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Thursday, December 28, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #13

Again, I find myself at the end of a series of America’s Next Top Module with a strange, jangly sense of anti-climax and emptiness.
No distinct mental, psychotic behaviour. That Postal Worker never clawed its way out of Melrose.
No fuzzy-focus nookie, gay or otherwise, save for a quick pash on a Spanish balcony.
No drunkenness.
Hardly any Janice Dickinson.
No nude scenes involving Nigel Barker.

ANTM - I love you like a drunk loves paint thinner and pant-pissing, but if I wanted to see a bunch of boring, mentally-challenged people with dishwater attitudes, nothing to say, dumb hair and rubbish clothes, I’d just go to the Big Day Out.

Despite all this, ANTM is still the most glorious celebration of vanity, low IQ, jutting collarbones and ridiculous scenarios I have ever known, and I will love this show until the day I die. Thank you, ANTM, for another season of indenting the mark of my arse on the couch.
Without further adieu, I give you the ‘Ding Dong The Bitch Is Dead’ episode of America’s Next Top Module.

· We’re launched into a quick montage of ‘The Journey’, including seeing our three finalists, Eugena the Boring, Melrose the Latent Postal Worker and CariDee the Epitome of All That Is Good with their original hair. Eugena has a bob. Melrose is a brunette. Caridee is exactly the same, as changing a hair on her head would be like coating a block of chocolate in chocolate or giving Clive Owen lessons in How To Be Sexy, British and Dangerous.

· No time is wasted as our modules meet Mr Jay for a Cover Girl commercial taping and photo-shoot. Danielle, the Gap-toothed Ghetto ‘Gator of last series, is introduced to help the girls out with some advice, the sum total of which is “Remember – you’re a Cover Girl now”. The fashion industry has spoiled Danielle – not a “haaaaaay” or a “trippin’” falls from her mouth. The girls practice their lines whilst getting their make-up applied, and Caridee gets annoyed with Melrose’s constant repetitive assaults on the English language, and says so. “Stop listening to me then, ho” is the Postal Worker’s response, which sets the gloriously catty tone for the whole episode. We hate you, Melrose. We hate you like a fox.

· Caridee is up first, and she initially stuffs her lines. Hardly surprising – the script runs something like “She sells Cover Girl Sparkly Shit on the seashore, and furthermore, red lorry yellow lorry”. Eventually Caridee loosens up, realising she’s concentrating too hard, and finishes brilliantly. “I gotta stop thinking”, she says. “I’m a blonde. It’s not working out”. Bless you and your self-deprecating patois, CariDee. I’m weaving you a friendship bracelet on my Knitting Nancy as we speak. Eugena the Boring also muffs her lines, albeit in a truly tedious way, and I’m temporarily distracted by a dead bee on the windowsill. Melrose is nervous – you can tell because she says “I’m nervous” over and over again – and fluffs her lines. She eventually fixes a vacant, psychotic grin on her face and does an average job, followed by tears and hyperventilation as she comes to terms with the fact that she’s not perfect. Boo-bloody-hoo, beeyarch. Build a bridge.

· Still shots are up next - Caridee is relaxed, Eugena is concentrating on making her eyes look less like a cataract-plagued zombie, and Melrose breathes slowly, saying to herself “Okay. You have to perform now”. The girls have to link arms, smile, laugh, and pretend they’re the best of friends. “It’s so funny,” says Eugena. “Because we’re not”. Pow! Another smokin’ zinger from Eugena. It’s like Tinky Winky writes her material.

· My buttocks have only just settled themselves snugly into the couch-dent, and we’re having an elimination already! I need some Awakenings medication just to keep up. A Tyra-Mail drags the modules to the Elimination Castle, where Tyra greets them from behind a black and red boosie-prison and three kilograms of make-up. She introduces the judges, including Spunky Nigel, who I’m re-springing my mattress for, and designer guest judges Victorio and Lucchino, whose combined ages make them older than carbon. Think Waldorf and Statler from the Muppets, but gayer, older, and with subtitles. The Cover Girl commercial is screened, and the modules emote and gurn their way through their lines, and I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure Caridee touches Eugena’s boob in the last scene. Tell me I’m wrong.

· Individual takes of the commercial and still shots are shown, with Melrose up first. Waldorf and Statler make a comment, and although the subtitles show “magnificent, fresh young talker”, and my Spanish is a little rusty, I think it was more like “what a freakin’ arsehole”, or perhaps even “You know, Victorio, I really like chorizo sausage”. Melrose’s still shot is unimpressive, and comments are made about her stiff lips, as it looks a little like she’s trying to keep flour dry in her mouth. Eugena’s ad and photo are surprisingly good, although ol’ dead-eyes make another appearance. If you look really closely into her pupils, you can just see the outline of the Elevator Straight To Hell. Caridee’s ad is mildly over the top, but her still photo is like a spoonful of pretty stirred into a cup of hot gorgeous.

· The judges deliberate, labelling Eugena as personality-less, Caridee as unpredictable, and Melrose as consistently sort-of-okay. The modules re-enter, and Tyra spaces her words out as much as possible in the time available, either to build drama or to give her a chance to pick last night’s chicken out of her molars with her tongue. The first finalist’s name is called, and, because the judges obviously have eyes, it’s Caridee! Melrose, clearly thinking she should have been called first, looks like she’s swallowed a thistle. Never mind, you crazy bitch – you’re next! Melrose’s name is called, the Grateful Postal Worker ripples under the surface, Caridee grimaces like she’s just smelled a brickie’s armpit, and Eugena is out. Caridee and Eugena share a hug, and Melrose latches onto the outside of the embrace in exactly the same way that sane people don’t. Caridee whispers to Eugena “I’ll get this for you, I promise”, meaning “I won’t let that grinning fuckwit win, babe. For real”. Eugena is philosophical and boring in defeat. Bye, Eugena. Don’t send us into an irreversible coma on your way out.

· Tension is high as we start what is tediously and repetitively referred to ‘The Battle Of The Blondes’, and Caridee remarks that “now this house feels like pure competition”. The sentence is barely out of her mouth before the two remaining modules are whisked off for a Seventeen Magazine cover-shoot, where they’re met by Mr Jay, George the photographer, and my favourite Jewish cartoon character, Atoosa ‘Bless You’ Rubenstein, editor-in-chief. After being dressed and daubed with make-up, I have to admit that both girls look chest-clutchingly gorgeous as they preen and hair-flick their way through the shoot. Atoosa comments that Caridee is “more than just a pretty face”, and that Melrose has “a unique look”, perhaps implying that so few models these days can look like a fifty-year-old mental patient and still work a frilly frock.

· Next, Tyra introduces Dr Michelle, a life-coach, in a thinly-veiled plug for the Tyra Banks Show, or as I like to call it: Fried Chicken Plus Fried Chicken Equals Change The Freakin’ Channel. Some one-on-one soul-searching ensues, and I’m so bored I consider reading the Swedish-language section of an Ikea instructional booklet. Yawn. Next.

· We’re nearly in the home stretch as Caridee and Melrose arrive at the scene of the episode’s climax – the catwalk show. The venue is gorgeous – a stunningly-lit tunnel in a classic Gaudi building, but the premise of the show is straight from the Big Stupid Book of Stupid Catwalk Show Ideas. Dressed as Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons, the modules are to take to the catwalk three times in big white frocks and big white faces – the first time as normal modules, the second time with the added instruction to stop and ‘face off’ with the other modules, and the last time as screaming, flailing, 18th-century nutjobs with big fuzzy hair and tiaras. Tyra, Miss Jay and Spunky Nigel arrive, with Tyra dressed in black, puffy, high-necked satin like a busty she-vampire who has fed for too long on the blood of Carnie Wilson.

· The show starts, and two sweet little girls walk the runway, tossing white petals on the floor before squealing like stuck piglets and running away in some high-fashion amateur dramatics. Then in come our girls, led by Melrose, who walks it like a melodramatic champion. Let’s face it – in a fashion show themed around insane asylum denizens from another century, she’s a freakin’ natural. Caridee is next, and unfortunately looks like she’s walking in stone clogs through a field of glue. She clomps along, vogues for the judges, and clomps back. Not great. The second appearance, whilst still good for Melrose, isn’t much better from Caridee – the girls stop halfway down the runway for the obligatory ‘face-off’, during which enough implied venom is exchanged to fell a woolly mammoth, and as Melrose is sashaying away, Caridee accidentally steps on her skirt and rips a gigantic hole in it. In a word: Oops. Just for something different, Melrose throws a hissy, crying and waving her arms in the air, exclaiming “She ripped the dress! She stepped on the f*cking dress!”, and getting three assistants to fan her back to sanity. She’s way pissed at Caridee, and even says she wants to “nunchuck her”. Brilliant. My name is Melrose, and I’m into Chanel, long walks on the beach, mental health issues and beating people to death with sticks. Miss Jay excuses himself from the audience with no excuse in an incongruous, plot-thickening flourish.

