Well. We have a lot going on this week. Usually, I’m captivated by the complete insanity of Top Model, but unfortunately I watched the GOP debates right before the show, so there was very little that the model antics could do to seem as hilarious and sad as usual. Which is not to suggest that they didn’t do their best. Let’s hop to.
Nyle won Best Photo last time! Or really Tyra called it “Best Performance,” and while I am all in favor of accuracy, we can maybe settle down in this case.
Tyra (with the help of Ramon! Hi, Ramon!) says that her #Tytytip is that she needs more amazingness from Nyle. More poses! More angles! More sexiness! But she nevertheless welcomes Nyle to the Tyra Suite. Well done, Nyle!
Lacey seems happy with Nyle’s win (and maybe a bit happy with Nyle?) but she feels for him because she’s spotted that he gets lost in all the constant six-way fights in the house. However, Nyle’s prize will be “a night of signing and dining” with his favorite models. I hope that’s some good dining.
Nyle interviews that he gets to talk to a lot of people at home, but not in the model house, where he’s surrounded by hearing people who mostly don’t think about including him. He feels not there. Wow, his fellow models are really being thoughtless jerks.
Bello says he’s very serious about the competition, but other people take everything as a joke. (As he says this, we cut to Devin, Mikey, and Ashley.)
Bello says he doesn’t like how cocky and condescending DMA are, and he’s disappointed with Ashley for hanging with Devin and Mikey. In a deeply creepy throwaway moment, Mikey announces that Ashley belongs to Devin as much as she does to Mikey. Let’s all take a moment to process the layers of creepy in that.
At least this time Ashley seems to be skeeved out by Mikey saying that too. Ashley interviews that her childhood was tough. She wants to move forward and be proud of who she is.
This time we got an action shot of Model Bus on the freeway! Rock on, Model Bus.
This time it takes us to the CW Network, where with Kelly Cutrone and Lori Openden are waiting for us. Lori is the CW’s VP of talent and casting, so I guess this is her day off?
Lori says she wants to see the models’ raw talent, and we see the perfectly respectable number of Top Model competitors who have gone on to acting.
This week’s challenge will be for the models to perform a short scene. If they impress Lori, they can win a walk-on role on the CW! The models are given a “short, Shakespearian love scene,” which no. Not even a little bit of those things. Oh, all right: I guess it’s vaguely short.
Time for the models to pick boy-girl partners!
Nyle picks Lacey. She says Nyle is super sexy. Hmm. Mamé picks Justin. Aww She says they’re getting closer. But that interview could be from anywhere, because we’re about to directly contradict that.
Hadassah chooses Bello, who may be her best friend in the house, but might also be her only friend. Devin picks Ashley. He says he doesn’t want to get paired with Courtney and takes some time and care to be a dick about it on camera. I am so over Devin. He has not reacted well to being one of the alleged cool kids.
So that leaves Mikey with Courtney. Poor Courtney.
Ashley thinks Devin will do well because of his strong personality. This is not the first piece of evidence we’ve had that Ashley doesn’t always have great instincts about other people’s characters.
OK, so the scene is that the princess is in love with the stable boy, only he’s all weird to her and then it turns out he’s really in love with his horse.
I know Tyra loves to do “issues” shows, but I did not expect her to come out guns a-blazing for bestiality. Anyway, it’s “Shakespearian” because a lot of the verbs have “–eth” added to them, and if you need to lie down on the floor and cry quietly for a little while, no one will judge you.
Mamé says that it seems like Justin has been pulling away, and she’s worried that she likes him more than he likes her. Justin confirms that he has been putting a little distance between them because he needs to focus on the competition. Which is a bummer for Mamé, but nowhere near the horrific realization Ashley is coming to as she works with Devin. He sees that the scene is comic and assumes that instead of actually trying to play it he can just be his million-watt delightful self and it will work. (Spoiler: No.)
Bello informs us that he needs to just memorize his lines, because he’s a good actor and acting won’t be an issue. Devin jumps around on his hobby horse.
