Reality TV's Delusions and Dreams

Published October 27, 2006

| FoxNews.com

One of the most pleasant aspects of reality TV is witnessing delusional people in action — and "Top Model" certainly takes the prize in this regard.

I mean, you’ve got to love a show that continues to call itself "America’s Next Top Model" when, seven seasons in, they have yet to produce a top model in America, or anywhere else.

Take the “experts” featured on the show. I mean, does anyone actually buy the fact that J. Alexander, Jay Manuel or even sweet little Twiggy have an iota of impact on today’s modeling world?

“Noted fashion photographer” Nigel Barker, I’m surely not the first to point out, seems to only be noted by the producers of “ANTM.”

This episode featured delusions like Tyra believing she’s a photographer and an allegedly sexy shoot with Fabio. Yes, 47-year-old Fabio posed with girls as young as 18 for the fake cover of a romance novel.

In my opinion, simply asking us to believe that somewhere in the world, Fabio is considered sexy is nearly unfathomable; asking us to buy that while he’s posing lecherously with adolescents is as delusional as pretending that Tyra is the next Oprah — or Annie Leibowitz, for that matter.

Over on “Dancing with the Stars,” meanwhile, the delusions were just as easy to count: one, Joey Lawrence’s feeling that a sleeveless button-down gold shirt might be a strong sartorial move; two, the audience’s collective roar of laughter whenever Jerry Springer said things that were almost, but not quite, funny; three, Jerry’s parting comment that the dancers remaining on the show were going to be “the superstars of the future.”

Don’t get me wrong — I think they’re all shockingly agile and quite adorable in their dedication to the show. But phrases like “starring Angelina Jolie and Joey Lawrence” or “featuring Brad Pitt and Monique Coleman” simply don’t roll off the tongue.

“Survivor,” meanwhile, gave us a bunch of cobbled-together footage of the tribes up until now — some scenes were new, some all too familiar. Which meant, of course, that it essentially could have been called a “delusional highlights reel.”

We got to revisit Billy, the heavy metal musician, mistaking Candice’s reassurance that the tribe still loved him for a mutual declaration of love at first sight; JP consoling Stephannie about being voted off minutes before his own ousting and a series of extradited people claiming they were totally cool with having been humiliated and rejected by a group of their peers on national television.

And how could it be any other way? Brains that say, “Hey, a good way to make a million dollars might be to go on ‘Survivor’" or “This will definitely launch my acting career” don’t tend to belong to people known for their tremendous self-awareness.

Thank God — or we might have to find another source for entertainment.

Anna David has been on staff at Premiere and Parenting magazines and wrote a sex and relationship column for Razor. She’s done celebrity cover stories, first-person essays and reported pieces for The L.A. Times, Vanity Fair, Cosmo, People, Us Weekly, Redbook, Self, Details, Stuff, TV Guide, Women’s Health, Ocean Drive, Vegas, The Saturday Telegraph, Esquire UK, Teen Vogue, Variety, The New York Post, LA Confidential, Distinction, Calabasas, Tatler (Hong Kong), King, Fade In, Emmy and Maxim, among others.

She’s the sex expert on G4’s Attack of the Show, appears regularly on Reality Remix (FOX's Reality Network) and the "Today" show and has also been on "The Best Damn Sports Show Period," "The Other Half," "Cold Pizza," "The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life," CNN, E!, and VH1. Her first novel, "Party Girl," is coming out in July 2007 from Regan Books (HarperCollins).

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