Cycle 16 of America’s Next Top Model premiered this week and it is not fierce anymore, it’s just mean. This year Tyra the Torturer has thought of all sorts of new Mean Girls things to do to these already fragile girls. In the opening segment, Banks basically reveals she is just as tired of this show as we are. She even acknowledges the formulaic casting that happens every season: the edgy chick, the awkward waif, the country bumpkin, the welfare mom, the bitch, the prude, the smart one… you know, the usual.
This year, Banks is going all M. Night Shyamalan and pulling some twists. Don’t get excited, I’m talking recent Shyamalan, not the good Sixth Sense Shyamalan. She begins the show by having “the Js” tell a room full of hungry, pretty girls that the envelopes in their hands mean they’ve advanced to the next round, when in reality, they’re shuffled off to a room and never heard from again, like cows in a slaughterhouse. The remaining girls are in shock and sobbing while waiting for Banks to tell them goodbye. Here’s the twist: those girls are in fact staying and Banks just wanted to shake them emotionally–probably because that’s the strong foundation for every abusive relationship.
Banks is downright mean this year and, even though these girls are pretty enough to make you jealous, nobody deserves the evil sorority rush that she is getting ready to put them through. Top Model has turned into a show where you watch really pretty young girls get satanically hazed, while wearing the latest designer fashions.
You can’t help but notice the rushed, let’s-get-this-over-with pace of the show. I was surprised by it but, in retrospect, thankful that I didn’t have to sit through a two hour casting special. It makes me wonder if Banks didn’t want to do this season and is trying to finish it up and move on. I wouldn’t exactly shed a tear if this really was the final season. Every season is just another more ridiculous series of “how bad do you want it”? Sadly, these starving, insecure, waifs, want it bad and Banks knows she can ask them to do just about anything. Now it turns into who will let her suck the life out of them to be on the cover of Italian Vogue, do a Cover Girl shoot, and promptly fall off the face of the earth.
There is nothing fun about this show anymore. It’s painful. RuPaul’s Drag Race has humor and challenges that don’t make the contestants seem so desperate and abused. In this era of bullying why would anyone want to make this show meaner? Unless you’re a masochist, pass on America’s Next Top Victim and stick with RuPaul’s Drag Race.