A strange thing happened to me this week watching this stupid show. My breath quickened. My head tilted. I had a lump in my throat. I made noises like “ooooh” and “aaaaaw”. I clapped my hands. I know it’s probably too early to tell without the proper tests, but guys – I think I might be coming down with a severe case of sincerity. Seriously – I’m like, one emotional moment away from being Gwyneth Paltrow. I’d really appreciate it if someone could call a doctor or a barman as soon as possible. Thanks.
In the meantime, I’m just going to pop on a flowy frock, let my hair down and walk wistfully along the beach in the rain. Until this soppy, proud, empathetic crap wears off, I’m afraid that’s how I’m gonna roll. Catch a butterfly and let it go – it’s the ‘I Do Like A Scrag Beside The Seaside’ episode of Australia’s Next Top Model. Normal vitriol will resume as soon as possible.
· I love that Tahnee speaks about herself in the third person. I hate that Clare speaks.
· The modules arrive at the offices of Priscilla’s Model Management, where they’re met by Priscilla Leighton-Clark and Saint Sarah, who is unsuccessfully trying to smuggle a lace doily out under her top. Today the girls will be off on go-sees to some of 'Australia’s biggest designers’ for gigs walking the runway during Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, because Saint Sarah wants to start showing them off to the Australian fashion industry. Also, apparently we’re in Australia. So let’s say it again. Australia. Oi.
o First up is Ginger & Smart, who are looking for girls who are modern, polished, effortless and chic. In a surprise comparable to lighting a corgi on fire and discovering it smells like burning dog, Clare gets the gig, while Tahnee and Cassi Van Den Dunkin’ Donuts Dungen miss out. Also, Cassi trips over her own feet and Clare crows over her perceived victory. Surprise!
o Next up is Wayne GEEEEZAH! Cooper, and additional surprises await us in the form of Wayne wearing a waistcoat and Wayne making an abortion of the English language. This is a little bit of the reason that I love him dearly in a please-be-my-ringtone kind of way. His comments, with helpful translations in parentheses for your benefit:
- About Clare: “It’s kinda smoulderin’, wivart knowin’ it” (Certain of my glands are aflame with desire, despite the fact that you’re quite obviously a virgin).
- About Tahnee: “She’s aaaall woman” (Phwoar. Check out the tits on this one).
- About Cassi’s improved walk: “It’s beh-ah, right? It’s maw natural” (Considerably less like an epileptic in a strong wind, my dear. Well done).
Wayne GEEZAH! Cooper picks Clare and Cassi for his show, and Tahnee’s rejected little face nearly breaks my heart. See? I don’t know what the fuck’s wrong with me. It’s like my bitch took the week off or something. If I’m not careful I’ll end up with a dolphin tattoo on my shoulder and a homeopathic remedy in my pocket.
· We’re off to Nicola Finetti, and the little part of me that loves strong accents of any kind asks for some time alone in its bedroom with the blinds down. Cassi trips over her feet again, but apparently this is because her ankles roll in, Venus and Mars aren’t quite aligned, and most likely something to do with the Greenhouse Effect. All is soon forgotten when Nicola describes Tahnee as “pert and crispy”. I think. I played that shit back fifteen times, and that’s all I can really hear. Pert? Certainly. Crispy? I… I’m not really sure. Maybe when deep-fried? It’s just that… no. No, let’s just move on. Tahnee and Clare both get booked.
· Next up is swimwear at Anna & Boy, or as I’m calling it, Goldilocks And The Three Scrags. Tahnee’s boobs are too big. Clare’s boobs are too small. But Cassi’s boobs are juuuuust right. In my story, the bears kill and eat her anyway, because they’re wild carnivores, and Cassi is pale and slow. She tastes like smoked chicken, apparently.
· Final go-see is for the Diet Coke Little Black Dress show, and George Pease is on the selection panel. George rode his bike here today, but has obviously forgotten to tether it to a telegraph pole, and this is why he has a bicycle chain slung around his neck. Yes it is. Shut up. I refuse to accept that it’s an actual accessory that a grown man has intentionally chosen to be seen and filmed in. IT IS A BICYCLE CHAIN, AND HIS BIKE IS JUST OUTSIDE. Thank you. There’s less desperate sobbing this way. All three girls walk and all three girls get the gig, because it’s in all three drafts of the script. Now, I know watching three girls talking to a bunch of designers over and over again sounds interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by Microsoft Excel.
