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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Getting Piggy With It

The most important thing in reality tv is the casting. It is essential to cast interesting people whom viewers can get to know quickly and want to see more of from week to week. A good example of good casting is the show America's Most Smartest Model. It would have been easy to have cast basically cardboard cutouts that looked good but had no other worthwhile traits to speak of. Instead, the people responsible for the selection did an excellent job of picking people with both hot bodies and anything but stereotypical model personalities.

Compare the men of AMSM with the guys from Manhunt or Average Joe. Manhunt men were interesting enough for a roll in the sack but that's it. The well-built men from Average Joe were unbearable every time they opened their mouths. AMSM went a different direction and someone deserves a bonus for it.

VJ LoganEpisode five of the search for the most erudite yet pulchritudinous specimen started with another unsettling display of the situation between VJ Logan and Rachel. He wakes up to find the female in the bed. With the camera on him he covers his face (from embarrassment?) and wraps himself with the comforter like a body size condom to protect himself from her.

The most troubling element for me is Rachel's appearance. Her lack of sufficient body fat means there is not enough subcutaneous adipose tissue to support her face and this causes pronounced nasolabial folds. It makes her look a lot older than she is - even older than co-host Mary Alice. With that in mind, Rachel starts to look old enough to be VJ's mom and that's creepy.

Brett NovekSpeaking of fetal pigs, the Edge challenge involved carving up little piglets to show that the models could find and extract specific organs. I was eating lunch at the time I was watching the show and that wasn't easy to do. VJ, relying on some previous experience with butchering, got an "A". Jeff Pickel also got an "A" and Brett Novek an "A-". The grading was done by a high school biology teacher, who wisely noted that Pickel had "great, great organs, complete organs, clean organs." Brett was lauded for having "cleaned up your organs very nicely." From what I have seen of the show. their personal hygiene, and they way they fill out their shorts, I would have assumed this to be true.

The winner of the competition was Daniel Schuman, who then was the only person given an advance copy of the script for a 30 second commercial that each of the models would have do as the second contest in the episode. The commercial was for a bodywash product and would take place in a shower. Only Daniel would get to do the scene with hot water. Everyone else would be subjected to cold.

VJ LoganThe preparation for the commercial shoot was fraught with controversy. Part of the parameters of the contest was that each model would receive their script only twenty minutes before their shoot so that that was all the time they would have to learn it. VJ eavesdropped on models ahead of him doing their rehearsals so that he could gain an advantage in the vocalization. Some of the other models were disturbed by this behavior and called him on it. VJ became angry at the accusation that he had engaged in cheating.

Let's see if we can figure this out and achieve a win-win situation.

Brett appears to be highly ethical person with his concern about adherence to the spirit of the rules. That's a good thing and I really appreciate it. It makes you believe you could always trust him and that if you were his mate, you wouldn't have to worry about him cheating on you.

VJ LoganOn the other hand, it appears that VJ is sharp enough to see that the game doesn't start and stop with the beginning and end of each of the challenges. As he remarked, he is the only one that understands the competition - that the game is going on 24/7 and things like grabbing an anatomy book or eavesdropping on others is all an expected part of it. He may be getting the flack for outsmarting the others, but Mary Alice made it quite clear that it is not only legal, but an indicator of who she thinks are the better players.

Unfortunately, the first players in a reality show don't all know how the game should be played and this can cause bad blood between them (remember season one of Survivor). It remains to be seen if any future episodes contain any dirty dealing that would justify definite condemnation of the behavior of any of the models. Still, it would be better if VJ would not be so blistering in his retorts. It's not good to make enemies so easily.

VJ LoganThe bad part is that the points of contention didn't seem to alter the outcome of VJ's performance. He didn't need the anatomy book and he had an innate advantage in doing a shower scene. VJ is a get dirty and stroke yourself with lather kind of guy. He won the automatic callback for his wet performance and said, "Big Daddy VJ took this one home." Personally I would rather have heard him talk about whether any shower "shrinkage" occurred, but maybe his use of the term "Big Daddy" let us know that none had.

Jeff Pickel
In depth coverage and photos of -> America's Most Smartest Model.