Ashley says Devin takes everything as a joke, but she really wants to do well. Devin fails to read her body language and steamrolls over her concerns, which is not an unusual theme for the interplay of genders with members of DMA. Devin jumps and dances and fake-faints. He thinks he’s going to be FANTASTIC and this is all in the bag. Ashley looks like she’s waiting for difficult but inevitable medical news.
Back in the theater (with some more talent execs), Lori wants to see acting potential, and lets us know that every opportunity counts. We’ve been foreshadowing Devin going all crazypants since last week’s trailer, but this little bit of context can’t hurt.
Let’s do some fake Shakespeare in very tiny slices!
Mamé does OK. Justin is about as quiet as you expect. Also he mostly faces the wall. They seem to do a lot of snogging. Mamé says that Justin is so reserved that she doesn’t want to go too huge emotionally, which she could be saying about the scene or their relationship. Well played, editors. Snogging aside, Lori saw zero chemistry between them. Lori, in this crew, that’s part of their appeal.
Bello, is extremely confident when he and Hadassah goes up, but he forgets his lines for what seems like a long time. He starts improvising, which makes no sense because THEY HAVE THEIR SCRIPTS RIGHT THERE. I don’t mean they have their scripts nearby. They are holding their damned scripts in their hands. Forgetting one’s lines should not be an issue. And yet. Bello is all over the place and Hadassah can’t roll with it and improvise. Oh, man, does she hate that.
Courtney is not good in the scene, and (Surprise!) Mikey is a dick about it. He says he couldn’t help her, which isn’t true. There are ways to help a flailing scene partner, and there are ways to fuck her over and point out her mistakes. Mikey chooses the latter, like waiting pointedly when Courtney is slow on her cues. He doesn’t do himself all the good he thinks he does, though – the judges mostly talk about how Mikey was in love with his own hair.
Lacey and Nyle seem to do a pretty good job! Nyle has some acting experience, and Lacey seems to do fine just playing. Lori says Lacey is adorable, and they’re all impressed that she didn’t need to refer to her script. Once again, Lacey is the secret smart one! Just as I’m worrying she’s blown her cover by memorizing her lines, the judges all agree that Lacey’s accent will hold her back. Phew! The judges like Nyle’s performance too. He’s got good presence and confidence.
Devin says he’s a natural actor, and then immediately cracks himself up instead of even trying to do the scene. Also he overshoots his entrance and literally does the entire scene from offstage. It’s amazing. Ashley can feel them tanking and it throws her off – she’s too busy being embarrassed to really power through it. Lori is not a fan of Devin’s performance. Kelly, ever willing to step up when bluntness is required, calls it a freakshow. Lori is actually angry because she sees so many actors who have waited tables and busted tail and murdered relatives for this, and what she got with Devin was Mr. Wackypants phoning it in and laughing at how delightful he is.
At prize time, Lori doesn’t so much throw shade as hurl a Spear of Darkness straight at Devin – she mentions that some people didn’t take it seriously and laughed the whole way through.
She likes Lacey and Nyle, who were the obvious front-runners. Nyle thinks he might be the big winner, since he’s actually acted before, but it’s Lacey! The judges say it’s for her sense of comedy, which Lori says will serve Lacey well if she tries acting. But it will not serve her well on this show. Keep that smart, funny head down, Lacey!
Whoa, Devin got a SIX! That’s lower than anyone has gotten in any challenge this season. Aww, Ashley has to share that six. That blows. Devin talks forever about his experience, and yet there is that six.
Mikey jokes that he and Courtney did better than Devin and Ashley. It sucks that Ashley got a six, but she admits it must have looked like she didn’t try to the judges.
Nyle was disappointed that he didn’t win, and bummed out that he’s still isolated. He says it’s hard to be with hearing people 24/7 and to stay motivated OH NO, THAT’S THE DUMP EDIT! We so often see footage of motivation lost when a model is on the way out.
But soft! Nyle’s best friend Britney is here! Ah, his best friend and his high school girlfriend.
