America’s Next Top Model, Episodes 3-5: Catching Upby Amy Hill -- 07/01/2003
OK, it’s time to catch up on what’s been going on with America’s Next Top Model. First, I would like to thank Jamie Goralski, who started recapping America’s Next Top Model but was unable to continue after the first few episodes. Girl, you were funny and thorough! I enjoyed your column and I will do my best to try and fill your shoes.
Secondly, I would like to plagiarize (the highest form of flattery) my online recapping idol, Larry Johnson of GayComedyJournals.com, when I say; “There are certainly some who will scoff at my use of shallow, surface attributes to judge our Survivors.” (Please substitute the words “model wannabes”’ for “Survivors” in the quote above.)
For those of you who find my use of “shallow, surface attributes” offensive, stop reading my article, damn it! No need to email me about being a hater, about how I am probably short and fat and not happy with my own body/image/face/hair etc. No kidding, Einstein! Why else do you think I would write an article that meticulously picks at every minute screw-up each “model” makes on a weekly basis and mercilessly makes fun of all the participants (even my odds-on-favorite to win, Elyse)?
I will continuously prove that yes, in fact, I am a hypocrite, and no, in fact, I do not have a shred of sympathy for these women who chose to exploit themselves on this program. You would have to live in a cave somewhere in the Ukraine not to know what type of disparagement and condemnation you will be subjected to should you ever choose to place yourself on one of these reality TV shows.
Having said all that, let me also point out that I get paid very little money, am penniless, and own nothing, so sue me if you don’t like what I have to say and see how far it will get you. But remember, the truth is a defense. Heh.
Summary of Episodes One and Two: Just trying to pick up where Jamie left off…
In the first episode , the ten “lucky” girls get picked from the millions of model-wannabes, move into the fancy Flatotel in NYC, pose on top of a building in eight degree weather, and Tessa gets the boot. Episode Two was one of my favorites (and Jamie’s recap of it was also one of my all-time favorites – I mean, come on, who else would have admitted to actually trying the walking-while-removing-your-jacket trick?) In this episode, Katie gets cut, screaming, "I'll be on the covers of magazines! You'll see!" And then she flies away on her bicycle with Adrienne’s pet pink-toed tarantula in the basket on the back as the rest of the models watch from the window.
By the way, whoever it is that is writing for the UPN site either has a very selective memory or wants us all to just “get along.” How could you possibly skip Elyse’s comment regarding the “vapid” conversations in the flat (from episode two)? For those models reading along at home, vapid is a fancy word meaning dull or trite. Trite is a short but not-so-common word meaning commonplace. Commonplace is a long word meaning… well, you get the idea. Or maybe not.
Because we don’t want to take up 18 pages on the site, I will just highlight the important points on the next three episodes (gossip/fights/snide remarks).
Episode Three: "It's really, really-really-really hard. Really hard." - Nicole
This episode starts off with Adrienne and Elyse smoking in the bathroom together and discussing the competition. I must comment here that later, in Episode Five, Elyse states that she does not have an eating disorder. She says something along the lines of she was (is?) an EMT, she was a bio-science major in college, she’s well-educated and knows how bad it is for you to be bulimic and/or anorexic, blah blah blah. Therefore, we should conclude that she could not POSSIBLY have an eating disorder because she is so smart. Initially, I was buying this argument and cheering my oh-so-intelligent waif along. Now that I am writing these recaps, however, I must point out the flaw in Elyse’s argument: SHE IS SMOKING IN THE BATHROOM. The flawed logic is so obvious I don’t find it necessary to point out where she went wrong.
Anyway, Elyse and Adrienne talk about the competition and we hear some sob story about why Adrienne needs this so bad. I was thinking maybe it was to help pay for the lockjaw surgery she so obviously needs.
Then the ladies get their makeup and hair done, and for some reason this time hair and makeup is special. (I think because they are making permanent changes.) Tyra points out that there's a huge difference between "beauty in real life and beauty in the modeling industry." OK, let’s stop here. I am going to have to quote Tyra throughout my articles simply because her statements are so unbelievably quote-worthy. I will refer to them as Tyraisms or just plain stupid, depending upon whether or not I got enough sleep the night before. Today they are Tyraisms.
There seems to be much drama over this trip to the beauty parlor, and of course our favorite drama queen Robin takes the cake (and eats it too, apparently). One of my favorite quotes from this episode was not Robin’s statement, "I look like an albino prostitute," but Elyse’s follow-up comment, “I'm not really familiar with prostitute trends.” Meow.
Was Robin actually crying over the color of her hair? Did we already use the word vapid in this episode? If not, I would like to point out how vapid a human being would have to be to CRY over the color of their hair. Particularly when it is done by one of fashion’s most respected hair colorists/stylists. Speaking of vapid, did Nicole really spend $1500 on hair extensions? Hey, if you don’t like what I write in this article, sue Nicole. Clearly she can afford it.
