America's Next Top Model: This show is a jerk

Model Frenzy!
ANTM is heading to Bali, and the producers have done that thing where they tell the models they only have like an hour to pack. Marvin asks Don if he’s taking all his soaps; Don contemplates and then packs a clown doll. Don says he’s stressed out, which might explain his questionable packing decisions.

Nina overanalyzes her relationship with Chris and starts to figure out that it’s a little one-sided. Relationships need to be like a hula hoop, Nina, spinning the cool clacky beads to both sides. Jourdan notes that there are five boys and only three girls left and takes a moment to throw shade at Renee’s photos. Renee informs us that this will be the Renee show.


Wow, this place looks amazing. Renee was born in Trinidad, so she’s happy to be back on an island.

Oh, my lord, what have they done to Cory’s eyebrows? -

I guess they freshened up his look? That was mean. The show helpfully suggests a hashtag: #Top8inBali. Sigh. #ShowYouAreTerribleAtThinkingUpHashtags.

Someone freaks out over seeing a chicken. Jourdan makes their excitement all about her by announcing that she’s never been anywhere before, so you can’t make fun of her for being excited to see things. The models step up their making fun of her. Cory, in interview, does a quick imitation of Jourdan driving everyone up the walls by never having seen things.

The models are greeted by native dancers and giant tropical drinks. The models have villas at a resort and spa. Damn, that’s worth all the Tyra torture. Yes, there’s a pool, thank goodness. Marvin pictures himself lounging with Renee, and says they will probably be boyfriend and girlfriend within the next couple of days. Renee seems just a leeeeeetle more ambivalent.

Pool! -

Don wonders if it will be two girls and a guy in the finale or two guys and a girl. They’re all savvy enough to know that it won’t be down to all one gender. Marvin doesn’t think Chris should have gotten a nine from Kelly Cutrone for his last, weird photo. Chris counters that Kelly Curtone is a P.R. maven, and must know what she’s talking about. I would feel more confident in his confidence if Chris could define “maven” for the class.

Whoa! We’re finally getting more Cory, and I think it’s because Cory has developed a case of loose lips. And snarky lips. He interviews that there’s no way Chris should have stayed, and only did because Kelly Cutrone “has her head stuck up his ass.” Or, um, because she was given a suggestion to nudge Chris’s score up because he makes more contentious television than Alex did. Either way, I hope Cory gets through more rounds before Kelly Cutrone sees this. He is doomed, but I enjoy him. Cory feels Chris is too immature and not ready for this. Oh, dear, Cory doesn’t quite get how this show works.

A Boat!
Useless Johnny Wujek introduces us to Carol Lacroix, the brand manager for the filthily named 69 Slam swimwear company. (Psst! 69 Slam CEO! Naming your company that is kind of like telling people you are good at “doing sex.”) Oh, criminy, the 69Slam website is riddled with spelling and grammar errors. Maybe they intended for that name to mean something else. No, I am not linking to that.

Carol says she wants to see models with attitude and Johnny says they’ll be showing off their attitude underwater. They’ll also be wearing Seawalker helmets. Johnny reminds the models that they will need to breathe, which is maybe the most useful advice he’s ever given.

Don starts to freak out about the idea of being in a helmet and not in control of his own airflow. His anxiety and PTSD issues start to kick in and he says all he can see is Johnny’s mouth moving and nothing coming out. Not to worry, Don! This puts you at precisely zero disadvantage.

Today’s winner gets $3,000 in swimwear. That’s a lot of swimwear. Or at least I hope it is.

Nina asks about how deep the water is because of her “lung situation,” which is something I want to casually drop into work meetings all the time now. “I’m sure you’re all aware of the lung situation. Moving on to next quarter…”

Turns out Nina had part of her lung removed after breathing in an airborne fungus and now I want to be wearing a Seawalker helmet at all times. We see a picture of Nina looking freaking adorable in her hospital bed. -

Oh, holy crap, she had like eight months of severe illness. Nina says that if she goes too deep underwater her lung will implode. Well, at least Nina has placed her safety in the medically capable hands of Johnny Wujek. Wujek is a little bit freaked and pissed that no one told him about this, and I can’t blame him.

