Saturday, December 11, 2004

Stinky Tuscadero

Second "America's Next Top Model" recap post in one night! Woo! This week on "America's Next Top Model," Ann goes all Harvey Dent on Eva and we discover that Jay is not a huggy person. Also there are bikes.

The contestants start the day by meeting with a designer of "Japanese street fashion." This is the "Gothic Lolita" look that has so enthralled Japanese teens and American sex-starved shut-ins. The designer wears what Amanda accurately describes as "a little Mister Potato Head hat." It's a miniature top hat -- rakishly tilted, of course. The ladies are told to create a similar outfit which will then be judged by the designer. At 5'11", Ann is too tall to wear most of the clothing, plus her dick keeps getting in the way. Amanda tries to help her by peeling off layer after layer of her own clothing, except she's wearing about three dozen tops at once so it's not nearly as titillating as it could be. Ann, meanwhile, looks sour and bored and a little peeved about not just the clothing, but also the contest, the television show, Japan, and the entire rest of the universe. Her eventual outfit is boring as hell -- no accessories, no hat, no gloves, not much of anything really. Amanda gets a great review. Ya Ya is told she needs some giant jewelry -- something the size of her ego, maybe. Eva gets low marks for color coordination, which in this case means she had coordinated the colors.

Next, the contestants are given 20,000 yen and a list of four stores. They have to assemble another outfit and report to a design studio before 6 p.m. "When you're looking for something, vision is important," Amanda sagely explains. That's why she gets everything at one store and heads straight for the studio. Eva is outraged by the dearth of English signage: "Like, a lot of characters are written in Japanese." They are? When did that happen? I suppose there's hardly any Norwegian, either! Bastards! Eva runs into Ann on the street, and if only Eva was driving a truck at the time. The dysfunctional duo ends up below one of the stores they're looking for but they don't see it. So they walk away. Eva screams at crowds of hapless Japanese citizens, "DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?" Then she grows to giant size, destroys numerous skyscrapers, battles Jet Jaguar, and flies off into space. When Ann and Eva finally get their outfits together, they look like the love children of Courtney Love and Ronald McDonald. Ya Ya finishes dressing with only two minutes to spare. It turns out that next to the studio is a store with the same name. The store is closed. Ya Ya thinks the store is the studio. She walks away! Hurrah! When she returns, it's 6:02. The judges, Shingo and Hitomi, politely tell her that she's too late and they ask her to leave. When she's gone, Shingo says to Hitomi that he thinks Ya Ya's behavior was "unacceptable." Dude, I've been saying that since the first time I saw her. Eva wins the challenge! In an interview, she explains, "My idea was, find things that don't look good and don't go together and I will win." And yes, this is cynical but it's also very smart. A big part of staying in this competition is following advice and knowing what the judges want to see and hear. There have been plenty of times when a particular challenge was immediately preceded by a meeting with a stylist/teacher/whatever who told the women exactly what they were supposed to do to win the challenge. It's just that most of the women have been ignoring the advice they've been given. Eva's prize is breakfast with a "mystery guest." She decides to share her prize with Ann on the mistaken assumption that Ann has regained her sanity. In an interview, Ya Ya says, "My non-presence there gave someone else the chance to win." She blessed them with the absence of her compassion and wisdom! (Bitch.)

The mystery man turns out to be a famous jewelry designer. Neither Eva nor Ann have ever heard of him. But they pretend they know who he is anyway just to be polite. He gives them pearl necklaces. (Stop giggling.) Ann and Eva are both in good spirits and I figure at this point that Ann won't screw things up by flipping out again. Shows what I know.

The day's photo shoot will have the ladies posing on bikes while wearing more Gothic Lolita clothes and makeup. Jay appears in a bizarre long-sleeved top that's a bloody car wreck of patterns and textures. Ann thinks it's neat! She reaches out to feel it and Jay snarls, "Ann, don't touch. Honey, you're lucky you [sic] still in this competition. You barely got a photograph." Jay is a hateful little snip of a man. Commercial break. Eva has been voted the Cover Girl of the Week again. It's a title she's held ever since Toccara was eliminated. Say, isn't Ya Ya in this contest? How is Ya Ya's presence allowing Eva to win, week after week? What a mystery! But I believe a clue can be found if you connect all the zits on Ya Ya's forehead.

