I love that Brittany was called out for looking too catalog. I wonder what catalog this could be for? The Curried Feather Company, specializing in all things red: from skin to dots?
...and after elimination. Before she left, Brittany cried about the catalog criticism, saying, "What little math nerd doesn’t want to hear that? That’s a great compliment to me!" It's a great compliment depending on the cycle, sister. See ya!
"America's Next Top Model, we have a reputation..."
Unless she was planning on slipping on a banana peel or burping the ABC's immediately after saying this, this is no kind of set-up for any larger statement.
"Hi guys! I'm so excited! I'm going to be photographing you guys for the second time! Now this is the first time I've done this in Top Model history! And it's because you guys inspire me, you're absolutely beautiful..."
"...and we're cutting corners like a motherfucker so we didn't hire outside talent this week," is how you should have ended that, Ty. And would it kill you to slip on a banana peel? At least have a rubber chicken on as your photo assistant.
I joke, but this is clearly momentous. You only get one first time to do something twice.
"Yo! As I was shooting you, I felt like I was shooting catalog..."
Catalog, shmatalog, fatalog. Blah blah blah. The point of this Tyraism is not to once again examine this shit I've examined ("examined") twice already (and the recap just started!); it's to showcase Erin's reaction to it:
If L.L. Bean himself sent giant corduroy letters from the grave to relay this message, she wouldn't be happier. Bitch is cold! I love it. Erin doesn't throw you under the bus -- she drives it through your little sister's nursery. Last week, I pointed out how evil she can look, and this week was even worse! Look at her when she won the challenge:
That is not a face of glee, but of spite. She is punching the air in celebration. That is not positive. I do not feel uplifted by this victory. I know this show isn't Rudy, but damn. I get the feeling that she enjoys winning mostly because it means that everyone else lost. Look at this still from that gif:
She looks like a leprechaun who was dually pleased to get back her gold because it had some shit mixed in it and she likes eating that. (Such is her grin.) I mean, seriously, why couldn't her hapa have been some kind of leprechaun mix?
She wears it well! That's why it was so weird that she was so pissy at the photo shoot:
It was like, dude, your pot of gold is sitting on your head. Why are you standing around low-energy style instead of aggressively flailing in celebration? It's like The Wizard of Oz -- what you always wanted was right in your back yard. Now click your head three times. Preferably against a wall.
Sorry to go off course -- Erin really excited me this week and I couldn't wait to talk about her wicked eyes. We now return to your regularly scheduled Tyraisms.
"...I do find that you photograph short. To me it looks like Gap Kids. It still looks like a model, but it looks like a 12-year-old."
Uh, aren't models supposed to look like 12-year-olds? Shit, aren't most high-fashion models, in fact, 12-years-old? I love that this show finally gets realistic in the completely unrealistic terms of the fashion industry, and that's criticized! Wonderful.
Also, there's a Gap Kids catalog, right?
"She's in her way. Is she one of those girls, do you think that she just creates the tornado that doesn't exist?"
If she isn't one of those girls, than you just created the tornado that doesn't exist, Tyra. How's that feel? Easy and breezy, I'm assuming, given your omnipotence and tornadoes' windiness.
"You cannot be intimidated. You have to look at somebody like me and imagine me in my underwear. [Erin says, 'That's more intimidating.'] But imagine something!"
If underwear is too much, imagine Tyra in an underwear-as-outerwear bustier. If that's too much, how 'bout a halter top? More southern-minded? Imagine a thong! Or crotchless panties! Or how 'bout some nice, ruffled bloomers? The important thing is that you are thinking of Tyra Banks. That will help you through, and if it doesn't, at least she can rest assured that someone is thinking of her. That will help her through. You know, like the song: "And even though I know how very far apart we are, it helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star of America's Next Top Model named Tyra Banks...she is also the co-creator...and Christ incarnate...."
By the way, don't let all the Tyraisms fool you: this was another one of those...
1. Let's not wait to blow the bubble, as it were...
By now, the Internet has had plenty of time to debate whether or not painting these contestants' faces a few shades darker constitutes racism. But whatever, I take my time to talk about this shit, so I'm going to go ahead and give my opinion, anyway: this has nothing to do with blackface or minstrelsy. The idea here was not to oppress or satirize, but to celebrate diversity. Granted, the party decorations in this case were cut from a very broad cloth (see Brittany's Amerindian/East Indian mash-up above, and also...
...Jennifer's...situation), and I suppose you could make the argument that celebrating via very surface-level readings of culture (stereotypes, if you will), is like throwing bits of glass instead of confetti (potentially hurtful to you and everyone else). But that's kind of the greater point, I think: ultimately, because skin-darkening is coded and otherwise closely tied to the history of racism in our pop culture, the powers that be knew this was going to get people talking. Basically, I think the formula for successful provocation involves taking something that's outright offensive, and brushing right up next to it -- maybe even crossing paths with it -- while making your pretense of a higher purpose apparent all along the way. In this respect, this photo shoot was not unlike dancing in a field of burning crosses in a video about the unfairness of racism, or turning a wheelchair into a fashion accessory in a video about the hazards of fame. This shoot was a crafty bait for attention. Kind of impressive, actually.
