‘Top Model’ Fans, Get ‘Scouted’

You know me. I’m not really the person that checks out loads of reality programs. But there are certain reality and competition genres that I have a weakness for: food, bridal gowns, and (most embarrassingly) modeling.

But I’m not the only one that has this weakness. How do I know? Well, America’s Next Top Model has been on the air for years, and now E! is joining the fun. Premiering tonight is their new show Scouted, which takes you behind the scenes of what it looks like to be a big time model in New York City. This isn’t a competition show; this is a view into the girls who are scouted and trained to be the right model for one particular management company and the people who run it.

On paper, it might not sound all that original. Isn’t the real interesting part of model shows seeing the ridiculous nature that the competitors tear each other apart and pull hair just to get their name on Tyra’s flatscreen?

Well, after watching the first episode, it’s actually rather addictive. We’ve got controlling mothers, critical (yet still nice) decision-makers, and one super-cute model that you just adore.

Seriously. I don’t know if we’ll see Gillian after the first episode, but she’s so freakin’ cute that if you put her next to a pile of puppies, I don’t know who would be more adorable. Yet, she hits the model-sphere with such talent that you forget she’s only 15 years old — someone who hasn’t yet completed 10th grade! In fact, the only thing I didn’t like about this girl is what the modeling world could potentially do to her. Man, they start young.

And while they’re all smiles and constructive criticism to the girls’ faces, you quickly realize the harshness of the industry. The minute the prospective model leaves, they start analyzing footage, saying that her legs aren’t toned and that she learned her modeling by watching Top Model (and yes, I did appreciate that they did acknowledge the other major modeling show out there).

My real critique for the pilot is that I can’t say I’m really intrigued by the characters. Perhaps that’s something I’ll get used to. My attention was much more invested in watching the prospective models than anything else.

Yet, somehow, I’m hooked. I can’t say this is a groundbreaking new series — it’s a reality show, for goodness sake — but it has entertainment value, and once you get to know the members of the management team, I think you could really start rooting for them Say Yes to the Dress style.

So Top Model fans, consider checking it out. The show premieres tonight at 10/9c on E!

*image courtesy of E!

Top 10: Best and Worst Reality and Competition Shows

The headline should be rather straightforward, but TV is littered with reality or competition shows that I just wish would go away. From obnoxious “cast members” to obnoxious hosts, these shows should disappear.

Now, I should note two things about this list. First, I don’t watch these shows. My knowledge of them comes from clips I’ve seen from the web, commercials, and The Soup, so you can call me out in the comments if my decisions are off-base because I’m not a regular viewer. Second, if I hate them this much by just seeing clips from the web, commercials, and The Soup, that generally means that I agree with my assessment. If they’re terrible in minimal quantities, they don’t deserve the time that’s allotted in the show itself.

Our Picks for Best–and Worst–Reality and Competition Shows

The Top 5 WORST

1. American Idol

Ooh! This one, I did watch. Well, I watched the end of the first season, when Simon was critical but fair, Randy was happy but smart, and Paula was a sweetheart (and not letting her drunkenness show). Well, now Paula’s gone, Simon’s gone (after moving on to just plain mean), and Randy’s unhelpful. Plus, we’ve got random new judges that people don’t really like, and honestly, the contestants all seem the same. Sure, there’s an impressive performance here and there, and yes, these people have talented voices. But the show takes over at premiere time, airing way too many hours in a week, and honestly, people just watch to make fun of the people who just show up to make idiots of themselves. And once we get to the talent, well, it’s still on way too much in a given week. It’s run it’s course, and it just needs to go.

2. Keeping up with the Kardashians

Not even Marshall from How I Met Your Mother can remember why these people are famous. I’m ready for them to go. Sure, they give Joel McHale some good fodder for The Soup, but every time I see a clip, a little part of my soul dies. As well as my vision.

3. Kate plus 8

Kate Gosselin dug her own grave when she went entirely obnoxious in Dancing with the Stars. With her public divorce (ok, even I felt a little sorry for her once I saw what her ex-husband turned into), I’m quite tired of hearing about her, and honestly, I felt like the kids deserved a break from being in the public eye. But to put it right back on the air–with her bad hair to boot–bah. End it.

