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Thursday, October 26, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #4

Rowr. Sssssssss.
The tension builds this week at the Module Mansion as benevolence turns to malevolence and nice becomes ice. We're reminded that it doesn't matter how pretty, poised and skinny you are – mixing dumb with evil always makes a volatile home brew. This is Whore Wars Episode 4: The Panty Menace.

· We're lulled into a false sense of girly fun as the modules let off steam by lining up some mattresses on the staircase of the Mansion and sliding down them, all the while screaming like a stove full of easily-pleased kettles. Ain't no Scrabble or book-learnin' in this house – when these girls are bored, they chuck themselves off the stairs.

· A Tyra-mail summons the girls all the way to the backyard for a challenge, where they're met by Miss Jay, who is resplendent in a white blouse and black tutu, curtsying on a tightrope. That's the brilliant, life-affirming thing about ANTM challenges – they make sentences like that possible. Realism: no. Sadistic, random activities designed with humiliation and physical injury in mind – Lord, yes. I'm starting a foundation to ensure that this show is preserved for future generations. Brooke remarks that "Miss Jay is soooooo fabulous", and even though she's speaking from the heart, it still sounds like she's translating some semi-obscured hieroglyphics. This week's theme is 'Balance and Posture', and the modules are asked to walk the wire whilst still showing emotion. Shouldn't be too hard, provided you include "Oh, f*ck, I'm gonna die" in your definition of 'emotion'. Caridee comments that she "can't even walk a straight line when I'm dead sober", and then proves it (emotions shown: fear, hilarity, concentration). Eugena the Boring mistakes "tightrope" for "flatline" (emotions shown: ennui, drug-induced coma), and one of the twins is unsure about the whole situation, saying "my sister's feet are really flat-feeted". Um…. honey? That probably means yours are, too. And you're like, really articulant and that. Melrose does perfectly on the wire, and we're reminded of the brimming Melrose/Monique war as Monique looks on, squinting with jealous rage like an angry powerpoint. Monique doesn't do so badly herself at first, but then falls after a quick maniacal giggle (emotions shown: jealousy, mental illness). Pointless. But good.

· We move back inside to the Gladiatorial Arena Du Jour – the phone-room.
In one corner:
Melrose the Mauler
Physical advantage: Butter wouldn't melt in mouth.
Special skills: Very, very big eyes. Crowd favourite. Not certifiably insane.

And in the other:
Mogadon Monique
Physical advantage: Looks like a mean bitch.
Special skills: Obvious mental disability. Excess of bodily juices. Spawn of Satan.

Melrose calls her mother in the phone-room, primarily to tell her about her new enemy, Monique. With impeccable timing and an impressive cat's-bum mouth, Monique storms into the room, wailing that she had already called dibs on the first phonecall. Unmoved, Melrose slams the door. On Monique's arse. See, girls usually don't get violent, because we're too good at storing up hatred until it pours forth, like so much bitter green bile, in caustic verbal tirades. We haven't had much practice at the physical stuff, so when we do decide to get violent, it's… it's… what's the word…. pathetic. And hilarious. No punching. Not even a bitch-slap or a good, old-fashioned eye-gouge. Slammed a door on her arse. Choice. Phonecall over, the two adversaries squeeze past each other in the kitchen and bring out an old schoolyard scrag-fight classic: the Narrow Pass With "Accidental" Shoulder-Charge. When Monique finally gets a turn on the phone for a maternal whine, she declares "Mama, I'm gonna f*ck her up! Excuse my French". That's one loopy mother/daughter relationship. La Umbilicus Diabolique.

· The Monique/Melrose fracas escalates, and like two axolotls in a tank, they circle and scowl, causing the other Mansion inmates to observe from a distance with an increasingly nervous sense of anticipation. Monique and Eugena the Boring, who is fast becoming Monique's ever-willing flunky, do their hair in the bathroom and plot nasty things. Monique explains in her increasingly slurry, seemingly crack-induced drawl, that she's going to wipe her dirty panties on Melrose's bed while she's sleeping. This is disturbing in a number of ways – firstly, that this is the second time Monique has initiated a crotch-based attack on her nemesis, the first being the Hoo-Hoo Dew incident from last week. Secondly, Monique seems to be convinced that her bodily juices (which are, it would seem, in plentiful supply) are heinous and repugnant enough to be used as a substance of torture on the unworthy. She has a Funky Fanny, and she's not afraid to use it. Sneaking into the bedroom, she wipes the fetid garment on Melrose's doona, to the horror and incredulity of the other modules. In their eyes, Monique has now crossed over from 'Nutty Gal' to 'Hide The Knives'. Jaeda worries that Monique may chop up all their clothes, whilst Anchal, possibly alluding to some benign childhood trauma, is scared that she might throw lemonade at them. Because, of course, lemonade would be much worse than panty-muck. The Whore War incites much conversation amongst the modules, and somebody suggests that Monique might just be trying to seek some attention. You think? That's like saying that Paul McCartney's ex-wife might be a little bit of a bitch.

