let’s talk about “america’s next top model” cycle 14. i love “top model”. i have seen every cycle, some more than once. but losing the awesome writers they had during the writer’s strike a few years ago kind of ruined things a little bit. it was in the middle of cycle seven, & suddenly the episodes got a lot more boring. sometimes i think that reality TV writers don’t get as much credit as they deserve. you can’t always just rely on hilarious personalities who lack self-awareness to bring the LOLs. sometimes things need to be shaped behind the scenes. i mean, was it really cycle seven michelle’s idea to call her mom & come out of the closet on mother’s day? or did the writers put her up to it? because that shit was comedy gold. what about jade from cycle six & her brilliant poetry montage that made the mid-season clip show gotta-see TV? no way tyra came up with that idea. the game hasn’t quite been up to those standards in a while. but of course i will still watch, because i have a compulsive personality disorder.
it’s always tough to get a bead on the girls this early in the season. there are just too damn many of them, & they’re all hamming it up & vying for camera time. witness: alasia throwing herself down on the floor when tyra met the semi-finalists & screaming out in near-religious ecstasy. that transparent display of pandering made her dead in my book until moments later when she tore off her wig. there is no transgression so great that it can’t be remedied by a dramatic wig reveal. though, with the wig (& hence, the source of all her powers) gone, alasia once again became dead to me when she repeated her floor-pounding theatrics when she was selected for the house. give that shit a rest, alasia, because no casting director on earth is going to be impressed by it.
angelea from the season 12 semi-finals is back. jared calls her “buffalo” because of all the screaming & crying she did at the cycle 12 castings, weeping over how she “cain’t go back to buffalo, [she] just cain’t!” this is the woman with the three-inch (hopefully acrylic) fingernails painted with bile green stripes, who stayed overnight in a port authority bathroom stall to make the auditions in new york city. i suspect that she bombed the psych test for cycle 12 & that’s why she didn’t get cast, because she was already stirring up the dramzzz with sandra, & she does have very nice bone structure. & you know tyra would love to see the meltdown that would accompany the loss of those fingernails. but let’s face facts: she slept in a port authority bathroom stall. no way she had the mental health reserves to stand by & watch dinosaur-faced teyona wow the judges with her denture cream smile. she got her shit together during the shorty cycle, lost the nails, & got a spot in the house for cycle 14.
i already hate her & her “bitch, please” face. last night’s premiere was (obviously) the first episode of the cycle & angelea was already busting out her smirks & scowls with brenda over breakfast, leading to a rift in the house & a screaming match between alasia, krista, & angelea, while (i assume) brenda cried out on the patio. i like reality TV drama as much as the next person–but within reason! not before these girls even have their very first photo shoot! i concede that all of this shit is edited to within an inch of its life, & the so-high-pitched-only-dogs-can-hear-it screaming we saw last night could be from weeks down the line. but they showed angelea sowing discord in the walk-in closet by claiming more than her fair 1/13th of space. where do these girls get off? why can’t they make even the tiniest shred of effort to keep the peace until they actually know each other well enough to start huffing & puffing.
in the semi-finals, two girls who wound up being passed over for spots in the house immediately bonded & started hating on the other girls. they would be self-professed “spoiled brat” hallie (who looked not a day younger than 47) & pierced/tattooed-but-in-an-unfortunate-tweety-bird-way danielle. they hung out together & complained about the other girls being loud & fake & “undeserving” of a spot in the semi-finals. because reality TV is always about rewarding hard work & self-sacrifice, right? these girls had known each other for all of maybe a day or two, tops. & outside the enforced confines of a radisson conference room awaiting an interview with tyra & the jays, hallie wouldn’t have wasted two seconds of time on danielle. & i don’t understand why danielle thought that lip piercings & a bull ring were going to fly in the highly competitive world of beginner’s modeling. maybe you can get away with that shit once you have a name & can get castings based on who you are, but until then, it’s all about being a blank slate.
i was pleased with the casting photo shoot they did though, where each girl had to do her own hair & make-up & wear the same tank top & embody a model of her choosing. every cycle, they have girls who know fuck-all about the business & really seem to believe that they will become supermodels on the back of being pretty. i liked that they made the girls show what kind of working knowledge they have of the fashion industry, & i laughed & laughed at not-so-bright tatianna (a volunteer mortician, which i really don’t think is legal), who thought megan fox was a supermodel. i cringed for alasia, who knew naomi campbell’s name, but not a single ement of her body of work. i cringed momentarily for naduah, who chose to embody kate moss, just because, you know, who doesn’t know the name “kate moss”? but then she made it work…
…at least until she started talking about being raised in a cult. a cult that i can only assume was dedicated to the development & implementation of incredibly fake accents. during the backstage casting moments, her ludicrous accent was all over the map, but when naduah was exclaiming over the loft twenty minutes later, she was talking like any other mall rat from southern california. cancun & nudity sex cults, my ass. then again, i was no fan of cycle 13 nicole during the premiere either, with all of her crying over how her classmates thought she was weird for using a wheelbarrow instead of backpack to transport her schoolwork to class. i mean…a wheelbarrow? where did she park it?
