For Part 1 of this recap, click here. Otherwise, take my hand, dear friend and, as in the Inferno, please allow me to guide you further into the seventh cycle of ANTM, as Virgil guided Dante around the circles of Hell. After all, are they so different? They both have people perpetually crying, being tortured by a maniacal red-bedecked (or beweaved) Tyrant? Plus, Hell’s where we’ll probably all end up after watching this episode. Heeeyyy! Party in the inner ring of seventh circle, yo! [does Cabbage Patch]
Fashion School of Rock
They’ve already turned these girls out on Hollywood Blvd. For shame! Good Lord, this show’s gone downhill fast. Oh wait, they’re not working it, just walking it. As we watch the girls meander the boulevard and contemplate the stars in the sidewalk, we hear the de rigueur statements of how “surreal” it is to be on the show, and how they can’t believe they’re actually there, blah blah. Not much time for sightseeing, however; they are quickly met by Runway Trainer Extraordinaire (very extraordinaire) Miss J. and the designers of ROCK ‘N’ ROLL fashion line, Elmer Ave.
For the Final 13’s first official challenge, they bring out 13 hunkadoodle male models, who our girls must strip (What, again? What happened to stripping not being a part of modeling?), but not for prurient reasons (okay, not entirely prurient reasons) but in order to take that model’s clothes and feminize them for themselves to wear, because the final part of the challenge will involve the girls strutting those outfits down the catwalk for judgment. I realize that last sentence was a run-on, but I ask you to go with me on this one.
“Remember,” one of the designers says, “Elmer Ave. is all about ROCK ‘N’ ROLL!” [screeching, throwing out the devil horns] The girls run up and attack the guys. Melrose says while others were distracted by the men, she was checking out the clothes, in order to see what outfit would fit and flatter her best. Megg is so excited and feels like the ROCK ‘N’ ROLL angle is definitely in her favor. Will that make her a shoe-in for the win? Well, certainly more than Eugena who admits, “I know nothing about rock.” Notice that’s “rock” and not “ROCK, BABY, YEAH!!!” [waggles tongue, KISS-style] Well, if you don’t know about ROCK, you better learn, and it’s crash course time, because the show’s about to begin.
A.J. comes out with a strong start, followed by Amanda and Anchal, who both appear to hold back a little. Brooke looks a bit more POP than ROCK, but at least she’s enthusiastic. Caridee looks cute; Christian has a good march going but does a weird hunch at the end that looks like she’s dry heaving instead of posing; Eugena, Jaeda, and Megan manage to make it through without tripping. Hey that’s something! Megg is not as ROCK ‘N’ ROLL as you would think, except for an awkward, dandruff-flinging head twirl. Melrose is surprisingly the most ROCK, with a hair bouncing strut and sexy pout that explodes at the end of the runway into the DEVIL HORN & ROCK TONGUE Two Item Combo. Michelle, woops, stumbles a bit. Monique flashes her panties.
Elmer Ave. congratulates everyone but picks Melrose as the winner. She will receive a “great prize” that they inform her will be given to her later. Melrose is clearly chuffed as nuts to be the winner, and doesn’t even care what the prize is. “I won that’s all that matters!”
Outside a stretch Escalade limousine that’s pimped from the inside out awaits to take them to a very special place. Inside the limo, the girls find an envelope containing a key and this TyraMail: “We’ve all got issues. Step into my world to experience some of mine. Your subscription has just arrived.” Clever, TyraMail author. After that writers’ strike, I have a better appreciation of the job you do. [hugs]
The Escalade brings the girls to their new home in glorious Brentwood. This time, the ANTM mansion’s theme is Fashion Magazine. Tyra covers greet them from every wall, with clever pull out quotes all over. It looks like heaven, but there’s just one problem: 13 girls, just 11 beds. Brooke has the right idea, by staking claim to her bed right away. Monique and Christian, unfortunately are the two unlucky girls who have no other option for bedtime other than the bean bags in the living room.
