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Bad television: the ANTM rant


I watch bad television. I've been doing it for years, playing it in the background as I work. I've been recently listening to America's Next Top Model, a show I haven't really paid attention to for a good number of years, maybe five or six. I have to say, this show annoys me far beyond any other season that I can recall.

I know that it's already a bad show: a bunch of beautiful, vain people put into close quarters with each other, given a stressful situation where they have something important for them to achieve. I get that. I get that people become ugly in stressful situations, but, wow, this season was particularly frustrating for me to watch, er, listen to.

The latest season available on Hulu was last year's season, where they introduced "social media as the fourth judge." Essentially, six months before the season airs, each girl's best photo is displayed on the show's website where the world at large can comment, vote, rank and criticize the models. Yeah, you see where this is going:

Social Media, where everyone is a fucking expert. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone can criticize. Everyone can comment. Everyone tries to have their voice heard.

Seriously annoys me sometimes. I am very clearly not in the show's target audience, and truly believe a person who has no expertise and is merely parroting what an expert would say, is a waste of time. Let the expert say it.

I can understand that the social media aspect helps the show broaden its appeal and allows its fans to believe they are part of the show, draws them in, and makes them feel involved. Kudos to the producer to agreed to the integration, it was a great move. Mark it for what it is, however: a popularity contest disguised as judging.

For the particular season I watched, it was the college edition, where they found girls currently in college and had them compete. One girl, Victoria, was home schooled and was enrolled in an online university. Her best friend was her mother. She is quirky, odd, bizarre, weird-looking except in pictures, speaks her mind, knows herself, and cries a lot. You can see where this is going. She didn't fit into the social structure that the other girls did. There was another girl who was particularly smart (high school at 12, graduate school at Harvard at 17) and quit the competition early on because she couldn't stand the cattiness of the other girls (Victoria excepted). I couldn't blame her, and cheered her on when she walked away. I also cheered on Victoria, who stayed on, dealt with her stress as best she could, and stayed true to herself in impressive ways.

At one point, the girls in the house were bullying Victoria, based on the portrayals we received in the episodes aired. It was very clear. When Victoria let the judges know what was happening, the remaining girls attacked her even more fiercely. The dumb blonde remaining on the show commented, "I think Victoria is the bully because she ignores all of us." My thought? Let me get this straight, she IGNORES you, so she's bullying you? Oh, child, please bully the fuck off.

Dumb blonde later goes on to say, "Victoria is extremely anti-social. Doesn't talk about friends." Come on! She was home-schooled. She doesn't HAVE any friends. She's trying to figure this social thing out. She's true to herself. Please, please, please, dumb blonde, GO AWAY. I'm sad that Victoria even had to deal with that child for one moment, much less nearly 3 months. Ugh.

One annoyance of this show is how the judges reveal the contestants' scores:

"I give you a 6."

"I give you a 5."

The "I GIVE you" part tells the contestant they didn't EARN the score, that it was handed down from on-high. I GIVE you this. I ALLOW you this score. Nothing you do or did contributed to this, because I GIVE you this score.

They should say, "You earned a 6" with this work. EARNING gives the contestants a sense of control over the contest. Even if that control doesn't exist, people will flourish if they THINK they have control over the outcome of their lives.

Earned over given every time.

Oh, and Tyra's grammar? Gah.

She says this every time she cut someone:

"Two beautiful young ladies stand before me but I only have one photo in my hands. And this photo represents the girl that is still in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Model. I'll only call one name and the girl that I do not call must immediately return the house and pack your bags."

This kills me with horrible grammar.

"... but I only have one photo in my hands."

Really? You don't have anything else? Maybe clothes on your body? Hair on your head? You have lots of other things. Oh, in your hands? Okay, then say, "I have ONLY one photo in my hands." Put the ONLY in the correct place.

"... represents the girl that is still ..."

Really? The girl is an inanimate object? No? She's a person? Great! Say, "... represents the girl WHO is still ..."

"I'll only call one name ..."

Oh, Tyra, put the fucking only in the correct place, because you'll do more than just call, you'll breathe, you'll stand, you'll hug, you'll look pretty. Say, "I'll call only one name..."

"... and the girl that I do not call ..."

Whom, baby. Whom. You're calling whom.

"... the girl that I do not call must immediately return the house and pack your bags."

Switching person, here, Tyra. "the girl" = third person, "your bags" = second person. Make it "her bags" or if you want to be gender neutral, you could even say "their bags," though with only girls, use "her."

I hate grammar sometimes, I really do. But mostly I hate bad grammar.

Oh, and models who don't understand what the word "fair" means, or how the game works. One of the contestants commented, "I don't think it's fair that Leila is back. She hasn't had to deal with all the stress we have had to deal with," when one of the booted contestants came back, selected by the above social media experts. SUCK IT UP, model. That's the way the game works, and this show is a game. It's based on looks, but it is a game. It's completely fair that Leila returned, because the game has the rule that A MODEL COMES BACK. What is not fair about that? As for the stress you had to deal with, boo hoo, suck it on that one, too. It's the profession you're choosing. If you can't handle it, find a job you can handle. Just shut up about it and get to work already.

Yeah, I watch bad television. This one did a great job in showing me just how much I dislike the fashion industry. I'm likely to go another 5 years before I watch another episode.

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