First I want to thank the wonderful, fierce, and glamorous AJane for taking last week’s episode and turning it into a big recap’o’fun, spinning straw into gold. She was a real trouper to take on the task.
As for last week, you all will recall that Tyra’s boat of models had more than a few tossed overboard, leaving us with thirteen potential Top Models. We’ve learned Victoria is the brainy one, Ebony has attitude, and Heather has social issues due to ADHD and Aspergers. We’ve also learned Tyra should never be allowed to sing in public ever again, so here’s hoping this episode remains “musical extravaganza” free.
Going for the Al Gore/Ed Begley, Jr. demographic.
The chosen thirteen meet up with the irrepressible Jay Manuel in downtown Los Angeles in what he terms the “fashion district” but looks like a convention center. There he tells the girls that tomorrow will bring their first elimination round and then brings them out back to their new ride. ANTM has decided to go eco-conscious this season and is going to ferry the girls around in a bio-diesel bus, decked out with what appears to be fake grass and other facades of the environment. Mila, ever the intellectual giant, says she is supportive of the entire environmental “kick”. Someone rent her “An Inconvenient Truth,” stat! On the bus, the first piece of Tyra Mail is waiting for them, wherein she again refers to the “green” theme again but gives away no particular hint at what awaits them.
The girls board the bus to be taken to the house they will be sharing for the duration of their respective tenures on the show. The show is similarly “green’d” up in a kind of rainforest theme. There’s a runway that looks like a stream, a ton of plants everywhere, and, apparently, the natives of this rainforest worship giant pictures of Tyra with the odd picture of Jaslene here and there. There’s one thing that can be said of Ms. Banks: she certainly isn’t low in the ego department.
While the girls explore the house, Ebony decides to be reserved and keep to herself, since she didn’t get off on the right foot with the other girls. Lisa is impressed with the fabulousness of the house, saying she never thought she would be in a place like that. Heather is characteristically withdrawn and sketches in her notebook, while the other girls take advantage of the pool and jump in fully (or mostly fully) clothed. Then there was a little Tyra impersonating going on in a “final showdown” between Lisa and Bianca. Bianca says in a voice over that she does not think that Lisa is top model quality because she was an exotic dancer. Hey, give the girl a break—she probably missed the cut-off for the Pussycat Dolls show.
God, I need a cigarette now.
After all this preliminary fooling around, it is finally time for the photo shoot that will knock one of these chicks off. Jay is there to direct the shoot and clues the girls in on the plan. ANTM is not only going pro-environment but it’s also taking the ever-so-controversial stance against smoking. Well, Jay thinks this is controversial, which goes to show his mind has been corrupted by the modeling world. The plan is to take two pictures of each girl—one looking glamorous with a cigarette and one demonstrating a side-effect of smoking—and the images will be made into a composite with the “bad” image being reflected back in the mirror of the glamour shot. Mike Rosenthal will be the photog on the shoot.
Ambreal goes first, and does a great “before” shot and for her side effect shot has blood coming from her mouth. Apparently becoming a brain-eating zombie is a side effect of smoking. Jenah goes next; Jay says her body is good but her face is not right for the glamour shot. She’s made up to be bald for the side-effect shot. Again a new side effect to smoking is discovered: it turns you into a conehead. Who the hell is doing this makeup?!?!
Kimberly, our little bubbly contestant who wants to make people laugh, bags on Heather for being socially awkward. No one has clued her in that talking smack about people behind their backs isn’t exactly endearing. Heather comments, while she is made up to be beautiful, that she hopes for leniency due to her Aspergers.
Meanwhile, Mila is up for her shot; the “after” shot gives her a fit of giggles because the insane makeup people have decided that “hair falling out” needs to look like Bozo on crack. Jay faults her for not taking it seriously, but between the zombie, the conehead, and the clown, I’m having a really hard time too.
Janet rocks the regular look but then turns in a “burn victim” who is also a “smoky eye makeup victim” and Chantal’s tracheotomy look is less effective than South Park’s Ned. Heather and Saleisha have to pose together to convey “second hand smoke” but all it conveys is “Heather doesn’t want to touch Saleisha” and “We are in two different photographs.” Jay states the obvious and says that they just couldn’t relate to each other.
