November 05, 2007

America's Most Smartest Model - Episode 5

Note Du Jour
In the recap, we are reminded that last week VJ sabotaged Jesse by dominating their bathing suit shoot photo. This is the perfect set up because in Episode 5 of America's Most Smartest Model, there's a shift from Andre as the bad guy to VJ as the bad guy.

This obvious plot point is placed early in the episode. After a couple of beefcake scenes of male models lifting weights as part of their early morning workouts; after Blond Rachel explains how wonderful it was to cuddle with VJ all night, Angela reads the note du jour. The note du jour tells the contestants that their Edge Challenge will test their knowledge of anatomy. Angela reads the note with absolute glee because she has some kind of degree in animal sciences which she thinks will give her an advantage. Anyway, within the note du jour portfolio was a book on anatomy.

Remember, the thread of this episode is that VJ is an evil prick. And in true prick fashion VJ grabbed the anatomy book much to the chagrin of the other models. Those poor unsuspecting models. How were they to know that VJ would steal the book? Oh. That's right. Because he steals things. Pickel camera speaks that VJ is a slippery eel or something to that effect and laments that VJ grabbed the only anatomy book. But you have to wonder how much the models expect they are going to learn in the time between the reading of the "note du jour" and the actual challenge. You either know things or you don't. I understand the concept of staying up all night and cramming before a big test but cramming for an hour? I don't know.

Anyway, the models do the best they can, studying from the encyclopedias that are lying around the house which seem completely adequate. But they're not happy because as Pickel puts it - or was it Brett, the boys are starting to look alike to me - the information is so vague and doesn't tell them anything.

VJ may have annoyed everybody by stealing the anatomy book, but Angela seems to annoy the models even more because she's a know-it-all gloating under the guise of helping the other models with their studies. She explains the secum (what?) to Andre and jokes with Aussie Rachel that the human body has a colon and a semi-colon to which Rachel responded with a polite laugh.

Lisa knows that she has to "step up the smarts and the modeling" or she's in danger of going home. She knows there's a target on her back. And so does Blond Rachel who avows that she is going to do whatever it takes to prove that she is "a smart girl".

The best part of the study segment comes to us from a very special room in the house with anatomical models and a big skeleton. Andre is alone with a bisected model of a pregnant woman. Inside there's a plastic fetus which gets Andre to thinking about relationships between men and women. “There’s this male fetus, he’s not even born yet, and this woman’s suffocating him! Like, it remind me of my ex-relationship! Like, poor baby! They do this before we’re born! Give the guy some space! Och!” He may have some mother issues. SOVIET!!!
The Edge Challenge
The next segment takes place in a science classroom at Birmingham High School. The models line up in front of science teacher Mr. Morrison. On the table in front of him is a tarp covered pile. And what was under that tarp? A pile of fetal pigs, of course. The models have to cut open the fetal pigs and identify 9 different organs. This generates various reactions from the models.

Angela is an expert so she's pretty confident. Daniel was a biological anthropology and anatomy major so he's fairly confident that he's going to do well. Blond Rachel seems upset. She had a potbellied pig named Chelsea and all those little fetal pigs reminded her of Chelsea the potbellied pig as a baby.

To get the models through the moral quagmire of having to cut up something dead, the science teacher explains to the models that these fetal pigs have never lived because their mother was ill and they were removed by C-section before they ever breathed air. Whatever. The only one who had a real problem with it beyond being grossed out was Blond Rachel.

The models did well on this task. Several of them got A's including Angela, Daniel, Brett and Blond Rachel. VJ's butcher block experience earned him an A as well. (I thought VJ and Blond Rachel were the actual stupid models on the show. I found this confusing because they both did well) Daniel had the cleanest board and the best carved organs (nudge nudge wink wink)which earned him an A+. He won the Edge Challenge which was an advance copy of the script that the models would be using in the Call Back Challenge the next day. And he would be able to shoot his commercial with warm water. All the other models would have to use cold water for their shower spots.
Back at the House
After the challenge, we spend a little time with the models while they get ready for the next day. Daniel practices his lines and Andre practices taking cold showers. The next morning, the robe clad models emerge from the house into the bright morning sun. And in their robes they climb the AMSM bus and head over to a studio for their commercial shoot.
The Call Back Challenge
When the models get to the studio, Mary Alice is standing there with Zosimo Maximo, a commercial director and Matt Heinze, the client. I say standing but I mean wavering. Mary Alice doesn't like she's feeling all that well. But before disappearing until the end of the segment, she explains. The models will have 10 minutes to shoot as many takes as they need and afterwords another model of their choosing will choose their best take. The models pair up quickly leaving Andre out in the cold or he may just have withdrawn because as he explains to Mary Alice, this is a competition and he doesn't trust anyone. But he gets talked into picking Pickel who he thinks is fair (even though he's American [my words, his thoughts]).

