On this week's "America's Next Top Model," the contestants have to work with a small, venomous creature. And no, I don't mean Jay. It's a tarantula! The judges continue the spider theme by smooshing Toccara with a Kleenex and flushing her down the toilet.
I missed the first few seconds of this episode, which begins with Tyra Banks in her "bedroom," with "no makeup on" and her hair "a mess." She's "crying!" Tyra is in a teddy and is sitting on her bed with another lady who is fully clothed. Tyra tells this lady that she feels bad because she couldn't help last week's eliminated contestant, the gleefully bulimic Cassie. The other lady tells her not to feel bad. Annnd... CUT! I remember wondering who on Earth that lady was. Based on her cold, unemotional demeanor, I finally decided that she must have been Tyra's therapist, who made an emergency house call to the soundstage where Tyra lives. I later found out it was Tyra's mom. Jeez Louise, Tyra! Everything else was fake! Just fire your dull mom and hire Thelma Hopkins. Who would know?
Back at the aspiring models' apartment... uh-oh, someone's at the door! It's a godawfully attired professional stylist named Rebecca Weinberg. She's accompanied by two overly groomed, waxy-looking fellows who... well, I'm not exactly sure what their jobs are, to be honest. I think they're image consultants or something. The waxy men recoil in fear when confronted with Ann's butch athleticism. Rebecca, who looks like a cross between Miss Hathaway from the Beverly Hillbillies and Sonic the Hedgehog, doesn't like any of the contestants' clothes. She tells Amanda her outfits look "cheap." Amanda thinks she means "inexpensive." Try again, dear.
Tyra shows up while the contestants are having dinner. She sits at a conveniently empty chair at the head of the table and proceeds to eat off of everyone's plates. I guess she thinks this makes her quirky and loveable, but it's really just obnoxious and kind of creepy.
For their next challenge, Rebecca Weinberg takes the aspiring models to a discount clothing warehouse and gives them fifteen minutes to pull together an outfit. The contestants all rely on Rebecca's earlier advice, with the exception of Ya Ya who of course knows better because Ya Ya is fabulous and strong and she represents, girlfriend, and also because she's a major horse's ass. Toccara has trouble finding anything in her size, because she's kind of chunky and also the producers are screwing with her. Rebecca wears earrings made from lengthy chunks of Tyra's "safety orange" weave. In their new outfits, the contestants attend a simulated red carpet event, minus the event, and are interviewed by a reporter from "Us Weekly." The reporter asks each of them which of their fellow contestants are hard to get along with. Quirky, childlike, moronic Norelle is the only one dumb enough to actually give the reporter a name. And that name is... "Ya Ya." Since this challenge is judged by the reporter and not by Rebecca Weinberg, Ya Ya wins. Our Lady Ya Ya, full of grace (and crap) proves once again that she is much, much better than anyone else by sharing her prize with Norelle... even though she privately thinks that Norelle is "a flake."
The next day, the contestants get to model diamond rings in a "beauty shot." That means this is the only time they're not made up to look like circus clowns. Jay tells them they'll be posing with a partner. Cue the short, dumpy woman with the tarantula. Eva asks if the dumpy lady is their partner. Nope! Eva freaks out. She cries, before, during, and after her shoot. She thinks she's doomed, but the judging panel praises her photo to the skies. The judges also like Ya Ya's photo, but they give her a royal ass chewing over her attitude. Ya Ya breaks down and cries! I know! I can't believe it either! She actually seems to take Tyra's advice to heart. This would all be very touching except for the part where Janice Dickinson demands that she apologize to a hat. But what's with Toccara? The judges are all amazed that the confindent woman she was at the beginning of this contest has turned into a mousy, miserable wreck. Gee, how'd that happen? They decide to send Toccara home because they think that she doesn't want to win this contest as much as her last-place rival, Ann. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that. The judges have hated almost all of Ann's photos and they told her only last week that she wasn't photogenic, and yet they choose her over Toccara because she "wants it" more. Just imagine if medical schools or fire departments worked this way. The only up side to this is that the judges can now concentrate on crushing the spirit of a different contestant. They've already made a good deal of progress with Ya Ya.
Next week: acting lessons with Taye Diggs, with a cameo by Tyra Banks in a "sexy nurse" outfit straight out of a Bob Hope special. Yikes!