· The third runway outing begins, in which the modules are to summon the spirits of various wailing lunatics, and who better to start the mayhem than a reeling, screeching, black-clad Miss Jay? Nobody, that’s who. Ambiguous gender and crack dependency: this is your time to shine. Melrose follows, and does a pretty good job of rantin’ in the Renaissance, managing to look old, unstable and pretty all at the same time. Caridee follows, and, as it gives me gastric discomfort to say, is awful. When she screams, it’s the scream of a disemboweled warthog, with the facial expression to match, and when she totters around like a maniac, it’s the totter of a roller-skating drunk. Tyra wildly tries to direct the action from the front row, but only succeeds in sending a disturbing quiver through her gelatinous arms and torso. The show ends with a dramatic final face-off pose between the two girls, and Melrose comes off stage announcing that “my performance rocked”. Scene.

· A Tyra-Mail announces the Final. Elimination. Panel. Ever. Both modules arrive looking stunning, although Caridee definitely outshines Melrose – Melrose is a pretty girl, but Caridee is, as she has been all series, da shit. Mr Jay is the guest judge, Tyra seems to be giving her norks a rest in a relatively loose-fitting, revolting yellow and green dress, and Nigel is there, quite obviously teetering on the verge of sending me a dirty text message. Footage from the catwalk show is shown, and there’s really no comparing Meridee and Calrose…er…. the two modules – Melrose can walk, and Caridee kind of blunders around, and the judges are quite vocal in their panning of the Caridee shuffle. All may not be lost, however, as photos from the whole series to date are dragged through, and it’s quite obvious that, whilst Melrose takes a good photo, Caridee is plainly from the planet Phwoar. The judges agree that Melrose kicked scrawny arse in the catwalk showdown, but that Caridee is the consistent star.

· After deliberating, the girls face up to the panel for their final judgement, and they’re both, quite frankly, buggin’. The modules are asked what the fashion industry means to them, and Caridee makes some almost indecipherable remarks about passion, persistence and psoriasis through a wall of tears and snot, whilst Melrose spins her usual ambitious spiel and grimaces briefly in a truly woeful attempt at emotion. She’s like Fakey McFake from Shamtown, and I really want to rub a pinecone in her eye. The announcement, after the requisite number of pregnant pauses, is made, and the winner is….. CARIDEE!!!!
Don’t pretend you didn’t know it would be. This was the most transparent series since glass.

· Melrose is humble in defeat, sincerely congratulates Caridee, and apologises to all the judges for being such a conceited, psychotic mole.
As fucking if.
Melrose bawls the bitter cry of the insane, and looks like she’s re-digesting her own bile. She complains to camera “I put my heart and soul into this, and got called a bitch the whole way through, for what?!?!”. Um… is it because you’re a bitch? Just putting it out there. Bye, Melrose! Don’t trip over your own jealous rage on the way out.

· The deeply deserving Caridee cries, jumps up and down, and, probably as punishment for having psoriasis, has to pose for a photo-shoot with Tyra. I settle back into my couch-groove, raise my glass, and nod the nod of the smug. The world is as it should be. Except for, like, wars and shit.

And so here we are at the end of another series.
The baddies got their come-uppance, the goodies got their just rewards, and the twins got gastric reflux.
I’m counting the days until Australia’s Next Top Westie Scrag, and for those of you unfamiliar with the Antipodean version, it’s exactly like the American series.
If it was set in a women’s prison.
The day every single inmate gets their period.
What’s not to love?

Thanks for reading, and a fierce, edgy fashion-forward farewell to you all.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #12

It's cold in Casa De Module.
With only four girls left, tensions and nerves are high, and there's no room for niceties. Caridee hates Melrose. Eugena hates Melrose. Melrose hates everybody. Amanda hates prune juice. Still.
I'm feeling the chill in the "Shiver Me Bimbos" episode of America's Next Top Module.

· Amanda, in her usual thin-faced, pointy-nosed fashion, laments the departure of her sister, claiming that she made the ultimate sacrifice by practically inviting the judges to boot her. Sure, 'ultimate sacrifices' are usually things like donating kidneys or throwing oneself on grenades, but getting kicked out of a televised modelling competition is almost the same thing. If I was Amanda, I'd be more upset that, without the novelty value of having someone who looks exactly like you to help chug the plot along, all she is now is a gawky Ginger bag full of femurs, ulnas, and ribs. Think Richie Cunningham on a diet of oestrogen and heroin. There. You got it.

· A Tyra-Mail cryptically announces this week's theme of Working With A Partner, and our modules file into a dance studio, where they're met by a dancing dwarf with the best name ever – Nacho Blanco. I'm pretty sure I've ordered him in a restaurant before. Nacho, through an interpreter, tells the girls they'll be learning to dance flamenco today, and introduces three hot Spanish guys and one anaemic geek. They stamp their hooves and clap their hands, and each module picks one to be their partner. Amanda picks the anaemic geek, and I've never seen two more snappable necks or sets of unused genitalia in such a small space before. Nacho teaches the girls some steps, keeping time by shouting "Bam, Bum, Bing-Bing Bum", which, combined with his name, makes him the funniest Spanish midget dance instructor I've ever, ever seen.

· Melrose's confidence far outweighs her dancing ability, Eugena is a natural, Caridee is pretty good, and Amanda looks like the scrap bin at a chicken-boning plant. Eugena, in an even more insightful burn than last week, comments that "Amanda looks like Amanda trying to dance". Wow. Ouch. Your literal is so lateral, Eugena. The modules are told to practice hard for a dance challenge tomorrow. Eugena's natural ability precludes any practice, but Amanda and Caridee stay up most of the night rehearsing their moves in eerie night-vision light green. Amanda's skin-tone is unchanged. Melrose, instilling a delicious tingle of impending disaster in all our loins, says "I don't want to over-practice. It'll just work". Oh, Melrose, my bug-eyed, psycho-grinned friend. If it wasn't for the inflationary qualities of your huge ego and over-blown sense of ability, you'd crumple like a house of maniacal cards.

· The modules go to dinner with Miss Jay, who has little advice except for the implied How To Look Like A Crack-Addicted Hermaphrodite. The simple question "How did you end up here?" triggers a babble switch in Melrose, and she rants like a caffeinated cockatoo about fashion design, ambition and blah blah bloody blah. Everybody, Miss Jay included, looks on with a mixture of boredom and incredulity. Caridee remarks to camera that Melrose seems to have three personalities and that "It's really creepy. Maybe she should be medicated". I love pharmaceutical cattiness, especially from the mouth of my New Best Friend. Miss Jay rounds off the dinner by voicing what everyone's thinking: "May the best bitch win". Amen, freak.

· Caridee and Eugena are becoming fast friends, forming a strange kind of black/white, exciting/boring, best-chick-in-the-world/evil-vacant-lump-of-flesh partnership. You can tell they're friends, because first thing in the morning, Caridee invites Eugena to "feel how smooth my armpits are today". That's how all girls express their devotion to each other. It's a bit like having a pillow-fight in our undies, gentlemen. You know we do. The two besties discuss their growing distaste for Melrose, and this starts a montage of diary-room clips:
o Eugena on Melrose: "I'd be pissed off if she won".
o Caridee on Melrose: "She's so fake. She's like WWF wrestling".
o Melrose on Caridee: "She has no problem with vulgarity"
o Caridee on Melrose: "If Melrose becomes America's Next Top model, I'll puke. All over. I'll just puke.
Goddamn, I love Caridee. I'm going to compare people to wrestling as frequently as possible from now on. And maybe puke a little.

· Nacho Blanco greets the modules in a park with "Ola, Chicas", and tells them they'll be dressing in full flamenco costume for a photographed dance challenge. Polka-dotted frilly meringues are produced, and the girls take the stage in turn to stampy-stamp-stamp their way through the challenge. Caridee and Jose do well, helped along by a considerable amount of mutual sek-shoo-all electricity, and Eugena and Oscar are excellent. Amanda and Grua go through the motions like whippets on a treadmill, and Melrose and Angel do reasonably well, but Melrose is rattled when she forgets some of the steps. A normal, non-pre-postal person might have shrugged off this minor mistake with a coquettish giggle, but Melrose's face hints at a concealed pencil-case filled with razor-blades and iodine. Nacho is proud of his protégés, as any corn and avocado-based baked dish would be, although he does point out Melrose's errors. Eugena wins the challenge, and picks Amanda to share her prize of three designer jackets.

