Tyra Banks, Puppet Master

14 Mar

I’ve only watched America’s Next Top Model since Cycle 15 but I have witnessed enough craziness to last me a life time. I do not believe Tyra has ever revealed where she gets her challenge ideas from, so I like to imagine that they come from fever dreams or peyote hallucinations in the woods. She has made girls have bees on their faces, hold fire while walking through fire, walk in a pool inside a giant hamster ball, draw pictures of their inner critics and yell at themselves, and pose in garbage – and this is all just in the seasons I’ve watched.

I have no doubt that this is really what Tyra's dreams are like

Last week they had to be non-sexy yet fierce babies with Kris Jenner. The youngest Kardashians hung out in the background being Wednesday Adams just because. During judging, some models were told they didn’t have enough attitude for a baby, others that they were too sexy to be babies. Nigel’s sexy baby imitation was something I will never forget (unfortunately).

Tyra gives advice that is clearly amazing but also hard to follow.  Sometimes she tries to demonstrate what to do, but come on Tyra, you can do everything. Its like if Mozart was all “here just play the piano like this.” Thanks pal, that’s real helpful. Yes, I am comparing Tyra to Mozart. I think she’d support that comparison. She also gives verbal commands, and I’ve included a few to give you an idea of what advice these stressed models are having thrown at them:

  • “You need to grab on to the handlebars of fierceness and not let go!”
  • “You need to soften every single bone in your face.”
  • “…And if you’re playing a man, you want to bite down on your jaw and you want to do things to exaggerate the bones in your face.”

So not only do these women have to be able to model, they have to be basically like Stretch Armstrong and elongate their faces on command! What do these commands even mean?! Only Tyra knows. Everyone else on the judging panel pretends they know. André Leon Talley was the only one who could really understand her, and I miss him and his made-up words. I would work his word “dreckitude” into every conversation if I didn’t think it would lose me all my friends. I’m not as strong as you, André.

"Your colonne vertebral is expressing to us confidence." Actual quote.

Every cycle, there is at least one girl who you can tell is wondering what she got herself into and whose talking heads are often funny, insightful, and relatively normal. She seems like someone you would want to hang out with, only she’s definitely hotter than you. Once you have discovered this girl, be prepared to lose her. They let her hang around until you grow attached, and then the bones in her face aren’t loose enough or something and she’s told to pack her bags. I want a new season of ANTM with a theme, but instead of All-Stars please have the theme be “People who acted like decent human beings and are probably fun to watch a movie with.” A lot of my favorites have gone on to do very well without becoming America’s Next Top Model, so I doubt they’d want to return for my incarnation of the show, but if they want to come over and watch movies that’s fine by me. I have popcorn.

A moment of silence, please. (Top Row: Jane, Cycle 15; Kayla, Cycle 15 & 17; Mikaela, Cycle 16. Bottom Row: Jaclyn, Cycle 16; Shannon, Cycle 1 & 17; Mariah, Cycle 18)

Now we need to get back on track talking about Tyra, the way she would want it. Another fun aspect of the show is that sometimes Tyra speaks in crazy accents for no discernible reason. She spends more time acting out what the models shouldn’t be doing than what they should be doing, turning the judging room into a one-woman show. I’d like to think that her whole life has been dedicated to crafting the greatest social experiment of all time and when she decides to reveal this it will be the best payoff ever. It will be like Milgram’s shock experiment, we’ll all take a good hard look at what we are capable of doing as a society and be aghast. Also, Tyra has just graduated from Harvard, which adds to the legitimacy of this theory.

Let's hope that when she becomes our ruler, she's benevolent

I have some new ideas of things she can subject her willing models to, she doesn’t even need to credit me! The satisfaction of watching them play out for my amusement is all that I need.

  • Actual fighting between the models. Fist fights preferable, dirty tactics such as hair-pulling allowed.
  • Saw-style puzzles. Being chained to each other and having to decide whose arm gets cut off first. Or whatever happens in the Saw movies, I never watched them but I would watch this.
  • Robot battles. All the girls could design their own transformer/mech-suits and then fight them.
  • The quiet game. Remember this from being a kid? Whoever talks first loses. Alternatively, a crying version where whoever cries first loses. Both games would put these models to the test.
  • Book reports. All the models have to read a book from a high school summer reading list and write a report. Finally, the girls I like who can string a sentence together will be rewarded for their abilities.
  • Stand-up comedy competition. Comedy is clearly Tyra’s true passion, she needs to capitalize on that.

Keep in mind, I haven’t looked all these ideas up so it’s very possible she’s already done them.

Jack Donaghy summed up my thoughts about Tyra best on 30 Rock when he was talking about the oddball page, Kenneth Parcell: “The Italians have a saying, Lemon. ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’ And although they’ve never won a war or mass-produced a decent car, in this area they are correct. In five years we’ll all either be working for him… [Kenneth happily bikes away] or be dead by his hand.” One day we may very well be dead by Tyra’s hand. I think another plausible future is that she will be the one to solve the nation’s energy crisis, but by keeping us all in tubes like in The Matrix and harvesting us when needed. She’ll use our blood to fuel the Top Model house. I wouldn’t be too upset about this future because it would probably mean my mech-suit challenge would become a reality.

For insanity that cannot truly be expressed in words, watch America’s Next Top Model on the CW, Wednesdays at 9.


5 Responses to “Tyra Banks, Puppet Master”

  1. Emily Chapman August 25, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    This is straight up the funniest thing I have read all day. I love it.

    • Emily August 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

      Please tell me you watch it, because the new season of college girls aired last night and it was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. Ever.

      • Emily Chapman August 27, 2012 at 11:01 am #

        I don’t have cable! So I cannot enjoy Tyra’s complete batshit insanity firsthand.

      • Emily August 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

        Whaat. But one girl meows. And one girl was home-schooled. And one girl is really pretty but likes to assault people!!!


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