Q: How many moles does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Just one, but she and the footy team have to be really, really small.
See? It’s never too early for a mole joke.
Sorry, but that’s how I’ve chosen to start my recap of the first episode of Series 5 of the greatest post-modern televisual farce of the 21st Century. And what an episode it is. Any show that starts with the word ‘fuck’ on the runway, pauses in the middle for some hearty up-chucking and then romps towards wrapping one’s legs around a giant lipstick is like chicken soup for my soul. Except the chicken soup is deep-fried cheese, and my soul is black and empty. I can only react like a bunch of modules seeing their mansion for the first time. Oh. My. God.
Welcome, one and all, to the 'I Dissed A Scrag And I Liked It' episode of Australia’s Next Top Model. Wheeeee!
· I suppose I have to take a moment to flag the presence of new host, Saint Sarah Murdoch. In an unprecedented move by producers, I am left without an obvious speech impediment to imitate and ridicule. This decision cannot be seen as anything except goddamn selfish. Picking on someone who is gorgeous, articulate and the figurehead for two hundred and forty-three charitable organisations will not only be difficult, I’d go so far to say it’s a noy-goy area. Time will tell.
· We start at the Ivy, where Sydney’s fashion K-list are gathered to guzzle and gawk. Charlotte Dawson, Shiny Alex Perry, Priscilla Leighton-Clarke, Wayne GEEEEZAH! Cooper and various terrifying fuzzy-haired women blather to the camera about how excited they are to meet the new crop. STOP TALKING AND BRING OUT THE SCRAWNY BIMBOS ALREADY. If I wanted to see a bunch of washed-up pseudo-celebrities downing champagne and spouting platitudes, I would’ve gone to Ivy myself. In a red frock with a black belt. And I would’ve positioned myself just to the left of the judge’s table, looking sarcastic and trying to get my arse on camera. Obviously.
· The scrags wander in one by one, oblivious to the ogling crowd behind the double-doors until they shuffle through. Leah puts it best when she says “We had to walk past, like, all these famous people. I had no idea who they were”, and she does her best to stop her dictionary, bookmarked at the definition for ‘famous’, from falling out of her luggage. Shiny Alex, Priscilla and Charlotte, champing at the bitch after months of doing nothing but designing frocks, signing up previous-season leftovers and looking for blow-up dolls, let forth with a tirade of glorious vitriolic pellets such as:
“Fresh expensive – sounds like contact lenses”;
“This is the surfie girl. This is economy-class Garuda”;
“She needs to shake hands with conditioner”;
“She looks like a wild pig”;
“She looks like she’s been at Arc, rolled out, dragged something through her hair and come here”;
“There’s something spaz with her teeth”
“She’s expensive, but she’s got that look with her eyes too close together, that she could possibly knife you in the back”; and
“She’s Jon-Benet Ramsay, aged eighteen”.
Better watch out, guys, or the media might make a gigantic frothy hoo-hah about those comments. Naaah. Never happen.
· I really just have one observation at this point. Madison. Honey. What. Is with. Your hair. Two hundred homeless mermaids, Helena Bonham-Carter and a haystack want it back.
· Saint Sarah asks each girl some impromptu questions, and the deluded darlings think that personality has something to do with being a model. That’s like thinking that Rene Magritte’s Ceci N’est Pas Une Pipe has anything to do with an actual pipe or, for the lowbrow amongst you, that Kerri-Anne Kennerley is actually that jazzed about bench-top grills at nine o’clock in the morning.
· After the interrogation-lite, each module goes backstage to be barked at by Jonathan Pease, who is wearing vinyl because he spent all his money making his hair foofier. Cassi Van Den Dungen Haagen Dazs instantly endears herself to me by saying to camera “When I went backstage, I meet... George. No. Not George. What’s his name... um... what was his name?”. His name is George, Cassi. Thanks to you, for the next eight years, Jonathan Pease’s name is now George. Bless you. Franky, after walking the wrong way when she first entered the room, walks the wrong way off the stage. Luckily, being able to walk in a straight line has bugger all to do with being a mod... wait.
· The scrags go straight into hair and make-up for a sudden gallop down the catwalk. Lola tries to fit her size 12 feet into size 8 shoes, and her size 40 jaw into a normal-person-sized skull. The hairdressers fire up the deluxe hedge-trimmers and welding torch and head towards Madison’s hair, and Joh Bailey struggles under the weight of the extraneous letter ‘h’ in his name.
