ANTM: Cycle 16 Episode 6

The girls arrive back at the house after elimination and find Tyra (how did she beat them back?). Molly has a little meltdown about her weave and Kasia wants her to suck it up. Tyra tells her the same but the weave will be removed anyway. Tyra talks about the archetypes of each girl.

First we label the famous models:

  • Gisele Bunchen is the “bombshell.”
  • Coco Rocha is the “girl next door.”
  • Agness Deyn is the “edgy” one.
  • Sessilee Lopez is “couture.”

Then we sort the girls:

  • Kasia is a cross between bombshell and couture.
  • Jaclyn is girl next door.
  • Monique is bombshell.
  • Alexandria is edgy bombshell.
  • Brittani is couture.
  • Mikaela is a bombshell.

I’m noticing a pattern. Tyra, you may be a bombshell, but not everyone is. But moving on. Once you get to be a successful model, you become famous, Tyra informs the girls. So we must discuss the levels of fame. She discusses her boundaries. She gives them lessons on autograph signing. They also need to have thick skin. Alexandria thinks she’s as tough as a diamond thanks to her background of abuse, but I think she’s much more fragile than she realizes. The tough girl is more facade than real.

Molly’s weave is gone and returns with crazy crimp. Does she get a replacement haircut? Monique is annoyed that Hannah won again but really she’s just worried about being sent home to Hebron, Illinois.

Today will be an autograph signing challenge. A what?!?! This is to test them on how well they carry themselves. The winners gets to have dinner with Ms. Jay. Jaclyn is loving it. Monique just seems to be modeling angrily on the side. She goes as far as saying that Alexandria would kiss some random guy so she tries to deflect it onto her boyfriend. (Monique, do you really want to mess with the meanest girl in the competition?) Alexandria resolves things with a kiss on the cheek. Jay’s evals. Alexandria was sweet but is told not to kiss him on the cheek because it could lead to stalking. Jaclyn is squeaky. Kasia talked while staying model-ly. Monique was bored and rude. The winner is Kasia who selects Jaclyn and Brittani for dinner. The losers must clean up the garbage as Monique wonders why Kasia won since they were so close together. Move over Alexandria, Monique is gunning for your queen of drama. “I hate my life right now.” She hopes they choke on their meals. Ms. Jay tells them “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will make me wealthy.” When they got back it was more awkward because she was trying to act like “why would I have wanted to be at that dinner” which means “I wish I was there.”

Tyra Mail! “Oh the tangled webs we weave.” Time for a new photo shoot and the girls worry about there being spiders involved. I would be surprised if there was, only because they just did animals last week. Maybe some huge web that they are “caught” in? That could be cool.

Jaclyn takes the time to see if Monique is ok. She’s just all annoyed because she wants to win. Well so does Jaclyn but you don’t see her being mean to everyone. Of course, not sure she could even if she wanted to, but that’s neither here nor there.

Mr. Jay introduces photographer Jonathan Mannion. This is a covered in mud photo shoot and Jay decides to pit the blondes against the brunettes. Molly thinks this is a good because the blondes have all gotten best photos and the brunettes have not. (Molly looks like a surfer girl.) Kasia is a little nervous about body but she stays calm about it.

Blonde shot: Molly and Hannah in particular seem to work well together–it helps that they’re right on top of each other. Kasia and Alexandria are having a harder time at the ends. Kasia readjusts herself and it works. Alexandria again makes a comment about another girls’ position and Jay calls her out on it.

Brunette shot: Jaclyn gets a little too fierce. Jaclyn is told that she doesn’t have to try to hard since it’s already very creative. Monique can’t stay in “model mode.” Brittani meanwhile has no problem on the end to the point where one of her poses inspired the photographer to take a few individual shots. Well, if she doesn’t win this week…Mikaela was just lackluster.

Only seven will continue on…The girls realize they are about to hit the halfway point (in terms of elimination numbers not actual competition time). Mikaela really really really thinks and really really really hopes she did well. Kasia knows she had a rocky start but she thinks she worked it out.

