“America’s Next Top Model” Recap (18.4): The Models Get Branded

Some vaguely corporate place!

The models arrive to see J. Alexander, who has gone with a high-concept hairdo that answers the question of what would happen if one of Toshiro Mifune’s samurai characters also became a mummy. If you’re into topknots and light bondage, you won’t want to miss this episode.

Also here? Brand Futurist Martin Lindstrom.

Brand Futurist Martin Lindstrom, Legendary PR Maven Kelly Cutrone. Legendary PR Maven Kelly Cutrone, Brand Futurist Martin Lindstrom. Now that we’ve all met, let’s have tea, poured by Epic Table Waiting Service Concept Guru Marge.

Last cycle, Martin told the models how their self-impressions differed from how people actually saw them. Hey, that would be useful to an aspiring model! Are we doing it again? Ha ha, no.

Martin says the challenge is to become a “huge, powerful brand spokesperson,” which seems a little out of scope for an hour-long show. And, indeed, that’s not quite what the challenge is.

Martin says that there are some brilliant brands out there and some “crappy” ones. (Hey, Brand Futurist Martin Lindstrom, is using words like “crappy” on TV part of your brand?) I got all excited for a second thinking that the models would be given a range of products to choose from and we’d get to watch them wonder whether the SlapChop was classy enough or if maybe they should go for the Pajama Jeans.

Alas, ANTM shoots us down again. But, like Candace, we have learned that we must persevere. Even if we do so with just the one pouty expression in our arsenal.

Next Martin says the challenge is – we get a little kettledrum roll for this – to develop their own TV commercials. And then there should have been a slide trombone of sadness followed by someone throwing a piano down the stairs, because that is also a lie. There is no storyboarding, there is no concepting, there are no scripts. Martin is messing with our heads.

What actually happens is that the models are each given a random made-up product and then they stand in front of a camera and keep talking about it until Martin says stop.

The random made-up products are another weird editing mangle, much like the food challenge from a couple weeks ago and Tyra’s fever-dream visit to the house last week. Someone clearly spent a lot of time dreaming up activities and wacky comedy bitz, and then somewhere the artistic vision for the show changed and we zoom the cameras by these truncated abominations in shame.

I would very much like to know when the extreme course change happened and why, and I would also like transcripts and/or videotapes of the climactic meetings, please.

The reward for this challenge is diamond bracelets! Somewhere, the social conscience–themed cycle of ANTM rots a little farther into its spot in the landfill.

The models are to nail their commercials in one continuous take, which is another thing about this show that is exactly like what a real-life professional model has to do, except that it totally isn’t. I look forward to a bold honesty–themed cycle, in which they’d say “Look, we’re just going to mess with your heads and then make fun of whoever can’t form sentences.”

Martin says people often make snap judgments, so the real challenge is making a good first impression. I have decided that Martin just claims things are challenges all day long, whether there are modeling contestants around or not. He must be a trial to his loved ones.

The fake pink-packaged products that someone spent a lot of time making up, so by heaven I will chronicle them just out of sheer cussedness are:

AzMarie: Glow-in-the-dark tissue “The Cure for the Late Night Sneeze”

Sophie: Edible hand sanitizer “Makes Killing Germs Delicious”

Seymone: Vitamins that are also bubble gum. (Wait. Don’t those already exist? Is that why someone got fired and so many segments got slashed and burned? I think I’m on to something! The game is afoot!) “It’s Bubble Gum! Chew Your Way To Good Health”

Laura: Antibacterial trash bags “KEEPS YOU AND YOUR HOME CLEAN”

Catherine: Hair dryer with silent mode “Only The Sound Of Beautiful Hair”

Alisha: Cruelty-free TV dinner “Tasty and [No idea. This is where the shame spiral started and we didn’t even get a full shot of the box on this one.]”

Ashley: scented toilet paper “IT’S SCENTED”

And, wow, we’re not going to see the rest. Someone, I promise you, really cared about those props. He spent hours on them and worked on the slogans and the packaging and sent the hand sanitizer back three times because NO, DAMMIT, it’s JUST NOT RIGHT YET and told his mom to watch because this night, this night would be the one where all the brainstorming, sweat, and tears paid off, and people would finally understand that what really makes a show great is the kind of loving attention to detail that only a truly dedicated professional can give.

And then some editor or producer said screw it, just zip over them all at the speed of light and we’ll throw in another shot of that bear with the “SMIZE” T-shirt to cover the time.

Somewhere in a Los Angeles, a neglected genius is clutching a box for glow-in-the-dark tissues and weeping softly. And then he reaches for a small shred of comfort and his heart breaks a little harder as he realizes that the one detail he forgot was to put any actual tissues in there.

Team Brit!
Sophie starts off with her edible hand sanitizer and she’s game and charming. Laura gives her an accurate and positive review to that effect. We see Catherine for exactly long enough for her to say what the thing is, and then we cut to Alisha’s faintly ShamWow style of presentation.

Ashley is very serious about her scented toilet paper presentation and melts the world with her adorableness. “It’s scented, so your bum will be left smelling nice and fresh if you have a boyfriend.”

In an interview, Ashley says a sentence that only she could make cute: “My mom’s gonna think my boyfriend smells my arse.” She quickly issues a disclaimer that he does not. You just can’t trust advertising nowadays.

Annaliese gets a remote control that’s also a dumbbell and rocks a cheesy infomercial voice exactly the way Martin wants while letting you know that you have to pay for the remote, but you get free tickets to the gun show. Nice biceps, Annaliese.

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