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America's Next Top Model season finale recap: Running Out of Runway

Cycle 16 comes to an end, and a new Top Model is crowned. Or appointed. Elected? I don’t know.

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Walter Sassard/The CW

America's Next Top Model

TV Show
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And we’re done. To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a moderate-length, straightforward trip it’s been! After 12 episodes, we finally have a winner, winner, chicken dinner, so give that victorious model a single cellophane-thin slice of steamed chicken on a bed of low-calorie lettuce substitute. Remember last week when I said I didn’t like spoilers and therefore wouldn’t include one in the first paragraph of my recap?

Well, this is technically my second paragraph, so…Brittani won, much to the chagrin and presumably edited profanity of Molly.

The episode began, as all of the Marrakech episodes have, with a short ride on the Memory Bus. I’m not sure where they are going to or from, but that shuttle bus appears to be the place where the girls go to ponder the meaning of their lives and the vicissitudes of fate. By now, I’m pretty sure we’re familiar with the home life of both these contestants, but the Memory Bus is a place where the past is forever present, so we learned about them once more. About halfway through the episode, I thought up a fun idea for a Cycle 16 Season Finale Drinking Game. The rules are as follows:

1.   Every time Brittani says the words “trailer park,” take a shot.

2.   Every time Molly says the word “adopted,” take a shot.

That’s it. Trust me, it’s more than enough. Unfortunately for all of us, I decided to maintain my sobriety, but here is a sample paragraph of what my recap would have looked like had I decided to play with just those two rules:

“Deaerest ew people, thanjh yu for beingheere tonight to reaad my rescap!!1 Oh, god birtanni WON! Hahahaha, whhaaaattt??? I lovve you guys does anyoen have any food i’m hungry like oooh a soft pretzil that wouhld be soo good lol goodnight”

Yes, yes, I know. Only slightly less coherent than usual. The point is that if those two factoids were previously the show’s building blocks of characterization, the finale put those blocks in a burlap sack and then hit us repeatedly on the head with it until we collapsed, bloody and defeated. I’m halfway sure that the only reason Tyra & Co. invited Molly’s parents was that they knew Brittani’s couldn’t come.

Both of them were striving hard for the top spot—Molly especially, as she so eloquently put it, “really *beep*-ing wanted to win this *beep*-ing *beep*”—but only one could prevail, so it was off to their first challenge. This week things were a little different. The initial challenge was actually going to factor into the final judging, meaning it wouldn’t be as useless as braille on a billboard. Brittani was understandably worried since it was a commercial, and she did not fare well in previous challenges that required her to act like a human being in front of a camera. Molly, who did so well in her hard-hitting news piece about eye shadow last week, was certain she’d do well.

Unfortunately for her, while she managed to memorize the spiel perfectly, Molly was about as bad as Jack Donaghy when it came to figuring out what to do with her hands. They kept creeping up into the frame like they were trying to photobomb her. Brittani, on the other hand(s), kept hers under control, and while her speedy delivery was at first only one notch below auctioneer, she managed to scale it back to something resembling natural.

NEXT: Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who’s the fiercest of them all?


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