Not loving Tyra’s jumpsuit thing though it doesn’t emphasize her figure. What is this about her wearing flats though? How un-Tyra-like. Sonia Dara the first South Asian to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

Brunettes are called up first:
They work together well and Andre loves how he can’t tell them all apart. More editorial.
Jaclyn– despite her worries, the judges love her powerful picture, heavy hands but otherwise fine. Shows off the angles of her face.
Brittani– standout in the shot despite one of her legs looking amputeed, most modern
Mikaela– weakest link, no internal drama, sometimes she had the fire but not in the best group shot. Dead eyes.
Monique– gentle soft look in eyes but the body needs to be more relaxed. Tyra thinks she’s surfing a bit. just sailing in the middle. (Nigel thinks if she was removed from the picture it would look the same.)

The blond shot:
Great eye contact but less body language. Sonia wants to be blond now. More billboard.
Alexandria– a little pose-y, like she’s not quite involved but Tyra loves it despite her inconsistencies. (no mention of her misbehavior though.
Kasia– eyes called to her first, good energy.
Hannah– most beautiful picture of her so far. Hannah feels a little separate from the shot though. not a chameleon, photographs just as you see her.
Molly– gorgeous. Her left eye looks slightly small but otherwise great. Confidence is back (maybe because she doesn’t have to worry about holding up her weave).

The first name is from the strongest group shots’ winner: Brittani. Runner up is Kasia. As the names get cold, Monique’s mean faces increase in frequency. The girls are disappointed to find that Alexandria gets called in the middle (though the judges do take the time to pick apart her bad outfit.) Mikaela and Monique are called forward despite being in the winning picture. In the end, Mikaela is called forward and Monique is sent packing. (No one’s taking Alexandria’s spot as Queen of Mean!)


Make It Or Break It: The New Normal

It’s back! Your favorite, ever-inaccurate gymnasts have returned. So, with no further delay, the episode:

The girls come to the Rock for practice complaining about the late night practice. Kaylie gives them an obnoxious speech about how they don’t whine about missing other things so why whine about this. But at least the boys are around, Lauren points out. But…there’s something weird with the boys. They’re…vampires. Payson’s the first one bitten because she tries to lead them away. Smarmy comes to Kaylie but Lauren intercedes and she’s the next one down. Then comes Austin who attempts to bite when (Vampire Emily says he’s fine). But just in time comes Sasha. Only…Kaylie’s a vampire and kills him.

Reality check. Kaylie’s in a group therapy session talking about her weird dream. Does Kaylie feel like she failed as a leader? She says no it wasn’t her fault that they were all in chaos. What does Kaylie think when she thinks of the Rock. Home. And what’s happening at home? It’s falling apart. (Part of me wants to say, why did they explain the dream, couldn’t they have let the audience figure it out. The other part of me says most people wouldn’t have thought any more about it so maybe it was a good thing that they went into detail. This isn’t exactly Shakespeare after all…)

Time for practice. Emily doesn’t know if she’s on the team (Emily calls her mother out for being MIA). Payson meanwhile isn’t in the mood for practice or an exhibition. Sasha is gone so who knows what he would want for her. Lauren’s moved in with DJ because she’s angry with her dad. DJ wants her to forgive so she can heal. Lauren says “sometimes people do things that are so bad that no one will ever forgive him.” (Talking about her dad or herself–double meaning writers, good job.)

How did Ellen get the picture? If only they could get the whole video so they could prove Sasha innocent. Steve is having a hard time finding a coach because all the top coaches are under contract. Plus the gym has a bit of a “stink” on it at the moment. DJ doesn’t know where to find Sasha but she has a question. Before she can ask, Kim interrupts to ask if Steve leaked the picture. If he finds out who did, he will kill them out of the gym (but can he kick out his own daughter?!?!).

Back in counseling, Kaylie’s strict lifestyle is brought up. Kaylie is still in denial but one of the girls says admitting she had a problem helped. But when asked if she thinks she belongs in the group she says “sure, I guess.”

Payson is sort of training Emily but when that doesn’t work she calls Austin over for assistance and she sticks it. Well, at least now she knows how it is supposed to feel. No one has spoken to Kaylie, she’s not allowed to call, but she will be at the Denver exhibition. (Apparently all gymnastics takes place in Colorado.) Will Emily be allowed at the exhibition? Depends on her probation officer, who looks about as loving as Ellen Beals. They are assessing Emily’s progress. The guy on the National Committee is not supportive. The NGO needs to assess her position. Since Emily is restricted to home and gym only, so if she wants to go to the exhibition she will have to wear an ankle bracelet. (More info- Denver is bidding to host the Olympics. I don’t really believe the US would ever host the Summer Olympics there but let’s pretend. A trip to NY would have been more fun though.) Floor and Vault shouldn’t be affected by the anklet but people will see it!?!?

