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Thursday, August 30, 2007

America's Next Top Model Series Eight #12

Little boys like to pull the heads off their sister's Barbie dolls. Everybody knows that.
Have you ever noticed, though, how Skipper always remains relatively intact and unscathed?
It's always the pretty ones that get hammered.

It's the Stabbed In The Back In The USSR episode of America's Next Top Model.

· I think we're still in Sydney, but it's only the subtle reminders that give me that impression, like the fact that every single scene of this episode starts with a picture of the Sydney Opera House followed swiftly by a picture of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Or a picture of the Sydney Harbour Bridge followed swiftly by a picture of the Sydney Opera House. Or the bridge with the house in the background. Or the house with - come on, you know how this song goes – the bridge in the background. This dead horse has not only been flogged, it's been embalmed, dragged down the road, cremated, and had its ashes sprinkled over Sydney Harbour.

· The girls are tired after the last elimination, and plod into the Module Mansion on weary, bunioned feet. They're nervous about arriving at the pointy end of the competition, and Dionne ponders over her recent criticism: "They said I do this thing called scowling a lot?". That's the beauty of Dionne – she doesn't know what scowling is, and she phrases everything like it's a question. "Whatever happens," continues Dionne, "I'm just gonna take my ass to sleep". Word, sister. Have yourself some dope dreams, dawg. Bust a cap in them bedbugs' arses.

· Before putting on her jimmy-jams and going off to sleepy bo-bos, Natasha puts in a quick call to her husband to wish him goodnight. By that, I of course mean that she kneels at the end of the bed, squashes her face onto her 'phone, writhes around and says "Hiiiiii, baybeeee! Baby, I larff you so much. I'm gonna be so next to you baybeee". That's it. I'm taking Natasha's lead. Next time I'm out at a bar, I'm going to stand near a hot guy and say "I'm next to you, baby". Then we'll get all married and shit. Awesome. The other modules smirk and raise eyebrows over Natasha's behaviour, thinking her obvious and obscene inferences that sex is enjoyable are the rantings of a sick pervert. Everyone knows that proper American women are just supposed to lie there, wriggle a bit, be naked and shut up afterwards until the baby comes out. Right, Renee?

· No Big Pink Hummers here. We're in 'Straya, mate. A four-wheel drive utility vehicle with lots of grunt and a special compartment for carrying wild boar carcasses drops the girls in the bush in the middle of freakin' nowhere, where they're met by Aboriginal elder, Uncle Max. Remember the Uncle Max in The Sound Of Music? How he wanted to get a bunch of naïve, under-aged brats, force them to sing and dance, and exploit the bejeezus out of them? Huh. Uncle Max, with the help of his… er… comfortably-proportioned niece Calita, tells the modules that today's challenge will consist of telling their personal stories through words, dance and body art, and that they'll perform in front of the punters at the Salzburg Folk Festival. Or in front of some girls from the local community and a chick from Seventeen magazine. I can't remember.

· In the traditionally sub-zero temperatures of the Australian outback, the modules prepare by daubing themselves with colours from the Cover Girl Fluorescent Culture-Insulting range and smearing some little black dresses with Puffy Paint, just like they used to do in the Dreamtime. Dionne doesn't really want to dance, as she's confused about the lack of arse-shaking in traditional Aboriginal dancing. She says it's "more like acting-type dance". You know – like you do for Agadoo. Renee completely understands this type of dancing, saying that everyone, including modules, has a story to tell. "They tell their stories through dance, we tell ours through pictures and runway". Right, Renee. I think there may even be cave paintings of skinny girls throwing up into a stone toilet, wearing primitive Manolos. Grow up.

· Renee is up first, and she points to her red-painted legs and tells the audience that this signifies the abuse she suffered as a young girl. This both explains a hell of a lot, and absolutely nothing, as she moves swiftly onto her painted torso, signifying growth, strength, and a distinct lack of nutrients. In all honesty, she does a pretty good job, getting appreciative nods and applause from the gathered dusky throng.

· Jaslene hints at a theme running through her story, using phrases like "the only way out was through true love", "true love was my dream", "I stand here so in love", and "all I do is live, love, and laugh". Ironically, there's not much love for her, as she finished to the sound of one hand clapping.

· Dionne points to a splodge of paint that tells the story of how her mother was shot and paralysed, and then apparently takes the brown acid when she says "This line represents the line that I walk to represent which way I should go, if it was right or if it was left". So… you're saying that the line represents… a line. Got it.

· Natasha decides to use that wondrous theatrical device of old – speaking so no bugger can hear you. Grasping and waving two tree branches, she rocks, kneels, and whispers about weak children and dreams. Dionne says "I see her lips movin', but I don't hear a thang". Renee says "Sweet girl, but a few fries short of a Happy Meal". Natasha, confidently, says "I use tree branches, and I am barefoot".

· Carissa Rosenberg from Seventeen Magazine declares Renee to be the winner, saying that the readers of Seventeen would relate to her, especially the abused ones with blood on their legs. Renee picks Jaslene to share her prize of some Autore pearl jewellery. Now, I know that watching two skinny girls drape themselves in thousands of dollars worth of ritzy baubles should be interesting, but I'm momentarily distracted by dental plaque.

· Renee, Dionne and Jaslene decide to go out on the town and let their hair down (read: sit in the corner at Crystal Bar, drink and inhale canapés), but Natasha stays home with a fever and a chest full of mucous. Rather than bringing her chicken soup and pseudoephedrine, the girls instead decide to stick a knife in Natasha's back and turn it slowly, inch by bitchy inch. Jaslene, with condescending whimsy, says "She was a funny Russian girl, now she's just annoying to me". Dionne says "Right now, I'm over her. I wanna see her go home. She got some lies floating around somewhere". They justify their meanness by explaining that Natasha doesn't wear a wedding ring, and has no photos of her husband or baby with her. The unspeakable cad! Surely that's an automatic disqualification? Arseholes.

· Natasha is even sicker when she wakes up, and is "scared that I am not gonna be rocking these photo shoot". The girls are once again dumped in the middle of the bush (although admittedly, it could be the bit of scrub just next to the Channel Nine carpark), where they're met by Sharon Williams from the Ngemba tribe. Now, apart from the traditional aboriginal name, there's something about Sharon Williams that just doesn't strike me as quite authentic, but I can't quiiiite put my finger on it. Luckily, one of my housemates has her Perceptive Bonnet strapped firmly on her head, as she exclaims "A Ginger Abbo!". Sharon explains the shoot, telling the modules they'll be dressed in traditional outfits and body-paint, and, just after Dionne says "Please tell me I don't have to dance again" Sharon says "and you'll have a traditional dance to perform". Nice editing, boys. Postmodern. I can feel a summary coming on…
o Jaslene does the dance of the Red-Breasted Robin, which she interprets as "lots of turning, and shaking my knees like a chicken". I love it when chickens shake their knees. It makes the farmyard come alive. She does quite well, and brings out her usual Jaslene Face – lift chin, flare nostrils, raise eyebrow, look proud, hide penis. Works a treat.
o Dionne is taught a Food Gathering Dance, which involves walking, picking things up, shaking trees and looking around. Jay comments that her face still looks mean, and complains that she has to be coached through every shot. He says she has a beautiful spirit, but looks controlling and scowls a lot. A model looking haughty, cranky, and condescending? Call the police.
o Natasha is taught the Willy Wagtail Dance, or "The wiggly wagtail bird – always jarmping, always heppy, it's a heppy bird". Still sick, she finds it hard to both pose well and cough herself a new arsehole, but Jay is unsympathetic and tells her to push through her pneumonia, or tuberculosis, or whatever it is that Russian ladies die from these days. She does not do well, and I'm disappointed. It's a bit like finding an undiscovered Coleridge manuscript full of awkward limericks, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like asking for chicken salt on your chips and then just.. you know… getting ordinary salt.
o Renee rocks the corroborree with her Dance Of The Butterfly, which she nails through the careful use of flappy elbows. When Renee's bitchy, manipulative and the obvious product of a dysfunctional family, she's fabulous. When she's really good at stuff, she's boring. I kind of want to see a picture of the Sydney Opera House right now. I'm not left hanging long.

