy to bathe or wash herself sometimes and whom Miss J. described as “funky.” Bearing that in mind, Bre more than likely smelled as if she had died in that box, or perhaps started to give off an aroma resembling that of her namesake, soft-ripened cheese.
The six girls rotate so that each girl gets a chance to be in front. Bre was first, then is followed by Lisa, whom Jay feels has improved by learning to tone down the crazy. The photog loves Nik even though “it was very hard to feel pretty in that booth.” Jay remarks that Kim “looks like an edgy top model” and has a look that people won’t forget. Nicole finds this to be the hardest shoot, since they usually don’t have to fight for the camera on a normal shoot. Nick calls the last shot, but Nicole begs him to wait, even yelling, “One more!” Jay chastises her, “Since when does the model dictate?” Nicole exits the booth with one of her devastatingly bratty pouts. Towards the end of the day, according to Jayla, people started getting “really nasty” and impatient. Jay finds Jayla to still be lacking range of expression. Jay and Nick notice Lisa starting to outshine Jayla a bit in the corner, and Jay warns Jayla, “That’s not good if the photographer starts notices the girl on the side.”
Tyra’s paparazzi photo, a pic which also features Mr. Jay and Miss J., tells us it’s the start of the first judging session abroad. Tyra welcomes the girls to London, runs through the prizes, and introduces the judges, who are this week joined by Nick Maroudias, photographer of the phone booth session. The two Brits are no doubt happy to be back in the motherland: Twiggy mentions as such, and Nigel warmly welcomes all the ladies to his home [purrrrr].
Tyra repeats the lesson of the week: “No matter where that camera is, or who’s holding it, you need to look fierce.” The girls learn that their test this week was already administered, in front of the Savoy in fact, when the paparazzi stormed them upon their arrival. From the photos, each girl’s worst shot was selected for scrutiny. Kim’s up first with a horrendous candid, which Nigel immediately describes as, “Going for the nose pick.” Her saving grace is her phone booth shot, which Twiggy deems “great” and Nigel declares “gorgeous.”
Nigel thinks Bre’s Savoy photo is not that bad and it makes the photographer look worse; Tyra’s not buying it, to her a bad photo will make Bre look bad in a magazine no matter whose fault it is. Miss J. loves her phone booth photo, in which Nigel describes her eyes as “commanding” and furthermore, even though it’s a group shot, the other girls “pale in significance.” Tyra says she was “blown away” by Bre’s film.
Lisa is up next, starting with her paparazzi shot: “You don’t look like a model,” Twiggy remarks, and Miss J. teaches us new Brit vocab, “dodgy,” which Tyra defines for Americans as “whack, wrong.” The panel is wowed by her phone booth photo, however, which Twiggy thinks is the best she’s done. Miss J. makes fun of Nicole’s paparazzi shot by saying it looks like she just saw someone from school (you have to see his impersonation of her to get the laugh on this one); but even though her candid shot flops, the phone booth pic is a unanimous hit. Tyra expresses frustration, though, over Nicole still holding back; Miss J. counsels her that whatever she’s doing, “just do it extra.”
According to the panel, Jayla is the only one who did not have a bad paparazzi shot. Unfortunately, the other girls in Jayla’s phone booth shot outshine her, and the judges think her face could be stronger. Nigel, who says he’s never seen a bad pic of Nik until now, doesn’t think she looks like a model in her Savoy pic. Thankfully, her phone booth photo is a hit. Twiggy comments that it looks like a fashion photograph even without clothes. One criticism, however, is that she seems to only be able to model posed at an angle. She needs to work on being beautiful “head on,” which Tyra believes requires confidence. Nigel says, “Only you can do that; you have to believe in yourself.”
During deliberations, Tyra reveals why she wanted the girls to do the passport photo shoot in LA: in the early days of her career, at around 18, a photographer approached her on an airplane, asking to see her book. Tyra’s book was at the agency, and all she had was her passport. The photographer took a look, and the next thing you know, Tyra is getting a call from her agent telling her that she just booked the shoot in Paris—and all from her passport photo. The rest of the panel does their best to look interested and amused by Tyra’s anecdote, like grandkids who have heard Granny TyTy tell that story a million times.
Tyra hands out the photos, the lucky girls who learn they are still in the competition are: Kim, Bre, Nicole (who is criticized for still having a wee bit of attitude), and Nik (for being a little one-sided in terms of posing). Who’s left in the bottom two? Jayla, for the second consecutive week, and Lisa, the Mayor of Crazytown. Tyra gets preachy: Lisa is “the spunky girl” with so much “energy” and “fire” but some of the judges are “put off by her fire” because it’s “too much.” The judges find that Jayla is a “nice” enough girl in terms of personality and photos, but somewhat mediocre. In the end, just as we all suspected, ANTM decides to celebrate mediocrity by saving Jayla.
As another flower falls from Miss J.’s corsage, so goes another girl. Lisa, as completely bonkers as she was, was at least never dull. And to bring up one more word that has a different meaning in England than in the States, Lisa was “pissed” in every sense of the word. Leaving, however, she sounds more mature than she’s ever been, so perhaps she’s learned something. She says that even though she didn’t win or even make the Top 3 as she anticipated, “I gave it everything I got…stayed true to myself the whole way through, and no regrets.” She chokes up with her final words, calling her experience on ANTM “pretty damn cool” and showing gratitude for the opportunity to live her dream, but acceptance that it’s over. As she wheels off her pink and white hibiscus luggage out the door and down the hall, you just know that thing is filled to bursting with little bottles from the mini-bar.
What’s my secret? I dress up like a chimney sweep, every day. Ta for ‘avin’ a read! No need to be shirty, email me at snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com, you mingy slag!