other observations: the casting gimmick this time involved the girls developing their profiles on “myfierce” in an effort to join tyra’s “network”. “myfierce”? really? when “fiercebook” is so much more clever? i guess this is the same woman who gave us “smize” (& inspired jared to develop “frowth”–frowning with one’s mouth, his reaction to “smize”). we already knew we weren’t playing with a full deck.
two ladies (jessica from arkansas & redheaded brenda) “got pregnant the first time they ever had sex!” “i don’t know how it happened!” exclaimed jessica. that explains A LOT. they now both have babies, & jessica is married to her statutory raping baby daddy (she was 16, he was 22, they met at church & were then shunned when the baby bump became apparent).
raina looks like denise richards. alasia wore earrings shaped like tiny handcuffs. krista fears the penises of white men because they make her think of raw beef. she is also, i’m sorry, hideous. how did she get cast & that cute freckled girl we barely saw in the semi-finals got cut? or pretty nedi from texas, who really just needed a little eyebrow work? maybe krista takes a fierce still photo, because video work does nothing for her. if she makes it to the commercial challenge, we’re all going to be in for a world of pain.
aimee, the blonde singer who would really have to know her angles in order to work around that nose, should totally give up on modeling & apply to be cinderella at disney world. she would be PERFECT for the job!
tyra cast twelve girls, which did not include spoiled rich girl hallie. between sobs that made her already-M&M-sized eyes look even more tiny, she assured us that she would have been the 13th choice if tyra had wanted to cast thirteen girls. this desperate stab at self-preservation was immediately proven delusional when tyra announced that she wanted to cast thirteen girls, so the twelve she’d selected in the radisson continental breakfast station (i assume, judging by decor) would meet their thirteenth roommate in new york. haha, hallie! loved that. i love when the editing is really mean to a girl who is wallowing in hubris.
in new york, the girls wander around & somehow avoid getting mugged even though we have yokels like jessica, gasping over subway maps & those little fences they put around trees. get a grip, woman. outside madame tussaud’s, they are accosted by perez hilton, who promised not to make cracks about celebrity children for six months in exchange for a guest spot on “top model”. that tyra, always looking out for the little people. she is truly this generation’s oprah. tyra springs out of nowhere, & i think she was wearing a jumpsuit. she introduces the girls to ren, their thirteenth roommate, a shaggy-haired tattooed hipster with bad skin. no one seems especially threatened.
then she sends the girls for make-overs. brenda cries & cries when they cut off her boring long hair in favor of a shaggy pixie. i guess it does kind of make her look like miranda from “sex & the city,” which is probably not the way to book jobs. krista is very displeased with her incredibly long snap-on snap-off ponytail. she says, “this is what i do at home when i don’t want to fuss with my hair,” but i don’t get that because her pre-make-over hair was some kind of horrifying origami construction straight of “designing women” or something. the long ponytail does wonders for her (though i still find her bone structure not at all model-esque). ren’s make-over makes her look like patti smith. she seriously looks like she just wandered over from williamsburg & got caught up in the fray. sorority girl simone gets a fabulous shaved-on-the-sides look that does WONDERS for her. she’s like cycle 3’s kelle, minus the snout. for once, no one gets that awful fluorescent yellow bleach job that tyra loves so much. though tatianna gets a cut & dye that makes her look like a gym teacher. sad.
the girls pose for their make-over shots dressed as aerobics instructors from 1983, probably in head-to-toe american apparel. full disclosure: i have occasionaly considered severing ties with friends who buy clothing from american apparel. not only is the dude who runs the whole thing a total sleazehound, but that shit is UGLY. the 80s & early 90s have been making a fashion comeback for a few years now & talk about frowthing! i am getting frowth lines from all the sweetheart neckline/spaghetti strap/tiny floral print sundresses & jersey tube top playsuits making the rounds. this shit was ugly the first time around, & it’s even uglier now that we know better! spare my eyes & my sanity, i beg of you!
the show closes on a nude photo shoot cliffhanger. i predict that shunned-from-her-church jessica will have issues with this, but, hey, if she’s shunned already, maybe she’ll be fine. i also predict brenda will be reluctant, just because she seems incredibly uptight. & at judging, we will meet andre leon talley from “vogue” magazine! as long as he doesn’t make bird noises & call it critique, this is leaps & bounds better than ms. jay.