· Melrose is gutted that she didn't win the challenge, and we should take a moment to list some of her cavalcade of comments and excuses. I've even thrown in a fake one to see if you're paying attention – see if you can pick it!
o "My dress is too long. You can't see my footwork".
o "This dress is HUGE on me".
o "I don't like dancing all serious"
o "You have to be perfect to win, and it's frustrating".
o "I hate how you only get one chance!"
o "I'm mad at myself".
o "Dancing is like, my soul".
o "I wanna, like, get a kitchen knife and just STAB, STAB, STAB! All work and no play make Melrose a dull boy. I want to play with your entrails".

· Yet another Tyra-Mail summons the girls to an outdoor pool, where Mr Jay and Tyra meet them to explain today's photo-shoot. Tyra will be "coaching" (read: drawing attention to herself with a series of hoots and clucks) the modules whilst they float in the pool in pairs in designer frocks, evoking the spirit of 'ethereal angels'. What?! No idiot costumes, extreme make-up or motorised hair? Are you sure? Melrose and Eugena take the plunge into the unseasonably icy water first, and in a groundbreaking scientific experiment, we find that committable lunacy floats, and cranky disdain for all humans sinks like a stone, as Boring Eugena has trouble keeping her head above water. Melrose comments that "I think I'm good in water. Eugena's struggling to get the float on". The pair shiver and sputter through their photo session, finding it hard to look relaxed and friendly through the cold and their intense loathing for each other. Amanda and Caridee are next, and Caridee's grace is offset by Amanda's stiff, awkward floating Meccano impersonation. The cold begins to seep into Caridee's bones, and she starts quaking and convulsing with hypothermia and a touch of the grippe. Mr Jay and a paramedic drag her out of the pool and warm her with a towel, and Tyra scolds her for not listening to her body. If only Tyra listened to her own body a little less often, particularly when it wakes her up in the middle of the night to go get another eleven-piece bucket. For health and litigation-avoidance reasons, Caridee is forbidden to re-enter the pool, so Amanda finishes the shoot by herself. Melrose rolls her eyes, seemingly indignant that Caridee was able to take the spotlight away from her with a cheap trick like partial cardiac failure. Bitch.

· It's judgement time, and the modules front up to the judges, including Spunky Nigel, who I'm making a mix-tape for, and guest judge David the photographer. Tyra's back in a corset, although it seems to fit quite well, sharpening my growing disappointment with her stylist. First the flamenco photographs are viewed, and we're shown a close-up of Amanda's feet, which point disturbingly in two different directions. No biggie when you're constructed mainly of pipe-cleaners and chewing-gum. Miss Jay jumps up to demonstrate his version of Transgender Flamenco, and in a surprise comparable to finding a piece of metal in a Christmas cake, Tyra screams "I wanna dance with you, Miss Jay!", and proves without a doubt that wiggling like you've stuck a bobbypin in a socket has bugger-all to do with flamenco. Tyra loses a shoe but flaps onward, explaining that even if your clothes fall off, you should keep on with the job, the irony being that she really shouldn't have hoisted herself up off her dimpled derriere in the first place.

· Floating pool-photos are picked through, and I have to admit that all four of the girls look breathtakingly stunning – all wafty hair, dreamy faces, flowing gowns and the complexions expected from those halfway through the cryogenic process. The judges note that Eugena had trouble floating ("If you start to sink, keep your face PRETTY!"), that Amanda has the limbs of an emaciated scarecrow, and that Caridee is impressive in her ability to look hot when she's quite decidedly not. Temperature-wise, I mean. Aesthetically, she's bodacious.

· The judges deliberate and make the following insightful comments:
o Nigel (proving he's worthy of his no doubt stunning pant-filler): "Melrose irks me. That hat makes her look like she's trying too hard".
o Tyra: "Eugena looks like she's given up".
o Nigel (making me not want to eat his neck for just a second): "Caridee takes a beautiful picture, but she's too high-maintenance".
o Twiggy: "Amanda's body is a disaster"
Note that I haven't included any of Tyra's comments here – I've successfully tuned my ears and brain to a frequency that filters her voice into a dull fatty hum.

· Judgement time, and Tyra clutches the Photos of Doom in her meaty paws as she calls the names of the successful modules. Melrose is called first, and Caridee mouths something to herself – I'm no lip-reader, but she definitely, definitely included the word "bitch". Eugena the Boring is called next, leaving just Caridee and Amanda. Tyra tells Amanda that she has an edgy, high fashion look (read: scrawny), but that she's awkward and meek. Caridee is told that she has a bubbly personality, but that she might spill over and flood (hummmmmmm), and that she can't handle extreme temperatures. We all know what happens. We do. Caridee is safe, and Amanda is given the flick, because things are right with the world. Caridee cries gratefully, and Amanda, relationship-novice that she is, comments that "It's kinda like I'm breaking up with Top Model, but I got broken up with". Really. If this is break-up sex, you really got screwed, girl. Bye, Amanda! Try not to yoik up a cup of prune juice on your way out.

Next week, the competition gets jalapeno-hot as the field narrows to three, the girls have trouble remembering their lines for a commercial, and a catwalk is set up in what looks like a snow-tunnel. Spicy. Dicy. Icy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Keeping Me Up At Night

Is Dopey the only Dwarf who shaves, or is he just incapable of growing facial hair?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #11

Once again in life, I find myself looking for answers in the words of Alicia Silverstone. I'm paraphrasing, but this week's episode is a Monet - from far away it looks okay, but up close it's a big old mess. No discernable theme. Multiple scenarios plucked straight from previous series. Modules falling to bits before our eyes. Spunky judges getting all hoity and cross with little justification. There's only a couple of episodes left, and I desperately need some plot cohesion in this, the "Take The Bully By The Horns" episode of America's Next Top Module.

· There are only five modules left, two of them are virgins, one of them is gay, and they've been virtually deprived of any meaningful male contact for eleven weeks. By my initial calculations, that means they're roughly ninety-two percent randy, and, being in Spain, a joke about bulls and horns would probably be appropriate here. Never mind. Melrose jumps on the dog & bone (that's rhyming slang, people – get your mind above the curly zone) and calls Lucas, one of the Spanish male modules from last week's episode. She asks him to accompany the girls to dinner that night and to bring some friends, finishing the call with "Bye, sexy". Even Amanda, the straight twin, gets excited and comments that "Spanish guys and American guys are very similar. They all have the same jokes and stuff, but Spanish guys smell better". Considering their diet is mostly cured meat and garlic, I can only surmise that American guys should seriously consider having a wash. Amanda even adds "What happens in Spain stays in Spain", which would be more convincing without the presence of a camera crew, several boom mikes and Amanda's obvious inexperience in the squelchy realm.

· Dinner is a speedily-edited affair, which is disappointing – it's not really a proper series of ANTM until we're witness to some drunken stumbling, badly-concealed up-chucking and some cross-cultural dry-humping. Despite Melrose's previous diva boast that she likes "a glass of wine or four", no tangible evidence of off-trolleyness ensues. Then what could have easily stretched out into a half-hour of fuzzy-focus soft porn is a blink-and-you'll-miss-it montage of Caridee and male module Victor heading out to the balcony for a cigarette, Caridee and Victor going the pash, and, seemingly much later, Caridee farewelling Victor at the front door in hushed tones and quite possibly a change of clothes. No big deal whatsoever is made of this highly entertaining development, which I think sells Caridee a bit short. She's not just a prime example of human perfection, she's a bit of a slut as well. What's not to love?

· The next morning, the girls visit with Tyra for a one-on-five Condescension Carnival. Tyra contorts her face into her all-knowing, all-caring grimace and tells the modules she wants to talk about the "harsh realities of this industry". What follows is a jaw-dropping stream of megalomaniacal twaddle, the main gist of which is to tell the girls that Tyra knows best, and that if she ever says anything harsh that makes them feel bad about themselves (and vomit, or cut themselves, or whatever it is contemporary modules do these days), that it's for their own good, and they'll thank her for it one day. There are several highlights, including the statement that the modelling industry is the toughest industry of all. Sure, physicists and microsurgeons have to study for a decade and a half, but they don't have to look fierce in heels at the same time. Other highlights include:
o "America's Next Top Model is your coach", which I guess makes Miss Jay the head cheerleader;
o "I'm gonna sacrifice myself for you", which turns out to be an empty promise, as I envision Tyra falling on her own sword, or being pecked by crows, or something. She's probably speaking metaphorically though, huh.
o "It's coming from a place of love and a place of mama". What, is she breast-feeding the girls now? I hope it goes down better than last week's prune juice.
o "When you're in the jungle and then things are happening that the coach said, you're like 'Dang. Tyra said that". Grammatical atrocities aside, I can't actually fault this one. I love it when people say "Dang".

