I assume we can all agree that Tyra Banks lives in Looney Town on a good day. She’s always been a bit unbalanced, wacky and straight up goofy. But in all of 97 “cycles” of this show I have never seen her be this open about admitting that her show means nothing as it relates to the world of an actual top model. For a person who was herself a top(ish) model, she sure is clueless about what makes one. I get that she’s trying to “change” perceptions, but that only works if you have some political capital to spend. In other words, produce ONE successful super model and then people might start taking your word for it. This cycle, Tyra’s bright idea is to have all models that are 5’7 or less. Why don’t you just wear a sandwich board that says “this show means nothing to the modeling world” and wear it to panel, Tyra? She tries to play it off like it’s possible, citing Jaime Rishar and Kate Moss as examples of short models. Don’t get me wrong, at 5’4”, I’m a shorty myself, but even I know that Vera Wang isn’t going to take up a hem 4 ft to accommodate my puny ass.

Of course I’m not mentioning that at the end of this is a Cover Girl “contract” (which so far seems to be defined as one print ad in a teen mag, never to be seen again), which probably doesn’t have the same height requirement as a runway show would have, but Tyra likes to pretend that she is teaching them to be “high fashion” and “couture,” so that’s how I usually view them when deciding which will “win” and such. But, if I am being realistic, it’s all about who Cover Girl would like, so I’ll try to remember it’s all about the FACE, even as Tyra yammers about editorials and runways.

On with the show. I always love the first episode of ANTM. So much hope, so much optimism, so much bad hair. I will warn you now that this show jumps around a LOT, so it might seem like my summary does that, too. I’ll try to be as fluid as I can, but I really am just typing as stuff happens so forgive me if it seems twitchy. Anyway! Time to meet the Mini Models in Los Angeles:

Amber, 18 from Oceanside California: Her voice made my ears bleed. I can’t listen to this for the next 6 weeks.

Bianca, 21 from Columbia, SC: Remember Nnnennna from a few cycles ago? Bianca looks like her, except 37% more bitch. She is this cycle’s resident “I’m too smart for everyone here” entry. I’m looking forward to her inevitable kick in the teeth. She thinks being able to talk to Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell makes her a genius. Hey sweetie, when the conversation is about earrings and eyeshadow, you could be talking to Ernest and it really wouldn’t matter.

Courtney, 22 from Plantation, FL: Has a broken foot. Next.

Brittany, 21 from Livermore, CA: No personality to speak of.

Then someone named Bradford enters the ballroom. Bradford is a person they got from Central Casting to play a casting agent for the “Le Cycle 13 Collection.” I can smell Tyra Banks a mile away on this one. This is the part where she’s going to make her grand (and predictably stupid) entrance and let her minions worship her for a bit. Ugh, do you mind if I FF through this part?

Ok, I did fast forward through quite a bit of it, but have watched enough to see that Tyra is wearing some sort of Mrs. Roper ensemble and speaking in a weird accent. I think it’s supposed to be French. I’m at a loss as to how that ties in with Mrs. Roper and Mini Models. I do not think there is a more ridiculous person than Tyra Banks.

Back to the mini women – Ashley, 22 from Chicago, IL tells us she’s never heard of anyone else trying to take in short girls. Yeah, there’s a reason for that, Ashley. It’s because this is all an exercise in futility and Tyra Banks has exactly zero impact on the “fashion world,” and you’re going to go back to serving pie at Shoney’s as soon as this is over.

No-Personality Brittany narrates us into the next scene, which is in some fabric room somewhere. Oh Lord, it’s the Jays. Ok, remember how I said Tyra was the most ridiculous person evah? Make that Jay Manuel. That guy needs a punch in the face but good. Then he needs to get his lavender hair snatched right out of his head.

Anyway, I guess Mr. and Miss Jay are going to measure all the girls, in case we had not gotten the point that everyone is under 5’7”. Does everyone get that? THEY’RE SHORT! And no one loves them but Tyra. This is the message of the day, kids. Don’t get it twisted. Short people got. No reason. Short people got. No reason. Short people got. No reason to live. They got little hands, little eyes. They walk around tellin great big lies. They got little noses and tiny little teeth, they wear platform shoes on their nasty little feet. Sorry, got carried away. How hard would you laugh, though, if that song played in the background of all of these auditions? I’d laugh pretty damn hard.