· Can we talk about how much of a transparently spiteful mole Clare is for a second? Clare is a transparently spiteful mole. Thanks. Appreciate it. Good model, though. But really – mole. Big one.
· The next day the scrags arrive at Fashion Week, with Clare up first in Ginger & Smart’s show. Cassi and Tahnee bid her farewell with “I hope your heel breaks!” and “Break a leg… literally”, and the local Minister For Barely Concealed Malevolence high-fives himself. Clare is struck by the frenzied pace backstage, and says “Wow, this is what it’s like to be a top model – it’s mental”. Honey, modelling is a lot of things, but the one thing it is not is mental. Also, real models get paid. Sorry. She rocks the runway in floor-length print and a black jacket, until she spoils it all with a frog-mouthed grimace and petulant twirl at the end. It’s like she’s suddenly smelled a fart and is trying to get away from it as quickly as possible.
· Next up, Clare and Cassi walk for Wayne GEEEZAH! Cooper, which entails fewer consonants and much, much sluttier make-up. Cassi tells us she’s been practicing her walk, and Clare comments “I don’t know how much practice she’s done, but she better be good, or Wayne’s gonna look like an idiot for hiring her”. Because obviously the waistcoat hasn’t done that already. Cassi says “Best case scenario is for me not to stack it, for me not to swear…” and, I dare say, not to smack anyone or be involved in any drive-by shootings. She manages to do all that, albeit in the world’s stupidest blue sunglasses and most of the lipstick in the Southern Hemisphere. Clare smells a fart again.
· Clare and Tahnee race to be on time for the Nicola Finetti show, and Tahnee says meekly “Now it’s my time to shine”. This becomes the understatement of the last half-century as she transforms into a crimped-ponytailed, bouncy-boobed diva of awesome, cosmos-reversing proportions. Shiny Alex Perry calls her a goddess, and Saint Sarah comments that “she has a lot of confidence, but it’s a confidence that’s likeable”. Unlike Clare’s confidence, which is a confidence that makes me want to stab her with a fork. When she’s not busy smelling farts at the end of runways, obviously.
· The next morning, Cassi fronts up for the Anna & Boy swimwear show, and any remaining doubters need to eat their words right about now. Sure, her walk still smacks a little of the drunkest horse at El Caballo Blanco, but in a high bun, choker, one-piece cossie, socks and sandals, she transforms into Hotness Cubed. Saint Sarah says “I think this is the tightest top three we’ve ever seen”, and I wonder how she can tell from where she’s sitting, even considering the revealing swimwear.
· Final show is the Little Black Dress extravaganza, and first through the wrought-iron, vagina-shaped gates is Tahnee, who has mistakenly come dressed as the most stunningly gorgeous thing anyone has ever seen since the beginning of time even including cartoons. Charlotte Dawson exclaims “Sex kitten, sex BOMB”, while Tahnee gets to the end of the catwalk and shoots sexy lasers out of her eyes. Clare looks a’ight in comparatively demure satin, and Charlotte tries not to gag as she calls her ‘expensive’. Cassi takes a wrong turn at Mick’s Discount Bondage-Wear Barn, but still manages to rock her frock and bizarre head-harness. Charlotte calls her ‘slightly demented and slightly dangerous’, which I believe makes it a Comment Hat Trick for Ms Dawson, who can now relax. I, however, cannot, because George Pease is wearing a metallic bronze jacket with the collar popped. Metallic. Bronze. Popped Collar. GEORGE. I’ve just played a little game with a Ouija board and Captain Howdy, and he spelled out ‘NO’. Twice.
· Saint Sarah visits the modules in their hotel room to reveal that Clare is the winner of the catwalk challenge. This upsets Cassi, who hasn’t won a single challenge in ten weeks. Feels like a multiple-choice question moment to me:
Q: If you win a catwalk challenge and you don’t want to look like a callous ungrateful cow with no soul, you should:
a) Bow your head graciously and thank your judges and co-competitors;
b) Shed a single, crystalline, humble tear and raise your hand to your mouth;
c) Hug your peers and encourage them to keep trying; or
d) Compare one of your crying competitors to a scary, angry five-year-old who has had their lollipop stolen.