· A Tyra-Mail arrives, warning of the Impending Go-See Frenzy, and the modules meet at Elite modelling agency, ushered in by Pancho, the aptly-named director. If any of you have watched more than one series of Top Module before, you'll be able to easily predict the coming events – a time limit, a number of designers to "go-see", modules walking up and down under the critical eye of some bitch company director, confusion over getting cabs in another language, a ticking clock super-imposed on the screen, and at least one module turning up late at the final muster-point, red-faced and panting. Blah-di-blah-di-blah. Eugena and Caridee pair up, Mimanda forms another predictable duo, and Melrose craps on and on and on about how she's happy being by herself, and she doesn't need "a little counterpart buddy". I'm sure the voices in your head are keeping you plenty company, my unbalanced friend. The twins take an hour to get to their first appointment, complaining that they don't know what street signs look like in other countries. It's easy, girls – they're on street corners, and they look a bit phalli…. oh. I see your point. The other modules go through their separate predictable motions, and all except the twins arrive back at Elite in time. Like gastric reflux in its ability to both repeat itself and turn my stomach, Melrose wins the go-see challenge, and picks Caridee to share in a dinner cooked by a personal chef. Yawn.

· Photo-shoot time, and the girls gather in a bullfighting ring, met by Mr Jay in a matador's outfit and more smudgy eyeliner than Chrissie Hynde the morning after a bender. Eugena comments that Mr Jay "doesn't look like a matador, he looks like Mr Jay dressed as a matador". Um… yes. Choice burn, Eugena. Mr Jay announces that today the girls will be shooting with a "bully", and in saunters today's photographer and my reason for shaving, Spunky Nigel. The Spanish sun don't half make him look edible. The girls are then introduced to the other sinewy piece of meat taking part in the shoot as an angry-looking bull is released suddenly into the ring, thundering towards them. The modules scatter and bolt to safety like screaming wheatgerm in a high wind, and I tip my sombrero to the show's writers. I always thought this show was only so much bullshit, and here's the brilliant, ironic proof.

· In today's shoot, the modules will be dressed as Hot Chick Matadors With Silly Hair, and will be required to wave a rod about, imagining it's a matador's cape. The actual cape will be Photo-shopped in later for dramatic effect. As Nigel is explaining the shoot and showing them the rod in question (Nigel. Rod. Phnar.), Caridee, being the Best Chick In The World Who Got Hammered At The Last Judging Panel, asks Nigel "Did you just remove that from your ass from last panel?". Now, a normal person's reaction to a pearler like that would be a high five, a round of beers, and possibly the shouting of the word "Psyche!". But no. Nigel goes a bit quiet and walks away, and Mr Jay steps in to give Caridee and the girls a gay-spray about respecting judges and photographers. Caridee defends herself to camera by saying that it was obviously a joke, and she was just being herself, but it seems Nigel is touchy about jokes involving the insertion and/or removal of rods from his bottom. Melrose milks the situation by blathering on about how respectful she is towards her elders, proving that she has no problem herself with scenarios involving the judges' bottoms and her own nose and mouth.

· Despite the unnerving appearance of an ambulance and the instruction "If you hear the handlers say "run", then run", all the modules pull some pretty brilliant poses out of their diminutive arses, and with the exception of Amanda, who looks like Marilyn Manson in a skinny-mirror, all look bloody good in their trampy matador garb. Eugena the Boring poses dramatically well, despite the presence of three hundred kilos of stamping, snorting rage behind her. The bull looks cross, too. Amanda's session is interrupted when the handler shouts "run!", and she leaps to safety like a terrified hat-pin. Michelle, according to Nigel, "uses her fear", possibly staining her matador-pants the new black as she does so. Mr Jay, somewhat redundantly, asks Melrose to show him some arrogance, but she seems to be trying too hard, and Caridee's performance is inhibited by her post-dressing-down sulks. She says, frustrated, that she "wants to do well for Nigel", which with the exception of the words "well for" is exactly how I feel. She's accused of looking too much like a porn star, which seems unfair considering she's wearing tiny, shiny hotpants that would make Linda Lovelace blush. She apologises again to Nigel for her previous rectal faux-pas, and he gives her another stern chat about respect again. Enough, Nigel. Oh, wow. I never thought I'd say that.

· Our modules are summoned to Casa De Elimination to face their fate, and I'm again disappointed to report that Tyra doesn't look like a five-dollar highway prostitute. Why does she let me down like this? Next week she'd better go see the Colonel and squeeze herself back into a toddler's corset, or I'll sue. The girls are asked to each tell the judges who they think has the most and least potential in the competition. Blatant excuse for ego and bitchiness anyone? Melrose elects herself as "most", due to her determination, and Eugena as "least", as she finds it frightening that she doesn't hear any of the psychotic desperation for attention and success that so often spurts from her own mouth. Eugena picks herself as "most" because of something boring about a journey, and Amanda as "least" because of her lack of confidence. Caridee picks herself as "most" because of her passion, and Amanda as "least" for her lack of it. Amanda, because she's an idiot, picks Eugena as "most", and Caridee as "least" because, apparently her look is all "country girl", and we've all seen it before. We've seen anaemic stick-figures with kindergarten-level educations and wing-nut ears before too, honey, but we're not getting all catty on your arse. Rowr. Michelle picks Caridee as "most" because of her bubbliness, and then gives an Oscar-worthy (I'm talking The Grouch, not The Academy) performance involving tears, sobs, and hair-pulling as she picks herself as "worst". Good strategy, mate. Sound.

· Photos are picked to bits, and Mimanda's are woeful – all ears, turkey-neck and pale blue skin, whilst the others are pretty decent. In an underwhelming ANTM world-first, Caridee pulls a crumpled piece of paper out of her pocket and recites an apologetic speech to Nigel and the judges about her inexcusable behaviour, proving that molehills can be mountains, and dead horses can truly be flogged. Nigel gives her yet another serve about respect and humility, and I almost don't want to lick his face for a second.

· The judges deliberate, and Nigel comments that Caridee is "a model falling apart in front of our eyes". Give it (or me) a bone, mate. The modules are called back into the room, and names are called out one by one, and I'm gushingly relieved when Caridee's name is called third, leaving just the Twins Mimanda to face the music. In her traditional character assassination, Tyra doesn't actually use either twin's name, making me suspect that I'm not the only one who can't tell the bastards apart. "You," she says, "have natural talent, but no passion". "And you", she continues, turning slightly, "have all the drive in the world, but no talent". In an underwhelming decision that smacks loudly of coin-flipping, Gay Michelle is given the boot, and Amanda is tearfully safe. As Michelle leaves, she gives what she thinks is a "V for Victory" sign, but which I read as an "Up yours, arseholes" gesture. Bye, Michelle. Mind you don't have a crisis of sexual orientation on the way out.

Next week, the modules learn flamenco, Melrose's Postal Worker Within inches ever closer to the surface, and Caridee gets some disturbing shakes in the swimming pool. Frilly. Silly. Chilly.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Me Love You Very Short Time

Nuttin'. Not a peep. No 11pm phone-chirps to let me know my mystery paramour still has the digital hots for me.
Maybe he's just playing hard to get.
Maybe it's over.
I think I've been rejected by an illiterate international scam-merchant. True, I've never met him, but it still hurts, y'know?
Lucky my phone vibrates, or I'd have no bloody use for it whatsoever.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Me Love You Short Time

Over the last week I've become the intended victim of what I'm sure is a call-back mobile 'phone scam. In these scams, an unknown caller or text-messager tries to encourage you to call a certain number which then costs you an arm and a leg per minute, usually to listen to a recorded message.

Either that, or some randy bugger with atrocious grammar has really, really got the hots for me.

The texts, one per day, come at around the same time every night (about 11pm), and have escalated in their urgency and amorousness, just like a real relationship. I can't wait to see where this goes…

Day 1: Where are you? What are you doing?
Nice opening line. Simple. Friendly. Open-ended. I texted back "Who's this?", not recognising the number, which probably means I've now unwittingly subscribed to an expensive series of erotic text messages. No response.

Day 2: I miss you. I love you.
Woah! Slow down, buddy. I'm still indifferent. You haven't even bought me a drink, you cheap bastard. Or answered my question. Or noticed that I changed my hair.

Day 3: Call me.
A bit needy, this early on, and frankly I'm still a bit miffed about the drink. I will not, sir.

