Tyra, I think it’s time we had a talk.
Since 2003, we’ve stuck with you. You had a great idea, to see if you could search high and low throughout America for the next supermodel. You made them live in model apartments…initially. You made them learn valuable modeling skills…initially. And you set out to create an entertaining show, which for the most part, you’ve managed for the most part.
But at some point, the show became about you. The model apartment turned from cramped rooms filled with bunk-beds to a sprawling mansion filled with a mini-runway, hot tub or pool, brightly decorated bedrooms…and many many many pictures of you.
Every time you visit the house, the model wannabes act as though Jesus himself has come to visit. Usually it’s just for you to act like a low rent version of Oprah. At least Jesus brought some fish and wine with him.
This is combined with the intensely condescending tone you take with each contestant as they are told to pack their bags and go home. If they had some tears that episode, you act as though you were their shrink and brought them to an earth-shattering breakthrough. If they were dealing with some problem that they had been facing all season, you pat them on the head and pretend that your beneficence will make that problem go away. Each elimination it is as if your mere presence will make up for everything.
And then the language mutilation started.
YOU were the one who decided that “smiling with your eyes” was a thing that everyone should know. OK. Made sense. That turned into “smizing”, which is the same thing, just shorter.
And after we finally get used to that atrocity, you start with Super Smize, your supermodel superhero who likes to talk in a terrible French accent and is all about, well, smizing. Sure. Fine. Whatever.
But then the All-Star season happened and your “book” Modelland was turned into some preposterous trailer with blood oranges, creepy baby-dolls, metallic headgear, Reddi Whip, and a host of other incongruent items. And Tyrese. And you, because you just had to be in it didn’t you? Also, Tyra – Tookie De La Creme? Intoxibellas? Really?
(see 1:20 in the video below for the most uncomfortable Top Model moment ever)
I had hoped we’d seen the last of that confused and disturbing lexicon, but no such luck.
Which brings me to last night’s episode of ANTM: British Invasion. You come in all Super Smize and give the girls their own Modelland names based on what you think their strengths are. Names like “Excite-To-Buy”, “30 Never”, and “Next Doorsia”. Awful. Just awful. That was somewhat negated by the challenge with these new monikers – the model wannabes had to create a photo shoot for Very.com a British style site for the young and impressionable. Brits went 60’s mod, the Americans went punk rock-ish. It seemed they had to use their heads a bit and not just smize vacantly at the camera. They even had to chose their own best photos for the week’s panel.
Panel this week incuded guest judge Cat Deely, the delightful host of So You Think You Can Dance. She was most underused on Top Model.
AzMarie led her team to victory while Annaliese seemed to be a bit of a mess. AzMarie won, and rightly so. She’s pretty, ahem, fierce.
But the real story of the episode was Louise. Remember her? She’s the one who threw a total hissy fit because she got her hair professionally cut and colored. Those bastards. Turns out Louise has quite a bit of an issue with authority. Kelly Cutrone, who I am loving more with each episode, gave her a bit of a reality check during the photo shoot, which Louise took as “rudeness”. And when Nigel said she looked mean in her photo, that was the last straw. Louise gave all the judges some serious lip, sucked on her finger and shook her head at the judges as if she was a child. Needless to say, she decided to go home.
Louise’s self excommunication gave the rest of the girls a reprieve and no one else was sent home, even though Louise’s photo was better than those of the four other girls. They were able to take their critiques and that put them in the positive for this week.
So we ended another week. I think back to some of the other model wannabes who have stormed off the show. Usually Tyra gets pissy because they were questioning her authority – merely because it was her authority. This time, I agreed with her. Louise just wasn’t cut out for modeling or the inevitable criticism, constructive or otherwise.
I do like Top Model for what it is but I’m officially putting Tyra on notice on behalf of the English language. No more smizing. No more silly names. No more. You have been warned.