Saturday, November 15, 2008

America's Next Top Model (Cycle 11) - 11x12 "Good Times and Windmills"

It's that time in the cycle again where my favorite goofy girl on ANTM is penalized for being goofy. I actually expected Marjorie to be eliminated after what would've been an atrocious CoverGirl commercial, and even though we were all spared (or denied the pleasure of ogling) that disaster, and even though by now anyone who's watched the show for a couple cycles and been exposed to the smallest dollop of Top Model discourse knows that carving out a modeling career doesn't necessarily involve winning this competition (e.g. we've only seen three former winners on the "Top Model in Action" spots they show during commercials), I'm still disappointed when my favorite contestant invariably runs into the irrational caprice of Tyra and company. But why should I? She has as good (probably better) a chance at working in the real world getting eliminated early than she does if she won the competition. At a certain level, I probably just want to see as much of Marjorie on tv before she fades away from mainstream pop culture. But at a more aesthetically fundamental level, I think that reality shows so effectively convince us (or is it just me?) of their own realities (related to but ultimately distinct from the real world) even as we consciously remind ourselves of how constructed and artificial they are.

In the specific case of ANTM, Tyra's world operates under its own morality where winning is ostensibly and inextricably tied to individual worth (no matter the platitudes she offers the departing girl each week), so if you're eliminated, you're deficient in some way; of course in the real world we know that we're all winners. However, ANTM presents such an engrossing Reality that try as we can, viewers can't always rationalize how we approach the show -- I might know that Tyra has kicked off girls who've been taking off in the industry, but that doesn't mean I wanted to see Marjorie eliminated any time before the final episode or that I wouldn't have been thrilled to see her win simply because ANTM is a different, quasi-fictional world. In a dramatic sense, Marjorie's tv existence depended entirely on how much Tyra liked her.

Anyway, some useless handicapping: Sam isn't sufficiently high-fashion and is too bubbly, which reads as unsophisticated, leaving the top two to be McKey Brittany and Analeigh. Analeigh seems a lot more comfortable in front of a camera, which will give her the edge over Brittany (plus, Analeigh has come off like a saint -- saving Marjorie's virtue, offering moral support when Isis was taking her shots).

Indie rating: The Raveonettes - "Aly, Walk With Me"

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