Day 4: What's happen? Call me.
What's happen is you have bad grammar. I like men with good grammar. Who say please.

Day 5: If you free time ring me I love you I miss you good night
Okay, now you're getting freaky. You're not even punctuating any more, or using capital letters, both qualities I usually admire in a man. This sounds like the ramblings of a guy who rocks back and forth a lot. I understand, though. You've been driven insane by love.

The number the texts are coming from is thirteen digits long, starting with 8615, so my digital Lothario is either overseas or has so much money he can afford to have a longer phone number than most people. I'm assuming it's the latter.
I'm really looking forward to tonight's text message, unless he's over me already. Or maybe he'll get abusive, or start texting my friends as well, or freak out when I ask him to text my parents.

I can't wait to see what illiterately titillating magic is thrust into my inbox tonight. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #10

Pass the tissues, senorita. I'm muy emotional.
It might be jet-lag, the pressures of the competition, or a side-effect of being almost see-through, but whatever it is, this week's episode had more sobbing and snot than a Sandra Bullock movie. With my last vestige of theatrical fortitude, I bring you the "Drama Drama Drama Chameleon" episode of America's Next Top Module.
I'm exhausted. I need some prune juice.

· Jaeda is missing her boyfriend, and writes "I heart you" on a piece of paper, commenting to camera that she's "sick of living with all these chicks". Yeah. Chicks suck. Scratch your scrotum and crush a beer can on your forehead, sweets. You'll feel better.

· CariDee and twins Michelle and Amanda sit in the spa and talk about their varying levels of ambition. CariDee wants to win real bad, one of the twins is passionate about modelling, and the other one doesn't really give a skinny damn. Now, I know which one's CariDee, because she's wearing a bright yellow head-kerchief and looking like she wants to be my new best friend, but I can't for the life of me tell those twins apart. One's gay, the other isn't. One's good at modelling, the other isn't. Considering there's only enough meat and personality on and in them to make one person, I'm gonna treat them as such. They will now be called Mimanda, and I will only be buying them one Christmas present this year.

· Stock footage of the Module Mobile going from left to right brings us to the LA Repertory Theatre, where our modules are met by Tasha Smith, an actress, acting teacher, and friend of Tyra. Tasha says "You know how crazy Tyra is? This is where Tyra got her crazy from", gesturing towards herself. She's like the Cash N' Carry of Crazy, and Tyra has a corporate card and a jumbo trolley. Tasha outlines the first acting exercise of the day, called the "Silly Dilly" exercise, in which the girls are to let loose on stage without being afraid to be ugly or silly. I'm calling it the "Bitchy Twitchy" exercise, as every module called up to the stage proceeds to flop around wildly, having their own special brand of seizure. No wonder the casting couch technique is so popular. This acting shit is hard.

· The next exercise is called "Dump" (ironic, considering the faecal qualities of the last exercise), in which our girls are to 'dump' everything they're feeling, and completely let go. Eugena the Boring cries about something. Mimanda gets pissed off that people don't "get" them. Melrose, handing the stage over to the Postal Worker Within, puts the "mental" into "sentimental", and the "nuts" into "Wow. She's like, nuts". She screeches like a rake across a blackboard, tears spraying from her eyes and mouth rectangular with grief, randomly wailing "How DARE anyone tell me your picture is better than mine!". When the rant is over, tumbleweeds and crickets feature strongly, as the observing modules look on silently with raised eyebrows and fingers poised ready to dial the White Coat Hotline. Jaeda, in a surprise comparable to finding two ends on a piece of string, gets cranky about her hair, looking like an angry Henry Rollins in the process (is that a tautology?). Caridee, however, gives everyone an emotional Brazilian as she opens up tearfully about considering suicide at times in her life, and knowing what it feels like to want to die. Everyone gets extremely upset and tearful, faces are buried in hands, and hugs are exchanged. How am I supposed to say anything funny about that? Damn you, CariDee, you perfect, multi-faceted, emotionally complex thing, you. You're totally coming to my next dinner party.

· When everyone has recovered from Emota-Palooza, Tasha announces that each module will now be shooting a silent film as this week's challenge. A stage set from a bad high-school play is utilised, and each girl listens to Tasha's barked directions and tries to act accordingly whilst being filmed. It starts benignly with "Look sad!", "Cry on the telephone!", and "Answer the door!", and then becomes indescribably brilliant with "Drink the prune juice!" and "Eat the lemon!". Indescribably brilliant then becomes jaw-dropping disturbo-matic moment of the week as Mimanda's stomach rejects the arrival of actual nutrients and she barfs the prune juice back into the cup she drank it from. I guess she's just improvising – Tasha's trying to direct Gone With The Wind, and Mimanda's doing scenes from The Exorcist. Look for her soon in the feature film Dude, Where's My Ipecac? Tasha tells the modules that they'll find out who the challenge winner is "soon".

· Caridee cries again, this time on the 'phone to her boyfriend, who sounds sympathetic and gorgeous. I bet he's hot. Those two could double-date with me and Spunky Nigel. We could all go for breakfast.

· A Tyra-Mail arrives containing a DVD of the challenge-winner's silent movie, and the winner is Caridee! I love it when it's not Melrose. The mildly amusing scratchy black-and-white film, which contains thinly-disguised references to horse-buggery, has been edited with titles to resemble an authentic silent movie. It's also been edited to include scenes starring Tyra, loath as she is to point the spotlight towards herself, her bingo-wings and her three kilos of eye make-up. She over-acts abysmally in a Spanish-style outfit until the words "Pack your bags…." flash up on the screen, and the "real" Tyra rushes into the Module Mansion hollering "You're going to Spaaaaiiiiinnnn!!" Appropriate jumping and screaming ensues, and a guy who seems to be dressed as Dracula swooshes into the room to dance the flamenco with Tyra, such is the zany, nutty nature of this loopy show. At this point my housemate, Al, said "How come guys don't suddenly appear in our house and dance the flamenco?", and I struggled to find an answer. It's really the way the world should be.

· Caridee's prize for winning this week's challenge is a cameo appearance on One Tree Hill, in which she seems to be playing Paris Hilton's dumber paedophilic doppelganger. Good thing Jaeda didn't win – they would've had to re-write the script to include an upset gay weight-lifter.

· A quick animated plane-trip later, and the modules are in Barcelona (or Barfelona, if you're Mimanda). The girls are loaded onto a bus, which, to their pant-wetting delight, keeps stopping to pick up Spanish male models by the side of the road. At this point my housemate, Al, said "How come we don't have a bus that picks up Spanish male models by the side of the road?". I was stumped again. It's really the way the world should be. The he-modules could hardly speak a word of English, which always, for some inexplicable reason, makes a man hotter. The girls ogle and primp, and Caridee is pleased to have some male company, as she claims "I'm mentally like a man". I know a Jaeda joke belongs here, but I'm spent, I tell you.

· The Spunky Spaniards take the modules to a tapas place, and the waiter brings both food and scripts for this week's shoot – a commercial for deodorant, which the girls have to shoot tomorrow in Catalan, the regional language. The girls can hardly speak English. They also have to pash their male counter-parts, a task which makes Mimanda nervous due to their lack of boy-squelching experience. Jaeda takes umbrage with her hombre, believing him to have told her in broken English that he doesn't like black girls. For one, she's not really all that black, and by the same token, she's not really all that girl. I also don't think that's what the poor guy meant to say. Catalan for "you have the biceps of a toro" sounds a lot like "I don't like black girls" in English. It was nothing more than a simple international incident. Jaeda pouts and says "I have to make out with a jerk". At this point my housemate, Al, said "How come we don't get to kiss Spanish guys?". Maybe because we're at home with our feet on the couch, watching ANTM. It's really the way the world should be.

· After a night of script-panic, Tyra meets the girls in a park in a revolting pink frock, and brings on Mr Jay and the director of the commercial, Denis, who both let the girls know what will be required of them. Walking. Talking. Pashing. All in Spanish. Mimanda aren't bad, although their tonsil-tasting inexperience shows when they both kiss their victims like they're trying to pick up a rice noodle from a slippery plate. Kissing skills: zero points. Catalan-speaking skills: one point. Recommend learning to use mouths for something other than yakking up prune juice. Eugena develops some kind of Ghetto-Catalan hybrid, but otherwise does pretty well, looking for the first time like she has a joy for life, instead of just a concealed Uzi. Jaeda falls to pieces, cries, panics, and bombs. A pity – she looks more like a girl in this shoot than I've ever seen her before. When she kisses the male model, it only looks marginally Brokeback-esque. Melrose, aside from giggling like a psychotic murderess with no neck bones, does bloody brilliantly, because she knows it annoys me. Caridee is woeful. She may be a perfect example of a human being, but this is fifteen different types of shit. Catalan language skills: rubbish. Walking skills: atrocious. Ability to pull together after a mistake: non-existent. Kissing skills: give that poor man his face back. It's like she wants to eat his ears from the inside of his head.