Monique, who’s already acting the part of high-maintenance princess, feels she is more entitled to a bed than anyone else and walks right up to a bed that clearly has someone else’s possessions on it. She not only has the gall to remove the items from the bed, but (ironically while wearing angel wings) decides to “mark [her] territory”—thankfully not by peeing on it—but by pouring her bottle of water all over the mattress. I actually don’t understand Monique’s logic. She’s only succeeded in pissing someone off and she’ll still be uncomfortable sleeping in a damp bed!
The unlucky girl whose bed Monique has brazenly stolen is Eugena. I know she didn’t! Why Monique gotta do a sistah like that? Eugena walks into the room and tells Monique to get off her bed, then spots the wet spots. Monique says, “Damn, I just decided to pee on the bed today.” Classy! Well, if she doesn’t get the CoverGirl contract, maybe Monique could hook up an endorsement deal with Depends?
“Bitch thinks she’s knows everything…I wanted to fight her,” Eugena confesses. Monique, sitting back on the bed looking like a Grade A, World Class Beeeeyatch from Hell says simply, “They can call me damn diva…I don’t care. You guys can all bite me.”
Meanwhile, there is another person in the running for house Diva. Melrose has taken it upon herself to cook dinner for everyone, however, she feels that this gesture also allows her to speak imperiously to everyone and order them around. Christian says it’s clear Melrose is trying to be the “Mom of the House” but people aren’t feeling it. She’s more “Mommy Dearest” than “Mom of the House,” barking out things like, “The rule is I’m making this for everyone, but I’m not cleaning the dishes.” That sounds fair, only Melrose spits it out like she’s the Kitchen Nazi.
Just because she’s older than everyone else doesn’t mean she has the right to talk down to everyone else like they’re children. Anchal probably articulates what everyone else is thinking when she says that Melrose’s attitude made her feel like, “You’re not my mother, don’t tell me what to do.” If the seething looks of resentment from her housemates could kill, there would already be chalk outline around Melrose’s body.
Cut to the next morning. Rise and shine! When Melrose heads out to the kitchen to get some breakfast, she discovers the entire place filthier and piled higher with trash than a landfill. Someone tried to do a load in the dishwasher—operative word being tried. When Melrose opens the door, she finds the machine filled with suds and half-washed dishes.
Melrose gathers everyone in the living room for a talk. She says they’ve only been in the house for a day, and already the kitchen is nasty. Only I think she says “narsy” whatever that means—perhaps a combo of nasty and gnarly? Melrose says she doesn’t care about people’s private areas, but they need to agree to keep the common areas clean. Actually, that’s perfectly reasonable. Melrose also seems to have a good idea by trying to organize who is willing to shower at night or in the morning to cut down on bathroom traffic.
A.J. says why can’t everyone agree to just not take hour-long showers? Monique, who’s shaping up to be quite the C-Unit, refuses to cooperate. She insists that that’s just the way it is, she takes a long time to shower, and she won’t change for anyone. Everybody hates her now even more than they hate Melrose.
The ANA MIA Twins and Other Stereotypes
This cycle, they have a clever new way of delivering TyraMail. Melrose finds an issue of “Tyra Magazine” with one of those big subscription cards that always make your magazines flop open to a drug prescription ad. Seriously, I hate that. Anyway, ANTM’s finally found a good use for those cards: for TyraMaaail! The girls scream in anticipation at what it could say. This card curiously states “People think models are stupid, drug-addicted, anorexic bitches.” Well that sure quieted the cheering fast! The girls are confused and not amused.
