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Thursday, December 28, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #13

Again, I find myself at the end of a series of America’s Next Top Module with a strange, jangly sense of anti-climax and emptiness.
No distinct mental, psychotic behaviour. That Postal Worker never clawed its way out of Melrose.
No fuzzy-focus nookie, gay or otherwise, save for a quick pash on a Spanish balcony.
No drunkenness.
Hardly any Janice Dickinson.
No nude scenes involving Nigel Barker.

ANTM - I love you like a drunk loves paint thinner and pant-pissing, but if I wanted to see a bunch of boring, mentally-challenged people with dishwater attitudes, nothing to say, dumb hair and rubbish clothes, I’d just go to the Big Day Out.

Despite all this, ANTM is still the most glorious celebration of vanity, low IQ, jutting collarbones and ridiculous scenarios I have ever known, and I will love this show until the day I die. Thank you, ANTM, for another season of indenting the mark of my arse on the couch.
Without further adieu, I give you the ‘Ding Dong The Bitch Is Dead’ episode of America’s Next Top Module.

· We’re launched into a quick montage of ‘The Journey’, including seeing our three finalists, Eugena the Boring, Melrose the Latent Postal Worker and CariDee the Epitome of All That Is Good with their original hair. Eugena has a bob. Melrose is a brunette. Caridee is exactly the same, as changing a hair on her head would be like coating a block of chocolate in chocolate or giving Clive Owen lessons in How To Be Sexy, British and Dangerous.

· No time is wasted as our modules meet Mr Jay for a Cover Girl commercial taping and photo-shoot. Danielle, the Gap-toothed Ghetto ‘Gator of last series, is introduced to help the girls out with some advice, the sum total of which is “Remember – you’re a Cover Girl now”. The fashion industry has spoiled Danielle – not a “haaaaaay” or a “trippin’” falls from her mouth. The girls practice their lines whilst getting their make-up applied, and Caridee gets annoyed with Melrose’s constant repetitive assaults on the English language, and says so. “Stop listening to me then, ho” is the Postal Worker’s response, which sets the gloriously catty tone for the whole episode. We hate you, Melrose. We hate you like a fox.

· Caridee is up first, and she initially stuffs her lines. Hardly surprising – the script runs something like “She sells Cover Girl Sparkly Shit on the seashore, and furthermore, red lorry yellow lorry”. Eventually Caridee loosens up, realising she’s concentrating too hard, and finishes brilliantly. “I gotta stop thinking”, she says. “I’m a blonde. It’s not working out”. Bless you and your self-deprecating patois, CariDee. I’m weaving you a friendship bracelet on my Knitting Nancy as we speak. Eugena the Boring also muffs her lines, albeit in a truly tedious way, and I’m temporarily distracted by a dead bee on the windowsill. Melrose is nervous – you can tell because she says “I’m nervous” over and over again – and fluffs her lines. She eventually fixes a vacant, psychotic grin on her face and does an average job, followed by tears and hyperventilation as she comes to terms with the fact that she’s not perfect. Boo-bloody-hoo, beeyarch. Build a bridge.

· Still shots are up next - Caridee is relaxed, Eugena is concentrating on making her eyes look less like a cataract-plagued zombie, and Melrose breathes slowly, saying to herself “Okay. You have to perform now”. The girls have to link arms, smile, laugh, and pretend they’re the best of friends. “It’s so funny,” says Eugena. “Because we’re not”. Pow! Another smokin’ zinger from Eugena. It’s like Tinky Winky writes her material.

· My buttocks have only just settled themselves snugly into the couch-dent, and we’re having an elimination already! I need some Awakenings medication just to keep up. A Tyra-Mail drags the modules to the Elimination Castle, where Tyra greets them from behind a black and red boosie-prison and three kilograms of make-up. She introduces the judges, including Spunky Nigel, who I’m re-springing my mattress for, and designer guest judges Victorio and Lucchino, whose combined ages make them older than carbon. Think Waldorf and Statler from the Muppets, but gayer, older, and with subtitles. The Cover Girl commercial is screened, and the modules emote and gurn their way through their lines, and I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure Caridee touches Eugena’s boob in the last scene. Tell me I’m wrong.

· Individual takes of the commercial and still shots are shown, with Melrose up first. Waldorf and Statler make a comment, and although the subtitles show “magnificent, fresh young talker”, and my Spanish is a little rusty, I think it was more like “what a freakin’ arsehole”, or perhaps even “You know, Victorio, I really like chorizo sausage”. Melrose’s still shot is unimpressive, and comments are made about her stiff lips, as it looks a little like she’s trying to keep flour dry in her mouth. Eugena’s ad and photo are surprisingly good, although ol’ dead-eyes make another appearance. If you look really closely into her pupils, you can just see the outline of the Elevator Straight To Hell. Caridee’s ad is mildly over the top, but her still photo is like a spoonful of pretty stirred into a cup of hot gorgeous.

· The judges deliberate, labelling Eugena as personality-less, Caridee as unpredictable, and Melrose as consistently sort-of-okay. The modules re-enter, and Tyra spaces her words out as much as possible in the time available, either to build drama or to give her a chance to pick last night’s chicken out of her molars with her tongue. The first finalist’s name is called, and, because the judges obviously have eyes, it’s Caridee! Melrose, clearly thinking she should have been called first, looks like she’s swallowed a thistle. Never mind, you crazy bitch – you’re next! Melrose’s name is called, the Grateful Postal Worker ripples under the surface, Caridee grimaces like she’s just smelled a brickie’s armpit, and Eugena is out. Caridee and Eugena share a hug, and Melrose latches onto the outside of the embrace in exactly the same way that sane people don’t. Caridee whispers to Eugena “I’ll get this for you, I promise”, meaning “I won’t let that grinning fuckwit win, babe. For real”. Eugena is philosophical and boring in defeat. Bye, Eugena. Don’t send us into an irreversible coma on your way out.

