If there’s one specific thing I can’t stand, it’s specifics. Well, one-ish.
So it’s great that this week isn’t about anything really singular or crystal clear like, what - walking, or smiling, or finding your light, or not strangling people.
This week is all about movement.
Movement and ‘being in the moment’.
The instruction manual for moving and being in the moment is either one hundred and forty thousand pages long, or it’s just a picture of a confused monkey.
|I LOVE YOU, GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH.|
So get your skates and your watch on, it’s the ‘I Like To Scrag It, Scrag It’ episode of Australia’s Next Top Model.
Be in the moment, but quickly.
Whilst we’re all being pretty much forced to bend over in front of ‘Oh My God’ while it opens a tub of margarine as far as the quest to find Reality Television’s Most Overused Catchphrase is concerned, you can’t deny the impact of the suddenly-appearing ‘In The Moment’, which has come eagerly from behind like an analogy I’m not really prepared to make. I only just started counting instances of ‘In The Moment’ this week, and it’s already coming fifth.
Also, “I’m not here to make friends” FINALLY gets a guernsey when Ashley says “Obviously it’s sad to see Maddy go, but I’m not really too fussed about the friendships I make in the house right now”. SHUT UP THAT TOTALLY COUNTS.
Morning breaks at the module mansion, and the modules busy themselves doing mansion things.
Staring out at the water...
Doing those really hard sit-ups...
...and not being too fussed about friendships in the house right now.
|And possibly planning a migraine.|
Suddenly, but hardly surprisingly because week eight you guys, a Jen Mail chirps through and Screamin’ J. Hawkins quotes directly from her PhD thesis once again. There are words and phrases like ‘smooth’, ‘bust a move’, ‘express yourself’ and ‘strike a pose’, so I have no choice but to guess that today’s lesson will be all about having a terrible CD collection twenty years ago.
Abbie, not being born twenty years ago, guesses that “maybe it’s like movement, and then like, you gotta like, keep a face?”. It’s fair to say that Abbie has become a master at keeping the same face in all circumstances.
|She's probably really good at spotting ninjas.|
Off everyone trots in the glamour Nissans to the Sydney Opera House, where Screamin’ J. Hawkins makes a brief appearance to tell them they’ll be doing ballet with principal ballerina Amber Scott, who is elegant, poised, and so thin she looks like someone stretched a fruit roll-up over a sea urchin.
Ashley is impressed by the way Amber dances, saying that “She’s moving really graceful, and she’s on her tippy toes, like, on that part of her feet? Like the tippy tippy toes?”. I know she doesn’t sound overly smart when she says it, but she sure looks it.
|Also how is she doing that.|
Amber tells the scrags that today’s lesson is all about physical expression, and that “being a ballet dancer’s a bit like being a model, we can’t just be a body”.
|Maybe she can rename herself 'The Personality'? Second thoughts no.|
Amber has some tutus and ballet slippers for the girls, which is the worst thing that has ever happened to Shannon.
“So there’s Amber in her big elegant white tutu looking so beautiful, and we’re given little pink fluffy frilly tutus that we gotta whip on over what we’re actually wearing” she determinedly whines. “Doesn’t exactly make ya feel elegant, does it?”.
|Tracy Flick's tippy tippy toes will dance on your grave.|
Everybody does a few unconvincing ballet moves.
This is a terrible lesson.
Those are terrible tutus.
Everyone is terrible.
And Duckie is the terriblest.
And I guess now would be a terrible time to make a Black Swan joke.
|Your FACE is, Adamant Little Guy.|
Shannon concedes that “we would’ve looked like the worst unco-ordinated like, giraffes on a stage EVER”. I dunno, man. I have seen a LOT of unco-ordinated stage giraffes.
Then it’s over and nobody is sad about that.
Challenged, Part 1.
Before they leave the Opera House, Screamin’ J. Hawkins tells the modules that their new skills will be put to the test tomorrow, when “you’ll all star in the very first Australia’s Next Top Model Fashion Film”.
Fashion what? Film? That’s not even a thing, is it? I Googled it, and this is what I got:
Oh look, FINE. It is actually a thing. It’s fancy words fashion designers use when they mean ‘ad’. They film models wearing their clothes with a view to promoting, marketing and selling their clothes, but they don’t call it an ‘ad’. I am just about done with this shit.
So okay, Shannon gets really excited because she’s heard that fashion films can go viral, so maybe there is something to get turbo-jazzed about and I should stop being so judgy-wudgy. Then Screamin’ J. Hawkins enlightens us with “In the film, you’ll bring to life the new flavour range of Mount Franklin’s lightly sparkling water”.
I am moderately re-wudgied.
But shoosh, no time for that – we have to launch ourselves flingingly into:
Interlude: A Clusterfuck Of Eye-Rolls.
Now pay attention, because I’d hate for you to miss one second of this ridiculous bullshit.
The scrags are in the Module Mansion, doing irresponsible, inconsiderate things like washing dishes and mopping floors. Bitches.
