I'd really appreciate it if, instead of calling me "Jo" this week, that you refer to me only as "Queen Myfanwy The Benevolent". See, that's my Super-Self name. In the real world. Without pixies or anything.
This week is more farce than class (and, now that Diana's gone, only half the arse), as modules assume imaginary identities and screw up their faces to prove it. This is getting ridiculous. I just don't know who I am anymore. Oh wait – yes I do! I'm Queen Myfanwy The Benevolent! And this is the Wholahay Are You? episode of America's Next Top Model.
· Whitney Plus Size Black mourns the departure of Diana Plus Size White, upset that she's now a Lone Wolf Eating in the fight to "beat them skinny bitches". And what, pray, would the modeling world be without skinny bitches? A room full of people, is what.
· Renee, summoning Crazy Jade from Series Six, appears in most non-photographic scenes this week swathed in a flowy head-scarf reminiscent of Joan Crawford or Grace Jones – pinnacles of sanity and quiet reflection all. She settles into her general theme of Hard Faced Bitch by telling us that Jael is loud and intensely annoying, and saying of Sarah "Bitch does not deserve to be here". It's like she's got a degree in Stating The Obvious, with an elective in Duh.
· Our girls are dumped at a restaurant by the Big Pink Hummer, and they sit in front of a giant notepad which has the words "Lesley Hornby" printed on it in production-budget-breaking black texta. Twiggy walks in, and instead of lecturing the girls on How Some Models From The Sixties Now Just Look Like The Tired Old Lady Down The Pet Shop, she launches into some faff about how her nickname made her into a star. She reveals that her real name is, in fact, Lesley Hornby, and then dramatically peels back the first page of the giant notepad to reveal a felt-tip-scrawled "Twiggy" underneath. Amazing. Then, just to underline the huge budget blowout that is this scene, Twiggy drags out another tired old slapper, or as I'm calling her, Melrose From Series Seven. Melrose reminds us that, rather than using her birth-name "Melissa-Rose", she chose to shorten it, cleverly, using algebra and a trowel, to "Melrose". And look where it got her. Amazing.
· Twiggy launches the girls into the World's Most Stupid And Insulting Exercise, explaining that they are to have a think about their own names, which are quite clearly unacceptable, and come up with their "Super-Self" names, and whack them on a name tag whilst there's still some ink left in the Official ANTM Sharpie. I'm categorizing the Super-Self names into three neat groups:
Jaslene and Jael keep their own names as is, because their mothers were kind enough to give them names perfectly stupid enough for this exercise.
Brittany, whose thought processes may have been clouded by the feral red road-kill that her weave has become, comes up with the ingenious "Brit".
Natasha decides that she will be "TaTa". I wish she'd decided to be "Boris".
Sarah chooses to use her middle name, "Moe", and I'm momentarily distracted by some architectural asymmetry.
The Completely Fucking Ridiculous
Whitney perhaps decides that "Whitney" doesn't sound black enough, and opts instead for "Whitell". Ironically, I want to take to her with a pen-knife on a porch.
Renee comments that all the nicknames she had growing up were mean ones, including the odd "canoe-feet". So she calls herself "Nayien". See, because it's a couple of consonants with a bunch of vowels in the middle. And sometimes why?
Dionne becomes my new hero for all the wrong reasons, and calls herself… wait… I'm smirking and crying at the same time…. WHOLAHAY. I know. I know. She explains that her mother once watched something on the Discovery Channel about a fourteen-year-old girl with this name who was married off to a 40-year-old man, and that she herself likes older men, so she thought it was suitable. Riiiight. If her mother had been watching documentaries in a different timeslot, she might have called herself "Syphillis", "Guatemala", or "The Rise And Fall Of The Ottoman Empire".
· Challenge time, and the modules are invited to a party full of celebrities, where they're to introduce their Super Selves, make intelligent conversation and generally be fabulous and professional. It's like expecting Salvador Dali to just paint a bowl of fruit, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like asking Matthew Newton to just give his girlfriend a peck on the cheek. The girls frock up (or, in Sarah's case, get into costume as a cross-dressing Howdy Doody), and arrive at a ritzy rooftop complete with swimming pool.
· Mingling commences with such A-listers as Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Fifty Cent and I'm-Between-Soap-Operas-Right-Now, and Jael becomes fixated with making Fifty Cent her new best chum, to his intense and immediate terror. Fiddy really should have been more accommodating – when you compare Jael's crackpipe drawl to his normal speech patterns, he comes across as Mr Sheffield to her Nanny Fine. He tells her to go away. She returns. He rolls his eyes and gently pushes her away. She returns. She tells him: "My Mom's black and my Dad's Jewish. I'm Blewish. You can't hang with that". He pushes her into the pool. Natasha, either feeling a sudden rush of sisterhood or thinking this might be Wacky Western Party Custom, jumps in after her. Fabulous. Professional.
· One by one, the modules are summoned into a white room behind the pool to be interviewed, Super-Self style, by a panel consisting of Tyra's manager Benny Medina and various other forgettable industry big-hitters, none of whom could be described as advertisements either for or against cosmetic surgery. The girls are asked to introduce themselves with their new, stupid names and answer questions about their lives, passions, and hair, all three of which can believably be answered with the word "cheap". Also like the modules' hair, this segment has little in the way of highlights (see? see what I did there?), save for Wholahay breaking down in tears when she mentions how much she misses her daughter. In the ghetto. The mighty ghetto. Her baby sleeps tonight. A-Wholahay, A-Wholahay, A-Whola… sorry. Jael and Natasha turn up for their interview dripping wet from the pool, and Benny Medina waves them away with a disgusted flourish like a rich, angry kindergarten teacher. Jael, with her usual amount of intuition and annunciation, tells us that she thinks she did really well. Dionne Wholahay wins the challenge with a deft tears-and-name combo, and wins the prize of a real, live campaign shoot for Keds. Yawn.