· The inevitable Elimination Tyra-Mail arrives, and the girls traipse into the Spanish Elimination Villa to learn their fate. Tyra is somehow breathing, despite being strapped painfully and frighteningly into a leather, satin and tulle corset-dress from which her tortured mammaries are trying to escape. She's trying to evoke Catwoman, but coming up short with Slutty Gimp In Doris Day Movie. Tyra's hair is less scary than usual, supplemented effectively by Miss Jay's cockatoo-esque locks. Spunky Nigel, who can taste my paella anytime, is there, and commercial director Denis is guest judge. Twiggy is there, although I still haven't figured out why.

· The ads are shown, and the judges hate all of them except Melrose's. Nigel (Hi, Nigel!) says that Caridee looked drunk and crazy, and makes her cry. I'm a bit cross at him for that. He needs spanking. Twiggy calls Jaeda's effort a 'car crash', and she cries, too, tears dripping delicately over her Adam's apple. All the judges laugh at Mimanda's kissing attempts, and Tyra imitates their awkward mastication by demonstrating on Nigel. Hands off, chicken-fat.

· Elimination time, and the safe modules are summoned one by one until only Jaeda and (gasp!) Caridee remain. They hold hands nervously, and it looks like a Love Is… cartoon, only grown-up and frightening. Caridee is told she's full of life and amazing pictures, but not today. Jaeda is told she has nine lives, and her passion is doubted. Eventually, after giving me a scare, Jaeda is dumped like a sack of angular, blokey potatoes. She's philosophical about it, and only mentions her haircut five or six times. Bye, Jaeda. Mind your penis on the way out.

Next week, Caridee is rude to Nigel, the modules trip off on go-sees and there's a photo-shoot with bulls and matadors. Spite. Sight. Bullfight.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Must Have Temper And Police Record.

Do YOU have what it takes to be a Westie Scrag?

The lengthy application form for Australia's Next Top Module this year includes the following questions:

· Have you ever been arrested?
· Have you ever had a restraining order issued against you?
· Describe your relationship with your father.
· How often do you get drunk?
· Are politics important to you?
· Do you have any piercings or tattoos?
· Have you been treated for any serious mental illnesses?
· Have you ever been diagnosed with alcoholism or drug-related addiction?
· Do you have a temper? What provokes you?
· When was the last time you hit, punched or kicked something in anger?
· If you could hold any political office, what would it be and why?
· What are you most ashamed of, either now or in your past?
· Have you ever been to a nude beach?

Now I seriously can't wait for the next series. It'll be just like watching Prisoner, but taller.

Bring it on, youse moles.


I've been thinking a lot about The Fonz lately.

His office is in the toilet at a restaurant.

He lives in a bed-sit over a suburban family's garage.

He hangs out with high school kids.

His best friend is a Ginger.

He water-skis in a jacket.

That's not cool.

Friday, December 01, 2006

No! Vember

Okay. It's the 1st of December.
For the love of God, shave yourselves, gentlemen.
I can appreciate the whole charity thang, and even the whole comedy moustache concept, which is why I and all other women stayed quiet for those thirty long, hairy days.
But the time has come.
Shave, Mo-Fos. We wanna see some skin.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #9

If Dr Seuss watched this show, he'd say something like:
Modules. They're here, they're there, they're everywhere. They're in the air. They have nice hair.
We've got a new, action-themed episode, yet another stupid, stupid photo-shoot, and modules throwing themselves around with gay (some more than others) abandon. It's The Cat In The Fat Goes Splat! episode of America's Next Top Module.

· It's a Module Mansion Musical Memorial, as CariDee strums her guitar and Melrose, lamenting the recent departure of Brooke, "sings" along. It's like a tone-deaf owl got its knackers caught in a vise at a siren factory. She sings:

We love you, Brooke
And we're gonna miss you like hell
You brought to this house
A feeling I could feel.

Aaaah, Melrose. Not a smart girl. She's frustrated, though. Frustrated with girls who keep avoiding elimination, who don't "want this" as much as she does. Thing is, nobody wants this as much as she does. The Postal Worker Within would happily stick a javelin in her own eye to win this competition. I really can't wait until she doesn't.

· The modules are trucked off to the beach, where they're met by Gabrielle Reece, an ex-module turned champion beach-volleyballer, who introduces this week's theme of movement and action. Jaeda takes an instant shine to her, relating easily to her massive frame and bulging muscles. It's like Brigitte Nielsen looking in a mirror, but with testicles. Gabrielle explains that you can be muscular and feminine, active and attractive, or chunky and spunky. To demonstrate her point, she asks each module to dive head-first into the sand in a bikini, whilst posing for a photo. Anchal is mortified about stripping off and revealing her "flab", which to me looks like a perfectly acceptable body dangling beneath two gargantuan bosoms. She under-commits to the sand-diving, and adds to the overwhelming sense of pointlessness surrounding this exercise. I must say, though – Sweet Jesus, those twins are pale. Seeing them leap and flail in their smalls is like throwing a handful of sneaker shoelaces into a strong wind. Food and sunshine, my dears. Stat.

· The diary-room gets a good workout this week. Eugena claims that Anchal's self-consciousness "makes her look more like a big ol' blob", and Melrose takes a personal interest, saying that she's "frustrated with Anchal's pictures. I want her out of here". I love watching a Messiah complex blossom in the mind of a simpleton. You know what I'm talking about, Anthony Mundine. Anchal has her turn, and after the usual "I have no friends, I'm fat, I'm lonely" gripe, moves on to her distaste for Melrose, stating succinctly: "I just wanna slap the ho". I stop being bored senseless by Anchal for a second. Then it's gone.

· The Module Mobile drops the girls off in the middle of the desert, where they're met by NASCAR driver Stanton Barrett and the wonderful and ridiculous James St James, a sort of gay designing thing. More mascara than Liza. Less hair than Angry. A black turban reminiscent of Shirley's in Postcards From The Edge. More elbow and shoulder-pads than the entire cast of BMX Bandits. It's terrifying. Yet appealing.
The girls are here for a photo-shoot challenge based on the action theme – they're to pose in front of a racecar, pretend they're cross with "boyfriend" Stanton Barrett for putting his career ahead of theirs, leap at him angrily through the air, show their frocks to best advantage, look pretty, and take their own photo by pressing a button on a remote-control device in mid-jump. I know, it's stupid, but it's also f*cking brilliant. Better than motorised hair and Fabio by a long shot.

· Eugena rises above boring and is pretty good. She's practiced looking angry quite a lot – mostly between dawn and dusk every day for her whole life. Melrose seems to think that angry people hurtling through the air should still smile, and Jaeda is three times the size of Stanton Barrett. As she launches herself at him, she casts a shadow on him as she comes between him and the sun, and he looks so frightened I think a little bit of wee comes out. Twin Amanda is less 'angry girlfriend' than 'disgruntled spaghetti', but Caridee (mostly because she's perfect) rocks the freakin' house. She starts by spitting "This is your last race, BITCH" at Stanton, and then flings her frame from right to left and back again. Anchal, in a surprise comparable to getting wet in the shower, is shy and restrained. She moans "I'm afraid of my boobs falling out" (which is, frankly, bloody fair enough), and James St James snorts "I don't care about your boobs". Big shock from a man in heels. Twin Michelle is better than her sister, and shows commitment to the task by walking all over the car in heels, denting it in the process. I'm quite impressed that she actually weighs enough to dent a car – she's the kind of girl who doesn't look like she'd leave footprints in chocolate mousse.

· Michelle wins the challenge, and chooses Caridee, Amanda and Melrose to share her prize, which is "the opportunity to win a ten thousand dollar shopping spree", which seems like an unnecessarily vague prize description. Is that like walking in a thunderstorm is "the opportunity to be killed by lightning"? The winners go to Billion Dollar Babes and are met by Kate Robelius, the Aussie owner, who tells them they have 30 seconds to put on as many clothes as possible. The girl who puts on the most clothes wins everybody's clothes. Stupid. Boring. Melrose won. Whatever. That girl wins bloody everything. Perceptively, she says "I feel like every girl is wanting to kill me right now". Bingo, sweetie. Slowly. With razors and salt.

