They say you should never work with animals or children. They probably say that for a number of reasons – unpredictability, tantrums, disobedience, screaming, the very real chance of slipping on excrement. I dunno – sounds like LIFE CHANGING TELEVISION to me. Saddle up, buttercup. It’s the ‘Old McDonald Had A Scrag’ episode of Australia’s Next Top Model. E. I. E. I. Oooh yeah.
- Cassi Van Den Dungen Doggy Dogg Diggetty is upset that Mikarla’s gone, and that she’s still here, because she keeps her understanding of the concept of ‘competition’ in the same drawer as her understanding of the concepts of ‘dental symmetry’ and ‘appropriate shower times’. She keeps saying she wants to go home, and the other girls beg her to stay whilst packing her bags and puckering up to kiss her arse goodbye.
- I’ll just take a break at this point and start a bit of a multiple choice quiz:
Question 1: When you come downstairs in the morning to hear farm noises and find your coffee table strewn with plastic animals that have faces sticky-taped onto them, you:
a) Went to bed after eating cheese and reading George Orwell, and are clearly dreaming;
b) Failed to take advice at Woodstock, and did in fact try the brown acid;
c) Have a four-year-old at home who has access to a toybox, scissors, and the Dadaist manifesto; or
d) Know it’s time for a Sarah Mail, but have no money left in the production budget, and no-one on staff who isn’t drunk.
- Yes. It’s true. Plastic animals, with pictures of the modules’ faces cut out and stuck on. Snouts become pouts. Flanks become skanks. And I become a step closer to getting this magnificent show tattooed on my forehead. Madison is a cow, Laura is a dog, and this thing just writes itself. The Sarah Mail talks about changing, adjusting, adapting, and getting ready for a photo-shoot, which gives rise to:
· THE BEST MOTHER-FREAKING THING I HAVE EVER WATCHED IN MY LIFE. I need to be quite, quite clear that I was awake and drug-free during this scene, and didn’t make it up. You need to know that. The modules arrive at a farm, where they’re met by Saint Sarah, stylist Philip Boon and photographer Justin Spittle, whose name I really should make fun of when I get a chance. Philip tells the girls that today’s photo shoot will be “artistic” and “very, very Italian Vogue”. Saint Sarah explains that by “Italian Vogue”, Philip really means “Italian Vogue”. Thanks, Saint Sarah. And by “thanks”, I mean “der”. Philip goes on to tell the girls that they’ll be dressed in animal costumes and bizarre make-up, and will have to hold baby animals. Suze Demarchi adds “But I wouldn’t ever want to rush you. Because, like, I don’t want to lose you”. Thanks, Suze. And by “thanks”, I mean “…what?”.
· Time for another quiz question:
Question 2: When a bunch of scrags is dressed in gigantic furry animal costumes with ridiculous painted faces, and some of them are holding onto piglets that squirm and squeal like they’ve just hit the frypan, this is:
a) Boring. I’m switching over to watch Reba instead;
b) Postmodern. Because of the juxtaposition of imagery and the multiple discourses being explored, obviously;
c) Tantalising. I’m enchanted by the way the light bounces off the piglet’s head; or
d) Funniest. Shit. Ever.
- Boon and Spittle are bitches. It’s glorious. Barbed gems that drip like - well, like spittle – from their mouths include:
To the make-up artist: “Dark under the eyes. I want them to look like they’ve got bags”
To Franky, who asks what animal she will be: “A bird. A very ugly bird”
To Lola, who is, naturally, putting on some gorilla feet: “God, what are those feet? Trans-gendered feet” (to which Lola mouths the response, “Far king can’t”, which makes me assume she’s cross because he’s interrupted her during a game of chess).
To Cassie Van Den Dungen Doggy Dogg Diggetty: “This shot’s going to look like shit, and it’s going to be your fault”
Again, to Cassi: “So we have to do it all again now, ‘cause Cassi’s got a fly in her eye”. Not for the first time, right, Cassi?
And then the girls have to change into flannies, and the animals are screeching and writhing, and Franky’s almost attacked by a dog, and they’re all saying fuck and trying to look glamorous and looking bruised and holding chickens and scowling and freaking out… and... and I think I just had an aneurism. Finally, Saint Sarah reappears and tells the scrags that it’s all just a wind-up, and not a real photo-shoot, and that they were testing their professionalism under pressure. PSYCH! Saint Sarah has a little laugh and says sorry. And by “sorry”, she means “Italian Vogue”.
