Put on your lifejacket - it’s the ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Gently Drown The Scrag’ episode of Australia’s Next Top Model.
Ipecac. I need Ipecac.
· Adele comments that with Madison gone, the group seems that much smaller. I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that maybe that’s because she’s taken her EIGHTEEN THOUSAND SQUARE METRES OF HAIR WITH HER. Seriously. Maddy leans over, the world tilts. Bye.
· Tahnee innocently wanders into the Module Mansion bathroom to brush her eighteen thousand square metres of teeth and cute, and notices a production-budget-annihilating Sarah Mail message stuck on the mirror in blue letters. It reads “Mirror Mirror On The Wall – Who Is The Trendiest Of Them All?”. Ummmm… I’m guessing it would be… anyone who doesn’t use the word ‘trendiest’? Cassi Van Den Dungen Bo-Diddley-Ogan shouts “I am!”, and her Snoop Dogg hoodie raises a skeptical eyebrow on behalf of everyone in the world with eyes.
· The scrags are whisked off to the offices of Harper’s Bazaar, which, in case you’re unaware, is a magazine that is well-known for fashion, style, and not being Vogue – a lot like how Maybelline isn’t Napoleon Perdis, but much less of a relief. George Pease is there, not having had time to change his clothes after auditioning for a role in The Pirates Of Men’s Pants*, and he’s standing with a woman he hasn’t introduced yet. I’m assuming she’s probably pretty boring, and has a really normal voice, and isn’t the best thing that’s come into my life since that literal Bonnie Tyler video. I could be wrong. George blathers about the girls’ personal style, and says something about fashion, and then motions to the woman standing beside him, and says “I’d like to introduce you to the fashion director of Harper’s Bazaar, Claudia Navone”, and then my life changes. Claudia opens her mouth and says “Hello”. It’s like someone blended gravel, filterless cigarettes, whisky and AWESOME. I’m just about to send off for her voice as my new ringtone, when I realise she’s got an accent too, and I hit my head on the coffee table. I do not give a rat’s testicle what this woman knows about fashion. I just want her to read Tom Waits lyrics to me before I go to sleep at night, for the rest of my life. Thank you.
· Claudia commences a ‘critique’ of the modules’ outfits, and all I can do is listen and smile and clap my hands like a differently-abled person. As a sample:
Claudia: “Cah-si. We need to wer-owk on you, Cah-si. Eet’s the lectreek blue off your top weeth the whaaaa-ait of your shooss, end the wosh of your jins”
Translation: “You. Are. Such. A. Mole”.
She then outlines the three big looks in the international shows this season, which are “Power Dresseeenk”, “Eengleesh Garrrrden”, and “Wowl Traveller”, and then George directs them to racks of clothes, shoes and accessories, telling them to pair up and dress each other in these three styles. I kind of lose interest because Claudia isn’t talking, but suffice to say, everybody totally sucks at this challenge. When George Pease asks Claudia what her initial thoughts are about the girls’ efforts, she says “My ineetial fort is Oh. My. Got”. Adele as power-dresser gives us a glimpse at what she’ll look like when she’s a cougar. Lola as world traveler gives us a glimpse at what she’d look like if she got mauled by a wild dog on her way to Supre. Cassi as English garden gives us a glimpse at what an accessory magnet would look like shortly after it was turned on. I just think tha…. No.
· Cassi Van Den Dungen Bo-Diddley-Ogan speaks to her mother, who is leaving the country in less than a week, on the ‘phone. I can’t help but think that this might help the plot along a bit later.
· Let’s have a little chat about Sarah Mails.
Sorry - that’s not an invitation – I’m just imagining what a psychiatric professional will be saying to me in a gentle voice in the very near future. Meanwhile, I’ll be lying on a bed in restraints with a fevered brow, my head whipping from side to side on the pillow, muttering “Boats. Ducks. Pool. TOYS! REMOTE CONTROL! There was a remote-controlled BOAT! And it had a SARAH MAIL on it! And it sailed towards the modules, pushing lesser boats out of its WAY! And the Sarah Mail was about fashion and royalty, and Clare read it like she was fashion royalty, and… and… I’m cold, doctor. And tired. So very, very cold and tired”.
Nurse. Clozapine. Stat.
