I had my wisdom teeth taken out recently. Before they were removed, they were the painful bane of my mouth, constantly making their presence felt by stamping their feet and pushing impatiently against all the other teeth. They thought they were so much more important than the other molars, and the canines, and the incisors. Because of their constant demands, they were all I ever talked about.
Now they're gone. I don't miss them, but they've left a hole. Mind you, I'm sure my wisdom teeth aren't under any illusions that they were removed because they were too good for my mouth. Very few things are.
Enough with the dental metaphor, though, and onto business. In several lessons on how to make oneself the centre of every imaginable universe, I give you the Ego Is Not A Dirty Scrag episode of Australia's Next Top Model.
· Let's not pretend that this show isn't all about Paloma. She's middlingly pretty, she only has one 'modelling face', she has mild depression and anxiety issues, questionable taste in clothes, and a hilariously inept take on the English language. But boy, can that girl turn anything around to point at herself. Except criticism, perhaps. Like how Paloma being in the bottom two last week is all Steph's fault. With a resigned sigh and an exasperated eye-roll, please adjust your floaties and swim to the shallow end of the pool. We're going back to pre-school again.
· This morning's Palomalesson: How To Make Someone Else Apologise For Your Own Failure.
Step One: If you find yourself in the bottom two at Elimination, assume it is the fault of the module who has never been in the bottom two. Failing that, any other conspiracy theory will do. Except the one about Marilyn Manson being the geeky kid from the Wonder Years. That's bullshit.
Step Two: Let people know, preferably whilst sobbing, that your logic in coming to the above conclusion is beyond reproach. Phrases such as "They don't know what my strong point is because I'm good at everything, but they tell me that's a good thing, so they're contradicting theirselves" should do nicely.
Step Three: Tell Steph, who has never been in the bottom two, that this is completely unfair because she's obviously shit. If Steph (for some unfathomable, conspirational reason) takes offence and, say, ends the friendship, demand an apology from her. I mean, come on – bitch.
Step Four: As a kind of desperately adult exclamation mark, use your brute psychotic strength to move your bunk bed away from Steph's. Sure, she might throw your birthday card in the bin, but it's worth it.
Step Five: Grow. The. Fuck. Up. Mole.
· Joydhi meets the modules at the Sydney Dance Café for a cup of warm water, a slice of air and a quick rundown on this week's theme: Communicating With Your Body. I communicate with my body all the time, but mostly about half an hour after eating chick-peas. About to send the scrags to Studio One for a quick dance lesson, Joydhi tells Paloma she thinks she'll do well with the theme. "I think it'll be easy", says Paloma, and I suddenly want some hydrochloric acid and a hot fork.
· Ramon Doringo, or as I'm calling him, Endearing Boogie Chipmunk, takes the girls for a dance lesson in matching leotards, and something becomes apparent. I imagine taking a recently-landed extra-terrestrial by the hand, leading him to the Sydney Dance Company, pointing to Norky Anika and See-Through Alice standing together and saying "Same species, man. I'm not kidding", no doubt to other-worldly guffaws and disbelief. It's like the before and after photographs in a brochure about the removal of polyps from a drinking straw. Alice isn't the most co-ordinated dancer in the room, a fact which doesn't escape Paloma, who says "She seemed retarded to me", and then claps her hands the way she imagines retarded people do. The rest of the class, filled as it is with dance moves, music, and retarded clapping, should be interesting, but I'm momentarily distracted by the number of layers in a 3-ply paper towel.
· JP turns up with a Joydhi-Mail, which says something cryptic about how after a chess game is finished, the pieces all end up back in the same box. This would be tedious if it had been given to anyone but Paloma to read:
Paloma: "…. the king and the prawn go back in the box…"
JP: "The king and the prawn? What?"
Paloma: "Well, I don't play chess, do I?"
No, my darling moron. No, you do not.
· Alice, dressed today as a lumberjack, joins the other modules in the scrag-mobile for a trip to a studio for the first of two photo-shoots this week. The girls will be squeezed into hooded catsuits, plastered with false eyelashes and crammed into a box, where they're to make all kinds of interesting contorted angles whilst Fabrizio Lipari snaps them (although Alice looks like she may snap herself). I can see the production meeting for this one:
"Brian, what's all this? I didn't sign off on this, did I?"
"Er…y-yes. I'm sure you did. I distinctly remember you saying we should scrunch them in a ball, put them in a box and shoot them".
"Aaaah, yes. Carry on".
Andreas the Hot Personal Trainer appears to help the girls warm up their muscles (too… many… obscene… jokes… rushing… rushing… all at once…), but he needs a haircut and doesn't take his shirt off even once, so I've changed my plans to lick his neck, and may just send him a dirty text message instead.
· To be honest, the catsuits look brilliant, helped more than a little by the Best Shiny Black Boots In The World. Jordan, who's really lifted her game lately, kicks arse with a bunch of very bendy poses indeed, and Steph eventually finds her inner pretzel after a bit of coaxing. Anika, undeterred by her cumbersome hooters, does an incredible back-bend and balances on the top of her head, giving backyard porn producers ideas for their next fifteen videos. Alice has trouble expressing emotion, so Joydhi asks her to scream, which is a bit like asking Modigliani to maybe try painting a happy portrait or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like telling Beyonce to put her tits away. JP tells Paloma that she often photographs "a bit too FHM", and to try to be more "fashion", but she ends up being a bit "shit". And can you guess which of the following statements she makes about her underwhelming photo shoot (and which chapter of the Paloma Manual For Life, Ego, and Being An Illiterate Arsehole she's reading from)?:
a) "I'll try not to be too strong, 'cause I get in trouble for that" (from See? See How I Made It Look Like Something I'm Good At Might Be Perceived As A Flaw?);
b) "I get told so many different things, I don't know what to do!" (from Praise = Me Do Good. Criticism = Your Fucking Fault);
c) "They don't think I'm good enough any more, so why bother?" (from I Suck, So I'll Pretend I Don't Care); or
d) All of the above (from Textbook Depression and Its Manifestation in the Spoiled Brat).
