Thursday, October 21, 2004

Snout Awareness

This week, on "America's Next Top Model," the unflappable (i.e. stone-faced) Jennipher posed dully in lingerie, staggered dully about on rollerskates while modeling a purse (dully) and spent a lot of time complaining in a flat, emotionless tone about how everyone seems to find her dull. Can you guess which contestant got booted from the competition at the end of this episode?

The show's centerpiece was Toccara's one-on-one talk with supermodel/producer/microphone-licker Tyra "Moon Maiden" Banks, which degenerated quickly into a long crying jag about her parents. I felt awful for her. The really sad part is that according to Toccara, her parents were pretty much useless to her when she was growing up, and yet she still feels like they have power over her. She's still trying to prove herself to them, even though their own personal problems forced Toccara into taking the parenting role in her family. Tyra gave her a hug. ("Take comfort in my tangerine-colored weave, child.")

For comic effect, the editors then cut to a scene with Toccara walking into a room and finding Kelle in the middle of her own crying jag. But Kelle's problem is that she suddenly hates the way she looks -- so much so that she can't bear to see herself in a mirror. Welcome to the world of modeling! The producers' and judges' ongoing campaign to destroy Kelle's self-esteem is chugging along just fine, thank you very much. Each week they choose some bizarre out-take with Kelle's face or body in a weird position, and present it to her as her "best photo," along with generous dollops of belittling remarks. Dang, suddenly everybody wants to be Michael Moore. Kelle's main concern is with her mouth -- or, as she's calling it this week, her "snout." She sobs to Toccara, "I was in denial about my snout, but now I know." (That sounds like the title of the best Judy Bloom book EVER.) Kelle points to a magazine photo with a model who has her very own "snout." Kelle is oblivious to the fact that this grotesquely deformed model is earning a living by appearing in fashion magazines. The editors blurred out the model's eyes, no doubt to save her from nationwide scandal. Snoutgate! Toccara tries to boost Kelle's confidence but you can tell that her heart really isn't in it, and I don't blame her. Kelle is nineteen, which is just a little too old for that kind of self-pitying bullshit, especially when the person in question thought she was the Queen of the Carnival only a few weeks back, and particularly especially when the "snout" in question is a perfectly normal-looking mouth.

The contestants had to pose in a store window while wearing skimpy lingerie. In true reality show form, the judge announced that the prize would be "Five thousand dollars...!" (Pause, wait for contestants to shriek with venal joy.) "...worth of lingerie!" Their excitement was remarkably undimmed. Maybe some of them thought that they could take the lingerie to a bank and exchange it for currency. The James Cagney-esque Eva posed her short, pugnacious heart out, while Toccara's stiffer poses seemed to take their inspiration from Hermione Gingold in "The Music Man." ("ONE Grecian urn...!") And throughout the show, just like all the past shows, the judges hammered Ya Ya with their inane "Stop moving like a dancer" critique. At least one of them actually demonstrated this for her this week. One judge posed, which meant "dancer," and then let the pose droop somewhat, which meant "model." So, models are like enervated dancers. Got it.

Next week on ANTM, someone sticks her finger into a tray of brownies and all hell breaks loose. Can't wait!

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