AND THEN THERE ARE THE ANIMALS.
I know, I know. You can see some jokes coming from space. Bite me.
Welcome, all, to the ‘Never Smile At A Crocodile, No You Can’t Get Scraggy With A Crocodile’ episode of Australia’s Next Top Model. Please don’t feed the animals.
Alligators, snakes, owls and Dalmatians are expensive – any good dog-food manufacturer will tell you that. So for this week’s photo-shoot, when the animal money ran out, producers had to go to the next rung down on the Terrifying And Intimidating Animal ladder and get... yep. A couple of goldfish in a jug. Don’t walk – RUN!
Me Talky Proper And That
• In the aftermath of Kimbo’s departure, Sssophie displays her mad Nostradamus skillz by saying sagely “I knew Kim was gonna go... sometime”. Nice use of the ol’ one-in-sixteen odds there, flesh-mouth. She completes her Understatement Doctorate by adding “I think it’s good she went, she had a pretty bad attitude towards.... life in general”, which is like saying that Francis Bacon dabbles occasionally in slightly dark themes in his paintings or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like remarking that Shane Warne is occasionally mildly partial to text messages, hair loss and cigarettes. Amanda comments that Kimbo’s departure was “like a big wet fish to the face”, and that “she just basically crapped on their professions”, because Amanda is clearly on crystal meth on the toilet. Girl just cannot stop talking about crapping. Or being awesome.
• Brittney cries to her mother on the ‘phone about being in the bottom two last week, and says that she’s “at a low point”. Babe, you’re like, twenty-six feet tall. A low point for you is Everest base camp.
• When the Fashion Fiestas take the girls to a studio for their challenge, Sssophie says “I was so freaking out, ‘cause it was like this massive white room with a camera’. So it’s... so it’s a studio, then.
• When the modules receive a Sarah Mail that reads “Tomorrow the test continues. It will decide the lions from the lambs. Trust your instincts”, Sssophie says “at the end when it said, like, ‘instinct’, we all instantly thought of animals”. You... you don’t think that might have been when it said, like, ‘lions’, and like, ‘lambs’?
• While the scrags are breakfasting on a well-rounded meal of air and delusion, a mystery person arrives to give them some educatin’. Can anyone guess who the mystery person is?
Sigh. Thanks, camera-man. I owe you a neat fiddy.
• Chest Smith whisks the girls off to a photography studio, telling them that he and our old friend Nikola Koke are going to teach them all about knowing their angles and making the most of them in photographs. I’m pretty good at maths, so I assume they’ll mostly be working on their acute angles. No, because see it’s got the word ‘cute’ in it, and it’s about angles and, right, it’s a pun, and oh, shut up. I hate you. The girls remove their make-up with great shining globs of PRODUCT PLACEMENT, and they’re ready for action.
• Nikola tells Brittney that her best feature is “her face in total”, which just seems lazy to me. PICK ONE, NIKOLA. Both he and Chest are pleased that she’s lost her former blank stare, Chest commenting that “up to this point it was just all about long limbs and hair”. God forbid anyone would be known just for one or two particular body parts. Right, Chest Smith?
• In another page torn from the Big Red I Still Don’t Get It Book, Joanna is told her eyes are ‘sublime’, and Nikola says she’s “really quite exceptional, because she’s got big eyes, a big nose, and big lips”. Right. So Joanna has a big face, is what you’re saying. She does okay, but her smiling shot is a disaster. Luckily for her, Joanna doesn’t have a whole lot to smile about in this episode.
• Nikola looks at Kathryn’s skin, borrows Sssophie’s talent for understatement and says “you’ve got a bit of a breakout there”. Yep. Like Cowra had a bit of a breakout. He advises her to stay away from sugars and fats. I just think she should stay away from pimples. Y’know, I bet that Kathryn thinks it’s hilarious that I keep mentioning her pimples every week. Right, Kathryn?
Kathryn laughs on the inside.
• We discover that Kelsey has one eye smaller than the other, just like this competition has one module smaller than the others. She’s given some eye-balancing squinting tips, and despite her obvious deformity that nobody’s noticed until now, does well in her shots.
• Nikola tells Jessica that she has a small chin. He also mentions that grass is green, that cats have kittens, and that ice is cold.
• It’s Amanda’s turn, and Nikola asks “the mouth that you’ve got now, is that the mouth that ends up getting photographed?” Um... no. Amanda keeps some spare mouths in her bag, like Mr Potato Head. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. I might keep some extra mouths around myself – they’ll come in handy for talking while I’m eating, beatboxing, and keeping boyfriends. Amanda is given advice like “just work from the nose up” (which is exactly what you’d expect from someone whose surname is ‘Koke’), to keep her mouth neutral (Sssophie has some foundation that could help with that), and to blow raspberries. I figure she could blow her first raspberry at Nikola, who gives her most of this advice after her shoot is over.