· Thanks to this ridiculous farce of a Sarah Mail, the modules find themselves at the Strand Arcade, for which they too can be ambassadors if they put on a bit of weight after finishing the competition. They make their way to the Alex Perry store, where Shiny Alex greets them and introduces them to stylist Trevor Stones, who certainly seems to have a pair if his withering looks are any indication. The scrags are told that they’ll be walking across the floor a few times, vying for a spot in Shiny Alex’s next catwalk show. Wait – sorry. I forgot to mention that Shiny Alex is wearing sunglasses on his head. It’s kind of pivotal to the whole scene. Anyway:
o Cassi walks like she’s chewing gum with her vagina. She has a lot of skeletal-based excuses, but Shiny Alex just summarises with “You’re a bit out of wack”. Cassi slurs “No, you’re wack, bitch!” and smacks him with her Glock.
o Lola, turning sideways so that her shoulders can fit into the cramped space, thunders across the floor and back. Passengers in the 2:40 Town Hall service look up from their carriage and say “What the fuck was that?”
o Clare walks dramatically well, but Franky comments that she “looks possessed almost”. Thank you, Franky. I’ve been trying to figure out what spooks me about Clare. It’s the fact that if she turned her head around 360 degrees and told me what Captain Howdy thought of my shoes, it would totally suit her. Phew.
o Adele is brilliant, and Shiny Alex and Trevor gush. She says “Finally I’m better than Cassi at something!” Growing straight teeth? Pronouncing consonants? Dressing yourself in the morning? Not punching stuff? What?
o Franky goes meh, meh, meh across the room.
o Laura is there. Wake me up when something else happens.
o Tahnee is Hotty McCuteCute. Trevor says she has a “sexy swagger, but in a good way”. This is like saying that Rococo architecture is elegant and ornate, but in a good way, or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like telling a bloke that FHM has boobs in it. But in a good way.
Shiny Alex picks Clare, Adele and Tahnee for his show, and reveals that it will take place on the Queen Mary 2, a ship which has apparently never let anybody stage a fashion show on it before. Barn dances, hacky-sack tournaments and virgin sacrifices, sure. But unless you count Incidental Resort Wear For The Saggy, Gauche And Rich, no fashion shows. Score.
· Know what’s been missing from this episode so far? Tears, Teeth and Tea. You know it. Don’t pretend.
Saint Sarah turns up at the Module Mansion to tell Cassi that, since her mother is leaving to live overseas, she’s organised a farewell reunion (HA! I knew it. And not just because I watched the show before writing this. Shut up). Soon it’s a mess of arms, legs and salt water, as everyone’s mother walks through the door and finds their daughters through the snotty haze. Clare’s mother is Stage Parent personified, Tahnee’s mother proves that cute doesn’t fall far from the tree, and Lola’s mother, who is tiny, indicates the presence of a very, very tall father and a very, very robust pelvic floor.
Cassi’s mother’s teeth are exactly as messed up as her daughter’s. A bite-mark from this family would look like Arabic script.
Saint Sarah invites the familial duos out to the lawn for high tea, where Lola admits to her mother that she hasn’t washed her sheets in five weeks. Imagine. The dribble. Now, I know that a bunch of girls eating cucumber sandwiches with their mothers in a tent on some grass sounds interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by… by… well, by cucumber sandwiches.
· The night before the Alex Perry show, Clare tells us that she’s sick and has been throwing up.
She sets herself up with a sick station – towels, a bucket, a bowl, some fizzy water and a stuffed beaver. You may commence chortling at the implied obvious euphemisms when ready.
· The girls get up at stupid o’clock and arrive at the Blue Hotel to meet Trevor Stones and probably Chris Isaak. While Adele, Tahnee and Clare (who still feels sick and looks a little pale. Kidding) prepare for the show on the ship, the other girls moan about the “demeaning, loser tasks” they’re asked to do. My darlings. You are on a luxury liner tying number tags onto chairs with gossamer ribbon before an Alex Perry show. Describing that task as demeaning makes people who clean toilets for a living sad. You do not want to upset the people who clean toilets for a living. Speaking of which, Charlotte Dawson** informs the scrags that there are two thousand bathrooms on board the Queen Mary 2. Clare sighs with pleasure at all the vomitory options this presents her with, and Charlotte just looks smug because she’s wearing navy. On a ship. It’s self-referential.
· The show starts, and I have to admit that I want to own every single frock in it.*** Clare, Adele and Tahnee do brilliantly, minor celebrities sip champagne, the sun shines, the wind blows gentle hair-ruffling zephyrs and the OH MY GOD SHINY ALEX PERRY IS WEARING HIS SUNGLASSES OVER HIS ACTUAL EYES. Tequila. I need tequila.
· It’s photo-shoot time! I know this because a sailor handed me a Sarah Mail saying so. That’s how it works in this nutty place. The shoot starts early in the morning, and as Tahnee explains, “We would be in bed usually, but we were up”, settling any arguments about the definition of ‘early’ once and for all. George Pease meets the modules at Wylie’s Baths in Coogee, accompanied by photographer Richard Freeman, who makes me happy in the pants. George says “You know what they say about the early bird, don’t you? Who’s gonna get the worm this morning?”. Sorry, George, but ever since last week’s ‘spit or swallow’ gag (Gag! Ha!), perhaps you need to think about your phrasing a little bit. He tells the scrags that they’ll be modeling Chanel outfits, and that because they’ll be balancing on a post in the water, the shoot is called Stranded On A Pylon. “Branded a fool!” I shout at the telly. “Moles On Poles!” I squeal with delight. “Thick On A Stick!” I chirp to the empty loungeroom. Honestly. Sometimes I can be such a dick. George continues by saying that when they’re out on the pylon, they have to look like they’re going somewhere. Dude. They’re on a pole.
