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Thursday, November 16, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #7

There's so much ham and cheese in this show, it's like a… you know… a ham and cheese sandwich. After each episode I go and look at myself in the mirror, just to remind myself what someone who doesn't have their eyebrows raised looks like. Man, I look smart. And is it too much to ask that people in training to be modules have a photo shoot that doesn't involve prosthetic body-parts, spray-paint or pantomime costumes? Sheesh. Whatever. I'm over it. We want a proper, modelly beauty shot, and what do we get? The 'Mills & Poon' episode of America's Next Top Module.

· Eugena the Boring shows a mildly interesting trait this week – the ability to screw up her face and spit poison in everyone's direction. Maybe she's not boring at all – maybe she just hates everything and everybody. She starts in the right place, though, with "Melrose is a backstabbin' ho". I kind of get the feeling that even if Eugena won the lottery, she'd roll her eyes and sigh.

· Developing the negatives even further, Anchal throws her usual bunch of gripes into the mix with a bit of a self-doubt sampler. "I'm in the corner". "I'm self-conscious". "I have low self-esteem". "I'm shy". "I'm fat". She's not really any of those things. She's just a really pretty Indian girl who seems to store food for the winter in her boobs.

· Every girl seems to have a theme this week – we've covered bitchy and fat – let's move onto young, naïve, and missing out on rites-of-passage. Brooke's high-school graduation is on this week, and she's missing it to be here. She'll miss her prom, too, if she stays in the competition long enough, but it must be worth it – after all, previous winners of this competition are all huge, huge stars now, like What's-Her-Name from series one, and that girl who works at the newsagent. A package arrives from home, and it's packed full of presents to take her mind off missing her grad ceremony, like a Graduation Teddy-Bear, a Graduation Mortar-Board, and a big gold sign that says "Congrats, Grad!".

· Melrose wanders outside to the Module Mansion Backyard for no good reason, and discovers to her unscripted surprise that Tyra has set up an impromptu photo-shoot, with herself as the photographer! This is yet another Groundhog moment, as every series Tyra tries to prove that she's three-dimensional (a fact her dressmaker is painfully aware of) by taking moody black-and-white shots of the girls. She tells Melrose "I recently shot Nicole Richie, and I'm gonna shoot you today", which, if misinterpreted properly, summons all sorts of delicious, violent images. I start to think that perhaps we might be about to see this series' first non-gimmicky photo shoot until Tyra announces that she wants the girls to look angry-but-fashion, with the help, of course, of some novelty Thriller-esque horror contact lenses and teased hair. Despite not winning the lottery, I roll my eyes and sigh.

· After a 3-minute make-up job from the Tim Burton Junior Cosmetics Kit, Melrose is ready to interpret "scary fashion" as "melodramatic homeless zombie". Eugena's next, and her recurring problem of photo-shoot eye-deadness is overcome by a couple of cat's-eye contacts, and she looks half decent. Michelle manages okay despite being given bushy eyebrows and concise, meaningful directions from Tyra like "Don't lose your model". Manly Jaeda, with white eyes and steely jaw, actually rocks it, proving that she who is usually terrifying is just waiting for an appropriately terrifying context to make her feel at home. Amanda has trouble with nerves and discomfort, whilst Anchal is all slitty pupils and heaving bosom. Caridee hisses, growls, and snorts her way into my heart, and those of all who behold her. Really, even with white eyes and scare-hair, she's just a big plate of likeable sandwiches.

· A Tyra-Mail babbling something about flaunting one's assets arrives, and our modules are trucked off to a theatre to be met by Sutan (their camp, cross-dressing make-up artist) in bustier, top-hat, platforms and riding crop, and Dita Von Teese, burlesque megastar and wife of Marilyn Manson. Way to continue a spooky eye theme, guys. Dita performs a quick striptease involving a gigantic martini glass, to the delight of mostly Michelle, and then tells the girls she'll be teaching them the art of burlesque, or as I'm calling it, "Retro-Slutty". The difference between "sexy" and "sleazy" is touched upon (or rubbed, depending on which side of the fence you're straddling), and the importance of subtlety is explained by a woman in a push-up-bra married to a sideshow freak. Each girl is asked to do a quick gyrate with a prop, and I'm speedily whisked back in time to the Friday Night Youth Centre Dance, watching the Year Nine skanky girls trying to dance after downing a bottle of Passion Pop and a fistful of Alpine Lights. A terrified Anchal goes first, and is reasonably confident with her Sexy Sunflower dance. Michelle seems to have skulled more rocket-fuel than the others, and Melrose puts the "ho" into "Oh, wow. What a freakin' ho". Eugena pulls out that classic striptease prop – the …er… gold cheerleader pompoms, and manages to make them boring. Jaeda, after quickly crapping on about her unfeminine hair again, gyrates around with a feather boa in an odd Tim Curry/Vin Diesel hybrid. Amanda finds the desired combination of sexy/sweet, although I'm convinced she did so accidentally, but Caridee, or as I'm calling her in this segment "Strippy McSmut", goes completely off the deep throat end, rolling around with legs flailing, causing Brooke to gush, wide-eyed, "Girl – I can see your panties". You're so young. You're so naïve. You're so talking like someone just pulled a string in your back.

