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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

America's Next Top Model: "Where's The Beef?"

Illustration for article titled iAmericas Next Top Model/i: Wheres The Beef?
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Illustration for article titled iAmericas Next Top Model/i: Wheres The Beef?

At what point does a metaphor cease to be a metaphor? Is it when a crazed "runway coach" takes you to a fire house in order to illustrate backstage, quick-change chaos at a fashion show? Close, but not quite. That required a bit of explanation as to why you'd need an entire firehouse to make that rather flimsy comparison. (I'm still waiting.)

What about when someone takes you to a meatpacking warehouse, puts you in pair of meat Huggies, and makes you pose next to sides of beef in order to illustrate the (tired) point that in the modeling industry, models are often treated like sides of beef…kind of like the way you're being treated now…adjacent to, and dripping with all this beef? Ding Ding Ding! We have a non-metaphor metaphor winner. Seriously, Paulina Poriskova. Saying that this week's photo shoot was a good metaphor for mistreatment in the modeling industry is like saying that water is a good metaphor for liquid or that the Tyra Banks Show is a good metaphor for inanity: they're one and the same.

When I first saw the title of the episode, I was afraid it was going to be some kind of animal rights/PETA/Go Vegetarian, "let's focus on this terrible issue by making it look glamorous" photo shoot. The girls would be photographed inside kennels, or while crying and wearing fur, or be made up to look like various vegetables. Either that, or Tyra was going to make the girls model while cow-tipping. Instead it was the complete opposite: Beef halters, meat diapers, steak skirts, and dozens and dozens of slabs of beef. I was waiting for one of the contestants to come out in a beef mask, smiling hard with her eyes through all the steak on her face.

But even though the photo shoot was full of, to quote the very Matrix-y Mr. Jay, "hunks…of beef," the rest of the episode was full of hunks…of predictable crap. The girls learned how to walk (it's so much better the second time) while simultaneously learning how to parade around in front of firemen—who, I don't know if you've heard this, are supposed to be very attractive, but usually only to people who have never seen them. Then, they used their newfound walking abilities to walk in a fashion show, but without the helpfully ogling eyes of firemen to sustain them. They only had Jaslene, her impaired ears, and that stiff Seventeen editor to impress. (By the way, Jaslene, this is your life? Sorry. I couldn't resist.) Most were acceptable walkers, one was a walking flasher (Whitney), one was a skipper (Amis), one couldn't dress herself and walk (Fatima), and one girl had the best walk I've ever seen (Lauren). She walks like she doesn't have any joints at all, and she just realized she's on fire. Superb.

Of course, since the whole show was spent focusing on Fatima's general bitchy suckiness, and Amis's "am I a free-spirit or am I being this annoying on purpose?" attitude, we knew it had to be one or the other who was going home. But Amis, who on her best day looked like something reheated in a microwave, wore a headband. To judges' panel. In front of everyone. So, naturally, she had to go. After all, Tyra's not going to let the genital mutilation contestant go this soon. What gimmick would she have then? Anya's translucency?

Grade: B

Stray Observations:

—Anya is so blond she's not even there anymore. Her pictures are so striking mostly because they've somehow managed to capture her face on film. If she started communicating in meeps it would make perfect sense.

—"My walk is my own swagger. It's Dominique!" How did Soccer Mom Lionface develop an ego so fast? Also, how long till she's gone? I'm thinking next episode.

—Speaking of which, why does everyone hate Whitney again? That bathroom fight made absolutely no sense. People don't like Whitney cause she defends the unfortunately redheaded Amy's right to use the bathroom?

—Katar-zay-a, Kat-ARE-zynah. They can't have two Amys, but they can have a contestant whose name changes every week? Just call her MOB, and be done with it. I did feel bad for her when Tyra "ah ah ah'd" so close to her, though. No one should be that close to method acting.

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