Sunday, September 23, 2007

America's Next Top Model (Cycle 9) - 9x01 "The Girls Go Cruisin'"

Ah, mon amour réalité! How your last two cycles have disappointed me -- Cycle 7 was a non-entity (Melrose was a slight would-be villain, and in other cycles would've been a bitchy top 4 contestant at best; CariDee was goofy and all, but she was too unhinged to charm like Cycle 5's pissing wild-woman Lisa), and Cycle 8, despite half-heartedly villainizing Renee (when she stopped being the villain, the show didn't even add a redemption plot!) and lacking someone to totally empathize with, improved on its predecessor, but what wouldn't have looked better against 7? -- anyway, I think we should start seeing other people.

That's how I was thinking going into the Cycle 9 premiere, and I didn't expect to change my mind after watching it, because every past cycle premiere was bloated to two hours of semifinal eliminations to give Tyra and the Jays a platform to show how fabulous they are. But scaled back to a single hour, the premiere for Cycle 9 cut the usual excess (even going so far as making this cycle's token plus-size girl a mere size 8) to surprisingly tolerable results. Not to say that I'm moving back in with my mistress, because I'm still anxious to see the narratives kicked off, not just introduced amid all the other stillborn contestant-stories.

ANTM selects its finalists from a contestant pool populated by obvious fans of the show or of Tyra, which is rare for a long-running reality series. The Amazing Race is the only one that I can think of that lets its contestants acknowledge onscreen that they're fans of the show. On the other side is probably Survivor, which has to trawl central casting or Myspace to find its contestants nowadays. On the other hand, ANTM has become its own institution, with Tyra at the center of its cult of personality, which is enough to sustain a continuous inflow of "talent."

My Like-O-Meter runs as follows, in descending order:

  1. Heather
    Bad posture? Social awkwardness? Difficulty accepting compliments with grace? If it weren't for Beauty & the Geek, I would've gotten the chance to crush on reality tv's first aspie (N.B. that might've come out wrong). As it stands, she's got a striking face, so at long last, we've got a hottie to play the part of the ugly duckling. But to ground myself in reality again, Heather's going to top out at sixth place.

  2. Saliesha
    Like another light-skinned girl with a fivehead -- they're names even rhyme. That she went to Tyra's self-esteem camp for girls should be raising red flags vis-à-vis her sanity, but I do like a fivehead.

  3. Jenah
    She's a ripe candidate to drop down this list like it's hot she's Sabra, but she's got eyes as big as Jolly Ranchers.

  4. Victoria
    In days gone by, I'd have manufactured a crush on her solely because she's a Yalie, all because of the primal scene of ANTM initiation, which is to say, I've been chasing Elyse's shadow for the last eight cycles. But you know what? Yuck Fale.

  5. Bianca
    Nice bone structure; now I'd just like to see her without that whack weave, though honestly, I like how matter-of-fact she was about admitting that it cost $25. Did she talk back to Ebony at all? If so, I see stars in her future.

  6. Ebony
    I think she has the potential to become this season's villain.

  7. Janet
    On the strength of her short hair alone.

  8. Lisa
    Just another girl with a precariously inflated ego, she only distinguishes herself because she point-blank told Ebony nobody likes her. Kudos, Lisa!

  9. Chantal

  10. Ambreal
    Cannon fodder?

  11. Sarah
    More cannon fodder.

  12. Mila
    It's killing me whom she reminds me of, but the upshot is, it's not someone pretty.

  13. Kimberly
    She's the horsey, obnoxious one, right?

Indie rating: Stereolab - "Space Moth"


Beckylooo said...

"got eyes as big as Jolly Ranchers"

I feel like this is a song lyric but I just can't place it. Do enlighten me... Or just tell me I'm crazy.

I have high hopes for this season.

Roger said...

nice DJ Shadow reference Lee...unless you were quoting whatever Shadow sampled from.

Keep up the great work.

Leee said...

Roger's on the nose, it's a DJ Shadow riff.

Leee said...

Also, what do you find promising about this cycle? I'm not saying it looks dour or anything, but the premiere was remarkable to me only because it wasn't the usual overinflated carnival of excess.

Katharine said...

i was thinking mila reminded me of patricia wettig but when i was looking for a photo i came across one of calista flockhart that looks a whole lot like her.

Katharine said...

well that didnt work at all