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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series Three #9

Questionable acting skills.
Snide remarks.
Scantily-clad, starving women.

Is it the Academy Awards? Or is it just the There's No Business Like Ho Business episode of Australia's Next Top Model?

· I thought I might miss Paloma. So I got the sights on my rifle re-aligned. Boom-TISH!

· Joydhi meets our modules at the Actors Centre in Surry Hills to outline this week's theme – Acting And Emoytions. She introduces acting coach Paul Goddard, who is quite obviously a master of the thespian arts, evinced by the fact that he has ironic spectacles, expressive hands and a thoughtful diagonal nod. Paul leads the girls through a number of acting exercises, detailed below:

Exercise One: Angry
Punch one of your hands with the other, frown and stamp your foot.
Will teach you: How to become angry by exhibiting the behaviour of an angry person.
Useful for: Acting in movies about social injustice or one-man bands.
Results: Alice feels herself getting angry.

Exercise Two: Imagining Stuff
Instructions: Imagine some stuff
Will teach you: How to imagine stuff
Useful for: Times you need to imagine stuff
Results: Alice, with all her powers of creative fancy, imagines herself sitting on a couch with a dog, a biscuit and a cup of tea. Nuts.

Exercise Three: Chronological Regression
: Pretend you're six years old, then pretend you're a teenager
Will teach you: Why baby-voices are annoying, and why paedophiles are sick bastards
Useful for: Hosting Playschool or Quizmania
Results: A brisk game of ring-a-ring-a-rosy and some exaggerated vowels.

Exercise Four: Emotional Statues
Instructions: Run around the room until an emotion is called out, then 'freeze' in a pose epitomising that emotion.
Will teach you: How to be emotional and motionless at the same time, like people in The Young And The Restless just before an ad break.
Useful for: Not being found during a game of Hide And Seek
Results: All modules interpret "terror" as "constipated", and Steph interprets "embarrassed" as "being dakked in front of the entire school".

· Back at Scrag Central, JP is waiting with another acting challenge. Each girl takes it in turn to say, with as much conviction as they can muster, "I am Australia's Next Top Model", and be as believable as possible. If the other girls don't think the performance is convincing, they're to say "No, you're not". If this rubbish made it to screen, imagine the intestinally-challenging bumf left on the cutting-room floor. JP then pretends to be Marc Jacobs at a fashionable social function, which is a bit like pretending to be a haemorrhoid at an arsehole convention, and the modules have to try to make an impressive impression. Whilst watching the interactions of a group of people with the collective IQ of sandstone should be interesting, I'm momentarily distracted by a comparative analysis of two different kinds of envelope adhesive.

· Our modules try to act surprised when another Joydhi-Mail appears, and they're soon off to CherriJam for a challenge in which each girl has to speak to four "leading Australian fashion experts" for sixty seconds each, and again leave an impressive impression. The experts are two chicks from the Telegraph's Sunday magazine, a guy from Vogue, and a fashion designer, and they settle into their swanky chairs for some one-on-one speed-intimidating. Alice tells the Sunday Life people how much she enjoys their magazine, before realising that she's actually referring to their competitor's Sunday rag, and then dispenses with the traditional interview format and decides to ask all the questions herself. Steph, using classic Australian rising intonation, makes all her statements sound as if they're questions? And says that like, um, modelling, like, um, is really really so much fun? Anika, too, comes across all ummy, and when asked to describe her personal style uses words like "professional", "classy" and "neat", instead of the more obvious "frumpy", "discount", and "roomy in the front". Jordan, afraid that all she has to offer is "piss and dribble", decides that her safest option is to tell the interviewers that she's a "ghetto chick" and then just be quiet for the remaining fifty-two seconds.

· Anika and Steph win the challenge, and share the prize of a photo-shoot for Sunday Magazine. Amazing once again how, in the context of a competition, you don't have to pay people to work for you as long as you use the word "prize" instead of "volunteer".

· Now that Paloma's gone, there is a desperate dearth of bitchiness in the air, so the producers are trying to wring droplets of drama from even the most benign situations. Anika says to camera, within accidental earshot of Jordan, that she thinks she works harder than Jordan and has better photos. Jordan confronts Anika about this unspeakable travesty. Anika stammers and apologises. They hug. I slap my hand to my forehead and look for some gin. If this had happened pre-Paloma-arsing, someone would've stormed out of a room, moved some furniture, and used a split infinitive. As it is, we're given the dramatic equivalent of flour.

· With only four scrags left, the editors are at a bit of a loose end, so they string out the next two scenes in a Tarantino-esque, choppy montage. Scenes from Anika and Steph's Sunday mag photo-shoot are cut between scenes from Alice and Jordan's visit to the pool with Andreas. Hi, Andreas. You left your toothbrush at my place.

· Sunday mag photo shoot: Sixties-style long fringed wigs, smocks, smoky eyes and hats at jaunty angles. Both Anika and Steph look stunning, and they're photographed by Simon Upton, who I kissed once when I was eighteen, at FJ's in Narabeen. I'm experiencing an odd mixture of pride and shame right now, that anyone who ever went to FJ's would completely understand. Simon keeps telling Steph to suck her tummy in, which is a bit like asking Rachmaninoff to use more notes, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like asking a sales assistant at Target to slow down.