4. Jersey Shore

I’m not sure if this needs a reason. I can just imagine the world is getting spread around with STDs just watching the show. Plus, seeing a 40-something “Situation” nailing college girls just makes me sad.

5. Sister Wives

I understand that people have their own beliefs, and I think that’s fine. But flaunting it on TV is another thing. Plus, isn’t polygamy illegal? All that aside, the husband, Kody Brown, just seems like the biggest jackass I’ve ever seen (think about this, after what I just said about the Situation), and his wives don’t seem that much better. Sure, I can see how this might be a guilty-pleasure show for some, but my pleasure would be to never see these people again…unless I’m seeing Brown go to jail.

Read more to see the reality and competition shows I like! Continue reading

Project Runway Liveblog, Episode 1

PROJECT RUNWAY: 6.01 “Welcome to Los Angeles”

9:59 – Well, it’s my first liveblog, and it’s the first time I’m really sitting down to watch Project Runway. And it’s the first time it’s on Lifetime! Here goes nothing!

10:02 – Ok, so I can tell from the start that I’ll have difficulty keeping everyone separate in this first episode. As we narrow down, I’ll get better. But hey, we’ve got a former meth addict. That should add something interesting. Well, probably not. He’s not a current addict, so there will be no drama.

10:04 – Since I’m new to the show, I’m wondering how often we do these video bios. I’m hoping it’s just for the first episode? Ooh, someone from Charleston!

10:06 – Wait a minute, did she just say that if you were a woodland fairy, you’d wear one of her dresses? Sigh. Why must we make the South Carolinians dumb? Not everyone from SC is dumb. Sigh. Btw, those notes remind me of Tyra Mail.

10:08 – Heidi’s hair looks cute. I must say that.

10:10 – One complaint about this show being on Lifetime–no HD! Was it on HD before? I feel this is really going to disappoint me in the future. Ooh, the Emmy’s! 60th anniversary. That was last year. Ew.

10:12 – Red carpet challenge. $200 limit. Think they can do it? Only 30 minutes to sketch, but this one seems easy. I mean, evening gowns? For some reason that seems easy to me. Not that I could do it, but I’m just saying, it doesn’t seem like a challenge, per say. I guess we’ve got to start off easy, though.

10:15 – “Innovation is key to this challenge.” If only he had said this BEFORE the sketching. Ha. This could get interesting. What’s with this guy who keeps changing his mind–his original or change his design? Is he going to blame all his obstacles on his former addiction? I hope not. I want to sympathize with him, but if he bring is up all the time, that will be difficult.

10:18 – Just saw a commercial for Models of the Runway. Are you going to be watching that? Should I?

10:20 – I hate it when people give up before they start. It just makes me really disappointed. Same with when I watch ANTM and Top Chef. I do feel bad for the guy, but I want him to step up. I mean, he’s here! Be here! Does this happen a lot? Interesting moment for Tim Gunn: therapist.

10:22 – After looking at the dress by the designer from SC, I wonder about my opinions of the final products. That looked odd to me. Maybe I’m not just seeing her vision.

10:23 – Interesting. I’ve seen on Top Chef what it’s like to have someone who is not from culinary school become a chef. But what’s it like for a designer who didn’t go to design school. It’s odd to hear that Christopher hasn’t heard of some of these things. Will that hurt him in the end? Or help him?

10:25 – I think I thought Tim Gunn would be more brutal. Only one harsh comment, comparing something to a diaper. I was hoping there’d be more brutality (but we’re still at the beginning of the season!). As for model fittings, well, those didn’t seem to go well, did they? And what’s with the soccer ball outfit; oh yes, that was the diaper outfit.

[More after the jump!] Continue reading

Why I’m looking forward to ‘Top Model’ cycle 13

I know I don’t talk about it here that much (and let me know if you want that to change), but I really am one of those people that is hooked on America’s Next Top Model. I’m a sucker for the photography. I sigh every time their challenge is to do a commercial because I love seeing the pictures in the end.

And hey, the conflict and ridiculousness of Tyra’s ego is always fun, too. There’s a reason that ANTM is often featured on The Soup.

