The Sum of All Tears

While I haven’t yet determined whether people cast on reality shows simply cry more than the rest of humanity or if it's the fact that they’re being televised that makes their eye ducts pump out more fluid, but weeping definitely makes the reality TV world go 'round.

It’s certainly de rigeur on "Top Model," where the casting directors seem to value a girl’s potential to create havoc and cry over, say, her potential to be a top model. And, as always, they hit the mother lode on this episode — a.k.a., the one where a perfectly-put-together-but-still-approachable Tyra takes each girl aside and pretends to care about her drama while telling thinly-veiled stories about people who were cruel to her when she started out.

Rest assured, our girls did not disappoint.

We only got to see five of them in action and four — all but Michelle, who had an emotionally draining week, what with coming out to the world and all — gave Tyra the kind of blubbering that her self-confessed role model Oprah would surely have appreciated.

On the "Project Runway" finale, Jeffrey wept the tears of the falsely-accused-and-then-vindicated, and while sweet little Ule seemed quite moved by that, I stopped supporting Jeffrey sometime around the time that he tormented the mother of his fellow contestant. Yet the tears that provoked a hardened soul like myself to get a little misty-eyed were those of Tim Gunn. Such a mensch, that one. You’d think that by season three, he’d be a bit blasé about the finalists going to Bryant Park, but no. And perhaps because he’s as genuine and natural as Tyra is stiff and phony, watching him get choked up made me feel less jaded — at least until someone else, say someone who ended up winning despite his cruelty toward mothers, appeared on the screen.

As any "Survivor" fan knows, getting the type of person who willingly surrenders to starvation, filth and backstabbing to sob isn’t all that easy, and the two that were eliminated this week didn’t so much as sniffle after being essentially lied to and rejected by their tribe mates. I nevertheless saw some shiny eyes as they each took the passive-aggressive high road — Cao Boi by explaining with that sort of scary smile of his that the fellow Asians betrayed him, and Cristina by cavalierly mentioning some “really awful” people she met who she clearly blamed for her demise.

On "Dancing with the Stars," meanwhile, all the contestants got to stay. How much do you want to bet that Jerry Springer wept off-camera once he fully accepted the fact that he still had to whoop it up on the dance floor?

Anna David has been on staff at Premiere and Parenting magazines and wrote a sex and relationship column for Razor. She’s done celebrity cover stories, first-person essays and reported pieces for The L.A. Times, Vanity Fair, Cosmo, People, Us Weekly, Redbook, Self, Details, Stuff, TV Guide, Women’s Health, Ocean Drive, Vegas, The Saturday Telegraph, Esquire UK, Teen Vogue, Variety, The New York Post, LA Confidential, Distinction, Calabasas, Tatler (Hong Kong), King, Fade In, Emmy and Maxim, among others.

She’s the sex expert on G4’s Attack of the Show, appears regularly on Reality Remix (FOX's Reality Network) and the "Today" show and has also been on "The Best Damn Sports Show Period," "The Other Half," "Cold Pizza," "The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life," CNN, E!, and VH1. Her first novel, "Party Girl," is coming out in July 2007 from Regan Books (HarperCollins).