ANTM Cycle 15, Episode 2, "Diane Von Furstenberg" Recap

Episode two begins with the standard recap of episode one, in which Tyra reminds the viewers that Kayla was a curly hot mess, sisters Chris and Terra were a whole lotta crazy, and that Anamaria did her homework and dropped some knowledge. While it is true that we were extensively exposed to Kayla's tragic Grease mane and that the sisters grated on nerves like a four year old on meth, Anamaria was hardly the Owl to this show's Pooh. (Oh, stop it. I don't do scatological humour.) Why then would we be reminded of something that didn't happen? Because these are the girls who will feature most prominently in this episode and the standard viewer is apparently too dumb to remember them. Thank you, Tyra; you are too kind. Also (and this is important), the show is elevated...ELEVATED!
At some point on the show, Demi Lovato stopped by. I won't write about that because it was boring.
Additionally, thank you to whoever for the crunk remix of the intro, which it seems you asked Lil Jon to get in on. There is some overlay of a man saying “oh oh oh” and “all the ladies.” It's no "yeah” or “okay” but it does trigger Chapelle flashbacks and that's nice.

The new episode begins with the ladies wandering along Venice Beach in groups. Chelsey reinforces every stereotype of the area and the editors insert Anamaria's first bitchy comment of the evening. Had Anamaria been depicted in the cycle premiere as she is in this opener, the audience would at least have been able to devise a drinking game based solely on her proclivity to glorify (or...elevate) herself and to bad mouth the other wee hamsters. But, instead, they had Vanessa play that role. It now makes sense; there can't be two shrewtastic bitch weevils per episode. With Vanessa gone, they can air all of Anamaria's cuntrific footage and let us know in the first five minutes, that the girl who's initial line of the episode is: “All these girls are my competition now. I'm more high fashion. I'm more versatile. I'm not like a small town little girl. I guess it's my New York attitude, but I think I'm awesome,” is on her way to the bottom two.

The sisters are next in the hubris montage and express their game plan to be the last two standing because they have each other's backs. Looks like one of them is dying to join Anamaria's New York attitude on the judges' runway for a game of “Who Gets to Stay?” because, as we all know, the tragic flaw that hamsters most often have in common with Greek heroes is arrogance. Although, to be fair, the comparisons pretty much end there.

As the girls all convene upon a singular spot on Venice Beach, they are treated to a less crunk, more roller blade festooned, creatively attired version of the theme song via Harry Perry, the proclaimed Venice Beach Icon, who tells them that the house behind them will be their new home for the season. It is a glass house the likes of which endangered Leelee Sobieski's sanity/life and whose ironic relationship to homily makes me feel that these girls will throw stones readily without at all acknowledging how funny it is. Their inability to take in the big picture is driven home as girls recoil from Mr. Perry's guitar playing and Chris asks, "Who is this fool?" The girls rush past him to enter the house as if he is non-existent and not a single one says thank you or acknowledges he is a person. Jesus, he is a person who works on Venice beach for tips. Shit, throw the man a dollar or a thank you.

The editors express the girls' gratitude by showing how out of place they are in the shadow of Tyra's munificence. Alabama's own, Kendra, remarks on the difference between her present surroundings and her mobile home and Lexie is shown pronouncing Steven Meisel's name wrong. Oh, these poor wayward girls. Thank God for Top Model, aka Tyra. The house is covered in issues of Italian Vogue, marking the third insertion of the magazine in three minutes and thirteen seconds. Chelsey is most thankful for the runway and many of them think the sand on the top level is the shit. No, really. Sand. All over the floor. Of the second floor. Yes, the second floor features a sand floor. Has anyone ever been to the beach? What is the most difficult thing to keep out of your house and your ass crack? Sand. A shocking design element? I guess. A good idea? Are you fucking stupid?

We are next treated to a tidbit in which Sister Chris tries to find out what Giant Anne looks for in a man . This highlights both how Chris tries to bond and how hilarious Anne is. "What do you look for in a man?" "Hobos are kinda hot." Anne follows this up with some more specifics. She will go as old as sixty and he has to be a warlock who can spit fire and make sushi. Chris says in interview that she was just trying to make conversation. Anne went one better and made my day.

Apparently, Anne will be getting the “quirky” edit as Anamaria is doing double duty with both grossly unpleasant and grossly thin. She has the gross market cornered. She explains how she used to be fat (135 pounds) versus her now aceptable frame (110 pounds). She is 5'10", so medical science would like her to be around 130. But thanks to a "calorie restricted diet," she will show them all. Jane deems her “bitty" and the show moves on, but the damage is done. I am made momentarily the fool for seeing Anne as the victim of the unhealthily thin edit, but it seems that Anamaria will be working overtime for that...until she is eliminated.

But, the one-dimensional edits don't stop there. If Anamaria is the bitch and Anne is the weirdo, then Kayla gets to be “the” lesbian. Her goal is to be the first lesbian to win ANTM. Umm...ok. I never get why it's ground breaking to be the first plus sized winner or the first lesbian winner or the first red-haired, transgendered, amputee winner. Okay, the last one would be impressive.