· Tension is high as we start what is tediously and repetitively referred to ‘The Battle Of The Blondes’, and Caridee remarks that “now this house feels like pure competition”. The sentence is barely out of her mouth before the two remaining modules are whisked off for a Seventeen Magazine cover-shoot, where they’re met by Mr Jay, George the photographer, and my favourite Jewish cartoon character, Atoosa ‘Bless You’ Rubenstein, editor-in-chief. After being dressed and daubed with make-up, I have to admit that both girls look chest-clutchingly gorgeous as they preen and hair-flick their way through the shoot. Atoosa comments that Caridee is “more than just a pretty face”, and that Melrose has “a unique look”, perhaps implying that so few models these days can look like a fifty-year-old mental patient and still work a frilly frock.

· Next, Tyra introduces Dr Michelle, a life-coach, in a thinly-veiled plug for the Tyra Banks Show, or as I like to call it: Fried Chicken Plus Fried Chicken Equals Change The Freakin’ Channel. Some one-on-one soul-searching ensues, and I’m so bored I consider reading the Swedish-language section of an Ikea instructional booklet. Yawn. Next.

· We’re nearly in the home stretch as Caridee and Melrose arrive at the scene of the episode’s climax – the catwalk show. The venue is gorgeous – a stunningly-lit tunnel in a classic Gaudi building, but the premise of the show is straight from the Big Stupid Book of Stupid Catwalk Show Ideas. Dressed as Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons, the modules are to take to the catwalk three times in big white frocks and big white faces – the first time as normal modules, the second time with the added instruction to stop and ‘face off’ with the other modules, and the last time as screaming, flailing, 18th-century nutjobs with big fuzzy hair and tiaras. Tyra, Miss Jay and Spunky Nigel arrive, with Tyra dressed in black, puffy, high-necked satin like a busty she-vampire who has fed for too long on the blood of Carnie Wilson.

· The show starts, and two sweet little girls walk the runway, tossing white petals on the floor before squealing like stuck piglets and running away in some high-fashion amateur dramatics. Then in come our girls, led by Melrose, who walks it like a melodramatic champion. Let’s face it – in a fashion show themed around insane asylum denizens from another century, she’s a freakin’ natural. Caridee is next, and unfortunately looks like she’s walking in stone clogs through a field of glue. She clomps along, vogues for the judges, and clomps back. Not great. The second appearance, whilst still good for Melrose, isn’t much better from Caridee – the girls stop halfway down the runway for the obligatory ‘face-off’, during which enough implied venom is exchanged to fell a woolly mammoth, and as Melrose is sashaying away, Caridee accidentally steps on her skirt and rips a gigantic hole in it. In a word: Oops. Just for something different, Melrose throws a hissy, crying and waving her arms in the air, exclaiming “She ripped the dress! She stepped on the f*cking dress!”, and getting three assistants to fan her back to sanity. She’s way pissed at Caridee, and even says she wants to “nunchuck her”. Brilliant. My name is Melrose, and I’m into Chanel, long walks on the beach, mental health issues and beating people to death with sticks. Miss Jay excuses himself from the audience with no excuse in an incongruous, plot-thickening flourish.

· The third runway outing begins, in which the modules are to summon the spirits of various wailing lunatics, and who better to start the mayhem than a reeling, screeching, black-clad Miss Jay? Nobody, that’s who. Ambiguous gender and crack dependency: this is your time to shine. Melrose follows, and does a pretty good job of rantin’ in the Renaissance, managing to look old, unstable and pretty all at the same time. Caridee follows, and, as it gives me gastric discomfort to say, is awful. When she screams, it’s the scream of a disemboweled warthog, with the facial expression to match, and when she totters around like a maniac, it’s the totter of a roller-skating drunk. Tyra wildly tries to direct the action from the front row, but only succeeds in sending a disturbing quiver through her gelatinous arms and torso. The show ends with a dramatic final face-off pose between the two girls, and Melrose comes off stage announcing that “my performance rocked”. Scene.

· A Tyra-Mail announces the Final. Elimination. Panel. Ever. Both modules arrive looking stunning, although Caridee definitely outshines Melrose – Melrose is a pretty girl, but Caridee is, as she has been all series, da shit. Mr Jay is the guest judge, Tyra seems to be giving her norks a rest in a relatively loose-fitting, revolting yellow and green dress, and Nigel is there, quite obviously teetering on the verge of sending me a dirty text message. Footage from the catwalk show is shown, and there’s really no comparing Meridee and Calrose…er…. the two modules – Melrose can walk, and Caridee kind of blunders around, and the judges are quite vocal in their panning of the Caridee shuffle. All may not be lost, however, as photos from the whole series to date are dragged through, and it’s quite obvious that, whilst Melrose takes a good photo, Caridee is plainly from the planet Phwoar. The judges agree that Melrose kicked scrawny arse in the catwalk showdown, but that Caridee is the consistent star.

· After deliberating, the girls face up to the panel for their final judgement, and they’re both, quite frankly, buggin’. The modules are asked what the fashion industry means to them, and Caridee makes some almost indecipherable remarks about passion, persistence and psoriasis through a wall of tears and snot, whilst Melrose spins her usual ambitious spiel and grimaces briefly in a truly woeful attempt at emotion. She’s like Fakey McFake from Shamtown, and I really want to rub a pinecone in her eye. The announcement, after the requisite number of pregnant pauses, is made, and the winner is….. CARIDEE!!!!
Don’t pretend you didn’t know it would be. This was the most transparent series since glass.

· Melrose is humble in defeat, sincerely congratulates Caridee, and apologises to all the judges for being such a conceited, psychotic mole.
As fucking if.
Melrose bawls the bitter cry of the insane, and looks like she’s re-digesting her own bile. She complains to camera “I put my heart and soul into this, and got called a bitch the whole way through, for what?!?!”. Um… is it because you’re a bitch? Just putting it out there. Bye, Melrose! Don’t trip over your own jealous rage on the way out.