The next day, the girls report to a beautiful home whose centerpiece is large, majestic Thai Buddha overlooking a gorgeous, glittering pool. The serenity of the scene is broken by Tyra, made up to look like a Disney villainess and clearly channeling classic diva Maria Callas. She sweeps in followed by an entourage that flutters around her nervously (including one guy whose specific function is to follow her around with a fan). The girls laugh and cheer until Tyra sneers at them, asking, “Who are these young beetches!” They ain’t laughin’ no more. Tyra screams, “I am zee only supermodel in the world! I am almost 35 and I do not like young beeeetches!”
Tragedy strikes when the cord of the electric fan blowing Tyra’s hair becomes unplugged. “Where is my weeend?!!” Tyra shrieks. An assistant dressed like Agent Smith yells at poor Fan Guy, “I told you this woman needs wind!” Everyone is ordered to blow on Tyra. Tyra wants to leave and says she won’t come out again until “all these little, prepubescent beetches are gone!” She storms off, but not before tripping over long skirt to eat it, face first on the concrete. The many assistants must carry her off literally kicking and screaming.
Has Tyra finally suffered a meltdown and shown her true diva colors? Did she really skip her meds? Ah no, it was all acting! [applause] That was obviously her Emmy clip right there. If only a reality show could win in the drama category. Art Director Mr. Jay comes out to say that that’s not the real Tyra Banks, even though a lot of people might think that’s how she really acts on a daily basis. Rather, Tyra was portraying a stereotype of a model.
Jay says today will be their most controversial photo shoot ever: model stereotypes. A.J., for example, will be the model “working the casting couch” (that is, ho-ing her way to the top); Amanda, the anorexic model; Caridee, dumb blonde; Brooke, backstabbing bitch; Christian, model-turned-actress; Eugena, black-model-being-turned-into-a-white-girl; Megan, diva with a lapdog; Michelle, bulimia; Jaeda, plastic surgery victim; Megg, drunk, drug addict; Anchal, the narcissist; Monique, throwing-a-cell-phone-at-your assistant (a.k.a. ‘The Naomi’, but I guess since Miss Campbell and Miss Banks reconciled, they didn’t want to mention her by name); and Melrose, the model who won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day (a.k.a. The Linda Evangelista). So basically there’s a lot here to get the politically correct and paper-eating crowd alike all riled up.
Because Melrose won the challenge, Jay says that she gets to be the “Diva for the Day,” meaning she will be provided with her own personal assistant to use and abuse, and get pampered with a massage before her shoot. Speaking of the shoot, the photographers today are Oliver Bronson and Dylan Don. The girls head to hair and makeup to get veins drawn and extensions put in.
Monique goes first. She gives Jay the exact same pose for every frame, and it’s not a very good one. Jay tries to rile her up by screaming out, “Bitch! Dumbass!” I feel bad mostly for the girl playing the assistant in the shot, who looks like she is unsure what’s going on. Even Monique admits she needs to work on her acting skills. Ironic, despite being a bitchy prima donna in real life, Monique can’t seem to portray one convincingly on film.
In contrast, CariDee is having no problem at all getting the Dumb Blonde down. In fact, she’s scary good at portraying stupid, almost to the point of looking retarded. When Jay warns that she’s getting too “zany,” CariDee pulls it back a bit to just airhead level.
Jay needs Megg to look “strung out” and calls out “Gia!” for inspiration. In her shot, a make up artist (Sutan, whom you might remember from past episodes of ANTM, or that great beauty episode of The Tyra Show when he punked that girl who said she could tell the difference between expensive and drugstore make up) tries to revive her as she passes out.
Jay asks why Eugena has gum in her mouth, and she claims it’s because white girls always smack gum. What in the world? There’s a new stereotype I’ve never heard. Jay, like a strict schoolteacher, orders her to spit it out. Eugena has crizazy blonde extensions with intense black roots and a Barbie pink dress in order to act as a “black girl in the industry who wants to be white” even though she herself wishes fashion would portray African Americans more truthfully. Jay seems impressed with her poses.
