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The Tears of Tyra

There were so many confessionals, looks of shock, tears shed and declarations of insecurity/independence/can-do-it optimism on the debut of Tyra Banks’ new motivational talk show that I felt I’d entered the makeover equivalent of Toontown. And this was just from Tyra herself. No dispassionate daytime diva will this leggy supermodel be. Before five minutes had passed, we’d seen her bedside home video in which she talks out her doubts to the camera about her new hosting gig, then a behind-the-scenes montage of the show’s making — “This is the HARDEST thing I have EVER done,” she narrates — then a whiz-bang monologue with a choked-up memory of how once Tyra couldn’t console an abused female fan because — gulp — she was one of 200 in line at Tyra’s book signing! “I felt like a phony,” she revealed to the audience, who surely started wondering, “Is this show a half hour or an hour?” By the 20-minute mark, Quick Draw McTyra had corrected a wallflower’s unwieldy teeth and gotten the woman Lasik surgery, an education and an apartment with IKEA furniture. Later on, Tyra surprised herself when the kids from her T-Zone camp for troubled girls ran onstage, and a wide-eyed, again-crying Tyra insisted she had NO IDEA. Tyra’s mom showed up, too. Tyra went to the DMV and gave picture-taking tips. Tyra took off all her makeup. Tyra made everyone wear inspirational T-shirts. By the end of the show, it became clear: Self-actualization programming is a battleground, Oprah and Dr. Phil are the superpowers, and Tyra wants to start her nuclear program. Watch out.