· For those of you playing at home, the Modules Who Say They Are Shitting Or Crapping Themselves Count is now at: 2.
· A number of things go wrong on the catwalk, but only one of these things matters. Leah’s foot coming out of her shoe, Mikarla circling the runway like an emaciated tractor around a wheatfield, Madison posing like she has three armpits and they all chafe, Laura T missing her step - these things all pale next to Cassi Van Den Dungen Haagen Dazs’s monumental Shakesperean soliloquy. She stumbles on the runway. She says ‘fuck’ on the runway. She gallops head-long into my heart. These girls are all stunning. They all have buckets of potential. They all have legs until next Thursday. But Cassi says fuck.
· Backstage, Saint Sarah, Shiny Alex and Charlotte give the girls a critique about their posture, not having tattoos on their foreheads, making things look expensive, and saying ‘fuck’ (PS: Cassi said ‘fuck’).They announce that Franky is the winner of the catwalk challenge and has immunity from elimination this week. Now, I know that a group discussion about walking first one way and then another should be interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by hydrogen.
· The girls see the Module Mansion for the first time, and marvel at the miraculous perpendicularity of the wall/floor relationship, and talk well into the night about how much contemporary architecture owes a debt to the International style of the previous century. They also totally lose their shit when they see their free shoes. Champagne and sparkling water are guzzled, Maybelline-branded lobotomy-prevention devices are strapped on, and Casi Van Den Dungen Haagen Dazs is overwhelmed and has a bit of a vommy. This girl is really developing quite the high-falootin’ vocabulary.
· The scrags are also coming up with a few choice words and phrases where Cassi is concerned – words and phrases like “loud”, “attention-seeking”, “annoying”, “never shuts up” and “shoot her in the head”. Cassi Van Den Dungen Haagen Dazs retaliates by busting out some mad breakdancing skillz, and I shrink-wrap her and put her on the front shelf in the Refrigerator Of Awesome. I’d totally reheat her in the Microwave Of Clinically Insane, but that’s just part of her charm. Franky is labelled a bitch as well, but she’s not mental, so I don’t care.
· A Sarah-Mail arrives, and the vast and stunning scope of the ANTM budget delivers it with a pile of paper parasols and some glitter. GLITTER! That’s like lobster in the prop world. Tahnee drifts off for a moment because there are sparkly particles in the air, and then guesses that the ‘Don’t be a drip at your first photo shoot’ message has something to do with fantasy. This is because she’s a tall, gorgeous girl who has a monkey playing a harpsichord as her inner monologue. It’s about water, sweetie. Water. Even your bangle knows that.
· George Pease meets the girls at notorious fashion hub Olympic Park, having recently prised the front off a couple of Commodore 64 monitors and fashioned them into sunglasses. George introduces photographer Georges Antoni, and tells Georgie she’ll be up first. Modelling is confusing. The modules are told they’ll be posing in “Swimwear Ka-choo-wa” (bless you) in a fountain, and the make-up artists give them a choice of either lips or eyebrows, which sounds like a choice you might make at a Sizzler buffet. You’d be wanting a summary around now, huh. Right.
- Georgie (blue lips) has a bad tan-line, so two make-up artists smear brown stuff around her arse, because I enjoy making you think about poo. She has to pose with a highly relevant giant soccer ball, and just does an okay job, so George Pease says – wait, just putting on a girdle so my sides don’t split – “Georgie dropped the ball today”. Because she had a ball. And she dropped it. It’s a metaphor.
- Tahnee (purple lips) has a bejeweled ABC logo on her head. It’s the closest she’ll ever get to a documentary.
- Adele doesn’t get a stupid prop. Adele should’ve been given a stupid prop. That is all.
- Lola (big blue/black eyebrows) looks like the hottest 1940s pin-up since 1940. Even the way the water from the fountain collects on her jawline and cascades over it like a massive rocky precipice is enchanting.
- Mikarla (blue eyebrows) has to lean against the fountain because there’s no way her transparent legs can OH MY GOD YOUR RIBS. Did someone stretch a condom over a fork?