· It's Jaeda's turn for a cheap whine (and we know she's barely a chromosome away from some three-day growth), and it's about her hair, which is about as surprising as finding a ninety-degree angle in right-angled triangle, and exactly as interesting. She complains that she doesn't feel like a woman. It's not just the hair, sweetie. It's the six feet of height, the right-angled jaw and the footballer shoulders. The hair is just the testosterone icing on the testicular cake.

· An ad-break, and auditions for Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag are still being advertised. For those of you who have never seen a series, it's exactly like America's Next Top Module, but with more tattoos. Can't wait.

· A Tyra-Mail drags the girls to a house where they're met by Cathy Gould, the director of Elite Model Management, and Kylie Bax, a Kiwi ex-supermodel with exactly the level of charisma and intellectual precociousness we've come to expect from Kiwi ex-supermodels. It must be from trying to wairk ut on the ketwalk. Our modules are told they'll be the main show at a private party, and the long dinner table will be their catwalk. Cathy tells the girls to be sexy, which trips a switch in Anchal's head that makes her yabber about how fat and hence unsexy she is compared to the other girls. The other girls with concave chests, bony arses and ribs that show through the skin on their foreheads. Shut up. Clothes and make-up are slapped on until the desired Punky Brewster: The Crackwhore Years effect is achieved, and it's up on the table for a trampy trip through the tableware. Eugena, for some reason carrying a tray, apparently "tried too hard, and worked the tray too much" according to Cathy. Amanda almost fell arse-first into a guest's coffee, giving new meaning to the phrase "Waiter, there's a crack in my crockery", and Michelle was underwhelming in her underwear. Jaeda managed to be slow and sexy, no mean feat for a big bloke, but Brooke looked like an underaged groupie trying to get into a slapper convention. Melrose, as is her annoying habit, was bloody good, but Caridee overdid it again, and Anchal was obviously obsessed with what she regards as her heifer-like proportions. Cathy comments that Anchal perhaps needs to be in better shape. Predictably, Melrose wins the challenge and grins her now familiar Cheesy Psycho Grimace. I want her to snap. Soon. There's absolutely a postal worker inside her, just scratching to get out and shoot up the joint – we just need to find a trigger. And some plastic explosive.

· Melrose picks Brooke and the Twins to share her prize of an editorial spread in Seventeen magazine, and except for the re-appearance of Atoosa "Bless You" Rubenstein, and the fact that Melrose looks like a seventeen-year-old's auntie-who-owns-a-lot-of-cats-and-smells-like-medicine, this segment was less interesting than getting keys cut.

· It's nighttime poolside, and in another moment destined to make this the most tiresome of all ANTM episodes, Anchal is moaning to Caridee about how grotesquely obese she is. Puh-lease. She's obese like I'm shy on the dancefloor. Caridee plumbs the depths of her wisdom and suggests that perhaps it's the eating that's the problem. Anchal thanks her for her advice, gives her a hug, and calls her "coach".

· Somebody do something interesting in this episode. And by interesting, I mean mental. And by mental, I don't mean a wacky photo shoot concept.

· Photo-shoot time, and Jay meets the girls in a big house, where they'll be taking part in a sexy romp as chicks on the cover of romance novels. For. F*ck's. Sake. I'm sick of being amazed at how stupid these shoot ideas are. So sick, that I'm going to make three predictions (no cheating, I promise) about future photo-shoots, and we'll see if any of them come true. My three predictions are: Ostrich. Underwater. Vegetables. If any of these three themes or items turn up in photo-shoots in the rest of this series, I am a champion. If they don't, I've just written a really short postmodern poem.

· Melrose summarises the covers of most romance novels as "groping, aggressive paintings", which momentarily makes her less hateful. The girls are advised of their scenarios in this dumb, dumb farce – Jaeda will be in love with a vampire, Eugena will be "caught in the act", and Melrose will be the madam of a brothel. Anchal will be an Egyptian beauty, Caridee will be a peasant girl in love with a rich man, and Brooke will be a forsaken, jilted lover. Straight Amanda will somehow be conjuring leaving a man for another woman, whilst Gay Michelle will be nursing her lover's illegitimate baby. Just… just so stupid. Speaking of which, the modules are introduced to their co-star for the shoot, and yes, I'm afraid it's Fabio. I wish I could lie and say it isn't. But it's Fabio.

