Shirley Halperin
October 08, 2007 AT 06:21 PM EDT

When I first heard about VH1’s latest reality circus, America’s Most Smartest Model, I was intrigued. Zoolander meets America’s Next Top Model (two of my personal faves)? Bring it on! But as with so much lowbrow TV fluff, you can’t help but take stock in its oh-so-sad (and serious) undertone. In this case, how pathetically stupid professional really, really, really ridiculously good-looking (to quote the founder of the Derek Zoolander Center For Children Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good, Too) people can be.

Still, I couldn’t tear myself away from Sunday’s premiere episode. First, there was the genius idea of installing code-operated doorknobs on the bathrooms and refrigerator (i.e. a sign on the girls’ bathroom door read “Year in which Christopher Columbus arrived in America,” while the guys had to punch in “Year the Declaration of Independence was signed.” Needless to say, it took more than a few tries.) Then, the fashion and beauty-related spelling bee, where porn-star-tastic Mandy Lee had no trouble spelling “Collagen,” but waify Victoria’s attempt at “Emaciated” was a no-go (A-M-A-C-I-D-A-T-E-D?). Another favorite: one girl who evoked what’s gotta be Tommy Hilfiger’s pet peeve, spelling his last name H-I-L-F-I-N-G-E-R. 

The guys aren’t much better. There’s Andre (pictured), the Russian,who declared why he should win, without a hint of irony, “Did you seemy f—in’ abs?!” And Argentinian Gaston, who brings the slimy come-onto an entirely new level. The elimination challenge, which tested themodels’ ability to walk and talk at the same time, got rid of thelatter, but no doubt there’s plenty more s–t-talkers left.

Anorexics, manorexics, and tanorexics abound on America’s Most Smartest Model,and so does the entertainment factor. Still, should I feel bad watchingthis crap? Could it actually make me dumber? I feel like it could, ormaybe it has. After all, I wasted another hour of my life watching Rock of Love: The Reunion immediately after. Does the fact that millions of people enjoy these shows take us all down a few IQ points? Discuss…

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