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Ben DiChiara Perry Ullmann
Ben DiChiara / Perry Ullmann

Monday, March 17, 2008

MMAS: Night Walk

In episode ten of Make Me A Supermodel, it was all about using goth fashion as a backdrop for the murder of Shannon Pallay's future on the show. While some of it was self-inflicted, there was definitely a strong effort by the show's editors to set her up for defeat. She would have had a hard time anyway being up against some of the more popular players in the game, but just to be sure, TPTB gave her the coup de grace.

With the bottom three from the week before being Ben DiChiara, Ronnie Kroell and Casey Skinner, it was pretty clear that Casey would be the one going home. A person like him is not going to be quite as popular as a Ben or a Ronnie would be. It is not hard to predict the relative popularity of the models when you consider the likely demographics of the audience and what type of characters will be regarded as more favorable by them. As everyone knows, this show is a popularity contest, and the voting public are not going to start basing their votes on merit yet. I hope in the final vote that people will base their selection on who is the best model, but I understand that everyone first wants to get their favorite into the last group. Therefore, no matter what they may do badly in front of the camera or on the catwalk, and no matter how much the judges point out that they are not the best models, Ben and Ronnie are going to be carried to the finals by their fans.

When Ben and Ronnie returned to the townhouse, the fake welcome home ceremony occurred as always, followed by the models' real reactions spoken to the camera or to each other. In this case, Holly told Shannon that she had wished that Ronnie would have gone home because "he's really getting attitude." She's just too polite to say that Ronnie is an ass and maybe slightly retarded. The judges have patiently been telling Ronnie week after week as they put him in the bottom three that he is not supermodel material, but he doesn't seem to get the message. Instead he misinterprets Bravo's big ol' gay audience's voting to save him as some educated determination that he has what it takes.

I for one think that bad character and personality can negate what otherwise might be an attractive appearance. Ronnie's manipulative methods of trying to turn the models against each other and his baseless cocky attitude leave me cold. Besides that, Ronnie doesn't even start off with a foundation of having good looks. I know that there are some people who say he is good looking and I know that what appeals to one person can be greatly different than what does to someone else, but compare him with any professional model that is widely viewed as good looking and you should be able to see what Ronnie lacks. Take your favorite photo of him and put it next to a photo of, say, Chad White. Night and day.

The models found out that they were going to New Orleans. The models were pretty excited but Perry Ullmann's happiness was short-lived as Tyson Beckford pulled him aside to show him the National Enquirer article about his girlfriend, Amanda Pagel. It seemed to be a cheap trick to capitalize on someone's personal misfortune and it shouldn't have been put on the air.

The models travel to the Big Easy and in their hotel rooms they find gift baskets. Ronnie had a voodoo doll in his and not surprisingly tried to use it to curse Perry and Ben. Perry goes to bed thinking about how he is now alone and that he intends to "come with a vengeance". Not sure why the editors showed him stroking his private area while that comment was played on the voice-over.

For the photo assignment, the models went to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, where they got dressed and made-up full goth. As usual Perry and Holly looked the best in the clothes, but since one of Ben's two looks is "scary", he took a good photo also.

It was in the cemetery that it became crystal clear that the show's editors had decided to do a major offensive to get rid of Shannon. Usually, if there is hint of bias in a show, it is so subtle or so ambiguous that it can be ignored. In this case it was very blatant and objectively measurable. Play back the episode and count the anti-Shannon comments and/or use a stopwatch to measure how much air time was given to bashing her. There are several possible theories for why they would do this, but my guess is that TPTB had decided that Holly is the most deserving to win. The best way to ensure that is to make sure that she is the only female in the finals. That way all the votes for a woman would go to her, while the boy votes would be split between the three remaining guys.

While in New Orleans the models did some home building for hurricane victims. Holly showed what a great person she is with the way that she became emotionally distraught by the suffering of others. Ronnie joked about using power tools and how they were not like the ones in his bedroom.

Back in New York, the models did their catwalk assignment, which was "goth drama". Collectively, the models had to express a story that fit the genre. Holly is far and away the best actress and she really shined in it. Shannon was the worst, which made all of the negative comments about her that were intended to get rid of her seem really like overkill. Shannon and Ronnie were clearly the worst performers and accordingly they ended up in the bottom two and subject to the mercy of the public.