This week's episode of "America's Next Top Model" ran the gamut in terms of genre, throwing us everything from mean girls to Tyler Perry to zombies. There's something for everyone! The scene opens on the Top Model house: Victoria won Best Photo last week, and thusly savors the luxuries afforded to the weekly "president," aka access to the Tyra Suite and not much else. In an unexpected diva move, Vicki opts to stay in the suite alone instead of sharing the wealth, a bitch-play I deeply appreciate. Kiara keenly observes that Vicki might lack the social skills garnered by those who attend schools outside of their own homes, a surprising insight for someone with shaved eyebrows. Semi-plus-size shovel-face Yvonne laments her Yeti looks and lack of fans; I say she needs to bounce out on her misshapen booty ASAP.
This week's dramarama revolves around Kristen's bad attitude and back-sass: she rifles through Destiny's purse for a lighter without asking Des (who is lounging close by), prompting the comment, "Dude you're just dipping in my bag, that's kind of an issue," as well as a verbal kitchen-fight (another "ANTM" staple). Kristen, her mouth caked with what I took to be gum but could've easily been corn pudding or Play-Doh, cheats her chin towards Des's unformed fist, shrieking, "Hit me. HIT me, HIT ME!" When Nastasia throws Des shade for neglecting to defend herself, we hear dramatic strings cue in as Des explains how tough life is and how her mother abandoned her (this is what the loser's edit looks like, for reference).
With that editing conceit loosely handled, the ladies are swept off to their challenge, where Tyra Banks greets them in casual wear and a relaxed weave. She tells them that in order to BE on top, she needed to BRING the top, at which point I wholeheartedly expected some muscled gay to emerge. Unfortunately, black media mogul Tyler Perry sidles out and begins equating modeling to acting, as per the script Tyra provided. The models will be terrorizing the Boulevard Santa Monica in four different funky guises: Tourist, Rapper, Street Performer, and Hollywood Diva.
Obviously, some of these characters are easier to parody than others, but that means nothing to the merciless minds of Ty(ra) and Ty(ler), who sit in a hidden control room and feed insane lines to the contestants through an earpiece, sitcom-date-style. Such directives include: "I gave birth to your baby in my womb ... Clap for mommy, baby!"; "Do NOT send those pictures to TMZ"; and "Squat on the ground!" In my opinion, the stand-out star is clearly Victoria, who strafes about, offering homeless men fried chicken in a somewhat-convincing British lilt. Although Vicki does get props for her crazy street-lurker skills, the challenge prize is a walk-on role in a Tyler Perry flick, implying that a darker meat must be selected. It's between Yvonne, who channels rap persona "Chocolate Stain" (too easy) and Kiara, who was allegedly "'Saturday Night Live' good" (not sure if that's a compliment). From battered basketballer to the big screen: dreams really do come true!
Thankfully, we're not submitted to the fuckery of P'Trique this week, and are instead swiftly whisked off to the former set of "War of the Worlds," the location of this week's shoot. I can't explain why this expansive set is still standing ten years after production shut down, or locate the source or function of the billowing plumes of smog that smother the contestants and crew alike, but I'm willing to ignore all this to support the shoot's theme: ZOMBIES. The photographer is Ricky Middlesworth, the likes of whom I've never heard, but according to the teleprompter, he's "amazing" and "well-known." The prosthetic zomzom make-up is super cool, although the styling looks as haphazard as always. Despite Johnny Wujek's attempts to extract the emotion "HUNGRY" from the half-dead models, most dole out amateur poses and expected expressions. Johnny dishes up some choice sound bites that capture the shoot well-enough:
Nastasia: "She does photograph short, which is weird because she's like, a normal height."
Allyssa: "You're hungry for FLESH! ... I was telling her to eat me and she was just wanting to ... sleep with me."
Kiara: "Less pose-y, more hungry! ... She wants to eat you, bro."
Resident bitch Kristen keeps at it, telling Johnny, "I can show [emotion] through my eyes but I can't smile and pretend to laugh at your lame jokes." Unnecessary but appreciated (by me alone). Victoria stiffens up on camera, Yvonne numbly fluffs her taffeta skirt, and Destiny aimlessly scales the dirt floor. On the flip side, Brittany serves up dead Betty Draper realness, Leila gives some sexy skeletal nurse, and Laura works a white contact lens like none other. You can see all the photos here, under Week 3.
Back at the house, insecurities flare as Kristen and Vicki bicker over who gets to read the Skull Mail (which is composed same exact words every week), before several of the girls are featured lamenting their photo shoot shortcomings. Let me segue for a minute here -- all this Kristen bitch drama has given me some insight in regards to the new judging system. In previous cycles, it came to light that the footage from the "Top Model" house was reviewed by the judges to some extent, meaning that every word and action had weight and consequence. There was a system of checks and balances -- if a contestant was charming on set but vitriolic backstage, it would be discussed at panel (if for no other use than to call the other girls jealous). I understand that the weekly challenge is supposed to gauge and rate personality, but the social media rankings are based solely on photographs, as are the judges' grades. If this show survives until next season (an oft-used "ANTM" syntax structure), I hope someone intervenes to revamp some much-needed equanimity to the rating algorithm.
Back in the "ANTM" world, we are treated to a nighttime aerial stock shot of Los Angeles, the signature prelude to judging, along with a themed photo of Ty-die herself -- this week's features Rob Evans lustily biting Ty's lip from her face. We are once again introduced to the judges: Kelly "Cut-Throat" Cutrone, a bitch by trade; Rob Evans in the flesh (see what I did there?); and BryanBoy, fashion blogger with a studded cap full of gay. I can't help but notice that there are no guest judges this cycle, which simultaneously comforts and perturbs me.
The queen zombies are summoned one by one, and most receive the lackluster reviews they've earned. Stand-outs are Laura, who worked her undead angles; Brittany, who "would've had a 10 if [Tyra] could've seen some open sores"; and Leila, who melds the realms of zombie and model. Yvonne, Destiny, and Kristen look like a chunky stripper, gnarly puppet, and lazy trash bag, respectively. The sound of expensive machinery whirs as the scores are compiled, and the cards fall as follows:
Laura: 42.5 (Highest score to date)
Once again, Chocolate Stain Yvonne finds herself in the bottom two, along with Difficult Brown (going with the theme) Stain Destiny. Somehow, Yvonne dodges the metaphorical bullet yet again (29.5), and Destiny is sent packing (27.0), along with her mommy issues, eventual homelessness, and that glued-on gem next to her eye that I always think is a pimple. I say good riddance to that unresolved trauma, and I hear good tidings of next week's episode, which promises cheerleader panties, Alicia Keys in a non-singing capacity, and Laura being obsessed with herself. 'Til then, fierce and love, Nick.