Whilst everyone is getting measured, Nicole, 18 from Lousiville, CO informs us that she is way more mature than everyone else and some of these other girls need to “grow up.” Hey Nicole, that’s not nice! You know this is the miniature version of ANTM! People can’t help how tall they are, you bitch!

The first sob story has been told, y’all! Sundai (I’ll refrain from making fun of her name, since she’s got a sad story to tell), 18 from Bakersfield, CA was raised in a foster home. Wait…that’s it?! Girl, there’s been people on this show who have lost family members in Katrina, who have been victims of vaginal mutilation and who have been in street gangs. You’re going to have to step up the tragedy to impress Tyra, girlfriend. Work on it and get back to us.

Walk-off! One of the women claims to be a modeling teacher and I wonder to myself how one would go about getting that job. She’s only 21. Is modeling teacher the new euphemism for pageant whore? I’ll go with yes. Anyway, pageant whore (I think it’s Alison, I didn’t catch it) seems to think she’s going to be held to a higher standard because she’s a modeling instructor. I seem to think she won’t make it out of this round, but her optimism is sweet.

Hey, it’s No-Personality Brittany again! Hmmm, this is the 3rd time we have seen her, I think we may be looking at a finalist here. I shall refer to her from here on out as NPB. Amber of ears-bleeding fame is in tears because Jesus wants her to win or something. I had the volume turned way down low protect the drums, you understand. Broken foot girl gets a “thumbs up” for her walk from Miss Jay. Total pity vote. Sundai shares that she just has to be on ANTM or she will DIE. Don’t die yet, girl. That animal living on your head needs to die first.

Virgin headcount. I don’t know why people share their sex lives (or lack thereof) with total strangers, or why it even matters in the first place, but for those keeping score at home, its 4 virgins to however many others were sitting in the room. Then Amber shrieked that her loins burn for Jesus and everyone else should be that way, too. Take it down a notch, Tiger.

Finally, we get to panel. It’s hard to keep up with these quick cutaways, is everyone still with me? Ok, let’s knock these out:

Jennifer, 23 – looks 29. She told about some bar fight she got in. It was boring. She’s very bland, but wants to be the first Asian top model.

Courtney, 22 – That’s the broken foot girl. That’s about all she’s got going on.

Amanda, 21 – apparently rolled Indiana Jones and took his hat before coming to panel. Tyra makes her tell the Jays what she (Tyra) clearly already knows…that Amanda lives in a trailer and has to use the bathroom outside. Then Mr. Jay asks perhaps the stupidest question I’ve heard asked on TV in awhile. He says “ok, why do you want to enter the glamorous world of modeling?” Hey genius, she just told your dumb ass that she lives in a trailer and has to go #2 at the local gas station! All that bleach has seeped into his brain.

Bianca, 21 – Nnnennna v.2. She tells of her bad prior relationship and Tyra narrows her eyes and nods along. That’s her “I feel for you” look. Then Bianca explained that the bad relationship prompted her to shave her head and that gave Tyra an opportunity to give her the “you can overcome it” speech. Bianca came out in tears vowing to make it through the rain. Make it stop.

NPB! – Ok, that’s it. She’s definitely in. And she’s definitely boring. Zzzzzzzzzz.

Sundai, 18 – Perhaps she has worked on her sad tale a bit since we last saw her! Tyra really, really tries to do the “I feel for you” look as Sundai weaves her tragedy, but the background music is distracting. They did not cue the violins, it was some sort of jig music. Very inappropriate. Sundai’s tale of woe really didn’t get any more specific, except now there’s an orphanage in play. I didn’t get the whole exchange, frankly, and I don’t think Tyra did, either.

Amber the Ear Bleeder, 18 – Before Amber enters panel, we are treated to her club version of “Jesus Loves me,” complete with booty shake and floppy hat. She’s a riot. If she can tone down the voice, I might get on board with her. She actually MEOWS at Tyra and the Jays. Hahahahahaha. I can’t explain her. She is batsh*t crazy.

Erin, 18 – Stomps in like a linebacker and tells the judges she doesn't like lip gloss. She's a keeper.

