Next Top Model Franchise

by

It’s a difficult time, that post work, pre dinner – post Simpsons, pre Channel 4 News half hour. Employment-pooped on the sofa – a crossword-cuddle and coffee-soaked cat-stroke does not fill the time, so it’s usually down to the digital channels. Since E4 is the spawn of repeat hell, the lady opts for Living and their various reruns, premiers and catch-ups of America’s Next Top Model / Britain’s Next Top Model.

It’s the same format the Atlantic across – a judging panel of high fashionistas heap scorn and praise upon a gaggle of excitable skeletal forms, all of whom are competing for a cover shoot on a depressingly formulaic clothes magazine and some money. The girls are whittled down on their ability to wear impossibly abstract outfits and how they fare in a variety of challenges – look sad, look happy, look psychotic… that sort of thing.

As required, the girls all live together throughout the whole affair, developing close and meaningful relationships with people they wilfully stab in the back at the first opportunity. There’s much sobbing, much high drama, much suggested nudity and many braless pokies until the most average looking one wins and no-one gets a career out of it.

The US version is hosted by Tyra Banks – someone to whom I grudgingly admit a strong liking of. The UK host is Lisa Snowden – someone I’m informed once dated George Clooney. Their respective judges are digitally-created stereotypes, impossibly unreal examples of fashion types – a blonde cornroed hairdresser, a facially paralysed gay dancer, a structurally altered supermodel and a domineering mommy agent.

The girls are either snivelling wrecks or stage trained personalities, contrived clichés of girl-types. They screech, scream and squeal throughout like immaculately groomed parrots, repeating the mantra of “me” as if etched into their psyches at puberty. Few are attractive, most are obtuse and the rare beauties that make it through are smothered in Olay to make them shimmy as it they were the desert heat.

What is amazing is how utterly unsexual the shows are. You’d have thought the catfights of skimpily dressed teenage models would be dangerously arousing material, but it’s like hanging out with your 14 year old sister and her friends at a slumber party.

The best thing about the Next Top Models, though, is the scheduling of it. With 168 episodes to choose from, Living have become very liberal with their screening of the show – going as mad as a Friends fan organizing a Friends Marathon on E4 and have saturated their channel.

It is perfectly possible to watch an episode every day at the same time and have it bear no connection to any other episode viewed that week. Rather than follow closely the exploits of a handful of contestants you find yourself being subjected to a non-linear free association of model activity, a Molotov Cocktail of combustible beauty behaviour. It’s like the cut-up novels of William Burroughs carried across 14 series of symmetrical faces fighting to be unique.

As a result, I love the Next Top Model shows; they’re long running Paul Thomas Anderson reality shows that flit between time and space and become an amorphous mass of a bigger story. Separately they are just episodes of a shite reality show, but viewed as a whole they are dramatic rendition of the collective experiences of a subculture of 16-24 year old beauty queens.

One day there will be a glorious evening where the culminated story arcs come together in one seven hour burst of programming. Everything will be resolved and explained, and 14 beautiful and deserving characters will be awarded their crowns to wear with pride…

Brilliant.

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31 Responses to “Next Top Model Franchise”

  1. Napoleon Says:

    Brilliant? The TV of the Damned, more like. I have a suspicion that when I’m consigned to the flames of Hades, my eternity will be spent being force-fed braindead shit like this.

  2. Swineshead Says:

    My missus likes to watch BNTM so I’ve had half an eye on it this series. It’s SO fucking repetitive, like most reality TV is, but BNTM really sets the standard for repeated catch-up montages, coming up recaps as well as next week teasers and ‘previously on BNTM’ reiterations. It’s hard to tell if what you’re watching is meant to be the show itself or is just a bit of pre or post event catching up. Messy.

    Stefanie should win on account of having the biggest norks.

  3. Napoleon Says:

    The missuses watch funny things, don’t they? My other half watches that bloody Smallville rubbish and that Desperate Housewives shit. Thankfully, she hasn’t gone so far as to watch Sex ‘n’ The City yet. If she does, I’m strangling her.

  4. Quincy Phd Says:

    I kind of meant that the scheduling made it brilliant – insofar that it was a labyrinthine collection of stories with the narrative complexion of a Robert Altman film. The actual show is shit and, as Swineshead points out, horribly repetitive.

    Last week the UK version had an episode where the 3 girls remaining at the end would go to South Africa and the 4th would have to leave. It was a handwringingly emotional half hour as the girls all battled it out, cried extensively and all pledged dedication to the fashionista cause so long as they’d be in the top 3 and get to go abroad…

    In the end selection process Snowden dragged out the emotion and tension as long as she could muster, and then revealed that they were all going – completely voiding the whole purpose of the episode. I was so angry I didn’t stay for the end credits.

  5. Napoleon Says:

    Sounds a bit like that bugger Sugar letting four of the Apprentices through to the final. The crooked fat git.