· A Tyra Mail drags the modules towards the Great Elimination Gunyah Of The Dreamtime, and they stand before Tyra, who is never seen in close-up this week, possibly due to the fact that she borrowed today's wig from Donatella Versace without washing it first. Tyra emotes through the prizes, which I think include a didgeridoo and a photo of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and then introduces the judges, including Nine-Ruffled Miss Jay, Festive-Sleeves Twiggy, guest Carissa Rosenberg, and Spunky Nigel Barker, who I'm whittling a woomera for. Hi, Nigel.

· Photos are flashed up on a screen, and each module is asked to nominate who they think most deserves to be America's Next Top Module, and then who they think least deserves it. Everyone except Dionne (who nominates Jaslene) nominates themselves as the most deserving, and in the Great Xenophobic Back-Stab Of 2007, everybody nominates Natasha as the least deserving. Pathetic reasons given are that she "comes off as real phony" (like all other models), that she "plays games" (like all other models), and that there's "something missing" (like all other models). Nobody explicitly says "she's prettier than me, she talks funny, and she's a horny little root-rat", but those of us who can read are doing so between the lines. Natasha, nobly, says in their and her own defence that "If Gisele Bundchen was standing behind me right now, I would say she had the least potential". Now, I know I should have mentioned this before, but GODDAMN, I love Natasha. She's like Russian crack, only good for the soul, and not available in crystalline form.

· Whilst the judges deliberate, the modules again serve Natasha a steaming cup of hot bitch in the 'holding room' until they're called back in to learn their fate. Renee is called first, and then Jaslene, leaving just Dancin' Dionne and Randy Natasha. Dionne is told that she started off rough and has had a rocky ascent ever since (a concept assisted immeasurably by Tyra's fried-chicken hand gestures), and Natasha is told that she started awful, improved, and then took some shit photos. Eons pass, and Dionne is given her marching orders. Bye, Dionne! Don't scowl on your way out, honey. Except she does. And when Natasha goes to hug her, she stands rigid, shooting darts of poisonous Wholahey bile from her scowly, mean eyes. What the HEYLL?!

Next week, the girls talk about Cover Girl on camera, try to show that special somethin' somethin' on the catwalk, and the winner is announced. Speak. Mystique. One more week!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

You Had Me At "Tooheys" #6, or This Week's Pick-up Line

I had my car serviced on the weekend.
As you may remember, I don't use my car much, so rather than drive it six whole blocks to the mechanic, I had the mechanic visit my house.
He was a pleasant enough bloke. Well, aside from the whole overweight and grubby thing. And the whole leaving-globs-of-freshly-hoiked-phlegm-all-over-the-pavement thing. And I would never mention the revolting haircut, bad diction and constant use of the word "fuck", because that would be distinctly impolite.
Still, I feigned some interest in what he was doing, not wanting to look like I knew nothing about cars, didn't want to know anything about cars, didn't like making conversation with grimy people I don't know, or just wished that pixies could come in the dead of night and fix my car for free. I'm nice like that.
Conversation turned, inevitably, to the weather, and then, even more inevitably because it's all I've talked about for the last month, to the fact that I ran in the City To Surf just the previous weekend.


He looked me up and down, and then said "So… you're pretty fit then, eh?".

"Oh… er… I… guess" I replied, taking a step back to give the impression that this conversation would soon be over, and I'd be racing back inside the house to find the Dettol, a wire brush, and a picture of Clive Owen.

"Did you run it with your boyfriend?" he asked, putting careful and creepy emphasis on the word "boyfriend".

"Pffft!" I said quickly, rolling my eyes. "He doesn't run!", and off I scampered.

So basically, if anyone knows of any rich, handsome, intelligent, funny, limber gentlemen who live in Sydney and don't run, let me know.
We can't have me looking like a liar, can we?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Naughty Panda: An Introduction.

My brother Mike lives in Broome with his girlfriend Naomi.
For the geographically-challenged, Broome is the most isolated town in Australia, up near the top left-hand corner. It's known to many as the 'Gateway to the Kimberley', and to me as 'Place So Stupidly Gorgeous A Little Bit Of Wee Comes Out'. It's idyllic somethin' awful, it never gets cold, and the only noise to keep you awake at night is the sound of mangoes thumping to the ground from everybody's backyard tree. Plus, they have beer.

There is, however, a sinister force at work in Broome, and its name is Naughty Panda. Naughty Panda lives at Mike and Naomi's house, and he is, by way of understatement, Not Like Other Pandas.
At first, most people think Naughty Panda is simply an innocuous hand-puppet. I say he's the result of an evil distillation process that involves collecting evil juices from the rotting carcasses of dead despots, concentrating them, and putting them in a sinister-looking bottle. Or, y'know – like Bindi Irwin.

You never know when Naughty Panda will suddenly appear with a havoc-wreaking twinkle in his cold, dead eyes. Like, you could be just taking a stroll on a grassy hill…

When suddenly….

Imagine the terror.

Mike and Naomi often keep me up to date with tales of Naughty Panda's activities, and on every occasion I'm shocked and saddened that such diabolical badness can besmirch the red-soiled, blue-watered paradise that is Broome.
He's even tried blackmail, sending threatening emails and attaching photographs of what might happen to Mike and Naomi's personal items should they not come through with the goods:

-----Original Message-----
Naughty Panda []
Sent: Monday, 11 June 2007 5:57 PM
To: Naomi, Mike
Subject: i no were you liv

i want

1 millyon bucks

and a hellicopta

or els

you no wot.

Kind regards,


It's getting to the point where Mike and Naomi can't leave the house at night, for fear of what may await them upon their return:

Even religious holidays are no longer sacred. The joyous practice of giving chocolate rabbits at Easter? Just an opportunity for meddling, disguise, and brutal decapitation for Naughty Panda:

Mike and Naomi have now renamed Naughty Panda "Terry", in the hope that a more benign (and, frankly, poncy) name might help modify his deviant behaviour.
Only time will tell.
I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, lock up your liquor and buy pants for your soft toys. This kind of evil travels.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Nothing Rhymes With 'Sausage'.