Kara, 18 – are there no short girls older than 21? There are LOTS o’ 18 yr olds this season. Anyway, this girl has too many teeth for her mouth or something. She's off, somehow. She seems like a nice enough kid, but if she wins the show, I will be more shocked than the time one of Tootie won. Worst winner ever.

Lulu, 19 – Announces she’s gay right off, which gets a squeal from Miss Jay. A gay person in the FASHION INDUSTRY? Alert the media, this is some groundbreaking stuff. Tyra plays coy and asks “what’s that thing on your shoulder?” See Tyra, there’s this body art called TATTOOS. Lots of people get them. Lulu plays along and tells her it says “Roslyn.” Tyra says “What’s that?” Jeebus, Tyra. You know damn well it’s the woman’s girlfriend. Cripes, she’s asinine. Then she tells the girl her relationship isn’t permanent and she should have thought about that before getting that stupid tattoo (I’m paraphrasing).

We’re treated to a moment of candor from Nicole, who announces to everyone that she wears an eyeball for a necklace and people call her Bloody Eyeball because she was born with a bloody eyeball. That’s really creative. Sounds like a fun family!

Lisa, 19 – she says nothing except where she’s from and “thank you” when Mr. Jay compliments her eyebrows. She ain’t gonna make it. Good thing I didn’t get too attached.

Ciara, 18 – does some white girl dancing.

Then we get into a little montage of a few people who apparently don’t merit a name/age banner under their mugs. I thought that was a little rude, but there is a lot to accomplish yet.

Ashley, 22 – apparently was plucked out of Tyra’s talk show audience to be on ANTM. I guess that means she’s a finalist. I guess it also means that lucky viewers of The Tyra Banks Show will have to endure an entire audience of mugging model wannabes when they watch her show from here on out. Fortunately, I am not one of those viewers, so I don't really care.

Bloody Eyeball, 18 – she’s got issues. She can’t sleep, no one likes her, she carries her crap around in a rusty wheelbarrow. Put it this way: she and Bleeding Ears are definitely in the running for America’s Next Top Psycho.

Laura, 19 – She’s a farm girl. Doesn’t want to be classified as a farm girl, yet won’t shut up about being a farm girl. She speaks in a hideous accent and described how to castrate a bull.

Rae,21 – she has a child. And NOW they come in with the violins. She has a VERY sad story. Sad enough that I won’t repeat it. It's a real bummer. Take note, Sundai. This girl has lived through the hard stuff. Tyra eats this kind of thing UP. Rae is definitely in the finals.

Rachel, 18 – she tells Tyra and the gang her hard luck tale. She was teased in school relentlessly. Everyone called her “Bambi Eyes”. How utterly horrifying that must have been. Everyone knows that Bambi has hideous, ugly eyes that have not charmed generations of children. Poor thing, I hope she doesn’t carry the scars too deep. I know how she feels. I was constantly called “Perfect Rack,” so I’ve been there, sister. I’ve been there.

Alison, 21 – the model teacher/pageant whore. She doesn’t really have much more interesting to add.

Raven, 19 – did a cartwheel. She’s very jumpy, and admits she is a spoiled little brat.

Time for the first cut! Woot!

In (this isn’t everyone, just who I could catch):
Baldy Bianca
Bleeding Ears
Bambi Eyes
Bland Asian
Farm Girl
Bloody Eyeball
Erin (the stompy Linebacker)
Ashley (handpicked by Tyra)
Mama Rae
Broken Foot
Dancing Ciara
Teeth McGee (Kara)
Lezzie Lulu
Eyebrows (Lisa)

Cartwheel Raven
Some blond girl with big stupid glasses
Alison the Modeling Teacher

Next task: put on your own makeup. Bleeding Ears feels she doesn’t need any and sits right on down. Everyone else pulls out Homer Simpson’s makeup gun and sets it to “whore.” They all have to walk down the runway and the only standouts in the scene are Bleeding Ears, who is becoming extra reliable at bringing the crazy and Broken Foot, who milks her injury while everyone sweetly patronizes her.

