A good haircut can change your life.
A good haircut gives you confidence, renewed sass, and a fresh bit of winsome arse-wiggle when you walk.
A good haircut leaves your hair looking shiny, bouncy, healthy and devastatingly contemporary.
Now, everybody who's ever even glanced in my direction knows that I adore a Makeover Episode. I wait for it. I crave it. I sit by the telephone, willing it to call.
And here it is.
And if I was one of these models, given one of these haircuts, I would sue. Sue and maim. Sue and maim and kill.
It's not pretty. It's the I'm A De-Weaver episode of America's Next Top Model.
· The Nutshell Version: Everybody gets a crap haircut. Everybody gets smeared with ice cream and sugar. Tyra's still a pirate. Somebody goes home.
· Diana and Whitney have a chat about being plus-sized models in a negative-sized model world, in a scene straight from the indie film Fat Girls Talking. They discuss how hard it is to take a good photo without any "rolls" showing. Now, I know it's good, in real life, to have all body shapes and sizes represented, hence not giving our pre-teen impressionables body-dysmorphic disorder later in life. But come on. If a plus-sized model ever wins a series of ANTM, I'll eat my ninety-seven-percent fat-free hat. Fat models are for "before" photos. Am I right?
· Cassandra is revealed as our live-in god-botherer, spreading the Gospel to all in need. "Dear God," she says. "Why did you give me such a big nose?"
· A Tyra-Mail arrives, hinting at a makeover, and a rill of excitement wobbles through the collected modelly throng. "They can do whatever they want to me", says Brittany, pretty much cementing her position as Girl-Who-Hates-New-Hair later in the episode. What – like we've never seen a makeover episode before? Saying "I don't care what they do to my hair" is the pre-makeover equivalent of going into a dark room in a horror movie without turning on the light. You're toast.
· The modules rock up to Sessions Studio to face Mr Jay, Miss Jay, and Neeko the Hairdresser, or as I'm calling them, A Big Ol' Row O' Gay. Just as I'm thinking that the scene doesn't have enough Oscar-worthy, dramatic over-acting, in walks Tyra in pyjamas and hair-curlers. Cassandra is not the only person calling Jesus' name at this point. Tyra pretends she doesn't know what's going on, screwing up her face and saying "What is this?" in a sleepy voice. Yes, Tyra. We all believe that you were having a little kip just off-camera. There's no place like home. There's no place like home. She claims that she thought they'd decided not to do makeovers this year, as every season someone cries and carries on, and it's not worth it. The only thing Tyra needs to do to make this scene more of a farce is to scream, wail, and crawl around on her hands and knees. But that would never happen.
· Tyra describes to each module the haircut (read: life-destroying coiff-massacre) they're about to have committed upon their person (read: "We're giving you a weave"). The Big Ol' Row O' Gay then sets upon her, hacking at her hair with hedge trimmers, pretending that there's still an undiscovered tribe in the upper Andes that doesn't know Tyra's hair is a wig. She screams. She wails. She crawls around on her hands and knees. Huh.
o Sarah's hair is cut infinitesimally shorter, and dyed brown, or as Tyra puts it, she has some "dirtiness" added. Admittedly, she looks much better than before – now she's an ugly, old-looking brunette with no chin. Miraculous!
o Dionne's hair is cut boy-short, and she ends up looking like an early-nineties Toni Braxton, only prettier and less whiny and annoying.
o Cassandra, who previously had a wig sewn onto her scalp, has the wig removed and an afro-weave put in. Granted, it looks better than the sewn-in wig, but so would balancing an anaesthetized kelpie on her head.
o Jaslene doesn't get much of a change, just a fuller, slightly shorter cut with more body. The girl could use more body, as every time I see her in a midriff, I imagine Lionel Hampton jamming on her ribcage. She claims that she feels the hairdresser "chopped off all her anger". Anger? Whatever.
o Renee is butchered. She's given a short shag, which is also, I suspect, how she got her son. Girl has to climb a ladder to reach 'trailer trash' status. Girl kinda deserves it.
o Felicia is given "bangs" (that's a "fringe" to you Antipodeans, bless ya), and the only justification I can think of for her haircut is to COVER UP THOSE FUCKING EYEBROWS. No, sir. I will not get over it. They are an affront to beauty, I say.
o Natasha's hair is cut to shoulder length, dyed chocolate-brown, and hacked into a fringe, and she takes a necessary leap away from Afghan Hound all the way to Pinscher. Potentially insulting dog reference accidental. She says, in remarkably articulate English: "I think it proves any look can work for me". Da.
o Brittany is given a longer, wavy red weave. This is how Tyra describes it. Brittany is given a homeless woman's second-hand merkin, weaved into her existing hair with maximum pain and indignity. This is how anyone else would describe it. Brittany complains. Then she complains some more. After a short break, she complains a little. Whitney, articulating what we're all thinking, says "I just wanna slap her and really give her something to cry about".
o Whitney is given a longer, fake-looking weave. Meh.
o Diana is taken a few shades lighter and, in a surprise comparable to opening a packet of Family Assorted and finding crap bikkies inside, is given a weave. This increases the prettiness of her face, but keeps her unfortunate girth the same.