Jordan wins the challenge, because she's the only one in this part of the show who isn't a freak.
· Blah-di-blah-di-blah – Paloma and Steph have a lip-flap about she-said-and-then-I-said, and I want to stick a knitting needle in my eye. Paloma pulls out the old "when I'm angry, my depression makes me say things I don't mean" chestnut, which, quite frankly, pisses me off. I've known a lot of people who suffer from depression, and only about one in ten of them are twats. If I can't blame an errant haemorrhoid for the occasional snap at the coffee lady, I don't see why Paloma gets to blame her depression for constantly dipping her ladle into the bitch bucket. Through tears, she says "the modelling side is so easy, but everything else is soy hard. I'm trying not to lose my mind". I suppose I can't say anything mean here, for risk of censure. Poop.
· Challenge winner Jordan picks Steph to share her prize – the girls get to appear in a Bonds fashion parade at Fringe Bar. It's a prize, see. Everyone else in the show gets paid, but the lucky prize-winners get to do it for free. The other modules get to help out behind the scenes, and Anika is green with excited jealousy, seething "They're on the catwalk! In their underwear! In a pub! What's better than that?". Jordan and Steph wiggle, flick and pout in their smalls, then everyone goes home. Rumour has it that JP and the hairdresser for this show had a screaming match resulting in the hairdresser's dismissal at some point during preparations for the catwalk. I don't know if that's true, but I wish someone had caught it on camera. Girls prancing around in cute underwear? I can see that in my mirror at home. Fashion boys screeching at each other over styling ish-yous? Thank you, sir – may I have another?
· A curious Joydhi-Mail about flying appears, and the scrags are deposited at The Red Box in Lilyfield – a massive empty arts space. JP tells them they're about to be photographed in an "extreme fashion situation", and then opens the door to reveal a high ceiling, photographic equipment, and a harness. I love the word "harness". Nothing comfortable or normal can ever be associated with its use. The girls will be swathed in tulle, strapped into the harness (ha!), handed an umbrella (according to JP, this evokes an "out-there Mary Poppins" vibe), and flung about the room with joyous abandon, all the while being shot by Dean the funny photographer. Dean is funny. You can tell by the wacky way he wears a hat. Paloma says "I thought he was a wacko. I thought he was on drugs", and then flips a coin to see if she'll be the pot or the kettle in this scenario.
· I would've thought that a scene involving five girls strapped into a harness flying through the air would offer more in the way of hilarity and hijinx. I mean, if you can't depend on a harness for comedic mayhem, what are we all doing here? Sure, the bit where Dean the funny photographer asked Anika "How's your crotch", and she answered "Fine – thanks for asking" was a minor oasis in the droll desert, and Jordan suggesting that perhaps FHM Paloma should "close those legs, girlfriend" raised a wry smile, but other than that, I'm just disappointed. So is Steph. She's disappointed that Paloma is trying to take a good photograph. "It annoys me that she's trying so hard". Yeah. What a conniving cow. Imagine.
· After another Joydhi-Mail (that Paloma thinks is directed at her, bless 'er), our modules tromp into the Elimination Stadium to face their fate, and I type a quick email to Anika to demand that she take that stupid fucking hat off. After last week's High Neckline Scare, Joydhi is back to normal with her norks hanging out, and she babbles through this year's prizes, which I think include a seven-pack of tennis socks and a Red Bull. Judges Charlotte Dawson, Jez Smith, Shiny Alex Perry and Fabrizio Lipari are introduced, as is this week's elimination challenge, which is to "show us your best dance moves". This becomes bad very quickly. The modules all pick from one of three imaginary bags: Lap Dancing Hoo-wah, Wacky Ham, or Just Walks Up And Down. It's very bad.
· Both the module-in-a-box and the harness photographs are picked through, and all the modules look cube-a-licious in the box shots, and a bit blurry and flappy in the flying shots, with the exception of Paloma, who actually rocks it. The judges deliberate long and hard, which by the looks of things might be how every single judge actually likes it, and Joydhi calls out the safe names until only Steph and Paloma are left. Steph is told that she has a lack of focus, and Paloma is told that her face and body didn't come together this week, and that she's full of excuses. Then, in a moment that plonks me right in the middle of laugh, cry and hoot, Paloma is given the almighty arse. She smiles. She hugs. Then she turns and sprints her sack o' walnuts out the door. Bye, Paloma! Don't carry this whole show with your juvenile psychotic tanties on your way out!
· In a truly magnificent self-summing up, we're treated to a fabulous departing quote by Paloma, which is kind of like a Deluded Milkshake from the Kidding Yourself Café: "I think they eliminated me because I'm too good for the competition". Yuh-huh. And they give the gold medal to the guy who came second now, too. She also says "I think Alice will win because of what she looks like". In a modelling competition? You think?
Next week, the modules try to promote themselves in pretend go-sees, there are more harsh words and tears, and somebody mentions ringworm. Pitching. Bitching. Itching.