  6. Swineshead Says:

    Quincy – my lady got very angry about that ending.

    Napoleon – somehow that worked in the Apprentice. But in BNTM, as Quincy said, it just felt like you’d not only been robbed of an hour, they’d also robbed themselves of an hour. Nobody won.

    At least they’re repeating series 2 of I’m Alan over on UK Gold.

  7. Napoleon Says:

    Highly underrated, in my opinion.

  8. Swineshead Says:

    Definitely. Coogan does overegg it on occasion but it’s ‘lovely stuff’.

  9. Mikey Says:

    Testing my avatar!

  10. Mikey Says:

    Nope..have set it in my blog and thought it would be wordpress global.

  11. Quincy Phd Says:

    Swineshead – what made your lady angry? I can’t see anything that’s that offensive… that last paragraph isn’t massive sarcasm, you know, it’s a glorious celebration of a hugely satisfying story arc.

  12. Swineshead Says:

    No no no… Quincy. She was annoyed at the TV show, not your post.

  13. george Says:

    Quincy, I think he meant the ending of the programme you were talking about, not the blog entry.

  14. george Says:

    Quincy’s post did offend my girlfriend, though.

  15. dave Says:

    I once worked with a girl who came 4th in series 2700 or something. She was dumb, pleasant enough and fit. True story.

    Have you seen that new programme on BBC THREE? The one where they remove make-up from young girls faces. 10 Years Younger in reverse, I fear – 10 Years Older?

  16. Quincy Phd Says:

    Oops… bit of ego slipped through the net there… “no, no – they must be talking about me, what other explanation could there possibly be…?”

    It’s my pathological nature you see… every mystery is a crime, every person is a suspect, every discussion is about me…

  17. Swineshead Says:

    Quincy – when you took on ‘street drugs’ in that episode abput street drugs, what were the street drugs that the kids were taking? I don’t think they were ever named.

    That was my favourite episode. The one about street drugs.

  18. Quincy Phd Says:

    It was smack, Swineshead – pure, unconcentrated smack. White Gold. Texas Snow. Bolivian Marching Powder. Harlem Dust. The Salt Lick of the Soul. It was heroin, and those kids needed my help…

    Hey, where’s my other reply gone? I just wrote a few paragraphs about Britains Next Top Missing Amputee Model Show and it hasn’t shown up.

  19. Swineshead Says:

    I don’t know. I just don’t know.

    And it wasn’t smack – them kids was dancing.

  20. Quincy Phd Says:

    Dancing smack – the deadliest smack of them all.

    It had a link in it, must have been deleted or confined to the spam folder… damn those entirely necessary protection methods.

  21. dave Says:

    Is Quincy one of them ‘show makers’? If so what show.

  22. Napoleon Says:

    White Gold? Bolivian Marching Powder? The Salt Lick of the Soul?

    Bit mixed up on the old drug front for a doctoer, ain’t we? Or has heroin changed colour and turned into cocaine recently?

  23. Napoleon Says:

    Doctoer? ‘Kin ‘ell …

  24. george Says:

    My favourite case that you solved Quincy was the one where you exposed the daring new threat to our children that is punk rock. The guy that killed the guy with the icepick because he listened punk, remember?

  25. dave Says:

    What show does Quincy make?

  26. Swineshead Says:

    Has Dave lost his marbles?

  27. Quincy Phd Says:

    I remember that case well, George – it stands out as one of my personal favourites. I always liked the episodes where I got to warn against new and upcoming dangers like punk rock, or drugs, or short skirts, or the blacks…

    That time is now over, though, and I prefer to focus on my writing about television instead. I’m not a hero, I just played one on TV.

  28. george Says:

    I always felt that Monk had a role in your demise, Quincy. He’s an obsessive compulsive bastard.

  29. Quincy Phd Says:

    Actually it was that bitch Jessica Fletcher – a man in a cardigan just can’t compete against that kind of sex appeal and she beat me off time after time after time.

    In the ratings, that is.

  30. jeff Says:

    HI, what can i do to have the franchise of NEXT TOP MODEL. I own a medelling agency. I hope to here from you soon .

    thanks and regards

    jeff
    http://www.glowpromotions.moonfruit.com

  31. Quincy Phd Says:

    Hi Jeff

    Glad we can be of use; I believe the Next Top Model franchise is currently looking for a new modelling agency to work with on the next series, no doubt earning them millions of dollars in the process. I think it’s great that Tyra and the producers are willing the work with the unknown and little people of the world, you know – the sort of people who think that leaving a message on a blog that criticises them heavily will lead to a lucrative contract.

    If you email tyra@nexttopmodel.com then Tyra should give you a call in the next few hours and will outline the guidelines for having the contract.

    By the way, I checked out your website and not only is it really swish and impressive but your models are beautiful and in no way uncomfortable and vaguely manlike.

    Good luck with the contract.
    Quincy

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