Tops and Bottoms: Season 13, Episode 12

Tag yourself, I’m Symone becoming increasingly unimpressed with this season.


6. Kandy

I’ve basically given up hope on Kandy ever giving me something to latch on to. Season 13 had been a long journey, but even early on it feels like Kandy tapped herself out of all potential very early. I don’t hate that Kandy is on my TV, but I also am a bit frustrated that we’ve gotten all we can, and all Kandy is… is a joke.

Kandy’s role in the season, like everyone else, has been in flux and undefined. But while they’ve been undefined by their lack of engagement, Kandy is undefined because the show doesn’t take her seriously. I don’t just mean that Kandy is obviously not winning (tho that is also true), I mean that narratively Kandy is not given any sort of emotional catharsis or sympathy. This isn’t about Kandy not being deep, because Kandy even at her best is unsophisticated and she’d be the first to admit that. It’s about an almost patronizing tone the show has taken to her. Kandy saying dumb things could just be Kandy saying dumb things, but the show has to linger on them and at this point it feels patronizing. The lack of any other traits aside for her moronic comments have really started to read as uncomfortable for me, and I cringe whenever Kandy opens her mouth because I know the show has nothing nice to give her.

5. Gottmik

Like I said last week, Gottmik is a nothing character who has negative narrative weight. Like Kandy, her edit is unimpactful and nondescript, though at least Gottmik leaves each episode with her dignity intact (I WONDER WHY).

I get the necessity of characters like Gottmik, someone who is both your inspirational contestant and someone who acts as a straight man to everyone else. But Gottmik suffers even worse in this season because there’s no insanity for her to react towards. It’s no coincidence her best moment was in the premiere as she struggled to understand who this Utica creature was, and how after that she’s found herself in a cast just as Wonder Bread and milquetoast as them. Gottmiks are characters I don’t jive with 80% of the time, but they’ve been done well before. This is not it chief.

4. Rosé

Rosé is a big nothing now, sorry not sorry.

I feel duped and fooled for overhyped Rosé as much as I have, because in reality she’s pretty baseless. I’ve tried to hype up her potential as another Jan from the same planet, and she refused to deliver. It’s not that Rosé can’t deliver things, she just chooses not to. After the premiere royally shit on her, it’s been smooth, uneventful sailing from there on. And I feel duped and tricked.


3. Symone

I feel like I should not like Symone as much as I do. There’s a lot of aspects that I don’t jive with, like her being an obvious winner or how she’s been pretty much unchallenged in 95% of the season’s tasks. Symone is also an island of a character, who hasn’t interacted much outside of Tamisha in the premiere and Utica in the makeover. There’s few things Symone is actively delivering on.

And yet those few things still outnumber Gottmik, Rosé, and Kandy combined.

Symone is at least trying to be a good TV character. She’s trying to reach to everyone. She’s just stuck in Season 13, where literally nothing is happening and everyone is bored. And kudos, she has the goods when she actually does succeed in being human with something. She’s just in an endgame with all robots.

2. Olivia

While Symone is working the few pieces she has to try to be engaging, she’s still mostly focusing on winning. Olivia, yeah no, she knows she’s not winning and is desperately trying to make something happen so she’s not bored to tears.

Olivia is trying to not make this season boring. She’s desperately attempting to stir the pot and make some excitement happen, but none of the final four are interested. Olivia recognized last week that her chances of winning have greatly diminished, especially after Kandy finally won this week, and instead of wallowing in pity, she’s approaching the show on a new axis: trying to make people talk to her. The problem is that this is a final six of a bunch of noble gases, unflinching and bored, and Olivia doesn’t have the power by herself to make gold from this straw. I give her props for trying, at least.


“You’re the one bombing,” is the quote of the episode.

Should Utica have gone home this week, yes of course. Her stand up was horrendous and her timing is so bad it’s good but then becomes bad again. Utica was doomed from the start, and I’m at peace at her leaving so early.

I realize “so early” comes off like a joke, both because this is final 6 and because this season started right after the decline of Rome, but what’s odd is that the season hasn’t felt like it has started. Utica’s boot factually makes sense, but it doesn’t jive with the inertia of the season because all of the momentum was behind her. The storyline and most of the character development has been centered around Utica, and the only thing stopping Utica from being the obvious winner is the fact that she’s… Utica, a cult kid oddball who doesn’t know how people work. The show developed so much time and energy into Utica, and while I appreciate that given she’s by far the best contestant left, it was a lot of build off for so little pay off. The Utica experience feels complete, but almost in spite of itself. We’re left wanting more not because we got so little, but because no one else was delivering.

Kandy is all sizzle, no steak, even more than Vanjie. Gottmik is beyond boring. Rosé has been a big nothing of a character. And Symone is an untouchable winner. The only other contestant with something resembling a final arc is Olivia, and the signs point to her going next week. The explosion of Utica is, in itself, not a bad thing, but it was a sign of a systemic problem with the show. Season 13 is bailing water, trying desperately to just end already in a satisfying way, and the only way they could was to give a doomed 6th placer such a great edit. I love Utica, but her presence comes at the expense of the rest of the season.

And it wasn’t worth it.

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