· The deeply deserving Caridee cries, jumps up and down, and, probably as punishment for having psoriasis, has to pose for a photo-shoot with Tyra. I settle back into my couch-groove, raise my glass, and nod the nod of the smug. The world is as it should be. Except for, like, wars and shit.

And so here we are at the end of another series.
The baddies got their come-uppance, the goodies got their just rewards, and the twins got gastric reflux.
I’m counting the days until Australia’s Next Top Westie Scrag, and for those of you unfamiliar with the Antipodean version, it’s exactly like the American series.
If it was set in a women’s prison.
The day every single inmate gets their period.
What’s not to love?

Thanks for reading, and a fierce, edgy fashion-forward farewell to you all.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #12

It's cold in Casa De Module.
With only four girls left, tensions and nerves are high, and there's no room for niceties. Caridee hates Melrose. Eugena hates Melrose. Melrose hates everybody. Amanda hates prune juice. Still.
I'm feeling the chill in the "Shiver Me Bimbos" episode of America's Next Top Module.

· Amanda, in her usual thin-faced, pointy-nosed fashion, laments the departure of her sister, claiming that she made the ultimate sacrifice by practically inviting the judges to boot her. Sure, 'ultimate sacrifices' are usually things like donating kidneys or throwing oneself on grenades, but getting kicked out of a televised modelling competition is almost the same thing. If I was Amanda, I'd be more upset that, without the novelty value of having someone who looks exactly like you to help chug the plot along, all she is now is a gawky Ginger bag full of femurs, ulnas, and ribs. Think Richie Cunningham on a diet of oestrogen and heroin. There. You got it.

· A Tyra-Mail cryptically announces this week's theme of Working With A Partner, and our modules file into a dance studio, where they're met by a dancing dwarf with the best name ever – Nacho Blanco. I'm pretty sure I've ordered him in a restaurant before. Nacho, through an interpreter, tells the girls they'll be learning to dance flamenco today, and introduces three hot Spanish guys and one anaemic geek. They stamp their hooves and clap their hands, and each module picks one to be their partner. Amanda picks the anaemic geek, and I've never seen two more snappable necks or sets of unused genitalia in such a small space before. Nacho teaches the girls some steps, keeping time by shouting "Bam, Bum, Bing-Bing Bum", which, combined with his name, makes him the funniest Spanish midget dance instructor I've ever, ever seen.

· Melrose's confidence far outweighs her dancing ability, Eugena is a natural, Caridee is pretty good, and Amanda looks like the scrap bin at a chicken-boning plant. Eugena, in an even more insightful burn than last week, comments that "Amanda looks like Amanda trying to dance". Wow. Ouch. Your literal is so lateral, Eugena. The modules are told to practice hard for a dance challenge tomorrow. Eugena's natural ability precludes any practice, but Amanda and Caridee stay up most of the night rehearsing their moves in eerie night-vision light green. Amanda's skin-tone is unchanged. Melrose, instilling a delicious tingle of impending disaster in all our loins, says "I don't want to over-practice. It'll just work". Oh, Melrose, my bug-eyed, psycho-grinned friend. If it wasn't for the inflationary qualities of your huge ego and over-blown sense of ability, you'd crumple like a house of maniacal cards.

· The modules go to dinner with Miss Jay, who has little advice except for the implied How To Look Like A Crack-Addicted Hermaphrodite. The simple question "How did you end up here?" triggers a babble switch in Melrose, and she rants like a caffeinated cockatoo about fashion design, ambition and blah blah bloody blah. Everybody, Miss Jay included, looks on with a mixture of boredom and incredulity. Caridee remarks to camera that Melrose seems to have three personalities and that "It's really creepy. Maybe she should be medicated". I love pharmaceutical cattiness, especially from the mouth of my New Best Friend. Miss Jay rounds off the dinner by voicing what everyone's thinking: "May the best bitch win". Amen, freak.

· Caridee and Eugena are becoming fast friends, forming a strange kind of black/white, exciting/boring, best-chick-in-the-world/evil-vacant-lump-of-flesh partnership. You can tell they're friends, because first thing in the morning, Caridee invites Eugena to "feel how smooth my armpits are today". That's how all girls express their devotion to each other. It's a bit like having a pillow-fight in our undies, gentlemen. You know we do. The two besties discuss their growing distaste for Melrose, and this starts a montage of diary-room clips:
o Eugena on Melrose: "I'd be pissed off if she won".
o Caridee on Melrose: "She's so fake. She's like WWF wrestling".
o Melrose on Caridee: "She has no problem with vulgarity"
o Caridee on Melrose: "If Melrose becomes America's Next Top model, I'll puke. All over. I'll just puke.
Goddamn, I love Caridee. I'm going to compare people to wrestling as frequently as possible from now on. And maybe puke a little.

· Nacho Blanco greets the modules in a park with "Ola, Chicas", and tells them they'll be dressing in full flamenco costume for a photographed dance challenge. Polka-dotted frilly meringues are produced, and the girls take the stage in turn to stampy-stamp-stamp their way through the challenge. Caridee and Jose do well, helped along by a considerable amount of mutual sek-shoo-all electricity, and Eugena and Oscar are excellent. Amanda and Grua go through the motions like whippets on a treadmill, and Melrose and Angel do reasonably well, but Melrose is rattled when she forgets some of the steps. A normal, non-pre-postal person might have shrugged off this minor mistake with a coquettish giggle, but Melrose's face hints at a concealed pencil-case filled with razor-blades and iodine. Nacho is proud of his protégés, as any corn and avocado-based baked dish would be, although he does point out Melrose's errors. Eugena wins the challenge, and picks Amanda to share her prize of three designer jackets.