My preference, when dining,
Is for meat in stomach lining
Near my heart, a
It's for sausages I'm pining.

It would take a mighty army
To keep me from my salami,
I'm in heaven
Eating devon,
O, for me, a minced tsunami.

I'm desperate and strung out
Without my fix of hoof and snout,
My heart bursts
For all the wursts,
To me, they're all that life's about.

My delectation won't abate
When there's a wiener on my plate,
I give thanks
For simple franks,
And for the chance to masticate.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

America's Next Top Model Series Eight #11

Just a cotton-pickin' second, here. What the HEYLL?!
Aspiring modules visiting designers' offices, trying to get work?
A swimwear photo-shoot on a cold beach at the crack of dawn?
Normal make-up, clothes and accessories, without a freaky prop or drag-queen in sight?

I don't want actual reality in my reality television, thank you very much. I've got windows for that shit.
Anyway, it's the Got To Be Real episode of America's Next Top Model. Fo' real.

· Australia is a desert, a beach, an opera house, and a harbour bridge. Thank you, oh Montage O' Stereotypes. Now hug a koala and be on your way.

· Everyone's a bit sick of Brittany's litanies – the crying, the drama, the endless excuses, the brain damage – and Renee makes no secret of her opinion that Brittany used her bad short-term memory as a crutch at the last elimination panel. She should really just do what other modules do, and use her crotch as a crutch. Dionne then brings up a very good point – in the theatre challenge three weeks ago, Brittany remembered every single one of her lines, but in last week's Cover Girl commercial, she couldn't get past "Strewth". I'd forgotten about the theatre challenge. You see – when I was seventeen I was hit by a car, and…

· A Tyra-Mail whisks the girls off to the offices of Priscilla's Model Management, where they're met by Priscilla herself, accompanied by Jodhi Meares, or as anyone who watched Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag knows her, Joydhi, as featured in Cle-oy and Voygue. Priscilla outlines this week's challenge, and as happens every series, it's go-see time! The modules are required to race around in cabs to the offices of various designers, throw them their portfolios, try on clothes, walk up and down in a straight line, and be back at Priscilla's by 4:30 or risk disqualification. Joydhi stresses that at goy-sees, it's important to be a chameleon. Y'know – like how when you're applying for a home loan, it's important to be an alpaca.

· I love go-see week. It has designer clothes, tantrums, a split-screen and a giant super-imposed ticking clock. It's the It's A Knockout of fashion.

· Renee looks good, walks well, uses her sass, impresses the designers, and is the first back to Priscilla's office. Yawn. I know a handful of go-sees in which nothing bad happens should be interesting, but I'm momentarily distracted by milk.

· Jaslene also does well, although the opportunity to see her in this many different outfits in a short space of time pushes one point home – bitch is almost transparent. She must keep her organs in her handbag or something, because there's certainly no room for them in her torso. The designers are quite impressed though, as they put their clothes back on their relatively voluminous coathangers. And speaking of coathangers – look! It's the Harbour Bridge! Right, Skippy?

· Dionne, too, impresses the designers and makes it back in time. She's also my new free-loading bargain-basement hero, as she asks if she can keep every single outfit she tries on. She doesn't do too badly, either, scoring a free bikini and shirt. I'm calling it the "What The HEYLL" Discount. Fo' real.

· Natasha pouts and pony-struts her way through the go-sees, doing well because, in her words, she's "very saxy, using averything I learn". Unfortunately she misses the deadline by one minute, so she sits out on the office balcony and pouts. I think. Hard to tell.

· Not one little bit of Brittany's go-sees goes well, due mostly to a combination of being unable to walk, tell time, read, or count. I'm not sure her previous car-accident merely dented the part of her brain which controls short-term memory. I think maybe her whole brain fell out of her nose. Evidence:
o Whilst angrily and repeatedly pushing a doorbell to no response, she can't understand why, when she has an appointment at 13 Cook Road, the occupants of 13 Cook Road don't answer the door. I don't know, Brit – perhaps when the inhabitants of 15-19 Cook Road, where you are, answer their door, you can ask them.
o Brittany has a bit of trouble with her walk. She's a little awkward and gangly, and turns like she's a horse with a tick in its crotch. Wayne Cooper comments that she looks like "her whole brain is trying to work out how to catwalk". That's some energy conservation, right there.
o Whilst angrily and repeatedly pushing the button for level three in a lift, she can't understand why the doors keep closing and then opening again, without the lift moving. It can't be because she's already on level three, surely? Yes. Yes it can.
o Running late for the deadline, she mouths off loudly and furiously about her cab driver, and how he didn't meet her outside her last appointment, as she clearly instructed. Um… Honey? You're kind of being recorded on camera, and you kind of never told the cabbie any such thing. You're one big, big slice of Lying Ginger Stupid Cake.
Eventually, about four weeks too late, Brittany makes it back to Priscilla's, and is more than a little upset that, through no fault of her own (I know, Skippy. I'm tutting too), she's now disqualified. The Joydhi/Priscilla-led critique inside is rudely interrupted by the sounds of Brittany's crazed and lisped ranting outside. My asterisks are mimicking the show's actual censorship as I quote: "I asked my f*cking cab driver! He didn't f*cking show up! It's not my f*cking fault – I asked him to meet me over there!" and so on, with spit and portfolio being flung in all directions. Natasha listens calmly, and when the tirade subsides, says quietly: "You know – some peoples have war in their countries". I love her, I love her, I love her. I do.

· Priscilla reads out comments from the designers, none of whom would apparently book Brittany, despite her obvious wit and professionalism. Jaslene wins the challenge, the prize being a quick climb up the Harbour Bridge for a photo-shoot with Spunky Nigel Barker, all in regulation BridgeClimb fugly overalls. That's a prize, see. A skinny module gets to pose on top of a windy bridge in a shapeless, flapping, dark grey tent. It's like giving Beethoven a CD of soothing dolphin noises as a thank-you for the Moonlight Sonata, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like tipping your bikini-waxing technician with a complimentary photograph of your wadge. Okay, okay – the photos actually rock, and Nigel's there, so it's not all bad. Hi, Nigel.

