After 9/11, did you see any New Yorkers just shrug and say "Aaaah, well – it's a bit of a change, but I'll get used to it…"?
No. No, you didn't.
It's probably no secret to anyone that I love a Makeover Episode like I love Jason Statham dipped in chocolate with a bottle of gin in his hand. I find it almost impossible to concentrate in the days preceding a Makeover Episode, my head filled with tantalising predictions involving buzzing clippers, wailing tragi-comic tantrums and hissing feline envy with fat dollops of scratching and slapping mixed in.
So will someone please, please tell me what this gentle, accepting, self-controlled, decent-haircut, Alexander-technique bullshit episode thought it was doing spilling into my lounge room?
Bah. Gently restrain your daughters. It's the Shorn To Be Mild episode of Australia's Next Top Model. Y'know – if that's okay with everyone.
· My world's gone all topsy-turvy. Steph H is irritating. Sophie's a bit of a bitch. Jane's smiling. I laugh affectionately at something Paloma says. What's going on?! Wait – wait. Jordan's being Thickie McDoik from Dersville. It's aaallll gonna be okay.
· Joydhi and Jonathan Pease (let's call him JP) arrive at Scrag Central at dawn's crack, and we get to see the girls as they are first thing in the morning. All the modules are slow-moving, tousled crusty things with slurring speech and great big crumbs of eye-biscuit. All except for Steph H, who is already up, ready for a full eighteen hours of being a hyperactive over-achiever. Joydhi announces that this week's theme is How You Present Yourself, and lines our scrags up for some hand and foot inspection action. It's clear that Jordan chews her nails up to the wrist, and Jane has one normal big toe and one manky, swollen club-foot. Joydhi tells Jane that she probably needs an acrylic toenail, which stuns me. Am I the only person who thinks this is ridiculous? Isn't getting an acrylic toenail a bit like getting elbow implants? Joydhi says that not having a pedicure is disrespectful to Manolo Blahnik – you know – just like not wiping your bum properly is disrespectful to Philippe Starck (or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like not dipping your chips into the mash and gravy is disrespectful to the Colonel).
· Our girls are whisked off by station wagon to the GHD Salon, and my buttocks clench with excitement, almost unstitching some of my couch-upholstery in the process. JP tells each girl in turn who she's going to look like, throwing around names like Elle McPherson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Christy Turlington and Colleen McCullough. Sophie, Danika, Steph H, Anika and Kara all undergo barely-noticeable coiffure adjustments, but Jane is told she'll be getting a Sarah O'Hare "pixie" cut, Steph F a dark-coloured Diaz, Sad Alice will be coming over all ginger, and Paloma is told that her long locks will be lopped. And you wanna know how many tears I counted the whole time? One and a half. From Sad Alice. Because she wanted more of a change. She tells JP she wants to look "differenter", then grimaces and says "that's not a real word, is it?"
· Jane becomes my new hero in her shorter-than-short violet haircut, saying "It doesn't matter if I like it". You're RIGHT, dammit! Modules' opinions do not count. It's my new mantra. In fact, it's my old mantra. Paloma jumps up and down pre-haircut, using a lot of unnecessary vowels and dipping her cup into Jordan's "Oh More Gourd" punchbowl more than once. A short intake of breath as the first chunk is hacked away, and then… then… she smiles. And quite possibly blinks. Her new shaggy do suits her, and, channelling Samson rather than her customary Delilah, she says that she feels that all her "baggage and shit is gone" along with her hair. Sweet Baby Jesus, somebody hide her pills. I want my psycho freak back. I want Palomelodrama, not Palomoderate. Robbed.
· A Joydhi-Mail arrives, sending the girls off to learn about make-up at the Napoleon Perdis Training Academy which, like all respectable educational institutions, is located in a shopping centre. Napoleon himself is there to greet the modules, and he hasn't changed a jot since Series 1. Still fat and disturbingly shiny. Still fighting the good fight against what was clearly intended by God to be a monobrow. Still camp as a row of tents in the gayest camping ground in the world, despite apparently having a wife and four children. Still mad as a fat, shiny, hairy, gay, cut snake. Napoleon flaps his ample cheeks and words come out, mostly about how presenting oneself as a module should be done with fresh, simple make-up, not, as Jordan so eloquently puts it, "Just chucking it on". Jane enjoys Napoleon's particular brand of humoursexuality, saying "I'd marry Napoleon. He's so fuckin' funny". A tall, skinny, gay girl wants to marry an overweight closet-dwelling cosmetics tycoon. As Petstarr noted over at the BC, this shit writes itself.