• Sophie also has a problem with her mouth. Jez calls it ‘smiling’. I call it ‘Mummy, Can You Please Leave The Light On So The Flesh-Mouthed Monster Won’t Eat Me In My Sleep?’.
The modules are taken to a film studio, where Charlotte Dawson introduces them to Josh Logue, ARIA-award-winning director and oddly endearing round pudgy man. He’s like Justin Bieber fifteen years into the future after an all-cheeseburger diet, but much, much less heinously annoying. Charlotte tell the girls they’ll be auditioning for a Telstra commercial today, the theme of which is ‘the life of the party’, and that four girls will be chosen to appear in the final production. All they have to do is pretend to be men in suits, but feminine men, organise a party-crashing via text message, commandeer a DJ booth and then party like it’s 1999 with the help of a thrust-happy choreographer and some awesome spangly frocks. And they say modelling is complicated. Now, I know that watching a bunch of nervous broads pretending to have penises should be interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by a hangnail. Well, except for a couple of things:
• While the girls are auditioning, Dawson takes careful and serious notes. You can tell she’s being serious, because she’s wearing spectacles, and everybody who has ever seen a movie about Superman, Wonder Woman, or librarian porn knows that spectacles = serious.
Why, Ms Dawson! Yoi're beautiful!
• Sssophie doesn’t do too badly at impersonating a man, with two minor drawbacks. Let’s see – short hair? Check. Squarely defined jaw? Check.
Great heaving chest-puppies? MALE FAIL.
• Josh asks Jessica if she’s ever aspired to be an actress, and she says that when she was a kid she always wanted to be on Blue Heelers, which I can only assume is a ‘no’.
• Amanda walks across the room in her best bloke impersonation, and then stops and asks “more masculine?”. Josh responds with “Noooo,that’s.. that’s pretty masculine. That’s about as manly as you get without being a man”.
Which is pretty much the opposite of this.
But wait – I get it! Amanda is good at being a man, because her name is A-MAN-DUH! I’m a freakin’ genius, mama. Charlotte’s impressed with her acting skill, saying that she’s previously “been quite stiff”. Stiff! Ha-HA! Because she’s a man, duh. I really need a trophy or something for this shit.
• A group audition ensues with the help of choreographer William, who teaches the girls how to dance. It’s basically step, kick, ball-change, shimmy, step, kick, take-a-look-at-the-underside-of-my-scrotum.
This move is known as the 'Strictly Ballroom'.
• Kelsey, Amanda, Jessica and Brittney are chosen to film the ad, leaving Sssophie, Kathryn and Joanna to just be extras in the background and to be totally supportive and not bitch and sulk and moan not one little bit. Kathryn laments that she’s never won anything in her life, presumably because she’s not counting the genetic lottery. Joanna takes her first time not being praised and chosen particularly well, and in the process strikes a startling resemblance to Neil from The Young Ones.
• The actual ad shoot has a couple of hiccups, despite all four modules wearing frocks I absolutely must own by lunchtime tomorrow:
o Brittney’s hair is big enough to hide Tokyo, and she has to take her heels off so she fits in frame.
o Amanda is wearing a notoriously constrictive Shiny Alex Perry corset, and finds it hard to breathe, even with all those spare mouths she has in her bag.
o Nobody is allowed to light a match in the studio on the off-chance that Brittney’s wooden acting skills catch on fire. They don’t.
o The girls get tired quickly, despite Amanda saying that “we had to give it extra energy, so that it looks like normal energy on TV”. The same way that dogs look like horses on TV, so they have to use guinea pigs on roller skates instead of dogs. I read that somewhere.
• I don’t know about you, but I freaking love Jessica. Not in the same let’s-make-apple-turnovers-and-dance-in-the-kitchen way that I love Amanda, but more in a let’s-go-to-the-university-coffee-house-and-laugh-at-people-who-still-think-Capote-is-relevant way. Bitch is all smart and funny and crap.
Josh-Flinn-As-Danny-Zuko announces that this week the modules will be doing their first fashion editorial shoot – an eight-page accessories feature for Cosmo - which excites them no end. Know how I know they’re excited? Sophie, would you do the honours, please?
While in hair and make-up, the girls are introduced to Cosmo editor Bronwyn McCahon and stylist Nicole Adolphe, who says that there’ll be an extra element to the shoot – live, unpredictable animals! Take it away, Sophie.
Girl could eat bowling balls for a living.
• In walks a dude wrapped in a python. Out go the contents of Joanna’s bowels.
• Today’s photographer is Richard Freeman, who confirms my belief that it’s my destiny to start a photographer colony in my pants.
• Kelsey-as-lesbian-biker in pleather and chains does well, but is completely out-posed by Jackson the alligator. Mind you, he’s wearing real leather. She also performs well when she’s handed a piglet on a leash. But I mean, who doesn’t?