On the other hand, though, playing with racist convention is a pretty tacky and cheap way of generating dialogue, especially when it's just ultimately self-serving. Someone buy me a see-through raincoat for my birthday, because I just realized that transparency is in this season. And, on the third hand (three hands, since we're obviously dealing with circus freaks): who cares? Is that a lil' piglet in a skillet, or is it just ANTM handling something in its usual ham-fisted manner? I do admit that this image was sort of reminiscent of the wrong-headed way the Oompa Loompas are depicted in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book...
...but whatever. Nothing new under the sun or in the melting pot. Buy a bottle of Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo if you want sensitivity.
And really, everything was worth it to hear the girls' oddly enthusiastic response to Tyra's one-sentence lesson on the Malagasy people.
She's teaching the children. Might not be well, but she's teachin' 'em!
2. Speaking of a lil' piglet in a skillet how does Laura get Vitamin D?
Fuck a piglet, I think Laura's hapa is a ray of sunshine and piece of pork roll. She loves it when you call her pig hapa. Seriously, she told me.
The first time I watched this episode, I came in late and caught it at elimination, and since no one said anything about her sunburn, I was like, "Oh my god, I really hope there was some time devoted to it earlier." And, sure enough! I love that she feared it might get her eliminated. Never before have we seen a cast so instilled with the fear of Lord Tyra. They're so paranoid, this is like one big bad trip for their self-images. These girls are smiling with their eyes and dreading with every fiber of their being.
In related news: I used to say that Laura was high, and now I know it: "If I'm gonna model and be successful, this seems like the best way to do it."
Also, I haven't posted a picture of her in an ecstatic state lately, so:
There. Except, I can't figure out if that frame or this one is better:
Why not have both? Why not gorge on ecstasy, like lil' piglets at a farm rave?
3. And speaking of high...
4. And speaking of Sundai looking completely crazed:
She looks like she just had a bad fish stick and cannot wait to take out the day's worth of aggression on the short-order cook responsible for it. She's gonna shove his hairnet so far up his ass, it's going to end up back on his head.
5. Also, is Sundai Tina Turner?
Or, I'm sorry -- Tina never looks that geriatric. What the fuck? Sundai looks like she's supporting her entire existence with that stance - her skin's going to slip off her or her Depend is going to bring her pants down or something. This looks like an add for Ensure's new sports drink of thirst aid: for that deep down body enfeeblement.
And I know that by shitting on that, I'm totally doing the same stupid shit that Jay did when he critiqued the way these girls modeled in, like, one frame of an activity that none of them had done before.
Anyone can look stupid doing something they've never done before. The difference is that America's Next Top Model encourages booty tooching while looking stupid doing something you've never done before.
Jen's shot gave the perpetually witty Jay Manuel the opportunity to invoke Nefertiti Jazzercise imagery.
So on the mark, Jay. Like orange paint on a pimple.
6. Oh, and let's not forget the set-up for bringing them to the non-fashion capital of Hawaii (Tyra couldn't even spin this one -- not even a phoned-in "Hawaii inspires me 'cause it's beautiful...").
Caution! Caution! Flagrant narcissism!
I really loved when they opened the gate and found the dude in the bio-hazard suit and were all scared that someone was going to eat them.
Again: I think it's Tyra that's motivating the fear here.
I understand why these girls often think something's going going to eat them: because it is.
(They are lil' piglets in her skillet, if you will.)
I can't decide what the best thing about this big, dramatic Hawaiian reveal was: Jen's interpretive dance in celebration of the state...
...(because trees doing their funny bending in tsunamis is what I look most forward to in a tropical paradise), or this fleeting face that Tyra made while she was doing something stupid, also in celebration of the state:
I think Tyra's hapa is a pair of throw pillows and a grouper.
Tara? Jaysus, Murray and Jossip, don't expect to see Sophia Beschen in these parts again.
8. But then again...
...Natalie popped up again, and we have been given every indication that her split with Tyra was less than amicable. So, you know, sometimes the impossible happens: Mariah Carey rediscovers love, Tyra has no hard feelings for someone who dared defy her, Natalie shows up looking (in some examples) like a completely different person...
What a wacky, wonderful world!
9. And how 'bout Erin's song?
Biggest revelation: Jen likes to fart. That is gripping stuff right there. Why didn't we know about this earlier? Where's a clip show when you need it? I'd say Jen's willingness to really get in there and treat Laura's sunburn just about corroborates Erin's claim...
Certainly, she fears no gas.
10. I just want to point out this exchange, as sort of this show's absurdity in a nutshell:
Nigel: It's stunning. From top to toe. I look in your eyes, there's power. You've made it very modern.
J: Nigel saw something that I did not see. He says, "Beautiful from top to toe." Where your toes?
Tyra: Well, so you're modeling H to T even though your T's are not in the shot.
Kirsty Hume: I think it's absolutely stunning. I think you look so graceful.
J: And with all that carrying ons up in your necketries, you did not lose your neck.
Tyra: OK, thanks Nicole.
Pretty much everything said here (with the exception of Kirsty's statement) is utter nonsense. Like, it should not be comprehensible, and yet it is. I feel like via this show, I've learned a new language. Keeping with the mixing theme, it's like a bitch track meets the Mad Tea Party. How is a raven like a writing desk? 'Cause, bitch, they both werrrrrk.
Oh, and add this to the nonsense:
"Every single client and photographer you're ever going to meet are actually judging you." No pressure, though, girls. Jesus, no wonder why the paranoia is running so thick.
To that point, maybe this episode was less this...
...and more this:
It made me tremble inside, but not in the good, penisy way.