· Photo-shoot time, and our modules head beachward where Tyra greets them and tells them about their two-part shoot, in which they'll be photographed in swimwear and hair extensions at sunrise with male modules. Sexy male modules. First, Tyra will be the photographer, and they're to pose "women's-magazine style". Next, Michael Omm (What, Skippy? No, me neither) will be the photographer, and they're to pose "men's-magazine style", which Tyra demonstrates by sticking out her Secret Herbs and Spices and shaking them around. It's cold on that there coastline. A decidedly non-Summery summary is as follows:
o Brittany's up first, posing with hot David. She complains about the cold, but still pulls some stunning shots out of her arse, even though Tyra claims she's "afraid of her sexuality".
o Dionne is next, posing with hot-but-badly-named Brad "River" Rope. She's gorgeous with longer hair, but Tyra complains about her visible nostrils and her mean, mean eyebrows, and as my housemate says "one of her eyes looks bung". Dionne responds with "It's hard in this cold-ass water tryin' to be sexy and seductive".
o Jaslene poses with hot Tamati William, manages to pull some curves out of nowhere (certainly not her non-arse), and rocks it.
o Renee should absolutely and without question grow her hair long (you know – exactly like she did before she was butchered in the make-over episode and given an "Ellen"). With hot Adrian Allen, she sits in the frigid water and looks gorgeous, especially in the men's mag shot. Renee may have a lot of personal issues, but she sure can bring out her Inner Slut at the drop of a hat. Tyra, who has been squatting in the water in her jeans to take the shots, makes a hilarious joke about her wet jeans by pointing to them and saying "I made a pee-pee, Mommy". Oh, Tyra. You're such an arsehole.
o Natasha, with hot Samuel Sirena, launches instantly and easily into Saxy Russian Siren, yes? She does have a problem with constantly hanging her mouth open, and she does have to deal with Tyra imitating her accent just like a polite smart person wouldn't, but she still takes an awesome photo. She's pleased with her performance, saying "You get so many compliments that you feel yourself like a top model". I have nothing polite to say about that.

· It's time for an arsing as the modules assemble in the Elimination Opera House to face their antipodean fate. Tyra greets them in quite a nice black frock, without so much as a kerchief on her head, but with ridiculous eyelashes that you could use as bookshelves. Cover Girl seems to have removed the clump from all their commercially available mascara and deposited it on Tyra's face for want of a better place to put it. She introduces the judges, including eight-ruffled Mr Jay, shouldn't-wear-pink Twiggy, guest judge Priscilla and Spunky Nigel Barker, who I'm watching through binoculars. Tyra forgets to mention the prizes, which I think would have included a packet of fruit roll-ups and a sewing kit, and drags us through the photographs. With an earnest expression and the gravity only a mentor can possess, Tyra gives Renee a carefully-considered critique. No, wait – that's not strictly correct. What she does is tell Renee that she "did the booty-tooch". Then she says she was "toochin' that booty". Then she says "tooch" and "booty" a few more times. Fine, Tyra – FINE. If you're just gonna make shit up, then I will too. Please stop farnargling my woozie. Thank you so much.

· The judges deliberate, the modules are called back in, and names are called until just Ghetto Dionne and Brain-Damage Brittany are left. Brittany is told that she has beautiful photos, but that nobody wants to hire her, and Dionne is told that she has 'nice' photos, but she has to be coached. A year passes, and Brittany is given the flick. Bye, Brittany! Don't forget that you've just been booted on your way out!

· I have to devote a paragraph to Dionne as she's being handed her photograph and being given a pep-talk by Tyra. She executes the best slow-mo single screen tear I've ever seen. It rolls down her face like a solitary diamond being gently dragged down a grassy hill, and I forget for a moment that she's a twangy single mother whose family members get shot by drug dealers. It's kinda beautiful.

Next week, the girls dress up as our indigenous ancestors and dizzy themselves by dancing around in circles, and Natasha engages in a bit more phone-porn with her mail-order husband. Indigenous. Vertiginous. Libidinous.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

America's Next Top Model Series Eight #10

You know when you order a chicken sandwich, and you get a processed-chickenesque-sliced-lunch-meat sandwich?

Or when you're excited about a party all week, and you show up, and there's only three of you there, and the music's shit and the scallops are off?

Or when you turn up at a high school reunion, and the hottest guy in your year, who introduced you to The Cult's Electric album and sat next to you in assembly, turns out to be a balding retail assistant with light grey shoes?

This week's episode was a recap episode.

This means revisiting each eliminated module's "journey" and their individual reasons for getting arsed, and a handful of ANTMNSBMs (America's Next Top Model Never Seen Before Moments, obviously) which clearly would have been included in previous episodes if they were at all interesting enough.

Pffffft. Whatever. If I'd just been walked home by this episode, I'd be telling it I had an early meeting right now. It's the You Spin Me 'Round (Like A Recap) episode of America's Next Top Model.

· ANTMNSBM #1: The Catwalk. The newly-ensconced residents of the Module Mansion dress up as each other and bung on a catwalk farce on the in-house runway. Two clear highlights, being Natasha dressed as Kathleen in fuzzy afro and black-face, and Cassandra (who?) dressed as a "fictional" Russian model called Ivanka, whose motto is "Ears open, mouth shut".

· ANTMNSBM #2: I Know You Are, But What Am I? Renee describes Jael as a "female Kramer" and compares her to a haemorrhoid. My housemate describes Renee as "obviously the result of an abusive upbringing involving caravans". My housemate wins.

· ANTMNSBM #3: Chipped Beef, Chopped Liver. The worst injury we've seen so far this series is a touch of scalp redness caused by Brittany's crappo synthetic roadkill weave. This week, however, we're presented with a horror gallery of mangled flesh and gore, as previously un-reported injuries and deformities are dragged up off the cutting-room floor. Yay! A hairdresser, through the medium of a red-hot curling wand, gives Natasha third-degree burns on her ear. After cupping mounds of ice-cream in her hands during the 'Candy' photo-shoot, Cassandra is rushed to hospital with frostbite. Natasha has a toothache, and without any anaesthetic ("I can't take the medicine because it make me feels sleepy"), we see the dentist yank the offending peg from her skull to the soundtrack of yelps of Slavic agony. See, this modelling caper is dangerous somethin' chronic.

· ANTMNSBM #4: Forever Twirling, Merner Maka. We're treated to a Jael hula-hoop montage, and I have to say it's impressive. Ankles, knees, arse, waist, ribs, arms and neck are all utilised in a dynamic display of twirling and tossing, and I'm left wondering how someone who can make such beautiful physical music with the help of simple plastic circles can sound like such a bedraggled homeless scribble as soon as she opens her gob.

· ANTMNSBM #5: Upside Yo Haid. Dionne tires of Renee's Festival of Fakeness, and the two girls start an argument that escalates speedily towards chest-bumping and bitch-slapping. Dionne is extraordinarily convincing as Ghetto Warrior, and Renee is hilariously farcical as Trailer-Park Bruiser. My favourite quotes in this segment include Dionne's "Y'all just do not seem like y'all real", and Felicia's "Please don't let this be a bloodbath up in hee-yah". American fighting trash is so much more colourful than Australian fighting trash. "Fuck off, mole" just doesn't cut it for me anymore.

· ANTMNSBM #6: Bursting Through The Hygiene Hymen. Bitches is pigs. We're treated to unnecessarily close-up images of the disgusting brothel that the Module Mansion bathroom has become, including used cotton buds and clumps of gluggy hair collected in every available drain. Renee and Natasha get on their hands and knees (insert hackneyed fellatio joke) and scrub and scrub (again…) until everything glistens ("…"), and Renee leaves a note on the mirror which reads "If you don't have a friend in here, make all-purpose cleaner your best friend". Arsehole.

· ANTMNSBM #7: Have Fried Chicken, Will Impersonate. Our modules dress up as the judges and conduct a mock elimination. I'm momentarily distracted by safety scissors.