· JP outlines this week's challenge – the girls have fifteen minutes to choose an outfit from a rack and do their hair and make-up – all reflecting their own style and personality. Like a herd of stampeding whippets, the scrags descend upon the clothes and make-up, trying not to notice Anika's whopping great bazonkas bursting out of her frock. Steph H panics and tries on every outfit she can see, leaving herself ninety seconds to whack on a face and comb her hair, all to the tune of JP's exasperated eye-rolling.
· The newly-scrubbed scrubbers are assessed, and the compliments start to roll – Anika is compared to a prostitute, Alice is deemed "too eclectic", Sophie is accused of being lazy and lack-lustre, and Steph H is told she looks like the town virgin. I hate Paloma's outfit, but the judges love it, and Jane, despite describing herself as looking like "the biggest wank-stain", really looks quite modelly indeed. I'm really enjoying Jane for her quote-value right now – obscenity-laced zingers delivered with a cranky smirk, a raised eyebrow, and rough-as-guts drawl that could turn milk.
· Paloma and Jane both win the challenge, and the prize, shared with Jordan and Steph F, is a frock and a limo-ride to a red carpet function at Ruby Rabbit. As they arrive, flash-bulbs flare and the four winners pout, primp, and hip-jut for all they're worth. "I felt famous!" exclaims Paloma. "Like, I'm famous in Newcastle, but that doesn't matter", she adds, smiling, without a shadow of self-indulgence or panic attack. Freak. All the other girls are permitted to attend as catering staff in slutty Old Western Showgirl outfits, and they haul ice, clean toilets and shovel pony-pooh for all they're worth. By the end of the night, winners are indistinguishable from losers as all girls down tools and gyrate against virtual nobodies on the dance-floor. Krystal from Big Brother? Less A-list than Double-D-list, really.
· Joydhi turns up at Scrag Central with a gift bag for everyone, and, riveting as that sounds, I'm momentarily distracted by some grout.
· Photo-shoot time, and it's one of my favourites – the close-up, minimal make-up beauty shot. This type of shoot really separates the true contenders from the mere wanna-bes, similar to the vomit-bucket in a pie-eating competition. Steph F worries about her recent history as a deer in the headlights, so she adds "frown" to her now two-item list of facial expressions, to admittedly gorgeous effect. JP says to Jane that he knows there's a woman inside her, to which everybody thinks "wouldn't be the first time", and, imagining a weekend of nookie to soften her usual scowl, she takes a pretty decent shot. Sad Alice is dreamy-sweet, and Paloma is pretty, but I prefer the old pouty Paloma to this new, smile-riddled thing. Anika and Sophie are stunning, Kara is intensely boring, Danika does what she can with what she's got, and Steph H comes up with the goods yet again. Jordan is stymied by her own stupidity in the Great Blueberry Fiasco of Episode Three, in which she decides blueberries, the stainiest fruit in the world, would be a great nosh right before a close-up photo-shoot. After JP reads aloud from the thesaurus entry for "dickhead", she shouts "FUCKIN' BLUEBERRIES!", has a good cry, and turns up in front of the camera with blue teeth and puffy eyes. And rocks it, considering.
· Alice wins the Ironic Bitchiness award for the week, saying that "Jordan is really super-dooper immature". It's up there with "Short sentences suck", or "I hate girl's who misuse apostrophe's".
· A Joydhi-Mail sends the girls to the Elimination Carpark, where Joydhi introduces guest judge Napoleon Perdis and runs through the prizes, which I think include a box of tampons and some Sea Monkeys, and states dramatically that "One of yoir must goy hoyme tonight".
· Napoleon outlines the elimination mini-challenge, in which the girls have to tell him how good his cosmetics are. To his face. Without laughing. Most of the girls give standard, bum-licky responses, but the stand-outs for me are Sad Alice, Paloma, Jane and Jordan. Sad Alice's performance is enhanced when the judges encourage her to spin around on the spot. Paloma seems to think Napoleon manufactures some kind of marital aid, as she gyrates and whispers through her spiel. Jane, giving Napoleon an instant idea for promotional t-shirts, simply delivers "I fuckin' love Napoleon cosmetics" with a bored snarl. And Jordan sings "I'm Every Woman". I fuckin' love Jordan.
· The judges deliberate, and Joydhi calls the girls back in and starts reading their names out one by one until it's just down to Kara (who?), whose smock seems to have shrunk in the wash, and Jordan, who is already crying just in case. Kara is told that she's beautiful, but not much else, and Jordan is told that she's going backwards. After some additional sobs from Jordan, Kara is given the heave-ho. Bye, Kara! Don't make any impact whatsoever on your way out! And honey? You forgot your pants.
Next week, the modules front up for some catwalk training with a caustic, name-calling coach, and try to master the art of the quick-change. Tripping. Ripping. Unzipping.
There'd better be some drama next week, or I'll sue.