Final cut and it’s about TIME! Tyra and the Jays chat about everyone. Tyra lapses into crazy accent mode again, and now it’s time to pick the FINAL FOURTEEN! Here they are:

Jennifer (Bland Asian)
Erin (Linebacker Sue)
Rachel (Bambi Eyes)
Kara (Teeth McGee)
Lulu (Gay)
Rae (Mom)
Ashley (Tyra’s handpicked pet)
Brittany (No Personality)
Bianca (Bald & Nnnennnnna-like)
Courtney (Broken Foot Girl)
Nicole (Bloody Eyeball)
Amber (Bleeding Ears)
Laura (Farm Girl)
Sundai (Orphanage Girl)

Hmmm, if it were me, I woulda picked Ciara over Linebacker Sue, but it’s not my show.

And now for the first REAL episode of America’s Next Top Model – Mini Me Edition!

The 14 finalists have been chosen and are walking free in Los Angeles. And what’s this? Miss Amber is MISSING!? Maybe Jesus told her to go get a real job or something. The Jays roll up in a big ol’ Hummer limo (I guess the “green” thing was just for one cycle, eh Tyra?). Mr. Jay explains that Amber will not be continuing on due to “personal reasons.” Thanks, Jesus! But someone has been called up from the minors to take her place…it’s Eyebrows! I mean Lisa. Wow, I did not see that coming.

Now that we have that out of the way, it’s time to get on with the business of the day. Mr. Jay gives a rather long and glowing introduction for the first guest, celebrity hair stylist Sally Hershberger. Yeah, I know, I never heard of her, either. And clearly neither have the Minis because they wait several seconds and poor ol’ Sally has to say “hi guys!” before they clue in to the fact that they are supposed to be excited and start squealing. The Jays tell the Minis that they will be getting “tie overs” today. They claim that means the same thing as makeover, but that makes exactly zero sense, so I have my doubts. I guess we’ll see. I’m unclear on whether I should be excited. I love, love, LOVE the makeover episode, but that’s usually not until week 3ish. Let’s proceed with caution. I don’t want to get my (or your) hopes up.

Well, it looks like the actual makeover session! Yay! I have no idea why they want to call it a “tie over,” but I suspect it’s because Tyra is an idiot. Not only is she trying to “change” the world of modeling (how’s that working for ya?), but now she’s just making up words. I still think there might be more to come, because Tyra really doesn’t change too many people all that much, most of them are just getting trims and blown out. A few get some drastic changes, though.

Everyone is actually pretty well-behaved, and that is just so disappointing. Bianca is on hand for a few bitchy comments and she kind of balks at Tyra’s suggestion that she bleach her eyebrows. Can’t say that I blame her, she looks pretty stupid when it’s done. She saves me the trouble from having to make the joke and calls herself Dennis Rodman. When it’s all said and done, they look pretty much the same, except neater.

Mr. Jay tells them it’s time to see their new house. I’m sure it will be yet another shrine to Tyra, but after this long day of tie overs and such, I’m hoping the nerves are raw and the tensions are high. Maybe someone will cut a bitch!

It’s a fun house theme! Are you trying to say the Minis are some sort of circus freaks, Tyra? Damn woman, they are only shorter than 5’7”, it doesn’t mean they are a bunch of bearded ladies. Way to take a theme and just overblow the hell out of it. In any case, no one fights over the beds or proclaims themselves Queen, so I guess we’ll have to wait until Bianca pushes someone over the edge before West Side Story breaks out in there.

Holy crap, No Personality Brittany! I didn’t even recognize her! She tells us that Bianca is a bitch. Thanks for that exciting new insight, Brittany! Laura shows off her Grandma-made clothing, Lisa seems annoyed that all they did was cut her nasty split ends off. Bloody Eyeball is still complaining that no one likes her. Hey, here’s an idea: stop acting like Ally Sheedy’s stand-in from The Breakfast Club and maybe you'll make some friends.

Tyra Mail! Something about going gaga. They go to the studio the next day and are greeted by Mr. Jay and yet another giant photo of Tyra. This time it’s a baby picture of her. Mr. Jay tells them that they will be incorporating their own baby photos in with today’s shoot. Oh, I get it...“gaga googoo”. Eyeroll. Anyway, they’ll be “updating” the look they had as babies in their photos.
Here’s how they do, from Mr. Jay’s perspective –

Erin: Is that Linebacker Sue? She looks different! She’s got some stupid black bow on her head, but I guess she does alright. It’s hard to tell because I’ve learned that what Mr. Jay says and what the judging panel says are often vastly different. She looked alright to me.