Ashley, who is selflessly lying down on the couch, asks the other girls to be a bit quieter, because she has a migraine, and I am completely certain that it’s a real migraine and not just a headache. Of greater concern should obviously be the fact that Ashley’s legs have clearly been amputated, preventing her from standing the fuck up and going the fuck to bed.
Melissa, belligerent delinquent that she clearly is, has a mild dig at Ashley for her COMPLETELY REASONABLE AND ALMOST SAINT-LIKE request, which causes Ashley to storm into her shared bedroom, throw a pile of clothes on the floor, and make a startling threat that I’m surprised even made it past the producers, the editors, the censors, and the police.
Ashley, right – wait, still painful – Ashley says: “And if Melissa doesn’t come in and clean her shit up, she’s gonna find that...I’M GONNA DO IT MYSELF”.
Is that even LEGAL, cleaning up someone else’s shit for them?
Later, Ashley cries to camera “When you’re locked in a house with girls for two months, things do get tense, y’know?”.
Naw. Poooor little migraine-riddled, luxury-mansion-trapped Ashley. WAIIIIT a second. A full house. A girl called Ashley. I believe this week’s retro sitcom theme has just written its own way into the story...
Melissa rounds off the drama by saying “I don’t regret anything I said, like, I stand by everything I said to her just then, however I don’t want her to look at this as me, like, attacking her”.
YOU BETTER WATCH YO BACK, BITCH, OR YOU’LL FIND YO-SEFF WITH ALL YO STUFF CLEANED UP.
Challenged, Part 2.
Suddenly there’s either been a flower bomb dropped on a paint factory in Fiji, or the scrags are all wearing Camilla frocks and standing in front of Dawso, who gees them up about doing their first ever fashion film because that’s totally a thing and not just an ad.
Ashley thinks she has a pretty good chance of winning, and adds “I got pretty excited. Y’know, I’m a good actress”. Oh, totally. Nobody doubted that migraine bit for a second.
Dawso continues, telling the girls that they’re lucky to welcome two very special guests today.
|Oh, Dajana. You so ethnically stereotyped.|
The guests are film director Alex Goddard and frock designer Camilla Franks, and everybody says ‘sparkling’ eight times each. Dawso explains that each girl represents a different Mount Franklin lightly sparkling flavour, like lime, lemon, or berry.
Dawso then dangles a sparkly carrot, telling the colourful clump of girls that the challenge winner gets over a thousand dollars worth of self-modelled Samantha Wills jewellery, which causes a great rush of baklava-eating.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. To help them model, Dawso introduces doppelganger spunks the Stenmark Twins, the first decent male totty the scrags have seen since they started.
Shannon says to camera that she really, really wants to win this challenge. A horse that has been dead for a decade and a half reanimates, digs its way out of its own farmyard grave, learns to talk, and says “Dude. We get it”.
The idea of today’s not-ad is that the Stenmark twins are leaving messages for the girls around the house, tied to Mount Franklin bottles. Careful, boys – if you leave that shit lying around, Ashley might clean it up for you.
The modules are supposed to go on a treasure hunt to find out who’s been leaving the mysterious messages, and are given complex tasks like picking up bottles, sitting upright, looking confused, and sunbaking.
They finish by running along the beach to the final bottle and seeing the Stenmark Twins coming out of the ocean, when really they could have just left one message on the kitchen bench from the beginning that said ‘Going for a swim. Laters’. WASTING MY TIME.
Of the twins, Abbie says “The view is spectacular. Spelt with an S. And two twins”, proving that Abbie should, under no circumstances, leave high school early.
We watch the not-ad, and it’s hard to pick who the best girl is because they all are, almost without exception, freakishly terrible. Picking the best girl is like Lord Leighton picking his favourite industrial cityscape or, for the lowbrow amongst you, like asking Miley Cyrus to pick her favourite floor-length turtleneck.
Abbie wins, presumably because of her vast range of expression.
Ashley, still hungover from her selfless altruism earlier, is bummed about not winning the challenge, saying “I just don’t understand how the judging happened. Like, do they just pick it at random?”. Maybe the judges had a migraine, babe.
Interlude: Chocolate-Coated Sit-Ups.
Ashley deep-fries stuff.
Ashley dips things in chocolate.
Ashley squirts whipped cream directly into her mouth.
Ashley does exercising with Jade.
Let’s go to the beach, yo!
Shiny Alex Perry corrals the girls near some coral down at a chilly but bright Bronte beach, still not finding it necessary to put his sunglasses over his eyes, but doing a half-decent impersonation of a sugar-bowl.
He tells the modules that when fashion brands do campaigns, they have to work ahead of the season, so Winter is usually shot in Summer, and swimwear is usually shot when the water is very, very cold.
Melissa is unsure, saying “I got a little bit nervous. Water is not something that I’m extremely comfortable with”. Dude. You’re like 70% water. Find a way to deal.
Shiny Alex Perry introduces a long-haired, tanned photographer who probably wants very badly to make it in Europe in four or so years' time, and thinks that a single blog post might affect that. He surprises nobody when he says “I grew up on the Northern beaches of Sydney. I’ve been surrounded by Australian beach culture my whole life”.