- After scraping off a layer of face-paint, chicken shit and humiliation, the girls are whisked off to Astral bar, where they’re met by George Pease, who has obviously come straight from a high school production of Grease, and Nicola Cerrone, who is both a high-end jeweller and a man who can’t put his eyebrows down. George Pease explains that today’s challenge involves modelling diamond jewellery in front of clients whilst draping themselves over ice sculptures, or Frozen Posin’, if you will. Thank you. I’m here all week. In fact, George even tells the girls to “find an elegant pose, and then freeze”, because he’s Machiavellian in his mastery of mayhem and mirth. How do the scrags do? I’m so glad you asked:
~ Clare says she’s given a really hard sculpture to work with. It’s ice, sweetie. Hardness is kind of what differentiates it from water or steam. Take THAT, science!
~ Madison, truly embodying today’s theme of chic sophistication, compares her jewellery to her mother’s wedding ring, saying that “that’s just one diamond, and this is like… shitloads”.
~ Tahnee says that it’s so cold that it’s like, burning her skin. Take that science AGAIN!
~ Franky squats and shakes whilst wearing diamonds. No.
~ Adele sits on a block of ice, because a diamond expo is nothing without a gigantic wet patch on one’s arse. Elegant and stuff.
~ Lola, unable to bear the weight of her own lower mandible, rests her head on the ice, and accidentally looks completely stunning. When she raises her head, she leaves an imprint of her skull and ear in the ice. Eight polar bears gambol and frolic in the resulting puddles.
~ Lola wins the challenge, and takes home a two thousand dollar white gold and diamond necklace as her prize. Cassi says that she’s not that jealous, because she’s more a gold person than a silver person. Still, she fashions a shank out of a swizzle stick and jabs Lola in the ribs, just to be sure.
- The modules return to the house and find their bags packed and a Sarah Mail sitting in a suitcase full of dirt, sending the girls into an unprecedented frenzy of excitement. Let me just paint that picture again: Suitcase + Full of dirt = Excitement. This is like being thrilled that Mark Rothko is going to paint your wedding portrait or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like jumping up and down and clapping your hands because you just got your period. Turns out they’re going to South Australia, a state well known in fashion circles for being… um… not Sydney or Melbourne. Hi. I’m in Delaware.
- Cassi Van Den Dungen Doggy Dogg Diggetty calls her mother to complain about wanting to go home, and then whines that her mother “yelled and screamed at me, and didn’t have any support for me for like, the millionth time in my whole life”. What her mother actually does is, in a calm, patient voice, tells Cassi that quitting now would be foolish. Oh, you BITCH. Where do you get off, giving rational, sincere advice to your daughter? Someone call DOCS. Cassi sends her an envelope full of anthrax and burnt roses.
- The modules go to the airport. They get on a plane. They get in a mini-bus for six hours. They arrive at the Prairie Hotel in Parachilna, which is just north-west of The Middle Of Fucking Nowhere. They’re shown to their bunkhouse. Now, I know that watching a bunch of bedraggled teenagers travel for an entire day to a building in a desert should be interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by toenail clippings. The girls each find a pair of undies and a Sarah Mail announcing a photo shoot on their pillows, and Cassi predicts that they’re going to be taking part in an underwear shoot. Nostradamus nods, smiles and scribbles a note in his jotter. To continue the high-level cerebral think-tank theme of the afternoon, some of the girls put their undies on their heads. Intellectuous!
- Quiz time!
Question 3: In Parachilna, there are:
a) Really quite a few flies;
b) Like, heaps and heaps of flies;
c) More flies than you’d expect to find swarming around a dog turd in the smelliest part of hell; or
d) All of the abo-CCCHHH-ptoooey! Sorry. Fly in my mouth.
The only thing that makes Madison look crazier than when she’s just sitting still is when she’s flailing wildly at flies. Clare chokes on a fly, and in a surprise comparable to taking off your jeans and discovering that you’re not wearing jeans anymore, she spits rather than swallows. Tahnee swallows a fly and her IQ goes up ten points. There’s lots of flies. You got that, right?
· At What The Hell O’Clock the next morning, the scrags arrive at the admittedly breathtaking shoot set, which is all red sand, gnarled trees and a rusty truck. George Pease, in blue sunglasses he fashioned from Lego, greets them and introduces them to photographer Russell James, who would be quite hot if he didn’t have a teenage boy’s boardshorts and a teenage girl’s hair. The girls discover that they’ll be posing with a male model (whose real name is ‘Reuben’, but who I’m calling ‘Good Morning Darling And What Would You Like For Breakfast’), and that they have to evoke the emotions they would feel if they were stranded in the desert. In their underwear. Awesome. It’s hot. It’s Summery. Here’s a summary:
o Clare (orange skirt, black lacy camisole, hoop earrings roughly the size of the equator) drapes herself over a tree and then the truck, and looks amazing. Who knew that the ethereal princess could pull off so much versatility and be that hot? Annoying.