Now that we are talking about hair, boy, they really screwed up Ebony’s hair, huh? What? Is it just me or is this woman bald? I’m sorry if I’m missing something here, but SHE HAS NO HAIR. How can they screw up her hairstyle so badly when there was none there in the first place? And she is pissed. Boy, did I miss the boat on that one. She rants on and on about how “inappropriate” it is to have white people mess with her head. Robin is in the background making fun of her. In this scene, I actually like Robin.
I really liked this episode because even the makeup guy is yelling at them. I mean, the judges go to town every week now, so we sort of expect it from them. But the makeup guy just lets fly and is all pissed that Robin and Nicole don’t like their new “styles.”
The workout guy shows up and they have to go to the gym. Robin is remarkably lazy and refuses to work out, so she gets yelled at some more. Adrienne is a nut when it comes to the gym. She is pumping iron Arnold-style and the workout guy loves her.
Later, the wannabe-models have their photos taken with snakes and Robin just about loses her mind. The photos actually look pretty cool though.
The big “test” of this episode is that they have to replicate some horrific photo of Ms. Tyra herself. This photo is unbelievable. It looks like a twelve-year-old was really, really mad at Tyra and was allowed to do her hair and makeup blindfolded. The models have to do their own hair and makeup (the horror!) and attempt to copy the photo of Tyra. (I think they only had a certain amount of time in which to do it, but I’m not really sure.) Needless to say, they all looked ridiculous, but somehow the judges were able to keep straight faces and actually “critique” them on how well they did. Nicole gets sent packing.
Can I just say here that although I am trying my darnedest to keep this recap under 15 pages, I have to give huge props to the editors of this program? Now, you may not agree with the content of the show, or you may think it is all a bit shallow, but the editing is terrific. The underlying story throughout this episode was Nicole’s ridiculous relationship with her 15-year-old boyfriend - some guy that gets paid to ride his bicycle. (Not a messenger, but close, I think.) The opening of this show is a voiceover of Nicole stating how great this opportunity will be for her and how thankful she is to have this time to truly be INDEPENDENT. She blathers on about how being away from her boyfriend will really give her a chance to prove herself and become her own person.
Cut to about fifty different shots of Nicole phoning her boyfriend and leaving pathetic whining message after pathetic whining message on his voicemail. Heh. Towards the end of the show she’s calling her boyfriend’s mother, practically crying, asking her why hasn’t he called her yet. Finally, she gets a hold of him and he acts like a ten-year-old, yelling at her and treating her like the total doormat she apparently is. I only call her a doormat because in the end, Nicole sabotaged herself and it led to her own demise. I would be interested in finding out if they are still even together, and how hard is she kicking herself in the arse over that mistake?!
Episode Four: “Tyra said it seemed as though I was a little angry about something.” - Ebony
In this episode, the girls have to get up early (gasp!) and go work out (double gasp!). Robin is quickly winning over the gym guy with her complete inability to even fake like she is working hard. Then they go to acting class. Ebony and Adrienne have to move into Tokyo. Giselle is not having it.
Ebony seems to be the only person who accepts the judges’ criticisms and actually chooses to use the information to try to better herself. Because Ebony was told her skin isn’t perfect (how do you fix that?), she decides the answer is to lube herself up slicker than a pig in you-know-what with moisturizer. She is constantly applying lotion, grease, Vaseline, and who knows what else to her body. (Again, kudos to the brilliant editing team.) She is like a walking oil slick leaving puddles of slippery stuff wherever she goes. Apparently, this really pisses Giselle off. Giselle talks about how she is going to confront Ebony. Elyse claps her hands in glee, then passes out from overexhaustion and expenditure of calories.
Ebony decides to invite her girlfriend over, but first has the common decency to ask the other roommates whether or not this is OK with them. The Christian Coalition of Divas, or the CCOD as I will refer to them from now on – Keese, Shannon, and "Miss Robin" (if you're nasty – like she is!) – are very upset at the idea.
Hey, here’s one for the CCOD - how about “judge not lest ye be judged”? Ever read that one? (Sorry, I really must apologize for my outburst. However, the Bible-thumping, soapbox-preaching, holier-than-thou attitude is a particularly aggravating characteristic and it really bothers me. Maybe because yes, I am a Christian myself, and I find it incredibly hypocritical to judge others when the running theme throughout the Bible is to love, not judge, one another.)
Anyway, Robin shows the utmost in rudeness when she actually hides in her bedroom while Ebony’s girlfriend is visiting. Hey Robin, it isn’t a disease - you can’t catch it, for goodness sake!
The ladies all argue about how disgustingly dirty the house is, and each thinks they are doing more cleaning than everyone else. Everyone except for Giselle who, according to Elyse, is so lazy she won’t even get out of bed and get herself a bowl of Lucky Charms.