But this cycle is different. How? Well, we’ve got “short” girls in our midst! Well, “short” is relative, since to models, 5’7″ is a shorty. But this cycle we’ve got girls that are under 5’7″, which means that average girls are in the running. As someone who is of the less-than-tall persuasion, I’m really curious how they’ll do this.

I mean, since this show has started, it’s been tall, tall, tall. If you weren’t at least 5’9″, you would probably not make it to the final five because they just couldn’t see you on the runway. Now no one reaches that bar–literally.

So what will they do? Tell them over and over that they need to appear taller? Or should they accept their shorter stature? Will they feature petite designers? Or will they put these girls in awkward tall situations just to torture them and to see how they come out?

Or will they just force them all to wear eight-inch shoes? I could see that one happening, too.

Ultimately, I just think this will be more of a problem for the judges than anyone else. I mean, they won’t be used to this obstacle. They’ve grown in the modeling world with the typical model, so how will they deal with the atypical group?

Speaking of the judges, from what I recall, Paulina won’t be back this year. Any word whether that’s still true, or whether they’ve picked a new judge? I haven’t seen anything surface about it. Could they only go with three? Miss J, Tyra, and Nigel? Come on, they need someone in there to balance those egos. Let’s bring Twiggy back! (I’m always a fan of Twiggy.)

Anyway, it should be an interesting season. And if you haven’t checked them out yet, The CW has already posted the 13 girls for the season. This bums me out a little bit since now we know who will remain standing after the two-hour premiere episode. Takes a little bit of the surprise out of the episode.

So now I wonder. Is it worth watching? Well, maybe so. Maybe they’ll have some horrible theme like last year’s “high-tech” scenarios (is Tyra wrapped in tin foil?) or the goddess theme (yes, that’s what Tyra’s ego needs). So that might be entertaining enough.

Plus, if you miss that episode, you’ll probably miss that seasons social cause. I hate to make fun of the show for that; I think it’s great to have one cast member dealing with a real social cause that we all should be aware of (think Heather and autism), but the way they play it up just infuriates me. Clearly, they do it more for ratings than anything else.

Anyway, the show starts on Wednesday, September 9. Check it out. And let me know if you want more coverage here. I’m always open to doing more (though I’m not sure what I would say!).

Thursday Open Thread: Guilty Pleasures and Addictions

Ooh, steamy.

Just kidding. Well, maybe. Anyway, here we are, returning for another open thread! What do we have in store for this week? Well, it’s a little broader, but I think we can get some good answers. Multiple question open threads tend to do that. Here goes:

What’s your guilty pleasure TV show? What show are you addicted to–whether you want to be or not?

Still not sure how to answer? Here’s a paraphrase: What show do you sit down and watch all day long (by choice or by boredom)–and you may not want to admit it?

Yes, we’re looking for those shows you might not like to share. Do you secretly watch America’s Next Top Model all day Sunday afternoon instead of the Super Bowl? Or maybe you’re a sucker for Family Matters marathons?

Or maybe it’s not that you’re ashamed of a show, but when it’s on, you just can’t turn it off. For example, one Thanksgiving, I sat around watching a full day’s worth of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. No seriously. All day.

So what are your addictions? What makes you keep the TV on, despite that conscience telling you to stop? And what are the secret shows you’re hiding?

Share it all in the comments.

Finale, finale, finale

Well, since there was a large vast emptiness of nothing on last night (ok, I don’t watch Lost because I’m waiting to start it from the beginning and I’m not an Idol fan–and I did watch ANTM but I don’t write about it), I’ve got nothing to say here.

Just kidding. I’ll write about what’s on TONIGHT! And there seems to be a lot.

Seriously. If you don’t have TiVo, a DVR, a VCR, or an Internet connection, you’re in trouble. You might as well just shut off your electricity and read by candlelight because you’re just going to miss too much.

No, that didn’t make sense, but there’s a hub-bub of activity fluttering in this Raked brain, and I don’t know where to start!

