Congratulations. You've made it through another cycle of America's Next Top Model with brain cells to spare. I mean, you can read this, right? That's at least some mental capacity. No really, congratulations.
Just kidding: everybody knows this show makes you smarter. Or at least, you feel that way watching girls who believed that guy who once told them, "You should be a model!" bumble their way through nominally useful antics and take wild stabs at what any given piece of Tyra Mail could mean. That's saying nothing about the joy derived from seeing all of the show's authority figures bumble their way through the wacky world of the English language. Good old ANTM! I think I miss the feeling of superiority it gives me most of all. Well, that and Jade.
What follows is my final recap of Cycle 6, an overview of all of the episodes. Included is a Top 10 list of my favorite moments, chosen for hilarity and variety alike (otherwise footage of Jade would easily occupy five of these spots). Instead of just reposting screenshots I already took and rehashing what I've already said, I decided to post video of most of these moments (with downloadable AVIs accompanying most, for those who hate YouTube). Yeah, I know that this shit is over and it's time to move on, but I think by revisiting the cycle one last time, I can reduce sting of it going away for so many months. Because, you see, sometimes the needs of one outweigh the needs of the many. And if you understand what I'm talkin' about, let me hear you say, "Yeah!"
We start, of course, with the Crying Count (in this case, the results of it):
CPE = Cries per episode
CPC = Cries per contestant
Pretty self explanatory -- as I said before: you cry, you win. In other news, remember when Brooke called Nnenna a "fucking bitch"? (If you don't, btw, you will soon!) Well, now we can safely put "cold" in front of that.
(Thanks go out to an unnamed reader for this -- I'm OK with numbers but not this OK, and I appreciate his statistical aptitude.)
Meanwhile, upon surveying all of this cycle's Tyraisms of the Week, all of the Coily-inspired logic, the facial elasticity, the inexplicable verbosity, only one really stuck out enough to be considered the Tyraism of the Cycle. People, I give you Tyra at her most articulate:
Just thought you should remember her at her best for the long summer ahead.
And now, the Top 10 moments of Cycle 6:
10. Nipple play (with us).
Jay Manuel's nipples are the new Bre's granola bars -- they both were responsible for the biggest mysteries of their respective cycles, and I'd only eat either if I were really drunk. Unfortunately, I doubt we'll be hearing much about Jay's nip on The Tyra Banks Show (on the other hand, I think that only death or missing teeth could cause Tyra to stop asking "Who stole them bars?" at least once a month on her other show). Such a shame. I'd give my eye teeth (or even my eye nipples) to watch an episode devoted to "Mr." Jay's tits. Warm up the sonogram, Dr. Banks!
9. Cry, cry again...dammit!
While other reality shows attempt to mask their manipulations, ANTM turns them into photo shoots. Awesome. I love that Tyra is jabbing these girls in the eyes with some vapor (or so Jade calls it) to make them cry. "It's supposed to burn," Tyra giggles because when you come down to it, she loves hazing these girls. Sometimes words and wedgies just don't hurt enough.
Obviously, this stunt spoke to me particularly, since I'm obsessed with ANTM's capacity to be a tear factory. Maybe it's a matter of self-awareness -- the writers and Tyra know that this show tends to be a showcase for crying girls and the tearstick their way of winking back at us. "I'm so sad, and I'm so innocent"? Hardly.
8. "Whoops! I'm naked!"
My theory is that Kathy's vag was just busting out, either because it's huge or because it has a mind of its own. Either that, or she's really fucking stupid.
7. I believe that models are our future.
"I want to help raise very strong women," explains Tyra on why she's forcing the girls to reveal career goals that don't involve modeling. Right, right, right. And, if she can raise some viewers for her talk show by reminding us that she has one, no one's worse for the wear, right? Also, "raise?" I guess the breastfeeding didn't make the cut.
Beyond the setup, there's lots to love in this. It's a challenge because everything's a challenge on this show, and, as always, it's fantastic to watch the girls squirm. For Tyra's trouble, we're rewarded with Jade's revelation of wanting to be a kindergarten teacher (and Danielle's reaction), as well as "nurse necessitist." But the best part of this is the resulting photo shoot, which found the girls in "sexed-up" versions of their would-be careers. In other words: you're all whores, anyway.
6. Brooke should go back to the phone room, if it's so damn great.
No, I didn't choose this clip because of Brooke's infamous, "Go back to Africa," barb (which, actually, is "Go back to Africa if it's so damn great," and, as the levelheaded point out, that conditional phrase makes all the difference in Brooke's intent, which was to mirror Nnenna's incessant yammering about Africa, not to be a racist pig). Well, OK, I kinda did, but only because its seeming audacity illustrates the depth of this catfight -- the theme isn't so much, "Don't go there!" as it is, "Go back there!" Besides that, we're treated shrieking, an explanation of "the concept of the phone," housemates eager to butt in (in Danielle's case, it's clearly for the sake of comedy and insight), Nnenna's assertion that she's "not at all moved" by the ordeal (told you she was a cold fucking bitch!) and Brooke's ultimate retraction of her words, handled like the pussy that she is. This one really has it all!
5. Of awesomeness and antennae.
The only contestant more reliably insane than Jade was Gina, whom at one point, I could have called my beloved (funny that when the two of them sparred, it was anticlimactic). While I could have busted out her identity-crisis meltdown or her admission that she hasn't lived much, I choose to remember Gina like this: screaming her head off about a giant cockroach. If only she'd lasted long enough in the competition to make it to Thailand -- it would have been fun watching her get confused among all of the other Asian people ("Which one is me?"). Oh, and I still think she's deaf.
4. You better swirl!
(Download, and swirl!)
Best. ANTM guests. EVER. And that's to say: most useless ANTM guests ever! Seriously, I realize that Ron and Richard Harris take aswirl seriously (hear them refer to it as an abstract concept, like karate or kindness), but I still have no idea what it means except to spin around with pronounced fierceness. I think it also might involve taking liberties with English ("Sara also were affected by her heighth," anyone?). "Don't I look weird?" asks one of them while imitating Furonda. He has no idea!
3. The dance of the seven tangents of whatever.
(Sorry, I don't know what I did with the original file after I uploaded this to YouTube a few weeks ago.)
Ah, Furonda, all giant hands and grace. Her dancing is, like ET in a wig, out of this world and totally gorgeous (particularly the stop move that occurs a the 0:14 mark of the clip), but the real awesomeness of clip is the audience's reaction. They love her! So much for respecting a culture's traditions! I feel like I'm unlearning everything this show taught me through the years, what with the Italian sensuality, umeboshi and trip to Nelson Mandela's former prison cell.
2. CoverGirl, Mommy.
(I didn't upload this one, so no file here either. Spoiler: Danielle wins! Imagine that!)
No matter how many times I watch this, it's never loses its weight. Danielle simply is the best winner ever, and her victory is the most satisfying finale to any cycle of ANTM. But that this emotional high point comes in at No. 2 serves to reinforce how amazingly awesome the No. 1 entry is. It should come as no surprise that our top spot belongs to...
1. Jade's fabulification.
(Download so you can have it forever and ever because it's that special.)
There's not much to say about this slice of heaven that hasn't already been said. Mostly, this clip once again reminds us of the fool-proof formula that is putting girls of diminished mental capacity on the spot. Stupidity and improv is the peanut butter and jelly, the movies and popcorn, the Kate and Allie of reality TV. As long as we're provided with girls misguidedly following their instincts, ANTM will be funny and live forever. And knowing that really does feel fabulous.