Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

America's Next Top Model: "New York's Finest"

Illustration for article titled America's Next Top Model: "New York's Finest"
TV ReviewsAll of our TV reviews in one convenient place.

Following last week's Inspector Gadget impression, The Goddess of Fierce was so tired (being that tedious is exhausting) she snatched two toddlers from the pen, and slithered back to her plexiglass bridge over the abyss to await another photo chapter in her nonsensical book of supermodel fairy tales. There she sat in repose for many days—her third eyelids slid into place with two loud slurps so it appeared her eyes were wide open, the toddlers clung to two of her many tentacles, and not one Bankable Productions employee dared cross the forest of neverending sorrow to disturb her.

So instead of more Tyra—and there's always more Tyra—we got more Ms. Jay. Specifically, we got to see the rented mansion where Ms. Jay prances around in part Jackie O costume and part Hugh Hefner costume, as accented with a touch of Mr Monopoly. This is how runway coaches live, you see. They called it Ms. Jay's charm school, but really it was Ms. Jay's sad community theater version of Grey Gardens. Unfortunately, Bankable Productions spent the whole budget on khaki capris and Old Navy cardigans for the girls, so there was no money leftover to buy the tons of garbage and cat families needed to make the image complete. Watching Ms Jay contort his face in response to the girls' wholly unremarkable walks, I kept waiting for him to take a few of those Old Navy cardigans, wrap them around his wig and fasten them around his legs and explain to the camera how that was the look for today.

Back at the house, the girls played truth or dare, because that's how boring this cycle/season is.  Tahlia got upset about Natalie exhaling that she thought Tahlia's picture was terrible, because that's how boring both Tahlia and Natalie are. They're so boring that it's not even really worth calling them boring. But I and this season digress.

Following the runway show for a designer people have actually heard of (an ANTM first), and Ann Shoket popping her head out of the ground, looking around, and then burrowing back to the home she shares with the other prairie dogs at Seventeen, the girls meet Mr. Jay outside Central Park at his other job: driving a double decker tour bus around Manhattan. "As models, it's your job to tell a story," he tells them. "And by story I mean 'random collision of words Tyra babbled while napping,'" he didn't add, but should have. So the girls are divvied up into pairs and one triplet, dressed up like avant garde geishas, driven to different NYC neighborhoods, given their "characters," and then made to model for their lives—or a chance to say Cover Girl Fresh Blast Lip Slicks 10 times fast in an upcoming episode, whichever comes first.

Dale Earnhardt Jr's ex-girlfriend, Kantspell, and Nijah, the only girl more dull than both Tahlia and Natalie, are supposed to be SoHo, and they have to pretend to be artists, even though the only artists in SoHo now are Banana Republic and H&M. Their props are a viola and a sketchpad. Naturally, they are confused.

Aminat and Fo are Wall St, so they shout things at each other like, "Our stock market is down!" And "Grrr!" Just like real Wall Streeters. Ye Olde Londontowne and Lemur Barbie are positioned in front of the Louis Vuitton store and told to embody 5th Avenue. Londontowne manages snobby condescension, but Lemur Barbie's eyes are too big to look down on people, so she struggles.


Tahlia, Teyona, and Natalie are Times Square, so they're supposed to act like tourists—something that comes easily to Tahlia (because she needs a story arc in this episode) and Teyona (because she's an actual person), but not to Natalie because she is a walking emery board with hair and thus has never experienced feeling besides the scratch scratch scratch of scraggly nails.

But the best part of the city was reserved for Sandra and Baby Martha Plimpton, who were driven outside the nanny exchange in the nanny district on the Lower Nanny Side and told, "Your part of town is Nannies." Somehow, they dug deep and managed to capture the hustle and bustle of that purely fictional and achingly stupid place. NannyTown, where all the lights are dim.


By judging, some brave Bankable Productions employee had roused Tyra, put her in a plaid wrap blouse, and driven her to the table, so she was ready to deliver her verdicts. Sandra embodied the "?!" spirit of NannyTown so well she was called first, but to no one's surprise considering their edit this episode, Nijah and Lemur Barbie were the bottom two: Nijah because she's the sound of people snoring, and Lemur Barbie because she's done well thus far and needs a character arc for the season. Obviously, Nijah had to go, mostly because no one could remember that she was there.

Grade: C+

Stray Observations:

—"Natalie's cockiness is growing." Good one, Aminat.

—A special appearance by Chantel and Bianca? Wow. Not even the contestants could feign enthusiasm for that. Also, Bianca gets to come back on the show? Even after starting a family brawl with Tracy Turnblad's family in the airport or whatever?


—"Become dynamic. Come on." Mr Jay is tired too.

—Kantspell's face in her SoHo photo has to be one of the weirdest looks ever on ANTM. It looked like half her face was gone. But, she did inhale, which is much better than Nijah's exhaling, right, Tyra?


—The socialites group had the most pop cultural references to draw from? Really? More than artists?