TV Recap

Catty Shack

On ''America's Next Top Model,'' the claws come out in the girls' apartment, where brownies are attacked and insults are exchanged

America's Next Top Model | POOR PUPILS Kelle's eyes didn't have it
Image credit: Daniel Garriga/CBS
POOR PUPILS Kelle's eyes didn't have it

''America's Next Top Model'': The claws come out

Far be it from me to encourage bitchiness, but if you can't count on model wannabes for cattiness, who can you count on? Between Ann's mutilation of Cassie's low-carb brownies and Eva's assertion that ''the person who needed the facial, got the facial'' (aimed at the spotty Yaya), this was the most meow-filled episode yet.

And the most hilarious. Any show that makes aspiring models climb 14 flights of stairs until they're gagging for breath is, I'm sorry, brilliant. Captain Leif Wade — a former marine imported specifically to teach the finalists ''tenacity'' by making them don camo outfits, jump indoor hurdles, and climb ropes — timed each girl as she ran up the stairs of a Manhattan building, then made each pose for an surprise rooftop photo shoot immediately afterward. And Elsa Benitez aside, there is nothing funnier than seeing wheezing, red-faced mannequins try to look sexy and coquettish for the camera. Eva was literally heaving during her session — perfect karma for her mean-spirited instigating during the aforementioned mutilated low-carb brownie incident. (She stood watch while paragon of maturity Ann wrote, ''Clean Your S---,'' in Cassie's dessert in response to her sloppiness.)

The episode was also notable for allowing the girls to show off their — and we use this term loosely — intellects. Amanda displayed her command of American history by naming Ann, Cassie, and Eva's incident ''Browniegate '04.'' Yaya proved she had skills beyond striking dancerlike poses by tossing off some Portuguese phrases and wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with ''Respeito'' to try to encourage everyone to get along. Finally, Mr. J revealed his best Cover Girl beauty tip yet, explaining to the lovely Ms. Benitez that foundation actually works better when it contains moisturizers. Eureka! (Can we also mention that Benitez referred to her dry pucker as ''shopped leeps'' and observed that the CG foundation ''smells like cupcakes''? Just because?)

Anyway, I would have been happy if the show had ended right there, but no, no, no. They put the girls in scary-ass makeup and had them do a photo shoot. On trampolines! Shilling cans of energy drinks! When Kelle popped out of the top of her dress (displaying the wrong cans, unfortunately) and the highly unlikable Ann bloodied herself on the equipment, this officially topped the ''bitch spilled beer on my weave'' moment in episode 1 on the entertainment scale.

In the end, while Cassie and Ann turned in frightful, scarecrowlike trampoline shots, it was Kelle (''Daddy, I don't have any intensity in my eyes!'') who ended up packing her bags. But Tyra's gravity-defying red mane was so distracting, I hardly noticed.

What do you think? Will tension keep building in the model home? Can the show maintain its level of ridiculousness? And who should be sent packing next?

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Originally posted Oct 28, 2004