The answer, quite obviously, is ANYTHING EXCEPT D). The prize is a trip to Broome, which is where my awesome brother lives. He’ll be waiting at the airport with a specially gift-wrapped slap for you, Clare. Thanks, Mike. Owe you one. Clare calls her mother, who tells her there’s a Sarah Mail under the door, but I don’t care because Clare is a bitch.
· The scrags drive all the way out to Gary Beach in the Royal National Park, because obviously the waves meet the sand differently there than somewhere that’s not half a day away by car. George Pease is there to meet them and OH MY GOD GEORGE YOU’RE A BLUES BROTHER. I may need to change your name to ‘Elwood’, and if you tell the girls they need to Shake A Tail Feather, I may need to cut you. On the plus side, you are a constant source of joy in my life, and the main inspiration behind the phrase “unnecessary accessory”. George introduces photographer Jez Smith, who was a judge in Series 3, and who, since then, has been taking photographs and developing what are either gigantic trapezoids, or a couple of extremely muscular piglets have fallen asleep on each of his shoulders. Today the girls will be participating in both group and individual shots in long flowy dresses and flappy hair. It’s the last photo-shoot of the series. I’ve… I’ve just got something in my eye, that’s all. Both… both eyes.
· Okay, so I don’t want to get overly gushy and soppy and boring, but if this wasn’t the most ridiculously gorgeous photo-shoot in the history of every series of Top Model everywhere and anytime, I’ll eat my hair. I’m even prepared to say nice things about Clare, I’m so overcome. All three scrags are stunning, professional, delicious and make me want to cry with pride and unmitigated awesome. There’s really not much else to say. Oh, wait – yes there is:
o Cassi. You’ve done too much. You’re much too young. You’re engaged to a brickie AND YOU’VE GONE AND PIERCED YOUR TONGUE.*
o If anyone needs directions to Vacant Stare Town, just follow the roadmap on Clare’s freezing veiny arms. Turn left at Too Posy, stop for a coffee at Oh All Right She’s Really Quite Good, and keep going straight. Really, really straight.
o Cassi tells us that she doesn’t mind putting her arm around Clare because she doesn’t have herpes. I’m just going to leave that there, if you don’t mind.
o Tahnee is made for this shoot, and is amazing, and turns on some kind of freaky light behind her face, and is almost forcing me to buy her a puppy. Jez and George are a little worried about how voluptuous her body is. They mean 'tits'.
o At the end of the shoot, George Pease pulls a soaking wet elimination Sarah Mail out of his arse. I’m just going to leave that there, if you don’t mind.
· The windswept modules rock up to the Elimination Shack, where they’re met by Saint Sarah, who only just makes it in time after a full morning retrieving lollipops for the Scary Angry Five-Year-Old Foundation. She mentions the prizes, which I think this year include a three-pack of Wettex and a Granny Smith apple, and then introduces the judges – Charlotte Dawson, who recently felled a sequoia forest to create her jewellery, Shiny Alex Perry, who in black shirt, black tie and black sunglasses looks like somebody put the head of Squinting Funeral Ken onto the body of a much smaller doll, photographer Jez Smith, who is the daring young man on the flying trapezoid, and New York model manager Doll Wright, who is lucky I used up my doll joke on Shiny Alex Perry. Cassi has come dressed as someone who went to my Year 10 formal, Tahnee has come as the new friend I eat cupcakes with, and Clare is wearing a sequinned beret, fingerless gloves and heavy eye make-up, because Crazy Lady With A Shopping Trolley And Lots Of Cats is totally the new black.