· Melrose is gutted that she didn't win the challenge, and we should take a moment to list some of her cavalcade of comments and excuses. I've even thrown in a fake one to see if you're paying attention – see if you can pick it!
o "My dress is too long. You can't see my footwork".
o "This dress is HUGE on me".
o "I don't like dancing all serious"
o "You have to be perfect to win, and it's frustrating".
o "I hate how you only get one chance!"
o "I'm mad at myself".
o "Dancing is like, my soul".
o "I wanna, like, get a kitchen knife and just STAB, STAB, STAB! All work and no play make Melrose a dull boy. I want to play with your entrails".

· Yet another Tyra-Mail summons the girls to an outdoor pool, where Mr Jay and Tyra meet them to explain today's photo-shoot. Tyra will be "coaching" (read: drawing attention to herself with a series of hoots and clucks) the modules whilst they float in the pool in pairs in designer frocks, evoking the spirit of 'ethereal angels'. What?! No idiot costumes, extreme make-up or motorised hair? Are you sure? Melrose and Eugena take the plunge into the unseasonably icy water first, and in a groundbreaking scientific experiment, we find that committable lunacy floats, and cranky disdain for all humans sinks like a stone, as Boring Eugena has trouble keeping her head above water. Melrose comments that "I think I'm good in water. Eugena's struggling to get the float on". The pair shiver and sputter through their photo session, finding it hard to look relaxed and friendly through the cold and their intense loathing for each other. Amanda and Caridee are next, and Caridee's grace is offset by Amanda's stiff, awkward floating Meccano impersonation. The cold begins to seep into Caridee's bones, and she starts quaking and convulsing with hypothermia and a touch of the grippe. Mr Jay and a paramedic drag her out of the pool and warm her with a towel, and Tyra scolds her for not listening to her body. If only Tyra listened to her own body a little less often, particularly when it wakes her up in the middle of the night to go get another eleven-piece bucket. For health and litigation-avoidance reasons, Caridee is forbidden to re-enter the pool, so Amanda finishes the shoot by herself. Melrose rolls her eyes, seemingly indignant that Caridee was able to take the spotlight away from her with a cheap trick like partial cardiac failure. Bitch.

· It's judgement time, and the modules front up to the judges, including Spunky Nigel, who I'm making a mix-tape for, and guest judge David the photographer. Tyra's back in a corset, although it seems to fit quite well, sharpening my growing disappointment with her stylist. First the flamenco photographs are viewed, and we're shown a close-up of Amanda's feet, which point disturbingly in two different directions. No biggie when you're constructed mainly of pipe-cleaners and chewing-gum. Miss Jay jumps up to demonstrate his version of Transgender Flamenco, and in a surprise comparable to finding a piece of metal in a Christmas cake, Tyra screams "I wanna dance with you, Miss Jay!", and proves without a doubt that wiggling like you've stuck a bobbypin in a socket has bugger-all to do with flamenco. Tyra loses a shoe but flaps onward, explaining that even if your clothes fall off, you should keep on with the job, the irony being that she really shouldn't have hoisted herself up off her dimpled derriere in the first place.

· Floating pool-photos are picked through, and I have to admit that all four of the girls look breathtakingly stunning – all wafty hair, dreamy faces, flowing gowns and the complexions expected from those halfway through the cryogenic process. The judges note that Eugena had trouble floating ("If you start to sink, keep your face PRETTY!"), that Amanda has the limbs of an emaciated scarecrow, and that Caridee is impressive in her ability to look hot when she's quite decidedly not. Temperature-wise, I mean. Aesthetically, she's bodacious.

· The judges deliberate and make the following insightful comments:
o Nigel (proving he's worthy of his no doubt stunning pant-filler): "Melrose irks me. That hat makes her look like she's trying too hard".
o Tyra: "Eugena looks like she's given up".
o Nigel (making me not want to eat his neck for just a second): "Caridee takes a beautiful picture, but she's too high-maintenance".
o Twiggy: "Amanda's body is a disaster"
Note that I haven't included any of Tyra's comments here – I've successfully tuned my ears and brain to a frequency that filters her voice into a dull fatty hum.

· Judgement time, and Tyra clutches the Photos of Doom in her meaty paws as she calls the names of the successful modules. Melrose is called first, and Caridee mouths something to herself – I'm no lip-reader, but she definitely, definitely included the word "bitch". Eugena the Boring is called next, leaving just Caridee and Amanda. Tyra tells Amanda that she has an edgy, high fashion look (read: scrawny), but that she's awkward and meek. Caridee is told that she has a bubbly personality, but that she might spill over and flood (hummmmmmm), and that she can't handle extreme temperatures. We all know what happens. We do. Caridee is safe, and Amanda is given the flick, because things are right with the world. Caridee cries gratefully, and Amanda, relationship-novice that she is, comments that "It's kinda like I'm breaking up with Top Model, but I got broken up with". Really. If this is break-up sex, you really got screwed, girl. Bye, Amanda! Try not to yoik up a cup of prune juice on your way out.

Next week, the competition gets jalapeno-hot as the field narrows to three, the girls have trouble remembering their lines for a commercial, and a catwalk is set up in what looks like a snow-tunnel. Spicy. Dicy. Icy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Keeping Me Up At Night

Is Dopey the only Dwarf who shaves, or is he just incapable of growing facial hair?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #11

Once again in life, I find myself looking for answers in the words of Alicia Silverstone. I'm paraphrasing, but this week's episode is a Monet - from far away it looks okay, but up close it's a big old mess. No discernable theme. Multiple scenarios plucked straight from previous series. Modules falling to bits before our eyes. Spunky judges getting all hoity and cross with little justification. There's only a couple of episodes left, and I desperately need some plot cohesion in this, the "Take The Bully By The Horns" episode of America's Next Top Module.