Steve tries to talk to Lauren while she is practicing but she refuses and Emily comes out wearing the anklet, which draws attention to her and away from Lauren.

In Denver now, the Denver Elite Team has passes that the Rock girls don’t. An guess who shows up: Kelly Parker! Her ankle injury is healed and she plans to get back onto the World team. The Rock is a cesspool of controversy, why would they want to showcase them? The girls decide they have to up their game. Lauren continues oogling boys. Austin introduces his friend Max, who Lauren immediately flirts with, but he’s more taken with Payson, whose face is perfect for catching the light (he’s a photographer). Payson doesn’t think he could like her. Austin is hesitant to see Kaylie with the other girls.

The girls wonder why they didn’t that Kaylie was in such a bad way but Lauren says she does. She then tries to pin her crime on Kaylie. “Kaylie was feeling really trapped by Sasha, maybe she took matters into her own hands.” Kaylie arrives though so that line of thought gets interrupted. The girls sit on one side, Kaylie on the other. Kaylie just wants to get out of there and get back to her gymnastics. (That sounds…healthy.) They get off-tangent on boys and then Emily decides it is time to leave. Shortest visit ever!

The girls show up to a party. Lauren is looking for Max. The press wants pictures of Kelly Parker. Max makes sure to give the “Rock Rebels” some love. Oh, by the way, Max is a gymnast too. Denver Elite just got a fantastic new rings specialist–Carter. He and Kelly are good friends. He comes off as smarmy as ever it’s sort of gross. Lauren dances like a slut on the dance floor but Max is too buy looking for Payson. (Carter is looking on in jealousy so he and Kelly hit the floor, making Lauren jealous.) Carter to Max: “The girls at the Rock are good but the women at Denver…” are both sluts. Austin sits with Emily (they sure seem to be together a lot) who is gloom and dooming about her boyfriend being far away. They’re both in the same boat (oh no, sympathy cheating!?!?). Emily fears that everything she worked for will be taken away and if she doesn’t worry the bill doesn’t get paid, the car gets taken away, her brother can’t take his medicine. Her only shot at living carefree is to be the Olympic gold-medalist. Of course, her real shot would have been not pursuing such an expensive sport in the first place. She’s angry at herself and at her mom. If Chloe were better at everything (or anything) they couldn’t be living this way. He gives her the lecture about having a choice (her choice was to let her brother possibly die, at least from her perspective, or preserve her record…not exactly a choice–I’ve been there for someone having a seizure and it’s really scary). Austin does point out that she should have called an ambulance and that she should stop blaming her go-go dancing mother.

Chloe gets a visit from the NGO guy (while she’s prepping for her dance). He wants to know what her job is and points out that Emily can’t maintain a job and her career. He notices Emily’s lack of bedroom (will they suggest she move out?). He says the girls are thoroughbreds and must be treated that way. She says the sport eats families alive and kicks him out. They’re both kind of right here. He says he isn’t trying to judge her but to save Emily’s dream. They want the same thing for her. He almost sounds sincere but where was this sympathetic ear all this time?

Back at the party, Kelly Parker spots Payson alone and chooses the opportunity to tease her. Rumors about how Sasha and Payson “carried on together.” Apparently, according to Marty, Sasha is hiding out in Denver. Payson demands her mother leave the party to find Sasha. Kim stands firm, Sasha has made his decision, let him go. Fine, She’ll let him go, her dream go, the whole damn thing. Max finds her sitting alone and decides to take some pictures. He makes it clear he’s not with Lauren. He wants to show her some pictures of Bode Miller but he instead ends up showing her the bazillion pictures he took of her. Ok, stalker much. But still kinda cute. He’s been a fan of hers since he saw her video online. What’s this you say? A video of me online? Luckily, he has his handy dandy internet phone to show her floors. Someone posted it so the world could see how beautiful she is. She admits that she has only just begun to see herself that way, thanks to a good friend.

