Sometimes, when we're drunk, we pretend that we're sober.
Sometimes, when we're stupid, we pretend that we're smart.
Sometimes, when we're modules, we pretend that our organs have been stolen by other modules, and we've been pushed down the stairs.
The life of a model is dangerous. If the traffic cop and the lasers don't get you, the photo-shoot will. Dearly beloved, it's the Pretend That We're Dead episode of America's Next Top Model.
· For the time-poor or work heavy – The Nutshell Version: We're catburglars. Now we're dead. Now we're Dancing With Somebody. Now one of us is sent home.
· Jael is still upset about her dead friend. At least, I think she is. It's very, very hard to understand a word this girl says – it's like her lips work at half-speed and her tongue's drunk, making everything she says sound like "Merner Makah Mer Mana". Hugs and words of comfort from the other modules don't seem to help much, so Felicia takes the only obvious course of action and teaches Jael a dance to make her feel better. One can only assume that a hula-hoop was not readily available.
· Renee wakes up refreshed and shakes the bitch out of her system, resolving to turn over a new leaf and be nice to people. She says "I've been getting into it with all the girls, and I'm not going to win this thing by being a bitch. I've gotta stop being mean". To prove her point, she draws a picture of Jael and hands it to her meekly, explaining the outfit depicted in the drawing: "Like, it's a straightjacket, but it's not tied". She's saying "Like, I think you're insane, but I don't think you're dangerous", like, through art. It's kind of beautiful. And kind of fucked up. Jael thanks her, saying "That's some badass".
· On the way to a Mystery Activity, the Big Pink Hummer is stopped by a "traffic cop". Given that the same traffic cop did some vogueing and mincing for the camera right before pulling the car over, it's not surprising that none of the girls are amazed when he says "I'm not actually a traffic cop". It's like Rene Magritte announcing "This is not a pipe" or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like Anthony Callea coming out of the closet. The cop turns out to be Benny Ninja, famous Vogueing Coach, and he explains that, starting in 1970s Harlem, "posing battles" were the knife-fights of the club-ensconced fashion-obsessed, and a way of asserting one's staus and turf in a non-violent fashion. Think Kelly's dance-off in Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo, but with less lycra and no vaginas.
· Benny gets the girls to battle each other in a vogue-off, and organizes them into pairs with a theme each, like "Face!", "Handbag!" and "Elegant Model On The Floor!". I know that watching girls facing off in various exaggerated poses in a park led by a bendy sissy in a traffic cop's hat should be interesting, but I'm momentarily distracted by a hangnail. I do notice that Natasha is incapable of doing anything without her mouth being open, which goes some way to explaining how she jumped the queue at the Mail Order Brides office.
· Renee is still on her Fission-Fixing Mission, and shows how giving and girly she is by plaiting Brittany's hair, making it look less like a mange-tinged ginger dog, and more like a plaited mange-tinged ginger dog. Sense prevails as Renee hides the whole thing under a scarf. Diana is suspicious of Renee's motives, because she lined up twice for brains. Unfortunately, she got an all-day ticket for arse.
· Jael has the shortest hair in the house. Jael shows us a burn on her cheek, claiming to have singed herself on a hot curling iron. Personally, I think that perhaps Jael was just standing next to the hot curling iron when the 'phone rang. Jael chastises herself by saying "Merner Makah Mer Mana".
· The girls are whisked off to a warehouse, where they're again met by bendy Benny, who's dressed in a skin-tight lycra bodysuit that will be featuring in my mind's eye whenever I want to avoid thinking about sex for a couple of days. He dangles a carrot in front of the girls (an unfortunate effect of the lycra) in the form of a forty-thousand dollar diamond bracelet, the prize for this week's challenge. But, Benny adds, he's "gon' make you work for it". Our modules have to slink through a crazy maze of lasers a-la Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment, also dressed in lycra and showing "cat-like" skills whilst striking a pose at every mid-laser opportunity, all within two minutes. Easy peasy, except for like, the lycra, the lasers, the posing and the time-limit. Renee grits her determined teeth, saying "I've GOT to win this one – my husband and I are really broke", showing that she's into pawn, but just for the money.
· Most of the girls do pretty well, even Diana Plus-Size White and Whitney Plus-Size Black, proving that even the largest arse and the roundest rack can be steered effectively through a laser-maze. Alas and alack, psychotic bitterness cannot, as the weight of the chip on Renee's shoulder causes her to over-balance, and she's the only girl who doesn't make it through within the time limit. Natasha manages the entire maze with her mouth open, Jaslene is the most aggressive vogueing cat-burglar ever, and Felicia Eyebrows shows her dance background by Jazzercising the whole thing and coming up trumps. Eventually Whitney is declared the winner, and she tearfully accepts the winner's bling, gushing "I owe my father nine thousand dollars for my education… but I'm keeping the bracelet, because it has a lot of sentimental value". You've owned it for a minute and a half, sweetie. Diamonds, you mean. It has a lot of diamonds.
