The Remote: ‘America’s Next Top Model’ is at its dumbest — and best

Ryan Pait

Quick confession: I’ve seen way more episodes of “America’s Next Top Model” than any sane person probably should.

It’s my TV white noise.

There’s something really comforting to me about hearing aspiring models try to undermine each other and say they’re not there to make friends with each other.

The show, which started in 2003 and is now in its 20th “cycle,” is spearheaded by Tyra Banks.

It started out as a somewhat legitimate experiment. The first few seasons made it seem like Banks was intent on turning out working fashion models.

The girls were put through pretty extensive training in walking, posing and other skills that models should probably have.

As the show has aged, however, there’s been less and less of this. The show sheds more and more legitimacy with each installment.

Because really, how many America’s next top models can there be?

However, this loss of legitimacy is rewarding for the TV viewer.

As “America’s Next Top Model” continues to get dumber and dumber, it makes for better TV.

Now the would-be models are put through nearly constant exercises in embarrassment.

There’s also been some scrambling to make the show seem fresh. Watching the standard groups of girls get narrowed from 13 to one can get repetitive.

So Banks and Co. have introduced themes for the more recent cycles. These themes have included an “All Stars” cycle, a “British Invasion” cycle and a “College” cycle.

But “Top Model” may have hit a new zenith with its current cycle, which introduces a twist — male models.

If “All Stars” and “British Invasion” weren’t already nonsensical enough, this is what we get now.

And it’s surprisingly amusing.

There’s constant bickering over whether a girl or guy will win, romance (gross) and challenges that are even crazier than before.

This cycle has seen the wannabe-models catwalk down the side of a building and do underwater runway walks. Photo shoots have included nail art and Honey Boo Boo-like figures as centerpieces. Fashion!

It’s a far cry from what the show used to be, but I kind of like how far it’s devolved. “America’s Next Top Model” hasn’t been about fashion for a while now, so why even try at all anymore?

The contestants are also as ridiculous as ever.

There’s Chris H., who makes a pretty terrible (or terrific?) first impression by punching one of his housemates in the testicles.

There’s Jourdan, the 19-year-old from Nowhereville, Oregon who was married and divorced at age 18 and has never experienced culture before.

Then there’s Marvin, the son of a janitor from the Bronx who falls in love with a fellow contestant — and he may just take the prize. It’s your classic self-made man story, à la Benjamin Franklin.

And these aren’t even the fringy contestants who go home early — these are the show’s crème de la crème competitors.

Jourdan and Marvin will battle their fellow finalist, Cory, to see who could be on top this Friday.

And you can bet I’ll be tuned in to it.

“Top Model” is scraping the bottom, but that may just finally put it on top.