Despite what she said, Kim has tracked Sasha down to a boxing gym? I guess it’s a good excuse to get him to take his shirt off. He’s going back to Romania. Kim wants to know why he’s running away instead of saying goodbye. He’s heartbroken. He tried so hard but he ended up hurting them instead. Gymnastics is so extreme. He asks if she’s ever wanted to give it up (of course she has!). What about Summer (oh that’s her name!)? Sasha doesn’t want her to know he’s around. He does say goodbye to Kim though which is almost like saying goodbye to the girls.

Lauren has some ideas to spice up the routine for the exhibition, but first, they all take up leg warmers as a show of support for Emily (Lauren does this on protest of course). Time comes and the Denver Elite club gets a ridiculous entrance about being the best performance of the night. This is sort of a ridiculous exhibition that feels more cheerleading than gymnastics at times. The dancing in leos looks even sillier than usual and Kelly Parker actually looks a bit midgety in Carter’s arms.

The intro to the Rock is unnecessarily awkward–“they’ve had a few issues but they’re here.” Max is snapping pictures at the word “go.” They get the “Rock the House” music which makes them more awesome obviously. But of course, as Emily does her handstand, her bracelet shows and she runs off (why didn’t you secure it better?). Everyone pauses for a moment so Max jumps on stage to distract them. Does that mean he’s made his choice? Kelly Parker gets all huffy and storms off. Emily steps up to the mic to talk frankly about her anklet. (This always looks good for Olympians to publicly apologize.) She says she disgraced the excellent Rock, her excellent coach Sasha, and her mother. (I still feel like though legally she’s gonna be in trouble, people should stop being so tough on her.) Austin gives her a hug of approval. Lauren says “So that’s it, you say you’re sorry and everything’s okay. And you forgive your mom?” Emily says it is just a start and that they both only have one parent, if they push them away, what do they have left. (What, a real heart to heart between Emily and Lauren? This was actually kind of a good moment.)

Austin goes to visit Kaylie who insists she’s doing great. She has a question for him. Was he seriously falling for her or just to get her to admit she had an issue? He was serious and ps, she’s falling for him too. He tells her to put it out of her mind for a while. You can’t date while in recovery. She takes this to mean he’s “that guy” which goes to show that she’s clearly not working the program. She tells him to leave because she has things under control. He’s not falling for it though.

Emily gets home to find her room switched with her mother’s. Well as long as she doesn’t bring any guys home that should be ok.

Lauren goes home. No makeup hug for daddy but it’s a step.

Payson stares at the medal Sasha gave her and then puts it away in her drawer.

Kaylie talks with her roommate. Well, talks is being generous, since Kaylie doesn’t want to talk. She’s sick of talking. At least she apologizes but only so far as to say being small is part of her sport. The girl says it is part of her sport too–she’s a model. She’s been acting this whole time. They have to be thin for their jobs, This is the girls’ third rehab and she’ll help Kaylie get out. Oh terrific. So you have to be perky to be healthy. (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope her eating disorder turns into a serious issue like kidney failure or something.)

Where I felt like no progress had been made in the Secret Life of the American Teenager, this mid-season return felt like things happened. We picked up on all the important threads from last season and resolved (or at least continued) them. This is also the first time I’ve ever felt the least sympathy for Emily. I agree that she was stupid and if she had been thinking clearly she’d have called an ambulance, but at the same time, it wasn’t entirely her fault. And her mom is still pretty crappy.

The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Who Do You Trust?

Adrian is PREGNANT! Like mega-pregnant. And she’s packing tons of health foods, just for snacks. Ben meanwhile is in charge of lunches. Amy comes and sounds genuinely happy/supportive about the fact that Adrian looks happy. Adrian and Ben can’t wait because today is the day they find out the sex of the baby…they’re holding hands and it is a “we”. Grace is obsessed with her “we learned it at med-camp stuff.

Amy and pals discuss whether or not they and/or their respective boys have had sex over the summer. Amy says she’s ready to have sex with Ricky and wants him to get tested. Yeah…this seems like a good plan. Ricky then talks to some high-pitched girl that he once slept with. Then another girl. He’s just dating Amy right now. Ruthie from 7th Heaven tells Ricky he probably has an STI because he’s slept with everyone and by extension everyone they’ve slept with. (What will probably be the best moment of the night–Lucy of 7th Heaven, the new guidance counselor, spotting Ruthie in the hall.)