Lulu: Gave herself props on how she used her props.

Rachel: Jay calls her out on goofy hand movements, other than that she just got through it. I notice she’s wearing really tall shoes. Seems to fly in the face of the “embrace your dinky stature” theme, doesn’t it?

Rae: had to wear these hideous shoes with 8 inch heels (!) and the toe up as if to simulate a ballerinas toe shoes. Man, Tyra. That’s just rude. I thought you wanted SHORT!? She pulls it off, though.

We take a break to check in on Bianca and her bitchitude. Sure enough, she hates her makeup. Somebody please knock her upside her bald head.

Courtney: Her baby picture is one of herself looking in a mirror. So she recreates it and Mr. Jay makes a very astute comment: “It’s like you have grown up. I’m looking at that baby picture, and then this one and it’s like ‘whoo!’” Yes, very good Mr. Jay! Babies grow up! Get this man a cookie. And some Miss Clairol #38.

Uh oh. Bianca’s turn. She looks pretty good, wearing these big tall heels (see a pattern?) and a corset thingy. However, she doesn’t think so. She tells Mr. Jay she doesn’t like her makeup and he starts in with his “In the real world of modeling” speech. She has great poses, but her face looked pissed, and this ought to make a good panel. Tyra is so gonna take her down.

Now it’s Lisa’s turn and she also is forced to wear really high heels. She is underwhelming and basically looks as if she’s on her way to be executed and I am thinking this might be our first cut. She couldn’t make it the first time (although she beat Ciara, who I am still annoyed didn’t make the finals), and I think she might have to knock it out of the park for Tyra to let her stay in. We’ll have to see, though, won’t we?

Ashley’s up. Her baby picture shows her sleeping and I find myself wondering how Tyra is going to incorporate 8 inch heels into this pic. She didn’t do any sleepy-time pictures, but she seemed to impress Jay, so I guess she’s good to go.

Aw. What a cute pic. It’s Sundai in a diaper. Aw. Sundai is none too pleased by the photo choice. Hey toots, you’re the one that submitted the photos. You got no one to blame but yourself. I’m pretty sure she was wearing really high heels, but I couldn’t really see. Jay thinks she sucks.

Bloody Eyeball and her enormous hair have an “MC Hammer” look to contend with. I must say, they cast a plethora of emotionless robots this cycle. She is so unanimated that Jay asks her if she’s awake. Testify, sister. I don’t know what is up with Bloody, but she needs to snap out of it. AGAIN she talks about what the other girls think of her and I am reminded of something my mother used to say -- “What makes you think everyone is wasting their time thinking about what you’re doing? Get over yourself.” I say this to Bloody now. She does very well, and really couldn’t care less when Jay tells her as much.

Teeth McGee does well. That is all.

Laura gets to be barefoot (yay) and does pretty well. She might be my favorite, I haven’t decided.

Jennifer also does well. Nothing to see here.

Back at the house, Bianca tries to crack the mystery that is Bloody Eyeball. No dice. The Minis get their Tyra Mail reminding them that tomorrow is elimination. Yay. I have been looking forward to this, because WHO will be taking Paulina’s place? I did not really address this earlier, but I am very annoyed that Paulina was fired. She is 100x the model Tyra ever was and really, how can you look at this and NOT think fierce?

At panel, the first thing we see is a giant baby pic of Tyra (natch). She’s holding it up in front of her. I guess she thinks we don’t see enough pictures of her. I stopped trying to figure out her narcissism long ago. But wait! The judges are also holding up baby pics of themselves in front of them. Ohmygodthatssofunny! First judge introduced as a “guest judge” is Chanel Iman. I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Chanel Iman is 5’9” tall. Just sayin. Then she introduces Nigel and then Miss Jay, so I guess there’s no Paulina replacement yet. Hmph.

Tyra announces the prizes and there’s a change! Seems Ford (or was it Elite) Modeling finally got a clue that representing the winner of ANTM doesn’t net them any cash, and dwarf models for sure aren’t going to net them any cash, so now Wilhelmina has taken over. Swell. The rest of the prizes are the same, and Cover Girl is still the one ponying up the big cash, so let’s hit it…

Bambi Eyes is up first. Her photo is good lookin, and Tyra tells her that she looks 5’9” in the photo. Um yeah, Tyra, she’s wearing 4 inch heels, that’ll happen. Banks cannot seriously be thinking that we think modeling tricks is what is making her look taller. Bitch please. You’re not fooling the public or anyone else.