· The modules get a Tyra-Mail blathering something about all models being airheads. "I don't get it", says Caridee, making me want to go shoe-shopping with her this weekend. The girls schlep out to an indoor skydiving facility (the kind where you hover in mid-air in a plastic room over a gigantic fan, looking like a leaf caught in a pool filter), and Jay reminds them that this week's theme is action and movement. They'll be hovering in the virtual sky-diving zone, dressed as "sexy space sirens", reaching out for a tub of CoverGirl foundation, which will be Photo-shopped in later along with a cosmic background. My dreams of an un-ridiculous photo-shoot concept are dashed. Dashed, I say! It's funny, though – when I hear the phrase "sexy space sirens", miraculously I don't think of rubbery off-white bodysuits, gardening gloves, goggles and helmets shaped like novelty condoms. That kind of outfit more effectively evokes the phrase "men's downhill". That just shows what I know about fashion.

· Twin Michelle is up first (literally), and she does the best that an ungraceful knitting needle can. Jaeda is next in the air, proving that this fan is one powerful bastard, although she complains that her face is flapping. Twin Amanda is thrown around like a sock in a dryer, although Jay says she's like a "ballerina in the sky". Sutan the gayest make-up artist in the world looks at Anchal in her space-suit and says "Suck it in, honey". Anchal pouts and says "I am". Sutan hisses "Suck it in harder". This seems to upset her into doing the same pose over and over again. It's a miracle she's not beaten to death by her own windswept boobies, to be frank. Eugena is as boring as a hovering somebody in a wind-tunnel can be, and Melrose underwhelms, even though Jay tries to spur her on by shouting "Come on! Make these girls hate you even more!". Caridee swoops and dives like a hyperactive superhero without any regard for her personal safety or that of those around her. She rocks so hard I'm going cross-eyed.

· The modules shuffle into the Starship Enterprise to be introduced again to the judges, including Spunky Nigel, who I'm having my tongue scraped for. Tyra's hair has been tortured into a kind of bouffant tsunami, and she's swathed in dark blue satin, cinched at the waist with a weightlifter's belt. Not too bad, to be honest, although I think my standards have dropped due to weekly visual abuse. The girls are given a great action-themed challenge – a verb and an adverb are randomly drawn from two hats (they must have edited out the bit where these are explained as "doing words" and "words that function as modifiers of the aforementioned doing words"), and each girl must play out the described action. Eugena "shakes flirtatiously", and while her body wobbles, her face stays dead. Boring. Michelle "skis sadly", which is a kind of angry forward static moonwalk. Jaeda "skips sensually", and glimmers of her personality are seen behind her manly façade. Amanda "swims frightfully", and yes, she does. Anchal "dances aggressively", and all of her except her norks give a half-arsed performance, right until she sprints out of the room. Melrose is told to "box joyfully", and, mental behemoth that she is, adopts a joyful face whilst miming the outline of a cardboard box. To add to the confusion, she mouths the words "cover girl". Oh, man. She's stupid. Like, stupider than cheese. Caridee "hides dizzily", and stumbles around the room, voguing drunkenly, hiding behind her hand, the door, and anything else available. She's brilliant. The judges practically gyrate with admiration, and I'm thinking of knitting her a scarf. Or a house. Somebody name a landmark after this girl.

· Photos are picked through, and most of the "sexy space siren" shots look angular and awkward, just like girls suspended in mid-air do. Anchal is given a bollocking for not committing to the tasks and challenges this week, although her space photo, which I'm calling "Cosmic Hooters" is pretty good. The judges' chairs get a bit moist when Caridee's performance and photo is appraised, but Jaeda's photo is mostly jaw.

· The judges deliberate, and Tyra stands before our modules, cradling the Photos of Doom. Names are droned (and Tyra asks Eugena to shake again, and flip her hair "like a white girl") until it's just down to Boobie Anchal and Twin Michelle. Anchal is told she has a gorgeous face, but that she doesn't believe in herself. No mention of her fat arse. Michelle is told that she has natural talent, but that she doesn't seem to want to be a module, which is offensive to Tyra. Eventually, Anchal is given the flick. She cries and hugs all the other girls, including her nemesis Melrose, who gets the extra farewell message of "I still hate you". Gets you right there, innit? Bye, Anchal! Don't knock a vase off a shelf with your great pendulous rack on your way out!

Next week, the girls go to acting lessons, Caridee calls someone mean a bitch, and the girls are off to Spain! Drama. Karma. Mañana.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Steak N' Chicks Tuesday #7

It's been a while between Steak N' Chicks Tuesdays, but I think we more than made up for it this month. Do you know how I know? I wore a bib. That's a sign that I'm very, very serious about eating. It's possibly also a sign that I have a dribble problem, but that's neither here nor there.

This time 'round, we were looking for a place with an outdoor area and summery food to match the temperate climate at this time of year. We were looking for a casual atmosphere, a good wine list, an affordable bill and as many bi-valve molluscs as we could cram into our faces. An impossibly tall order, you say? Not at all…

28th November 2006 – Bungalow 8, King Street Wharf.

The Place
I have some considerable reservations about the King Street Wharf strip. It all feels so brand new, and the bars and restaurants that crowd its length run the whole gamut from Too-Cool-For-School to Someone-Just-Vomited-On-My-Shoes. Every now and then, though, I'll have a brilliant time there, and this was one of those. Bungalow 8 is a big, open space with a massive outdoor area, a kitchen at one end and a bar that runs most of its length. Outside is sheltered enough to protect diners and drinkers from sudden, pelting rain (as it did last night), but open enough to get some mild breeze fluttering through one's glamorous, fashionable hair. I have no idea how anyone stays warm here in winter, but the cane chairs, chunky exposed beams and blocky outdoor couches scream Summer to me. Although the place was heaving, it still seemed spacious and relaxed.
As usual, I can't move on without mentioning the little chick's room, and the loos here are like a lot of loos in newish Sydney venues – shiny, blockish, dramatically lit, with taps that need instructions and a basin that looks like it's going to leave a wet smudge on your crotch. But doesn't. Quite nice – earthy tones, funky locks on the doors, but (as I discovered too late), not up to scratch on the old keeping-the-toilet-paper-refilled front. Nothing humbles a girl faster than a shouted plea for paper over a cubicle wall.

The People
A good mix o' chicks – Me, Alex, Alyson, Di, Claire, Ella and SNCT virgins Milly & Rose – meant that as usual, conversation and wine egged each other on in a competition to be the most fluidly copious. More than one of the chicks had only eaten salad at lunch in order to leave their stomachs as ready as possible for disgusting amounts of food, which is the kind of forethought I really admire in a contemporary glutton.
The place was packed. Tuesday night is a popular night here, and I was very glad we booked ahead – easily three hundred people were fed and watered over the space of about three hours. The crowd was generally young and mixed, consisting of people from all walks of life who seemed to share a penchant for the Sucked Mango haircut. It's over, people. Let it go. Atmosphere was buzzy but not overwhelming, and if I hadn't been deep in both conversation and a pot full of mussels all night, I probably could have put in a good stint of conscientious perving.
I have never seen so many waitstaff in my entire life. The bar and kitchen area looked like it had just had a box of uniformed teenagers shaken open over it, swarming as it was with the keen-eyed, youthful help. Possible low-level brain activity was more than made up for with incredibly fast, efficient service. Empty glasses and teetering bucketfuls of empty mussel-shells were swiftly and effortlessly disposed of and (the best bit) replaced with fresh 'uns, and despite being almost overwhelmingly numerous, the staff were all so lithe and snake-hipped that they could swoosh past you with a tray full of empties and you'd hardly even feel the wind in their wake.

