Wednesday, June 30, 2004

America's Next Top Model (Cycle 1) - "The Girl Everyone Thinks is Killing Herself"

Since this episode's very title refers to Elyse, I figure I'm sort of obligated to get to at least one of its prominent issues.

For the record, I don't believe that Elyse has an eating disorder, if only because she's too intelligent to behave in such a blatantly self-destructive way. (That's not to say that a (smart) person won't consciously damage oneself -- just that in Elyse's case, the accusations are groundless.) From what I've been able to glean from the series, she doesn't appear to have issues with her self-image because she operates from a mental approach different from the other girls/wannabe models.

Physical evidence comes from the trainer's comments about Elyse being the most energetic in the pool, which, and correct me if I'm wrong here folks, requires gas in the tank.

And, to add some anecdotal support for Elyse -- I'm the same height as her, weigh a handful of pounds more, have as many ribs running up the skin of my torso, eat three square a day and suffer no significant weight gain after eating rich desserts. I'm not using myself to prove beyond all doubt that Elyse and I are in the same metabolic boat (though wouldn't that be romantic), but I just want to establish that such body types do exist.

The way the other girls treated Elyse in regards to eating disorders was piss-poor scavenging, Adrianne included, whose central role in propagating the rumors gravely disappointed me. Because the accusations were all predicated on "hearsay," as Janice herself said and she deserves a lot of credit for cutting through the bull, to which topic I shall return. A lot of listening through doors and walls -- in short, unsubstantiated speculation.

There's really no elegant way to segue from something as serious as eating disorders to light fluff of SHANNON AND ROBIN YOU ARE SLEEPING PILLZzZzZzZzZzzZZ. They completely bombed in their mock interviews. Shannon: "Never drank, never smoked, and I'm still a virgin." Taken by itself, it's a dud of a quotation -- but she broke this baby out twice. When I saw the last three episodes when Cycle 1 originally aired, I didn't have much of an opinion of Shannon at all outside of "ton 'o teeth, nice abs." But seeing her in her full banal glory -- I can't be bothered to finish the thought, really. She has her "pure" schtick all worked out, and if I write any longer I'm going to be typoing with authority. But here I go and hopefully that'll be it: the interviewer was all about, "Hey, no canned responses! I want the real you!" and what does Shannon come up with? This tasty morsel: "If I set my mind to something, I can do it."

Robin, meanwhile, was a bit more interesting (even in spite of answering the "Why do you want to be a model" question with some contrived jive about being a role model) in that her adamancy in asserting her putative righteousness, coupled with my foreknowledge of the jiggling incident, sealed my belief that she has some monstrous skeletons in her closet.

Giselle, outside of her "heatwave" euphemism for a cheeser (and Elyse's subsequent snark about it being her one contribution to humanity -- high fives girl!), was in front of the judges. "I'm gaining confidence right now." CAN'T YOU SEE IT LOOK CLOSE I THINK I FEEL SOME GROWING IN MY ARMPIT.


In that same link, and probably elsewhere, Adrianne admits that this episode is her worst moment, and I agree with her, if only because she doesn't do anything as heinous elsewhere. She ends up redeemed, though, when by virtue of her mother. Adrianne regrets all the money they lost when scammers ripped her and her mother off. Mum: "I haven't lost at thing." *sniff* Helluva mommy.

Now to the Janice-related topic I promised above: when the judges were arguing about Elyse (and by proxy, eating disorders), a lot of ugliness spilled out and grinding axes revealed. Most notably, Kimora used specious evidence to justify the pursuit of her own agenda, ignoring common sense and reason -- even after Janice pointed out that that rumor was no more than "hearsay." And I bet Kimora supports tax cuts for the rich, too!

Janice, plastic surgery fixation and all, deserves a ton of respect for this episode alone. Not only for grounding the eating disorder "debate," but also in criticizing Tyra's insistence of marketing Robin as a plus-size model (though she doesn't fit that niche well, since her body size below and above the waist are not balanced), which allows Robin to get farther into the competition with her attendant

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