With the contestants all gussied up like teenage biker whore-clowns, it's time to pose! Miss J. is there, and "she" advises Ann to look "fierce." Yeah, good luck with that. Amanda does a good job but Ya Ya irritates the photographer by making him wait while she arranges her pimply dancer's body into elaborate poses. Ann does a horrible job, like usual. She starts crying. Jay says that she "doesn't get it." I'm guessing Jay doesn't "get it" either, or else he wouldn't be so crabby all the time. Jay tells Ann, "You look like a flight attendant gone wrong! Work it!" I don't know how many times somebody has said that to me. All of Jay's sniping at last puts an expression on Ann's face, and that expression is "tearful hatred." I really do not like Jay but I understand his frustration with Ann. She has no enthusiasm and she seems to resent being asked to do any work at all. That said, Jay is a nasty, poisonous little creep.

The next morning, the women meet with Tyra and Tyra's mom for individual counseling. Amanda is sad because her family needs money. She cries. Ya Ya is told that she doesn't need to advertise her intelligence. She cries. Eva talks about her self-esteem issues. She cries. Ann is upset about all the negative comments she's been getting. She looks sad but doesn't cry. Her tear ducts must be damn near completely dehydrated by now. The ladies then meet Tyra's brother's ex-wife's dentist's cousin's uncle's best friend's accountant or something but it's so boring that I'm not going to describe it.

For the judging panel, Tyra decided that instead of wearing regular eye makeup, she'd smash a couple of Keebler Grasshopper cookies onto her face. So, her eyes are ringed in black with an outer ring of bright green. The effect is stunning. Nole Marin appears to have been embalmed. I hope he purchased a miniature matching sarcophagus for Empress Minnie. The guest judges are Shingo and Hitomi. The contestants get fifteen minutes to create yet another "Japanese street fashion" outfit. The hell? I'm sorry, but how often are models required to dress themselves for fashion shoots? Ya Ya's ensemble is good but the judges bring up the time she was late to the studio. Ya Ya offers up an excuse. Janice mimes yawning and even says "Yawn, yawn, yawn." She's a lunatic but I adore her at times. Amanda is told to remove her belt and to rumple her socks. Then she looks perfect -- as long as you're a psychotic, mass-murdering clown fetishist. Ann looks enervated. The judges badger her with questions she can't answer until she cries. Then they strap a rat cage to her face -- or was that "1984?" Eva's outfit is "not happening." The judges attack her shorts -- with scissors, transforming them into shredded "Daisy Dukes." Eva takes the criticism well and defends herself with a smile. Good for Eva.

In what is captioned for the first time ever, I believe, as the rather ominous-sounding "holding room" (doesn't Guantanamo Bay have one of those things?) Ann says that she's sure she'll be sent home this time. She blames her impending departure on her "honesty" because she didn't fabricate answers, like, oh, say... Eva. Somebody flipped the switch on Ann's back to "evil" again! I bet it was one of the gaffers. Ann thinks Eva is a phony because she pretended she knew who that jewelry designer was, even though Ann did the exact same thing. When Eva gets mad, Ann says, "I'm not having this conversation." Jeebus. Where the hell is that gaffer?

The judges gather the contestants and tell them that they all need to "step up." Amanda wins first place this week. Ya Ya gets second. Third goes to Eva. When Ann leaves, she hugs Amanda and Ya Ya but not Eva. Eva looks gobsmacked again. I think Ann's attitude here is "If I'm losing, I'm taking you down with me." And also, "I'm jealous of Eva and more than a little batshit crazy." In an interview, Ann says, "I hate crying." That's funny, because she sure does it a lot.

Next week: the finale! The judges have a tough decision to make. That's because all three remaining contestants suck equally.

Tea Disservice

Man, am I ever behind on this blog! So... on last week's "America's Next Top Model," it's Norelle versus Japanese culture. Japanese culture wins.