· ANTMNSBM #8: Smoke Some Crack, Break Your Mother's Back. During the family visits, we discover that Jael has a spooky affinity with children, and can entertain them and herself for hours by just crumpling up pieces of paper. I have many possible jokes about this, but will refrain completely. Suffice to say: Zing!

· ANTMNSBM #9: Throw Some Borscht On The Barbie. In her Sydney vox-pop interviews, Natasha signs off to camera by stating confidently "Ah'm bringing saxy back to all the Ossie blardgers!". God help me, I love this woman.

That's it, really. I can't be expected to be too enthused and lyrical about a recap episode when I was promised an actual episode where actual stuff happens. If I wanted to have high expectations only to be disappointed by half-arsed under-delivery, I'd just date a musician.

Next week: Stuff that's never happened before. Apparently.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

You Had Me At "Tooheys" #5, or This Week's Pick-Up Line

Subtitle: What's A Scrawny Raving Freak Like You Doing In A Nice Place Like This?

Whilst waiting for My Mate Milly last night en route to an artsy magazine launch (because we're proud, proud media wankers), I grabbed a beer and a crossword and perched at a table at the Three Weeds in Paddington.
I was halfway through entering the word "tarragon" as the answer to 3-down, when a young gent, skateboard under arm, sat down and didn't introduce himself.
Sipping his water, he started quite well, saying that I looked like a strong, secure, beautiful girl – words which any young woman enjoys hearing at any time.

Unfortunately it all went a bit pear from there.
He started rambling. It all really came at me in a speedily-expressed, unpunctuated rush, but I'll try to capture the key points:

· He believes in the power of positivity. Any time I disagreed with him, I was apparently "embracing negativity".

· On the way out tonight, he gave a girl on the train a box, and promised her bananas and pineapples.

· One of his parents was in the military, and the other was in the ministry. He thinks Jesus might be okay. He's very spiritual.

· He asked me to define 'love'. I said "That's like trying to define 'funny'". He said "Love is power. Love is dolphins. Love is rainbows". I argued that he was just describing love, not defining it. He said I was embracing negativity.

· He used to drink and take drugs and be bad, but he's trying to be good now. Because his mum came to stay, so he doesn't hate her anymore.

· He thinks he'd make an excellent television star.

· He's a musician, and when he's famous, I'll see that I was wrong about him. Would I like to hear one of his songs? No. How about just some of the lyrics, then? More dolphins.

· He wasn't forthcoming with his age, but apparently I look great for mine. But I shouldn't call myself an "old bitch". That's embracing negativity, see.

· He's still in love with a girl after nine years, so he's clinging onto that dream. I should cling onto mine.

When Milly finally arrived, he got up to leave, stopping to ask a final question. "Milly," he said, "Why do the stars shine?".

"Because they're on fire", said Milly.

I would normally shoo away a raving nutter who invites themself to my table mid-crossword, but he was harmless enough, so I indulged him. Every now and again, you have to stop and smell the dolphins.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Flock Of Seagulls

A year ago, for me, managing to run two laps of the local sports oval would have been momentous.
So the fact that I ran the 14-kilometre City To Surf yesterday is, for me, momentously momentous, and I'm feeling a little bit clever. It's bittersweet – I now have the knees of a 90-year-old woman, but the arse of a teenage boy.

Highlights, lowlights, footlights and electrolytes:

· I finished. I ran all the way. Slowly.

· Heartbreak Hill is a) a bitch; and b) now my bitch.

· Whilst waiting for the starting gun, I thoroughly observed my co-runners. My "favourites" included a mother with her two daughters. The mother, guesstimatedly four months pregnant, was wearing a midriff singlet, and had written "Baby On Board" (or similar, I didn't want to stare) in texta on her belly. Her daughters, probably aged thirteen and fifteen, had both obviously done their hair carefully, were wearing full make-up including foundation and lipstick, and one of them wore a low-cut singlet with her pubescent puppies almost completely on display. Seriously – there was visible areola.
"What are you dressing up as for the City To Surf?"
"Slut Jailbait Lolita Trash. You?"

· I discovered that I am lacking in skills such as Drinking Whilst Running. This may be a hangover from my mother forbidding me to eat or drink whilst walking around the house, but now my running gear, bum-bag and sneakers smell like sports drink. Some went in my mouth, however, and my opinion regarding sports drinks has not changed. Salt-flavoured spit. Yech. Strange and unexpected joy was to be found, however, at each drink-station and the 200 metres afterwards, as the sound of thousands of feet running over squashed plastic cups was discovered to be more than a little amusing. I may write a poem entitled "Crunchy Cups". I may not.

· I loved the bands that set themselves up along the course, from the leather-panted, fake-mulleted cock-rock cover band on the eaves of the Golden Sheaf to the grey-haired brass band in a Bondi bus stop, to the ten-year old solo bagpiper. Bless you.

· Thanks and cheers must also go to those course-side residents who thumbed their noses at water restrictions and sprayed us all with their front-yard hoses. One of my workmates pointed out that they weren't really breaking the rules, as runners aren't technically classified as "hard surfaces". Oh yeah? Feel my thighs, buddy.

· Before I started the race, I had a mild urge to wee. After I had finished running, I didn't wee for two hours. Running makes the wee go away. I don't really want to think about this too much.

· Before entering, I was partly encouraged by the fact that the City To Surf would probably be an all-day perv-fest, filled as it was with fit blokes wearing not much. I failed to factor in sweat, stink, unbelievable hairiness, face-redness and mid-winter leg-paleness. I, of course, looked glamorous and windswept the whole way. Cough.

· When I saw the finish line, I'm not ashamed to admit that I got a little emotional. I trained really, really hard for this, and in nobody's imagination am I a natural runner, so I pretended that the three or four escaping tears were just a combination of sweat and badly-aimed Gatorade.

· After making sure I was properly rehydrated with water and more Spitty Salt, and cramming some carbs into my oesophagus, I settled in at the Eastern in Bondi Junction with Nick from Whale Sushi and his mate for some proper, grown-up, amber-coloured rehydration. Nick beat my race time, but I can confidently lap him in the beer stakes. A tops bloke, and quite the smarty-pants conversationalist. An excellent way to spend an afternoon, gentlemen – I thank you.

· With regard to the above conversation, I have learnt a thorough and surprising lesson – there is no good time to discuss the topic of arse-acne.

I'm pretty sure I'll run the City To Surf again next year. But I'll have a rest first. Right, knees? Right.

Friday, August 10, 2007

You Had Me At "Tooheys" #4, or This Week's Pick-up Line

My local is one of those pubs in which, if you don't get chatted up at least once in every three visits, you're clinically dead. It's almost nice that way, and the lovely, sociable atmosphere in the place almost makes up for the fact that the carpet smells like a piece of cheese in a sock.

It's also one of those pubs where people get really, really drunk. Sometimes that people is me.

Last night, my mate Kylie and I popped into my local after a long lunch, and were soon conversing merrily with two gentlemen originally from the Northern Hemisphere.

Or: Kylie and I got pissed and had loud, sometimes-hilarious-sometimes-belligerent conversations with a couple of blokes from the UK.

