Thursday, November 19, 2009

YMD's Super Sweet Sixteen: REALITY EDITION (pt. 2)

Continuing forth to victory, the long (almost 24 hours) awaited second half of this historic countdown.

8. Christian Siriano (Project Runway: Season 4)
He was fairly entertaining and bitchy, but Christian makes the list less for introducing the phrase "hot tranny mess" to Middle America and more for being one of the most dominant characters ever to appear in a Competition Reality Show. Christian may have only won three challenges, but it became very apparent just before midseason that he was going to win the competition and neither the drapery dude nor the retro girl was going to have a shot at beating him. He is also working hard to uphold the illusion that success on these shows actually leads to success in real life, by seemingly being quite successful.

7. Padma Lakshmi (Top Chef)
I've had arguments about whether Padma brings anything more than her considerable beauty to Top Chef and I've always maintained that she is key to the show. Colicchio is wonderful too, of course, as the well-respected professional and adviser, but Padma's mystery (by which I mean not her exotic-ness or otherness or anything, but rather her aloofness, the way you can't tell what she's thinking until she really loves or hates a dish) (and the scar doesn't hurt either) makes her that much more devastating. Of course the considerable beauty doesn't hurt.

6. Whitney Port (the Hills, the City)
I'll be the first to say that the City, though improving in its second season, isn't that great. But we should have seen that coming, and not just because of the success ratio of spin-offs in general. Whitney's role on the Hills, the role for which she gets this #6 spot, was as a device. It would be boring if Lauren had to narrate her thoughts for the whole show, so Whitney was there to ask Lauren questions about how last night went and what her feelings were about it. Of course, Whitney outperformed expectations, and while it wasn't surprising that Lauren's recollections of something we saw before the commercial break weren't that interesting, it was still amazing how great and entertaining Whitney's reactions to them were. We still get the occasional Whitney Face on the City, but Whitney does seem to be a performer who was amazing in one niche and doesn't quite work in a larger role. Still, we salute her.

5. Justin Bobby (the Hills)
He's the greatest role Keanu Reeves never got to play. Justin entered the Hills as the perfect companion and foil to Audrina's po-faced vapidness, with an altogether different, more artistic vapidness. Like Audrina, Justin barely ever says anything of importance, but while she might be the most boring TV character ever, Justin's nothings are such brilliantly affected and audacious pieces of bullshit that he almost becomes interesting. Even his silences (and there are a lot of those, this being the Hills are entertaining for how purposeful and self-aware they seem. His bravura performance comes about 15 minutes into this episode, in which he utters one of the most brilliantly meaningless statements ever on television, "truth and time tells all." Indeed.

4. Janice Dickinson (like ten shows, but ANTM and Finland's Next Top Model most importantly)

This is too good not to be embedded. Janice spent most of this decade being loud, obnoxious, and altogether amazing (her replacement by Twiggy on ANTM was one of the biggest steps down ever), and it all came to a wonderful climax when she hosted Finland's Next Top Model. Just watch the above, possibly the best clip of television ever in the world.

3.Real (I Love New York, I Love Money, Real Chance of Love)
His brother Chance might get drunk and piss off the side of cliffs more, but Real makes #3 on our list for his mouth, by which I mean not what he says, but the things his mouth does when he says them. He stretches his tongue, he shows his gums, he flexes his lower lip. You really need to see the show to see what I mean, but the man makes sounds that I cannot recreate while making the same movements that he is making with his mouth and tongue. And it doesn't look like lip syncing of anything, it just looks crazy. It's uncanny.

2. Tim Gunn (Project Runway, Tim Gunn's Guide to Style)
Tim Gunn's appeal isn't hard to explain. He is supremely likable, and probably the TV character, reality or otherwise, that most of us most need in our lives. He's a father figure, a teacher, an example, and a friend. He gets catchphrasey without losing a bit of his humanity, and he actually delivers constructive criticism. He can take joke. Even in a shitty season of Runway (this one), I am thankful that he is on my TV.

1. Tyra Banks (America's Next Top Model, the Tyra Banks Show)
Even if you discount Tyra the show because it's a talk show and not a straight reality show per se, Miss Banks would still walk this countdown based on ANTM alone. From the first time Tyra told a fledgling model to "smile with her eyes," she has been the foremost giver of incomprehensible advice on all of television. Her many faces, which Rich fourfour Juzwiak has devoted what must at least be a Tyra's forehead-sized chunk (we kid because we love) of his life to chronicling, keep us awake at night (with joy). If there's one person we'd want to give us advice when we need it it's Tim Gunn. If there's one person we want to hang around with all day because it would probably an amazing time it's definitely Tyra. She makes as much of a difference in our lives as she thinks she's making. Which is a lot.

No comments: