Oh, the canon debate. Since the very first director's cut of a film was released, fangirls and boys have spent oodles of time on the net arguing about what is and isn't canon to their favorite piece of pop culture. Are deleted scenes part of the story? Or have they been deleted for a narrative reason? Do external forms of the work, like Buffy's "Season Eight" comics count as part of the world of the story? Do spin offs? And now that we are in the hyper-techno driven twitter age, do the remarks of a show runner/director/writer actor mean something if it doesn't match up to all that we have been given on the screen? When Ryan Murphy says that Tate was bullied or when JK Rowling says that Dumbeldore was gay, is this in fact now a part of the story? Normally, I kind of love these debates and usually tend to fall on the side that believes that every piece of information counts. But that's fiction. What about reality?
Until this week, I never gave reality show canon much thought. I mean, obviously there is a TON that goes on that we don't see, but I usually take everything with a grain of salt. I think most people do. But this week, America's Next Top Model threw us for a loop that makes me re-think the whole thing. In the last minutes of the finale, we learned that Angelea was disqualified and that the ending was being re-done in Los Angeles months later. A quick search of the web shows that Angelea told the world who the final three were on her Facebook page and that she was, in fact the winner. Not only did this get her booted, but it changed the entire course of the show so that Lisa was crowned America's Next Top Model. And poor Allison went on to lose for the third time. Yeah, that must have been fun.
Here's the thing. This isn't the first time that rule breaking has caused a disqualification on a reality show. Project Runway, The Next Food Network Star and The Great Food Truck Race have all kicked off contestants for cheating/lying/not abiding by laws of the land. But every time it has happened, it has been DURING the course of the show, not AFTER it has finished wrapping. For a good while, Angelea was the winner of ANTM. And then suddenly, she wasn't. So when we look back at this season, who will we consider the victor? Do we forget that based on the body of work, the judges did like Angelea the best? Or do we just take what aired at face value and let it go? What is the canon of this show?
The answer is....I don't know. I think I'll probably always remember that Angelea was supposed to win this season. Sure Lisa will pop up next year to tell our contestants about the newest Cover Girl product, but I won't be able to shake the fact that the judges wanted someone else. I'm sure Angelea's parents are telling her that she's still the winner in their eyes. And they might be right. What makes all of this confusing is that there is no one to give us the answer. In the land of fiction there is a head honcho, be it a show runner/director/writer who can tell us we are nuts for considering something canon. What do we have here? Tyra? I'm sorry but if she tells me anything, I'm going with the opposite. Woman is a few fries short of a happy meal.
Ultimately, I'm viewing this as a bit of a chose your own adventure game. If you wanted Angelea to win, she did. If you wanted Lisa to win, she did. And if you are like me and wanted Laura to win, this whole season is a sham and she totally took the prize. Yup, that's what I'm going with. Reality show canon problem solved.