With Nicole's completely unjustified booting, the remaining contestants are moved out of their Tupperware "Stuffables" storage containers and into an actual apartment. There are two suites for five contestants. The trio of squabbling pseudo-lesbians get one suite, while Amanda and Ya Ya share the other. All five ladies are taught how to perform a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Norelle, to nobody's surprise, looks completely lost. In an interview, Norelle says, "Japan or anything Japanese to me is like space." I think she means outer space and not the ample space inside her bug-eyed noggin, but who knows with her? Ya Ya seconds the notion that Norelle is uncomfortable in foreign settings, and is not as worldly and sophisticated as herself. She goes on to brag about how humble she is and that logical paradox causes sparks to shoot out of my head, just like the androids on that one "Star Trek" episode. Amanda is so taken with the beauty of the tea ceremony that she cries. Eva thinks this qualifies as "diva" behavior. Shut it, shorty. The contestants take turns performing the tea ceremony before an unsmiling panel of experts. One of the judges is a middle-aged lady in a kimono, and her hair is seriously freaking me out. It's a gravity-defying pixie cut that makes her look like a cross between Amelie and Pippy Longstocking, with just a smidgen of the "Dick Tracy" villain, Flattop. Eva keeps glancing sideways at the judges, like she's on the lookout for tea ninjas. Ann is stiff and tense, just like she is in every situation, every hour of every day. Amanda is quite serene, which for some reason is interpreted as "emotional shutdown." Ya Ya forgets part of the ceremony but she answers one of the judges' questions in Japanese, so, you know. Bonus points. (Bitch.) Then it's Norelle's turn. Annnnd... cue the circus music! I swear, this show is edited with all the subtlety of a WWE match. It's a shame Ya Ya couldn't hear the circus music while she was being filmed, because I think that would have been a tremendous help. You hear circus music, you know you're doing something wrong. Crazy Hairdo Lady is diplomatic: "Norelle didn't do very nicely, actually." Haw! Ya Ya wins again, dad blast it. She shares the prize of a visit to a hot springs spa with Amanda. Amanda says that with a smaller number of contestants left, "You're finding out who's real and who's not." Ya Ya is "real?" Ow! Sorry, sparks are shooting out of my head again.

That night the ladies go to a restaurant. Eva is miserable because nobody likes her. Tyra shows up, goads the women into complaining about one another, and leaves. She doesn't exit through the door -- she wraps a cloak about herself and dissolves into a cloud of vampire bats. Ann brings up Eva's anti-Norelle comment once again. Ya Ya jumps into the fray because no one is paying attention to her. Eva looks like she's going to cry. She apologizes to Norelle, but Ann keeps going after her and I still haven't figured out how this is any of Ann's business. Eva fights back by pointing out that Ann thinks Norelle won't win because her hips are too big. In an interview, Norelle says, "I was so confused." Really, you could have put that snippet of video into any episode of this show and it would never be out of context.

For the next challenge, the women have to pose with a mobile phone while wearing a kimono, a goofy wig, and kooky Kabuki makeup. Eva takes Norelle aside and apologizes again, "from the bottom of [her] heart." Norelle, bless her, accepts the apology with gusto and gives Eva a hug. When it's time for the shoot, Tyra demonstrates how the contestants should pose and God DAMN is she good. Even with a ridiculous Tina Turner fright wig she manages to look sexy. Needless to say, the demonstration makes nary a dent in how the contestants pose. Amanda keeps spinning around like if she does it enough times she'll turn into Wonder Woman. Jay warns Ya Ya, "Don't lose your neck!" Sound advice, that. I once lost my neck for a whole week and it made it really hard to drive. I finally found it wedged behind the refrigerator. Norelle's turn is scored with more circus music. She's utterly clueless about posing. Ann is a disaster. Jay tries to get her to think of poses by referencing movies: "Did you ever see My Fair Lady?" NOPE. Heh! Sorry, Jay, but if you're going to reference an Audrey Hepburn film with Ann, you'd have better luck with The Children's Hour. Eva does a good job. Suddenly Naomi Campbell rushes in, grabs the mobile phone from Eva's hand, and uses it to beat everyone senseless. Okay, not really.

Panel time! The guest judge: Kyoko Higa, a.k.a. Amelie Longstocking. For their test, the women have to walk in a "high fashion" manner while wearing a kimono and holding the mobile phone. Ya Ya does well. Amanda does a good job, too. Janice tells her, "You look beautiful like a bonsai butterfly." I think somebody finally balanced her medications! CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP. Why, it's Ann! And she's walking like a pissed-off Clydesdale! Norelle's walk is a sickly little shuffle while she uses one hand to hold an invisible tray of invisible watercress sandwiches. Alright, she's actually holding the phone. But the first time I saw it, I couldn't even see the teeny little phone and I thought that Norelle had finally lost her mind. Eva still looks shell-shocked. Tyra asks her if it's because of the competition. I don't know why, but Eva says that it is and she doesn't mention Ann. When the judges deliberate, Tyra says that she loves Eva less because she's depressed. Gah! Ouch! Stupid sparks!

Amanda gets first place this week and Ya Ya gets second. Eva gets third. Ann wins fourth and she's so thankful that she cries. (Tyra is furious!) In an interview, Norelle says, "I will be a model. I will be America's next top model!" Apparently no one bothered to explain to her that she was kicked out of the contest. Wouldn't it be awesome if she kept showing up?

Next week (okay, okay, this week): Eva can't understand why there is so little English signage in Tokyo and Ann is made up like a clown. A sad clown.