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'Top Model' 12 premiere recap: Goddesses and Monsters

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Last night’s long-ass premiere of America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 12: Goddesses and Monsters wasn’t so much agonizing as soooooo very predictable. Miss J. wore a bonnet. Jay Manuel’s entire face had been spray painted on in the wrong shade. Meaty and delicious Spartan gladiators showed up all the way from the fifth century B.C. to flank Tyra on an optical-illusion “bridge.” A historic brownstone was gutted, fumigated for any pesty crumbs of authenticity, and upholstered with terrifying billboards of Tyra. It was everything we’ve come to expect from Top Model, and went down like a cold lump of congealed mac-and-cheese after three days in the fridge.

Still. There was that out-of-nowhere enormous spread of food featuring about six turkeys that did catch me totally off-guard. Plus, even brick-like mac and cheese technically qualifies as comfort food! So somehow, inexplicably, all is well. Commenter “peaches” put it best, last night: “Slop Model has been in da crapper for a few years. Tyra is intolerable and the competition is a total sham. And yet I’m watching it again!” Bingo. (Speaking of which, look forward to a photo shoot involving Bingo and other retirement home games in cycle 71, when Tyra takes it upon herself to illuminate America to the prejudice against old ladies. “You’ve got to find the fierceness in those used dentures. Root around in there and get it, gurrrrl! Because that’s what a top model must. do.)

The Hit (Me) Parade of all of cycle 12’s wannabe mascara hawkers involved Top Model‘stypical array of forced sob stories. Some were too good to be true,like eliminated mother Angelea, who’d been shacking up in the PortAuthority for a spell. Wonder if she’ll take a bus home? The level ofproducer-induced tales of woe exceeded anything we’ve seen so far inour decades of Top Model experience. You suffer from acuteanxiety? Perfect! Holy s—, a burn victim? MOTHER LODE. Hmmm, there’snothing interesting about you…what’s that, your parents are kind ofrich? Talk about that. Whatever.

I’m sorry that crazy gun enthusiast Monique didn’t get to stickaround. You kinda had to look at the edge of your TV instead ofdirectly at her when she was on-screen (and press mute), but I’m surethere’ll be someone (ahem…obnoxious Sandra) I want to see shot downor at least held at gunpoint in the house pretty soon. Highlights fromthe meet-and-greets included Kathryn’s cringe-inducing food-shaped pingifts (which I totally would have accepted), blood-crazy Allison(pictured, a dead ringer for Princess Thursday) professing jealousy ofTyra’s routine childhood nosebleeds, London’s performance piece”sermon” that God would undoubtedly reject with the force of a thousandheadbands, and Aminat totally giving away the ending of the season byinsisting, “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t going to win.” Could haveused a spoiler alert there, Lisa Leslie, but I’ll forgive you because Idig your height. I also loved Tyra’s approval of Teyona (“Her facelooks like it’s in a wind tunnel, in a good way”) and the way her facelit up in delight after Tahlia uttered the words “burn victim.” Sogross. So yummy. Mac-and-cheese, y’all.

Tyra’s ingenious idea for the first photo shoot burst forth from animportant issue near and dear to her fierce heart: Complete and uttercreepiness. Specifically, the loss of innocence among young girls,brought to life in an unfortunate pictorial series of grown womenhula-hooping, playing Ring Around the Rosie, and not physicallyinteracting whatsoever with a giant set of jacks. Oh, and there werethree “extras,” a.k.a. “real, working models in America” (a rarity onthis show!) in the background of all of the shots, to represent “badgirls.” Fo, the self-proclaimed “Blaxican” (next week…”Mexilack”?)labeled these three “ghetto girl, rebel, and a pregnant girl,” but I’dlike to rename them Surly, Bored, and Fat. Definitely one of the worstshoots to date; the photos all turned out grainy and horrible. Maybenext time, don’t shoot a few feet down the path from a drainpipe inCentral Park…at night.

Allison/Thursday had the “best” shot. The red-splashed outfit was anice touch, and I won’t be surprised if the producers incorporate”accidental smears of blood” into her wardrobe selections for the restof the season just to get her all [fake] hot and bothered. In fact, Iinsist that they do that. Sandra the African Queen’s hide-and-seek shot(which provided a powerful tie-in to timeslot competitor Lost)and Isabella’s dodgeball disaster landed them in the bottom two. But”mahogany girl” (Tyra’s words) gets to stay, and Epilepsabellareturned home, where the only strobe lights she’ll have to suffer willbe the same ones from her experience on this show, attacking her from all angles in hourly nightmares. At least she won’t have to worry about Londonthe Street Preacher rooting through her prescription meds. (Grounds forelimination!)

Okay, that’s it from me. In the everlasting words of the Goddess ofFierce: “I’m a little hungry and I think I need some grapes fed to meright now…so I’m going to see YOU…later.

Leave your thoughts on the premiere, or impromptu comments-section sermons, below!