How about at 8:00? Which will you watch? Bones? Smallville? I haven’t watched Smallville all season, but I’ll be certainly checking it out tonight. Why? Because two characters–maybe three–will be dying. Really dying. Not Heroes dying. Like, seriously, off-the-show dying. What’s your guess? I’m going to guess Tess and Doomsday but I’ve heard that both seem to have roles in the comic, so who knows? I would love for it to be Lana (hate her), but Chloe is always an option. It’d be a big deal if she died. But I love her. Keep her. Please?

But you can’t just miss Bones after last week’s episode. I mean, it was huge! And I hear that Booth and Bones will be getting it on, too. People have been waiting for that for quite a while now. And I hear that it’s not what you think and the sexual tension will not be gone from the show (if it gets picked up–it’s on the bubble). So there you go.

But what about 9:00? Nothing’s on then, right?

WRONG! We have the two-hour finale of Grey’s Anatomy. What do you think? Will Izzie die? I personally think she won’t, but I’d love for her to just so I can get my Death Count back up again. I mean, no one has died since Heroes! And I made up a song and everything!

Anyway, the big questions are whether Izzie will live and whether George will live. I know. Who even knew George was in danger?  But I will be watching, as painful as it is.

But don’t forget the finale and 100th episode of The Office, which comes with the return of Holly. As much as I can’t stand Holly and Michael, I’ll be watching. I mean, it’s The Office. For some reason, I must watch for the one occasional funny episode that’s left.

30 Rock also a finale. And if Alan Alda’s in it again, I certainly won’t miss it.

I’m sure I missed some others, but these are the ones that I care about. Either because I like the show, or big characters might die. Is it sick of me to be watching just for that?

If so, you’re sick, too.

It’s a brand-new May

[To the tune of Dr. Horrible's "Brand-new Day"]

It’s a brand-new May
And the sun is high
All networks are singing
That they’re gonna die
Go a head an laugh
Hey, I’m a funny guy…
Tell everyone good-bye…
It’s a brand-new May…
[STOMP]

Yes, yes. It’s the time for season and series finales. Honestly, why is it that I don’t know yet which shows are having series finales? Oh, maybe it’s because it’s all up to cancellation announcements (no, we haven’t heard about Dollhouse yet).

Anyway, it’s the time of year–May and, well, the week before it–where finales rule and characters die. Who’s spouting springtime deaths?

Heroes, for one, unless they already did the damage they were planning with Elle and Daphne. Personally, I’m hoping for more.

Then there’s Smallville, which is killing off two to three characters. It’s questionable as to whether the third character will be in body or mind, but there will certainly be some carnage.

For a while there, we thought there’d be some death in Grey’s Anatomy. I guess we still don’t know anymore about that one.

And then there’s One Tree Hill, which is constantly trying to kill off Dan (though I hear he’s not going anywhere…yet), and there is the question of Peyton and the baby. And have they signed her or Lucas on for another season? I haven’t heard a yes or no yet. All speculation, though.

I’ve also heard that not everyone is in the clear on Desperate Housewives. But then again, that’s always the case.

House already greeted us with our death for the season. I can’t say anyone was expecting the Kutner surprise.

And then there’s Dollhouse. I know nothing about whether anyone will live or die, but it is Joss Whedon, so that’s always the chance. Plus, you hear the name “Alpha,” and you automatically get scared. I’d say there is a good chance for some terror and death–again, all speculation.

Anyway, it’s pretty clear that we’ve got some big episodes coming up on our favorite shows, and those are just the ones I’m willing to share info about or speculate on (and trust me, Dollhouse is complete speculation; I won’t share my opinions about who I think could kick it, though if you want to know my thoughts, just ask).

My point in all this is to not let your favorite finales pass you by. Somehow they’re sneaking up on me, so I don’t want you all to miss out! I mean, Heroes is tomorrow, people!

So here is a list of some of the shows I cover (and a few other popular ones that I know the kids are watching), so you’ll be sure to catch your favorites as they sign off (hopefully) for the summer. A complete list can be found here.

