I have a friend who, though perfectly lovely in all other respects, is addicted to it. She watches the UK, US and Australian versions for hours at a time whilst I sit there and struggle to get past the palpable insanity of Tyra Banks.
It's one thing to take your job seriously – in many ways, that's commendable. And obviously Banks is a model, so her extreme narcissism and constant “well that’s not what I would have done for the picture” is par for the course. But there's actually something about the way she looks at people that I find genuinely disturbing. It’s the sort of look that makes you think she might be sneaking into their rooms at night, sticking a straw in them and sucking up the tasty model juices. (Naturally the point of this would be to ensure she remains forever young.)
The models themselves are exactly as you would expect - bitchy, scheming, desperate for success and a little bit vacant. There was one in the American version who kept making full fat cakes and pretending they were diet ones, which she then fed to all the others, who never thought to question her maniacal laughter or the fact she never had any herself. Before seeing that I would have been inclined to attribute their behaviour to hunger - I know how pissy I get when I haven't eaten for a couple of months. But now I can only assume there’s a model gene that just makes you a horrible person.
To be honest, I haven't worked out what the appeal of this show is. I don’t think I’d watch it voluntarily. This is unusual for me – I generally have a very high tolerance for this type of crap and often actively enjoy it. The problem might be that Next Top Model isn’t quite car-crashy enough. It’s a bunch of skinny girls who mostly seem to know what they’re getting themselves into, competing for the job of having their photo taken. Which is shit really – you can just get a digital camera and tripod and do it yourself without having a crazy lady tell you that you pout wrong.