Backstage there is drama stirring, or what the editors are trying to pass off as drama. Bianca and Lisa start arguing in the makeup chair, with Lisa trying to pull her best Naomi Campbell and talks about chucking a cell phone at Bianca. Someone please provide the cell phones and let some real entertainment begin!
Victoria is up next, our scholar, who does not practice her looks before she goes out. She is going to make it up as she goes along—which is fine, really. She’s not doing brain surgery or building a bomb, she’s posing as a pregnant smoker. Of course, the smoking effects shot is as ludicrous as the previous ones—she poses with a doll that is supposed to be a “still born”. Yeah, how many people tote around a still born baby? This social statement is more of a joke as the minutes tick by.
Bianca’s poses draw criticism from Jay that she’s “holding back” but her “rotten teeth” shots get good marks. At this point I figure it out—the make up people are guys who run a haunted house and they are practicing for Halloween. That’s the only thing that makes sense. Finally, Lisa poses and Jay likes all the shots.
With this insanely long photoshoot finally over, the girls are waiting around for everyone to get ready to leave. This opens the door for another shout-fest between Lisa and Bianca, all boiling down to Bianca calling out Lisa for being an exotic dancer and how that is no one for ANTM fans to look up to. In other words, Charm School, Part 2. Instead of Mo’Nique, Jay Manuel comes in and tells the girls to pull themselves together, go home and figure out how to get along.
Nothing says “fierce” like an $5 tank top.
Quiz time: What is the first rule of reality tv? As instructed by the great Bunim-Murray in 1992, the first rule of reality tv is HOT TUBS! Yes, hot tubs, and, well, free booze, but these girls underage so we can’t go there on network television. So, back at the house the girls get all comfy in the hot tub and Lisa and Bianca burry the hatchet. Of course, this does not mean the hatchet is gone, but just out of sight for now. Bianca confesses her apology was more of a strategy so she doesn’t get called out for being an ass at the panel.
Heather doesn’t join in the hot tub fun, but sits outside with a stuffed monkey. Asperger’s aside, this is probably the best course of action—a toy monkey probably has better conversational skills than some of these chicks. Some girls go out and ask her about her Asperger’s and try to wrap their wee model brains around the concept, but they just don’t seem to get it. After a while, Heather is all alone eating an orange and leaves the peel on the sundeck. Janet adamantly says she is not going to pick up after Heather, but I don’t recall anyone demanding that she does. Heather privately says that this experience will make her stronger.
At this point, Miss J comes in wearing P. Diddy’s butler’s cast-offs and James Brown’s wig. He is there to give style tips, which is a laugh in and of itself. He wants to make sure the girls have something nice to wear to the panel that does not involve neon thongs peeking over jeans; okay, he has a point there. He then tells the girls they are going to Old Navy to get outfits to impress the judges. Okay, seriously, this is all a joke, right? Old Navy…to impress the judges? What planet is this guy from? I like Old Navy just fine and have a lot of stuff from there, but it is not an emporium of fine fashion. The girls are also informed that the judges will be looking at their outfits and whomever looks the best before the panel in the Old Navy clothes will win a prize.
Via the bio-diesel bus, the girls arrive at a large, unoccupied Old Navy and are met by Benny Ninja, posing instructor. I think this guy was on Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style a few weeks ago, but he was not dressed as the cabin boy from a pirate ship when I saw him there, so I can’t be certain. The girls have ten minutes to run around like maniacs and pick out an outfit to wear the next day at the panel decision. They choose their outfits, show some off for Benny, and head home where they are greeted by another Tyra Mail. Again, this missive is less than helpful, as it only says one girl will be eliminated the next day…which we all have known since the start of the episode.
Before all retire for the night, some girls get together to talk about Heather again. Kimberly is rather outspoken, saying she doesn’t want to be too friendly to Heather because she’s the kind of girl who will just glom on to her and be all clingy. Heather hears some of these comments or at least senses that people are being rude about her, and she calls her mother. Heather’s mom is really supportive and tells her to hang in and see what happens because she’s a pretty girl. Heather’s mom then makes the mistake of suggesting that Heather make friends with the girls, and Heather says she doesn’t trust them. Heather is one smart cookie.