· There are only five modules left, two of them are virgins, one of them is gay, and they've been virtually deprived of any meaningful male contact for eleven weeks. By my initial calculations, that means they're roughly ninety-two percent randy, and, being in Spain, a joke about bulls and horns would probably be appropriate here. Never mind. Melrose jumps on the dog & bone (that's rhyming slang, people – get your mind above the curly zone) and calls Lucas, one of the Spanish male modules from last week's episode. She asks him to accompany the girls to dinner that night and to bring some friends, finishing the call with "Bye, sexy". Even Amanda, the straight twin, gets excited and comments that "Spanish guys and American guys are very similar. They all have the same jokes and stuff, but Spanish guys smell better". Considering their diet is mostly cured meat and garlic, I can only surmise that American guys should seriously consider having a wash. Amanda even adds "What happens in Spain stays in Spain", which would be more convincing without the presence of a camera crew, several boom mikes and Amanda's obvious inexperience in the squelchy realm.

· Dinner is a speedily-edited affair, which is disappointing – it's not really a proper series of ANTM until we're witness to some drunken stumbling, badly-concealed up-chucking and some cross-cultural dry-humping. Despite Melrose's previous diva boast that she likes "a glass of wine or four", no tangible evidence of off-trolleyness ensues. Then what could have easily stretched out into a half-hour of fuzzy-focus soft porn is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it montage of Caridee and male module Victor heading out to the balcony for a cigarette, Caridee and Victor going the pash, and, seemingly much later, Caridee farewelling Victor at the front door in hushed tones and quite possibly a change of clothes. No big deal whatsoever is made of this highly entertaining development, which I think sells Caridee a bit short. She's not just a prime example of human perfection, she's a bit of a slut as well. What's not to love?

· The next morning, the girls visit with Tyra for a one-on-five Condescension Carnival. Tyra contorts her face into her all-knowing, all-caring grimace and tells the modules she wants to talk about the "harsh realities of this industry". What follows is a jaw-dropping stream of megalomaniacal twaddle, the main gist of which is to tell the girls that Tyra knows best, and that if she ever says anything harsh that makes them feel bad about themselves (and vomit, or cut themselves, or whatever it is contemporary modules do these days), that it's for their own good, and they'll thank her for it one day. There are several highlights, including the statement that the modelling industry is the toughest industry of all. Sure, physicists and microsurgeons have to study for a decade and a half, but they don't have to look fierce in heels at the same time. Other highlights include:
o "America's Next Top Model is your coach", which I guess makes Miss Jay the head cheerleader;
o "I'm gonna sacrifice myself for you", which turns out to be an empty promise, as I envision Tyra falling on her own sword, or being pecked by crows, or something. She's probably speaking metaphorically though, huh.
o "It's coming from a place of love and a place of mama". What, is she breast-feeding the girls now? I hope it goes down better than last week's prune juice.
o "When you're in the jungle and then things are happening that the coach said, you're like 'Dang. Tyra said that". Grammatical atrocities aside, I can't actually fault this one. I love it when people say "Dang".

· A Tyra-Mail arrives, warning of the Impending Go-See Frenzy, and the modules meet at Elite modelling agency, ushered in by Pancho, the aptly-named director. If any of you have watched more than one series of Top Module before, you'll be able to easily predict the coming events – a time limit, a number of designers to "go-see", modules walking up and down under the critical eye of some bitch company director, confusion over getting cabs in another language, a ticking clock super-imposed on the screen, and at least one module turning up late at the final muster-point, red-faced and panting. Blah-di-blah-di-blah. Eugena and Caridee pair up, Mimanda forms another predictable duo, and Melrose craps on and on and on about how she's happy being by herself, and she doesn't need "a little counterpart buddy". I'm sure the voices in your head are keeping you plenty company, my unbalanced friend. The twins take an hour to get to their first appointment, complaining that they don't know what street signs look like in other countries. It's easy, girls – they're on street corners, and they look a bit phalli…. oh. I see your point. The other modules go through their separate predictable motions, and all except the twins arrive back at Elite in time. Like gastric reflux in its ability to both repeat itself and turn my stomach, Melrose wins the go-see challenge, and picks Caridee to share in a dinner cooked by a personal chef. Yawn.

· Photo-shoot time, and the girls gather in a bullfighting ring, met by Mr Jay in a matador's outfit and more smudgy eyeliner than Chrissie Hynde the morning after a bender. Eugena comments that Mr Jay "doesn't look like a matador, he looks like Mr Jay dressed as a matador". Um… yes. Choice burn, Eugena. Mr Jay announces that today the girls will be shooting with a "bully", and in saunters today's photographer and my reason for shaving, Spunky Nigel. The Spanish sun don't half make him look edible. The girls are then introduced to the other sinewy piece of meat taking part in the shoot as an angry-looking bull is released suddenly into the ring, thundering towards them. The modules scatter and bolt to safety like screaming wheatgerm in a high wind, and I tip my sombrero to the show's writers. I always thought this show was only so much bullshit, and here's the brilliant, ironic proof.

· In today's shoot, the modules will be dressed as Hot Chick Matadors With Silly Hair, and will be required to wave a rod about, imagining it's a matador's cape. The actual cape will be Photo-shopped in later for dramatic effect. As Nigel is explaining the shoot and showing them the rod in question (Nigel. Rod. Phnar.), Caridee, being the Best Chick In The World Who Got Hammered At The Last Judging Panel, asks Nigel "Did you just remove that from your ass from last panel?". Now, a normal person's reaction to a pearler like that would be a high five, a round of beers, and possibly the shouting of the word "Psyche!". But no. Nigel goes a bit quiet and walks away, and Mr Jay steps in to give Caridee and the girls a gay-spray about respecting judges and photographers. Caridee defends herself to camera by saying that it was obviously a joke, and she was just being herself, but it seems Nigel is touchy about jokes involving the insertion and/or removal of rods from his bottom. Melrose milks the situation by blathering on about how respectful she is towards her elders, proving that she has no problem herself with scenarios involving the judges' bottoms and her own nose and mouth.

