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Monday, September 26, 2011

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series Seven #8

I haven’t seen this much drama on television since MarshaBrady got hit in the nose with a football.

There goes her date with Doug.
Smear on the greasepaint, get ready for your close-up and write the scene number clearly in chalk on that clapper thing that you write on in chalk, because it’s the ‘Like Scrags Through The Hourglass’ episode of Australia’s Next Top Model.


I’d like to start with a little housekeeping.

Firstly, you need to know that when they play that little snippet of the ANTM theme song just before every ad break, you can increase your fun by 25% if, like my housemates and I do, you emphasise the concluding aspirant. I’m gonna be on top-PAAAAAAH. You may trust me on that point.

Secondly, since you saw them last, Madeline and Izzy have morphed into grossly stereotypical Jewish mothers.

Why can't you just find a nice doctor and settle down? Why you gotta break your mother's heart like this?

I should drop DEAD you'd remember to call me on my birthday.
Rachel’s Phoy-Toy-Of-The-Week is up on the wall of the Module Mansion to a mixed reception. Liz thinks it’s beautiful. Jess doesn’t really get what the judges see in Rachel. Montana is pensive. Doik Simone is HEY LOOK A CAMERA!


A Sarah Mail dripping with drama arrives, whisking the scrags off in a Fashion Fiesta cavalcade to NIDA, which stands for ‘Now I’m Doing Acting!’. Charlotte Dawson meets them and introduces actress Anna Houston, who will be taking them through some improvisation exercises. She warns the modules that there’s a chance they’ll look ridiculous.

Yeah, no, that's fine.

Amelia’s excited about the lesson, and says “This is definitely a good week to take risks”. Let’s see how that works out for you in particular, shall we honey?

The first improvisation game is called ‘Excuse Me, What Are You Doing?’. Apparently there are some rules to the game, but really all you need to know is that Izzy gives birth to a dog, and I love this show so much I want to smell it on my pillow.

Nurse, we're going to need an epidural and some kibbles.

The next game involves Actress Anna counting to ten while five of the modules run the emotional gamut from ‘totes fine’ to ‘OMG I broke a nail’. It’s harrowing, to say the least.

I can't believe I forgot to wear teeth in my hair today.

Izzy has a remarkable talent for grief, and tells us that “I can cry on cue. Not all the time, only sometimes”. I dunno, Izzy, I’ve just consulted the Big Dictionamary Of Awsome Wordz, and it wants to have a little chat with you about the definition of ‘on cue’.

Speaking of words, some of my favourites all in a row are “Except you’ve got a really extreme body tic”, particularly as it relates to the next acting game. Set in a train carriage, each module acts out their wildest fitting fantasies, carefully making sure to maintain their beauty, composure and poise at all times.

Dawson congratulates them on their amazing dog-birthing, crying and Tourette’s Syndrome skills before handing them each a script and insisting that they practice, prompting an editor’s orgy of sepia-toned, slow-mo soap opera references.


1. Oh, god. Oh god, that burrito isn't sitting well at ALL.

3. Jesus Christ. That smells like a combination of fresh-cut hay and dead hobo.

The next day, fully rehearsed, Ms Dawson drags the scrags to a commercial studio to audition for a Telstra commercial. The ad will be shot by Abe Forsythe, who you saw in that thing he was in that time, and co-acted by Joseph, who I can see in my pants.

Amelia auditions first and, sadly, is amazing. Arseholes are so good at hyper-cheesy melodrama and pretending that they’re shocked to find out that Chad’s their brother.

Montana suddenly has an American accent, Izzy is surprisingly unconvincing, and Hazel’s voice can cut through four layers of glass and still explode a guinea pig.
It’s pretty much exactly what you'd imagine this photo would sound like.

What do you reckon, Mrs Maddie Braunstein?

Oi, vey.
Doik Simone sources her inspiration directly from ham and cheese, and is consequently magnificent. Say what you will about Doik, she’ll only ever need one skill in life and everything will be fine. 

This one.

Oh okay, and maybe these two a little bit.

Liz is a little unsure about her audition, but decides to “just kinda go with the flow and see if I go well, and try and bring some impromise... impro... imprompting stuff into it?”. I AM SO GLAD WE’RE BEST FRIENDS, LIZZY.

Finally the audition is over, and the final commercial is an artistic and cinematic juggernaut.

STARRING: Montana ‘Never Go Full Retard’ Smith

Jess ‘I Can Still Smell That Hobo’ Smith

And this Chinese guy.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know.

