I think I might have developed Tourette’s Syndrome.
I’ll be happily watching television on a Tuesday night, making sophisticated, grown up conversation with my housemates and delicately placing dainty pieces of sushi into my mouth, when all of a sudden there’s a bunch of scrags on the screen and I’m shouting “BITCH! ARSEHOLE! BALLS!” and rice is everywhere.
“BITCH!” is for when Demelza is on the screen.
“ARSEHOLE!” is for when Alexandra is on the screen.
And “BALLS!” is because “balls” is a funny word that means testicles.
Take a seat and set your phasers to “twitch”. It’s the You Spin Me ‘Round Like An ARSEHOLE! episode of Australia’s Next Top Model. BALLS!
· Alyce is “heaps” relieved that she ecscaped elimination for the third time, and Alexandra comments that “Alyce feels pretty happy about being scraped through again”. It’s good to know she’s keeping up the gynaecologist visits, even with her busy schedule of sneering and saying stupid shit.
· The sun rises over Casa De Scrag, and the girls hear something at the door. In a surprise comparable to opening a Pit Bull’s mouth and finding a small child inside, they discover a Joydhi Mail on the front step, attached to a box full of t-shirts. Each shirt has a different word on it, and the modules have to arrange the shirts in order to form an intelligible sentence. In no other scenario, save perhaps for an intensive Seany B lyric-writing session, is forming simple sentences known as A Difficult Thing To Do. After trotting down the path of “Know To Fashion Prepare Your” and hanging a right at “Fashion Your Know To Prepare”, the scrags arrive at “Prepare To Know Your Fashion”, and instinctively guess that this week’s challenge will be all about knowing stuff about fashion. A deaf polar bear on a lone iceberg in the Arctic slaps its paw to its head and growls “You think?”. Joydhi arrives with Fernando Frisoni, a Brazilian man mildly known for designing with Nicola Finetti, moderately known for taking happy-snaps of fashionable street-urchins for the Sunday papers, and forever embedded in my left ventricle for making an abortion of the English language.
· Fernando goes through the girls’ wardrobes with a verbal hatchet, telling them exactly why their taste is in their arses. A Brazilian Axe, if you will. He then asks them to dress in outfits for different imaginary situations, and explains exactly, in detail, and in the best accent ever, why they’re shit. Or, as Caris puts it, “plop”. If I was inventing a South American cocktail designed to make me drunk on love, I would mix the following ingredients:
“Who ees thees? Why is they yours?” (about Demelza’s shoes);
“Eet looks like someone ails buy your cloths” (about Demelza’s entire wardrobe);
and when describing Alexandra’s boots, the incomparable:
“I feenk the shoes is a leedle beet too lesbian”.
Shake well, serve in a waistcoat.
Caris, who may be receiving mental interference through her braces from nearby mobile phone towers, is stupid enough to ask one of her competitors for clothing advice for the mini-challenge. Alexandra, who may be receiving telepathic orders from fifteen of the twenty-five colours on her high-waisted Hypercolour pants, is enough of an arsehole to give her some. As a result, Caris looks like she’s popping down the Ulladulla Centrelink to sign on, whilst Alexandra looks like a New Kid On The Block. Please note: all members of New Kids On The Block are blokes. Just saying.
· The lesson’s not over yet, no sir. Forming sentences and dressing in your own clothes is just the tip of the iceberg. Next: saying ‘thank you’, ‘please’ and ‘would you like to super-size that’. Also next, as Joydhi announces, is a trip to Voygue to visit the scariest and best-groomed woman in the country, editor Kirstie Clements. Bitch is terrifying. Softly spoken, elegant, imperceptibly mobile and with eyes that could spot a hair out of place on your soul, picket fences chide themselves for bad posture when she walks past. Alexandra is excited about going to Vogue, trumpeting “Fashion is my thing, so I was ready to kind of stand up and show off”. Arsehole. On the other side of the spectrum, Caris offers “I never really thought you could just go to Vogue before”. Sweetie, it’s an office. It’s not Narnia. There is a wardrobe, though. She’s also surprised to see Jonathan Pease there, probably based on the fact that he’s been in every single episode so far and turns up more often than tinea.
· Kirstie tells the modules, who are equal parts awed and dak-crapping, that they’re here to learn about high fashion. Alexandra looks smug because she’s an arsehole, Caris looks like she might cry because there’s oxygen present, and Samantha looks constipated, because her eyebrows magnify every emotion by eight. Kirstie and JP ask the girls a series of questions like “What do you think high end fashion is?”, “Can you name some high-fashion designers?”, “What does Vogue mean to you?”, and “When I fry up your self-esteem in a wok, what sauce should I use?”. Mostly the girls just sit on the couch and stare vacantly like confused lemurs, but Alexandra does well, answers dribbling from her artificial lips. She starts one of her answers with “Oh, obvious..”, and after the visit crows “I feel a lot closer to becoming Australia’s Next Top Model. It’s just an affirmation”. Because she’s a .... what is she? That’s right. A big one.