Amy wants the old guidance counselor’s address to send her a gift. Ashley wants to get some forms for homeschooling, to teach herself. Ms. O’Malley wants to talk about it so Ashley tells her that she basically hates everything about school (hallways and bells and stairs and lockers and rules and people who try to help). The Juergens parents got divorced over the summer and she is not speaking to her ex. who Grace is now dating.

Grace informs Adrian that Tom is working as the VP of HR for some company “he diminishes the potential for a lawsuit.” (As in people are too afraid to complain to him?) Grace and the bf have had sex and want to talk to her mom about it.

Jack gets the bad news that Madison met a new guy. Nothing has happened but he’s interested. Jesse says to Lauren that “things happen” meaning he met someone too? He’s a senior and when he goes away to school he doesn’t think he wants a long distance relationship. (I wasn’t very attached to him anyway so that’s fine.)

Ricky doesn’t want to get tested so maybe they’ll have to go back to where they were. But she’s all cheery and “it’s up to you.” Ashley interrupts to get a ride home and uses the opportunity to scare Ricky into thinking Amy wants marriage.

George is the stay at home dad (where did Annie go?) and he’s okay with Ashley being home-schooled. She brings up having sex with Ricky, naturally. The discussion turns to whether or not she will sleep with him if he gets an STI and if he doesn’t want to get married.

Ricky finally goes to the clinic to get tested when of course his foster mother comes in–she wasn’t supposed to be working. She’d have come if he asked her. His mom thinks this a good, responsible thing to do. He says he always uses a condom so he should be fine.

Adrian, who is apparently only halfway through her pregnancy despite looking as big as a house. Ben hasn’t come in with her before and he’s squeamish but she convinces him to come. This is his baby. He’s afraid to do or say something wrong. She says it’s too late for that. (If all the times to be squeamish!)

Tom is enjoying his job when some guy comes in because he has issues with Milton. (He’s uncomfortable talking to Tom at first but then gives in.) He says he won’t be an idiot to work for Milton the idiot and he quits. Milton is thrilled that he won’t have to pay unemployment.

Madison tells her dad about the boy she wants to date that she didn’t mention all summer. They couldn’t date during the summer because they were co-workers. He was her boss. He’s 20, three years older. Now he wants her to see Jack! He’s still in high school, kind of. He’s divorced after a bad marriage in high school. Sammy is a nice, mature guy, apparently.

Grace and the bf, Grant, talk to her mom about how they’re still together after “all that time” which is long than her mom waited. She wants them to continue waiting obviously. Grace doesn’t want to wait though. At least they thought about it and are prepared but they should get tested before they do anything. Time for some private talk. Grant has only had sex with one person and didn’t always have sex with a condom. Grace had sex with Jack who had sex with Adrian who had sex with Ricky (and everyone) who slept with everyone. Grace isn’t even sure she always used a condom with Jack. She refuses to get tested. Then they’ll have to wait because now Grant isn’t comfortable. Jack’s been tested but he recommends that Grace get tested.

Ricky tells Amy he got tested. Amy’s response: “Oh.” She would have come with him because it can be emotional but he says that’s only a girl thing. That’s why you’re being so snappy with everyone! He’s worried though.

Annie gets a call from Ashley and says she isn’t thrilled with the home-schooling. What’s the best thing for her? Ashley says she will never marry. But she plans to get her license. Annie is now happy.

Adrian’s parents are saying they’d like a boy. Or a girl. When can they get excited about it? Well Ruben is excited, Cindy isn’t. Ruben still thinks they should get married. In comes the happy unwed couple…and guess what: it’s a girl! (I totally thought it would be a boy, not sure why.) Betty is thrilled, she wanted a girl. Betty asks if the ring is still good. (You know the one she gave away and turned out to be so expensive.) Ben was amazed by the heartbeat. And he didn’t even pass out! His dad wants to know if he’s thinking about the wedding option at this point.

Ricky is still in panic mode when he gets a call, which he ignores. His mother’s at the door, she’s out of jail. She’s staying with him for a bit until she can find a place of her own.

Well, I think this is the first time that we’ve gotten through an episode without Amy crying. Better or worse? This episode felt like a lot of exposition and very little happening (in fact, nothing actually happened other than Ricky getting the test but he didn’t even find the results). I’ve always been a little iffy on this show, but after this episode, I’m finding myself liking it even less (despite the lack of conversations on the phone, compared to usual).