· Despite the unnerving appearance of an ambulance and the instruction "If you hear the handlers say "run", then run", all the modules pull some pretty brilliant poses out of their diminutive arses, and with the exception of Amanda, who looks like Marilyn Manson in a skinny-mirror, all look bloody good in their trampy matador garb. Eugena the Boring poses dramatically well, despite the presence of three hundred kilos of stamping, snorting rage behind her. The bull looks cross, too. Amanda's session is interrupted when the handler shouts "run!", and she leaps to safety like a terrified hat-pin. Michelle, according to Nigel, "uses her fear", possibly staining her matador-pants the new black as she does so. Mr Jay, somewhat redundantly, asks Melrose to show him some arrogance, but she seems to be trying too hard, and Caridee's performance is inhibited by her post-dressing-down sulks. She says, frustrated, that she "wants to do well for Nigel", which with the exception of the words "well for" is exactly how I feel. She's accused of looking too much like a porn star, which seems unfair considering she's wearing tiny, shiny hotpants that would make Linda Lovelace blush. She apologises again to Nigel for her previous rectal faux-pas, and he gives her another stern chat about respect again. Enough, Nigel. Oh, wow. I never thought I'd say that.

· Our modules are summoned to Casa De Elimination to face their fate, and I'm again disappointed to report that Tyra doesn't look like a five-dollar highway prostitute. Why does she let me down like this? Next week she'd better go see the Colonel and squeeze herself back into a toddler's corset, or I'll sue. The girls are asked to each tell the judges who they think has the most and least potential in the competition. Blatant excuse for ego and bitchiness anyone? Melrose elects herself as "most", due to her determination, and Eugena as "least", as she finds it frightening that she doesn't hear any of the psychotic desperation for attention and success that so often spurts from her own mouth. Eugena picks herself as "most" because of something boring about a journey, and Amanda as "least" because of her lack of confidence. Caridee picks herself as "most" because of her passion, and Amanda as "least" for her lack of it. Amanda, because she's an idiot, picks Eugena as "most", and Caridee as "least" because, apparently her look is all "country girl", and we've all seen it before. We've seen anaemic stick-figures with kindergarten-level educations and wing-nut ears before too, honey, but we're not getting all catty on your arse. Rowr. Michelle picks Caridee as "most" because of her bubbliness, and then gives an Oscar-worthy (I'm talking The Grouch, not The Academy) performance involving tears, sobs, and hair-pulling as she picks herself as "worst". Good strategy, mate. Sound.

· Photos are picked to bits, and Mimanda's are woeful – all ears, turkey-neck and pale blue skin, whilst the others are pretty decent. In an underwhelming ANTM world-first, Caridee pulls a crumpled piece of paper out of her pocket and recites an apologetic speech to Nigel and the judges about her inexcusable behaviour, proving that molehills can be mountains, and dead horses can truly be flogged. Nigel gives her yet another serve about respect and humility, and I almost don't want to lick his face for a second.

· The judges deliberate, and Nigel comments that Caridee is "a model falling apart in front of our eyes". Give it (or me) a bone, mate. The modules are called back into the room, and names are called out one by one, and I'm gushingly relieved when Caridee's name is called third, leaving just the Twins Mimanda to face the music. In her traditional character assassination, Tyra doesn't actually use either twin's name, making me suspect that I'm not the only one who can't tell the bastards apart. "You," she says, "have natural talent, but no passion". "And you", she continues, turning slightly, "have all the drive in the world, but no talent". In an underwhelming decision that smacks loudly of coin-flipping, Gay Michelle is given the boot, and Amanda is tearfully safe. As Michelle leaves, she gives what she thinks is a "V for Victory" sign, but which I read as an "Up yours, arseholes" gesture. Bye, Michelle. Mind you don't have a crisis of sexual orientation on the way out.

Next week, the modules learn flamenco, Melrose's Postal Worker Within inches ever closer to the surface, and Caridee gets some disturbing shakes in the swimming pool. Frilly. Silly. Chilly.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Me Love You Very Short Time

Nuttin'. Not a peep. No 11pm phone-chirps to let me know my mystery paramour still has the digital hots for me.
Maybe he's just playing hard to get.
Maybe it's over.
I think I've been rejected by an illiterate international scam-merchant. True, I've never met him, but it still hurts, y'know?
Lucky my phone vibrates, or I'd have no bloody use for it whatsoever.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Me Love You Short Time

Over the last week I've become the intended victim of what I'm sure is a call-back mobile 'phone scam. In these scams, an unknown caller or text-messager tries to encourage you to call a certain number which then costs you an arm and a leg per minute, usually to listen to a recorded message.

Either that, or some randy bugger with atrocious grammar has really, really got the hots for me.

The texts, one per day, come at around the same time every night (about 11pm), and have escalated in their urgency and amorousness, just like a real relationship. I can't wait to see where this goes…

Day 1: Where are you? What are you doing?
Nice opening line. Simple. Friendly. Open-ended. I texted back "Who's this?", not recognising the number, which probably means I've now unwittingly subscribed to an expensive series of erotic text messages. No response.

Day 2: I miss you. I love you.
Woah! Slow down, buddy. I'm still indifferent. You haven't even bought me a drink, you cheap bastard. Or answered my question. Or noticed that I changed my hair.

Day 3: Call me.
A bit needy, this early on, and frankly I'm still a bit miffed about the drink. I will not, sir.

Day 4: What's happen? Call me.
What's happen is you have bad grammar. I like men with good grammar. Who say please.

Day 5: If you free time ring me I love you I miss you good night
Okay, now you're getting freaky. You're not even punctuating any more, or using capital letters, both qualities I usually admire in a man. This sounds like the ramblings of a guy who rocks back and forth a lot. I understand, though. You've been driven insane by love.