· Obviously as a response to my disappointment at the distinct lack of Andreas-nudity last week, the personal trainer of questionable nationality wakes the losers, Alice and Jordan, early for a workout down the pool. For some reason this week, Andreas sounds Austrian, particularly when he says "We're on owah way to tha pool. It's nod a toomah". Alice moans that her swimming costume is mouldy and that she doesn't want ringworm, prompting a bout of eye-rolling from both Jordan and myself. Down at the pool, the girls are forced to do laps (read: "lap"), followed by push-ups (read: "lying face-down on the pebble-crete"). "This is really hard for me", says Jordan. "People should honestly feel sorry for me – it's not easy to swim after a tub of gelato". It strikes me that, for the entire series, more than half the scenes involving Jordan depict her spooning something into her gob. She's like a garbage disposal unit and the powerpoint it's plugged into.

· Andreas makes Jordan and Alice tread water whilst holding ping-pong balls above the surface of the water. Jordan says "When I'm holding balls, I sink". I can't improve on that.

· A Joydhi-Mail arrives announcing the imminent phoy-toy-shoot, which, in a surprise comparable to finding a curved banana, will be all about acting and emoytions. Joydhi, JP and the omnipresent Ian Thorpe meet the modules at The Dome, where, as Thorpey announces, they'll be modelling in his underwear. It seems that, along with his other innumerable macho pursuits, Thorpey also designs men's smalls. The girls are to lounge on a bed with a male module, expressing a particular emotion as dictated by JP. Because modelling's hard.

· Anika is asked to summon 'contentment' in a pair of daks and a barely-nork-containing black singlet. She's absolutely rubbish at looking content, but if she doesn't look like the living epitome of Sex On Toast, I'll eat my hat. And I'm straight. I can only imagine the level of tissue consumption going on in a male household. Y'know – because all the blokes I know rush home on a Tuesday night to watch this shit. Steph is asked to look upset, as if she's just been abandoned by her boyfriend. She manages quite well, despite admitting that she's never been broken up with before. This would explain her choice during the shoot of a vague look of disappointment, rather than the reality – sitting on the couch tears, chocolate, and vodka. Jordan, impressing the photographer and JP no end, manages 'suspicion' extremely well. I'm less impressed – after all, what do you do when you're suspicious? You squint. She was born for the role. She knows it, too, saying cockily yet endearingly "If they eliminate me, they've gotta be fucking kidding". Alice is not built to be photographed in her underwear, and looks like someone draped a camisole over a drawer full of forks. Her job is to be 'angry', and she hesitates before biffing the male module with a pillow, admitting that she's afraid of hurting him. You should be fine, sweetie – just keep him away from those hipbones.

· My favourite part of this week's episode is the hardest to describe in print – both Jordan and Steph are sick to the back teeth with Alice's constant complaining, and Jordan pulls out a brilliant Alice-impersonation. She makes her voice go all high-pitched, whiny and croaky, like an upset, hoarse mouse, or Paris Hilton first thing in the morning, and whines "Oh my Gooood. I'm getting sunbuuuurnt. Turn the radio dooooown. It's hurting my eeeeaaars". I know. Shut up. You had to be there.

· After the inevitable Joydhi-Mail, our final four scrags stomp into the Elimination Factory to face the judges, who are all dressed in black except for guest judge Grant from Voygue. Jez and Joydhi battle it out to show the largest expanse of chest, and Shiny Alex Perry looks like he's been written down in shorthand. Joydhi lists the prizes, which I think include a subscription to That's Life! and a Butter Menthol, and then tells the girls about today's elimination challenge. Surprise! They have to act out a scenario, displaying a range of emotions! A couple of emotions surge suddenly in my own throat - most notably bile and carrot. This is a farce and a waste of everybody's time, even though Alice keeps mentioning her dog, James the supporting actor is reasonably easy on the eye, and Jordan thinks that "bashful" means "like, up myself?" Anika, despite being dressed as one, will not be winning a Gold Logie any time soon.

· The admittedly stunning photos are looked through, and Charlotte re-emerges as my favourite quote-monkey of the series. She remarks that Alice might be angry in her photo because "that guy was such a dud bash", and that Jordan may look suspicious because "the bloke looks a bit gay". The judges deliberate, and Shiny Alex Perry, obviously upset about his face, launches in about Jordan's lack of height. Jez and Charlotte gang up against him, and we're witness to a brief but glorious spat worthy of parliament or third grade.

· Joydhi starts handing out photos, until only Powerpoint Jordan and Norky Anika are left. Jordan is told that she's a great performer, but lacks technique, and Anika is told she's beautiful, but that beauty may not be enough. By now everyone's crying, and with some pregnant, dramatic pauses, Joydhi gives Anika the elbow. Bye, Anika! Don't knock any ornaments off the mantelpiece on your way out! Anika remarks that "I feel like I've been wearing a corset for nine weeks, and I've just been released". No, honey. That was episode six.

Next week, the scrags pretend to be store mannequins, Alice waxes lyrical with the phrase "fuck you too", and everyone goes to LA! Pose. Prose. Melrose.


shellity said...

Oh yes lovely. Top notch piece. I'm especially pleased that I learned a new word: "bumf". You could even add it to a word that means a flapping sail, implying that the bumf is so lame it's lifeless; hence: bumf-luff.

Please remind me who Simon Upton is? There were so many Simons around in those days.

Isn't it interesting how Thorpie rears his head when there are male models around?

And a final word on your final words: surely they are spelt, 'Poise, Proise and Melroise'?

DelightfulJen said...

"Alice is not built to be photographed in her underwear, and looks like someone draped a camisole over a drawer full of forks."

Love it!! Her hipbones looked as though they might actually be able to slice things. I find the similarity between Alice's limbs and udon noddles quite striking this ep, all long, pale and bendy.

She's still my pick though, udon girl for the win!