This week on America's Next Top Model, the girls were swept away. By that I mean caught in a bad undertow, entangled in seaweed, and left gasping for a better photo op. Tyra summed up my feelings about the concept of this week's shoot nicely: ''H2Oh-no you didn't, gurrrrl.'' Some glided through, others splashed and thrashed their way to safety, a few nearly drowned, and one model got flushed. Then again, they didn't do too well on dry land either. (Also not doing too well right now: Your regular TV Watcher Mandi Bierly, who's sick with the flu but hopes to be back next week.)
First, let's address the very important matter of Fatima vs. America's Next Top Psycho on the count of malicious coffee disposal. I'm referring, of course, to Fatima's missing coffee, with Lauren as the prime suspect. Things really heated up when, at some point in the middle of a semi-rational discussion about the correct way to make coffee, Lauren absolutely, 100 percent lost her mind. The other models lurked nearby, holding their coffee cups protectively. ''Here's your coffee, you [bleeping bleeper], you big baby!'' growled Lauren, slamming a wine glass of watery brown muck in front of Fatima. ''Choke on it.'' It's nice to know that the girls are getting along swimmingly at the Château de Top Model, where the coffee is served in goblets and comes with a complimentary death threat.
The girls reluctantly put their differences aside, only to be told they'd be split into teams for a day of client go-sees. For those not fluent in model lingo and others with only half a brain, that means going to see clients. But that wasn't even the real challenge. The real challenge was getting to the go-sees. Because — would you believe it? — they had to get there on FOOT. Their only directional resource? A brand-spanking-new Sprint GPS Navigation cell phone! This revelation struck a chord with one-note Claire, whose jaw dropped in a mixture of amusement and abject horror. Can you imagine if they got foldable maps instead? They might still be wandering the streets of NYC. ''Oh my GOSH, that is such an amazing phone! I need one of those 'cause I'm always getting lost!'' gushed Stacy-Ann. Me too, Stacy-Ann. Consider me successfully brainwashed.
Group 1 modeled some skimpy swimwear, a fate I wouldn't wish on anyone in the wintertime, even a model. Designer Shoshanna (and yes, she's the same Shoshanna who was once Jerry Seinfeld's underage girlfriend) noted that Lauren looked a little uncomfortable. Translation: Lauren looked like she wanted to lie down on the floor, curl up in her itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-frilly-unflattering bikini, and die. Fatima looked stunning, Anya had some trouble walking in a straight line, and Katarzyna somehow managed to be flawless but forgettable. Meanwhile, group 2 modeled gowns, and as Whitney and Dominique bitched and whined and talked behind each other's backs, Stacy-Ann blew them both away. I know Whitney is a plus-size model, and it probably has a lot to do with editing, but I started to wonder if she was capable of talking about anything besides size. While I don't feel bad that she's a plus-size model, she does get my sympathy vote for having to wear that hideous lacy, partly sheer, and totally unbecoming dress. As for Lauren's devastated confessional that she feels out of place because she doesn't usually wear heels, I say: Suck it up. It's America's Next Top Model — would it kill you to lose the flannel and the bandanna around your neck?
Luckily for Lauren, the next shoot didn't have high heels or high fashion. The girls entered ''some building'' (thanks for clarifying, Dom!), where Mr. Jay, in a tailored suit, was stoically strutting on a gigantic treadmill. His expressionless expression was reminiscent of how I look right before I start a workout at the gym (right down to the whole ''Okay, I'll do this for exactly 10 minutes, then I'll get the hell out of here'' stroll.) But then the treadmill speed kicked up, and the Jay-bot broke out in a sweatless sprint. Run, Top Jay-bot, run! A wall appeared. Now what, Top Jay-bot? He exploded through the obstruction! Granted, it was a wall constructed of cardboard boxes, and he didn't so much ''explode'' as he ''collapsed in an upright position'' through piles of paper shreddings, but the whole stunt was pretty spectacular. And in case you didn't think so, the models squealed and gasped and clapped appropriately. They must not have realized it was metaphor yet.
''You all are struggling, and you need to break through that wall, to get to the next level of the competition,'' said Jay, spelling out the lesson like he was reading off that stupid Tyra Mail ticker. Anya nodded with enthusiasm, secretly befuddled by all the talk of walls and levels and metaphors. But the girls weren't going to hit the treadmill. No, they were in for something far more, uh, splat-tacular.
Cue bodies falling from the ceiling and slamming into puddles on plastic shielding. (This time, the models screamed for real.)
NEXT PAGE: A former front-runner face-plants