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America's Next Top Model: "Viva Italia!"


America's Next Top Model

"Viva Italia!"

Season 10 , Episode 9

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Evidently the girls did have fun on their commercial flight–well, everyone except Fatima, who caught a bad cold on the dirty, dirty, non-catalog, non-couture, Tyra-free flight to Italy. But sickness works for Fatima. According to the judges, it renders her sexy. Personally, I didn't see the sexiness as much as I saw a bicycle frame trying to aspirate, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

First: Italy. Ah, Italia, land of segue tours, guys named Claudio who over-annunciate while pointing out "Thee EEtalian Wooomahn," endless Tyra-as-Mona-Lisa stationary, commercial directors (not to be confused with catalog directors or couture directors) who will crack up behind the camera at terrible Italian pronounciation (as they should), and a "very important" designer you've never heard of who looks exactly like the guy who refills the vending machine. Still, unkempt though he was, Gui Mattiolo could zero in on precisely what was wrong with all of these girls. "Anya, you are so...blonde." Translation: "Anya, what are you?" "Dominique. She doesn't look fresh." Translation: "Dominique. She is 52, no?" "Whitney, you are very American." Translation: "Whitney, you remind me of Anna Nicole Smith." And then there was his reaction too Lauren: "I think you are nervous." Translation: "You walk like you are made of glass." Sometimes all it takes is a tossed off observation from a thickly accented designer to cut to the heart of someone: that is the lesson we learned from tonight's ANTM.

Another lesson we learned? Every episode should include the contestants hobbling through a commercial in a foriegn language--it is consistently the funniest thing they make them do, and it doesn't require raw meat, endless poster paint, or a puddle of water on top of a giant piece of mylar. Low production values! Are you listening, Bankable Productions?

The Italian commercials were almost as good as the Catalan commercials from Cycle 7, that is to say they were studies in hilarious awkwardness. Anya brought the invisible meeping to a romance language. MOB proved she can talk, and semi-well. Fatima convinced the judges that bicycle frames can be sexy too? Dominique showed Dominique's scary Dominique-o-sity. Whitney did the commercial exactly like Tyra would have: big, exaggerated, and phony. And Lauren shuffled through the motions, looking alternately angry and sad the entire time.

Of course, because Lauren didn't look angry enough or sad enough: also because she--very simply--can't walk and talk at the same time, she was the one sent home. But she will always have her stringy extensions, general awkwardness, and repressed anger, no matter where she goes.

Grade: A-

Stray Observations:

--Poor Lauren. It's not her fault she can't walk. Or advertise Cover Girl Queen cosmetics in Italian. I'm going to miss her random suitcase-tossing rages.

--Mr. Jay truly embraced the faux-Italian spirit. Out first glimpse of him in Italy, he was "casually" drinking espresso. Then he offered the girls a traditional Italish greeting, "Buenvenuto."

--Did anyone else notice Dominique's slight whiteface during the commercial shoot? Do you think the producers saw her in her clay mask earlier, and informed the make-up artists that it was a good look for her?

--I'm glad to hear that Tyra actually relates to Whitney: and all it took was Whitney to drench herself in buckets and buckets of camp to make it happen.

--MOB spoke more than she ever has in this episode, and she sounds normal! I was definitely expecting an indistinct accent, or at least mooping to contrast Anya's meeping.