Call the police and have them put out an APB: Tyra Banks is trying to kill me.
Let’s bitch it out…
Oh my god, you guys. I. Just. Can’t.
Have you ever woken up thinking it’s Friday, only to have your spirits crushed because it’s actually Thursday? And the whole rest of the day feels like a physical blow because you were so certain that the week had come to an end, but it hasn’t? That’s how I felt when the most dreaded words in America’s Next Top Model history popped up at the end of the hour. “To Be Continued…”? You have got to f*cking kidding me.
That’s right kiddos, Tyra Banks refuses to go quiet into the good night. Unlike her awesomely awful daytime talk show, she’s not walking away from this show pony without a fight (or perhaps the better analogy is milking a franchise for all it’s worth). UGH.
Heaven forbid that Tyra just sign off the series that gave her career a resurgence 22 cycles ago with a hint of humility or decency. Oh hell no, b*tch is gonna stretch out the final four over two laaaaaazy hours as though all five of us watching at home have nothing better to do (confession: I totally don’t. But that doesn’t mean that I want to sit through this steaming garbage turd!)
Alright, I’m realigning my chakras and lighting some peaceful scented candles to talk myself off the ledge.
So this is Part 1 of the finale, which basically means it is the reality TV modelling equivalent of half of Doctor Who‘s current season: it’s nothing but the warm-up for the second part. That means that nothing of importance really happens. In fact, let’s run through the ANTM checklist!
- Contestant woh-woh backstories, featuring the ever popular Mikey “poor boy from the streets” Oliver Twist refrain, Nyle’s deaf advocacy, Lacey’s small town sassiness and Mamé’s…pageant/diplomat BS? I still don’t really get her, if we’re being honest.
- Moms! Last week‘s best new additions return for absolutely no reason other than to tug on the heartstrings immediately before everyone has to do a revised brand pitch.
- Pitches (or the threat of): At the end of last week’s panel, Ty Ty put on her bad school marm persona and reminded everyone of their homework assignment, to which everyone at home responded “huh, didn’t we already have to sit through awful, awful pitches?” Yes, you haven’t gone crazy. Tyra has! Apparently she thinks that everyone needs to do another one, which seems designed solely to keep Mikey in the contest since his was the only one the judges truly liked.
- Ungraded photoshoots: I loooooved it when Yu Tsai admits that the models will do a shoot as a shill for
the corporate overlordsshow’s advertisers, Nylon and Zappos Couture (ugh), but they won’t be given scores. Umm, say what? Somehow the judges will make a decision about who makes the final two based on how the two photo shoots go, in addition to the brand pitches, but there will be no numbers? This sounds totally fair and objective…except that I’m being sarcastic and obviously the opposite is true because the process lends itself very strongly to favourtism and subjectivity. Well done, Tyra – you’ve found yet another way to rig the competition!
- Contestant backstabbing: This is the only enjoyable part of an otherwise worthless and forgettable hour. With the end in sight, everyone gets super catty and starts throwing more shade than a season’s worth of RuPaul’s Drag Race (of course the quips are significantly less memorable and smart, so the reality drag competition still gets the advantage). B*tches for the win!
If I’m being honest, this is an hour of my life that I will never get back and I really hate Tyra Banks for making us all endure it. There’s absolutely no reason why this couldn’t have been a tight one hour of photoshoots and a final (curved!) runway walk. Instead the show dedicates seemingly endless amounts of screen time to:
6. Juvenile “relationship/hook-up” bullsh*t! Yes folks, the return of former contestants to partake in the final challenge means that we get to revisit how Mamé whored herself out to Mikey during the camping episode and how pissed off Justin is. And everyone gets to weigh in on it, including folks like Ashley, Devin, Hadassah and some of the “bros” that got eliminated early on, like that weird faced guy whose name I can’t be bothered to look up who was eliminated in Week 4. Because we all care soooo much about whether or not Mamé and Justin end up together. Oh wait…no, we do not.
So where does this leave us? Honestly, heading into the finale, it’s anyone’s game. Yu Tsai is carefully edited/instructed to praise everyone equally, so even though it initially looks like Mikey flubbed the early part of the photoshoot, he stages enough of a comeback for Melissa from Zappos to practically wet herself with excitement looking at his photos (Side bar: Melissa, sweetie, you’re hanging out in the effing desert. Leave the fur at home) Without seeing the final pictures or the revised pitches, we basically have no idea if someone screwed up or “killed it”, which reinforces just how unimportant ‘The Girl Who Made a Splash’ is.
- Miss J and Kelly Cutrone are basically MIA for most of the episode. They show up to deliver the most perfunctory of expository dialogue before (presumably) retiring to their air conditioned RVs to count their final Tyra checks.
- Last week: virtually no Yu Tsai. This week: Yu Tsai overdose. I can’t take these highs and lows. I need some damn consistency in this relationship.
- I seriously guffawed when the Nylon photo shoot is described as chic, modern and cutting edge and features the contestants sneaking into a public school pool. I’m pretty sure that this is a completely outdated trope from late 70s/early 80s frat movies in the vein of Animal House and Revenge of the Nerds. Plus the Nylon clothes are all 80s inspired, so…where’s the modernity or the cutting edge factor?
- Mamé is clearly the smartest contestant remaining. Her amazement that Justin has found out about her shady dealings with Mikey are highly amusing considering that a) Devin is a huge blabbermouth and b) she’s on a fucking reality TV show that has featured her regularly pontificating about her various stupid hook-ups. Is she really so dumb that she didn’t think Justin would find out?!
- I’m sure Mark Hunter, aka Cobrasnake, is a great photographer, but every time he’s on screen, I could not stop staring at his pedophilic molustache. Good thing all of the models are legal.
- Finally, did anyone else find it curious that the competition is supposed to be boy vs boy and girl vs girl, but the editing and confessionals make it seem like a pair (Lacey/Nyle or Mikey/Mamé) would go through? Is it going to be a huge twist if Nyle and Mamé, for example, end up in the final two?
- Yu Tsai (as Lacey straddles a lane divider in the pool): “Lacey, careful, less prostitute please.”
- Yu Tsai (commenting on Mame’s increasingly confident photos): “That bitch is hot.”
Your turn: was this episode the biggest waste of time/space since the clip show? Are you annoyed that Tyra is stretching out the finale across two hours? Which couple will end up “on top”? Which Zappos exec would you have rather seen pushed in the pool: J. Errico or Melissa and her fur? Do you care about the relationship garbage at all? Sound off below.
America’s Next Top Model (had better) air its series finale next Friday at 9pm EST on The CW