Marvin says that he wants Nina to freak out and have broken ankles and have to go home because she’s a strong competitor. Jeez, remember when Marvin was nice?

Jourdan explains that the helmets are like how a fishbowl doesn’t fill up immediately if you put it under water. I’m briefly concerned that they picked this clip because Jourdan had the best explanation of all the models. Jourdan walks in a neon bikini and says she has the best walk of all the girls. -

Ah, modest and retiring as always. Did we learn nothing from being too perfect? Wujek says Jourdan really embodied the brand. He also likes Renee’s underwater attitude. Renee says she’s very competitive and hates losing.

An executive producer says that Nina can’t do the challenge and she starts crying. Seriously, they planned an underwater shoot right up to the day of the challenge and nobody thought to check if any of the models had had a collapsed lung or any other issues?

Chris, ever the giver, says there’s nothing he can say that’s going to “better her” that he hasn’t said already. Cory wisely says that Nina is going to be judged on how professionally she handles the situation, so she needs to do her best on that end. He also gives Nina a comforting hug. Nina notes that Chris, the guy she freaking carried through a million crises, is having a great day and completely unconcerned with her. Notice this pattern and break it now, Nina, right now.

Don is trying not to freak out about going in the water with that mask on. It’s not going well.

Chris says he doesn’t like being in the bottom at panel and doesn’t want that to happen anymore. I think Chris looks weird and stilted in his walk, but Johnny likes it – and Chris’s hop, skip, and a jump at the end.

Marvin looks exactly the same as Chris, like a guy trying to walk underwater with a tube attached to his head, but Johnny yells through his helmet that he’s “not feeling it.” HELPFUL.

Wujek says afterwards, to the camera, that Marvin was stiff and had low energy. Which would have been a great thing to tell him at the time. Johnny Wujek is a chaos monster. Case in point: he helmets to Carol that Cory just doesn’t have a good body for a bathing suit.

First off, blow yourself, Wujek.

Second, is it really the (useless) art director’s job to try to poison the judge of a challenge against one of the contestants? Especially one with a high-value prize? And for a great big third, are the helmets rigged up so they can all hear each other or not? We JUST SAW Wujek call (useless) direction to Marvin as though he can hear it, but now he’s pretending he can make an aside to Lacroix without Cory hearing it. Did Wujek just openly insult Cory while he was in the middle of his challenge, or was all this useless pretend dialogue looped in afterwards? Ugh.

Marvin is all huggy with Renee, who doesn’t seem crazy about it. Marvin is maybe not great with noticing or dealing with mixed signals.

Johnny interviews that Jeremy was no fun and had no pep in his step. Fine. He also says that Jeremy has weird, feminine poses. -

Also ugh, Johnny.

Don gets into the water and is getting seriously worried about the helmet. Marvin is actually trying to help. Don gets down to the bottom and can’t deal. He taps the scuba chaperone and wants to go back up immediately. Johnny can’t believe Don bailed. Looks like Nina just moved up a rank.

Aw, poor Don. He’s really struggling, and he’s being surprisingly honest about that with the cameras. I’m impressed.

Hey, Johnny Wujek is saying something useful! He tells Don that they’re considering his PTSD and claustrophobia medical conditions (duh), and they’re going to work out a snorkeling challenge for him and Nina. Nina notes that they still won’t be looked at in the same way. Nina says she needs to be extra fierce. With a scuba mask on her face, and gives it her all. Wujeck and Lacroix are (sigh) watching this from the damn boat instead of from the water as they did for all the other models. Because why try to be fair if it means you have to get wet for another 20 minutes?