o Laura (transparent white dress and black waistcoat, just like everyone is wearing in the desert these days) has difficulty walking in the sand in heels, and Russell talks about problems with her ‘voluptuous angles’. This is the nicest way anyone can ever tell someone else that they’re fat.
o Adele (black bra, satin skirt) stands on a fuel drum and cosies up to Reuben, and once again pulls some sexy out from somewhere in the depths of her restrained ranga repertoire.
o Madison (white bra, yellow wrap, Chucky face) has a headache, presumably because she’s been carrying eighteen kilos of spinifex around on her head for the last seventeen years. She frowns, snarls and swats at flies, causing George Pease to make a ‘spit or swallow’ joke, making me feel temporarily guilty for stealing his thunder five paragraphs ago. Sorry, George. Your hat makes you look like a real cowboy. Honest. Reuben buries his face in Madison’s crotch. Really the only highlight.
o Lola (black frock, white shirty thing), after burning her face on some ice, decides to burn her arse on some sand, with some reasonably good results. She then sets up a shot where she walks away from Reuben, because she’s either insane or she has no interest in perfectly good penises. If anyone has anything to say about the Ruby Rose rumours, now would be a good time.
o Franky (black teddy, accessories made from a school geometry set) sits on the bonnet of the truck and poses as if she’s farting. Amazingly, it looks awesome. Prrrrt!
o Tahnee (white undies, black bustiere) is dope on a rope. I know that doesn’t mean much, but boy does it rhyme! Basically, she holds a rope and sits in the truck, and doesn’t overly impress Russell or George Pease. She impresses me, though, because I kind of want to invite her to my house for ice cream and reading lessons.
o Cassi (white cami, black undies), is asked to make an angry face, and finds it easy to make an angry face if she thinks about something that makes her angry. Oxygen, for example. She does what she always does, and kicks arse. She also drapes herself all over my new imaginary lover. Selfish.
· A Sarah Mail announcing an impending elimination arrives nestled in the sweaty bosom of an outback cowboy. Yes, that’s a real sentence.
· The modules mosey in to the Elimination Outhouse, where they’re met by Saint Sarah, who only just makes it in time after a long afternoon door-knocking for the Constitutional United Nations Trust, who should never use their acronym on official documents. Lola, again misunderstanding the fancy dress theme, is dressed as an Indian Squaw, who I’m naming Pokadontist. Judges are introduced, including Charlotte “It’s Not Another Farm Animal, I’m Just Trying A Fringe” Dawson, Shiny Alex Perry, dressed today as a medical intern in the Squinty Ward of the Hospital For The Perpetually Luminous, George Pease, who is wearing a scarf to protect himself from the forty-two degree chill, and Russell James, whose shorts are now mercifully hidden from view. Saint Sarah rushes through the prizes, which I think this year include a year’s supply of dental floss and a piece of toast, and photos are scrutinised with scrutinous scrutiny. Bits and pieces:
o Sarah tells Lola she should be an actress, but regrettably they’ve already made Jaws.
o Shiny Alex calls Clare “expensive”. The following people die of shock: Nobody.
o Charlotte affectionately tells Franky that she has a ‘smacked arse face’. I make a mental note to buy Charlotte a present. She then says “Hubba Bubba Mama”, and I make a mental note to ensure the present isn’t more crack.
o Shiny Alex says that Laura is like “heavy cheesecake”. This is a considerably less nice way a person can tell someone else that they’re fat.
o Shiny Alex calls Adele “expensive sex”. The following people immediately think of high-class prostitutes: Everybody.
o Charlotte comments that “this shoot gave me the Parachilnas”, then closes her Bumper Book Of South Australian Regional Area Puns with a satisfied thud.
o When discussing Madison, Shiny Alex repeats “Kill me now” over and over again. You’re talking about Chucky, mate. Be careful. Charlotte volunteers anyway.
o Shiny Alex fans himself with a Muppet on a stick. That is all.
- Saint Sarah calls out names one by one until only Chucky Madison and Cheesecake Laura remain. Madison is told she has no versatility or focus, and Laura learns that she has body issues, and that she’s not the entire package. A whole shearing season passes, and Madison is sent down the avenue. Bye, Maddy! Make sure you don’t catch your hair on any tree branches or low-flying aircraft on the way out!
Next week, the girls are sent straight to fashion purgatory in a styling challenge, hit the waves on a big boat, and model some extremely fancy rags indeed. Hell. Swell. Chanel.
You’re so desperate to let everyone know what you think about this series, that you can’t wait to click on over to the Impulse facebook page to tap your fury and joy into the Discussions bit. I’m right, aren’t I. You’re welcome.
Also, as usual, Petstarr is upping the hilarity factor over at Bland Canyon. Change your undies. You’ll need to.