Megan learns she will be posing with “Tyra Banks.” This “Tyra Banks” really is a bitch, literally. She’s a tiny, cocoa-colored, little Chihuahua-type dog who is cute and damn near pocket-sized. Anchal, the “narcissistic model” is gorgeous in gold lamé in front of three gilded mirrors; however, she says she has a hard time giving Jay the “sexy” he wants since, as she says, “I never really think I’m beautiful.”
Jay directs Christian not to give the Tyra Banks poses that she showed them during the semi-final interviews. Jay feels that although it’s great to look up to someone, Christian needs to be herself, not a Tyra clone. Unfortunately, without her Tyra playbook to fall back on, Christian didn’t have much else to deliver. Jay complains it was the same thing shot after shot: “Broke Down Tyra Banks.”
Brooke is made up in crazy 80’s hair, make up, and dress and about to get into a “Dynasty”-type catfight with a similarly made up model. She says the “backstabbing bitch” is her complete “polar opposite”; however, it was fun to “get to play a bitch for a day.”
A.J. proves to be a real trooper by climbing atop a corpulent mountain of a man (they found an appropriately sleazy looking guy for the part) for her shot as the “casting couch model.” She looks great, and gets points from Jay for being “completely uninhibited” and working like a real model.
Jaeda has to play the “plastic surgery victim” but unfortunately lies on the operating table like she has already been put under anesthesia. She doesn’t act very cooperative, and Jay doesn’t like the one face she gives.
Finally, we see the anorexia and bulimia twins. Michelle says initially Amanda was the one who was more into the competiton, but now Michelle is finding herself more invested. Her “bulimic model” poses on top of a toilet, with cream smeared all over her hands and feet, and pastries scattered on the floor. Jay finds Michelle’s shoot to be “really good…disturbingly amazing.” Now I’m sure a lot of people may put up a fuss about this glamorizing eating disorders, but really it just looks like the new Fiona Apple album cover. Later, when Jay compliments her for looking like “a real editorial fashion model,” it’s unclear whether it’s because her posing is so good, or because many real models are bulimic. That should be some food for thought on which to binge and purge.
Amanda, the “anorexic model” is posed before a clothing rack, with a measuring tape around her waist. Unlike her sister, she needs more direction from Jay, who says she doesn’t understand how to use her body effectively. He prescribes a little more “mirror time” for her.
Meanwhile, Melrose has been getting a massage. Jay complains that the diva treatment may have gone to her head. He has been waiting for her for ten minutes. Backstage, Melrose needs to be told to spend a little less mirror time, is scrutinizing her make up and pissing off Sutan, the make up artist, who says, “Should you be the Narcissist?” You can tell Sutan, as a professional, does not like his work being questioned. “It’s fine, you’re crazy,” he tells her; Melrose says she just wants everything to be “perfect” walking into the set.
She saunters onto the set rather preciously, but has her bubble burst by an angry Jay, who chides her for being late. Melrose snippily responds, “Oh I’ve been ready for like six hours but then I got my massage with my make up on and blah blah blah excuses blah blah defensive blah.” Jay scolds her “attitude” and her Diva Bubble pops. In bed, Melrose is supposed to play the “model who won’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day” who is appalled when approached by a man with a gigantic check for $9999. But Melrose shuts down, because (as she explains later) she doesn’t want to burst into tears after her episode with Jay.
“Everyone’s disappointed in me, I can tell,” Melrose admits later. She leaves the set on the verge of tears only to lock herself in the bathroom to sob loudly. The one model stereotype they left out of their shoot today? The over-emotional drama queen! To her credit, Melrose owns up to her bad behavior, saying she knows she did poorly today, but “I don’t think that’s really who I am and I got a big kick in the ass.”