Wujek tells Don to be “like a merman… strong and sexy and fun” and says that “the whole key right now is you’re modeling this bathing suit.” That is, I swear, some of the most sensible and useful advice he has ever given. Don is drained after his panic attack and is not doing well.

Wujek didn’t like Marvin, Nina and Don. He did like Chris, Jourdan, and Renee. Renee wins it! Jourdan snaps the railing off the boat and smashes it through the deck, drowning them all, then snaps back to this reality. This is Renee’s third challenge win. Jourdan takes time to note, again, that she has the best runway walk here. I worrty that Jourdan mutters this over and over at night when she takes breaks from typing it over and over again on a manual typewriter.

Model House!
Don ended up with a 5, but three other models only got sixes, so maybe he’s not completely scrod. Oh, weird: Marvin and Renee are cuddling together… In a bed that is right smack next to Jeremy’s. Jeremy has propped up a pillow on its side to limit his view of the PDA, but peeks over it when Marvin starts talking. The editors classily layer in Skinemax music even though Marvin and Renee are just spooning. Marvin is talking and talking, telling Renee that her skin and lips are so soft, which is a Level Four cuddling offense when the other person is trying to sleep. Especially when a non-participant is like two feet away. Jeremy interviews that Marvin and Renee are funny because she’s shy and he’s openly affectionate. And handsy. The two of them eventually settle down and go to sleep.

Bali Safari Park!
Johnny Wujek gets to hang out with a baby orangutan. -

There is no justice in this world.

The models will be posing with wild, endangered animals. If you just rooted for a mauling, you’re horrible, but you are not alone. The animals that will be facilitating potential incidents of fear and hilarity in addition to the orangutan will be macaws (which are from South America, but whatever), a Javan leopard, and an albino python. The models are told to channel their animals. Fine.

(Hey, ANTM producers: Using real, live apes for your shoots is a dick move. And dangerous for both the model and the ape.)

Cory will be posing with the orangutan, which is good because we can at least trust him not to be a loon. His makeup is a challenge of its own. -

Jourdan also gets the orangutan and OH MY GOD, looks like she has been telling the makeup team how awesome her walk is, because Jourdan looks horrible, like if Debbie Harry tried to reproduce her broadest ‘80s makeup while driving across a gravel road immediately after she’d had her eyes dilated. -

Nina gets the python because the producers are working on a fear arc. -
Nina is worried about her challenge and trying hard. Johnny Wujek yells “you’ve got to manage that snake better!” I’ll pause for a moment while you make cruel jokes.

But for real, this is EXACTLY the problem with his terrible direction: It’s not like Nina has been trained at all on this; she walked in and they wrapped a deadly animal around her. How about some encouragement instead? A little, “I know this is hard, but try…” As if things aren’t bad enough, the makeup people gave Nina Big Bird’s eyelids. Wujek calls her shoot a disaster. Don feels mixed emotions because Nina is his friend, but he knows he’s on the line too. Nina is worried and crying. (Again.)

But wait, if you get “sent home” at this point, do they put your ass right on a plane, or do they send you to a slightly less upscale resort in Bali while you wait it out? Because I think I could deal with that second one.

Nevertheless, Nina is freaking. They kind of dressed her like a giraffe, which I don’t understand. Chris is a bucket of nonsympathy. Cory loves Nina, but is maybe a little tired of all her feelings. If nothing else, this moment of crisis is helping Nina to see that Chris has no interest in returning the copious amounts of help and support she’s given him. Think on that, Nina!

Just in case you thought the producers weren’t trying to frighten the most vulnerable models, Don also gets the python. You stay classy, ANTM. The snake is moving around on Don too.

America's Next Top Model Recap: This Show Is A Jerk

Don tries to manage the snake the way they told Nina to do and gets scolded, so way to be consistent, Johnny. I think by “manage the snake” he meant “magically make the snake want to be still.” I hope Tyra does a teach on magical swirling hypnotic eyeballs.