The number the texts are coming from is thirteen digits long, starting with 8615, so my digital Lothario is either overseas or has so much money he can afford to have a longer phone number than most people. I'm assuming it's the latter.
I'm really looking forward to tonight's text message, unless he's over me already. Or maybe he'll get abusive, or start texting my friends as well, or freak out when I ask him to text my parents.

I can't wait to see what illiterately titillating magic is thrust into my inbox tonight. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #10

Pass the tissues, senorita. I'm muy emotional.
It might be jet-lag, the pressures of the competition, or a side-effect of being almost see-through, but whatever it is, this week's episode had more sobbing and snot than a Sandra Bullock movie. With my last vestige of theatrical fortitude, I bring you the "Drama Drama Drama Chameleon" episode of America's Next Top Module.
I'm exhausted. I need some prune juice.

· Jaeda is missing her boyfriend, and writes "I heart you" on a piece of paper, commenting to camera that she's "sick of living with all these chicks". Yeah. Chicks suck. Scratch your scrotum and crush a beer can on your forehead, sweets. You'll feel better.

· CariDee and twins Michelle and Amanda sit in the spa and talk about their varying levels of ambition. CariDee wants to win real bad, one of the twins is passionate about modelling, and the other one doesn't really give a skinny damn. Now, I know which one's CariDee, because she's wearing a bright yellow head-kerchief and looking like she wants to be my new best friend, but I can't for the life of me tell those twins apart. One's gay, the other isn't. One's good at modelling, the other isn't. Considering there's only enough meat and personality on and in them to make one person, I'm gonna treat them as such. They will now be called Mimanda, and I will only be buying them one Christmas present this year.

· Stock footage of the Module Mobile going from left to right brings us to the LA Repertory Theatre, where our modules are met by Tasha Smith, an actress, acting teacher, and friend of Tyra. Tasha says "You know how crazy Tyra is? This is where Tyra got her crazy from", gesturing towards herself. She's like the Cash N' Carry of Crazy, and Tyra has a corporate card and a jumbo trolley. Tasha outlines the first acting exercise of the day, called the "Silly Dilly" exercise, in which the girls are to let loose on stage without being afraid to be ugly or silly. I'm calling it the "Bitchy Twitchy" exercise, as every module called up to the stage proceeds to flop around wildly, having their own special brand of seizure. No wonder the casting couch technique is so popular. This acting shit is hard.

· The next exercise is called "Dump" (ironic, considering the faecal qualities of the last exercise), in which our girls are to 'dump' everything they're feeling, and completely let go. Eugena the Boring cries about something. Mimanda gets pissed off that people don't "get" them. Melrose, handing the stage over to the Postal Worker Within, puts the "mental" into "sentimental", and the "nuts" into "Wow. She's like, nuts". She screeches like a rake across a blackboard, tears spraying from her eyes and mouth rectangular with grief, randomly wailing "How DARE anyone tell me your picture is better than mine!". When the rant is over, tumbleweeds and crickets feature strongly, as the observing modules look on silently with raised eyebrows and fingers poised ready to dial the White Coat Hotline. Jaeda, in a surprise comparable to finding two ends on a piece of string, gets cranky about her hair, looking like an angry Henry Rollins in the process (is that a tautology?). Caridee, however, gives everyone an emotional Brazilian as she opens up tearfully about considering suicide at times in her life, and knowing what it feels like to want to die. Everyone gets extremely upset and tearful, faces are buried in hands, and hugs are exchanged. How am I supposed to say anything funny about that? Damn you, CariDee, you perfect, multi-faceted, emotionally complex thing, you. You're totally coming to my next dinner party.

· When everyone has recovered from Emota-Palooza, Tasha announces that each module will now be shooting a silent film as this week's challenge. A stage set from a bad high-school play is utilised, and each girl listens to Tasha's barked directions and tries to act accordingly whilst being filmed. It starts benignly with "Look sad!", "Cry on the telephone!", and "Answer the door!", and then becomes indescribably brilliant with "Drink the prune juice!" and "Eat the lemon!". Indescribably brilliant then becomes jaw-dropping disturbo-matic moment of the week as Mimanda's stomach rejects the arrival of actual nutrients and she barfs the prune juice back into the cup she drank it from. I guess she's just improvising – Tasha's trying to direct Gone With The Wind, and Mimanda's doing scenes from The Exorcist. Look for her soon in the feature film Dude, Where's My Ipecac? Tasha tells the modules that they'll find out who the challenge winner is "soon".

· Caridee cries again, this time on the 'phone to her boyfriend, who sounds sympathetic and gorgeous. I bet he's hot. Those two could double-date with me and Spunky Nigel. We could all go for breakfast.

· A Tyra-Mail arrives containing a DVD of the challenge-winner's silent movie, and the winner is Caridee! I love it when it's not Melrose. The mildly amusing scratchy black-and-white film, which contains thinly-disguised references to horse-buggery, has been edited with titles to resemble an authentic silent movie. It's also been edited to include scenes starring Tyra, loath as she is to point the spotlight towards herself, her bingo-wings and her three kilos of eye make-up. She over-acts abysmally in a Spanish-style outfit until the words "Pack your bags…." flash up on the screen, and the "real" Tyra rushes into the Module Mansion hollering "You're going to Spaaaaiiiiinnnn!!" Appropriate jumping and screaming ensues, and a guy who seems to be dressed as Dracula swooshes into the room to dance the flamenco with Tyra, such is the zany, nutty nature of this loopy show. At this point my housemate, Al, said "How come guys don't suddenly appear in our house and dance the flamenco?", and I struggled to find an answer. It's really the way the world should be.

· Caridee's prize for winning this week's challenge is a cameo appearance on One Tree Hill, in which she seems to be playing Paris Hilton's dumber paedophilic doppelganger. Good thing Jaeda didn't win – they would've had to re-write the script to include an upset gay weight-lifter.

· A quick animated plane-trip later, and the modules are in Barcelona (or Barfelona, if you're Mimanda). The girls are loaded onto a bus, which, to their pant-wetting delight, keeps stopping to pick up Spanish male models by the side of the road. At this point my housemate, Al, said "How come we don't have a bus that picks up Spanish male models by the side of the road?". I was stumped again. It's really the way the world should be. The he-modules could hardly speak a word of English, which always, for some inexplicable reason, makes a man hotter. The girls ogle and primp, and Caridee is pleased to have some male company, as she claims "I'm mentally like a man". I know a Jaeda joke belongs here, but I'm spent, I tell you.

· The Spunky Spaniards take the modules to a tapas place, and the waiter brings both food and scripts for this week's shoot – a commercial for deodorant, which the girls have to shoot tomorrow in Catalan, the regional language. The girls can hardly speak English. They also have to pash their male counter-parts, a task which makes Mimanda nervous due to their lack of boy-squelching experience. Jaeda takes umbrage with her hombre, believing him to have told her in broken English that he doesn't like black girls. For one, she's not really all that black, and by the same token, she's not really all that girl. I also don't think that's what the poor guy meant to say. Catalan for "you have the biceps of a toro" sounds a lot like "I don't like black girls" in English. It was nothing more than a simple international incident. Jaeda pouts and says "I have to make out with a jerk". At this point my housemate, Al, said "How come we don't get to kiss Spanish guys?". Maybe because we're at home with our feet on the couch, watching ANTM. It's really the way the world should be.

· After a night of script-panic, Tyra meets the girls in a park in a revolting pink frock, and brings on Mr Jay and the director of the commercial, Denis, who both let the girls know what will be required of them. Walking. Talking. Pashing. All in Spanish. Mimanda aren't bad, although their tonsil-tasting inexperience shows when they both kiss their victims like they're trying to pick up a rice noodle from a slippery plate. Kissing skills: zero points. Catalan-speaking skills: one point. Recommend learning to use mouths for something other than yakking up prune juice. Eugena develops some kind of Ghetto-Catalan hybrid, but otherwise does pretty well, looking for the first time like she has a joy for life, instead of just a concealed Uzi. Jaeda falls to pieces, cries, panics, and bombs. A pity – she looks more like a girl in this shoot than I've ever seen her before. When she kisses the male model, it only looks marginally Brokeback-esque. Melrose, aside from giggling like a psychotic murderess with no neck bones, does bloody brilliantly, because she knows it annoys me. Caridee is woeful. She may be a perfect example of a human being, but this is fifteen different types of shit. Catalan language skills: rubbish. Walking skills: atrocious. Ability to pull together after a mistake: non-existent. Kissing skills: give that poor man his face back. It's like she wants to eat his ears from the inside of his head.

· The inevitable Elimination Tyra-Mail arrives, and the girls traipse into the Spanish Elimination Villa to learn their fate. Tyra is somehow breathing, despite being strapped painfully and frighteningly into a leather, satin and tulle corset-dress from which her tortured mammaries are trying to escape. She's trying to evoke Catwoman, but coming up short with Slutty Gimp In Doris Day Movie. Tyra's hair is less scary than usual, supplemented effectively by Miss Jay's cockatoo-esque locks. Spunky Nigel, who can taste my paella anytime, is there, and commercial director Denis is guest judge. Twiggy is there, although I still haven't figured out why.

· The ads are shown, and the judges hate all of them except Melrose's. Nigel (Hi, Nigel!) says that Caridee looked drunk and crazy, and makes her cry. I'm a bit cross at him for that. He needs spanking. Twiggy calls Jaeda's effort a 'car crash', and she cries, too, tears dripping delicately over her Adam's apple. All the judges laugh at Mimanda's kissing attempts, and Tyra imitates their awkward mastication by demonstrating on Nigel. Hands off, chicken-fat.

· Elimination time, and the safe modules are summoned one by one until only Jaeda and (gasp!) Caridee remain. They hold hands nervously, and it looks like a Love Is… cartoon, only grown-up and frightening. Caridee is told she's full of life and amazing pictures, but not today. Jaeda is told she has nine lives, and her passion is doubted. Eventually, after giving me a scare, Jaeda is dumped like a sack of angular, blokey potatoes. She's philosophical about it, and only mentions her haircut five or six times. Bye, Jaeda. Mind your penis on the way out.

Next week, Caridee is rude to Nigel, the modules trip off on go-sees and there's a photo-shoot with bulls and matadors. Spite. Sight. Bullfight.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Must Have Temper And Police Record.

Do YOU have what it takes to be a Westie Scrag?

The lengthy application form for Australia's Next Top Module this year includes the following questions:

· Have you ever been arrested?
· Have you ever had a restraining order issued against you?
· Describe your relationship with your father.
· How often do you get drunk?
· Are politics important to you?
· Do you have any piercings or tattoos?
· Have you been treated for any serious mental illnesses?
· Have you ever been diagnosed with alcoholism or drug-related addiction?
· Do you have a temper? What provokes you?
· When was the last time you hit, punched or kicked something in anger?
· If you could hold any political office, what would it be and why?
· What are you most ashamed of, either now or in your past?
· Have you ever been to a nude beach?

Now I seriously can't wait for the next series. It'll be just like watching Prisoner, but taller.

Bring it on, youse moles.


I've been thinking a lot about The Fonz lately.

His office is in the toilet at a restaurant.

He lives in a bed-sit over a suburban family's garage.

He hangs out with high school kids.

His best friend is a Ginger.

He water-skis in a jacket.

That's not cool.

Friday, December 01, 2006

No! Vember

Okay. It's the 1st of December.
For the love of God, shave yourselves, gentlemen.
I can appreciate the whole charity thang, and even the whole comedy moustache concept, which is why I and all other women stayed quiet for those thirty long, hairy days.
But the time has come.
Shave, Mo-Fos. We wanna see some skin.