- Franky (blue eyebrows) has to straddle a gigantic red lipstick. I’ll just say that again: straddle a gigantic red lipstick. Outside my house there is currently a queue of puppy dog jokes, all waiting their turn to come in. She doesn’t handle direction very well, but fair enough – Georges was using high-end ambiguities like “back”, “front”, “left” and “right”. I don’t think Franky will ever get to Hollywood at this rate.
- Claire (big black eyebrows) is the girl at the front of the class who always has her hand up, asks for extra homework and doesn’t let boys put their tongues in her mouth. The whole looks-a-bit-like-Sissy-Spacek-in-Carrie doesn’t do much to endear her to the other girls either, so they bunch up in a corner to have a right bitch, including the admittedly smirk-worthy “I just told her to get out of the sun ‘cause she might get a tan and look alive”. She does, however, rock her photo-shoot, so I’m torn. I want to pick on her, but I don’t want my school prom to catch on fire. Hmmm…
- Cassi (green lips) leans back on a pink flamingo, looks stunning, and doesn’t say ‘fuck’. So, y’know – win.
- Leah (big bluey-black eyebrows) offsets the hottest red swimming costume ever with a Christmas wreath on her head and a bad attitude. George Pease gives her a stern talking-to and tries not to stare at the mole on her chin. So. Hypnotic.
- Eloise (didn’t even notice the eyebrows, or even the face, because I was too busy sobbing about not being born with her body), has a stupid good body. And a dinky children’s pool toy. Oh, the postmodern juxtaposition!
- The Lauras both lie in the fountain and frown up into the sun. This is second only to looking constipated in top-shelf couture posing, and much, much easier on the hemorrhoids.
- Madison (pink lips – cheating) has all her hair tied back, so she looks amazing. She’s also happy to be back in the water, as her gills were drying out.
· Back at the Module Mansion, a fugly runner arrives with a Sarah Mail lodged inside a budget-breaking bunch of lilies, and the modules notice that all the lilies except one are open. They take this to mean ‘impending elimination’, possibly because there’s been an elimination after every photo shoot in every episode of every series of this show across the globe, but I’m not sure. I take it to mean that there’s one virgin in the house, and that she has to be hunted down and burned.
· Huh. It’s the elimination thing after all. The scrags thunder into the Elimination Mausoleum, where they’re met by Saint Sarah, who only makes it in the nick of time after organising a lamington drive for the Friends Of The Homeless, Destitute, And Unacceptably Freckled. Without the aid of a clipboard, she lists the prizes this year, which I think include a Choc-Mint Cornetto and a Supre Gold Customer card. She introduces the judges including Charlotte “My Forehead Is Smoother Than Dean Martin’s Arse” Dawson, Shiny Alex Perry (who is dressed today as a cowboy, or at the very least a squinting polyp on a cowboy), Priscilla Leighton-Clarke, who is totally sitting next to the others, and Georges Antoni, who wants everybody to notice his chest, please. Sensing a fancy dress theme, Lola comes as a pirate.
Photos are shuffled through one by one, and the judges deliberate, with some notable quotables:
“Is it too early for a mole joke? You’ve got a nice mole. Embrace it. Just don’t be a mole”
“This is the fumble-bug that came down the catwalk and went fuck”
"Let's face it, she's climbed Rooty Hill, not Mount Everest"
“What a lump. She’s just a moose”
Also, thanks to Mikarla’s dietary information, McCain pizzas now have a new slogan: McCain. Feeding Skinny Bitches Who Say They Eat Whatever They Want And Can’t Put On Weight Since 1991. Catchy.
The modules wait for their names to be read out by the irritatingly articulate St Sarah, and eventually only Adele The Unremarkable and Laura The Heaps Experienced are left. Adele is told that she has strong features but she’s a bit quiezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Laura is told that with her previous modeling, the judges were expecting more. Eight days pass, and Laura’s out on her arse. Bye, Laura! Don’t forget to put the experience of walking out the door on your extensive resume!
Next week, the tension gets wound a little tighter as the in-fighting ramps up, the scrags don leotards in a physical challenge, and people fall off things. Drastic. Elastic. Spastic.
PS: You know you want to know what Petstarr knows. Y'know? Make the jump to warp speed and get your arse to Bland Canyon for her wrap-up.