Getting Older in Hollywood

Reese Witherspoon recently stated that there were no sci-fi roles appropriate for a woman of her age (34). While I do not think it is true that she could not find her way into any sci-fi movies (Amy Adams at 36 was just cast as Lois Lane in the upcoming Superman reboot, Gwyneth Paltrow was about 36 when she starred in the first Iron Man, and Cameron Diaz was about 38-39 when she filmed The Green Hornet), she brings up a good point about the not-so-recent trend in the industry (and in society in general) of wanting younger actors and actresses. If you look at the list of upcoming sci-fi movies, most of the actresses being featured are in their twenties (Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfreid, Jennifer Lawrence, and Scarlett Johansson to name a few).

This obsession with youth (think about Nicole Kidman’s recent critique about how the surgeries she has had to look youthful have affected her ability to show emotion in her face) has impacted society in much the same way that the obsession with thinness has. Celebrities and casting agents take these trends to the extreme. Recently, celebrities have started to come under criticism for being too thin (in the modeling industry, Milan and Madrid have imposed some standards to deter too thin models from being used, similar but less extensive guidelines have been suggested in America), but there has been little to no critique of the age factor in Hollywood.

Kathy Bates’s recent show, Harry’s Law, is more surprising because it centers around a sixty-two year old actress than because of anything that happens on the show (including Bates’s character getting hit on by a man attempting to commit suicide in the pilot). Off-hand, I can’t think of another show that has someone nearly as old (fifties? forties?) as the title character. Harry’s Law isn’t doing fantastic in the ratings either. For NBC the show isn’t doing terribly and is likely o be renewed, but if it were on another network it would closer to the bubble (CBS’s CSI:Miami, CSI:NY, and The Good Wife draw about the same number of viewers or even a million or so more and are considered “on the bubble”).

More often than not, older actors are relegated to be background–the parents of the main characters for example. But the lack of age on television and in the movies wasn’t always the case. Dr. Who is a perfect example of this shift. The original doctor, played by William Hartnell back in the mid-1960s, had white hair! He was about 55 at the start of his run. The third doctor, Jon Pertwee, was 51 at the start of his run, also with grey hair. By the seventies, the age of the actor playing the doctor was early forties. The fifth doctor, Peter Davison, was only 31. The most recent incarnation of the doctor, doctor number eleven, began his role at only 26, less than half the age of the original! In the Sarah Jane adventures, we saw a reunion of former companion Jo Grant with the current doctor that puts this into perspective-
Sarah Jane: He can change his face.
Jo: I know, but into a baby’s?

I am not saying anything against Matt Smith. I think he is a fantastic doctor. And in a show that relies so heavily on running, it makes sense to have a younger actor (now if only they could cast companions who didn’t “run like a girl”). There came a point near the end of 24 where Kiefer Sutherland didn’t really look like he was in good enough shape to pull off some of the stunts his character did. In situations like that, having someone younger makes sense. But I sometimes wonder if we might be missing out on some incredible talent because of the desire for younger actors.

If you have ever seen Fringe, you know that John Noble, at age 62, is pretty incredible. He plays two characters–one a smart, crafty, politician and the other a scatterbrained, unstable but loving scientist–with equal brilliance and believability. His character and acting is a large part of what makes the show emotional, believable, and enjoyable. Somehow he has never won an award for this role (though he has been nominated three times for Best Supporting Actor), but it does make me think that perhaps there are some other, more experienced actors and actresses that we are missing out on because people don’t want to watch “old people.” (There are exceptions of course. Betty White has had a long, award-filled career that shows no signs of slowing down despite being 89.) It might be time for us to forget about this obsession with youth before we miss out on some of the great actors and actresses who are getting “up there” in years.

Design Star

It’s funny because I don’t generally like design shows. I’m not sure why, I just find that they tend to be boring until we finally see the big reveal at the end. But my friend turned me onto this competition show version of design shows and…instant win! You know how I love reality TV competitions. (Well, if you don’t, now you do.)

The most interesting thing about this show is that where most reality shows tend to wilt as it goes on, this one actually gets better as it ages. The idea of the show is that a group of interior designers compete to win their own show on the network.

