Ahh. Wednesday night, prime time about to begin, and it’s a much anticipated show I’m about to watch. Lost. Hope the VCR catches the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (hereafter – SISI) Contest Thingie, cause I have to summarize it. Jump to:
Ahh, Sunday afternoon. Laptop in my lap. Wife and seven year old off, along with seven year old’s best friend, to Jark’s Jungle. Think local version of Chuck E. Cheese. Two year old playing with Spongebob Boating School playset beside me. Time to summarize!
I have fond memories of the SISI. Back when I was in high school in the mid 70s, the SISI was the closest thing to porn a kid could lay his hands on. And the best thing was, if you were a sports fan and an avid reader, you could easily convince your parents to get you a subscription to the magazine and have the SISI delivered to your home! Why I remember fondly my father saying “What are you doing in the bathroom for so long? Do I have to break down the door and take that damn magazine?” Good times. Goooooood times.
Opening tease. And isn’t that an appropriate television term for this show? But it’s more than a tease. It’s a recap. We’re treated to a voiceover that feints towards telling us how socially significant the SISI is but veers off to talking about how we got to the finale stage. You wouldn’t think a show like this would need a recap. Based on the ratings pattern for this thing, I’m probably the only person watching for the first time. Me, the friends and relatives of the contestants, desperate teenagers without access to Internet porn, and a few hard-core reality TV addicts. You know which category you fall into. (Hint: Technically, I’m the only person who falls into the “Me” category. You fall into the “You” category.) The voice tells us the models were shocked at the first elimination when, of all things, contestants were eliminated. And if you ask me, if they were shocked that people were eliminated at the elimination, how are they going to react the rest of the way. How? Well, the voice tells us (at least I think he’s telling all of us – he doesn’t sound like the voice I usually hear that no one else hears) that the elimination sent a wave of uncertainty and fear through the models. We then see rest of the eliminations that lead us to the final two. Jenna is sent cause she is acting like a slut. Alicia incites rage and anger. Shannon excels at the final photo shoot. Stacey fails at the final photo shoot, which sets the stage for the public vote on Shannon and Alicia. Tonight, we have a reunion show and the reveal of the vote. Who will be the next American Idol? (Wait. That summary is coming in two weeks.)
Cue opening credits. Duran Duran, who if they hadn’t already been rendered absolutely irrelevant (hint: they have) are judged so by the sole fact that they end up on the opening credits of this show. I space out, preparing for commercials:
Some tropical paradise for this show. Oops. No opening commercials. Either NBC realizes fans are so eager to get to the action that they’ve skipped commercials, or they weren’t able to sell many for this dog and are spacing them out accordingly. (Hint: Probably the latter.} We see Alicia tell us that she was saddened by Stacey’s departure (Hint: See the L Word on Showtime) so she turned to comfort her as she left. Alicia then turns to Shannon to make her move on her. We see Stacey slowly walking to the Quit Boat, fresh from Survivor All-Stars. We cut back to the beach where our finalists are, and suddenly the air is filled with the music of the Wiggles Toy Guitar. I pause the tape, move my arms like Henry, then settle in to watch some more. The judges congratulate Alicia and Shannon, and the editors give us another shot of Stacey, this time of her and the Quit Boat as the Quit Boat takes off. I get it, okay. Stacey lost, and she’s sad. In what may be foreshadowing, one judge tells Shannon not to doubt herself.
Cue funky camera trick. The girls are packing, Shannon tries to help Alicia dress.
A confessional tag credit tells us Shannon is from Mesquite, Texas. She tells us she has finally gotten to know Alicia while on the island because Alicia has let her guard drop. (Hint: See previous hint about the L Word.) Another confessional shows Alicia telling us she doesn’t want to go back home.
Cut to New York. Sports Illustrated’s editors are going over the photos taken at the island. We discuss the girls. Shannon is a virgin engaged to a doctor. Alicia is a street kid from Vegas who makes up for Shannon’s virginity. The editors try to put together photo spreads for both finalists. They express sincere happiness about the quality of the models. And for the first time on this show, I’m struck by the thought that, regardless of who gets the modeling contract, they are going to put both girls in the magazine. We’ll see what happens. Meanwhile, finally, commercials!
Back to NYC. The SI editors talk about how this is a classic competition. Beauty versus voluptuousness. Girl Next Door versus Girl From The Streets. Virgin versus uhm, (Hint: You don’t really need a hint.)
Now we’re off to Vegas. Alicia visits her old neighborhood with her half-sister. They talk about what it used to be like, and Alicia takes photos with her Verizon picture phone.