Ramon is here too! He says it will indeed be dine and sign tonight (Today? It looks pretty light out.) and that the models will only be able to communicate in sign language for an hour.
Nyle and Britney start off the festivities by giving an American Sign Language lesson to the group, though I don’t see what the conversations are going to be like when one of the few signs they’ll be learning is “dog.”
Mikey, sitting right freaking behind Ashley, asks Nyle how to sign “Are you single,” just in case he meets a nice deaf girl and wants to hit on her. Ashley has just enough time to swallow that before Mikey asks for the follow-up signs for “Will you come home with me?” Well. Apparently the sign for “dog” will come in pretty handy after all.
And you know what? It seems fairly obvious that Mikey and Ashley haven’t locked down anything like exclusivity. I’m not accusing him of cheating on a monogamous relationship. It’s just a freaking dirtball move to talk about finding others to bang right in front of the person you’re currently hooking up with. It is possible, in an infinite multiverse, that they’re in an established polyamorous relationship with carefully negotiated rules and that Ashley has specifically requested that Mikey accommodate her preference for light humiliation kink, but I know which way my money is betting.
It is fun, however, to see the other models so happy to meet Britney and to be so game and playful about signing. We get to see Mamé sign “let’s go get drunk.”
Nyle is happy with the session, and he says he hopes that the other models will see him rather than just his disability if they learn to sign with him a bit. Aw, Nyle.
Mikey says signing exclusively for an hour (or, indeed, doing anything exclusively for an hour) was hard and the experience opened his mind. As we see Devin making huge made-up signs nowhere near his face, Nyle says that Devin does try to communicate, but it’s always in gibberish. Of course that’s what happens.
Nyle says he could see the models hit a wall with the difficulties of communicating in an unfamiliar way and says welcome to his world. The other models say they see how hard it is to be in Nyle’s shoes. Ashley thinks about how hard Nyle has had to work to read their lips and vows to pay more attention to that. The whole group sign they’re sorry.
This transformation is (one hopes) a step toward a better situation for Nyle, and also an obvious metaphor for the Cathar belief that one must undergo a spiritual transformation in this life to move out of the cycle of reincarnation in this debased world of matter. As always, Tyra works in mysterious ways.
Britney loves Nyle and wants him to win the competition. Now he’s more motivated! Oh, thank goodness, it’s the Redemption Edit instead of the Dump Edit.
The mail says “Smell the fierce. Feel the boom,” and I hate to tell you this, but this cryptic missive is actually less inane than what its full meaning turns out to be.
Ashley, hanging out, says she can’t get a break and it’s like they want her to go home. Mikey tells her (for the last time) to stand up and defend herself and let go of other people’s negativity and be her own strong self and it’s vaguely good advice, so he wins like a point and a half, but it’s delivered in the context of “Be as awesome as I am!” and delivered offhandedly as he’s folding clothes instead of, you know, in a focused way that one might direct at the person he’s kissing on the regular. So… Fine. At least he’s not badgering Ashley to list all the ways he’s been great to her.
We get to the beach! Dear God, I hope someone has rust-protected the Model Bus.
Yu Tsai tells us we’ll be doing a commercial for – brace your cerebral cortices, people – Boom Boom Boom deodorant. For those of you who have blocked out that trauma, “boom boom boom” is Tyra-speak for men’s abs.
(Get up! Get up off the floor and stop weeping! We will never make it through this if we don’t keep pushing forward together!)
Yu Tsai, oh, gosh, really randomly with no reason, golly gee, just some things popping into his head on the fly, picks the teams for this hot hot fake deodorant commercial in which the women will be stroking the men’s upper torsos and the pairs will be making out.
Oh, and P.S., it’s apparently like nine degrees out, so have fun frolicking in the surf, models!
Lacey and Devin will be together, which is a wasted opportunity, because I’m pretty sure Lacey would like to wash Britney right out of Nyle’s hair. Nyle, however, will be with Ashley. Mikey isn’t threatened by this, perhaps because he doesn’t understand how crazy hot Nyle is, or perhaps because he would rather jab a rusty bicycle spoke into his ear than indicate any kind of feelings for Ashley.
Courtney will be paired with Bello, and, well, let’s see how they get each other through this. Mamé is with Mikey because apparently the producers have decided that the way to deal with Mikey’s abuser tendencies is to get him murdered by Justin and they’re not even pretending otherwise.
Ooh, and we’re going for maximum shower-fight potential by pairing Justin with Hadassah. Mamé hears this and spontaneously regrows her demon eyes from last week.
So. The ladies will be putting their hands on the gentlemen’s chests and abs! And also they will be frolicking on the beach and flirting at each other through beach sheets. You know, those hanging sheets you’re always seeing at the beach, blowing in the wind. Right. Beach sheets. I just now rolled my beach sheets up in fresh flowers and put them in storage for the fall. Can’t wait for you, Summer 2016, when I will flirt through my beach sheets again!
Devin completely misses the point of his bad challenge score and says that he has to be himself, because if he hadn’t been Devin, he would have gotten an even worse score. Lacey says Devin is too dramatic, and she’s not wrong. He’s terrible with the line “feel my boom,” but to be fair, I don’t think Sir Ian McKellen could make it past that line in good shape. Yu Tsai yells at them for breaking character when no one has yelled cut, but Lacey looks good.
Ashley is also looking pretty good with Nyle, but right now this show’s footage is all about making Nyle’s abs all wet and shiny. Nyle is forced to say “Smell my fierce” in sign language. I genuinely hope the producers had a fun night laughing their butts off while they thought of this.
Yu Tsai tells Nyle his body needs to be more expressive, which is hilarious, because pretty much every other shot is of Nyle’s glistening torso. I believe Edit has decided that Nyle’s body is expressing plenty.
Mamé and Mikey are flirty, and Mamé is using grind language to produce an essay-length exposition on why Justin should re-think that decision to pull back from their relationship.
Justin watches and he’s pissed at how sexxxay their commercial is. Mamé admits that she would not mind a little jealousy on Justin’s part as we watch Mikey and Mamé kiss. I know I’m piling on here, but Mikey looks like a terrible kisser. Like he’s trying to squid-capture Mamé’s lips with his and doesn’t get the part where you stick around and play for a while.
Hadassah and Justin are up next and GOSH, DO YOU THINK JUSTIN WILL GO FOR JEALOUSY TOO? Yes, of course he will, because he is young and does not realize that producers with a few more years and a lot more guile can manipulate you into stuff.
Justin and Hadassah kiss in the surf, and Justin interviews that he’s giving Mamé a taste of her own medicine.
No! Justin! Mamé! You don’t have to do this! You’re the healthy ones! You don’t have to do this! Well, anyway, it’s working just like the producers wanted. Mamé is pissed.
Courtney and Bello go and it’s cold out there and for some reason they’re bad at running on the beach. They can’t get their legs to sync up. Yu Tsai calls it hot mess. Bello worries that Courtney is screwing it up for him. Argh. I know that Courtney sad-sacks a lot, but she tends to get shots the judges can’t tear down. Doesn’t it seem like we might occasionally acknowledge that she might be a good factor in a picture?
Yu Tsai talks to Courtney and the stars and planets align and the Mayan calendar ticks over and so he actually tries to give her some real advice. He tells her to go pose to pose instead of worrying about acting. It looks good and now they’re kissing in the surf and Yu Tsai is happy. Courtney says it went better than she thought it would and feels pretty good about panel.
Good heavens. The producers’ plan to make everyone totes so jeals worked for Justin and Mamé and now they’re gazing at each other and Officially Something.
Tomorrow one model will be eliminated and JESUS RUNWAY-STOMPING CHRIST, THERE WILL STILL BE NINE MODELS LEFT. That’s a lot of show to still happen. A lot.
Ashley is nervous about panel but wants to show confidence, which is the best plan you can have when you think you’re getting the Downward Spiral Edit. Devin says yes, his challenge sucked, but he’s growing and the competition means a lot to him.