After engaging in a Flashdance recreation competition, unzipping my boots and pouring beer all over me, one of the aforementioned gents was given my phone number. By, like, me. Unfortunately I completely forgot the middle two digits halfway through writing it out, inadvertently making it look like I was perhaps pausing to make up a false number.
So he called me right away, at the pub, no doubt to test the number's authenticity.

Because he was (evinced by the fact that I was enjoying his company) a gigantic smartarse, I didn't answer, so he left a message.

The message was "I… like… your… corduroy… ARSE".

Who can say no to that?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

America's Next Top Model Series Eight #9

Strewth, mate.
What a bloody shambles.
We're in Australia this week, and I can barely throw a shrimp on the barbie, so swamped am I with late twentieth-century provincial clichés. I was going to install a Predictable-Stereotype-O-Meter into this recap, but it took a sickie and pissed off down the pub to watch the cricket. In its thongs.

Grab a cork hat and swat away a couple of koalas – it's the Tyra Me Kangaroo Down, Sport episode of America's Next Top Model.

· I've said it before, and I'll say it again – I can't understand a single fucking word Jael says. I've spoken to a lot of drunk, drug-addled people in my time, but this oft-subtitled girl is something special. This isn't just ordinary stimulant/depressant-based incomprehensibility. This is like, piece-of-the-brain-missing shit.

· A Tyra-Mail arrives at the Module Mansion, and ironically it alludes to the Art of Conversation. A knock on the door heralds a visit from April, a contestant from ANTM Series 2 and current correspondent for the journalistic juggernaut Miami Vibe. She explains to the girls that, to be a module, you have to be a 'jack of all trades' (read: able to walk and talk), and she introduces Gary Riotto to help teach good interview technique. Jaslene furrows her brow with typical Cha-Cha Diva Drag Queen concern, saying "I have a lot of problems with my talking… I wanna talk good". April and Gary then give examples of different kinds of interviewees, including the "chatterbox" and the "non-talker", basically covering all the categories from A to B. Our modules are paired off and asked to interview each other, including the inspired coupling of Dionne "What the HEYLL?!" and Jael " Merner Makah Mer Mana". Natasha confidently asserts that "I would be baist, because I haves the look, and I can talk". Oh, Natasha. What's Russian for 'self-referential delusional irony'? Now, although I know pairs of skinny girls trying to talk over each other and sit up straight sounds interesting, but I'm momentarily distracted by a WorkChoices advertisement.

· The girls let off steam by splashing around in the pool, and Jael gets her tits out. It's not that she's intentionally trying to be confrontational or bawdy, it's just that no-one understood her when she said "Gaaaaas, whizzzma berkini?"

· Another day, another visit from a has-been, and April re-enters the house, seemingly to have another talk about… y'know… talking. She tells the girls that they're to take their new interview skills to the streets in a challenge, and as always happens in these situations, she's rudely and abruptly interrupted by the sudden bouncy entrance of somebody in a giant mangy kangaroo suit. Could this be another wacky ANTM plot-twist? OMG! WTF? It's Tyra! She removes her head (sadly, no), and almost dislodges her ubiquitous head-scarf in the process, coming close to revealing either her weave-line or the scar left over from a recent mad-scientist, human/monkey brain transplant experiment. Tyra widens her eyes, adjusts her wig, catches her breath and screams "You're going to SYDNEY AUSTRALIA!". The news is greeted by all except Natasha with jumping-up-and-down excitement, and punctuated by the appearance of a real kangaroo and handler. Jaslene says to camera that she's "never been anywhere except the 'hood and 'round the corner", and after about half an hour (during which Natasha consults her phrasebook and realises that they're not going to 'Sit On Knees in Austria), our favourite Russian finally twigs, and lets out the frenzied squeal of a thousand kettles all boiling at once, almost giving the kangaroo a conniption. Tyra sends the modules off to pack and says "Next time I see you guys, it'll be 'Good-eye'!". Indeed.

· The seen-every-series animated aeroplane graphically whisks the girls across the globe, and they arrive at Sydney Airport accompanied by hackneyed imagery of the Opera House and Bondi Beach, all to a didgeridoo soundtrack. They're greeted by Erika Heynatz, host of the first two series of Australia's Next Top Model before she was replaced by Joydhi Meares and went off to be a failed singer. "G'day," she says, as the Predictable-Stereotype-O-Meter pricks up its ears from the pub, "You guys must be knackered. No mucking around – it's straight into the hard yakka!". I'm assuming the show's producers are trying to give the impression that this is how we all speak here. I'm as indignant as a wrongly-accused dingo, mate. The modules have no idea what she's talking about, and Jael is thankful for the respite.

· Erika introduces this week's challenge, in which our girls are to go out into the streets of Sydney and conduct some vox populi-style interviews utilising as much "Aussie Slang" as possible. During the interviews, a super-imposed "slang-o-meter" counts their hit rates, and also gives on-screen definitions to assist non-Antipodean viewers. For example, did you know that "dag" means "funny person"? I can only guess that putting the phrases "individual of questionable and dated styling" or "crusty bit of dried faeces on a sheep's arse" on screen would have obscured too much of the predictable scenery. Renee offers "good avro" instead of "good arvo", Jael wears a tutu and says "yanks" a lot (quite eloquently, surprisingly), Jaslene asks a Mediterranean gent to show her his "daks", Brittany manages to interview an American tourist, and Dionne abandons all attempts at Australian slang by responding to every answer with "thas' cool, thas' cool". Natasha, however, is brilliant. At first she just asks tentative questions about her interviewees' opinions on "lippy", but then probes deeper with inferences about their chances of "cracking on". After bemused and hesitant responses, she says "Don't be cactus! You guys are all cactuses", and bingo – she's as Australian as Russell Crowe and Jorn Utzon. She wins the challenge. I love a world in which this can happen, and I'm happy to live in it.

