We know from years of careful America’s Next Top Model viewing that people who are pretty for a living are ripe for eminently watchable drama. (And don’t even get us started on the genius that was MTV’s all-too-short-lived reality show 8th & Ocean. Identical twins competing for jobs! Models for Christ!) But scripted dramas about models never seem to catch on with the masses (R.I.P. Models Inc.), and the latest noble effort in this subgenre, The CW’s The Beautiful Life, has now earned the ugly First Cancellation of the Fall distinction. It had its share of pre-season difficulties thanks to the hospitalization of star Mischa Barton, but it had potential, too: Sara Paxton’s nice-girl It Girl, Ben Hollingsworth’s shirtlessness, Mischa Barton’s meta storyline about being a onetime hot commodity who dropped out of sight for mysterious reasons. It was no Vampire Diaries, but it seemed like a guilty enough pleasure to pair with Top Model on Wednesday nights. Then again, maybe that was the problem: No fictionalized pretty people can compete with the real-life fascination that Top Model engenders, from massive meltdowns over minor haircuts to model wannabes who are almost absurdly unique (contestants have brought to light everything from genital mutilation to transgender issues to Asperger’s Syndrome) to Tyra’s every antic (being a Mama Bear confidante one moment, pretending to be a robot the next, etc.).
What do you think, PopWatchers? Should The CW have given the Beautiful people longer to prove themselves? Do you think the series showed potential, or are we better off with reruns of Melrose after Top Model? Why do we hate watching actors pretend to be models, even when we love real people trying to be models?