OK, the leopard is a seriously bad idea and Renee doesn’t even seem to be a cat person. -

The PAs keep saying “no sudden moves” right after Renee tries to dart away. Jourdan loves it that Renee is freaking out. On the other hand, Jeremy and Renee got way better leopard makeup than any of the other animal-models so far. Speaking of which, haaaaaaahaaaaaa, Chris and Marvin have been made up as parrots. It is delightful. Wujek tells Marvin not to let the makeup wear him, and says more helpful things like “We don’t have a shot. We need to get one.” -

This show is a dick.

The leopard liked Jeremy, who says, “I don’t want to be that guy, but I’m feeling Best Photo.” It really is a shame he and Jourdan didn’t get together. Marvin sarcastically congratulates Marvin on Best Photo. Poor Cory tries to stop another stupid parrot-brained fight as Marvin calls out the woman he’s trying to get with on never having gotten best photo. Cory suggests behaving professionally, to no avail. He is done babysitting the emotionally stunted.

Nina frets as we go to commercial.

Tyra welcomes everyone in Indonesian. Kelly Cutrone cannot manage a smile when she’s introduced. Either she had a lousy flight or she’s seen Cory’s footage.

Renee won the challenge but is flat with her leopard. Tyra says she needs to lengthen. Bryanboy reminds us that there is still someone more useless than Johnny Wujek. 8-8-7.

Cory looks great according to Tyra and Kelly. He’s finally getting some props this episode. But Kelly hates his outfit for panel. Rob hates the photo because it looks too comical. Some random online critic tries to give Cory a very serious critique while calling the orangutan a “monkey.” APE, goddammit. 9-9-6.

Don admits he didn’t do well in the water. But he looks great in his photo! And tough. Kelly hates the middle of his body. What? The dude was posing with a snake. 7-6-9.

Kelly Cutrone loves Chris’s shot so much that she flirtatiously imitates a parrot and calls him King of the Birds. It’s a little upsetting. Her head may not be up his ass, but she’d sure like it to be in that general region. Rob says the shot is super boring and he is correct. Bryanboy swings into the world of usefulness and loudly joins in with Rob. Tyra also weighs in on the side of boring. Truth. 9-6-6. Doom drum sound effect!

Nina looks serene, and like she’s about to get killed. That snake is around her neck. Again, Kelly loves it and Rob hates it. Tyra breaks ranks and loves it. I like Nina’s shot, but I also like it that Rob is arguing more. Everyone thinks Rob is a dick for giving Nina a low score, but he stands firm. 9-10-6.

Jeremy looks muscly. Tyra and Kelly both see Gay Vegas. Excuse me? Rob thinks Jeremy is using his body well. 7-7-8.

Jourdan is being overwhelmed by her wig and makeup. Tyra calls the picture “catalog,” which is the kiss of death. She doesn’t look great, but wow, has she been fucked over by the makeup crew. Just a little reminder to be nice to absolutely everyone on set, always. 8-6-7.

Marvin gets an extended metaphor from Kelly Cutrone that I can’t even handle. She feels like he tricked her into thinking he was a good model. Rob dislikes the shot too, but Tyra and the Fetch scores like it. 7-8-6.

Best Photo:
Nina! Chris looks chagrined.

Runner up:


Don and Marvin are left! Zoom in on Renee! Tyra only has one photo! Marvin has charm, which can only go so far! Don is “street fine” and can also be a model! Or can he be? Huh? Pointless flipping of numbers! -

This Week’s Obsolete Model
Don. Oh, man! I liked him. I hope he spends the rest of the competition getting to chill out in Bali. Aw, and Don even has good wishes for Marvin as he leaves. Stand tall, Don, you played well.

Next Week!
The girls and Cory have a come-to-Jesus talk with Nina, telling her to stop coddling Chris and compete. Marvin wants to kiss Renee on top of an elephant. She’s so not into it. We’re teased with Chris’s possible departure again. Excellent. See you there!

TV Show: America's Next Top Model

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