Thursday, December 14, 2006

THIS IS OUR COUNTRY: Watched the filler clip-show from ANTM: British Invasion, the repurposing of Britain's Next Top Model, and I can recall few times when I have been so relieved to be an American. I would like to give the British the benefit of the doubt here and say that they may be too sophisticated to cotton to this kind of competitive reality show, but really, they came up with the hit I'm A Celebrity -- Get Me Out of Here and have fully embraced the seamier, nudier aspects of Big Brother, so no dice.

I have two principal gripes. First, everybody associated with the show is remarkably homely. Don't get me wrong -- I don't think of Britain as a land of unattractive people. You could put together a long list of really beautiful British women, starting with Kate Beckinsale and ending with Liz Hurley before the deadly combination of Pam Anderson and osmosis infected her with trampititis C. I just think that pop culture teaches us that the British ideal of beauty is a bigger tent, meaning that they can forgive a face that is, shall we say, unconventional, especially if it is wedged between large breasts and stringy blonde hair. This is a roundabout way of saying that I question the wisdom of casting a Top Model show with women who range from far less to not quite as attractive as Lucy Davis (and before you rip me a new one because you love Lucy Davis, yes, she was a great Dawn and I'm not saying she's ugly; please just ask yourself how quickly you would bounce her from ANTM). To compound the selection issues, all of the judges are equally unattractive, and they've even managed to import a weird-looking botoxed American "former supermodel" of whom I have never heard. In short, this show has just been designated Exhibit A in my defense of Pretty for British Syndrome.

Second, I recognize that not all successful fashion models are actually attractive. Google "belgian models" if you don't believe me. At least, though, they have three things that every working model actually needs: good skin, height, and unhealthy thinness. Not, as BNTM would have us believe, whiteheads, smallishness, and giant breasts. This is like casting Apprentice entirely with people you found in line for the bathroom at Six Flags (actually, it's like casting BNTM with people you found in line for the bathroom at Six Flags). It's enough to make a guy stop complaining about ANTM ridiculousness like Lluvy, Michelle the Wrestler, or Coryn. America the comparatively beautiful, indeed.

I should mention that this post is Spacewoman-approved.

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