o Putting Cassi in Chanel is like gold-plating a Chiko roll. She puts her hand on her arse. She loops her thumbs in her pockets. She stuffs a packet of Winnie Blues up her sleeve. She struggles, and says “I’m not sure if it was ‘cause of the dress, or just because I wasn’t there in the head”. Sweetie, it’s Chanel. Hint: it’s not the dress. George Pease comments that “she’s meant to be catching a train in Paris, but I think she’s catching a bus in Sunbury”. Dude. She’s on a pole.
o Franky’s dress is six kinds of fabulous, and even with the sun shining through the long skirt illuminating what she had for breakfast, she manages to make it look elegant.
o When Tahnee tries to balance on the pole, she bends over as if she’s about to throw up. This is the shot that the photographer chooses. Clare marvels at the fact that she did it without a bucket and a beaver. Jealous.
o Adele is the living epitome of the Chanel manifesto. Like, she’s all classy and shit. At first Richard is a little frustrated, and asks “is that how you’d normally wait for a bus, lovely?”. DUDE. POLE.
o Lola has a gorgeous face. Lola does not have thighs that look good in a short skirt.
o Laura is a cure for insomnia. There. I made it sound like that’s a good thing.
o Clare, in a gorgeous puffy-sleeved knit dress, doesn’t do well. I’ll say that again. Clare. Doesn’t do well. About fucking time.
· A final Sarah Mail draws the girls to the Elimination Boathouse, where they’re met by Saint Sarah, who only just makes it in time after a brisk morning shaving guinea pigs for the Karl Stefanovic Realistic Hair Foundation. She mentions the prizes in passing, which I think this year include a tongue-scrape and a Jager bomb, and then introduces the judges – Charlotte “My Dress Is The Hottest Shit Ever So You Can All Suck It” Dawson, Shiny Alex Perry (whose head is like both the planet that causes a solar eclipse and the resulting squint), photographer Richard “Meet You In My Pants” Freeman and Priscilla “Nothing Funny Comes To Mind Right Now” Leighton-Clarke. Photos are shuffled through and the judges deliberate, with a couple of oystery pearls:
o Shiny Alex tells Laura that she looks like a swimmer in Chanel, rather than “That Parisian chic thing”. Dear Dude. She’s on a pole. Best regards, Jo.
o Everyone goes frothy over Adele’s shot, and Charlotte says “You’ve just nailed it to the wall – oh, I sounded like Jonathan Pease then, oh my god”. She didn’t, though. She wasn’t wearing Mack Truck sunglasses, and she didn’t say “Yeah?” at the end.
o Shiny Alex comments that Cassi looks “like a shag on a rock in a Chanel suit”. It’s pronounced “scrag”, Shiny Alex. The ‘mole’ is silent.
o Charlotte mentions that “Franky delivered a beautiful body shape, but the face says she wants to tag my wall”. I reluctantly raise my glass in a toast.
o Shiny Alex and Charlotte rename the show Australia’s Next Top Beautiful Big Awkward Girl especially for Lola. I rename it Dawson And Perry’s Cavalcade Of Zing! and hope we can move on.
· The scrags file back into the room and wait to hear their names called one by one, until only Fair-To-Middling Franky and Laura The Snorer are left. Laura is told she’s insecure, unsure and awkward, and Franky learns that she’s not ‘high fashion’ enough. Three ferries pass, and Laura is given the arse. Bye, Laura! Mind you don’t… um… leave any kind of lasting impression on your way out!
Next week, the girls have to voice the virtues of an airline service, get all classy and crap at a charity do, and jump up and down on a trampoline. Air. Savoir Faire. I can see your underwear.
*George, I’ve just read this back to myself, and I’ve realised that this makes it sound a little bit like I’m calling you gay. I’m not. I’m calling you a pirate. Who wears men’s pants. Big difference. In other happy news, I can’t wait to call one of my gay mates a Pirate Of Men’s Pants, because even though I wrote it, I’m still allowed to think it’s awesome.
**Charlotte, I’ve just read this back to myself, and I’ve realised that this makes it sound a little bit like I’m saying you clean toilets for a living. I’m not. You just sort of talk about toilets a bit more than is necessary. Hint: once is more than unnecessary.
***Shiny Alex, I’ve just read this back to myself, and I’ve realised that this makes it sound a little bit like I want you to give me a frock. I do.
Wanna win tickets to the live Module final? Get your sweet arse (making an assumption about your arse here) over to the Impulse facebook page and click through to the Discussion bit. All you have to do is answer one of the questions there in the most creative and succinct way possible. And you know who’s judging it? Me. Yep. One step closer to TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION. Next step: remembering to put the garbage out.
Wanna laugh yourself a new laugh-hole? Get your hot patootie (making an assumption about your patootie here) over to Bland Canyon for more model-related hilarity.