Challenge winners, who get to do a job that other people would get paid for for free (exciting!) are Madeline, Simone, Amelia and Montana. Montana says that when the ad comes out, her parents will be shocked to see her on TV. Yeah, she says that to camera. On... y’know. On TV.

Izzy calls her boyfriend on a dodgy line to tell him how disappointed she is that she hasn’t won Phoy-Toy-Of-The-Week or any challenges, which I know sounds interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by the dial tone.

Phoy-Toy Shoot

Off everyone whisks the next morning to a mysterious steam-themed photo shoot in Picton.

Hi. We're in Picton.

It turns out that the word ‘steam’ refers to a ‘steam train’, because words, that’s why. The modules are greeted by Josh Flinn, who has pictures of leopards on his shirt:

Hello, girls.

...and mildly cranky cardigan-clad photographer Jordan Graham, whose other skill is growing a beard both on the bottom and top of his head.

The girls learn that they’ll be taking part in a 1920s-themed shoot inspired by The Great Gatsby, unless you’re Liz, in which case it’s ‘The Great Gaps Tee Gaps Gaps’, which earns her this week’s trophy.

Doik, in a rare non-camera-shy moment, says “No, I’ve never read Great Gatsby, but I’ve read Streetcar Named Desire, so I kind of just pretended it was Streetcar Named Desire”, which is a bit like Edward Hopper pretending that his painting subjects are just giggling unicorns or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like Britney Spears pretending she’s a university graduate who knows how underpants work.

The styling is incredible, with finger-curled bobs, pearls, sharp dark lips, smoky eyes and Madeline listening to Kanye’s first album so that she can get into the historical mood.

After doing a spot of maths, Josh Nielsen drops a hormone bomb amongst the scraggy pigeons by announcing that Lincoln Lewis will be co-modelling with them today. Excited Rachel exclaims that she’s never worked with an actor before. SHUT UP NO WAY. Pretty sure that’s the only thing she’s never done. Preeetty sure.

The girls will be modelling with Lincoln in three themed groups. The first group, Madeline, Liz & Rachel, are asked to pretend that they’re coming off the train from a big night out, and are walking to Madeline’s house for more booze.

And to listen to some Cradle Of Filth.

Rachel struggles because she’s never been drunk before (SHUT UP NO WAY), and also because the photographer’s instructions are way too specific. “Rachel, your stumbling is a little bit too stumbly”, he says. MODELLING IS SO HARD, YOU GUYZ.

The second group, Jess, Hazel and Simone, are all blonde girls riding on the train with a cute guy, and HAHAHAHAHAHA WHEEEEEEEE WE’RE ON A TRAIN AND WE HAVE DIFFERENT SIZED HATS!

The third group, Izzy, Amelia and Montana, are asked to look ‘sad beautiful’. Montana ponders over the difficulty of this until finally nailing it.

Sad and missing a chromosome

Sad beautiful.
EVERYBODY JUST WAIT A GODDAMN SECOND. Hold it. FINALLY, after eight weeks, someone finally figures out what modelling is all about. That’s right. You've seen it before. It’s the SCT. The Solitary Crystalline Tear. IT’S ABOUT TIME.

Meanwhile, the photographer asks Amelia to move her face a little further into the window. There are many situations in which that might be considered a bad sign. This is pretty much all of them.


After Saint Sarah’s disembodied voice takes us through the prizes (which I think this year include a full packet of coloured pencils and a McFlurry), the modules descend upon the Eliminarium with various levels of sartorial success. Liz is wearing one of her eight thousand baby-doll dresses. Izzy is off to the Sock Hop. Rachel is in a bad, bad jumper. Doik is wearing LEATHER FREAKIN’ SHORTS. Although I suppose with Doik, anything that just wipes clean can’t be a bad thing, right?

Saint Sarah, fresh from a lamington drive for the Northern Beaches Dog Birthing Clinic, introduces judges Charlotte Dawson:

Dressed today as someone who enjoys self-administered 'smell my finger' jokes
Shiny Alex Perry:

Who, judging by his expression, has just smelled Charlotte's finger

...and guest judge Beard-Head, the amazing double-bearded man.
The judges check out the week’s phoy-toys, and OH MY GOD IT’S THAT CHINESE GUY AGAIN.

No, wait - it's just Rincoln Rewis. Sorry.

Various scrags are called slappers, lumps and cheap, the judges deliberate, and like ducks in a row in heels in a gaudy blue and gold studio, the girls are picked off one by one until only Liz, Jess and Amelia remain.