Throwing Christian to the Lions
Before I get to the judging, let me say that I love the “Angry Tyra” photo that precedes this cycle’s first elimination ceremony. In the judging room, Tyra greets them made up very retro, like a modern, black Marilyn Monroe. Time to announce the prizes, and before you decide to nap through this section, take note that the prizes are actually a wee bit different this cycle: The girl who wins this time will get a contract with Elite Model Management (upgrade), a cover and a 6-page editorial spread in Seventeen magazine (downgrade), plus a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl cosmetics (same). Tyra then introduces the esteemed judging panel: sexy noted fashion photographer, Nigel Barker; the runway trainer extraordinaire we all love, J. Alexander; and fashion icon/”living legend” Twiggy.
This week, they will be judged on their best shots from the stereotype shoot. Tyra calls Megan up first for evaluation. At first, Nigel calls it her lapdog pic a “great first shot; but then close up, he changes his mind, “It isn’t so good.” Tyra warns Megan that with her chin up, she can look a little “piggy” so she warns her that when she wants to put her face up like that, she also cheat to the side.
Monique’s “phone throwing model” is heavily criticized. “Unfortunately, this looks just crazy,” Nigel opines. Tyra says that even acting out anger, a model has ot make it still look attractive. “This is the money,” Tyra says, gesturing to her face. Tyra is talking about a money shot to the face…heh heh (if I need to explain why that’s funny, you probably don’t want to know).
Tyra said she was very proud going through CariDee’s film. “You gave stupid, you gave idiot, you gave clueless, you gave so many types of dumb,” Tyra says, in sentence that outside of this context would not be such a compliment. Tyra says that CariDee has the personality, but needs to get the modeling thing down by reining in the character and focusing on the beauty.
Oh Tyra. She asks Anchal to take down her hair, then says, “You look so much more model-y now.” Later, Tyra will put other girls’ hair up then say the very same thing. I think Tyra is just @#$%ing with us now. I mean really, down, up, more clothing, less. What does a model really look like? Anyway, Tyra finds Anchal one of the most beautiful women she’s seen in a long time, but she’s “almost to pretty” so Anchal must fight against that beauty in order to be Top Model, not Miss World. Tyra asks Anchal how she feels about modeling without the blue contacts. Anchal now realizes she was hidng behind them, and she’s come to accept her own unique look.
Tyra plays stylist again with Megg, adjusting her clothing to make her look more model-y. They like her drugged out photo, with Miss J. calling it “a great busted.” Tyra warns that Megg must be more conscious of her face. Tyra says if she does not give a more model face “I guarantee you will go home.”
Amanda’s “anorexic” shot is “a great shot” according to Nigel; Twiggy like the way it “captures the mood” of anorexia (what on earth is that supposed to be, hunger?); J. loves the sensitivity of the face. As much as the panel loves the picture, Tyra says it was the only good shot from her film. Tyra says even though she knows modeling is her “true dream” even more than her sister and she probably has more “ability” than some of the other finalists, Tyra feels she “got nervous.” Amanda admits that having so many people watching her made her nervous; Tyra says she must turn it into a performance, because in modeling there will always be onlookers in the room.
Michelle’s “bulimic” photo was the most controversial, because it elicits the strongest reaction. The whole panel goes “ooh” at the same time, like they got punched in the gut. This is also the beauty of the picture: it’s scary, but emotional.
Tyra doesn’t like Melrose’s blazer (did Melrose make that with her designer skills?) and has her take it off because it looks like “I used to model and now I’m going to show you how to pose today.” Is that a crack at old pal Janice Dickinson? She also has Melrose tie back her hair. The panel seems happy, and Tyra says, “See, Melrose, you shaved off 8 years,” which by my math makes her now look 15, the age when most real models start their careers. They don’t like her photo, Nigel feels she comes out looking too old, even with retouching. Tyra reads Jay’s notes, which describe her as “argumentative, late, and the worst of the gang.” Nigel says he hates girls who are late to his set, and Melrose apologizes and says it won’t happen again.
