smile, eyes

September 17, 2009

Sorry for the lack of updates lately; I am COMPLETELY LOSING MY MIND dealing with graduate school applications; trying to get into a writing program seems to be seriously inhibiting my ability to write.  Since I can offer you nothing new to read, which is the reason you are here, I am instead going to recommend two TV shows which began new seasons this week and which I really and truly hope you are watching.

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If my long essay “Triumph, Will,” did not convince you that NBC’s The Biggest Loser is worth your time (which is a likely enough proposition, considering the very misguided use of Leni Riefenstahl clips and/or my weird personal revelations about my own body image contained therein), and if this amazing photo, which shows host and soap actress Allison Sweeney holding an umbrella over the body of a new contestant who literally almost died while trying to run a mile during the first challenge, still does not convince you, well, it is worth your time, okay?!  On the first episode, when a forty year old father of two struggled to do lunges and squats and kept falling onto the floor and staying there, his trainer Jillian screamed at him, “When you lay there, all I see is DEAD FATHER, DEAD FATHER, DEAD FATHER.”  The continuing existential drama and Sisyphean suspense combined with regurgitated self help dialogue and intense product placement make The Biggest Loser simultaneously the most heartwarming and most completely annoying television show on the air.

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In a similar vein, I was very pleased last night to see Lauren Conrad judging a competition in “smiling with your eyes” on the second episode of this cycle of America’s Next Top Model.  Longtime readers will know that my brain basically came in its pants at the idea of Lauren Conrad (the Maria Falconetti of reality TV) judging other people’s forced facial expressions and offering aesthetic criticism and modeling tips.  They may also remember that a few months ago I recorded a ballad about LC and the reality industrial complex and parasocial relationships, a song which was called, coincidentally, “Smiling With Your Eyes.”  Therefore, in many ways, this convergence on ANTM was highly satisfying for me, as I hope it was for you.  Tyra Banks is one of the few true visionary auteurs still working in broadcast television today and though, like her continental contemporaries Lars Von Trier and Michael Haneke, she often does crazy and annoying and offensive things, they are usually extremely interesting and entertaining crazy and annoying and offensive things, and a lot better than whatever other crap is on, anyway. (If you don’t want to watch these important and culturally relevant shows but still need some way to kill time today, then you can read the best post in the history of blogs.)

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