Then they have what they refer to as the “Spa Challenge.” Yes, they actually called it a challenge. Here is another disclaimer: I am not going to say that anything these women have to do is easy. I am sure it is not a walk in the park to sit there for hours and have someone apply globs and globs of makeup to your face, or tease the crap out of your hair for what would seem like an eternity, or pose in a swimsuit in eight-degree weather, but a challenge? Isn’t a challenge supposed to be something that is difficult? For example, climbing Mt. Everest - now that would be a challenge. Participating in the Iron Man Triathlon - that would be a challenge. Memorizing medical textbooks? Challenge. Reading lines of a page out loud in front of some people? Not so much.
Robin wins this “challenge” and chooses the other members of the CCOD to enjoy massages, manicures, and pedicures, while the devil worshippers are forced to clean the flat, thus proving once again that God likes the CCOD more than the devil worshippers. Giselle does an amazing job of actually not doing anything while the rest of the devil-worshippers clean. Finally, Ebony, in her signature understated manner, loses her mind and begins yelling at Giselle, making many threatening hand gestures and several life-threatening head bobs while she chases Giselle around the house. Robin leaps to Giselle’s aid, Bible in hand, screaming at the devil to “leave this vessel immediately.” Ebony falls to the ground writhing in pain as Robin splashes holy water on her.
The next day, they have to shoot a commercial about contact lenses. Finally, someone notices Adrienne’s speech impediment, and they do a million takes trying to get her to say some word that escapes me right now. Something like “yes,” but Adrienne cannot seem to be able to form the word correctly. Geesh. You just now noticed this? How about during the original competition when she tried to speak in L.A.? Didn’t you all notice there was an issue back then?
Shannon can’t remember her lines, while Ebony just can’t do anything right.
Ebony gets cut, and Tyra tells her she has a chip on her shoulder and seems angry. And the Understatement Of The Year Award goes to… TYRA BANKS. Thank you.
Episode Five: “If I'm coming home, it's because I didn't do so well here." - Giselle
In this episode, we are bombarded with Giselle’s lack of self-esteem, and I promise not to use the word “fierce.”
The wannabe models (and Tyra) are convinced Giselle is fishing (you have to actually mime that you are fishing when you say this… cast your line out and then reel it in on your pretend fishing pole) for compliments when she voices her self-doubt. Maybe she is fishing (again with the fake fishing mime), or maybe she is 18 years old and constantly criticized by her family, thereby lacking in any self-confidence whatsoever. Either way, I am glad she gets voted off this episode because I, for one, am tired of hearing a tall, skinny, beautiful woman who has the body to actually be a supermodel complain about her looks. I mean, it’s the fault of women like her that we normal women have no self-esteem… geesh. Get it straight, girlfriend.
Oh yeah - this is also the episode where everyone discusses Elyse’s apparent eating disorder. In my opinion, they all have eating disorders, so I’m not sure what it takes to qualify in their minds.
They have to practice speaking to journalists and the paparazzi and meet with Tyra’s publicist. They are told what to do and what not to do when talking to a reporter. Then they have their big “challenge,” which consists of talking to someone while riding in a carriage through what appears to be Central Park. OK - I’m not going to start on the whole “challenge” thing again. Although this challenge really throws Kesse (Tyra Jr.) for a loop, because Elyse wins for doing everything she wasn’t supposed to do. I can empathize with Kesse’s confusion here, although the reporter does explain that Elyse came off more “real” than any of the others. (In other words, Elyse let fly with the dirt on the other girls whereas Robin talked about how perfect she was.)
I cannot pass up this opportunity to remind everyone of what has now come to be my absolute favorite moment in reality TV. After explaining to the reporter how wonderful she is, how innocent and pure, how God-fearing and lovely, and how absolutely amazing she finds herself, the reporter asks Robin if she’s ever done something that perhaps hasn’t been so perfect. Robin can’t think of anything and when the reporter pushes her, exclaiming, “Come on - I’ve yet to meet anyone who is perfect,” she ACTUALLY SAYS, “Well, now you have met Miss Robin!”
I really think I should just end the recap here. I mean, it can’t get any better than that, can it? Oh wait - we get to meet Elyse’s boyfriend.
Elyse wins the “challenge” and her reward is getting to see her boyfriend. You sort of have to see it because words cannot describe it. It is adorable, but he looks like he must be about 5’7” and doesn’t work out a whole lot.
Elyse also picks Adrienne to receive a visit from someone and Adrienne picks her mom. This whole relationship really weirds me out, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
To make a long recap as short as possible, Elyse has somewhat of a mental breakdown on the phone with her mom over the whole “eating disorder,” actually calls Robin a “bitch,” and has a wonderful time with her boyfriend (who states that she does in fact eat ice cream - sometimes even right after dinner!).
They all have a photo shoot with an NFL star who is apparently “lusting” after Robin. The judges rip the wannabes apart yet again, and send Giselle packing.
That brings us up to date as far as episode 5!
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