· It's time for a photo-shoot, and also time for the Predictable-Stereotype-O-Meter to blow a gasket. Jay outlines the commercial shoot's premise, and I can only gawp in stunned, insulted silence. See, they’re out in the bush, right? In like, the outback. And there's a photographer, right, who's out there to try and take a photograph of a kangaroo. Only he sees this grouse-looking 'bird' – just wandering through the outback in regulation khaki – and he's so distracted, especially by her clump-free Cover Girl mascara, that he forgets all about the kangaroo. For fuck's sake. The modules have to memorise their script, and then deliver all their lines (including, and I'm serious: "He thinks I'm the most beautiful sheila he's ever seen in the bush") in an "Ossie" accent. Honestly, if I didn't want to lose the goanna stew and Fosters I just had for lunch, I'd vomit. Or chunder, as the case may be. In summary:
o Renee, dressed in god-awful I-don't-know-what, sounds like a mix between Steve Irwin and a British woman sucking on a Mintie.
o Dionne brings out her Jamaican housewife accent again, and forgets her lines except for "plump 'em, not clump 'em, girrrrrl".
o Jael, usually composed of more alternative stuff, struggles with both being dressed in an awful floral blouse and with being required to appear chirpy and cheerful. She complains that it's "too over the top in fake happiness for me", and expresses her distaste by squinting, frowning, smiling cheesily and swaying like Stevie Wonder on a surfboard. She says she'd rather "touch the grass and the animals, and climb trees". Please, if you will, pass the dutchie on de left han' side.
o Jaslene is hilarious. Frowning in concentration and struggling to cover her Spanish accent, she comes across as a deaf, constipated Japanese tourist with mild brain damage. Remembers all her lines, though.
o Brittany, as usual, looks stunning, but has terrible trouble remembering her lines. She explains her problem – when she was seventeen, she was hit by a car and ended up needing staples in her head, which has affected her short-term memory. This is obviously true, as only last week she had a bright red ferret-pelt sewn onto her scalp, which possibly aggravated her condition. Now, this might sound mean (and I really do try to avoid that wherever possible), but when she tearfully and repeatedly told her tragic car-crash story, I nearly burst my own staples laughing. There's just something about an I Can't Remember My Lines About Cover Girl Mascara Because Of The Staples In My Brain story that really tickles my funny bone. Great accent, though.
o Natasha looks a bit drab, but nobody cares – we're all waiting to hear a Russian who can barely speak English attempt an Australian accent. No disappointment there. It's bad. It's like Giocametti trying to sculpt a fat chick or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like McDonalds bringing out salad. Still, she remembers her lines and models up a storm, and as she walks back to the trailer, delivers the killer "I think I'm did bloody good, mate". Oh, Natasha. There are no words in any language to describe how much I love you.

· Brittany. Honey. Enough about your short-term memory already. We still have ours.

· It's go-time, and the modules are summoned to the Australiana-adorned Elimination Shearing Shed to look at pictures and hear their fate. Tyra greets the girls, but something's wrong – wait… she's not wearing a scarf! She's not a pirate. She's not a gypsy. She's just a crazy, ageing fat girl with a big forehead and a heart of gold. She craps through the prizes, which I think include a tube of sunscreen and a boomerang, and introduces the judges, indluding 8-ruffled Miss Jay, back-to-frumpy Twiggy, guest Erika Heynatz, and Spunky Nigel Barker, who's always welcome Down Under.

· The Cover Girl commercial is screened, followed by each girl's best take. Jael is clearly advertising a particularly aggressive batch of barbiturates, and Tyra criticises harshly, saying that she looks like "an anarchist making fun of being a Cover Girl". Brittany hauls out the brain-staple tears yet again, but Miss Jay cuts her off mid-weep with "Fashion has no sympathy".

· The judges deliberate, and 'screen-captures' are handed out one by one until only Mumbling Jael and… oh… I've forgotten her name… Brittany! Until only Mumbling Jael and Brittany are left. Brittany is told she has strong pictures, but that she was unable to deliver the commercial, and Jael is also told she has great pictures, but that she has "ghastly presentation on film". Cracked skull wins out over just crack, and Jael is sent home. Bye, Jael! Merner munna ma merker ferner on your way out, dude.

Next week, the modules rush around Sydney for go-sees with barely enough time to eat, Brittany loses her cool, and Wayne Cooper takes the piss. Rumbling tummies. Spitting dummies. Expatriate Brummies.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

America's Next Top Model Series Eight #8

What's happened to the modeling world? Models should be babies, not have them. How can one be on a strict diet of cigarettes, champagne and class-A drugs if one has to breastfeed every three hours?
I'm looking at the width of these girls' hips, and I'm not convinced that anything of much quality can be squeezed out through them anyway. It's no wonder that this week's Displays Of Mothering were mostly based on catwalk and coiffure.

Get yourself a clean nappy and a Happy Meal* and settle in – it's the My Baby's Just Hair For Me episode of America's Next Top Model.

· Whitney is surprised that she keeps ending up in the bottom two at eliminations, and can't figure it out. Maybe use the full-length mirror in the hall, honey. See? See now?

· Renee's made-for-television dressing-down last week has had a distinct effect on her. It's made her smile, be pleasant, and write apologetic epistles to the other modules. The house is a much calmer, happier, more pleasant and harmonious place. Fuck that. Give me my psycho bitches back, now. If I wanted to see a bunch of lithium-levelled, overly made-up girls all being nice to each other, I'd just go get a pedicure. Somebody call someone a 'ho, quick-sticks.

· Christian the Hairdresser visits the Module Mansion and gives Brittany's dead-ginger-gopher hair-weave the undignified un-picking and shallow-grave burial it deserves. After removing the offensive rag, he flaps it around and throws it onto a table. It crawls a couple of inches by itself in its final death throes and then hurls itself into the Big Polyester Bargain Basement in the sky with a last guttural wheeze. Scene.

· Let's do some maths. There are seven modules left. Their average age is around eighteen. Their average waist measurement is around eighteen. Their average IQ is around eighteen. Three of them have babies. Wait… that makes…. hang on… carry the one…. twenty-four thousand and GO ON THE PILL AND KEEP YOUR PANTS ON. Renee misses her son Troy. Natasha misses her daughter Angelina (and if she's not named after Angelina Jolie, I'll eat my ninety-seven percent fat-free hat). Dionne misses her daughter Ta'kya. Yep. Ta'kya. Dionne's daughter's name has an apostrophe in it. Kind of puts "Wholahay" into perspective, doesn't it? Honestly, with the names, the threads, and the endearingly addictive "What the HEYLL?!" intonation, if you grated Dionne you'd get about fifteen bottles of Hood Juice.

· A Tyra-Mail crams the girls into the Big Pink Hummer and takes them to a theatre, where they're met by Tia Mowry, Wide-Eyed Sit-Com Actress. This segment is obviously sponsored by the Country Womens' Association Knitting Circle, as every module is swathed in woollen scarves and gigantic knobbly beanies. Like inuits, innit? Tia tells the girls that this week is all about acting, and how they can embody and evoke characters through the creative use of voice and movement. And, y'know – hats. Each girl is to pick a hat from a rack and then act like the character their hat suggests, using the line "I deserve to be America's Next Top Model". Now, in case there's any doubt or confusion, this is ridiculous. Everybody knows that if you're a pretty girl after an acting job, you only need two lessons: Putting A Cushion Down First, and Suppressing The Gag Reflex.

· Character-hats are hastily donned. Natasha is a Russian witch, and she cackles and hunches like an insane, mercury-eating, one-legged hag. I love her so much. Dionne is a Southern Belle, Whitney is a leopard-skin-hatted slut, and Brittany is a somersaulting jester, such is her joy at being gopher-free at last. Jael, wearing a crown, exclaims "I'm thikrin other whirl" (which is "I'm the Queen of the World" in non-barbituate English), and Renee decides that her turn-of-the-century bonnet is telling her to sob and wail. Jaslene, in a feathered headdress, surprises no-one by acting like a South-American she-man. Seriously, if her neck were wide enough to actually contain an Adams apple, it'd be uncanny.

