It's really nice to watch Janice Dickinson insult people again. Really. I mean that.
Maybe she said it best herself when she inexplicably lambasted Duh-Gina on the last cycle of ANTM: "You're dead to me, bitch." Dead is right. I thought it was over for Janice, after that particularly vile turn on The Surreal Life and now that she's achieved the status of a thoughtlessly worshiped gay icon (is there any mode of appreciation less flattering than default?). It's one thing to be a homo ha-ha, and it's another to exploit it. I mean, really, showing up at East Village not-spot Eastern Bloc is tantamount to Sally Field's character's plea for adoration in Soapdish when she visits a Paramus mall for the sake of being noticed.
Desperation is not a good look for Janice because it's too straightforward an emotion. The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, however, provides plenty of crossed-signal incoherence while reminding us that the role of the dominatrix-for-your-own-good is the one Janice was born to play. In documenting Janice's search for bodies to stock her fledgling modeling agency's shelves, JDMA doesn't teach us anything that Tyra and her team haven't already (and better). Still, the show is a fun-enough display of Janice's strength in front of the reality camera.
In her weird, emotionally arbitrary way, Janice was the moral center of ANTM during her tenure. If people are going to be so unwise as to join a televised modeling competition, to willingly humiliate themselves for the sake of joining the single most superficial industry on the planet (and, you know, for our entertainment), they get what they have coming to them. In this case, what was coming was this buff, man-voiced monster whose barbs rang equally with wisdom, nonsense and acid. Confined to the last 15 minutes of that show and chopped into delicious non-sequiturs, Janice was a delirious force of hilarity, the apex of ANTM's high camp.
In stark contrast, as a reality show, JDMA is half-good. It's great to hear her ripping into people who are willing to let their appearance pay their bills (this reading may, as a consequence, paint her as a hypocrite, and that's fine -- consistency has never been her thing). However, it's dull to watch fakey footage of her attempting to launch a business. Split down the middle as it is, it's less a trainwreck and more like NASCAR's ultra-femme brother -- the dry set-up (or, in this case the "plot") is beside the point because you're just watching for the crashes. Crashes like her boasting that she "could see a model that the model doesn't even know that the model is the model." I don't even know what that means except that Janice either has the eye of a microscope or the tongue of a sneaker. Crashes like her Episode 2 meltdown, in which she questioned her purpose, only to reassert her determination. "I'll go to gay bars, I will go to the moon if I can find one girl that is the next Iman or Naomi or Giselle."
Hmmm. Maybe that explains the Eastern Bloc thing.
Besides the Neely O'Hara-ing, Janice shows turns of biting humor. When this cock-wagging affront to chunk made everyone uncomfortable...
...Janice redeemed the situation with mere words: "There's dignity and respect in the fashion industry. Some guy, like, stripping down to his bare-ass nothing and showing us his dead rabbit, that's not cool." My heart started racing at "dignity and respect in the fashion industry." I swooned at "bare-ass nothing." And then, when Janice compared a limp penis to a dead rabbit, I fell in love with her all over again. Seriously.
While she's often a fun, wacky bitch ("I got two words for people who don't want to work with me: OUT!"), she's just as often plain cruel, like when she decided to fire a bunch of dumb triplets that she shouldn't have hired in the first place. But the show's structure saves Janice, in this case, as this tiff gives Janice's son Nathan the chance to shine, consoling the girls.
It's really a showcase for Nathan's burgeoning hotness.
Give him time (seriously, he's only 18) to become more comfortable with himself and his eyebrows (easy on the wax, bro!), and he'll be fine. Fine.
And that's the final key to the show's appeal: eye candy. Where ANTM flirts, JDMA gives you a handjob. No stranger to bare-ass nothing herself, Janice has never had patience for the ANTM girls who won't get naked, and so she made it among the first thing she had her perspective clients do. In this case, whats good for business is good for viewers.
She didn't end up going with that guy (for shame!), but she did end up signing Ian, who's apple pie à la mode in human form.
Still, eye-candy is in the...taste buds of the, uh, beholder. Or something. Whatever, the point is that this one who didn't end up making the cut got the triplets' panties all kindsa moist:
Two words for you, girls: Bel Ami. You'll love it!
Janice was wise to turn down this "Disney Boy," though most of her first-round choices otherwise made little sense. A few of her signees:
Easy, breezy...Sarah McLachlan?!?
This one looks like a cross between Slug (two giant steps toward hotness) and Clay Aiken (a million baby steps back). Mother, you may not.
No. No. No.
Not with a fox, not in a box, not in a train, not in the rain, not with a blindfold on, not with a bag over her head, not with us both decapitated, not to escape Chinese water torture or castration, for that matter.
No. No. No.
But on the plus side, Janice is at least open (if prone to immediately back-pedaling) about the tokenism that led to Nyabel's signing. And also, encountering Nyabel gave Janice the chance to get all dykey, and I love when she does that. Check the twinkle that Nyabel brought to her eye:
Look hard. It's time for another eyelift, but it's there.
And then there's Teresa.
At least she has that chic grave accent going for her.
Is that Steak-um draped over her head? Maybe she left her hair dirty so as to create the appearance of dog ears, like the Underdog Lady. You know, the whole time, Janice was raving about this girl, and I just figured her pill-fueled haze was particularly heavy that day. But then, as Janice was explaining her decision to sign Not-So-Cutiè, she made it all worthwhile: "We have a lot of work to do on you. We're gonna have to find you a job and we're gonna have to talk about maybe doing something with your nose." Amazing. Not just, "Lose the love handles," but "Let's crack open your face and rearrange it." That's the Janice I love, the one who'd choose extremely flawed girls just to bag on them (resulting, of course, in good TV). Cheap! Like UPN-on-whorehouse-TV cheap!
And I mean that as a compliment.