• Sssophie’s face looks stunning, even when juxtaposed with pythons and goldfish, and Bronwyn remarks that she’s “totally a Cosmo girl”. An ice-fisherman in Antarctica stops treating his frostbite for a moment, looks up, and says “You think?’.
• Joanna is extremely unsure about posing with a python, but eventually warms to it, possibly because the snake’s tail spends most of the shoot in her crotch. Later, posing with the owl, I still don’t get it. Even the owl says “WHO?”.* She gets upset about not doing fantastically well, and Josh tells her to grow up a bit in his leather jacket, slicked hair and neck-chain. I’m pretty sure I also hear him sing about being stranded at the drive-in.
• You know how animals have that uncanny knack of knowing when people are possessed by demons? They also seem to freak out when they encounter intense awesome. Amanda faces a hissing alligator and a squealing pig. This show is so much like my life it’s not funny. Except that it’s pretty goddamn funny.
• Can you imagine any way possible that a giraffe would look good in a turban? No? Brittney is wearing a turban. She poses with a macaw on her shoulder, and instead of saying “Polly wants a cracker”, it promptly deposits a streak of creamy faeces down Brittney’s back. Josh suggests that maybe the bird was critiquing Brittney’s performance. IT’S EPISODE SIX, JOSH. The world has been waiting for you to get your bitch on, and it comes now, halfway through the series? Still, a parrot crapping on a model is seriously as good a time as any. Five points.
• Kathryn, in black-and-white accessories, is unceremoniously leg-humped by a Dalmatian. I want to kiss this show on the mouth and show it my boobs.
• Jessica takes her turn in the turban, because apparently somebody thinks it’s a good idea to make the top of her head look even bigger than her chin. She doesn’t truly rock it until she gets her turn with the Dalmatian, though, and gets scratches on her leg for her trouble. Jessica, you are hardcore, and therefore I have a margarita and some film noir waiting for you at the coffee house. See you soon.
• Josh sums up the difficulty of the shoot by saying “You had to work with an unpredictable creature that doesn’t necessarily care that they’re on a Cosmo shoot”. IT’S JUST LIKE KIMBERLY’S STILL HERE, YOU GUYS.
Finally the girls make their way to the Eliminarium, where they’re greeted by Saint Sarah, who only just makes it in time after flying in from an interview circuit espousing Photo Shoot Rights For Jug Goldfish And Leash Piglets. She introduces the judges, including guest Bronwyn McCahon, Charlotte Dawson (who I would say looks like she’s dressed as the Emerald City including two domes, but I’m currently on a road trip with her and she’s looking over my shoulder so let’s just say she looks stunning), Shiny Alex Perry (who in his crisp white shirt looks like a waiter who serves golf balls and squint), and Chest Smith, who is in a round-necked t-shirt. Round-necked. With absolutely no chest visible. Guy is like a nipple roller coaster.
The modules mostly look great, except for Kathryn, who has come dressed for her school semi-formal in a dress with a big white boob-bow. You know how you never hear anyone use the phrase “she looked enchanting in her big white boob-bow dress”?. Yeah. That.
Saint Sarah lists the prizes, which I think this year include a lolly necklace and a book of Sudoku puzzles, and then leads her fellow judges into some picture-looky and deliberation, with some dainty nuggets:
• Jez is irritated by the fact that, in Kathryn’s owl shot, the handbag the owl is sitting on isn’t perfectly symmetrical. Dawson cuts him down with “Oh, yeah. You always have an owl sitting on your handbag”. See what happens when you wear a high-necked shirt, Chest? See?!
• Chest says that the blank look in Kelsey’s eyes in her alligator shot is ‘almost reptilian’. He’s of course thinking of the One Eye Bigger Than The Other Short-Arse Lizard.
• When Shiny Alex Perry hears about Joanna’s post-challenge sook and post-shoot tears, he says “It almost sounds like a tantrum. Like you had a little tanty”, and that her reaction made her seem “decidedly un-pretty”. Exactly how insensitive would it be if I high-fived Shiny Alex at this point? Anyone?
• Charlotte tells Joanna she “filled the frame with fab”. I personally think that she marinated the Minolta with meh. I think she’s pretty. I think she’s talented. I just don’t understand the drooling she elicits from everyone. Is that weird?
Eventually the girls follow Kathryn’s giant boob-bow back into the room, and Saint Sarah calls out names one by one until only Kathryn and Brittney are left. Brittney is told that she’s improving, but that the competition is tough and her life-experience is lacking. Kathryn learns that she’s beautiful, but possibly too fragile to cut it in the modelling world. Sixteen minutes pass, and Brittney is pushed off the cliff. That’s a pretty big bloody splash.
Bye, Brittney! Don’t forget to duck under the normal-person-sized door on your way out!
Next week, I won't be half-pissed in the country with Dawson, so I'll be better placed to tell you what happens next week.
*Seriously. Send my application form for the Pun Olympics.