Courtney is feeling chuffed and thinks she’ll get at least top three. Well, well. Look who draws her strength from the sea!
Tyra explains that we will be watching the Boom Boom Boom deodorant commercials, but does not explain whether this product is meant to deodorize your abs. Top Model always raises more questions than it answers.
Mamé and Mikey are first and no, “Smell my fierce. Feel my boom” is not going to get any better. Also the line the woman has to say in response is “Should I?”
Mikey is not great at dialogue. Also it’s so cold out that he’s visibly shivering in his commercial. Tyra explains that when we are uncomfortable, we must use Jedi modeling tricks to take our minds to another place. And then she implies that there was a modeling job that required her to have a needle jammed into her arm. I think she means it was a fitting, but that’s way too disturbing, so I’m going to just assume that Tyra enjoys heroin. Miss J. says Mamé relies on being pretty, but the women object.
Hadassah and Justin are not spectacular, but they have served their purpose. Justin is not great at acting, but since every episode since the beginning of time has included a reference to how Justin doesn’t show his emotions, we are not at all surprised by that.
Tyra asks Mamé about having Hadassah all over her man and Mamé levitates and makes all the lights explode with her mind. Hadassah gets called an accessory, but when she’s asked about kissing Justin, she wisely says her lips were frozen so she couldn’t even feel it. She’s learning.
OK, this is twelve kinds of bizarre: Since Kelly said Bello’s face looked like a dried apple last week, Bello brings Kelly an apple this week.
…Except when he brings it up, Kelly positively identifies it as a nectarine. Bello says he thought it was an apple. What? WHAT? Bello, what are you doing? To be clear: He’s not carrying the nectarine in a paper bag or robot claw or by way of Mamé’s telekinesis. He’s just carrying the nectarine in his hand and still calling it an apple. I don’t even know what to do with this.
But I do like the idea that Eve bit into a nice, juicy nectarine. Much more sensual.
Bello, like nearly every frigging guy in the house lately, does a pre-emptive strike and blames any lack of chemistry on Courtney. Charming. Tyra says Bello was great and Courtney was too stiff. Also, what the hell with the lighting on theirs?
It’s less perfume commercial and more Silence of the Lambs basement search.
Lacey and Devin look great, but Devin is apparently physically unable to say a line of dialogue without sounding like an entire banana boat. Kelly says Lacey did well in the commercial, but Devin should not do that anymore.
Nyle and Ashley have no chemistry according to Kelly. Tyra says their kissing was too realistic and they need to learn to fake makeouts to make them look right for the camera. Let’s have that for a Tyra teach!
10 models! 9 photos! (NINE! Sill NINE goddamned photos!
Best photo: Lacey is back on top! She is really showing some courage in rising above a challenging haircut.
Runner up: Mamé!
Then we have:
And we’re down to Devin and Ashley. Devin is pooping himself.
Tyra tells them they stank it up during the challenge and didn’t take it seriously. And that Devin can’t act without being a caricature. But they both have strong bone structure! Just once in our lives, we should all be dressed down and then told that we are redeemed by our bone structure.
Devin stays! Ashley is out.
Aww, Ashley. You seem like a nice woman who fell in with the wrong dudes. Go find yourself your bliss and a man who knows how to appreciate you.
Tyra scolds Devin that this is real, so don’t be a caricature. Devin absorbs none of it.
Tyra hugs Ashley off.
She calls Ashley a new person; Ashley says she won’t hide behind her clothes and glasses again. While I appreciate the sentiment, it makes me sad. Those glasses were all kinds of hot.
Aw, Devin is crying. He’ll really miss Ashley. Mikey comes up and gives her a nice hug too.
This has to be a joke. The models are doing a PSA for STEM education. Goddammit show. Just when I think I’m out, you pull me back in!
Also they’re posing as dolls. I can’t tell if it’s a back-to-school thing or just completely insane like usual. Either way, I’ll see you there. I might even break out my beach sheets for it.