Friday, September 29, 2006

America's Next Top Model (Cycle 7) 7x02 "The Girl Who Hates Her Hair"

Sure, the last episode of ANTM had all of its (in)famous trademarks handy: intractably juvenile self-entitlement, unreasonable obstinacy, telephone hogging (and, "That's just Monique," to recontextualize her episode 1 quotation), and the obligatory tears -- but at the end of the episode, I felt at once exhausted and empty, as though the show that I had been watching was a tale told by a stupid would-be model, full of catty screams and shorn hair, signifying nothing. The episode didn't do anything wrong on a technical, schematic level; for example, this cycle adheres to classical ANTM spectacles like the girls screaming at each other, or Tyra screaming at them -- and two episodes into this cycle, we've already seen both types of screaming. Unfortunately, we've already seen too much too soon; ANTM so far seems more interested in making sure we get all of the dishy drama, and that we get all of it right now, that the show has become less predictable while it has become, in a word, formalist.

(In this case, by "formalist" I mean the producers seem to approach last night's episode like:
1. Insert footage of contestant being moderately catty.
2. Insert footage of Monique being unreasonable.
3. Make the girls over. Show the teary, whiny aftermath.
4. Repeat 3.
5. Repeat 4.
6. Insert footage of girls crying.
7. Start over from step 1.

Still, the cycle is young, though its youth is cause for both hope and further concern. In the case of the latter, what if ANTM has already blown its proverbial wad (to put it with as much tact as I feel like exercising on the show right now), and the show is inevitably downhill-bound? My magnificent brain tells me otherwise, though, since ANTM (and most every other quality reality TV show) picks up once half the contestants have been eliminated.

But all of the preceding was written to justify the use of the word "formalism," so I'll just get back to reintroducing my:

1. CariDee -- Sure she's weird-looking and sometimes the ug, but she's a complete goof. Something like a taller, much dumber less articulate Joanie.
2. AJ -- When they de-Gothed her, I was worried, because for me, short hair + GOTH = DROOL. But they didn't make her over dramatically at all, especially when she complained her way to a darker hair color again. Yay for the squeaky wheel getting the grease (AKA she is the hottest one on the show)!
3. Anchal -- I don't like her face as much as others; for one, it looks too much like a square tipped onto its corner, though when she all but threw down with Monique in the phone room, that was, like, word. The balls on this chick!
4. Monique -- I caught myself wondering about the claws-out possibilities of a face-off between 'Nique and Jade. But alas, my rationalism dashed such fantasies: Monique is a lightweight princess (her last name is "Babblesworth," ok?) whose hobagness has peaked, while Jade, let's remember, is a soldier. Still, I need to get my schadenfreude on, and she's the all too obvious heel.
5. Brooke -- Starting about here, I'm completely bored by all the rest of the girls. I suppose Brooke has some wide-eyed and naive charm, but she's obviously just a warm body until the real "talents" are left in the show.
6. Melrose -- She gets points for keeping a clean house. She loses points for looking like she's 50.
7. Shandi 1 -- I still don't know which one she is.
8. Shandi 2 -- see 7.
9. Eugena -- Where's her attitude? And was she actually chilling with Monique (she who poured water and ostensibly stole her bed) in the hot tub? Why no beef?
10. Megg -- Boringg.
11. Jaeda -- I'd like her for her short hair if she had the least shred of walk to back up her self-aggrandizing talk.

But seriously though, "The Girl Who Hates Her Hair"? More like "The Girls Who Hate Her Hair"! Do you see what I did there? These ladies need to check their baggage at the door with all the "Aww my hair looks gross now!! ;_;" jive. Cassandra's freak-out was one (glorious) thing; seeing half the girls openly whining about it is another.

Indie rating: Ellen Allien & Apparat – "Leave Me Alone"

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