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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

America's Next Top Model Series Nine #5

Imagine getting this invitation to a party:

You'd be pretty sure it'd be the party of the year, huh.
Yet cram all the same elements into an episode of ANTM, and it's a bit of a fizzer.
I don't mean to sound like a broken sophisticated record with a good wardrobe, but this series is a bit like carob – better than nothing, but a disappointingly bland representation of the real thing.
I want crazy bitches with delusions of grandeur, the willingness to scream and slap each other, raging uncontrollable urges and questionable bladder control.
I get a couple of bad haircuts, asymmetrical facial features and squatting on a roof pretending to be architecture. Meh. It's the Gargoyles On Film episode of America's Next Top Module. Dress Code: Beige.

· Janet, not understanding the basic principles of You're So Eliminated, takes it upon herself to be 'House Mama', gives the other modules a lecture on hygiene and sticks a cleaning roster on the 'fridge. Let's do some maths, 'kay?
Plot Focus In Early Part Of Episode
Behaviour Seemingly Implying Longevity
Pack Your Busted, Broke-Down Bags, Honey.
In better news, Saleisha is taking every opportunity to cover up her stank haircut with a scarf. This, in all senses of the concept, is a Good Idea. Lisa, thankful that somebody in the house has more embarrassing hair than hers, still has some god-awful steel wool atrocity atop her skull. Ambreal, being a musical theatre major at college, has a great singing voice. Ambreal, however, still has Ambreal's face.

· A Tyra-Mail hurries the girls, via the Big Green Bus, to the gym, where they're met by Benny Ninja: Posing Instructor And Endearing Gay Fellow. Benny explains earnestly that sometimes, a client will not want you to just stand on the floor. They may want you to jump up and down. This modelling shit is hard. Today's challenge is to jump on a trampoline and, at the peak of each parabola, strike a pose. With the exception of Ambreal and Chantal's reasonably graceful efforts, this scene is hilarious, as only gangly slappers thrown into the air and landing on their faces can be. Heather even throws some robust grunts into the mix, claiming afterwards that she's "not a physical person". She must be… the other kind… then. Benny reminds the girls that "Your face is important, but your body has to follow your face". See? HARD. The only time my body follows my face is when I, like… DO EVERYTHING. Except moonwalk or sit on the toilet. And stuff. Shut up.

· Another quick bus ride, and the modules are herded into a building called the Ice-O-Plex. I think Heather puts it most poetically when she says "It's freezing-ass cold, and I think: Aaah, crap. Ice". The ubiquitous Benny Ninja introduces the girls to Lloyd Eisler, an ex-Olympic skater, and tells them that they'll be posing in the air, on the ice, whilst displaying an emotion which is randomly shouted at them. Lloyd tells them that in ice-skating, the "boy is the brains, and you are the picture". In fact, if you look really hard at a picture of his tights, you can kind of see his brains. As we don't have anywhere near enough unnecessary people crammed onto the ice rink, we'll throw in Ann Shoket, editor of Seventeen magazine, and Dani, winner of ANTM Series 7. They spout some advice about posing in the air on the ice supported by a small Olympian, which is a bit like asking Joan Miro for realistic portraiture tips or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like asking Shane Warne to mind your 'phone. PS: Saleisha's hair is still fucked.

· It soon becomes quite, quite clear that we haven't had the obligatory Learn How To Act episode yet. Thanks to Bianca, Chantal and Saleisha, 'joy' is interpreted as 'big cheesy smile', although Bianca adds some Essence Of Wingnut thanks to her haircut. Janet interprets 'anger' as 'did somebody just fart?', whilst Heather interprets it as 'it doesn't matter how many times you grab my crotch, I ain't goin' up in the air'. Ebony interprets 'sorrow' as 'pouting four-year-old', but Lisa admittedly nails it, mostly thanks to an arm draped over her head. After useful assessments like Ann Shoket's "Ebony, your sorrow was as corny as a cornfield", Lisa is announced the challenge winner, sharing her prize of a Seventeen photo-shoot with Janet and Ebony. Ambreal, convinced that she'd win, complains to camera that "I always get the critique that I've done too much, so I don't know what to do". Um… do less? Just a guess.

