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Thursday, November 09, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #6

Ummmm…. like… ummmm…. so… ummmm….
This week proves something we've all suspected for some time: modules doesn't talk good. I've only really said this to boyfriends before, but - don't speak, honey. Just stand there and look pretty. Here is, for want of a whole lot of better words, the 'I'm Bringing Syntax Back' episode of America's Next Top Module.

· Caridee is my new heroine. She may even be my new heroin, I'm so addicted to her. I'm thinking of making her my new heron, too, but that would just be silly. If that had been anyone else strumming guitar and singing ballads in the moonlight whilst other modules listened wistfully, it might have been a cheesy moment, instead of just being deeply, profoundly irrelevant.

· The modules busy themselves discussing the differences between the Twins (I have a twin sister myself, and I spend all my time telling her how pretty she is), commenting that Michelle is more outgoing (or perhaps out-coming?), whereas Amanda is more withdrawn. Suddenly Michelle drops a gentle, pink-hued bombshell, starting with "I've never had a boyfriend", and finishing with "I might be gay. I don't know". Her horoscope today reads: Gemini: People will be able to tell you and your sister apart from now on. Some girls are shocked (including Brooke, who instantly does a natty impersonation of a blow-up doll), but Jaeda succinctly summarises Michelle's bi-curiosity with "she might be straddling the fence". There's just too many jokes there. I give up. Amanda freaks out a little and Michelle tries to comfort her with "I told you before… right..?". Dunno about you, but if I was gay, I'd probably tell my sister about it before announcing it on camera to eight squillion viewers. Maybe I'm just weird.

· It's Tyra-Mail time, and the girls hoof it to a television studio where they're met by Mark Steines, the host of Entertainment Tonight who looks like he's been carved out of a block of Cliché Wax. He's there to teach the modules some interviewing skills, the sum total of which is the instruction "Ask a question. Get an answer". Coming soon: Mark's book about boxing, called Hit 'Em Till They Fall Down, and his rifle-safety leaflet Stick Goes Bang!. Each girl then has a turn at interviewing Mark, to show what they've just "learned". Caridee, who's allowed to read my diary, goes first, and cements her position as My New Best Friend when she checks the label on Mark's jacket and says "Who are you wearing? Oh! Mary-Kate And Ashley!". Brooke, who usually sounds like she's reading from a cue-card through a Quaalude anyway, does reasonably well, although she looks like she's doing a piece for Good Morning Stepford. Jaeda dissolves into giggles, presumably at how much more masculine than Mark she is. Amanda becomes Ummmmanda, and AJ starts badly with "How's it going", and then gallops swiftly downhill by breaking into hives. She chalks up her failure to her inability to "probe people", perhaps forgetting to add the phrase "without the aid of a flick-knife". Badass. It's Melrose's turn at last, and she steps gleefully into the spotlight, instantly making Mark her bitch. She's bloody made for this, which figures – the girls I hate are always so freakin' good at stuff. I'm sure that's not why I hate them, though. I'm not competitive at all. I bet, in a competition to find the least competitive person in the world, I'd kick everyone else's arse. I'm not alone in maligning Melrose, though – the other modules scowl and roll their eyes behind her back, nicknaming her "Smellrose". It's like parliament, this is.

· Challenge time, and the modules are dragged to Geoff Thomas Designs for a red-carpet jewellery launch. Mark Steines meets them and tells them they'll take it in turns to listen to him through an earpiece and interview a celebrity on the carpet as they enter. Sounds easy, until we realise that the "celebrity" is none other than Princess Polyurethane herself, Janice Dickinson, in a triumphant return to the only show in which she makes sense as a human being. She makes her entrance over and over again, accosted each time by a different stammering module in the most awkward series of interviews since Martin Bashir dropped in on Neverland. For some reason Caridee tells Janice she's "over-pungent", and then kicks herself in the diary room, unaware of the fact that it's probably a pretty accurate descriptor considering what usually happens when human flesh and synthetic materials rub together. Brooke learns a quick lesson when she opens with "So… what makes you so bitchy?", and Janice just walks away from her. Anchal has trouble with the whole microphone-to-speaking-person's-mouth concept, pointing it towards herself when she's listening and nodding. Eugena's interview is interrupted when a pigeon craps on Janice's shoulder, and Twin Michelle gets the jewellery designer's name wrong, which Janice finds hilarious. You can tell, because her face doesn't change. Amanda stutters, and Janice refuses to speak to AJ whilst she insists on wearing a moth-eaten homeless-person's beanie which resembles an unfortunate pair of medieval underpants. Janice remarks that she wouldn't wipe her car with the hat, harsh criticism from someone who lets her personal assistant inject botulism under her eyelids. AJ breaks out in hives again, like lots of red, inflamed full-stops at the end of lots of bad, disjointed sentences. Melrose, just to spite me, is really good, but Jaeda's entire interview consists of her muttering "So, um….. so…. um….. DAMN!". Melrose wins the challenge, and her prize consists of interviewing celebrities on the red carpet for ET at some random awards do. That's a prize, see. Not a job that everyone else would get paid for. A prize. All the other modules make faces like they've just tasted Windex.