Off to Dallas. Shannon is at a health club working out. She’s bragging about how often and how much she works out. I suddenly make a decision. Despite the fact that the editing has been forcing Alicia as the bad girl on us and Shannon as the good girl, I want Alicia to kick this sanctimonious skank’s butt. It’s more than just an innate love on my part for the bad girl. It’s the also an innate hate on my part for holier-than-thou folks. And Shannon is coming across as holier than thou. On the other hand, she does look like a famous celebrity.
Back to Vegas. A black car sits as Alicia and Jamie pull up outside of her step-father and sisters trailer. We have some nice family moments. She looks at her stepfather as her father. Chris, her stepfather, tells her she has a killer personality to go with her looks. She says her personality is due to him. We’ll see what we get when we go back to Dallas.
Shannon is having a staged family dinner. They say a prayer. I hate her. Hate her hate her hate her. Go Alicia!
Back to Vegas. Alicia is doing some exercises and packing. She thanks all the people who voted for her. To all those who said she would never amount to anything she says “How Do You Like Me Now?” (Hint: Toby Keith.)
Back to Dallas. Shannon says is she wins she will be a role model for abstinence for teen girls anywhere. Yet another reason to hate her.
Listen Shannon. If you win, you’re going to be an interior model. Not even the cover model. The people that look at you are going to be doing so in the hope of seeing as much skin as possible. Trust me, I know. I highly doubt any young virginal girls will be reading the SISI.
Back from break, back to LA. The limo is taking them to the set. Shannon expresses her self-confidence that she has the look for SI. Alicia is grateful to be a finalist. I’m convinced now that the editors want us to hate Shannon. Like I said, I haven’t seen any prior episode of this show. But this seems to be a traditional set-up the winners and losers edit. (Hint: Redeem the girl we thought would lose, tarnish the girl we thought would win.) We get to the hotel, and the two judges meet with them to talk about a photo shoot to take place the next day. It will be a shoot for a new Lycra product. (Hint: Who cares.) At the photo shoot, Alicia is ready to prove she is not a Diva. A couple of stereotypes help select the outfits. Shannon again expresses confidence that her pictures will be better than Alicia’s. The Lycra people talk about how Shannon exudes what they are looking for. Shannon is 100% confidence that the client will take her. She says she uses her dance background to help her model. I HATE HER!!!!!!!!!
Alicia is made to lie down and shoot her pictures. The client says Alicia doesn’t have it. The photographer changes the approach, and the client now likes them both. We see Shannon expressing self-doubt in her hotel room. Alicia works out and goes to sleep.
I start feeling remorse about comparing Shannon to a Kentucky Derby winner. When she is all made up, she is certainly doable. However, when she isn’t wearing makeup, she does look like a celebrity. Without makeup, she is a dead ringer for Sandra Bernhard.
Actually, that may be worse than the Smarty Jones comment.
We go to commercial.
We’re back and the girls are nervous. We go to the reunion, and the girls who didn’t make it are introduced. One wonders if at one point NBC thought about making this a live show. One then wonders how the pot of chili one started is tasting right now. Our reunion host, who was never introduced, welcomes the judges and the finalists. If this were the Apprentice, they would milk this for three hours until the reveal. Shannon introduces her parents and siblings and fiancée in the audience. Alicia introduces her family as well. The host introduces some of the losers on stage. Why? (Hint: Need to fill up space.) She uses the opportunity to mock some of them. We are then given the same recap we got at the start of the show. After that, commercials. And with that, this is the strangest paced reality show I have seen. I suddenly have a fear that this thing is an hour and a half.
Back from commercial, more photo shoot footage. We are recapping the recap. RECAPPING THE FRICKIN RECAP! Shannon brags some more, (Hint: I HATE HER) and the judges say her performance was sensational. Alicia talks about watching a Making of SISI when she was little and trying to capture that. The judges say nice things to her. Our host asks the losers who they want to see get win. Jenna: Shannon. Bette: Bette. Stella: Shannon. Nancy: Shannon. Stella: Shannon. Adora: Shannon. Shantel: Shannon. Stacey: Alicia. Sabrina: Shannon. Chrissy: Alicia. So, the vapid vote goes to Shannon. Which means she probably takes the public vote as well. (Hint: That was a joke at the expense of the people watching this.) Actually, the vote will probably be 30-12, the number of people Shannon brought with her compared to the number Alicia brought. As the losers were stating their preference, Alicia clapped no matter who they said. Shannon nodded as if the votes were her due. I HATE HER!!!!!!
The judge steps forward to announce the winner. It’s Alicia! YES! Shannon looks distraught. Alicia is ecstatic, then crying. I am a happy camper. Alicia asks for water, Shannon looks ready to kill. I HATE HER, though now that she’s a loser, I HATE HER FOR HER ATTITUDE ABOUT LOSING! Alicia thanks her family, says how much this means to her, and we go to end credits.
And with that, the first, and probably last, SISI Model Search is over.