· Caridee, in her only subtle performance this week, does well, but Fabio is awful. Jay comments about Amanda that she's "consistently fair", but you can tell he thinks Fabio is awful. Gay Michelle isn't comfortable rolling around on a bed with Fabio and a fake baby (strange girl), and uses the excuse that she's never rolled around on a bed with anyone. Anchal looks gorgeous as Queen Nefer-titty, and Fabio looks stupid as Chunky Man With Eyeliner. Jay thinks that Eugena is working on "a three-quarter tank of gas", which is his way of saying "boring". Jaeda struggles to look more feminine than Fabio, and doesn't manage much through her obvious revulsion. Fabio jokes to Brooke that he's a virgin, to which she replies "Are you? Me, too!". She's required to grip tightly onto his thigh in the shot, which she says is difficult, because he's "not just tall – he's thick, too". When asked to move her hand one centimetre closer to his crotch, she feels like she's being "forced into adulthood", which is probably a different concept to Brooke the Naïve than it is for, say, Macaulay Culkin. Fabio comments that she is "berry inessperience". Mel-As-Brothel-Madam acts the randy slut to perfection, and may have given Fabio a little Italian soldier. She's the only one to openly flirt with Fabio, because all the other girls have a relatively low chunder-threshold. He's awful.

· It's elimination time, and I'm desperately relieved to see that Tyra, after a couple of weeks nibbling at the Milk Arrowroot of Style, has once again jammed the Tim Tam of Tack. We're treated to an asymmetrical, triangular hairstyle seemingly held in place with egg-white and Spakfilla, and a two-tone strapless sheath that Tyra seems to be holding in place with her armpits. It's wretched. Miss Jay goes out in sympathy with his own black-cockatoo-styled coiff, and Twiggy just surrenders in plaits. Spunky Nigel looks dashing and handsome, and may find my shoe-prints outside his window soon. Guest judge, to Anchal's self-loathing-based horror, is Cathy from Elite.

· Tyra spends a couple of minutes talking to the girls in a high-pitched baby voice which I do not understand. I prefer not to analyse her behaviour here – I'll just put it down to a combination of prescription drugs, Cristal, and chicken fat. Let's move on.

· Photos are picked through, and the romance novel shots are completely and utterly unremarkable, save for Tyra's advice to Anchal to "back the booty up, make it less hoochy". The Scary-But-Fashion contact lens shots, however, are a different story. Disturbing in a "Why you do this to me, Dimmy?" kind of way. Twin Amanda looks like a feature on When Ginger Corpses Attack, and Brooke is a snarl away from Teen Wolf. Twin Michelle adds unfathomable creepiness by licking her lips in her shot, and Eugena is angry, not boring. Caridee's shot causes Tyra to gush "You blew me away. You commit to a photo in a way that's insane to me". Insane? To You? That's freakin' nutty, man. Melrose is a bit pantomime scary, but Jaeda is the most petrifying freaky ghoul I've ever seen in my life. She looks straight out of her photo into the core of my soul, and chars it red/black with the heat of hellfire and the faint whiff of sulphur. Or something.

· The judges deliberate, and the ludicrous comment is made that Caridee is "trying too hard to be a model". You know – like how irritating it is when horses in the Melbourne cup keep running all the time. There's just no place in a modelling competition for trying to be a model.

· Names tumble dramatically out of Tyra's mouth one by one, until only Rappin' Brooke and Eugena The Boring are left. Tyra tells Brooke that the judges love her personality, but that she has no potential, and then tells Eugena that she has loads of potential, but no humility or respect, those two traditional hallmarks of models like, say, Naomi Campbell for example. Brooke is given the shunt, and in between racking sobs, wails that she could've been at her high school graduation after all. She's devastated. I'm indifferent. Bye, Brooke. Try not to rap the names of all the Bratz dolls on your way out, kiddo.

Next week, we have a photo-shoot with racecars, some simulated sky-diving, and a Melrose/Anchal war. Laps. Flaps. Snaps.

1 comment:

shellity said...

Another Fabio-lous instalment!
I'll award a Highly Commended to the "developing the negatives" comment, the quip about Tyra's three dimensions and the delightfully percussive "Strippy McSmut". But the gold-plated champagne magnum goes to "a crack in my crockery". It's as funny as it is chock-full of alliteration.
Thanks also for mentioning that Tyra actually said, "You blew me away" - that mental imagery from Higher Learning is back again.
Finally, I would absolutely love it if in the final episode, Jaeda revealed that she was a man along, saying, "...and it would've worked too, if it wasn't for you pesky kids!"