· It's time for this week's Groundhog moment – as per every series, it's the Tyra One-On-One Chat, otherwise known as the 'First I'll Talk About Me, Then You Cry' segment. Tyra visits the Module Mansion and explains her worthiness as a mentor by announcing "I have done this career backwards and forwards – I know the ins and outs", and my eye starts twitching from all the slutty innuendo that rushes to my frontal lobe all at once. She starts the girl-on-girl chats, and draws out some information so shocking I'm reminded of last Thursday, when I ran out of staples. AJ likes to keep to herself, because she finds Melrose abrasive. Smelrose's heart beats faster when Tyra is around (perhaps straddling a few fences yourself, Mel?), and she's convinced that all the other girls are intimidated by her. Eugena admits she has to work on the emotion in her pictures, which is like Keith Urban admitting he doesn't mind a shandy after a gig. Caridee does actually surprise us, revealing that three months ago seventy-five percent of her body was covered in psoriasis, and that she's a photographer. Tyra tries to imply that perhaps Caridee, being a crusty kind of girl, hides behind the camera because she's scared to be in front of it. Whatever, Tyra. Eat some chicken. Michelle is told that she seems to be flowering and opening up, which is probably a euphemism for recently coming over all Leslie. Amanda has a good cry, saying that she's scared for her sister and what coming out on telly might mean for her. Tyra, with the sensitivity of a lanced boil, rushes in with "I cry, y'know. I cried yesterday. I cried for Two. Hours". Pooooor Tyra. I know, I know. Running out of Nutella can really suck.

· Buoyed by her pep-talk, Michelle decides to call her mother to let her know her chances of grandchildren have just been considerably reduced. It's just one of those ho-hum television scenarios – you know – same old story, watching identical twins in a modelling competition sit in a diary room whilst one of them comes out to their mother. It's actually almost a touching moment, as the Twins' mother sounds like the kind of person for whom band-aids, milk, cookies and gay empathy are all things she keeps in the top drawer, just in case. She reacts with "Don't fret. I love you, no matter what". Ooooooh – we love you too, Mrs Twin. You rock. Then, to end the phonecall, Michelle speaks three words which have so far made this episode for me. The timing, the context, the delivery – everything. Just before hanging up, Gay Michelle says "Happy Mothers' Day". Brilliant. It's freakin' Mothers Day, and Michelle comes out. Nothing says I love you like a bunch of flowers, a box of chocolates, and your daughter announcing her penchant for other people's daughters. Hallmark may not have a card for that one.

· Melrose claims her red-carpet prize, and microphone in scrawny, self-obsessed hand, interviews some E-list celebrities (including Tyra) on a red carpet somewhere. She finds exactly the right mix of vacuousness and helium to really excel, and this segment is as interesting as shopping for grout.

· A Tyra-Mail tells the girls that for this week's photo shoot, they'll be working 'with the person who knows you best'. Jay meets them and tells them they'll be posing with their Photo-shopped selves as celebrity couples. I have to retract a statement I made a few weeks ago about the Extreme Hair photo shoot. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the stupidest, STUPIDEST idea for a photo shoot EVER. Each girl will be dressed and made-up as one half of a celebrity couple and photographed, then dressed and made-up as the other half and photographed, and the separate images will be digitally merged. Dear. Sweet. God. I've never seen a segment in this show which required a make-up artist to provide a bag of fake five-o'clock-shadow before. I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or order a bronze commemorative plaque.

· Eugena the Boring is Jay-Z (nose widened, eyebrows embushened, wigged, capped), and Beyonce (diva-fied, long wig, trampy frock). She is, in a word, boring.
Anchal is Oprah (red dress, curves emphasised, bad wig) and Steadman (curly wig, moustache, costume straight out of the dress-up box at Caringbah Primary). She does okay as Oprah, including smiling for the first time in the whole series, but as Steadman she comes across a bit like a Punjabi Mr Kotter. I am so disturbed.
Caridee is Brad (fake stubble, aviator sunglasses, cap, toddlers in tow) and Angelina (full lips, dark hair, sunglasses, baby strapped to breast). She gives great Brad, but as Angelina she's the absolute business. Angelina wishes. Jay loves her, and possibly even turns straight for a second. Hot.

· AJ is Marc Antony (short hair, fake stubble, non-descript suit) and J-Lo (enhanced buttockage, glamour frock, wig). She looks spookily like Marc Antony, and as J-Lo she makes a great Jessica Simpson. She spends the whole shoot wearing an expression which reads "this is f*cking stupid", proving that she's way to smart to be a module. It shows, unfortunately.
Brooke is, with unfortunate timing, Britney (long wig, skanky outfit, real live white python) and Kevin Federline (corn-rows, stubble). She does a better Kev than Kev does, and then looks absolutely nothing like Britney. Like, she's thin, hot, and doesn't have taco in her teeth. As Jay says (and as Liz Smylie shouldn't), she's sassy.