The gals arrive at the location of their first runway challenge and the viewers realize that Rhianna looks better in a broad hat and that their first runway challenge is completely wank. No, seriously. Mr. and Miss Jay attempt to rationalize making these poor awkward women apply their own make-up, style their own hair (complete with embedded product placement), don Diane Von Furstenberg duds, strap on a harness (calm down, not like that) and traipse down a runway four stories above the audience by telling them "the stakes are high." At first, I thought that the audience's only view was up the quaking models' wrap dresses, but there were also monitors displaying the action. However, the monitors amplified the women's progress in such a way that every one of them appeared to have the calves of a track star. Poor calorie-counting Anamaria must have contemplated tossing herself off the runway when she saw that...or when she fell returning from the runway.

That's right, Anamaria fell. The editors must have been ecstatic that their bitch edit would also contain a moment of comeuppance for their reigning mean girl. In addition, the catwalk exposed Sara's extreme stupidity (“At first I didn't get the point that we were going to be wearing a harness. I thought it was like you fall, you die.”) and her believability when when strutting her stuff (I don't know. It's what Mr. Jay said.). Kacey is blind and unsure of what the word "literally" means. She says, "I'm scared for my life. My heart is literally pumping out of my chest. Literally." "Literally pumping out of my chest" as in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, or as in a misuse of the word "literally"?

The photo shoot is next and the Tyra Mail indicates a bullying theme. I am already disappointed; Britain's Next Top Model dealt with the same issue via photo shoot and I just know it was better (edit: it totally was). The girls share bullying moments the night before and we learn that Anne doesn't like being a giant. Chelsey's pale skin was a target and Kayla is gay. Hey, did you guys know that Kayla is gay? I can see now that Tyra will, once again, be relying upon Kayla to supply the tears that fuel her career. Though it is never shown on camera, I am certain that Tyra places funnels under the girls' eyes and a tube allows her to shotgun their sadness during breaks in interviews. Sometimes, I can almost hear the chugging.

Mr. Jay greets the bullied masses at the photo shoot waring a hideous shirt with band geek written across the front and explains that he was mocked for this in high school. He wears Prince boots to compensate for his height and is a gay Latino man. I love the crap out of Mr. Jay, but his role in band was his biggest problem in high school? Uh, ok. He rips off his shirt and reveals the words “creative genius” underneath. He tells all the girls that the shoot is about reclaiming your identity, addressing what you were called and re-framing it as a positive. This almost makes sense until Tyra shows up. See, band geek could mean creative genius. The two could reasonably be synonymous, which would emphasize the issue of reclamation, but Tyra has got to fuck stuff up. Her outer shirt says “Big Forehead”, which like band geek seems to be soft pedaling things, and her inner shirt (which it takes her an unconscionably long time to reveal as she can't seem to rip the outer t-shirt off. I see a self-pitying story on a later season, “One time, I had to rip a t-shirt off and I really wanted to, but I just couldn't.”) says “Super Model Turned Business Woman.” Ugh. Having a fivehead (and that's for damn sure what they called her) is not a parallel with business savvy. Also, it's nice that Tyra has two terms that make her special to everybody else's one. The shoot is, at this point, fucked. .

So, to ANTM, bullying is best conveyed with bikinis, sixties Twiggy eye make-up, and derogatory terms written on the body, but buffered by the presence of one “power” term. But, just as Mr. Jay and Tyra stopped short with “band geek” and “big forehead,” so do the rest of the girls. Real epithets become watered down. Instead of what I am sure were truly hateful terms for her sexuality, Kayla picks “queer.” Queer? Really? The kids that teased you in high school called you the politically correct term “queer”? That strikes me as particularly tolerant bullying or the CW stepping in and undermining the entire point of the exercise. Furthermore, the girls must pick their own terms. It's a good thing that Vanessa was eliminated because “Rich Bitch” probably doesn't garner much sympathy. But, neither do many of these girls chosen slurs. It's pretty clear that this isn't a harshly bullied group, with the exception of a couple.

Guest judge: Diane Von Furstenberg
In order of call out:
#1 Anne
During the lead up to the shoot, Tyra actually asks Anne when the last time she cried about this was. Anne says in high school and Tyra imperceptibly licks her lips before telling her that she stills seems to be carrying the emotion with her. Let it out Anne; let it out.
Bully word: Giant
Power word: Amazon
#2 Kayla
Bully word: Queer
Power word: Free
#3 Chelsey
Bully word: Casper
Power word: Fearless
#4 Kendal
Bully word: Lanky
Power word: Fierce
#5 Lexie
Bully word: Elf ears
Power word: Unique
#6 Liz
Bully word: Mutt
Power word: Biracial Beauty
#7 Jane
Bully word: Big face
Power word: Big square head
#8 Esther
Bully word: Weirdo
Power word: Independent
#9 Chris
Bully word: Bony
Power word: Slim
#10 Rhianna
Bully word: Stupid
Power word: Undefinable
#11 Kacey
Bully word: Oreo
Power word: Nubian Queen
#12 Sara
Bully word: Manly
Power word: Athletic
#13 Terra
Bully word: Soup cooler
Power word: Luscious lips
#14 Anamaria
Bully word: Bucktooth
Power word: Sexy mouth

Obviously, Anamaria is sent packing and the audience couldn't be happier as we have all spent the last hour listening to her carp on about her gifts. However, it is ironic that an episode themed around self-acceptance and reclamation tells this girl she has to leave because she is too thin. Lanky can be fierce and bony can be slim, but you, Anamaria, are gross and need to go home and gain weight. Ummm...okay?

Next episode is time for MAKE-OVERS!!! Yippee. I peg crying for everyone. And Tyra shows up at the house for more heart-to-hearts. She seems to have too much time on her hands now that her TV show is over.

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