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America's Next Not Last Place Model

Tonight was the season finale of Cycle 8 of America's Next Top Model, so I am finally allowing myself to talk about it on this blog.  After a slightly disappointing Cycle 7, Cycle 8 has been AMAZING--probably my favorite since Cycle 4. America's Next Top Model is a great show, and a fantastic example of how to entertain people.

America's Next Top Model is also a great example of how not to make a decision.

You see, the big pink elephant in the room with ANTM is that none of the girls who've won it have ever gone on to achieve any real commercial success whatsoever.  One of them married Peter Brady, but that's about it.  So each season, it gets a little more awkward when Tyra says things like "One of these girls is about to experience a huge. life. change." or "Congratulations--you are still in the running to become America's. Next. Top. Model." (One of the things you learn quickly while watching this show is that the last few words of every one of Tyra's sentences are actually sentences. in. themselves.)  The reason these girls really only ever end up becoming America's Next Top Wikipedia Footnotes/CW Series Pilot Guest Stars is because the format of the show (and probably of reality TV in general) is in direct violation of the main principle of good decision making.

The thing we learn in grade school while taking tests is that your first instinct is almost always the correct answer--if you rely on your gut instincts, you'll be right most of the  time.  In other words, the format for finding America's Next Top Model should really be like this:

Ideal

That's not really great TV though, so reality TV shows like ANTM completely discard this wisdom in favor of another route, which I have tried to capture via the flowchart below (click to enlarge).

Real

As we've seen time and again, the attempt to stretch what is an essentially a very simple decision (Who looks best in a bathing suit?  Her?  OK cool, let's call it a day) into a weeks-long show results in a lackluster finale.  The winner is just the one who did the best job at not losing--the one who managed, week after week, to not be in last place.  When it comes down to it, it doesn't matter how many times she was the best; it's just that she was never flat-out the worst.

ANTM isn't out to show us how to make effective decisions, though--it's out to give us one of the most entertaining hours in television.  And it does.  That's why when it comes down to it I would never want them to change a damn thing, except maybe the title.  America's Next Top Winner of America's Next Top Model seems to encapsulate things a little bit better.

Comments

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Jerome

Ok, let me check my balls at the door here--I watch this show.

That being said, probably my favorite thing about this show is how these adult women sort of take on the role of annoying teens at a summer camp, where Tyra is like their super-cool, older, favorite camp counselor, or babysitter or something. This was most obvious in the moment where Tyra left them a clue indicating that she'd be the one directing their photo shoot. When she finally did pop out, the contestants all giggled uncontrollably, saying, "We knew it was going to be YOU, Tyra!!!"

Also, isn't Tyra Banks absolutely insane?

Caitlar

Also, did you see the GoFugYourself post about Yohanna from that other season? She does not look like her ANTM self.

D.C.

I will also admit that I've followed certain cycles of this show, and let me tell you my three word recommendation for improving it:

Needs. More. Tyra.

I don't think there is enough. It's nice that she produces it, and judges the contestants, and stages the challenges, and has 7 foot pictures of herself plastered around the house, and takes the photos, and picks out the clothes, and gives advice that starts "When I was the world's most famous model...", and invented something called "Tyramail!!!!"... but I don't know if that's enough. It needs more Tyra.

Lauren

HAHAHA awesome

The Mayor

I am currently boycotting this show until an ANTM winner actually appears in any magazine or does anything famous (besides being on a Vh1 reality tv show). That said, I think your graphic is amazing, but it's missing one very important point: You need to note that Tyra's egomania prevents her from ever choosing someone who could be as famous or successful as she was before she got her own talk show and started desperately trying to prove to people that she's really not as fat as she seems.

ELISABETTAMl

Oh, superior outcome just about this good post. Should please let me know how much time that would take? Because I am going to make some thesis titles or may be that will be good to find the dissertation. Thank you so much.

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