Friday, November 11, 2005

America's Next Top Model (Cycle 5) - 5x08 "The Girl Whose Boyfriend Is Cheating On Her"

It makes sense that there was no actual elimination this week, since way back in week four there were two "eliminations" (Cassandra and Sarah).

On another topic entirely -- this one academic, so skip straight to the power rankings if you don't want to read me blathering on about narrative mediation -- this episode featured a lot of editing. I'm not talking about your garden variety selective editing that's common to reality tv, but the sort of editing that you'd expect from a fiction series. For instance, Bre's smoldering chocolate commercial and all its gooey, slow motion shots of a worked-up Nigel. This scene leads me to wonder what the difference is between this scene that lightly but obviously manipulates our response to the screen, and the conventional and thus transparent way of cuing viewer emotion. The distinction that I can think of is that the manipulativeness of Bre's chocolate ad was clearly playful and lighthearted; it knew it was obvious, and it expected the viewer to realize the obviousness as well. As a result, I think that this segment's agenda wasn't so concerned with swaying our opinions of a contestant, and instead it aimed to entertain (Mission Accomplished); on the other hand, the subtler methods of manipulation are intended to influence how we relate to contestants -- they're longer range and less obvious so that we feel that we come to our opinions on our own, without a third party dictating how we should feel. But keep in mind of course that there is manipulation and mediation simply because of the fact that these methods (selective editing, soundtrack music) are harder to notice.

The boring is over! Now, lame snarkiness commences!

1. Nik (1) - As far as posing and taking pictures, she's easily the best. But put her in a live situation, and she clams up. (And I wish that were a euphemism for some Sapphic act (scroll half-way down for Nik's burgeoning "bicuriosity").) But I can't see anyone else winning this, unless Bre continues to take good pictures.
2. Bre (6) - Girl's rallying! But how much of that is because she lucked into a nice shot, and how much is due to actual improvement? I'm only ranking her at second because I refuse to believe that Kim will get past fourth.
3. Lisa (3) - The watersports pretty much guaranteed that her behavior and alcoholic tendencies will become a problem at the final four and that they will be a dealbreaker at the final three, where she gets the boot. Nevertheless (or maybe because of), she's still entertaining -- when she was glamming it up as a tranny version of Courtney Love, when she told me to "eat a cookie," I was laughing unironically. Total off-the-wall genius!
4. Kim (4) - Being a now-dedicated fan of Veronica Mars, I can report to you that Benny Medina casted the wrong girl for the role of DISPOSABLE CROSS-PROMOTIONAL TOOL OF THE PROVERBIAL MAN. Oh, the choppy editing! Made me cry. The sad thing is, I'm sure that Kim might have been the crème de la crème, anyway. Nonetheless, Kim seemed to have been working her girl-on-girl mojo because she had Kristen "Veronica Mars" Bell all, "Let me know if you want to rehearse, lover." But then again, they didn't exactly have any on-screen chemistry. Though maybe Veronica was sad that Wallace skipped town.
5. Jayla (3) - She had a quiet episode this week, but probably because she's turned into a blow-up doll. Inanimate pervert-accessory aside, she needs to get a new cute T-shirt -- Italy 1984, ok, we get it already!
6. Nicole (5) - She's all sorts of goofy wonderful, but she's had fewer good-to-great pictures than Jayla.

Previous Cycle 5 Rankings

5x07 Pin-Upness

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

Indie rating: Al Green - "Let's Stay Together"

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