· An ad-break, and I'm thrilled to see that Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag is advertising for next season's auditions. Skinny junkies with lank hair and attitude problems: coming soon to a shopping centre near you.

· Our modules are trolleyed off in the Ditz-Wagon to meet Miss Jay at a… place. With cobblestones. I couldn't really concentrate on the location, because every synapse in my body was firing in response to Miss Jay's massive frou-frou baby-doll dress complete with masquerade mask. I think s/he's trying to seek some attention. Jay introduces Bre from series 5 of ANTM, and despite the fact that she was quite certainly a one-woman panorama of drama in her own time, whenever past modules come back to haunt present series, it's an exercise in yawn. She's there to demonstrate her 'signature walk', which still looks like she's channelling a feisty pony with bunions. There's a line drawn along the cobblestones, and the modules have to do a quick-change into gowns, heels and masks, and - this is the challenging bit that separates modules from mortals – WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE. I know. I know. It's like what they do at NASA. Unsurprisingly, due to the high degree of difficulty, a lot of the girls suck at their task. The twins in particular appear even more gangly and awkward than usual, even though you'd think their wingnut ears would provide at least some kind of balancing influence. AJ, who I'm inviting over for fondue soon, is a clear contender as she storms down the makeshift runway with ease and attitude. How does she master such a complex feat of co-ordination? She explains: "I'm a natural walker. My feet just go one in front of the other". I can't believe she'd just let her secret out like that. Melrose stops just short of gracing us with the sound of splintering tibia, Anchal is either drunk or controlled by someone who's drunk, and Caridee (there's a fondue fork for you too, sweetie) is reasonably good, if a little melodramatic and theatrical. Just stop and turn at the end, hon. No need to mime the complete works of Barbara Cartland.

· AJ is informed to the surprise of nobody that she has won the challenge, and that her prize consists of picking two other modules to join her in the Dennis Quaid Charity Fashion Show (oxymoronically tantamount in my mind to the Big Kev Book Of Healthy Heart Recipes) in Texas. She picks Caridee and Megg, who responds with "Yeeeeeah!! Rock and rolllll! This is so RAD!!", which reminds me to add 'vomit bucket' to my list of Things To Buy When Next At Bunnings. I've long had a theory: if a clothes shop has the word "fashion" in its name, one is guaranteed not to find anything fashionable inside. If you have to keep telling people you're something, then you're patently not. Consequently, if you have to keep screeching "ROCK AND RAAAWWWLLL", at the top of your voice, you've probably got Celine Dion's back catalogue on your iPod. The three girls fly to Texas and meet Dennis Quaid, who is quite obviously enamoured with Caridee's norks, backstage at the show. Other modules taking part in the parade are all has-beens from previous series of ANTM. It's a charity do, after all. They were young, and they needed the runway. Our girls are flung down the catwalk, and AJ is born for this shit – and she knows it. "Yeah, I'm badass", she exclaims, and I re-think my fashion boutique theory. Because she is. She's badass. Megg is woeful. The momentum generated from her oversized bottom teeth seems to just drag her down the runway, and her dropped-pie-like excuse of a face just comes along for the ride. Caridee is, and it breaks my heart to say so, awful. She doesn't strut so much as have a bit of a fit in slow-motion, like De Niro in Awakenings, but without the stripy pyjamas and three-day growth. Never mind. She pretty.

· Monique, not happy that the focus has been removed from her in favour of Sane People With Personal Hygeine, falls desperately ill. Well, she speaks slowly, sweats, and keeps a bucket by the bed. Every season somebody gets sick, but they always assume the persona of Module Martyr and soldier through photo-shoots and such. Every season someone is rushed to hospital, sirens wailing, and hooked up to something which makes them feel better, and then whooshed back to the Module Mansion in time for their next meaningful task, to awed whispers of "She's so brave", and "Is that puke on her shirt?". Monique is a freakin' amateur. In the style of Tyra, of course: Worst. Fake. Sickie. Ever. It almost looks like she walks herself to hospital, where she lies down for a minute, and then walks home. Diagnosis: Dehydrated. Melrose blames "bad energy", but I reckon being Beelzebub's sex slave can make a girl feel a bit crook, too.

· The next morning, the modules are summoned to this week's photo shoot. Monique somehow manages to gather the strength to haul her arse into the Wagon, and the girls are met by Jay, who introduces them to designer/photographer Charlie. They're told that they'll be doing a mock-up runway show, and have to look poised and photo-worthy at all times, as the photographer will be in the makeshift 'media pen', snapping away. Monique has a sudden attack of the flutters, and decides she's going to take the car home and sit on her arse instead of undertaking the shoot, because she's so weak. What's that, Monique? You're weak? Why didn't you say so before? And again? Over and over?

