It’s a sad state of affairs when you can actually say “it seems like reality television is starting to go downhill.” With the recent lackluster premiere of Season 8 of American Idol, the barren tundra that is the primetime television line up has never looked so bleak. But somewhere out there, some crackerjack show runner at the CW is keeping a torch burning for all of us forced to limit our entertainment packages to basic cable during these troubling economic times. The result of this unnamed genius is America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12, which premiered with its 2-hour bonanza first episode on Wednesday.
Right off the bat, America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12 show producers get down to answering the question that’s been on the tip of everyone’s tongue for decades: why don’t we see more burn victims, epileptics and Baptist preachers in the modeling industry? The answer of course? Prejudice. That’s why ANTM producers decided to include all three in Cycle 12’s Top 13 contestants.
It’s true. While the American Idol casting team was playing it safe by casting only one
severely physically disabled contestant in their Top 13, America’s Next Top Model producers were digging deep to find the absolute sweetest and most naïve girls in the country to exploit for their advertising dollar.The first episode of ANTM’s Cycle 12 featured the burn victim in a bikini, the epileptic contestant being forced to walk down a runway with strobe lights, and judge Nigel Barker exclaiming that the girl who wants to promote Jesus’ name through the modeling industry was “a bit wide in the hips.”
Suck on THAT American Idol. You guys better hope that the blind guy sticks around for awhile, or the only sob story you guys will be left with are the generic “I’m-a-single-mom-with-a-dream” angle which is pretty much played out by now. Octo-mom really screwed that one up for everybody.
America’s Next Top Model has a proven track record for bringing serious real-life issues to light in a totally inappropriate forum. In past seasons, the show has featured model wannabes dealing with transgender status, domestic violence and even female genitalia mutilation. All discussions of these issues are, of course, followed quickly by a “pose-off” and a socially aware photo shoot.
For the season premiere of America’s Next Top Model Cycle, Tyra Banks decided that she wanted the Cycle 12 finalists to use their first photo shoot to highlight the “purity and innocence” of young girls which is “being lost” in messages from today’s media. The contestants were each assigned a child’s game to play while wearing semi-revealing schoolgirl outfits, which prompted one precious contestant to exclaim to the camera with all sincerity: “When I heard my shoot was about ‘Ring-Around-the-Rosey,’ I just KNEW I could do it.”
While American Idol’s evolution seems to be grinding to a complete halt, America’s Next Top Model Cycle 12 is forging full-speed ahead with its new cast of hapless model wannabes who are lugging more baggage than the residents of your local hometown halfway house. But for those who tune in to reality television for the pure circus-like, fanciful absurdity of it all, America’s Next Top Model has risen to the challenge of reality-show longevity and stayed fierce. At least, for now.