TV America’s Next Top Disemboweled Corpse
posted by March 22 at 12:08 PMon
Forgive me for getting all Erica C. Barnett on your asses, but last night’s episode of America’s Next Top Model was the most violently misogynist shit I’ve ever seen on primetime television. (Yes, that includes any and all episodes of the rape-tastic Law & Order: SVU.)
At the center of every America’s Next Top Model episode is the photo shoot, and last night’s found the girls posing as crime-scene corpses. Each dead model came with her own murder scenario, each of which cast another girl as the killer—“Strangled by a Model,” “Decapitated by a Model,” “Organs Harvested by a Model.” Each model sported impeccable glamour makeup and skimpy high-fashion clothes, and the crime scenes and attendant bodily harm were rendered with ferocious precision: necks bore sickening purplish-brown strangle marks, blockbuster-quality guts spewed forth from ripped model abdomens.
Both visually and conceptually, it was totally revolting, and spun me off into upsetting revelries on the Nielsen-rating value of sexy dead women. I had to stop watching the aforementioned Law & Order: Special Victims Unit because the sexy-dead-woman factor got too grotesque: Not only did every week seem to feature another woman undergoing brutal sexual torture, the criminal torture was usually caught on video, allowing for repeat viewings by investigators and, of course, viewers at home. The result: more and more screen time was taken up by hideous female suffering (another fun SVU trick is following the trail of a serial rapist, which neatly fills the majority of an episode with scenes of one woman after another recounting her rape for detectives).
As SVU’s dead-woman fetish got crasser and crasser, I couldn’t help wondering if Nielsen bean-counters had somehow determined that the suffering of sexy women was some sort of anti-channel-changing kryptonite, and the more time producers can fill with active female suffering, the better for ratings.
Last night’s Top Model only confirmed my worst suspicions, with a good half-hour of the episode devoted to sexy models playing dead, complete with judges critiques of their sexy deadness. (“You just don’t look dead to me,” said noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker; “She’s got no OOMPH!” added celebrity supermodel Twiggy.) It was horrifying, and while I still don’t think ANTM producer Tyra Banks is a big-foreheaded fat-ass, I do think she’s an asshole.