America's Next Top Model
The Girl Who Can Cry At The Drop Of A Hat

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Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Right in the middle of this merriment that suddenly includes a laughing Shandi, Jenascia, Catie, and the pariah-to-be- named-after- this-scene-airs Xiomara is Heather. Who? Exactly. Lying right next to the runway on a purple shag pillow that the management of the Austin Powers Hotel chain is going to charge her for stealing is Catie 2.0, the other eighteen-year-old blonde who hasn't won a walking competition, who hasn't worn a ring at a fancily vague party for a man nine people have heard of, and who hasn't lived a day without a birthmark her well-meaning parents have convinced her gives her face "character" rather than "a Gorbachevian facial blemish that looks like a tattoo of Delaware." Did the producers not want to cut a real contestant this week so they crowbarred in some Cousin Oliver-type replacement and are going to just axe her instead? I tell you, it really makes you wish even one person in this country had seen the Clone High where they invent a character just to kill him off. You'd be with me the whole time. It makes you wonder why Ponce couldn't have three lives like Mario. But Ponce loved littering! Oh, fine. It's like when Dawn just appears on Buffy.

In maybe her first ever confessional, this so-called "Heather" shares with us the following: "They're not very sociable with me, even though I'm very sociable." Could it be the forlorn glares? And the glassy, vapid stare? And the fact that she might be a CGI hologram only the audience can see, like on-field sports advertising or that little guy from Lord of the Rings whose name, I think, might be "Schneider"? She goes on: "In the house, you do need someone. You can't just go through life not talking to anyone." Heather walks forlornly through a scene of sudden and explosive girl bonding in which everyone has laid down their slam books to do each other's hair and gently hit each other with soft, downy pillows. Cut to Heather on the phone with her mom, saying, "I feel like I'm in hell." Her mother sounds depressingly unsurprised, responding, "So, it's not that fun, huh?" Heather starts to tear up, and she's suddenly holding a big wad of tissues, out of which something falls that makes it look like she was crying something solid. But I don't know what it was. CGI really is the downfall of reality television.

A new day brings renewal, or at least a convenient forgetting of what made us sad and lonely under the cover of darkness last night. It's a bright, sunny day in whatever city this show takes place in -- it can't be New York, since New York has never had a day that is bright and/or sunny, at least as far back as my seasonally affected mind can recall. "Guys, there's Tyra mail!" a voice calls, and we cut to Heather not being ignored when she's the one reading it. Maybe instead of modeling she should go into the booming "Tyra Mail On Tape" industry. "If you think you're fine, if you think you're great, show me what you're made of at forty-five 'til 8." Which, we're told further, is 7:15. "Forty-five 'til 8"? "Forty-five 'til 8"? Was that couplet taken from a book of poems about early man discerning time from crude sundials and the length since the last harvest? Forty-five 'til 8 (not to mention the fact that the apostrophe is on the wrong side of the word "til" on the Tyra mail)? Who says that? Who measures time that way? Why not "If you think you're fine, if you think you're keen, show me what you're made of at the time of 7:15." Or, OR, if you like the original rhyme scheme: "If you think you're fine, if you think you're great, don't get here at 8 o'clock or you'll be forty-five minutes late." That last one could be a special Jenascia-centric card, to remind her that she's not out of the woods attitude-wise. And they should leave hers on the floor because of a repeatedly-noted inability for her to reach high surfaces like tables and steering wheels and her alarm clock "on" button. Or, for the love of god, schedule the damn thing at 8.

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America's Next Top Model




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