Ashley (aka Tyra’s Handpicked Pet) gets raves.

NPB carries her no-personality over to her pictures. Yawn. But then Tyra starts making the critique about her and starts rubbing on her own boobies and it’s just a weird scene all around.

Bland Asian hit it out of the park, and the judges are predictably ecstatic over the apparent “trick” of stretching yourself all the way out to look taller. What’s this now? If you stretch your arms over your head and then stretch out your legs at the same time, you look taller? Wow. You learn something new everyday.

Teeth McGee got told that her face is jacked and that’s why she got a profile chosen as her best. Ouch.

Mama Rae has no eyebrows anymore (they are all bleached out) and Tyra claims she LOVES that look, but I notice she doesn’t sport it, so whatever. Rae had to wear those 8 inch toe shoes, ‘member? She looks really good. Chanel Iman tries to play it off like models wear those kind of shoes all the time, but I think we all know that’s not true.

5’3 Sundai strolls up wearing what I can only describe as Flashdance on crack. No one likes her photos.

Lisa is up and Tyra reminds her that she is there by the skin of her teeth. Then she wonders why she looks so bummed. They hate her photo, too.

Bloody Eyeball has a sorta fierce photo, except she wasn’t smiling with her eyes or something. Overall, good marks.

Laura gets praise, but not overly so.

Bianca’s photo is well-received, because even after 13 Cycles and countless photos of the arched-back move, the judges still piss their pants over it. She does get her ass kicked by Tyra for being a raging bitch, which is pretty hilarious. Not too much, Tyra! I don’t want her to quit it altogether! Leave some for the coming weeks!

Erin (formerly known as Linebacker Sue) gets so-so remarks and Tyra once again points out how fierce bleached eyebrows are. If you say so, Tyra.

Lulu is looking long and lean, but not long enough for Jay. Still, she gets satisfactory marks and is likely safe.

Broken Foot Courtney is told she looks a little too athletic but still good.

Deliberations bring a few short jokes (it really does seem like these people think those of us under 5’7” are freaks) and then they start in on the Minis.

They like Rachel’s “broken” pose (they always do, it’s right up there with the arched back), Ashley is stunning and Tyra knew Ashley had a strong face, but didn’t know she could lay down on a couch and take a photo, NPB gets glossed over and called short (nice), Jennifer has mastered the art of stretching, Teeth McGee is “hard,” Sundai is never going to win this thing, Rae gets raves, Lisa gets called scary and Tyra mentions again that she is only there because another girl dropped out, Bloody Eyeball gets a thumbs up, Laura does too, Bianca is a bizznatch but they liked her photo, Lulu gets high praise from Chanel Iman, Erin is all good, Courtney is aces, and …they’ve reached a decision. I’m thinking it’s either Lisa or Sundai getting the first boot.

14 beautiful girls stand before her, blah, blah, blah. The first name she is going to call will have their photo displayed in their home as digital art. That’s a big prize, because that’s precious wall space Tyra could have used for her own photo.

The first name she is going to call is: Rae. Then Bloody Eyeball, Bland Asian, Tyra’s pet, Broken Foot, Erin, Lulu, Bambi, Laura, Teeth McGee, NPB, Sundai.

The bottom two are Bianca and Lisa. Now, if we know anything about ANTM history, we know that Tyra likes to teach lessons sometimes and she’ll put you in the bottom two even though she has no intention of letting you go. I feel this is the situation we find ourselves in with Bianca. I like it, Tyra. She needed to be knocked down a peg or six. Let’s see if history holds.

Tyra reminds Lisa ONCE AGAIN that she didn’t make the first cut and is there on her charity. She tells Bianca she is a straight up witch. But she saves her. History repeats. See ya, Lisa, don’t ever forget that you were there by default!

Next week on ANTM: Someone gets cut during a visit to Wilhelmina, and Tyra finds a new way to horn in on the Mini’s next photo shoot. And it appears to involve a unitard and a cape.