America's Next Top Model
The Runway Ahead

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And, When You're Least Expecting It, Ryan Seacrest

Mercedes takes us through her troubled past, noting that she grew up as "the rudest girl ever" in New Jersey, where the dress code required that she wear "the baggy pants, the hoop earrings, the bangs." Oh, just say the word "hoochie," for Christ's sake. It's allowed in New Jersey, like how you're allowed to call someone a Jap when you live on Long Island or the N-word if you live in a Quentin Tarantino movie. No one's saying it's right...everyone's just saying you lose about 50% of your linguistic faculties without access to such words. So my honorary New Jersey citizenship allows met to speak out on her: Mercedes was a hoochie. It's fine. They're not all bad. Rumor has it they have enormous talent at the xylophone and other assorted instruments in the glockenspiel family.

But the hoochie life was too much for our sweet naïf, and when funding for treatment from the HLA (Hoochies for Lupus Awareness) dried up, Mercedes and her family departed for parts westward. "Moving to Valencia, California was a good neighborhood." She thinks that made her a better person overall, as hopping one class level up often does to people. Look at all of those delightful, carefree rich people out there, jamming on their xylophones and generally making the world a more delightful place for all. And if this modeling thing works out, maybe they'll let her sing her own theme song on the upcoming sitcom pilot, The Fresh Princess of Bel-Air.

In West New Jersey, she was born and raised/ On the xylophone where she spent most of her days/ Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool/ And shooting some hoochie-ball outside of the school/ When a couple of girls said "your outfit's no good"/ Started making trouble in her neighborhood/ She got in one little fight and her mom got scared/ And said "we're moving our multi-cultural family kinda near Bel-Air. And so on.

Go, Mercedes! Now do "Parents Just Don't Understand." Because I love that song. And because they don't, y'know?

Mercedes has lupus. Side effects include rampant opportunism.

Yoanna is announced as the winner, and Mercedes is sad. But "the competition has not yet ended, folks," she tells us from behind the wheel of her car, from which she announces, "Yoanna, I heard, is in a show this week for Fashion Week. But I got the best show. I opened up with Lloyd Klein, thank you very much." She points at road going more perpendicular to her than she'd like and announces, "I'm supposed to be going that way." Ah, the adorable, spunky foible of turning your driver's seat into a confessional booth. Being on a cell phone is illegal, and this isn't. Mercedes continues that her "hopes and goals" include: "I want to at least grace the cover on a Vogue." On a Vogue? Is that like using the word "Xerox" to connote all copy machines or "Kleenex" to stand for all tissues? She does know that Vogue is just one magazine? Oh, you know what? Maybe she means one of the many Vogues published around the world like American Vogue or Italian Vogue or Gorlox-8 Vogue (it's new -- the Earth-conquering robots are hoping it will drop during Resort season in '14). Oh, you know what else? For an Extra, I really feel like I might be overthinking things.

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America's Next Top Model

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