If there are oddly-named girls screaming, gay men strutting, sob stories being shared and booties shaking, it must mean another cycle of AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL — the 10th, if anyone is counting — is beginning. Tonight, we meet nearly three dozen girls and, by the end of the hour, narrow the field to those who will join Ms. Tyra and company as the show returns to the town in which it all started back in 2003, New York City.
As always, the girls are… um, let’s go with “interesting.” My personal early fav is Lauren, who love zombie movies, is a self-professed weirdo and, when asked to show the panel a strong pose, turns her back to them. And if you aren’t laughing by the time one of the would-be models gives a lap dance while warbling an off-key tune, there’s something wrong with you.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. You won’t be laughing with these girls. You’ll be laughing at them.
And how can you not, when one proclaims over and over that she is a bitch, only to three seconds later freak out when another of the young not-quite-ladies asks, “Can I call you a bitch?” (Frankly, it’s a good thing they don’t all react negatively to the word, because it’s uttered every few moments. Tyra doesn’t set much of an example, using the word several times during her first meeting with the screaming wanna-bes.) And then there’s the requisite mama model, who misses her baby, is still lactating and admits to drinking the milk she’s pumping.
Of course, it wouldn’t be TOP MODEL if there weren’t some tears mixed in with the laughter. This season, the waterworks come courtesy of Fatima, a young woman from Somalia who was the victim of female genital mutilation (aka circumcision) as a young girl. We might also be tempted to feel for formerly homeless abuse victim Marvita — whom we first met during the last cycle’s casting special — but frankly, she makes it tough.
As always with MODEL, you know what you’re getting the moment the show begins. Fortunately, it’s a formula that works. Most of the time, one gets the sense that Tyra, J and Jay are having one heck of a good time, and that helps allow us to do the same. You won’t see Randy, Paula and Simon having this kind of fun. All in all, the new cycle of MODEL proves the old axiom: If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. The show is the televised equivalent of a movie you know by heart. You look forward to the tear-filled make-over episode, or the inevitable nude modeling session(which somehow catches at least one religious girl off guard every time, as if she’d never seen the show before). By the time the 11th cycle begins, you won’t even remember who walked away with this season’s title, but you’ll have a vague recollection of having enjoyed the ride.
Photo Credit: © 2007 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.