· A Joydhi Mail brings us to our next scene...
...In which JP is dressed as a whistle-blowing, black-and-white striped shirt-wearing referee, and I kiss this stupid, stupid show full on the lips. “Who’s laughing about my attire?” asks JP. “We are”, answers everybody with eyes. It’s major challenge time, in which the scrags will be put through their paces with a number of tests, judged by JP, Kirstie Clements, Can-You Hear-The-Ums Fernando Frisoni and Sunday Telegraph columnist Kate Waterhouse, who has the best hair in the entire world. JP grabs his tin whistle, and tells the girls that as soon as he blows, they have to rush to the surrounding garment-laden racks and dress for different events. The results look like a school play in two parts, with costumes furnished benevolently by the International Society For The Blind.
Scene: The Opening Of A New Funky Bar
Caris, a peasant serf who lives behind a hospital, forced to clothe herself in hazardous waste bags and old bandages;
Alyce, a broad-hipped slutty gladiator;
Alexandra, a strapping young lad with a thing for shirts belonging to much older men;
Demelza, a middle-aged dowager;
Samantha, an exotic dusk-skinned princess whose dream is to become a Bratz doll; and
Kirstie Clements, a wicked witch with an excellent necklace who says cool stuff like “You look like you’re going to go and milk a cow”.
Scene: A Day At The Races.
Alyce, a billowy librarian who hides snacks in her blouse, shame in her slacks, and a love of funerals in her sad, bookish heart; and
Fernando, a swarthy Latin grammar zealot experimenting with sentences like “Demelza were the less bad one”.
There are no other characters in Act Two.
· The next part of the challenge requires the modules to match eight frocks with eight designer’s names, and six models’ names with six Vogue covers. Now, I know that watching five vacuous bimbos shuffle frocks, magazines and laminated words around a room should be interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by chicken stock. Demelza wins the challenge and picks Alyce to share her prize, bringing the winning brain-cell total to twelve. The prize, admittedly, is a corker – a flight to the Gold Coast, a day on a squillion-dollar cruiser with Wayne Cooper, a Wayne Cooper frock, a kip in the penthouse of a Very Tall Hotel, and a frolic down the red carpet at some fashion awards. Alex nearly strains a testicle with jealousy, seething “I was quite pissed off, because I knew I’d done well”. See, honey, “doing well” equals “winning”. “Sour grapes” equals “arsehole”. She continues her rant at home with “Like, it’s a nice prize whatever, but I don’t look up to Wayne Cooper”. Mind you don’t singe your arse while you’re burning that bridge, love.
· Okay – new rule. Whenever Wayne Cooper is on the screen, everybody has to shout “Geeeeezah!”. Because I say so, that’s why. Shut up.
· Blah, blah, Virgin Blue, blah, blah, sportscar, blah-di-blah GEEEEEZah! Whilst on the bow of a big shiny boat, Alyce and Demelza decide to call the losing girls on a video-phone from 1957, because Demelza thinks it’s “fun to rub it in” (BITCH!). This is like Vermeer dangling a diamond earring in front of one of his models, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like letting Anna Nicole Smith look through the window of a pharmacy without giving her the key. Y’know – if she was alive. Blah, blah, big hotel room, woop-di-doo, free frocks, yadda, yadda, juxtaposition of Cruskit-eating and make-up session. At the red carpet do, Demelza announces that she’s “seeing if we look better than everyone – I think we do”. Whatever. How will we know what the next scene is all about?
· Let’s start by deciphering an oyster-encrusted Joydhi-Mail. Alyce and Demelza have theirs delivered by room-service on a platter with a dozen fresh oysters, whilst the losers have theirs plonked on the kitchen bench alongside two open tins of smoked snot. Okay, so oysters, right? And the quoyte inside the Joydhi-Mail is a Shakespearean reference to oysters, with an extra bit about pearls. I’m sensing a theme. You’re sensing a theme. The deaf polar bear, between seal-murders, is sensing a theme. Alyce, however, surveys the scene, screwing up her face and trying to figure out what the theme is. Finally inspiration strikes, and she exclaims “There’s a table! With lots of chairs!”. Oh, Alyce. If I won the lottery, retired tomorrow and lived to be ninety, I still wouldn’t have the time to slap you enough.