Today the girls will be impersonating natural, caught-in-the-moment, non-posy Aussie surfer girls in wetsuits of various coverage, holding surfboards with their names on them. Duckie says she’s not good at surfing which is weird, because people who are terrible at ballet are usually awesome surfers.
Melissa is up first, and despite telling us that her dad describes her swimming style as looking like she’s drowning, shivers through the cold to land an excellent, if unco-operatively youthful, shot.
Shanali’s body is bullshit. It’s just bullshit.
Abbie looks surprisingly appropriate as a surfer chick, cementing her place as that girl that nobody really had an opinion about in the first few episodes but that everybody spastically loves now.
Shannon sits on the edge of the pool and I actually dig her shot. Mind you, I’ve always appreciated good value, and she seems to have managed a photo shoot and a gynaecological exam for the price of one, so extra points for efficiency and sexual health.
|That is the most determined vagina I have ever seen.|
Ashley over-poses a fair bit, despite Shiny Alex Perry urging her to be ‘chilled out’, have a ‘sense of quiet’, and be ‘a little bit zen-like’. Clearly what he should have said is ‘pretend you’ve got a migraine’. She’s really quite nervous about her shot, telling us that “All it takes right now is to have your hand the wrong way and you could be eliminated”. She may be right, y’know.
Duckie says she’s pleased to be ‘doing something completely different’, not like posing on scaffolding, or near an elephant in Thailand, or with fifties styling, or on a fallen windmill in the outback, or laughing on a hotel balcony. Completely. Different. The photographer says she’s not modelling, she’s just sort of hanging out in front of the camera. He means it as a good thing. I know. I know.
Dajana has to pretend that she’s an Australian surfer chick, and does an excellent job of pretending she’s an Australian surfer chick who suddenly and repeatedly gives birth to a surfboard. She keeps falling off the board, getting more and more frustrated. Happily, she keeps her face sophisticated and serene.
|Acting, you guys.|
Jade does a bomb into the water while the photographer shouts ‘Cannonball!’. Meanwhile, Shannon determinedly laments missing the opportunity to make a ‘Shannonball’ pun. Jade is fine. She’s fine. She uses the term ‘a little too Blue-Steely’, but she’s fine.
The photographer gives each of the girls a little kiss when their shoot is finished. They don’t seem to mind.
We come back from the ad-break to learn about the prizes, which I think this year include four sample-size Kit Kats and a meerkat onesie.
Screamin’ J. Hawkins welcomes the girls to the Eliminatorium in a black and white print and promptly describes Dawso as ‘Our resident beach babe’…
…Diddles as ‘every girl’s favourite lifesaver’…
|I promise that's a Lifesaver, not an anus.|
…and Shiny Alex Perry as a ‘bronzed Adonis’.
|He's so sleepy he forgot to wear a tablecloth.|
They all flick through photos with a smattering of interesting:
Dawso describes Shanali as ‘totally tubin’ it’, and nobody pretends to know what that means, including Dawso. Jen says she’s ‘in a moment’.
All the judges spastically love Abbie’s photo, noting her posing progression. Jen says she’s ‘in the moment’.
Jade’s photo causes some considerable argument. Shiny Alex Perry and Dawso do agree that it’s ‘a moment’, though. Gosh, so few things are these days.
Duckie looks a tiny bit like she’s drowning, but completely beautifully. Everyone waits with bated breath to see what Jen says. She says it is ‘a moment’.
Dajana’s shot also causes some consternation. Dawso convulsively loves it, but Shiny Alex Perry shocks her by saying he hates it. Jen says it’s ‘definitely caught in the moment’. I catch Dawso in the moment and make her eat some baklava.
All the judges remark upon how young but cute Melissa looks except Jen, who says ‘there is a moment there’.
Shannon’s shot is the least uptight anyone has ever seen her, and is quite, quite awesome. Dawso is a bit miffed that in the shot she’s not noticing the hot guy next to her, making the odd decision to call Shannon ‘dude’. Shiny Alex Perry giggles, remarking "I think it’s really funny when old people use the word ‘dude’", easily earning him this week’s trophy.
Screamin’ J. Hawkins isn’t wild about Ashley’s shot as ‘it’s meant to be in a moment’. Ashley has a cry, which is one of the main symptoms of migraine. Pretty sure.
I'm also pretty sure that most of the girls are in, at, or at the very least living next door to the moment. Wouldn't you say so, Amazing Psychic Desk?
The scrags leave, the judges deliberate, Dawso threatens to ‘slap those silly sunnies’ off Shiny Alex Perry’s head, the scrags return, and tense background music plays, preparing itself to be replaced imminently by that fucking ‘she lives in a different world’ fucking elimination fucking song.
Shanali gets photo of the week at least partly because she’s my best friend, Abbie is called out second, and names are called one by one until only Jade and Ashley remain. Ashley starts crying. Everyone dies of shock.
Eighteen full seasons of Two and a Half Men pass, and Ashley is out. She cries, inspiring all three judges to join forces and laser-eyes.
Bye, Ashley. You’re gorgeous, even when you’re being strangled with a migraine and appendicitis. Any last words?