· Renee abandons her Atonement Agenda and returns to the welcoming, spiky arms of her old friend Malevolent Beeyarch, claiming that her "spirit's been broken since being here". She calls her husband, wailing "You wanna come and pick me up? I don't wanna be here with these stupid girls". He calms her down, and you can almost hear the trucker cap over the phone. She smokes a forlorn cigarette alone, her miserable solitude emphasized by some crafty camera angles. Scene.
· Photo-shoot time, and the girls are Hummed off to the Alexandria Hotel in LA, built in 1906 and rumoured to be haunted by ghosts of Hollywood past. Today, however, it's merely haunted by the distant memory of non-ridiculous photo-shoot ideas, as Mr Jay tells the modules they're going to be posing today as crime scene victims. He explains that they'll all be dead, presumed murdered by each other in different ways, and that they have to look dead, but show some life. I couldn't possibly summarise this more eloquently than Felicia: "He's sayin' you have to be dead, but alive in the face. It's sort of like a oxymoron". I'm sure I want Felicia always by my side, to help explain life. I can imagine: "The book's sayin' this shit looks random, but like ironically, there a sweet order to it. It's sort of like Chaos Theory, dawg", or "It's like an enigma, right? But it's totally wrapped in a riddle".
· Ridiculous or not, this photo-shoot kicks arse. Aside from the obvious joy of seeing these girls post-mortem, the setting is dark and spooky, photographer Mike Rosenthal is a creative master (and reasonably sweet eye-candy), and the make-up artists are gory geniuses, giving the girls gashes where they've never had gashes before. In short:
o Renee has been poisoned, and she slumps, pale and bitchy, over an ornate table. She says "I did AWESOME, but I don't want to tell the girls, because they hate me already". Luckily, Jay immediately tells the girls.
o Jaslene has been pushed off the roof, and has painted-on hand-prints on her chest and teased hair. Jay announces how much he loves that her leg looks broken.
o Brittany has been electrocuted in the bath, and hangs over the side onto the filthy tiles below. Jay is pleased, and shouts "Get this girl a towel and a tetanus shot!"
o Diana, brilliantly, has had her organs stolen, and lies crumpled in a corridor scattered with medical equipment, sporting some extremely realistic body gore, and some even more convincing gut-fat.
o Sarah, after quickly mentioning that she's also a photographer, has been pushed down the stairs. Meh.
o Jael has been strangled, and lies on a bed with a bruised neck. For the first time ever, she has trouble looking half-dead, and everyone suddenly realizes how mean it is to make a girl who's still in mourning for a dead friend impersonate a corpse. Jay, empathetic giver that he is, says "I'm not sure if thinking about your friend was the way to go. Try to focus on the shoot". Nice. Will you be making mini-quiches for the wake, too? Jael says "Merner Makah Mer Mana".
o Felicia has been decapitated, possibly because somebody couldn't stand looking at her stupid eyebrows anymore. She works her bloody, bruised neck like a diva, but Jay complains that she looks a bit too dead. If Felicia could, I'm sure she'd raise one confused eyebrow.
o Whitney has been stabbed, and looks like a bloodied plus-size underwear model taking a break on the couch.
o Natasha has been drowned, and has icy water poured all over her. She squeals "Is like needles goink through my body from my skin!". Jay says "It's not as cold as Russia". True, but the borscht here sucks.
o Dionne has been shot, and needs a lot of direction from Jay and the photographer. She's not discouraged, though, claiming excitedly that "I looked like a dead-ass rich woman for real". Word.
· A Tyra-Mail sends the girls to Elimination Roller-Rink, and Tyra has forsaken "pirate" for "Whitney Houston Wants To Dance With Somebody". She waffles through the prizes, which I think include a set of steak-knives and some nipple-covers, and then introduces the judges, including Spunky Nigel, who I'm doing Downward Dog for. Twiggy is dressed as Alice In Wonderland: The Cataract Years, Miss Jay is wearing four ruffles, and guest judge Mike Rosenthal will do until Spunky Nigel divorces his bitch wife. The excellent photographs are looked through, with truly wonderful judge comments like "You look beautiful in death" and "Death becomes you". Hello, reality? Take the day off, honey.
· Elimination time rolls around, and Tyra calls names one by one. Natasha is delighted to be safe for another week, and thanks Tyra in Russian. Tyra, worldly xenophobe that she is, giggles and says "Da-da-da-da-da – whatever you just said". Eventually it's just down to Dionne The Gorgeous and Felicia The Eyebrows. Wha? The two prettiest girls are facing elimination, while the Battersea Dogs Home in the corner observes. Dionne is told that the way she dresses is uninspiring, and Felicia is told that she's going downhill and might be falling apart. Three years pass, and Felicia is ousted. Bye, Felicia! Pick up your eyebrows from the front desk on your way out! She's cheerful and cute in defeat, saying "If these bitches don't cry, I'm gon' be pissed". The bitches cry.
Next week, the modules are creeped out when Natasha meows down the telephone to her older husband, Renee further separates herself from the non-psychotic people, and Whitney is insulted when Renee tells her that plus-size models don't win. Porn. Scorn. Forlorn.