Arbitrary and Unnecessary Cycle 11 Superlatives, Judgments

26 11 2008

Best Tyra finale wardrobe in the history of ANTM

Worst contestant finale wardrobe in the history of ANTM

Most Ambivalence about the finalists from Tyra in the history of ANTM
America's Next Top Model

Most Creatively Incongruent Mr. Jay-directed runway in the history of ANTM


Most generous imaging of Whitney in the history of her presence in ANTM


Most horrendously staged “candid” product placement in the history of ANTM (and, therefore, all of television)


Best collective reactions ever captured in a single frame…in the history of ANTM


Much credit to the incomparable Rich at fourfour for the totally brill caps. Speaking of Rich, since this meh cycle is officially over, I’ve decided it’s high time my three go-to recap blogs/sites (fourfour, TWOP, and receive a proper evaluation. It’s all…after the jump!

Thanks to the following three recappers, ANTM’s eleventh cycle consumed my free time in front of the computer at work. I’d read and comment on EW’s recap the following morning, check up on those comments until Monday, when Rich posts his gif- and screen-cap-happy analysis, and then finally, gorge myself in prep for the new episode Tuesday morning with Potes’ dissection at Television Without Pity. But, amidst the cleverness, the dry wit, and intelligent commentary pervasive in all three recaps, there emerged one victor. Read below.

Mandi Bierly (and several guests) at

Pros: Its concision. I immediately went to EW on Thursday mornings, knowing that a halfway decent analysis of the previous night’s events would provide immediate gratification. Also, the 2-3-page length was appreciated, so I could get on with my non-existent piles of work.

Cons: Unfortunately, there are several. Throughout the cycle, inconsistency plagued the recaps; the episode of Isis’ elimination became a few scant paragraphs on the PopWatch blog, which not only prompted an angry response from fans, but also gave the not-so-subtle indication that Mandi was just not into ANTM anymore (that, and the fact that three other writers had a go before Mandi was stuck with it once again). When reading Bierly’s analysis of the show, she felt the need to maintain an air of decorous formality. She would crack a few winning sarcastic quips every now and then, but what put me off the most, other than her seemingly disinterested narrative voice, was her endless need to legitimately comment on the show, like it was something respectable. You can tell Bierly’s not paying too much attention when she seriously responds to a critique any of the judges (or Mr. Jay) make during the show. Jeff Jensen whipping out literary references and time-space continuum parallels in his LOST recaps? Yes, please. Missy Schwartz explaining why Stella’s complete lack of inspiration and construction should have gotten her auf’d far earlier on Project Runway? Most definitely. But for a show that prides itself on introducing “fierce” to the pop culture vocabulary, fashion smarts need to be checked at the door.

Grade: 65%

Potes at Television Without Pity

Pros: Much like the average wordcount, there are so very many good things about Potes’ literal dissection of each and every scene in an ANTM episode. She writes plainly, comprehensively, and so dryly that her sarcasm can sometimes go by unnoticed. But she’s always manages to make the most inane observations hilarious, while maintaining a consistent voice of intellectual snark. If Mandi Bierly actually realized how insane her dead-serious treatment of the show sounded, and was conscious whilst composing her recaps, she’d be Potes. Mucho kudos to Potes for realizing the awesomely terrible quality of the show, and highlighting said terribleness with such straight-faced and temperate prose.

Cons: Memba that length I discussed in the pros? Sweet lord sometimes it just wasn’t necessary. It’s America’s Next Top Model, not John Adams. Bierly and Potes are on opposite ends of the spectrum in this regard, and it wouldn’t hurt to fall somewhere in the middle.

Grade: 87%

Rich at fourfour

Pros: Of all three writers, Rich’s voice is the most distinct and comprehensive. Inside jokes are frequently referenced from recaps of 4+ weeks ago (my personal fave was Alaska Hannah’s nickname ICFAST, which stood for “I come from a small town”), and he sometimes even transcends cycles to make hilarious and inane parallels. Rich also triumphs in the Awareness of Ridiculousness category. Potes came close, but Rich’s visual aids truly bring to light how deliciously campy Tyra’s antics really are. And, oddly enough, his pseudo-arguments and observations are impressively composed and creatively written. It wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining if Rich’s animated gifs were accompanied by empty jabs and obvious jokes. His recaps make me feel like I can carry my reality-tv obsession with pride, knowing that there’s substance in intellectually pointing out and explaining a sheer lack of substance.

Cons: Rich has one crutch, and it’s being crass. Most of the time it’s pointedly employed, but other times it feels like an easy placeholder to get to the next gif. Happens rarely.

Grade: 97%

And now I wait until Cycle 12, where my ANTM gluttony will be centralized to HonestlyANTM, the blog that rumors are made of.




One response

7 12 2008

Its ridiculous how Gareth Pughesque that thing Tyra wore on the finale, and how Beyonce actually wore 2 pugh outfits in the EMA’s! I do agree with Rich that I find a hard time believing they’re not the same person 😀

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