Okay, quick programming note: I have absolutely no idea what order the girls went down in, so there will be no spoilers in these recaps on account of my not having watched Season 1, because I was on the wrong side of history and I thank UPN (I know!) for steering me right in all of my entertainment-related decisions since that early error. Thanking UPN! I know! So, that said, no spoilers and no advance knowledge of anything from me. Except that the winner is Adrianne. But come on. Everyone knew that. Right? RIGHT? Hey, come back here! Or at least remember that I prefer my hate mail proofread. Thanks.
And now...pack your bags, y'all, we're going to Season 1. Sorry. Last time. Yeah. RIGHT.
"I constantly have people coming up to me asking me how can they get into the field of modeling," goes the syntactically-challenged introduction of Tyra "The 'S' Is For Super And The 'U' Is For Unique" Banks. During this heartfelt introduction to her "Tyra Banks: Saving The World From Wal-Mart Brand Apparel, One Misguided Skort At A Time" PSA, we, the entirely female and/or gay viewing audience are treated to smokin' shots of Tyra frolicking in a skimpy bathing suit in the water wearing only said skimpy bathing suit, what the lord gave her, and a thought bubble that appears just above her head reading, "But what I really want to do is executive produce." Back at the intro, Tyra thinks on her comment from above, finishing the thought, "That's one reason why I started this show" -- the other reason, of course, as a means of working off the community-service hours from the time no one likes to talk about when she tried to have Naomi Campbell killed with an errantly-hurled set of hot rollers -- "America's Next Top Model." With the title spoken and branding efforts fully in place, some faux-techno rabble kicks up and the screen is filled with images of Tyra. Tyra on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Tyra in lingerie. Two Tyras posing together. Three Tyras and a Baby. Jason Robards and Martin Balsam in the classic 1970 Pearl Harbor film Tyra! Tyra! Tyra!. Take heart, future supermodels of the world. It may be a long road ahead, but from the look of it, your industry competition is limited entirely to one person. So show some damn deference, unless a meeting with the business end of some hot rollers sounds like your idea of a good day on the catwalk.
"I launched a nationwide search," Tyra continues. And, y'know, I thought that was her with the flyers and the scotch tape affixing a flyer to the bulletin board at my local coffee shop, but I was walking really quickly because people with flyers in my neighborhood are to be stringently avoided as a general rule because no, I'm sorry, but I still do not have a moment to spare for you, Greenpeace, so stop asking me that every day before I divest you of one of your twee Earth-circle button and use the pointy end of it to poke a baby dolphin. But it's not Tyra's fault, when she's the one out there day in and day out, campaigning for the prettification of upper thighs and skin complexions, rather than some dumb forest I'll only get eaten by a bear if I bother to go to, anyway. So let's allow her to continue, please? "People sent tapes from all over the country." In a white, plain-text font I'll just politely refer to as "Default" (and impolitely refer to as "High School Video Yearbook"), city names come Star Wars-ing at me, accompanied by shots of one girl in each of the highlighted cities: a low-slung-jeans-wearing skank (is that Nicole?) struts out in LA, which isn't surprising, what with the fact that "City Of Low-Slung-Jeans-Wearing Skanks" is etched onto the Los Angeles crest in Latin. And you thought it was a dead language. Somnium, balatro! A girl who won't win gets smiley in Compton; a belly-shirted spitfire gives us her signature walk in Dallas; a Yale student failing all of her classes shoots for something other than ending up on the pole in New Haven, a girl walks toward the camera in Chicago. And Hartford. And Los Angeles. Ah, yes. From L.A. to L.A., unbridled talent abounds. Two shots (Hi, Margie!) turn into four (Hi, Alice!) turn into sixteen (tell me quick about Hugo and Kim!) turn into thirty-six, as a "with additional directing by" credit appears somewhere far down on Mike Figgis's IMDb entry. The action tops out at eight rows across and eight rows down of audition footage, and if I've ever been glad for math, it was for teaching me the short cuts to know how many The Top Model Bunch squares there were on my television without my having to count each of them individually. And you always say the math you learned in school has no bearing on your actual life. Well, you do. Dear multiplication tables in my Trapper Keeper folder: let's never fight again. Over the whole of this geometric melee appear the words "Thousands of Tapes were Submitted," because, when in doubt on a title, capitalize every other word. Look at how well it worked for The bible. Or America's next Top model.