Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reality TV and me

Although I’m not a fan of “reality TV” shows, especially the completely inane ones like Big Brother, Pleasure Island, Fear Factor and so on and so on, I have to confess that I do watch and actively enjoy shows like America’s Next Top Model (note that I do not include Australia’s/Canada’s/Britain’s or any other country’s spin-off series), Runway, Catwalk etc.

While I don’t consider any reality shows to be high-brow - because reality TV doesn’t lend itself to intellect either on the part of the makers or on the part of the partakers - I certainly do think that the shows I like tend to require more in the way of talent and creativity from the participants. I also believe that one can actually learn something from America’s Next Top Model, if one is of a mind to, and if one has the ability to.

I hasten to add that I believe it’s only from Tyra Banks that one can learn; yes, she is ridiculously twee sometimes (for example, coining the word “smise”, which apparently means “to smile with the eyes”), but she is the only person I can think of who can also actually DO what she describes, which is to convey emotions through her eyes and with her body language. And yes, that includes “smise”. I think she’s totally professional and competent when it comes to anything to do with modelling - and a hugely intelligent person if it comes to that – and that her flagship show is the slickest of slick productions. Anyway, those are the reasons I watch America’s Next Top Model - not because I want to learn to “smise”.

As for Catwalk and Runway, they’re interesting mainly because I’m deeply in awe of the talent that the wannabe designers display in coming up with amazing designs and actually stitching them without any help in the limited time available to them. But also, I’m always curious about testing my idea of beautiful, whether it’s to do with clothes or people, against the decisions of the “judges” of those shows.

I know that I’m not good at “thinking out of the box” in terms of creativity. I couldn’t come up with original creative ideas or designs to save my life. But because I know of that shortcoming in myself, I’m always looking for validation of the choices I make when I watch such shows. Do I have good taste or don't I? I do know that there’s no such thing as the “right” choice, that tastes differ and so do opinions, but what I try to do is learn to appreciate other people’s point of view and see the clothes through their eyes. Basically, to see beauty in the unconventional.

Sometimes the judges and I come to the same conclusion, but for different reasons, and that’s what I try to learn from. More often than not, especially when it comes to clothes designs, my “winner” turns out to be the loser because, as the judges put it, the designer “played it too safe” in designing the outfit. And that is when I know that I too had probably played it safe in making my choice.

Then again, sometimes the winning outfit is so outlandishly ugly that it’s the clinching factor in proving, entirely to my satisfaction, that the judges have just displayed neither good taste nor discernment.

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