ANTM: A Space Odyssey / When shows get to their 11th season/cycle, they need to figure out how to get the audience juiced for the same old jazz. Tyra, Ken and company decided that space was the place and robotics was the future, and gifted us an hour of television that, even by Tyra standards, comfortably met all the prereqs for being called ‘insane’.
It started outside a low rent warehouse in California, thus being able to save location cash and let the producers build one of the highest budget sets since, say, Welcome to Paradise (0 seeds, 9 leechers, 656!!! downloads. Seriously). We were welcomed to the season by the Robo J’s looking like Tommy Gun’s store window from c. 2002, had wandered off into the desert. Our models still yowled, but you could see in their eyes and mannerisms that they knew something was awry.
We met them on the catwalk, baby, and they shook their little touches on the catwalk. They all had their little hooks: Elina is a vegan omnisexual who had a strong I-arrived-in-an-Uzbekistani-shipping-container vibe. Sheena has a young Kimora Simmons’ body with Lil Kim’s personality. Lauren Brie has “a forehead just like Tyra”, to quote The Game. Isis is a man.
Uh, yeah. Isis might be the littlest thing on this cycle’s runway, but she was not only born with three things a woman doesn’t need, she’s still tucking them somewhere. The season’s bombshell had been well-signposted, but was still pretty intense. Isis, though, has a few things in her favour. She’s super fine-boned, and photographs incredibly well, so watching her beat out some of the more female contenders for the next few weeks will be a good time.
Tyra’s entrance was pretty damn incredible. They pulled out all the budgetary stops and bought a six foot tall pork microwave from the late ’70s (they generally run to around US$270-285 on ebay), and our host emerged amid a hail of smoke and lightning. Only, she kinda didn’t. I’m pretty sure that What Now?‘s special affects team pitched for this job, but baulked at doing 43 minutes of syndicated television for less than the price of a double whopper combo.
The job ended up going to a Wintec assignment winner, and they did as good a job as a man’s ever done with Windows 95 and CorelDRAW. So things continued. Tyra showed off the acting chops that got her a supporting role in 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection. She does a semi-serviceable robot voice, I guess is what I’m trying to say.
On the runway the best was saved for first, as Brittney B strutted in, long, lithe and lippy, losing a jacket along the way and looking every inch a contender. Then she let out a wild-eyed screech, and within a few seconds was answering the question “what’s that in your hand?” with “that’s my lucky underwear!”*
There are some cute things – Analeigh has a variation on the Ruby nose; a little piggie, with no definition around the nostrils, but it has a great soft focus ’60s feel. Marjorie gave Tyra an opportunity to show off some basic French, and has a good post-makeover Laura vibe, while Hannah hails from Sarah Palin’s hometown, and is “kinda ignorant [she] doesn’t really see what’s going on around [her]”. So that’s pretty different. She got to be chased around by Tyra pretending to be a moose, which again, is different.
Clark has no bodily insecurities. Joslyn (allegedly) a squeaky voice. Nikeysha a Keri Hilson vibe (and weird out-of-body fake titties). Brittany S plays the jock very poorly. Susan supposedly graduated English lit from Harvard, but had an EPIC FAIL on Tyra’s academic questions. Though the hostess did include questions about Jack London who A) is a critically maligned racist and B) is American. Though London is a big city in England, so maybe that’s where the confusion arose.
Anyway, we sat through an extremely undramatic (was it the super-imposed on-screen graphics or the patently rehearsed expressions?) selection of the next 20, then the second cull, which saw Kasey take a hike. She’d been making bad noises about Isis, so they must have somone else in line to beat up on her/him. Any which way you frame it this looks like a fantastic season, with no clear favourite, a good few egomaniacs, and an exquisitely controversial hook. Pretty sure I’m gonna be Power Ranking from next week. No spoilers in the comments!
* See illustration atop this post.