VJ Mocking ModelsThe models have 20 minutes to learn their lines. Daniel and Aussie Rachel start. Daniel is practicing his lines like he's just learning them. He had all night to learn 30 seconds of copy and his nerves seem to be getting the better of him. While he's rehearsing VJ is posing for the camera within earshot of Rachel and Daniel learning what he can. This leaves a bad taste in everyone's mouth (not just Rachel). The models were seething. Bret even said something to him but to his credit he told Bret to shut up in a very impolite way. In his camera speak he makes a point of making fun of all the other models by using a mocking baby talk tone and distorted face.
It was fun to watch the models struggle through their cold shower spots. In the end, Lisa and Blond Rachel did the worst. Mary Alice actually gave Blond Rachel an F because she lives to make Rachel cry. And much to the dismay of all the other models VJ won. VJ shot the best commercial. Andre addressed Mary Alice on behalf of the group, reporting that they thought VJ cheated but you know what? Mary Alice didn't give a shit. She informed the models that what VJ did was perfectly alright with her. And the client informed the models that he really didn't care as long as he had a good commercial. Zosimo Maximo didn't seem to care.
Rachel - Smart Off reactionAfter the models cat walked their way into elimination, Mary Alice called down the two models who thought they were in the bottom two. And in perfect in sync, Blond Rachel and Lisa walked out of the pack. Mary Alice wasn't sure who should be sent home so she called for a "SMART OFF". Lisa looked blankly forward while Blond Rachel made a face like a guppy to register her surprise. If you look closely you can see her gills moving.

Here are the questions Ben Stein asks during the Smart Off and how the girls the answered. (a big thank you to DSO Records for doing the work of breaking out the quotes)

Ben: “In what country is Darfur located?”
Rachel: “Oh, I’ve heard about Darfur. I knew there was a problem there. Arabia?”
Lisa: “Yeah, all I could picture for that is a men’s cologne.”

Ben: “Who wrote the famous American Novel, Tom Sawyer?”
Rachel: “… Tom Sawyer?”

This is what I expected from these two. But then all of a sudden, Blond Rachel starting answering questions correctly.

Ben: “If you are betting on a 3-1 bet, and you win, how much do you win?”
Lisa: “If you’re betting five dollars? Five dollars.”
Rachel: “15 dollars?”
Ben: “Yes, of course.

Tell me, in what century was the American Civil War?”
Rachel: “The nine…teenth century?”
Ben: “Yes! She got that! She got that!”

Mary Alice gave such a look - a genuine double take. She could NOT believe that Rachel got one right and quite frankly neither could I.

Lisa wasn't delivering. So Ben decided to give her one more chance to prove that there was something in that pretty little head of hers so he threw her a real easy question.

Ben: “I think frankly, Rachel is way ahead in the Smart-Off, but I’d like to give you a chance to go a few more rounds in the Smart-Off and see if Lisa can pull herself together… Who did George Bush run against for President in 2004?
Lisa: “Oh my gosh… in 2004? Um, … Dole. Is that right?”
Rachel: “John… Kerry?”

Poor Lisa. She camera speaks that knowing trivial things like who's running for President aren't really important in the grand scheme of things. She insisted to Mary Alice and Ben that she had street smarts so Ben asked her one last question.

Ben: "What is Mary Alice's last name?"
Lisa: "Alice?"

Lisa was sent home. Lisa is weepy as she tells the camera that we haven't seen everything she can do. But the real last note comes from Brett who is determined more than ever to get rid of the sneaky VJ. And just like that we have a new bad guy.

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