Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just when I think I'm out....

Last season, I quit watching America's Next Top Model. Or maybe it was the cycle before that. I have no idea. But it doesn't matter because the show airs so continuously that it's all starting to bleed together. And because it didn't last. By the end of the cycle, I was back in front of the TV, shouting that the girl with the shitty runway walk should have been cut weeks ago, and accepting "smize" as a word.

This cycle, though, was going to be different. We'd moved, so we had a new DVR which meant ANTM we no longer set to record. So I could just not record it, and that would be that. And that's exactly what I did.

Until 7:30 last night, when I decided I had to check it out. After all, this season's prizes include a spread in Vogue Italia, plus the cover of the beauty supplement (is that prestigious? I never pay much attention to supplemental sections - to me it sounds like the equivalent of saying "the cover of the fall catalog for Italian JC Penney"). Plus I think that Cover Girl isn't on the prize list anymore. Which could mean the end of the super-awkward Cover Girl product placement. So I watched it. And, to be honest, I was kind of dissapointed.

It wasn't the models - there was one girl who seems really talented, and one who really seems to know the industry. Plus they cut the two girls who brought major drama (the "counter-culture" girl that everyone called fake and the girl said she was glad not to have a black roommate. Seriously. She said this. She said it was just poor word choice but...damn, girl). Everyone knows that big stupid drama will come into to play pretty early anyway - when they put in girls who already have enemies by the end of day one, it feels too forced. Anyway, other than that they filled all of their other categories: the manipulator, the sweetheart, the struggling single mom, the girl who's socially awkward. Plus, almost everyone seemed to have long hair, so there's sure to be some tears come makeover time, when Tyra shaves all of them bald and dips their heads in bleach (as she is wont to do).

The problem was, whither the crazy? Suddenly, the show is trying to skew high-fashion, and the casting episode - usually the height of Tyra's Tyra-centric craziness - was largely gimmick free. No Tyra-bot from the future. No Tyra's School For Girls. No random Greek Goddess theme. No Tyra's ridiculously bad French accent for her Mean Model character. Nothing. There was a moment of lip service to it, when Tyra dressed in a private school uniform to introduce a montage about modeling.By which I mean, a montage about Tyra. Photos of Tyra as a kid. Photos of Tyra modeling. Video of Tyra - a full-grown woman - dressed like an eleven-year-old, and acting out her own childhood experiences.

This was a good start, right? Maybe the theme would be "Tyra through the years", and the girls would be forced to turn Tyra's baby pictures into fierce model poses. But no. Just "this year we've grouped you. Into groups. Of people that agents might group you with." Look, I get it. You can't be a crazy CW carnival and a respectable high-fashion gauntlet at the same time. But couldn't you try? Because it's not like one week of (relative) austerity is enough to make everyone forget the year Ms. Jay added a new giant ruffle to his collar for every girl eliminated. Just own your crazy, people.

But it was only one week, so I'm still holding out hope.. Maybe by the time we get to makeover week, Tyra will explain everything in a high voice while wearing a tiara and a big ball gown.

Oh wait, I think she already did that.


  1. See, I think the crazy this year is the LACK of crazy. Tyra has successfully developed a show that has morphed from a freakish but endearing toddler to a bitchy bulimic teen that Tyra just doesn't know what to do with. Thus, the solution is to pretend like everything will be JUST FINE.

    Side note, Nigel?

  2. Is he not on this season? Nigel creeps me out a little. He didn't used to, but the older I get the more I find his tendency to make sexy eyes at 18-year-olds skeevy and off-putting.