As stupid as ever, but it's harder to tell thanks to the British accents and interjections of "tea and crumpets." In fact, the apparent segregation of the girls into American and British quasi-teams inadvertently casts a more historicist despair over the usual ANTM inanities that I cannot live without. Through the magic of putting together a bunch of strangers from disparate backgrounds, strange bedfellows abound on reality tv, but perhaps no fellows (say, what's the female equivalent of "fellow" -- "fella"?) stranger than Mariah, who's Native American, getting in bed with Americans by fixing the blame for the genocide of an aboriginal population on the British. "Tea and crumpets" sounds so much more sinister now.
Beyond historical whitewashing, outsourcing half the spots to foreigners also incites the sadly expected eruptions of nationalist fervor; to say the least, chants of "USA! USA!" on my favorite dollop of surreality television makes me deeply uncomfortable, not to say leery of the most vocal nationalist, Laura. Her Ugly American exceptionalism is matched only by her crimped Ugly American hair; while the former is likely to be a permanent personality defect, at least the latter gives way to the actual heart of the show -- shakeovers! I'm a bit put off that they're not calling them "Ty-Overs," but Tyra's apparently getting into the spirit of Blighty and coined the neologism as a portmanteau of "makeover" and "Shakespeare."
Notwithstanding Eboni's run-in with a curling iron, the usual makeover, excuse me, shakeover histrionics were kept to a disappointing minimum. If I were AzMarie, I'd have been throwing a fit for getting "ANTM" shaved into my head -- it's not the '90s anymore, nor is it 2009 when the '90s were in again. In fact, she and most of the other girls were so equanimous about the shakeovers that she took to shampooing and washing their hair as well. As for more burgeoning bete noire, Laura got rid of that jank hair she came in with, only to be given red and blue tracks to go with her newly bleached platinum hair -- yes, she's red, white, and blue, and it is as belligerently tacky as it sounds. Still, a marked improvement over the so-called 'do she brought into the competition.
At least Louise got right stroppy about getting her hair lopped off and darkened -- from her aggrieved indignation, she seems to have never watched ANTM before which wouldn't be a surprise if it weren't for all the British girls seeing ANTM as a ticket straight to model stardom. Some hard truths don't seem to survive the trip across the Atlantic.
As I'm all out of British slang -- oh wait, fan dabby dozy and the expression of fatal embarrassment Nigel was rocking (for the longest time, he could smugly sneer at the cultural detritus of America, now the tables have turned) (by the way, he's become such a fixture on the show I'd nearly forgotten that he's an English subject) -- I'll end by saying that I'm awfully chuffed that my two favorite British girls -- Sophie (whose delicate kewpie features make her far and away the hottest of all the contestants) and Ashley (who as a Scottish lassie seems to have recovered from the trauma of being a forced to impersonate Princess Di) -- get on like marmite and whatever goes well with marmite.