Here’s what we have in the beginning:

  • Hosting challenges starting in the last few challenges
  • A British host who delivered challenge news and was sort of a go between for the judges and contestants at judging
  • America voting for the winner of the show (and thus who would be hosting their own show)

By the end:

  • Hosting challenges throughout (the lowest rated designers of the episode must present their rooms as part a sort of “host for their life”)
  • Clive Pearse was gone, with judge Vern Yip taking on some of his duties as host
  • The judges select the winner.

I think every one of these changes was smart. They all served to make the show more watchable and more intelligent. After all, they’re competing to host a show so hosting in the beginning makes sense. Not having the judges tell a separate host their thoughts to then have it repeated to the clients when they are sitting just there. And finally, the judges have a better grasp of what it takes to make a good show and be a good host than America does, so it makes sense to have them making the final decision. (I wouldn’t be surprised if they get some advice from the network too.)

I haven’t watched the winner’s shows to know if their shows are any good, but as long as they continue having Design Star, I’m not sure I care.

Big Love

Somehow I missed this show until it was ending. If you missed it, go back to the beginning and watch it! It’s the most bizarrely fascinating show ever. The plot: Bill Henrickson grew up on a polygamist compound, until he was kicked out at the age of fourteen by Roman Grant, the Prophet who runs the compound. He grows up to be a polygamist with three wives, though with some vastly different ideas of how to go about his faith and lifestyle to the compound that he cannot quite seem to escape. Well, that’s the official summary, but though Bill Henrickson businessman, visionary, priesthood holder, husband, father, and maybe prophet is the technical center of the show, it is the three wives that really steal the show.

Barb, the first wife grew up in the LDS church, which is opposed to polygamy. They had two children together and about eleven-twelve years into their marriage, she got sick. In order to pay for her medical bills, Bill sought out help from Roman. What he got from that, aside from needing to pay a percentage to Roman of all his sales is his second wife–

Nicki, Roman’s daughter. She gives birth to two sons (Barb can no longer have children). Living with Bill is her first real experience in the outside world, forcing her to confront the harsh, mixed up world she grew up in. She is not an easy person to live with–she’s critical, self-righteous, and something of a liar, but most it stems from the insecurity and betrayals she has experienced on the compound. She had a babysitter to watch her kids, leading to wife number three–

Margene, former employee at Bill’s Home Plus store. Margie is a young naive woman from a broken home (ever-drunken mother, absent father) who finally found a home in the polygamist lifestyle. She has, at the start of the series, two boys. As the youngest, she is the wildest and most sexual with the least complaints.

The dynamics between the sister wives are interesting, as they never quite see eye to eye. They each go on journeys of self discovery over the course of the show which comes to fruition in a shocking but well managed way in by the end of the series finale. (I can’t think of a more satisfying or well-executed series finale.)

Nicki is easily my favorite character because she makes perhaps the greatest change and comes from the most difficult background that she has to overcome. (Chloe Sevigny earned a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for this role.) Sometimes her actions are baffling but she stirs up trouble in a way that no TV character has before. And for all her awfulness, you can see her moments of tenderness and true love that she doesn’t know how to properly express because she doesn’t come from that type of home.

The show also gave me an opportunity to see Amanda Seyfried in another light. Until I could not get passed her stint as the delightfully moronic Karen in Mean Girls. I know she’s been in other things since that movie, but I have not seen any of them so all I could think of was “I can’t go out…(cough cough) I’m sick.” But now I’ve seen her as the spunky, sometimes rebellious oldest child of the Hendrickson brood.

So, as I was saying, if you haven’t seen this show, GO WATCH IT! I will miss it.

ANTM: Cycle 16 Episode 5

Kasia’s screen grab is not nearly as good as her commercial was. Dalya, meanwhile is all “I’ve been modeling forever and I’m awesome…” She thinks the girls don’t know how big a deal it is to be a Cover Girl. Alexandria is surprised to hear that people think she was trying to direct–she also informs us that she’s a sunny positive person. Molly just wants out of her new weave which has given her a rash. Alexandria freaks out about her missing towel and the girls gossip about her awfulness.

