Saturday, October 22, 2005

America's Next Top Model (Cycle 5) - 5x06 "The Girl Who Loves Bubbles And Talks To Plants"

In many respects, this week troubled me from a mark's standpoint. Considering the episode uncritically, I had been sorting out whom I liked as contestants and whom I didn't; I had a number of candidates for Heroine of Cycle 5, and others as the Villain. Unfortunately for my unsophisticated self, this episode complicated these easy roles for the show.

Lisa was shown crying and vulnerable, so it was hard to hate her without reservation. And my new cutie crushie, Jayla, let rip (Silent But Deadly!) her nasty, petty streak. By depicting these girls are more rounded and less one-dimensional heroines/villains, this episode gave them the depth that would be apparent in actual interactions with them. Yet, that's not what audiences necessarily want. We want to be able to fully root for someone, and to hiss at someone without thinking about the ethics behind it (e.g. so and so may be a shrew because of a distressing childhood).

Or could reality television, as a genre, be growing up? Relative to other genres and formats, reality tv is just out of its infancy and thus has fairly uncomplicated narratives and characterizations. The narratives on reality tv can be complex and convoluted without having the intricacy of more adventurous series that involute the way they tell their stories. However, given the teleological, the final prize-oriented nature of reality programs (especially the competition-based shows) limits the narrative experimentation (at least in my estimation), so for the time being, nobody will be reading any articles with the headline, "REALITY TELEVISION GROWS UP" any time soon.


1. Nik (1) - Obviously, she had a tough week, but I'm guessing that talking directly into a camera is her Achilles' heel (notwithstanding here "one face"), and that otherwise she's one of the strongest contestants on the show. And seemingly the classiest for, first, trying to comfort Lisa, and then, not calling Jayla out during the elimination panel.
2. Kyle (4) - I don't remember another rising star with nothing to offer that's out of the ordinary.
3. Lisa (3) - She's a mess! And modeling has no room for girls with issues! (Remember, Lisa, denial is a sign of addiction.)
4. Jayla (2) - I should have taken her Myspace as a bad sign! I guess her boobies distracted me.
5. Nicole (5) - She takes very nice pictures, or she takes very blah pictures.
6. Kim (7) - I have to admit, she's shown improvement. But remember, she started off on the wrong foot (I doubt she's mastered heels, for example), and there was plenty of room for improvement. But her différance from the other girls gives her a slight edge (in the minds of the judges) over someone who is okay but no great shakes, like...
7. Bre (8) - She made it past the Mendoza Coryn Line! She kept it together for a week, but the competition's heating up!

Previous Cycle 5 Rankings
5x05 Power Rankings
5x04 Relative Worth
5x03 Rantness
5x01 Stankness

Indie rating: Mirah - "Sweepstakes Prize"

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