Thursday, June 08, 2006

CNTM - Episode #2 - "I Was Thinking That My Brain Was Going to be Pulled Out"

This week's episode opens on the girls returning to the house post-elimination. A couple of the girls talk about how easy it is for them to maintain a model weight, while Natalie, who isn't blessed with a metabolism that runs like crazy, and who isn't willing, like Heather confessed last episode, to live only on rice cakes and water, wraps her body in saran wrap in order to sweat off water weight.

Saran wrap. Saran wrap! Like a 6 foot tall jockey, but without the horse riding at the end.

One thing that I really like about this show is that it keeps pointing out the reality of the modeling industry. Well, reality if you excuse the fantasy that any of these girls could ever model in anything other then a Sears catalogue or a Wal-Mart flyer. Both the girls and the judges and modeling agency representatives talk frankly about the difference between the body size, proportion and muscle tone needed to work in the fashion industry and what is considered beautiful outside of the business. All of the girls seem to be, at least, aware of the fact that models serve one purpose: to serve as moving, breathing clothes hangers. And the show makes no excuse about that.

Tricia seems to be playing a much bigger role in this version of the show - unlike Tyre's hands-off swoop-in-make-them-cry-run-away, Tricia appears and jumps in feet first, talking and showing and mentoring. And that starts as she greats the girls the next day, at a salon in the city, for their model make-overs. She, judge Paul Venoit, her personal stylist, Greg Wencel, Gino Garcia, whom Helfer refers to as a specially flown-in colour master, and a flotilla of hair stylists and colourists attack the girls in a frenzy of snipping and bottle squeezing - well, except for Brandi, who is deemed already perfect...except for that horrible personal style issue they, correctly, keep harping on.

Heather gets an amazing hair cut that I covet, and criescriescries because of it. Perhaps its because my hair grows like a cherry tomato plant, but the crazy attachment, and the equally crazy worry about how her boyfriend will react makes me wonder if she's at all prepared the rest of the show. But, you know, it's not a make-over episode unless one of the girls freaks her shit. And even better, this show gave us two!

Tricia and her stylist had planned to give gawky Andrea hair extensions, but, due to the horrible state of her hair (man, after seeing the girl punish it with a flat iron applied directly to dry hair without using a spray-protectent, they should've known), especially after a colour lift following a self impossed previous chemical fry-up, they had to hack and hack and hack the damage away. But you know what? She went from gawky 5-year old to a confident young woman. It's amazing what a stylist who knows their shit can do. But the tears! Oh, the tears. Her excitement at finally having long hair was replaced by horror at having to go even shorter then it was when she sat in that stylists' chair to crazy love with what she ended up with. Ah, to be so young and care so deeply. I sometimes long for those days.

Tenika plays the diva card, causing Greg, in a shit-talking aside to Paul that made me love them so damn much, to remark: "I've never worked with someone so irritating and demanding in my whole career, and I've seen a lot of irritating and demanding. Trust me". Paul also tells Andrea, point blank, that she needs to buy a fashion magazine and develop a sense of style because she's an absolute disaster. It was brilliant and made my general low-level irritation with him recede to previously unheard of levels.

At the end of things, the girls definitely look more downtown and less suburban mall, but, really, I think there is nothing that anyone can do to make any one of these girls look like a top model.

Back at the house, Andrea, in shades of Anne confessing her love to Eva on America's Next Top Model, dissolved in snotty tears as she tells Tenika of her sisterly love for her. She tells her how her feelings for her mom, who is her best friend, have been transferred onto Tenika. I am looking forward to a melt-down / high-noon showdown in future episodes.

This show's photo shoot's theme is Fight Club. Unfortunately, it did not involve soap being made from human fat, but I reckon that's just too much to ask.

The girls are dressed in the hoochiest swimsuits that I have ever, ever seen in my entire life. Tricia joins them in a boxing ring, and coaches them through poses and working expression and emotion into their faces. Watching them mimic Tricia is like watching wee ducklings, waddling about, mindlessly, behind their mother. Excellent. Especially since none of them are at all able to duplicate anything on film. That's right - the results of the photo shoot are pretty much on par with those from the first episode. Stinky, stinky, stinky.

During the judging, before the one-on-one critiques, Tricia asks the girls to leave and has them return, one at a time, and forces them to choose which contestant that they feel should get the boot. Based, of course, on what they've learned thus far about the modelling industry. Ha! But whatever - when the numbers are added up, Sisi has the most votes. But what does this mean? We shall soon see.

The girls return and the critiques begin. Random comments:

  • On Tenika - "The body looks experienced, but the face looks like it's your first shoot". My inner 12-year-old boy fell in love with Venoit right then and there.
  • Andrea blames the extra hair on her arms on being cold. Really, though, growth of the kind of hair she has on her extremities - the peach fuzz, downy kind - only happens a body doesn't have enough body fat to keep it warm. Instead of addressing that issue, she's told to find some way to remove it.
  • On Brandi: "That's messed up, girl"
  • On Heather: "She's already aged in her face"

Following the critiques, Tricia reveal to the girls that Sisi received the most votes and was deemed, by them, to be the person who should be kicked off. But also that the result may not have any effect on what the judges decide. Which makes me believe, quite strongly, that the producers saw just how politely boring the girls were and that they needed to stir up some shit in the house to make for anything resembling entertaining television.

The judges deliberate, and then call the girls back in. It comes down to Dawn and Brandi, but Dawn's overall fear of the camera and of modeling in general does her in.

Random Confessional Moments

  • Tenika hates Brandi and equates her to a snake, constricting around everyone to squeeze the life out of them.
  • Sisi delivers an absolutely unrecognizable, but entirely hilarious, impression of Dawn. After which, she opines, "You're so fucking. Boring."

Next week, Sisi vows revenge on the girls who voted for her to leave, the super-annoying and super-fem celebrity stylist-slash-irritant Philip Bloch guest directs at the photo shoot, and the girls take part in their first runway show.

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