· Tia gives the modules a script and two hours to memorise it for this week's challenge. The script requires the girls to be three different kinds of characters – melodramatic, diva, and perky, and they are to play out a scene on stage with huge Hollywood star Efren Ramirez. Sorry? What? Oh. He played Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite. You know – the guy who inspired a gazillion "Vote For Pedro" t-shirts before they became the single most succinct advertisement for lame in the Western world. The girls take to the stage one by one, and aside from Dionne adopting a bizarre Jamaican accent and Jaslene labelling herself "so retarded" for forgetting her lines, I'm temporarily distracted by a pair of oven mitts. Renee, having stored all her pent-up dramatics like a trailer-park pressure cooker by being nice to everyone all week, is declared the winner, and chooses Dionne to share in her prize. The two girls, still remembering Whitney's diamond bracelet prize of a few weeks ago, dilate their pupils in expectation of their impending trinkets, changing expression rapidly when Pedro hands them some crumpled-up t-shirts which read "I Voted For Renee" and "I Voted For Dionne". What the HEYLL?!

· Tyra, you saucy minx. As if crappy t-shirts would be the real prize. Back at the Module Mansion, a knock on the door is heard, and in walk Renee and Dionne's extended families, consisting of Renee's husband and baby, and Dionne's sister, daughter, and wheelchair-bound mother. Renee cries buckets, pashes her husband, and takes her son for a quick romp down the runway, ensuring future years of either intense therapy or surreptitious ladies underwear concealment. Dionne, who casually announces that her mother is in a wheelchair because her drug-addicted ex-boyfriend shot her (one glass of Hood Juice, thanks – no ice), is far more outraged at the hairdressing skills of her babysitting sister. Or, as she puts it: "What the f*ck is wrong with my baby's hair?" It's like Duchamp coming back to the studio to find that someone's actually pissed in his urinal, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like putting Coke in a Pepsi can.

· Natasha is sad. Through a mixture of ESL and not-much-upstairs, she doesn't always have a totally solid grasp of the events unfolding around her, so she misunderstands the visit from two other modules' children. Rather than Challenge Prize Which Is Better Than A Shit T-Shirt, she reads the situation as Let's Have A Visit From Everyone Else's Baby Except Mine, and she takes umbilical umbrage. She's very upset, because as she says "I couldn't deal with my motions".

· I must devote a paragraph to the increasing incomprehensibility of Our Lady Of Amphetamines, Jael. Natasha, whose grip in the English language is tentative at best, is not subtitled. The models' children, who mix their garbled English with shouting and miscellaneous mouth-insertions, are not subtitled. Jael, who wouldn't know a consonant if it bubbled away on a spoon over a candle, is, more often than not, subtitled. Bitch just does not make sense.

· Photo time, and Mr Jay meets the girls at a studio for a shoot for Payless Shoes, just to throw a bit more fash-cred and vinyl onto the pile. To utilise the deeply entrenched acting skills the modules now have, they're told they have to show off the shoes whilst impersonating "famous" ex-ANTM contestants in "classic" scenes from the show. And guess what? They'll be doing the shoot with the original contestants! I don’t know how they find the time in their frantic professional schedules – I mean, if they're here, who's cooking my fries? Jay shows each module a video of the relevant "classic" moment, and then "surprises" them when the real has-been walks out. This shoot isn't just lame, it's had both legs amputated and is considering a hip reconstruction. Summarise, cook-my-fries:
o Modules: Jaslene and Bre from Series 5 (walks like a horse).
Classic Moment: When Bre had a hissy-fit after someone ate her granola bar. Seriously.
Jaslene and Bre sit on a giant box of granola bars, and the pony snatches snacks from the drag queen. Not bad.
o Modules: Natasha and Michelle from Series 4 (walks like a man).
Classic Moment: When Michelle had a hilarious, scabby, weeping rash all over her face.
Natasha's face is painted with red dots, and Michelle kind of stands around. Natasha's still pretty with her glamour-rash. I love her.
o Modules: Whitney and Shannon from Series 1 (walks like a virgin).
Classic Moment: When Shannon wouldn't pose nude because she's afraid Jesus might see.
Whitney is wrapped in a towel, and Shannon tries to pull it off. Whitney's attempt at "righteous indignance" looks like she's smelling a fart, but is a little bored by it.
o Modules: Jael and Rebecca from Series 4 (walks like she's about to fall over)
Classic Moment: When Rebecca faints during judging and hits the floor like a sack of pumpkins.
Jael, surprisingly, has trouble looking limp sprawled on the floor whilst Rebecca feigns concern, so as the two hold onto each other the whole thing ends up looking a bit like lesbian porn. It makes Jay a little nauseous.
o Modules: Brittany and twins Amanda and Michelle from Series 7 (walk like they're ugly)
Classic Moment: When Amanda and Michelle looked all alike and shit.
The three girls are dressed identically, and stand together. It's real like, cutting-edge n' that. Brittany looks gorgeous, and hence nothing like a triplet.
o Modules: Renee and Joanie from Series 6 (walks like she's awesome).
Classic Moment: When Joanie had her wacky, disfigured elephant-tusk tooth prised out of her skull by a dentist.
Joanie steals the show (because she's awesome) as a dental nurse, whilst Renee does okay in the chair, trying to make her pretty a bit more ugly – but still pretty. Y'know?
o Modules: Dionne and Kim from Series 5 (walks like she has sex with girls).
Classic Moment: When Kim pashed a chick in the limo.
Jay has to wade through more lesbian porn as Kim is told to go the lip-sandwich on Dionne. Dionne initially says "What the HEYLL?! Hold up. I ain't no f*ckin' lesbo. I'll give her a hug, but I don't even kiss my damn boyfriend!" She soon relaxes and starts to enjoy her fragrant friend's flirtations, and everybody laughs at the funny lesbians mashing face in the car. Funny gay ladies!

· A Tyra-Mail summons the modules to the Elimination Garage, where Tyra is dressed as a gypsy who shouldn't wear mini-skirts. This makes it eight weeks in a row with a scarf over her head, and I'm beginning to suspect that she's actually Harry Potter trying to hide her scar. She introduces the judges including more-glamorous-than-usual Twiggy, seven-ruffled Miss Jay, guest Matthew Jordan-Smith the hyphenated photographer, and Spunky Nigel Barker, who I'm having my tongue scraped for. Prizes are given lip-service, which I think this year include a friendship bracelet and a blue highlighter, and photos are screened for everyone's amusement. Brittany, Natasha and Dionne are the stand-outs, although Jael tries to defend her lack-lustre shot with the deranged mumbled ramblings of a homeless person with their lips sewn together.

· The judges deliberate, and Tyra calls out the non-doomed modules' names until only Mumbler Jael and Whitney Plus Size Black remain. Whitney is told that she needs to show her pretty in pictures, not just in person, and Jael is told that she needs to learn to speak with more eloquence and stuff. A decade passes, and Whitney is out on her ample arse. Bye, Whitney! Mind you don't drop yourself into another token fat-person role on your way out!

Next week, the modules hone their interview skills with April from Series 2 and their various speech impediments, and we're off to an exotic international location! Where can it be? Gosh, I hope it's exotic. How boring if it was like, just up the road from my house or something. Spitty. Pretty. Sydney City.

* But not one of those pasta ones with the tongs and the dipping sauce. What the fuck's up with that?