· The final part of the photo-shoot challenge is revealed: the runway is actually a series of blocks all strung together. Floating. In a pool. Bless, you writers and producers. You continue to Rock. My. World. Megg pumps her fist with excitement and I gag up a piece of dinner. The audience, fresh from an audition at a cut-price drag show, file in and take their seats, and we're on. Brooke stops at the end of the runway and does what I first think is a little dance, but then realise is the flailing, desperate movements of Plain Girl On Surfboard. Jaeda makes the swift transition from Muscular Man to Muscular Man With Inner-Ear Infection, and Anchal is laughable. The girls are not helped at all by the fact that they're trying to "rock" frocks straight from Dynasty: The Linda Evans Years. Caridee manages to walk the whole length of the runway with her left tit hanging out – instead of feeling like a right tit, she storms on through regardless, and the pixel pixies have a field day. Megg seems to be asleep, prompting me to do same, but AJ predictably sets the floating catwalk on fire. Twins Michelle and Amanda again scrub up surprisingly well, but still manage to look like anaemic monkeys on skates. Eugena summons the Patron Saint of Windmills, then promptly plunks herself into the water, scraping some flesh off her knee in the process, and Melrose is confident. The modules all come out at once for a finale walk, and the moment goes down as one of the snot-shooting funniest things I've seen all week. Picture a suburban shopping-centre marionette show in which the puppets are all made out of toilet-rolls and pipe-cleaners, add some class A drugs and a wind machine, and you're there. Side-splitting.

· Monique sits at home lamenting her fate, and introduces this series' First Bible Reading. At some point a module will always refer to the gospel to get her through the hard times, because we all know that God Loves Fashion. Doesn't it say in Naomi 15: "and He tried on the pink Manolos, and yea, they were good". Very few modules have done a reading quite as dramatically as Monique, though – on a banana lounge by the pool, in a floppy hat, with a single, glistening tear rolling down her face. I was expecting her to writhe, hiss and scream "It BUUURRRNS!", but I was sadly disappointed.

· ELIMINATION: I have to, of course, start with Tyra's outfit. Better than in previous weeks, but still evidence that last night's chicken WILL NOT be crammed happily into The Size Tyra Still Thinks She Is In Her Head, we're inflicted with a light blue corset which has the unfortunate habit of squashing Tyra's boosies into captive things the size of dinner plates. Poooooor Tyra's boosies. Twiggy, Miss Jay and Spunky Nigel, who I'm making bikkies in the shape of, are all there (surprise!), with guest judge Charlie the Photographer. Today's elimination challenge is to show the judges a signature walk whilst balancing a fruit bowl on your head, which is why watching this show should be made Federal Law. Suffice to say, fruit (including Miss Jay) starts bouncing all over the place, with few highlights other than Caridee getting rid of the fruit and wearing the bowl as a hat. I have to say at this point: Our Man Jaeda looks like she could bench-press a Mustang. That is all.

· Photos are picked through, and Monique is asked why she didn't complete the shoot. "I'm really sick and really weak", she moans, and the judges give her crap about it. Nigel tells Brooke that she's "a bit of a fruit and nut", which doesn't mean much, but anything which comes from Nigel's mouth is fine with me. The judges tell Eugena that her eyes are dead in photos, which is nothing compared to the pus-oozing, yellow-with-death appearance of her manky runway injury. Ew.

· The judges deliberate, and an event occurs. This event makes me want to crawl back into the womb. We'll call it the Great Episode Four Calypso Debacle, and then we'll try to forget it ever happened. I hate to espouse the potential infringement of copyright, but seriously – YouTube. Go. Whilst discussing Monique, Miss Jay decides to sing his opinion, "She don't wanna be here", Negro Spiritual Style, prompting all judges to thud on the table in time, repeating the "chorus" again and again. Tyra, sniffing the faint scent of Time To Be A Freak, imagines she has a soulful voice and starts embellishing the basic melody with trills, grunts, and wwwwoooooooahs, and dances her great, gelatinous mound of a body around the desk. If this song is released as a single, I'm shooting myself in the stomach. It goes on for too long, and then it just keeps on going. You know that look people get on their faces when they're watching their drunk septuagenarian auntie hoik up her skirt and dance the Macarena at a wedding? Go there.

· Time for the fall of the axe, and the modules' names are tiresomely read out one by one, until only Monique the Merciless and Eugena the Boring remain. Tyra gouges Monique with the fact that she doesn't want it enough, and implies that perhaps she wasn't all that sick. Eugena gets a roasting about how cocky she is, even though she's nowhere near as good as past contestants. Then, in a move sure to take the psychotic thrill out of all future episodes, Monique is sent home. She comments that the "whole time here was a waste", adding 'Ungrateful Troll' to her already heaving resume. Bye, Monique! Don't scare any nuns on your way out.

Next week: All the modules cram into the shower at once, Anchal sobs with insecurity, and Melrose turns sour as her Boss of the Mansion reign crumbles. Soap. Mope. Misanthrope.

1 comment:

shellity said...

I think you might be going to hell. Probably in some very nice shoes.