Brooke comes up, and her evaluation is quick: it’s agreed she needs practice at making an “ugly pretty face.” Eugena’s photo has a mixed response, they think she’s just “sitting” on her pretty face (another one of those phrases that sounds unintentionally nasty). A.J. for some reason has lost her confidence (because she’s “different” from the other girls—what happened to wanting to prove to girls that it’s okay to be different?); she breaks down before the panel, despite having a strong picture. Nigel tries to boost her confidence by saying her face is the one of the strongest ones he’s seen so far. Miss J. and Tyra do warn her not to lose her neck, and Tyra demonstrates(holding up a notebook) how even covered she can still give the appearance of length. “Can you feel the difference?” Tyra asks. Far be it from me to contradict the omnipotent Tyra but, um, NO, I don’t! You look like you’re behind a Trapper Keeper both times.
Tyra doesn’t like Christian’s hair, or her clothes, so she runs over Tyrafies her. Unfortunately, Christian’s photo “doesn’t work” for Twiggy, or anyone else on the panel, for that matter. Tyra mention’s Jay’s frustration at the way she did the same thing over and over again, “and it looked like you were catching flies with your mouth.”
Tyra declares she doesn’t like Jaeda’s “suburban mom” look, incurring the wrath of Suburban moms everywhere (let’s see who tunes into your little daytime talk show now, TyBitch!). Tyra ties back Jaeda’s hair and takes off some of her clothing, and rolls up the rest, while Nigel says they don’t want her to hide “behind all that clothing.” For those of you keeping score at home: Stripping, MOST DEFINITELY A PART OF MODELING. Her picture just looks dead, and Tyra says the whole film looked like that.
The judges deliberate. They’re puzzled by A.J.’s seemingly sudden lack of self-confidence. Jaeda can look too masculine. They love Eugena’s picture this week (although to me, it looks like a phone sex ad), but feel like she’s too complacent. They think the qualities of Amanda and Michelle combined would be the “perfect combination” and we learn Nigel’s wife is a twin herself and constantly up against her sister for jobs, but they’ve learned to be happy with one another’s success instead of competitive. Megg needs work with her eyes. They like that Anchal is getting closer to self acceptance because, Tyra says, “We all know as people of color we can be taught that that’s not beautiful” (Twiggy nods politely). Christian is “boring.” Brooke has good personality, but her picture this week is mediocre. Megan reminds them of a softer Kim. Nigel says “Dumb Blonde is resting on easy for CariDee.” They want to keep Monique around despite a bum picture this week, because they find something about her interesting. They are disappointed with Melrose’s bad behavior; Tyra says, “If you’re a bitch, hide it.”
Tyra hands back the photos, calling out: Michelle (again, the first of the twins), CariDee, A.J., Megan, Anchal, Megg, Monique, Amanda, Jaeda, Eugena, and Brooke. That leaves Christian and Melrose in the bottom two. Tyra’s criticism of Christian is mainly that she’s “boring”; Melrose is called out for acting the diva, and she apologizes to Tyra, who replies, “It’s a little too late for sorry.”
But it seems there’s only room for one Tyra in this town (no, seriously, there’s only room for one now that L.A. has put a cap on the amount of bootyliciousness allowed in the city). And so, it is Christian they give the boot. Melrose collapses to the ground in tears, and Tyra says she’s going to have to get up for a lot less than $10,000 for a while; Melrose says she’ll work “for a dollar.”
Meanwhile, Christian looks devastated, and sobs inconsolably, and who can blame the poor girl. She was just dismissed by the idol she so worshipped that she got excited when Tyra touched her hair. Christian says she’s “crushed” she wasn’t given the opportunity to prove herself, and “didn’t really see it coming.” Still stunned, Christian leaves the house and the competition forever. Farewell, Christian, we hardly knew ye.
What’s your stereotype? Email me at snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com, and I’ll read it if my laptop still works after hurling at my assistant in an angry rage—I said nonfat milk in my vanilla fracking latté, you insipid fool!”