Sunday, October 11, 2009

America's Next Top Model: You're Either In or You're Out

Ha ha. See what I did there?

Of all the crap on television, ANTM is the one show with no objective redeeming values that I enjoy watching. It's totally shallow and objectifying, cheaply produced and often downright stupid. And yet. There's always at least one contestant that I sort of fall in love with: someone who's interesting and intelligent and quirky as well as beautiful (usually in a genuinely "modelesque" way, as the judges are fond of saying, as opposed to looking like a random cosmetics spokesperson) and, insofar as it makes sense to say so, talented when it comes to modeling.

I get a perverse pleasure out of rooting for this underdog, because she never wins. The quirky girl won in the very first "cycle" (for some reason ANTM runs in cycles, not seasons; perhaps to call attention to the fact that it's always basically the same) and Tyra lived to regret it. She and Adrianne Curry had a falling out post-show, due to Adrianne's complaining publicly about the limited support she was receiving in the modeling industry, and her posing in Playboy, I guess.

Last season, there was Allison Harvard, AKA Creepy Chan (a former Internet meme); before that Heather Kuzmich, who had Asperger's and now designs video games; before that Jael Strauss, who got up in 50 Cent's grill at a party (to the extent that he pushed her into the pool).

This season (cycle 13) I'm in love with Nicole, an introverted, redheaded artist. Isn't she gorge?

Don't ask me why she's posing with a freaking horse. I told you this show is stupid.

Nicole seems to consistently have one of the best pictures if not the best, but she never gets picked first. Even if she were a favorite of the judges', she'd still be doomed to lose. She's too weird (she claims her childhood nickname was "Bloody Eyeball" ... I find that hard to believe) and not bubbly enough. She hasn't formed any strong alliances and the other girls didn't like when she defended (i.e., gave a chance to) the hardass woman they all decided to hate. Tyra loves on bubbly. Nicole is doomed. Why do I torture myself with this show? Why? My consolation is that "winning" ANTM is a fairly meaningless honor anyway, if not dubious, if not a downright stigma.

One of the front-runners, experts and analysts agree, is this girl Erin, who I despise. Not only is she not particularly attractive (sorry, kids, but you don't go on ANTM to not be judged on your appearance), but she's the worst kind of bitch: the kind that doesn't self-identify as one. She fights dirty then cries in the van when people call her on it. Nice girl schmice girl. I hope you choke on your lipgloss.

If you're a viewer, I highly recommend the post-show recaps on Fourfour, Rich Juzwiak's blog. They're at least as entertaining as the show, but without the guilt and self-loathing. Yayz.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Questions:

    1) Why do all the quirky underdogs also happen to be outspoken and headstrong? (Tyra fall-out, 50cent up-in-grill)
    2) Is not the preference for quirky underdogs "bias" that you should beware of? (ala "Overcoming Bias")
    3) The redhead is indeed substantially "gorger" than blondie.
    4) Is the redhead pic photoshopped into the background? Is the jockey looking right at her butt?
    5) Why do all the pundits favor Erin if she is bitchy and unattractive?

  3. 1) They don't. Redhead, Creepy Chan, and Heather were all shy/introverted, and actually the judges seem more skeptical and unfriendly to shy/quiet girls than outspoken girls -- they tend to accuse them of not having "personalities."
    2) By announcing it, I am by definition aware of it.
    3) Check.
    4) It looks photoshopped as all get out, but they did actually take the photos at a track with a real horse and jockey. Shrug.
    5) They think she looks very "editorial" (another popular phrase on ANTM) which means something like "not conventionally attractive, necessarily, but edgy/striking"; however in Erin's case I feel like her edginess such as it exists is entirely due to her "makeover" (bleached eyebrows).

  4. I watch this show too, and what makes it worse is my bitter hatred of Tyra. Like, I feel like there was a single, big-foreheaded ring that Tyra forged, and it's my mission to throw it in a volcano.

    My favorite part of this sort of 'reality' show is the host (in this case, Tyra) telling them that if they can't handle this, then maybe they can't make it in the modeling world. As if Tyra had to live in a house of cut-throats, cry to her mentor every week in confessional rooms, and then pose on a wild animal/upside down/in the freezing water/flying around on wires.

    Yeah Tyra. That's just what modeling is like.

  5. I hate when the judges claim that you can't be a "top model" if you don't have a great personality. Maybe you're less likely to become a SUPER-model, but I doubt working models are standouts across the board in the personality department. It's hard enough to find beautiful women who are over 5'8" and weigh less than 125 pounds ... at that point who cares if they have good comic timing?

  6. I'm 6'0" and 187 pounds. How much personality do I need to make up for the extra half-keg?

  7. You must combine the best qualities of Charlie Rose and Jimmy Fallon.

    Not sure why I chose those two punk-ass bitches.

  8. Jimmy Fallon?

    Elisa, wanted to add a couple meta-points about the blog. One is that I love it, it's one of the few I read regularly.

    However. The commenting system. Can we talk? Are there any settings you can tweak?

    I would love it if it would keep me logged in so i didn't have to go through the 9-step process of authenticating via OpenId every time.

    And it would be amazing if I could check off a box that said "email me when others comment" ... this would really put afterburners on the Conversation since people would know when someone had said something to them.

    Another great feature that might be available is a sidebar widget that shows latest comments across all entries. This allows the blog visitor to see that an old post has been commented on again. This is also a huge thing for keeping conversations going.

    And it would be neat if there was a way to comment on a post from twitter, and to tweet out your comments.

    That it all. I have no idea if any of this is possible.

  9. I just added a sidebar module for recent comments.

    Why do you insist on using OpenID for commenting? If you use a blogger profile you can absolutely check a box to subscribe to comments. I always do so when I comment on other's blogs. (I always get an email when anyone comments on any post on my blog.)

    As for Twitter and OpenID integration ... you're the developer, dude! If you want to spend a weekend souping up my blog commenting system (or building me an entirely non-blogger blog) ... I'd probably make you dinner or something. :)

  10. I use blogger, and I also have to click 'post comment' three times...

  11. Huh, really? Well at this point I throw up my hands. I vomit them.

  12. @elisa that sounds translated from french!

  13. "totally shallow and objectifying, cheaply produced and often downright stupid... " - yes this is the reason I watch most of my favorite shows! good article!