I know, right?

Were you as heartbroken as I was when Kathleen was the first to leave this cycle of America's Next Top Model? Okay, so she's a bit clueless and her photo was a tad pedestrian (weren't they all, though?), but she would have been fun to watch for a few more weeks, you know? Natasha should have been the one to go (talk about clueless...). But eliminating the wrong girl first is just par for the course on ANTM. Tyra is as obnoxious as ever (what was all that "stepping" about, anyway? What does that have to do with bootcamp? Furthermore, what does bootcamp have to do with modeling?). And reducing the debates around fur, reproductive rights, and veganism to either/or thinking is not controversial. Plus, I agree that the photos were pretty bland but how does one illustrate via modeling and photography your decision to abstain from eating animal products? Wear vegetable necklaces, of course...

But overall I think cycle 8 has a bit more potential than the last couple of seasons. Early favorites include Jaslene (she really is "fee-uhss"), Samantha, Sarah, Renee, Whitney, and Jael. Either way, it's always worth watching until at least the makeover episode.

In other t.v. news, the series finale of The O.C. last week marked the end of my 13-month relationship with the show, having only started watching last winter break. Neal and I watched all of the first season in just three weeks, if I remember correctly, and I was hooked. This season really was better than the last two, but I think the damage was done in season three. I don't think the show ever fully recovered. And even this season had a few duds. For example, in the episode prior to the finale, did Adam Brody completely forget how to emote? I think the show had become so frivolous that when natural disaster struck (was that the "big one"?), all they could do was stare blankly at one another. But the finale was a lot better. Fast-forwarding was an obvious but unexpected (on my part, at least) solution to resolving so many stories just beginning over the last few episodes (like Kirsten's pregnancy, for example). Julie's marriage made me think of season one's finale, when she married Caleb. That was really the golden age of the show, and it was a nice gesture to go out on a high note, even if it was mostly referential. But the whole buying back of the Berkeley house was completely unbelievable. Those guys would have never given up that amazing house in one of the most ridiculous housing markets in the country! I don't know, maybe if you threw enough cash at them, but still...I found that a little incredible. Then again, the whole show is total nonsense most of the time, so...And the ending was very Six Feet Under, don't you think? Ultimately, though, easy come, easy go. Now I can just focus on other Thursday shows, like The Office and 30 Rock...Oh yeah, and school stuff.


Anonymous said...

So, Mer and I also watched the ANTM premire, and largely enjoyed it, despite the poor conceptual work. Mer put it really well mid-way through the episode: "Maybe they should have paid the writers what they were asking".

Anyway, we felt about Natasha pretty much how you felt about Kathleen - probably not much of a model, but so much fun to watch. Mer thinks this cycle's group exhibits a remarkably low average IQ, with the major stand-
outs being the two "plus-sized" models, who both seem to have not only intelligence, but also emotional depth, charisma and a little self-awareness.

Jael annoys me profoundly - I can't yet articulate what about her I find obnoxious. Mer fears that Jaslene is anorexic - not in the "all high-fashion models are so skinny" sense, but in the "ma'am, you have a serious, life-threating eating disorder" sense. I like Samantha, Mer finds her blah. Sarah seems compentent, but also very self-satisfied and catty in that way that'll get you far, but not all the way to the end (ala Jade & Melrose).

The contestant that most astounds us, of course, is Renee. Even if I were drafted into military service for sake of fighting a just war, I'm not sure I could leave young Ivan at home at this age (5 months). Doing so electively, for the sake of fame and fortune, seems radically less palatable. I guess anyone with a supermodel for a mom probably needs therapy anyway...

Becky G. said...

You bring up many, many good points. I hadn't even considered the writer situation...I wonder if that had any effect on the quality of cycle 7?

Neal and I also noticed the lower than usual perceived intelligence. I don't think I've ever been, say, blown away with the group's collective intellect, but there have been a few bright, shining diamonds in the ruff over the past seven cycles. And I think it was in cycle 5 that the girls overall seemed to have a pretty decent grasp on irony. Self-awareness is almost always lacking, though. I wonder if it's an age thing...

You are totally right about Sarah! I see a lot of Melrose in her. Like, she could do everything right and make it to the finale and lose solely because she never learned to get over herself.

About Renee...yeah, not so much on ANTM, but there's always a young mom on reality shows who claims to be there for her family. Being on ANTM is not exactly what I think of when parents talk about doing what they have to do for their families. I think of selling shoes in the evenings and on weekends in additon to your full-time bookkeeping job, not trying your luck at a CoverGirl contract.

I sincerely hope Jaslene isn't anorexic in the "serious, life-threatening" sense, but I'm certain eating disorders are a real problem in modeling, despite the fact that it rarely gets discussed. Smoking seems to be the more transparent weight-control method on the show.

In general, I'm always amazed at how little the girls seem to remember from past cycles (and this is true on other reality shows). Other than learning how to walk down a runway, they seem fairly ignorant of past contestants. Seems like there's a lot they could learn just by watching the DVDs of previous cycles.