Thursday, June 01, 2006

CNTM - Episode 1 - "He told me I looked like a bulldog"

Dear Canada's Next Top Model,

Where, I ask you, is the overwhelming, over the top drama and craziness? Why do I get the feeling that you didn't really do a casting call, but instead left filling the slots to, say, the day before shooting started, causing you to run out into the street and make any girl that you ran into that fit the 5'9" and over, somewhat slim, over-18-under-25 criteria? And here is my proof: a casting episode, something considered standard for ANTM, and reality competition shows in general, was no where to be seen.

As exhibit two, I give you the competitors themselves. I know I said it yesterday, but, dear Christ, there is no way in hell that you can do anything to convince me that any of these girls could make it to the pages of a Sears catalogue, let alone a high fashion runway. As well, the prevailing attitude seems not to be one of the self delusional dementia on ANTM, but one of "Hey, someone suggested I try this. I'm not doing anything else right now, so…" And, although I was initially happy that the girls on this show seem to have not yet gotten to the stage where they consider shrieking in excitement as a valid method of communication, the lack of excitement and passion, even if it's generally misguided, does not give me hope for the reality train wreck that this show is supposed to be.

Things got off to a promising start with little orange Jay Manuel greeting the girls at a lakeside hotel, forcing them to remove their make-up, snapping polaroids, and making them choose an outfit and strut down long, curvy wooden dock, which served as an excellent makeshift catwalk. And, yeah, none of the girls can really walk. But that's no surprise.

Tricia Helfer, as host, disappointed the crap out of me. So stiff! So walled off and disconnected. Sigh.

An interesting twist on this version of the show, I think, is the inclusion of representatives from the modeling company that the winner will be contracted to. They talk a lot about the physical demands on a model - not just the work, but the look and proportions that a model must live up to. Measurements going on pre-photo shoot? Check. Talk about what it is about a face that makes it photogenic? Check. Discussion about things that the girls have to change about their body and physical presentation, up front and unapologetically presented? Check. Which is really refreshing - so many people that I know who watch these types of modeling competitions don't seem to get that while some of the competitors might be real-life pretty and have real-life bodies that others might envy, to fill the job of a model, they just don't stack up.

The girls are plopped down into their first photo shoot where they're directed to channel bad-ass rock and roll chick attitudes. Seated or sprawled out on a multi-coloured, lighted disco-style dance floor, the shoots themselves are painful to watch, and the results are even worse. The only girls who don't give a photo that either looks like an over-styled yearbook graduation photo, or a Glamour-Shot studio reject are Brandi, who comes across as the most fashion-y, Ylena, who, though photogenic, looks like she's in her 30s in the image, and Sylvie, which surprised the crap out of me because that girl? Off-film looks like that girl who captained your high school's softball team before becoming queen of the stoners. Ridden hard and put away wet, indeed.

As for the other girls, well. Alanna revealed that she was a replacement for a competitor who decided not to be on the show at the last minute. It shows. Sisi and Andrea are odd looking, but not in a way that makes the camera love them. They're also both intensely awkward in front of the camera and on the catwalk. Natalie is the most masculine looking contestant, and, at least in the first photo shoot, it is definitely working against her - Jay's assertion that she looked like a bulldog had a ring of truth when her best photo was revealed. Dawn is remarkable if only for her total inability to do anything but stare like a scared rabbit into the camera lens. Heather is forgettable, even though she was deemed as having the best walk and the most symmetrical features. Tenika is a pretty girl on video, and has the kind of intense energy that is admirable, but just does not take anything close to an attractive still picture.

Unfortunately for Sylvie, the fact that she doesn't seem to give a shit about the competition in particular, and the fashion industry in general (the "So what" she gave to the judges when the commented on her super-sloppy appearance sealed the deal, sweetie) had more weight then a somewhat acceptable photo, and she given the boot. The most excellent thing about this episode, however, had to be her near-fury at being eliminated. The bitterness! The disbelief! The refusal to cry! Closest thing to the craziness that makes America's Next Top Model watchable TV.

Overall, I was underwhelmed. You know there's an issue when the only person bringing the bitch is Jay, a castmember from the parent show. Jeanne Beker, I know you're a crazy ego-maniac - I want you to get Simon Cowell on those girls! Models, I want you to get the freak-out on!

I want delivery on the hilarious drama, dammit! And I want it now!

Prediction: Brandi will win.



roro said...

There WAS a distinct lack of drama, wasn't there? Damn Canadians. And then they sent my favourite girl home FIRST. On the American version, they would have kept the "bad attitude" girl around AS LONG AS POSSIBLE so that we could all stew with disbelief over her bad attitude and yet gorgeous pictures. Damn Canadians!! Sigh. Excuse me while I tune back into "So You Think You Can Dance".

RiceCrispy said...

And I thought I was the only one who took the time out to watch CNTM. *yawn* I took the time to write a recap too but it next week is another yawner, I might stop!

Loved your recap, very accurate :-)

Melissa said...

Aw, Crispy, you are too kind! I still have high hopes for what is to come, but, damn. Damn! It makes me distraught how anyone can take a winning format and just suck all the excellence out of it.

PS: from watching the unaired footage on the CNTM site, I've come to the conclusion that no one saw these girls in person before casting them. Video auditions? The fuck?