Monday, March 15, 2010

Guilty Pleasure: Model City

So I don’t like blogging much about television (especially since I work nights and can't keep up with the latest stuff) but a new show has seized my attention.

I’ve been watching this show on Centric (BLASPHEMY!) called Model City. Now, before I go any further, let me just say that I completely abhor anything BET related and while they changed the name of the network, “a rose by any other name is still a rose” …

And secondly, I highly detest reality shows so this is a confession from deep within my soul!

That said, I must admit the show piqued my interest solely because of Zeric, the extremely bold and inspirational SGL model who brazenly kissed his boyfriend during the opening episode at a social mixer. However, as I continued to watch the subsequent episodes, I realized that this show was a bit more interesting than I realized. I’ve always poked fun at Java-Mama for watching America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway but in retrospect, those were educational shows for “normies” like me who know nothing about the modeling industry. Nevertheless, something has been missing …

Model City takes a fresh look at the modeling business via the perspective of several male models from Red Model Management, a modeling agency that promotes models of an “urban facade.” Translation: black and Latino models. While I don’t care much for good looking guys, parading around showing off their chiseled bodies and “look-how-hot-I-am” faces, it is a nice escape from the reality of full-time school and full-time work! Surprisingly, these models each have fascinating back stories and some are a bit more multifaceted and profound than I initially suspected.

Ibrahim, the veteran model and Mekhi Phifer's love child, is highly experienced and the most stable of the group. He is in a committed relationship with his girlfriend and has aspirations of being an artist following his career. What I like the most is his honesty when it comes to the issue of race in the modeling industry (we see this during a photo shoot with mostly white models and the photographer continually calls him ‘Abraham’). He’s incredibly straightforward and never holds back. Unfortunately, he loses points because of his sometimes subtle rivalry with Wendell.

When I saw the promo shots for the show, I was amazed at how attractive Wendell was but now after a few episodes, I think his arrogant attitude is (like Keri Hilson says) “turnin’ me off.” Wendell is just as experienced as Ibrahim and has risen up the ranks fast. Nevertheless, he admits to working best independently and displays his “holier-than-thou” manner every chance he gets. He is moving in with his model girlfriend but neglects to tell his mom. Is it me or does the mother/son relationship seemed severely strained?

The last two models featured on the opening credits are Zeric and Nelson. Zeric shows up toward the end of the first episode in response to an opening casting call at Red. Zeric oozes confidence, sexuality and masculinity and audaciously brings his boy to a mixer. While I’m pleased to see an SGL man represented on a BET network no less, I think after his scene-grabbing comment regarding Nelson’s private member, I’m about done with him.

Nelson, another semi-experienced model who has worked with K-Swiss and Sean John, represents the Latino portion of the show and though he’s in a solid relationship with his girl, he looks to Ibrahim for inspiration and guidance in the business as well as his relationship. However, I lumped Zeric and Nelson’s descriptions together because they ended up getting into a ridiculous argument at a promo party featuring top photographers, clients and models on 5th Ave which began over Zeric’s offhand comment regarding Nelson’s member. Seriously, people, how old are we?

There are other models such as Salieu, a West African model who doesn’t seem to get much screen time (so far), and Henry, a new recruit who has a fresh boy-next-door look. Unfortunately, Henry's desire to drop out of college to pursue modeling doesn’t sit well with me but makes for good television drama. On a side note, many promo photos for the show I found around the net feature additional models who have yet to make an appearance (not sure what's going on there).

I don't care much for shows about models and even less for the reality show concept (no thanks to the Flavor Flav series). I know that reality shows are just as staged as anything else on TV but this one has me captivated for a while and I think the topic (black male urban models) is exceptionally refreshing.

Nevertheless, I’ve a habit for ditching shows when they get too outrageous or don’t go the way I want (Crossing Jordan, Smallville, Rescue Me, Nip/Tuck, The Real World). However, I also have been known to jump on the bandwagon after a few seasons (Desperate Housewives, True Blood, DS9, Law & Order SVU, Angel).

The verdict? I’m as fickle as the next TV viewer so I’m going to take this one episode at a time …

I think it’s on Thursdays at 8 PM but since I watch everything via my DVR, I’m not sure exactly when anything actually airs so check out for showtimes and tell me what you think of the show!

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