Suddenly, a shock! Tell us, Magic Psychic Desk!

No, no. The OTHER shock.

Aaaaand Jess and Amelia get the boot.

Bye, Jess and Amelia! The competition will be... um... marginally... kind of... less populated without you. Yeah. That.


It’s verse 8 of the seemingly interminable country song that has a verse per episode! Thank Christ for that.

 Yooooou’re iiiinnn
Acting class and you’re on your arse birthing dogs with some sarcasm;
When you’ve finished, let’s pretend you’ve got Tourettes and you’re prone to sudden spasm.
It’s audition time – to get across the line, you’ll compete against each other
To react just right – horror, shock, or fright – when you hear that Chad’s your brother.
Now we’ll play the parts of some drunken tarts, like F. Scott Fitzgerald drew us;
Or some flappers who shed a tear or two on a train with Lincoln Lewis.
Set your mouth to pout, and it’s two more out  - see you later Jess, Amelia
Sure you’re pretty, though now you have to go, ‘cause the judges didn’t feel ya.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag Series Seven #7

This week, it’s all about nature – its fury, its unexpected generosity, its effect on air travel, and its cute widdle animals.

They love nature over at Top Model headquarters. They love it so much they want to skin it and wear it as a hat. Welcome, zoophiles, to the ‘I Want To Scrag You Like An Animal’ episode of Australia’s Next Top Model. Woof.


While lamenting Caroline’s departure, Jess compares losing her to getting your legs chopped off. I dunno – I reckon it’s more like getting your arsehole removed.

Meanwhile, Doik Simone continues on her quest to become the world’s most relentless attention seeker. She would’ve succeeded, too, if it wasn’t for them pesky kids.*  And by ‘them pesky kids’, I mean ‘looking directly at the camera to see if it’s watching’.

A Sarah Mail arrives early one morning, prompting Amelia to announce “When you know there’s Sarah Mail, you’re like oh, right, I’m in for a surprise”.

The Sarah Mail says something about how bitchin’ nature is, and then drops the information that the girls will be going to Kangaroo Island, which is somewhere off Sweden, I think. Wherever it is, it rockets the scrags suddenly into the stratosphere of excitement, because exclamation mark!

Izzy didn't seem to get the Let's All Totes Spack Out memo.

She also didn't seem to get my order at Big Daddy-O's Rock N' Roll Roller Skate Diner.

Cherry malted and a slice of pie, thanks Sheri. Make it snappy.
Some of the modules spend the next five minutes impersonating kangaroos, which makes me glad they’re not going to Bong Bong. Or Foul Bay. Or Mount Buggery. Or Rooty Hill. And I really like looking things up in Google.**

The girls are packed off in the Fashion Fiestas to the airport, where they promptly don’t fly anywhere. As Amelia says, it turns out that “It was pretty crazy, there was an ash cloud from Chile stopping our flight, but that’s Mother Nature”.

So basically, we spend the next eight hours watching the girls sit. Actually, they don’t really seem to have the hang of sitting.

Although Doik really does seem quite flexible here.

Eventually a cranky Charlotte Dawson tells the modules that they won’t be able to fly to Kangaroo Island this afternoon, but that she’s organised a substitute activity. See now, I’ve been watching this show for twenty-eight thousand years now, so I’ve familiarised myself with the subtle nuances of each judge, carefully assessing every facial expression and minor gesture. So I know when Dawson is just marginally, ever-so-slightly over it. It's like this.

See the tension in her wrists? That.

Everyone hauls themselves off to the Sydney Dance Company, where they’re met by Bangarra dancer Tim Bishop, or as Madeline puts it: “There was a dancer crouched down on the floor covered in… flour? It looked like flour”. Flour. Traditional white ochre. Same Diff.

The bakery is that way.

The ‘I Think We Might Have Blown Most Of Our Budget On Going To Paris’ lesson involves each module being given a ‘nature’ word that they have to interpret into a pose. The enthusiastic Doik sneers “I hate nature, so I wasn’t impressed with doing a nature pose”.

So, just for you playing at home who may have lost count, the tally stands at:

1. Water
2. Neo
3. Nature

Try to keep up.

Gang member Doik wants to bust a cap in nature's ass.

Hazel is a tree, which reminds her of the time she played a tree in a school dramatic production. This is a tree:

I'm sorry, but the role of Hamlet is unavailable at this time.