· Lisa, Janet and Ebony go to a studio to shoot their 'advertorial' in 'streetwear', or as I'm calling it: Hos In A Row. Lisa summarises by saying "Everybody looked fly and was just working their stuff". Janet summarises by saying "It was fun – we were all shiny and stuff". I'm momentarily distracted by b├ęchamel sauce.

· Tyra Mail. Bus. Photo-shoot. You know the drill. This is the bit where Mr Jay meets the girls somewhere, introduces them to a photographer, and describes whatever fucked-up hoopy shit they'll be doing in front of the camera. In this case, it's a rooftop, it's Mike Rosenthal, and it's "posing as super-duper high fashion gargoyles". What, are they free-basing architectural journals now? Sheesh. Apparently, in the super-duper high fashion world, gargoyles wear rubber, dramatic make-up and big, floaty, wafty things. Only a summary can save us now:
o Heather has good angles, good poses, and bad make-up. And perfection and stuff.
o Jenah somehow manages to keep her black lipstick off her massive, jutting teeth, and poses well. Even with massive jutting teeth. Teeth.
o Sarah (who?) is a fat, amateurish gargoyle. I'm struggling with the fact that that's an actual sentence.
o Janet is afraid to pose in any way that will expose her white underwear underneath her black rubber skirt. Janet is pretty much afraid to stand up.
o Saleisha looks gorgeous, because a smart hairdresser has pulled her stupid, stupid hair back into a ponytail and hidden it under a metre of rubber.
o Chantal's face looks stunning, but she looks like a Nike gargoyle on heat. Jay commends her on her posing, which causes me to remember Modelling Rule #843: If you look like you're busting for the toilet, you're a model!
o Bianca does a really, really good job. Next.
o Lisa is a Drag Gargoyle, and takes a while to shake the awkward off.
o Ambreal, who is terrified of heights, uses the same face in every frame. The face is known in modelling circles as 'Give Me Another Horse Tranquiliser'.
o Ebony walks onto set like a blank piece of boring. Ebony poses like a glamour diva from outer space.

· Tyra Mail. Bus. Elimination. You know the drill. This is the bit where Tyra drags herself away from a bucket of chicken long enough to wear something three sizes too small and speak slowly enough so that I get a bit of a break from typing. To be honest, today's strapless black number isn't half bad, but someone seems to have either frozen her limbs in carbonite or possessed her with the spirit of C3PO, as she stands rigid with her hands on her hips, and is incapable of turning her head without bringing her body along for the ride. And I've just used two Star Wars references in a row. Damn. She gurgles through the prizes, which I think this year include a girdle and a step-ladder, and then introduces the judges, including Miss Jay, whose afro is growing, Twiggy, whose style is gradually improving, guest judge Benny Ninja, who is so cute he needs his own action figure, and Spunky Nigel Barker, who I'm doing secret excercises for, here, in my seat.

· Photos are drag-queened through, with a smattering of worthwhile moments:
o Ebony confesses that she's afraid to smile because she thinks her gums are too big. Her gums. Too big. This is what she worries about.
o Twiggy doesn't think that Chantal's shot is raunchy. Twiggy is a blind, frumpy old fool.
o Ambreal is a karate robot gargoyle. Tyra tells her that you have to be careful to extend your neck when wearing high-necked clothing, because it 'takes away your model'. This is a phrase uttered in the real world.
o Tyra calls Janet 'Liza' again. I swallow my rising gorge.
o Jenah turns up to the elimination looking like a big-toothed scarecrow. A ponytail takes care of the messy hair. Nothing invented in the world ever could take care of those teeth.

· The judges deliberate, and after mentioning Liza Minelli a couple more times (Brrrrpkak), starts in with the name-calling. One by one the modules sigh cute little relief sighs and shuffle forward to collect their shots until only Janet Minelli House-Mama and Ambreal Quaalude are left. Janet is told she has an athletic and muscular body, but needs too much coaching in photographs, and Ambreal is told she's long, lithe and lean, but that her pictures are getting worse. Just as I'm realizing that these are both pretty much the same thing, Janet is sent off. Bye, Janet! Mind you don't draw up a fateful cleaning roster on your way out! She says she "still thinks there's a place for me in the fashion industry". People want coffee, right?

Next week, the girls pose in front of tyres and oil-cans, Mr Jay is uninspired, and there's a 'special gentleman caller' to the house. Sump. Slump. Chump.

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