· One by one, the modules each have to step forward and excuse their existence on the planet.
o Tahnee cries and smiles, eyes sparkling like a Japanese animated character, snot creeping down her top lip like two lethargic garden slugs. She says she thinks she’s versatile, but that she has to work on her body, which is a damn lie because she’s perfect except for her very large teeth. Everybody says aaaawwww and blows her imaginary kisses like gossamer butterflies on a shy wind.
o Cassi accuses the other two girls of just wanting to win the competition for the prize money, then goes on to explain how much she needs the money. She says she’s learned not to yell at people and punch walls, and all the other things that grown-ups do to stay out of jail and bar-fights.
o And then there is Clare. Great sweet ever-lovin’ all-consuming Jaysus. I… no. I really think all I can do is transcribe the first part of her speech, provided that I can still type with my mouth hanging open and my chest making guttural gurglings of rabid disbelief. Here you go:
“I’d like to start with a quote.’I’m a bit of a nanna. I believe it’s all about being professional, and working hard’. And these are Sarah’s words from Foxtel Magazine”.
She started WITH A QUOTE. From SARAH MURDOCH. From FOXTEL MAGAZINE. The judges giggle nervously and squirm a little in their seats, especially Saint Sarah, who now has Clare’s entire head, sparkly beret included, lodged firmly up her sphincter. Clare continues on to once again deny her prissiness, defend her education, and tell us that her father is a train driver and her mother was homeless at her age. BUT SHE QUOTED FROM SARAH IN THE FOXTEL MAGAZINE. In response, I’m going to start with a quote. "Fuck you". And these are Tony Montana’s words from the film Scarface.
· Photos are screened, and everybody gasps with awe and delight (See: Best Photos In World Ever). As is the custom in the second-last episode, everybody’s being more cloying and supportive than catty and critical, which both spoils my fun and proves that my sincerity virus is communicable via cable television. It’s the Divine Flu. Still:
o In a peculiar role-reversal, Charlotte says nice things, and Saint Sarah calls Cassi a bald-faced liar.
o Reversing roles back once again to non-bizarro universe, Saint Sarah says “We’ve seen a new Clare. After ten week’s we’ve broken her”, to which Charlotte responds “We’ve broken that b… prom queen”. I dunno. There’s just something I like about that Dawson b… woman.
o Charlotte announces that Tahnee will never be a physics professor. Eight thousand schoolboys cross Physics off their list of likely university electives for next year.
· The modules file back into the room, and I’m actually nervous. Saint Sarah revs up to announce the first girl in the final two, and… ohmigodohmigodohmigod…. It’s Tahnee! Mostly because of all the perfection and stuff, I guess. Clare and Cassi step forward, and I chew my lip while Saint Sarah tells Cassi that she’s blossomed, and Clare that she’s poised and professional. I wring my hands, eight trillion years pass, and… and… CLARE IS GIVEN THE ARSE!
Bye, Clare. Mind you don’t go and be a sore loser on your way out, now.
· Clare packs up her things, and her voice-over shows how benevolent and gracious she is in defeat, using phrases like “It saddens me that Cassi made the final two”, “hopefully Australia has the brains not to vote for her”, and “have a deep look at yourself”. Please note: I think Clare is a brilliant model who has shown undeniable promise, professionalism and high ability from the first second until the last. But seriously, what an arsehole. To prove my point, Clare throws Cassi’s toy frog in the hotel pool, an act that was amusing eight years ago when Lola already did it. Lame. Bye.
Next week, we find out who is Australia’s Next Top Model. About time. Could turn on a dime. Third part of the rhyme.
Speaking of next week, I’m afraid to report that the recap will be
a) Not up until Wednesday lunchtime at the earliest;
b) As thorough as you can get from someone who has scribbled notes for it on a napkin in a darkened auditorium with a champagne in her hand; and
c) Highly unlikely to make sense or be at all funny.
You can blame the unbelievable awesomeness of people who INVITE ME TO THE LIVE FINALE! Yes’m. I’ll be there. I’ll be the one making notes, stalking Lola, feeding Mikarla, pinching Tahnee on the cheek, holding up the bar, and trying to avoid being knee-capped by Clare’s mother. I love my life so much.
If you love me, you’ll visit the Impulse facebook page.
If you hate me, you’ll visit the Impulse facebook page.
If you’re illiterate, blind, deaf and mute, you’ll visit the Impulse facebook page, because seriously, what difference will it make?
If you love Petstarr, you’ll visit Bland Canyon. And who doesn’t love Petstarr, am I right?
*Dear anyone who gets this reference: you are old, and you are awesome. Especially you, loungeroom dancer. You know who you are.