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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

America's Next Top Model Is So Insane We Can't Ignore It

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 10:30 AM


If you own a television, then you are probably aware (unfortunately) of the fact that Tyra Banks exists (we're very, very sorry). She was a so-called supermodel for a while, then she had a chat show. Recently she wrote a preposterous book (more on that later). Oh, and she also invented a hugely successful reality TV modeling competition, which is currently in its 12th season. It's aired all over the world and called America's Next Top Model. In the course all of this, we have learned but one lesson: Tyra Banks is one of the most annoying humans on Earth.

Despite that glaringly obvious fact, we've been watching ANTM

since the first (remarkably low-budget) season (where the contestants would get ushered

into random, cramped broom closets for the weekly eliminations). For the most part, Tyra has stuck with the simple, successful formula: Fourteen skinny bitches arrive, move into a house together, and battle it out for weeks on end in a variety of increasingly ridiculous photo shoots. Eventually one girl leaves with a prestigious agency modeling contract, a spread in a big, glossy magazine, and an ad campaign for Cover Girl.

Tyra has also done a season for short girls, a season for "All Stars" (those are ex-contestants who didn't win the first time, coming back for a second try) and a season where a plus-sized girl was allowed to win. (We'd like to note at this juncture that Tyra doesn't say "plus-sized" anymore -- she says "fiercely real" instead. Because she is that patronizing).

"Fiercely Real" Season 10 winner, Whitney.
  • "Fiercely Real" Season 10 winner, Whitney.

This season -- did we mention that it was the 12th? -- Tyra has introduced a new concept. Not content with the standard level of cattiness and bitch fights that usually occur in the house, she encourages xenophobia and cultural clashes by pitting Americans against Brits. Yes, this season, it's "U.S. vs. U.K."

What that means is six girls who've already appeared on Britain's Next Top Model (these things are all over the world now, incidentally) compete with six brand new model hopefuls from around America. Their living quarters are separated accordingly and decorated in a manner that emphasizes stereotypes about both countries. At the elimination panel each week, the women stand on separate sides of the room, wearing T-shirts with their respective flags on them. So this season, when Tyra dismisses a girl each week, that contestant leaves knowing that not only has she let herself down, she's let her country down also. Nice one, Tyra.

In all fairness, though, Tyra is no dummy. Nearly all of the greatest quotes of the season have been prompted by the cultural clashes. Like in the first episode, when Kyle (an American), responds to the news of being in a house with British people, it sounds like the reaction of a person placed in close quarters with a team of diseased monkeys: "Wait. These girls are from the U.K.?

They're not American? Is this a joke

right now?"

Also, there was the time the American girls decided to go skinny dipping in the house pool and one of the British girls, Alisha, screamed in disbelief: "Naked? Naked! These American girls are horny. As. Hell!" Alisha was also later responsible for the following gem: "Mariah's, like, Native American. I don't think we have them in England, but if we do, they're on a low down."

One girl named Sophie introduced herself in the first episode by saying "I'm from Oxford. The dictionary's from Oxford." Another girl from Scotland got called a "trick" by one of the Americans and expressed her upset in an interview later in the show: "She called me a prostitute," Ashley frowned, "and I was like, I've got fuckin' kids at home, like. How rude!" We like Ashley because she tells it like it is. After a disastrous attempt at doing an ad-libbed commercial for toilet paper last week, she uttered the immortal words: "My mum's gonna think my boyfriend smells my arse. My boyfriend does not smell my arse, just to clear this up."

It's not just the girls that make this show ridiculously watchable. Some of the insane shit that comes out of Tyra Banks' mouth is freakin' priceless. Her main thing is making up words ... or at the very least, trying (and failing) to be clever with them. She talks endlessly about "Smizing" which is when you "smile with your eyes." On the All-Star season, she made the contestants write songs about themselves and at the last minute told them they had to include the line "Pot ledum: top model backwards." Here's one of the more memorable results (note Tyra having to be in everything):

You think that's bad? Tyra recently wrote a novel called Modelland. Please read the synopsis for it -- it has one of the craziest plotlines you have ever heard for a book. Ever. We know this because in season 11, Tyra had the girls act out scenes for it (she's a shameless self-promoter). Then, last week, not content with putting viewers through the first Modelland extravaganza, she found a way to work it into a conversation with the girls in the most self-conscious and contrived way possible. Here's what she said:

"When I was a supermodel back in the day, I would do these interviews with journalists and some of them would say stuff to me like 'Supermodels? What does that mean? Do you have super powers or something?'" [<--- We do not believe for a moment that anyone has ever asked Tyra Banks this question.] "Hell, yeah, we have super powers! So then I came up with an idea to write a book -- Modelland -- and I renamed supermodels with super powers. And they're called Intoxibellas."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is how people talk to each other on America's Next Top Model. It's the reason we watch it and it's the reason it will never stop being entertaining. In short, it's bat-shit mental, so we love it. We not proud, we never view it in mixed company, and we still dislike Tyra Banks immensely. But if this show ever gets canceled, our Thursday nights are going to be much more sensible places.

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Rae Alexandra


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