Monday, April 27: Chuck and Heroes
Wednesday, April 29: Better Off Ted
Thursday, April 30: Samantha Who?
Wednesday,  May 6: Scrubs and The Unusuals
Friday, May 8: Dollhouse
Sunday, May 10: Brothers & Sisters
Monday, May 11: The Big Bang Theory, House, and Castle
Tuesday,  May 12: Fringe
Thursday, May 14: Smallville, Parks and Recreation, Bones, Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, and 30 Rock
Friday,  May 15: Ghost Whisperer and Prison Break
Sunday, May 17: Desperate Housewives
Monday,  May 18: Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, and One Tree Hill
Tuesday,  May 19: 90210
Wednesday, May 20: America‘s Next Top Model
Thursday,  May 21: Ugly Betty and Southland
Tuesday, May 26: Reaper and My Boys

So keep those eyes glued to the TV, people. It’s a brand-new May…

The Little Tree Hill That Could

I wish I could find the worlds to explain the joy that fell over me today when I heard the news.

A. The CW is NOT folding like a beach chair on the back lot of a tailgating party after a loss.

B. One Tree Hill has been renewed.

Oh, little One Tree Hill, don’t you make me happy?

Last night I remember reading a wee (yet vague) spoiler about the finale of the show, and I remember wondering how that would fit in a series finale. I figured it was a series finale. After all, The CW is not doing well, and I don’t know what would save it. Plus, who thinks about One Tree Hill other than me?

Well, apparently that “finale” will be a season finale because it’s gotten an early pickup for next year, including five other shows: Smallville, Supernatural, 90210, Gossip Girl, and America’s Next Top Model. No, it’s true. Read it here.

Now, you know I’m thrilled. I’m a wee bit surprised, as OTH is not really the show of shows and it definitely isn’t one that will get The CW on the map. But then again, I read an article in Entertainment Weekly this year that basically said that it’s the underdog that stays just above the cancel line in ratings, but just below the radar that gives it the freedom to take risks. No one pays attention to it, so it stays and works. And no, ratings are going up.

I’ll take that! I like it!

As for the others, I’m not surprised about 90210 or Gossip Girl. Even Supernatural. But Smallville? This show is way done. It should have ended with Clark starting at the Daily Planet, which was in the season opener this year. How can it really keep going? Haven’t we lost Lex Luthor by now anyway?

And then there’s ANTM, which is no surprise, too. This show will never die. If The CW didn’t pick it up, we’d be seeing it on another network. I mean, look where all it’s syndicated! Someone would have picked it up. No problem.

So how about our little WB and UPN survivors? Four out of six are from the original networks. Only two are newbies. The big question is what they’ll do next. Reaper and Privileged are two favorites that aren’t renewed yet, and you know some people are sweating bullets. But it’s early yet. There’s still time. But will loyal followings bring the power to renew? Is there room in the schedule with the new shows they’re developing (like Melrose Place and the Gossip Girl spinoff–I cringe at both of those, by the way).

Only time will tell. Right now, this just makes me want to go sit in a corner with a blanket and read my Season Finale book, reliving the rise and fall of The WB and UPN. You know what? Maybe I will.

Why I’m forced to watch The Amazing Race

I’ve never seen The Amazing Race. You can tell by this blog that I don’t tend to watch much reality television, with the exceptions of Top Chef and America’s Next Top Model. Ok, so I did watch many an episode of Deal or No Deal, but it’s syndicated and on all the time. Plus, it’s a game show, so I don’t know if it really counts.

But starting February 15 (well, a couple days after that because I’ll be out of town and therefore have to TiVo), I’ll be forced to watch The Amazing Race.

Now, it is Emmy Award-winning, so I guess I can’t complain. At least it’s not one of those “housewives” shows, but I really don’t know the premise of this show except people with tanks, shorts, and backpacks run all over the place for…something. And sometimes they run out of money, and the episode teasers make that sound like a really big deal. If anyone has words of wisdom, please share.

The reason I’m forced to watch this show is because I know–well, knew–someone on it. One of this season’s contestants just happened to be from my home town, and now, I want to see how far she goes.

Why is that? I haven’t had contact with this person in years (no, I won’t tell you who it is quite yet–you’ll probably know based on when I stop watching), but I still want to see how this person does. Well, how the team does.

Anyway, meet the teams here. Let me know who you’re rooting for and whether it’d be of interest for me to blog about it. Are you a big fan? Let me know if you have hunches.

Should be an interesting ride. Or run. Or…what do they do?!