· Jaeda is Whitney (wig, spangly dress) and Bobby (yellow sunglasses, gold chains, angular hair). I'm stunned as some actual personality and confidence is displayed – as Bobby (aka Grace Jones), she pops, locks, and runs the running man right outta town. As Whitney, she got soul. No suitcase full of weed, though. This ain't no airport.

· Michelle, in the most obvious writer decision since Scott & Charlene's wedding, is Ellen (suit, sneakers, short blonde wig), and Portia (sparkly gown, long blonde wig). She's convincing as Ellen, but much, much more modelly as Portia. Art imitates life again.
Amanda is Demi (a-la Charlie's Angels in black bikini and long dark wig) and Ashton (again, fake stubble and a baseball cap). Unfortunately for Amanda, no-one on earth is prettier than Ashton, but she does a damn fine Demi.

· Melrose disappoints again by being pretty freakin' good. She's Donald Trump (bad wig, scowl, suit), and Melania Trump (blonde wig, vacant I-don't-like-sex-anymore expression), and rocks every frame. She gets a laugh or two with her funny Donald face and funny Donald voice, and decides to milk it for all it's worth, hamming to camera "Melrose will be America's Next Top Model, or else you're fired". Really. The girl could write for Humphrey B Bear. Sensing that she didn't murder any of the English language in her last sentence, she adds "I feel alone – these girls are intimidated of me".

· Judgement time, and the modules board the Enterprise to face the judges, including Spunky Nigel, who I'm flossing my teeth for, Tyra, Twiggy, Miss Jay, and Matthew the photographer. Tyra has shoe-horned herself into quite a decent dark satin corseted shirt-dress, and her boobs look like two battery piglets. A mini-challenge is posed – each module is to watch footage from last season's finale party and give some commentary like they're presenting an entertainment show, or possibly flogging a dead horse. We get it. They can't talk. Move on. Anchal, Jaeda, AJ and Amanda are dreadful, but after Brooke figures out which end of the microphone is up, she does okay. Eugena calls Miss Jay a "trashbag", and Melrose does predictably and painfully well.

· Photographs are picked over – everyone drools over Caridee-as-Angelina, including Nigel, which is something I'll have to chat to her about. Friends don't steal friends' imaginary television boyfriends. That's the rules. Brooke-as-Federline is commended on her authentic role-play, and she reminds the judges that she can rap, too, although what rapping has to do with Kevin is anybody's guess. He's less a gangsta than a sad, slutty, gold-digging sperm-factory. Am I right, Brits? Nobody, of course, can stop the following tumbling from Brooke's mouth:
My picture's lookin' good, my picture's lookin' fly
I took it to the next level – I got high
Boys check it out, I'm revvin' it full throttle
I'm standin' here, I'm gonna be America's Next Top Model.

I don't know how to describe my reaction. Brooke rapping feels like Blue Tellytubby poppin' a cap in your ass. Incongruous, to say the least. Amanda is told her Demi/Ashton shot is very convincing, and Eugena's 'dead eyes' are again brought up as an issue. Tyra, in one of her tiresome yet life-enhancing demonstrations, shows the difference between an animated Beyonce and a dead-eyed Beyonce by yodelling and enduring some kind of neck spasm. The judges are disappointed in AJ's Marc/J-Lo photo, and Tyra remarks that Michelle's Ellen impersonation is frightingly… fri-nen-ing-en-ly,… fing-a-ding-a-dingally… disturbingly realistic. Melrose's arse is kissed loudly and wetly by all the judges over her shot, which causes all the other modules to look like they've just taken a bite out of a trough-lolly. Anchal is given props as Oprah, and Tyra blathers on about what an inspiration Oprah is, what with her charity work and ability to overcome obstacles. Anchal comments that yes, she does seem to be famous for eating quite a lot of donuts.

· The judges deliberate, gushing again over Caridee, questioning Jaeda's confidence, and discussing Anchal's donut comment. A box of donuts miraculously appears, and we're treated to vision of Tyra cramming her gaping maw with about fifteen of the suckers. I'm transfixed – it's like watching an anaconda swallowing a water buffalo, but without the table manners.

· Elimination time, and the modules are whittled down to just Badass AJ and Manly Jaeda. Tyra looks earnestly at them and tells them that neither of them seem to care whether they're modules or not – AJ has good pictures but no desire, and Jaeda has bad pictures and no confidence. Then, proving that male genitalia is no hindrance to high-fashion modelling, Jaeda is safe and AJ is out. Tyra tells Jaeda that "Bobby Brown saved your butt", which I'm thinking of getting tattooed on my own, and AJ says, clearly and articulately, without shedding a single tear, that "I think Tyra eliminated me for the right reasons – I sabotaged myself subconsciously". No wonder she got eliminated. She's got a manky woollen hat and a vocabulary. Bye, AJ. I'll miss you. Make sure and be a badass on your way out.

Next week, Eugena becomes frustrated with her mansion-mates, the modules have a monster photo-shoot, and everybody's taught to be a little bit sexier. Upsetting. Blood-letting. Pant-wetting.


shellity said...

Liz Smiley. Funny.

By the way, I'm not gay. Just so you know.

Jo said...

Me neither. Just so you know.