Doik is the ocean, which she finds extremely difficult, complaining that she can’t “just make myself ten times bigger”. This is the ocean:

But you have to imagine it ten times better.

Yolanda is lightning. This is lightning:

Lightning is a little constipated right now. Please come back later.

Liz is lava. Obviously.

Lava.... lava is hot, right? (giggle)

Maddy is a wombat, or a rabbit, or something. Whatever it is, it’s just seen your headlights.

Izzy kicks arse as a kangaroo, and I’ve finally figured out her posing secret. She models with her hands. HER HANDS. There’s not even a joke there. I've just nailed it, is all.



What's that, Skip? You've totally discovered her secret? GOOD DOG.


Seemingly pointless last-minute challenge over, the scrags drag themselves to the airport again, where they’re met by Josh Brigitte Flinn Nielsen, who looks for them as he’s parking his car.

Brigitte organises the girls into three groups, themed as Air, Water, and Land. Now, I know that ordering people unevenly into element-themed groups sounds interesting, but I’m momentarily distracted by tinnitus.***

Once on Kangaroo Island, the modules see birds, kangaroos and seals, and wonder at the majesty of nature. It’d be pretty insensitive, macabre, unnecessary and horrifying if they made the girls wear fur later, huh. BUT THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN.

Amelia, in that adorable wide-eyed, a-sandwich-short-of-an-eating-disorder way she has, gushes “Coming up towards Kangaroo Island reminded me of sailing around the Greek Islands with my family and coming up to a beautiful island and seeing their little white houses”, which promptly earns her this week’s trophy.

This week’s challenge involves each group looking at some stuff and then taking a photo embodying the essence of that stuff.

Yolanda, Amelia, Liz and Rachel go and look at some sand dunes and then do some strangely incongruous and decidedly non-sandy fashion poses on top of the sand dunes. It’s a bit like Rene Magritte painting a picture of a pipe in his famous painting ‘This Is Not A Pipe’ or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like David Hasselhoff saying “No thanks, I’ve had quite enough to drink but I could really go a salad”.

Maddy, Izzy and Hazel go and look at some birds of prey and then impersonate some birds for their photo.

I'm bloody onto something with this whole modelling-with-her-hands thing, I tell ya.

Jess, Simone and Montana go and look at some seals, which makes Jess think “The best thing to do would be to remove all human aspects of us, which is our clothing”. I dunno, Jess, I reckon HUMANS are pretty human. There are humans in your photo. Humans with their nuggets out.****

Well fuck me.

The girls make their way to the unbelievably impressive resort, and Amelia says “I’ve been to lots of places all over the world – America, Canada, Asia, Europe. I think of all the hotels I’ve stayed in, this hotel was probably the best”. Okay, a) You’ve already won the trophy, Amelia, you can relax; and b) You can’t fool us into being impressed. We know that America and Canada are the same place.

Josh looks through the photos and announces that boobs are the winner. Liz says “Their photo was absolutely amazing. We never would’ve thought to take our tops off”. It’s clear that in the in the manual for Becoming Jo’s New Best Friend 101, I’ll need to use very small words, lots of visual aids and no sudden surprises.

Phoy-toy Shoot.

The styling for this week’s shoot is in-fucking-credible, with the exception of the un-fucking-necessary use of fur. And before you ask: no, I don’t usually wear leather, because I prefer the wipe-clean, sweaty qualities of vinyl. And before you ask that other thing: yes, I eat meat, because come on, have you seen hamburgers?

In weather conditions that clearly have their period, Josh Flinn (who appears to have skinned Brigitte Nielsen and draped her around his neck) introduces the scrags to Nick Leary, photographer and general squinty crumpet. Everyone drapes themselves in hats, skirts, rough-hewn corsets, fringing and scraped-out pieces of mammal, drag primary colours in stripes across their eyes, and squeeze the ever-loving juice out of the tribal goddess/warrior theme.

Rachel looks gorgeous and dignified, and thanks the photographer afterwards. THE THANK YOU IS BACK, PEOPLE, REPEAT: THE THANK YOU IS BACK.

The wind picks up for Montana’s shoot, and so Josh directs her by asking what a gypsy princess might do in a hurricane. Pfffft. Der. Wear bangles.

Simone looks like Zorro but has trouble leaving her sexiness behind as she squeezes between two boulders.*****

Liz is the most beautiful person wearing haemorrhoids on their head that I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen heaps.

Despite having a little trouble with her focus and intensity, Jess loves her outfit, saying “I feel so cool right now. I could get married in this”.

