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America's Next Top Model: "The Fortress Of Fierceness"

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Everyone okay? After what we went through tonight, it's perfectly normal to feel vaguely nauseated, dizzy, and like your head is stuck in the middle of a concrete block. It's not every episode of ANTM that the audience is shown a direct feed of the inside of Tyra's giant inflatable ego.


But tonight, some brave Bankable Productions minion approached the great sleeping Tyra on her perch at the edge of the abyss, and dropped a camera into the yawning maw of the vast, endless abyss where Tyra's vast, endless ego rests, ever expanding its gelatinous form into the nothingness. The camera was greedily swallowed up by the jelly-like ego, and soon the first disconcerting images came in over the monitors in the ANTM production room. There was a small runt with glasses who was supposed to be a French photographer (we think?) even though he wasn't French, and then there was a figure in a cheap Lycra superhero outfit from Ricky's who kept calling herself "Super Smeyes." Who are these strange people? What is this language? Then, before the questions could be answered, there were several thunderclaps and groundshakings (which Tyra never would have done 30 pounds ago—SuperSmeyes or no), many sub-pinball-machine sound effects, and Super Smeyes was gone.

Well, actually, first SuperSmeyes (which, yes, sounds like a disease or an ill-concieved herbal supplement at GNC) spoke in her native tongue, Nonsensical Advice, to the shorties: "Put your head up, shoulders down, down, like someone is pushing them into the ground. Neck up. String! Put your hand on your stomach and feel what it's like to kiss your boyfriend or eat sheet cake. That is the Smeyes! You're welcome! Always remember how I fought tirelessly for you shrimps. I am a short people hero. Smeyes out!"


Next, the girls were outfitted like disco bobsledders so they could more easily slide down the slopes of Tyra's idiocy. She brought the girls into the "Fortress of Fierce" where they were forced to have a Smeyes-Out—just like gunfighters in a Western as imagined by a person who thinks "Smeyes" is a demonstratable skill. If during one of the many cycle/seasons of ANTM you found yourself thinking, "Hmm. Maybe smiling with your eyes is a real thing and not the delusions of a crazy ex-model," that Smeyes challenge in the Fortress of Fierce should have handily dispelled any notion that smiling with your eyes is a real thing. It's not. The girl who had the prettier squint won every Smeyes-Out.

And what was the prize for winning such a challenge? Dinner with Vesty, the whiny ("Just taaaalk to me.") president of Whilhelmina Models, who earlier in the episode eliminated poor Rachel The Cartoon Deer during the "let's pretend this is a real business office and not the lobby of some motel" interview interlude. Vesty taught the girls about the toughness of his business by eliminating one of them from the reality show they were onwithout any warning. Happens all the time in modeling. That's just the biz. According to Vesty, Rachel didn't have any personality—which is the first qualification for being a person who poses in pictures for a living. Not a unique face. It has nothing to do with unique, or aesthetically pleasing faces. It's all about charisma. Oh, and Shmeyezing!

But for short people, modeling is also about identifying with Seabiscuit, and so Mr. Jay met the girls at the track so they could do just that! While half-naked! And wearing mountains of fake hair! And leaning on a jockey named Norm! Oh, fashion. In the end, the judges (and Lauren Conrad, who just can't shake the boredom from her voice no matter what she's talking about) thought Erin most embodied the spirit of Seabiscuit. Or they like that she looked like an alien Anna Paquin in a very special episode of True Blood (Sam is the horse!). Or something. It wasn't really clear. To me, Alien Anna Paquin's shot looked pretty angry, which just so happens to be the reason the judges gave for not liking Courtney The Cripple's shot, and subsequently eliminating her. But the real reason the judges sent Courtney The Cripple home was, as Brittany tried to warn her earlier, because she was blaming Mr. Jay for her bad shot. Rule #1 of ANTM is "Everything is the model's fault." (In case you're wondering, Rule #2 is "Pretend that everything Tyra says makes sense."  And the rest of the rules are simply "Tyra.")

And so, poor fiesty Courtney The Cripple hobbled out of the short people carnival dollhouse before she even had the chance to invent The Cripple Smeyes.


Grade: B+

Stray Observations:

—I was surprised (which never happens when watching ANTM) that they didn't eliminate Bianca (aka Me'Chell) for looking like a drag queen in her cheap blonde wig, after giving her that cheap blonde wig specifically to make her look like a drag queen. When I saw her I didn't think about Isis, I thought about (a low-rent) Bebe Zahara Benet.


—"I just like nudity!" Aww, random outbursts like that make me just like Laura.

—How long before Lazy Eye gets eliminated for her lazy eye? Next episode? Just checking.


—"I'm just confused. They're asking me to look cute and innocent, but hello do you see what I'm wearing? There is no cute and innocent!" Poor Courtney The Cripple. There is no logic when SuperSmeyes is involved.

—Did everyone see the casting ad for Cycle/Season 14? "Next cycle, girls over 5'7" get to apply." Oh, SuperSmeyes! Have you forsaken the shorties in favor of real models already?