o Jael is put through weave hell and back. Initially, Tyra tells her she's going to give her a long, brunette makeover, but after eight hours of painful hairdressing hell in which Jael wails "Is it gonna bleed?", changes her mind and sends Mr Jay to deliver the bad news – "We thought we'd be taking you to an elevated look, but we think it's bringing you down a little, so we're taking it all out". He mentions Rosemary's Baby, which is supposed to be a reference to Mia Farrow's pixie-cut, but is interpreted, through Jael's copious tears, as being equivalent to the pain associated to giving birth to Satan's demon offspring. Jael says "I can rock any hair. I'm a rocker". We say "Where's the rest of your skull? Why didn't we notice you were a pin-head before?".
· Jael checks her messages from home, and discovers that one of her good friends has died from a drug overdose. It would be inappropriate to make any jokes here, even about the fact that perhaps passive smack abuse is the cause of Jael's incomprehensible drawl. She's very, very upset, and in a rare moment of solidarity, the other modules rally around her to offer support, succour, and any spare consonants they have lying around.
· This week's challenge is sponsored loudly and repeatedly by Cover Girl, and involves the girls running from make-up laden table to make-up laden table in flowery frocks, speedily creating a "Spring Look". Brittany, plagued by "digestive issues", has a quick chunder in the rose bushes in between Foundation and Lip Liner, but still manages to win the prize of a Seventeen Magazine photo spread. Nothing says "Spring" like little bits of carrot.
· Renee is not happy that Brittany keeps winning challenges instead of her, and brings out her usual chestnut of "She can win all the battles, but I'm gonna win the war". Brittany overhears Renee's bitching and confronts her, and Renee, ironically it would seem, tells Brittany that she acts a lot like she's in high school. Brittany, in a quiet, level voice, making me shout "ZING!" at the television, just says "I'm still kicking your arse in this competition". Renee, proving her superior maturity and vocabulary, gives her the finger. Sometimes I can't tell if I'm watching a modeling competition or a documentary about the Athenian Fathers of Philosophy.
· Photo-shoot time, and the Big Pink Hummer drops the girls off to a studio decorated with confectionery-related accoutrements. Mr Jay says that "ice cream is one of Tyra's and my favourite treats", going on to explain that for today's shoot, each girl will go nude, get slathered in candy-coloured make-up, and hold a handful of ice-cream representing different flavours. Whilst watching a handful of pastel-toned naked mall-rats covered in lollies and ice cream should be interesting, I'm momentarily distracted by a stack of white paper. All-too-rare highlights include:
o Brittany, not having filled her complaint quota for the hour, is sure that her parents will be horrified by her impending nudity, and also worries that her "hands aren't going to react well" to holding fistfuls of ice cream. Seriously, soldiers in Afghanistan have it easy compared to these poor waifs.
o Cassandra's new afro-weave is shaped into the form of a jelly-bean. I've done a quick poll, and it's unanimous – this look is very, very bad.
o Diana, painted as a Gummi Bear, is repeatedly ordered by Jay to "suck it in". We're in the middle of a photo-shoot about sweets and ice cream, Jay. I think a bit of Big Fat Gut Action is warranted.
o Renee has tiny bits of confectionery stuck to her face. This is supposed to make her look like she's a candy necklace. This makes her look like she's in the advanced stages of leprosy.
· We're off to the Elimination Stadium, and Tyra is mixing it up this week as half-pirate, half-gypsy. She blahs through the prizes, which I think include a pair of safety scissors and a guinea pig, and then introduces the judges, including Spunky Nigel, who I'm having my hip-joints reconstructed for. Miss Jay is wearing two ruffles around his neck, partly to signify the demise of the two eliminated modules, and partly to signify that he's a Great Big Nancy who's run out of ideas. Photos are slapped up on the big screen, with some notable comments:
o Jael dedicates her photo to her dead friend. I know when I die, I want a picture of a blue-and-pink naked girl dressed as a birthday cake dedicated to me. Beats having "Wind Beneath My Wings" played at my funeral.
o Tyra tells Natasha that although her photos are improving, she has to try not to think so hard. Honestly, Tyra – I really don't think that's going to be a problem.
o Miss Jay, upon seeing Whitney holding a handful of ice-cream in front of her crotch in her photo, says "You got cream in all the right places. Lord have mercy". If it wasn't for the long hair, the make-up, the neck-ruffles, the heels and the effeminate behaviour, you'd almost think he was straight.
· The judges deliberate, and names are called until just Diana Plus-Size and Cassandra Big-Nose are left. Diana is told that she's beautiful, but she doesn't stand out, and Cassandra is told that she has a beautiful personality, but it's not showing in her photos. Six months pass, and Cassandra is shown the door. Bye, Cassandra! Don't forget to say three Hail Marys on the way out!
· Wait - Renee didn't mention her son all episode again. Maybe she died.
Next week, the girls squeeze into skin-tight bodysuits and pretend to be cat-burglars, and Renee cracks with pent-up rage and hatred for all humankind. Sleeves. Thieves. Peeves.