She forgoes the traditional tulle in favour of hollowed-out badger.

Amelia channels a young Maggie Tabberer on the outside, and a young arsehole on the inside when she says “I don’t like being told all the time that I’m perfect. Nobody’s perfect. I’m just human, I’m just being myself, I’m just working hard”. Working hard at being an arsehole. Succeeding.

Hazel arrives on set and gets promptly rained on, cutting her shoot short, which is good, because I can’t bear to see one more sign of animal cruelty.

Hundreds of baby windcheaters died for your outfit, y'know.

Maddy, in unfortunate white make-up and grey weather, has a garbage bag over her head. “I had a garbage bag over my head”, she says. “My fox was falling off. It’s kind of annoying, being in a tiny cave”. Modelling is so HARD, you guys.

Izzy is jaw-droppingly amazing as a Viking, and tells us that the guys on set were calling her ‘haggis’ because she looks Scottish. Or because she’s wrapped in a sheep’s stomach. Something.

The wind picks up fiercely on the island, causing all the palm trees to blow furiously.

Oh! That’s not a palm tree!

It's Yolanda. With a make-up artist. And Michelle Pfeiffer as Ladyhawke.


We come back from the ad break to be run through this year’s prizes, which I think include a packet of sour cream and chives chips and a Slinky, and then the modules are magicked briskly back to the non-seal-riddled big smoke. Saint Sarah, running late after handing out fliers for the It’s Vintage So It’s Okay Party, greets them and introduces judges Charlotte Dawson (dressed today as the head of the PTA), Shiny Alex Perry (dressed today as a shirt wearing a human), and photographer Nick, dressed today as welcome to my pants.

Now, you may have noticed Yolanda’s 90s-era denim frock. You may have noticed Liz’s eighteenth baby-doll Lolita dress. Those of you with superbly keen eyesight may even have noticed Izzy’s sparkly pink shoes. But what you almost certainly didn’t notice is the set of teeth that Izzy has in her hair.

That's not what I meant when I said 'make it snappy'.


Teeth in her hair.

Izzy, right, has TEETH IN HER HAIR.

I believe that calls for the week’s second trophy.

Furry tribal photos are picked to pieces, and the judges love Rachel’s, asking her what she thought about in order to get the emotion in her eyes. “I just thought of a woman who is a bit scorned, and she’d like, lost her child or something”, she tells them, because yo, miscarriage chic is so hot right now. She thanks the judges.

Liz’s photo is unspeakably amazing. Liz, I’m putting this picture up so you can pash yourself.

This just got weird, didn't it.

Simone is disappointed because she doesn’t like her face in her shot, and expresses her frustration at being given a revealing outfit but told that she was looking too sexy. The judges give her some very good advice, but of course Magic Psychic Desk is much more helpful.

Thank you, Magic Psychic Desk.

Hazel is told she has the best photo of the competition so far, Amelia and Yolanda are underwhelming, Izzy is spec-plait-ular (yeah, sorry, I only just learned English), but nobody really knows what to make of Jess’s shot. Shiny Alex Perry says “I could literally just cut the head out and put like, any head in there”.

Well my mate Shane has Photoshop, and NOW I'M A MODULE.

Deliberators gonna deliberate, until the modules return to the barn to learn their fate one by one until only Jess and Yolanda are left.

Four days pass, and in an injustice that rips my heart from my throat (I only just learned science, too), my Reserve Best Friend Yolanda is ousted.


Bye, second-bestie. I’ll miss the way you were all my second best friend and stuff.


* Scooby Doo references complete me.

** Oh, and PS: We’re all moving to Mount Buggery.

*** For those of you with actual tinnitus, allow me to translate: BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

**** Boobies.

***** Boobies.


Okay, so I know I have write a chorus at some point, and that by now (in country music terms) there’s actually a really good chance that the cows have actually come home, but still. Verse seven of the country song I’m writing about this show. YOU’RE WELCOME.

If yooooou’re
On the go but a volcano fills the sky with foul emissions,
Strike a pose or two as a kangaroo, make the most of these conditions.
Once you’re out at sea take a shot or three far away from your home cities;
As an owl or part of a dune, it’s art once you liberate your titties.
In the wind and rain, just ignore your pain, you’re a tribal minx so wear it;
Now your hair’s in plaits and you’re wearing hats from the carcass of a ferret.
Now get in the barn and we’ll have a yarn, and we’ll give your shots a gander;
But we’ll make you cry as we say goodbye to Reserve Best Friend Yolanda.