· It’s phoy-toy shoyt time, and JP meets the modules at the beach with photographer Bec Parsons and Oyster magazine editor Rachael Squires in tow. Oh! OYSTER magazine! Riiiiiight. Alexandra’s sunglasses are like Accessory Ipecac, and I would stick them down my throat if I’d just eaten a bad plateful of Gary Numan. This week’s shoot will be edgy, innovative, and in some cases, micro-chipped and toilet-trained. Lights... Camera....
o Alexandra says “I couldn’t wait to get out there and set the standard, really – this is my magazine that I love”. Aaah.... Aaah... Aah... ARSEHOLE! She’s given a wafty frock, and she wafts down the beach waftily, and almost completely obscures her face with her hair and air of general waftiness. In case there’s any doubt, a photograph in which Alexandra is obscuring her face is a Good Thing.
o Demelza lies on the sand and complains that the wind is making her eyes water, fortuitous considering her dress is made primarily from crumpled-up tissues. She lies there. Looking pretty. Selfish.
o Okay, what I’m going to tell you about Caris is the truth. If you weren’t watching, you will think I’m lying. I am not lying. For the photo shoot, Caris is given the Stupidest. Dress. In. Australia. It is – and I’ve still got my hand on my heart here – a dress made to look like a pink poodle. The sleeves are the poodle’s ears. The lower bodice is the poodle’s nose. AND THE BOOBS ARE THE EYES, AND THE EYES HAVE LONG EYELASHES, AND THE WIND IS MAKING THE POODLE BLINK. This is the best moment of my life so far. There’s a poodle face on Caris’ boobs, and it’s blinking at me. And the shoes? GUMBOOTS. Poodle. Blinking. Gumboots. Blinking poodle boobs. I may need surgery.
o Samantha, in black catsuit and more crumpled-up tissues, is ridiculously, breathtakingly gorgeous. I fully admit it now – I’ve bought a weekly ticket on the Samantha bus, I’m sitting right up the front, and I’m chatting with the driver. JP says she ‘found her darkness’ today. Pah. She found her hotness.
o Alyce is dressed as the Statue of Boobity. Or the sTITue of Liberty. Or norks in a headband. Something. Good frock, good shot. Then she opens her mouth, and the illusion is shattered. “Yeah, my mission has been to stop modelling”. Um....?
· A Joydhi Mail instructs the girls to turn up at elimination this week dressed to illustrate examples of fringe or high fashion on a budget of $100 each. This is borderline animal cruelty. For them, I mean. For us, it’s gold. The scrags polyester into the Elimination Catacomb, and I’m rendered almost speechless. It’s a blur of colour. A melange of synthetic fabrics. A flurry of sweatshop labour. And a generous helping of OH MY GOD, ALYCE, WHAT THE FUCK. Puffy sleeves, long collar, wallpaper print. Get it off. Seriously, anything that makes Alexandra’s sheer pink socks-and-sandals ensemble look superior can only be a dress woven from Satan’s worst garlic breath. If this dress were a cake, it would have marzipan in it. Plus, it doesn’t have any poodle eyes on it. I think I’ve made my point.
· Joydhi faffs through the prizes, which I think this year include a red tulle fascinator and a goldfish, and then introduces the judges: Charlotte Dawson, who has either whitened her teeth or darkened the world, Shiny Alex Perry, who looks like a varnished onion that has onion-juice in its eyes, Vogue publisher Grant Pearce, who is dipped in something that hasn't dried yet, and Oyster’s Rachael Squires, who really should go out and buy herself some jewellery. Outfits are assessed, phoy-toys are picked to bits, and choice zingers are passed from Dawson to Perry and back again, including:
“It looks like Betty Crocker vomited”;
“I don’t get vintage – I don’t know why you’d go and buy an old dress when you can go and buy a new one”;
“I think it’s gone carnival wrong”;
“It looks a bit Children Of The Damned”;
“If you had to wear a friggin’ poodle, you’d be psycho too”; and of course
“If Naomi Campbell hadn’t embraced her whole background... yeah, okay there’d be a couple of people running around without concussion, but...”
· Joydhi calls out the modules’ monikers one by one (pink clipboard), until only Hips Ahoy Alyce and Get Those Fucking Braces Off Caris remain. Alyce is told that she has a great photo, but great photos are rare for her, and Caris is told that, uncharacteristically, this week’s photo is a dog. See what I did there? Poodle. Dog. I’m probably a comedy genius. An hour forty passes, and Alyce, despite her existing talents in the area, is given the arse. Bye, Alyce! Don’t read meaning into any more furniture on your way out! Alyce writes the remaining girls a farewell message on the house wall, calling them ‘sluts’. She spells it correctly.
Next week, the modules are interviewed for mock news stories, Alexandra lies through her oddly discoloured teeth, and everyone scrambles for a place in the top three. Squibs. Fibs. I’ve got dibs.
Remember: every time you click on a link to Bland Canyon, God kills another poodle dress. Do it! Do it now!