· Nicole Richie causes some trouble between Renee and Jael by bitching to each one in turn about the other, and the two continue the feud back at the Module Mansion. Strong words are used, eyes are narrowed, hands are flailed in the air, and Renee's headscarf nearly dislodges itself, such is her enraged roiling. Seriously, though, if I wanted to see bitchy arseholes scratching and hissing at each other, I'd just throw a Chanel Organiser into a Double Bay café. Next.
· A Tyra-Mail announces this week's photo-shoot, and Mr Jay greets the girls at a studio with his usual distressed coiffure, seemingly made from the pelt of a ferret who wandered accidentally into a vat of peroxide. Photographs this week are apparently inspired by pictures from Tyra's "beauty book" (this week's product plug of choice), showing that Tyra is capable of having her fingers in both a lot of different pies and a twelve-piece bucket all at the same time. Each module is to write down four characteristics they believe they have, and then direct their own hair and make-up before epitomizing each characteristic in front of the camera. Let's have a summary, shall we?
o Dionne shows "sensitive", "evil", "friendly" and "hood", and utters the best ghetto "Whatever" I've ever heard for her "hood" shot.
o Jaslene is "drag queen", "cha cha diva", "modelesque", and "sentimental", and looks exactly the same in each shot. You know – like a drag queen. But fierce.
o Natasha is "saxy", "surprised", "happy", and "sad", and does bloody well, despite Jay commenting that her "sexy" looked like "smelling dog pooh". I thought it was the spit of Angelina Jolie. I don't know who's gayer, Jay or me.
o Whitney Plus Size Black is "seductress", "thinker", "peaceful", and "comedian", or "Fat", "Fat", "Fat", and "Put That Freakishly Long Tongue Back In Your Mouth Before I Cut It Off".
o Jael is "sexy beast", "anarchist", "dominator" and "revolutionary/peacemaker", putting any last doubts that she's not constructed from seventy percent amphetamine to bed. She also rocks the photo-shoots arse.
o Sarah is "innocent", "angry", "sad", and "happy", and she's criticized heavily for posing too much. In front of a camera. As a model. Posing too much. Whatever. I still hate you.
o Brittany is "innocent", "spacey", "goofy" and "devilish", and I can't look away from her truly, truly fucked-up hair. It's like rusty steel wool, but better at scraping egg off a frying pan.
o Renee shows "dark side", "sexy", "motherly", and "sorrow", and I have to admit that for the first time, I think she could be a model. If she wasn't such a crazed psycho-bitch from hell, obviously.
· It's time for something that happens every series – Aunty Ty-Ty's Fireside Chat, in which Tyra visits the Module Mansion and gathers the girls for a chinwag under the pretence of caring and sharing, with scarcely-disguised undertones of Shake Yo' Bitchy Out, Dawg. Brittany moans, with complete justification, about how her cheap-ass weave is ripping her scalp apart, and Tyra apologises and promises her a new one. Jael says she's still recovering from the recent demise of her best friend, and Tyra offers the empathetic "death happens". None of the other girls have much to say aside from making it patently clear that they all think Renee's an arsehole. Tyra asks Renee for her input, and she claims that she's misunderstood, that she can't trust anyone, and that everyone she's ever loved has abandoned her. Tyra homes in on the possibility of Television Gold like it was a chicken carcass at a Banks family barbecue and says "You know what I think would be best? I think the best thing when you're feeling attacked and everybody is against you is for everybody to go and say how you've hurt them". You know – like the best thing for a scraped knee is to jam a pencil into the scab and wiggle it around. Slaughter commences. Mmmmm. Satisfying.
· I must mention that Tyra's false eyelashes in this episode deserve their own paragraph. And perhaps their own can of Mortein.
· Elimination time, and the modules front up to the Elimination Gymnasium where they're greeted by Tyra the Spider-Eyed Pirate, six-ruffled Miss Jay, dowdy Twiggy, guest judge Benny Medina and Spunky Nigel Barker, who I'm buying shares in baby-oil for. Prizes are droned through, which I think include a pair of tennis socks and a dental dam, and the modules are asked to deliver their Super Self names before having their photos picked to bits. I find it hard to concentrate at this point due to the fact that Brittany's Ginger Head-Ferret is now sticking out at a right angle to her neck. Dionne's "Wholahay" name is not received well, and Tyra suggests the name "Brown" as an alternative. Brown. Yes. Nothing ignites the imagination quite like a super-model named "Brown". I… it's… there's so much wrong with it I can't breathe.
· The judges deliberate, and Tyra hands out photos to the victors until only Whitney Plus Size Black and Sarah No-Chin are left. Sarah is told that she poses too much for pictures (I… wha?), and Whitney is told that she's pretty, but not a model. Eight parsecs pass, and Sarah is ousted. Bye, Sarah! Don't – y'know – SUCK on your way out.
Next week, more bitchiness, our mail-order bride misses her baby, and there's some kind of Top Model reunion. Clashes. Natashas. Re-hashes.