Monday, March 27, 2006

America's Next Top Model is the weirdest show on television

I've never seen a show that so openly promotes--nay, celebrates--mediocrity. Yeah, yeah, American Idol, I know, but they at least make people sing and then tell them when it sucks. Top Model is what Idol would be if the skill set being sought were nebulous and ill-defined and the whole mess judged by Paula Abdul. It's like a parallel universe, that show.

If you've never seen it, here's a synopsis of a typical episode:

A bunch of dim young women (who are in no cases prettier than people you personally know) are taken from their tacky, over-decorated Lodgings of Much Drama and delivered by bus to the care of a little man named Jay Manuel who has even more plastic parts than Ryan Seacrest. Manuel gives an unintelligible "explanation" of the impending photo shoot and then sends the (permanently) bewildered "models" to hair and makeup, where, in most cases, something will be done to make them even more unappealing than they are in their natural states. (below: "We can make him sleeker, more bronzed")

During the photo shoot, Manuel spits instructions that the women cannot follow because they make even less sense than Paula's "advice" for the Idol singers. Jay Manuel is seriously the most superfluous entity on reality television today. "I need more around the eyes, Furonda!" "I need more expression, Jade!" Hey, Malibu Jackass? How about teaching them *how* to do those things? Since you're the director and all?

I understand that it would be a challenge to teach them anything--two of these geniuses had a deep conversation last season about how all birds are blind--but you helped choose them, after all, so at least you could go through the motions. Phone something in, Jay. Fake it? No? Fine.

Photos are snapped and, later, the judges deliberate (during which time only Twiggy might say something reasonable) and then Tyra Banks makes Paula Abdul look sober. Seriously, her justifications when eliminating contestants make no freaking sense whatsoever. "We wonder what happened to the outgoing butterfly we saw the first week." "Your poses are too safe, instead of taking risks." (Um, Jay Manuel, please call your office?) She throws the same crap around every season, too, so you can tell early on who's going to get shafted with the "we just can't tell who you are anymore" bullshit. It's that transparent and ridiculous.

The photo shoots are almost always idiotic, too. Take last week's episode (please!) [*rim shot*] The models are forced to walk runway wearing embarrassingly pretentious "Victorian goth punk" garbage, a genre the designers clearly believe they invented. You see, they revolutionize high fashion by purposely making the models ugly and dressing them in clothing no actual human would ever wear! Never, EVER done before. Whatever, jackholes. Also part of the shoot, because these designers are just that hardcore, are brooches made of live bedazzled Madagascar hissing cockroaches on teeny leashes.

Now, I have admitted before that I have a deep loathing of roaches. It's not a general crawler thing--I don't mind spiders, for example--but I find roaches hideous and terrifying. Thus, feel free to doubt my objectivity here, but that is so stupid! It's not a photo shoot with closeups--it's a fashion show! It's a fake fashion show, I get that, but still. In a real fashion show, only the very front row would even have a chance at identifying those things as roaches, so it's obvious that Top Model is trying to get a piece of the Fear Factor demographic like Survivor and Amazing Race have done at times, and it's sophomoric and cheap. Ugh. (below: They're going to gas those things when this is over, right?)

In summary, I have no idea why I enjoy watching such a moronic show. I really don't. Maybe it makes me feel superior? Maybe I'm just that voyeuristic?


At 11:56 PM, Anonymous Becky said...

I find myself watching it every week, and I have decided that I watch it for my own personal escape from reality. In my world, beautiful people tend to be, well, beautiful. Typically, other people around them find something appealing about them. In ANTM world, some of the contestants are what Tyra calls "model pretty," which apparently means having exaggerated features that are sometimes a bit frightening.

Actually, I think I've just figured out the roach connection; they're trying to figure out which model most closely resembles the chosen creepy crawly of the season. I think they should have gone with the praying mantis this year in honor of Furonda, but sadly they did not. I must admit, though, that I enjoy watching Miss Jay teach the "girls" how to walk by making fun of them walking.

I would like to see a bit more instruction on how to become a top model, since that seems to be the premise of the show, but I'm not sure I would enjoy it quite as much. Maybe I just need to get my mean-spirited kicks.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Shell said...

I think you're right. We're just mean. Which I'm totally fine with, by the way. I TiVo that shit every week, and if Mike happens to walk in while I'm watching he always shakes his head and walks back out as fast as he can, and I completely understand that reaction too. Ah, well. Nobody's perfect, right?

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Belle said...

And this is why I don't watch reality TV, lol.


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