The challenge is to make a cover girl mini commercial for the internet. The product is a foundation. They will be working in teams and need to be both interesting and informative. Can you imagine a company ever saying to their model “go write us a commercial?” These be creative challenges are the least realistic and translatable to real world skills in their career path. The groups consist of a director, writer, and talent, but Alexandria seems to misunderstand what not being the writer means. When she gets called out on her bad attitude she decides she doesn’t feel like acting now and she’s the talent after all.

Team 1- Brittani (director), Mikaela (writer), and Kasia (talent) go first and Mikaela has a hard time on her lines, which leads to a lot of cursing. (They must get a single continuous script in ten minutes.) But ultimately she was relatable.

Team 2- Dalya (talent), Hannah (director), and Jaclyn (writer) don’t write their lines out. Instead they pick talking points that Dalya has to hit. She has a hard time getting comfortable, remembering to say the product name, and basically sounding any good. Not informative enough.

Team 3- Monique (director), Molly (writer), and Alexandria (talent/writer/director). Monique stays calm as Alexandria continues to be problematic and has a hard time getting the take. Jay calls Alexandria out for calling action once again though she claims she was just saying it to herself (like that makes any sense).

The winner is Team 1 (a little unfortunate that only Mikaela is actually on camera. Meanwhile the girls continue hoping Alexandria gets sent home.

Tyra Mail: “Tomorrow get ready to take a walk on the wild side.” Wild animals, they guess. Or a movement shoot.

Alexandria gives us a sob story about how she had to be protective of her siblings because her mother died and therefore she had to grow up fast and is now “wise beyond her years.” She thinks if girls knew this they would understand. The girls wonder how Alexandria feels about them and if she’s taking medicine so they opt for reading her diary. “It’s bad, it’s bad!” Monique shouts. They realize that Alexandria wrote nothing about them and feel bad but decide not to tell her (you know this is going to be on national television right?)

The shoot takes place in the old LA zoo where they are transformed into fashion versions of animals–haven’t we done this before? Up side, they will be wearing clothes from Rachel Zoe’s faux-fur collection and RZ will be a guest judge. Yay! (She’s a little bit of everywhere thanks to her show. How many celebrity stylists do people actually know?) But there’s one more surprise: a baby jaguar to join them in the shoot. I’m kind of jealous. Monique hates cats but Molly thinks he’s adorable.

Hannah and Brittani look fierce. Mikaela just sat there. Kasia struggles with the cat. Jaclyn is very feline. Dalya’s poses are too obvious for Jay’s taste. Monique was comfortable and had no problems. Molly thinks she was screwed because the jaguar became cranky–she was too June Cleaver-like. Alexandria is too hoochie and mommy-like and then starts barking–but apparently hissing does the trick.

At judging we are informed that stylists decide on who the next top models are going to be. Really now?

  • Jackie– her shot is bizarre (a little climax-y) but the judges like it. One of the best.
  • Mikaela– RZ loves her shoes. Her picture is flat but Nigel likes that she stands out. More body tension! All about her eyes.
  • Molly– Tyra announces her intention to be rid of the weave. The face is interesting but the fashion is missing.
  • Monique– Pulled it off but lucked out with the cat yawning. Vampire Diaries looking for her next victim.
  • Kasia– Eighties-like picture. They like it but I think this is so unflattering. Tyra says she lucked out on the good shot. ALT thinks fantastic. RZ thought she’d be catalogue but the picture to her said maybe editorial.
  • Dalya– Her head looks enormous and she appears desperate apparently. You can’t just stand still, create shapes. Not fashion.
  • Brittani– fabulous, fabulous, contessa-like. Everyone wants the coat. Makes it look expensive.
  • Alexandria– Without the animal the picture wouldn’t be great but with the jaguar it looks pretty excellent. Not high fashion but Tyra wishes she had done more. Just an ugly-pretty face.
  • Hannah– Lush. (Inspires an Elvis impression and a Jamaican accent out of Tyra…right.) Iconic.

Best picture of the week goes to: Hannah. Runner up: Brittani (that was a no brainer). Alexandria is called fourth which is a bit surprising. Molly and Dalya please step forward. I will only call one name…Molly. (Oh good, Dalya was getting on my nerves.) Time for Molly to get rid of the weave. Tyra says this won’t fix her pictures, it has to come inside of her. (Tyra, it will make her feel better without that thing on her head, which somehow seems bigger than last week.)