Assessing the proper level of hootchieness is always difficult.
At this point, I must complain about my local feed of The CW. For some reason, they cut out the very beginning of the panel segment with commercials. I don’t need a used sofa, thankyouverymuch. So, we’re here at the panel with Tyra, Miss J, Nigel Barker, and Twiggy. Twiggy looks very put out, and probably has realized that rehiring Edina Monsoon as her manager was a bad idea.
Chantal is before the panel, and they admonish her on her “bedroom eyes” but like her tracheotomy picture. The judges think Jenah’s emotion came across and Ambreal’s neck looked great. Victoria is nervous before the panel, and they tell her that her shots are good but she needs to work on her charm. Lisa is loved by Nigel and Twiggy both. Mila’s Old Navy dress is not for her, and Miss J says her “glamour” shot looks like she lifted her butt because she was farting. Miss J is the picture of decorum, is he not? The others agree she is awkward in her poses.
Tyra was impressed that she could see the inner monologue in Sara’s shots. Twiggy thought Bianca could bring more life into her pretty shot but the judges thought “smoking effects” shot was spot-on. They generally liked Janet’s shots but thought Ebony’s positioning was stiff. She then says to the judges that she has issues that her confidence is coming across as arrogance. If she substituted “insecurity” for “confidence”, she’d be about right. Tyra tells Kimberly that she needs to watch her hootchiness in her photos—while some hootchiness is desirable, too much is not a good thing. Finally, Saleisha and Heather come forward; both girls were liked but the “effects” shots were better, even if Miss J thought Heather looked demonic. Heather told to be less shy in front of the judges, as she kind of faded into the background next to Saleisha.
After critiquing all of the girls’ Old Navy outfits, Tyra names Saleisha the winner for picking a cute and flattering dress and not wearing insanely big jewelry. Some of the girls were called out for big earrings and chunky necklaces, but that’s what Old Navy has this season and that’s what Benny was sporting, so you could see how they got sucked up into that “fashion don’t” vortex. For winning the challenge, Saleisha wins a $1,000 shopping spree at Old Navy (that’s a lot of tank tops!) and will do an ad for Old Navy. Seee-Weet!
The Great America’s Next Top Model Smoke-Out.
The judges review the girls’ photographs to figure out who they are going to boot out this evening. They like Chantal, think Janet and Ambreal aren’t models, and aren’t impressed with Mila. They aren’t completely sold son Saleisha, thinks Jenah lacks personality, and Kimberly belongs in a men’s magazine with her level of hootchiness. Ebony is declared the most beautiful by Nigel, they think Sarah knows what she’s doing, and Miss J thinks Lisa is gorgeous. Victoria is also a hit with Nigel, Miss J loves Heather’s face, and they all like Bianca but they want to see more. Tyra also reveals to the panel that Heather has Asperger’s and Twiggy finds it very brave of her to be on the show.
The models are then called back in for Tyra to kick one out of the house. She starts by telling them that they all did pretty well in a controversial shoot, but ANTM is all about confronting controversy this season. To that end, Tyra has decided that there will be absolutely no smoking this season, starting the next day, so smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em tonight. She says too many models smoke and it’s not a good image for them to have. Lots of models do drugs *cough* Kate Moss *cough*, so maybe next week they’ll take the “controversial” stance that no one is allowed to do cocaine and Nancy Reagan can make an appearance to re-launch the “Just Say No” campaign. As I write this, I realize that campaign probably pre-dated everyone on this show’s birth and I feel really old.
One by one, Tyra hands out the pictures of the girls still in the competition, and it gets down to two: Mila and Ebony. Tyra tells Mila she is a pretty girl but being pretty isn’t all there is to being a model. She tells Ebony she’s pretty as well, but it is not coming across in the photos. Ebony is overcome with emotion, with tears running from her eyes and snot running from her nose. I hope Ebony is out just for making my stomach queasy, but, alas, it is Mila sent packing. She heads back to the house and packs her stuff, commenting that she hoped to stay longer. Damn Bozo wig did her in, I suspect.
Anyone with tips on how to develop the perfect level of hootchieness is welcome to drop me a PM.