The Food
There are few phrases more deliciously titillating in life than "All You Can Eat". Tack the phrase "Mussels and Chunky Fries" on the end, and you've got a slice of gastronomic heaven. Tuesday night at Bungalow 8 is All You Can Eat Mussels and Chunky Fries (AYCEMACF) night, and I'm now a complete and subordinate slave to the concept.
I've been wary of mussels in the past – I've had some ineptly-cooked samples in the past which were unimpressive, so I'll usually order something else if given the choice. Also, being an emetophobe, I cringe at stories of one bad mussel turning unfortunate people into three-day chunder monkeys. All of my concerns dissolved the moment someone lifted the lid on their pot of gloriously-scented, black-shelled nuggets of liquoury loveliness. Fantastic.
On AYCEMACF night, you order your mussels from the bar, pay your eighteen dollars, and get a fetching blue wristband, the adhesive from which, in retrospect, should not be brought anywhere near one's delicate smattering of arm-hair. Virtually as soon as you've plonked your buttocks back on your seat, you're presented with a big black pot of steaming Tasmanian mussels, a side of "chunky" (jury still out on definition of "chunky") fries and a basket full of torpedo rolls. Mussels come in five different varieties – Thai Green Curry, White Wine, Laksa, Provencale, and Tom Yum. Based on aroma alone (and helped a bit by the fact that I tasted a bit of everyone's dinner. For the review, you understand..), I'd recommend the Asian flavours, although all were tasty.
Alyson had the subtle white wine variety, but loudly coveted Di's Tom Yum for its more intense flavour, and because Di was making appreciative grunting noises. In like, a really ladylike and sophisticated way, of course. Alyson noted that it didn't matter what flavour you had, dipping the bread in the broth afterwards was the business. Alex had the Laksa mussels, which came with delectably massive chunks of ginger and lemongrass, whilst Milly, Ella and I had the Provencale, with wedges of warm tomato and flecks of bacon. Rose and Claire, who said thousands of quotable blog-gems all night, didn't have the mussels, opting instead for great mountainous plates of salt-and-pepper squid. Granted, their meals looked a bit like they were brought to you by Colonel Sanders, but one taste (for the review, you understand) proved I was reading a book by its perfectly-spiced cover. Chips (still not comfortable with the misleading "chunky fries" thing) were not the highlight. Unseasoned, lukewarm and powdery. But oh my lord, the mussels were good. Bib-worthy, even.
After a good half hour of the sounds of slurping, lip-smacking and the clink of empty shell against empty shell, our pots were removed, and we were asked if we would like some more. Yes, we said.
Special mention must be given to what was (hopefully) a sign of freshness and authenticity. All of us (but mostly Ella), fished a small number of tiny, curled up crabs from our mussel-pots. It's as if they knew that there weren't enough risqué joke opportunities afforded by a bunch of girls at a table eating de-bearded shellfish from Tasmania – now we all had crabs. Phnar! Final crab tally at the end of the night was a massive 15 crustaceans.

The Summarising Bit

Nobody looks good in a bib. Nobody.
This is an excellent, excellent way to spend a Tuesday night, particularly if you start starving yourself around Sunday evening. Table manners are difficult to uphold when you're wrist deep in a bucket of mussels, which is exactly how it should be – this place is about really diving into the fresh, fresh critters with unabashed gusto, and mopping up the spoils with crusty bread afterwards. A couple of perfectly-suited wines on the list too, including my first Pinot Grigio.
There's certainly a novelty element to AYCEMACF Tuesday, but it's competently backed up with really good food (meh to you, chunky fries), and quick service. There were only a few things missing, which I've listed below:
· Nobody made a model of the Taj Mahal out of the empty mussel shells;
· Nobody made any of the empty mussel shells look like they were talking;
· Nobody put on a tiny crab puppet-show – there were easily enough collected to stage a mini-crab Idol; and
· Nobody invited Clive Owen.

Never mind.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Henry Lawson Is Stalking Me From Beyond The Grave #3

Actually, he's not. Henry Lawson isn't stalking me any more. He's stalking my mate Milly instead. He's such a slut.

Whilst planning a trip to Mudgee to see some old-fart champions of Australian rawk play at A Day On The Green, Milly thought she'd have a squiz at some background information about the winery the show was being staged at. Poet's Corner. Named after Henry Lawson. On Henry Lawson Drive.

A couple of weeks ago, in her capacity as Person Who Gets Sent The Occasional Press Release, Milly received an intriguing bit of parchment from C.L.A.S.S. (The Coalition of Law Abiding Sporting Shooters – logo includes pair of crossed rifles superimposed over the Southern Cross), announcing that November 18th will now be National "Buy A Gun" Day. I know. I know. The first sentence of the document reads: "In the words of that great Australian poet Henry Lawson, 'Every man should own a rifle and have cartridges in store'". I dunno – maybe he was just trying to rhyme with "Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door" or something.

The basic point is that I don't think Henry likes me anymore. It's the same old story, really – girl meets dead bush poet, girl introduces dead bush poet to friend, dead bush poet clocks friend's winner rack and drops girl like hot stone. I've been rejected before (not often, mind you – I've got a really nice bottom), but never by a spectral scribe. That's worse than by text message. I know he's like, famous and all, but you can probably understand why I'm a little bit insulted that I've been dumped by a guy who's been rotting in the ground for the best part of a century.

Milly, I hope you and Henry will be very happy. I really mean that. You're a top chick, and as far as decomposing odists go, Henno's a real catch.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #8

I have a feeling we've been here before – or, as Miss Jay might say, I have a sense of gay ja vu. Just when we're starting to get to the pointy end of ANTM, and we're getting all excited about the possibility of seeing some actual modelling, nervous breakdowns and knife-fights, instead of a brand new episode we're hit with a flashback show, reminding us of what's happened in the last seven weeks. And some "Never Before Seen" (NBS) footage. It's like they think we have Alzheimer's and low standards. They're only half right. With some emerging themes and footage not deemed worthy of screening previously, here's the 'Bust A Recap In Yo Ass' episode of America's Next Top Module.

· NBS 1: Charlie the stylist and Sutan the campest make-up artist in the world visit the Module Mansion in week one, and ask the girls to bring out their luggage and show them their clothes so they can pick through and ridicule them. Not humiliating enough, you say? Charlie drags in a garbage bin emblazoned with the words "Fashion Trash" (when a picture of Janice Dickinson would've done just as well), and disposes of any truly offensive items. "This is hideous", says Charlie of one of Caridee's tops, and throws it in the bin. "That was my mom's", says Caridee. Anchal is accused of having too many rhinestones, and Monique's satanic sensibilities are roused when her god-awful spangly boots are tossed, and she objects loudly. Those boots were made for squawking. Melrose is given an A-plus for her style. I'm giving her a "See me" for her irritating, vacuous grin.

· NBS 2: Charlie and Sutan take the girls to Skyla, a relatively non-descript clothes shop, and give them five minutes to shop for "model basics". These are, apparently, a short mini, nude bra & undies, a big bag, a tank top, jeans, a scrunchie, sneakers, and a black cocktail dress. Commence scab-grab. This segment didn't make it to broadcast the first time around because it's as interesting as looking at masonite. On the smooth side.

· Emerging Theme 1: Monique Is A Nutjob. Seriously. The girl's a danger to society. If she wasn't so skinny, she'd be a Big Fat Psycho. We're reminded of her lilting, high-pitched, seemingly Quaalude-influenced voice – think Meg Tilly with a larynx full of helium and a head injury – and her complete disregard for the rules of normal human behaviour. Can't find the packet of chips you want in the cupboard? Don't just pick another packet of chips. Punish ALL modules by dragging all the packets of chips in the entire house onto the kitchen floor, stamping on them, and then chucking them in the bin. Don't have adequate brain cells to actually argue with your housemates? Just repeat everything they say in spooky falsetto. Monique says to camera "Nice Monique is out the freakin' window. Bitch has came in". Word.

· Remember Christian, the first girl eliminated? Me neither.

· NBS 3: Megg's Rock N' Roll Breakdown. During the Extreme Hair photo-shoot, Megg the groupie skank gets upset, and cries to Jay: "Like, I usually like to be myself, and like, get into my heavy metal music – it like, helps me model". Yep. She won't get out of bed for less than a Slayer CD. I'm skipping through the meadow of skepticism, though – do people who like "heavy metal music" really call it "heavy metal music"? If she was a true devotee, it would just be "Meddawl!". Honestly, pet. She snuffles, wipes her nose, and then adds weepily "I just wanna play some bongos, man". Yep. Bongos. The cornerstone of metal. Back at the Mansion, Megg fashions a drum kit out of flowerpots, boxes, and twigs, and thrashes herself some happy. She finishes gleefully to camera with "Today I made some bongos", which brings me to….

· Emerging Theme 2: Megg Is Missing A Chromosome. Her mouth hangs open most of the time. She has trouble forming sentences. She has trouble forming sentences without constant use of the words "like", "man" and "rawkenroll!". She was chosen to be the bearded lady in the circus freak shoot. She summons her inner model with Black Sabbath. Bongos make her happy. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the genetic equivalent of a potato.

· NBS 4: A tiny sparrow accidentally flies into the Module Mansion, causing widespread panic, terrified arm-flailing, and mirror-shattering screams. For the sake of comparison, I'd really like to see a hungry wolf wander in one time, just to watch the frenzied carnage. Is that mean?

· NBS 5: A Yoga instructor leads the modules in some "free dance", that is, she blindfolds them and tells them to improvise some organic dance moves about the room. Absolutely no point to this aside from my own personal entertainment. This will be a game played at every party I ever throw or attend from now on. Possibly nude.

· NBS 6: I don't want to surprise anyone, but Jaeda seems to be packing more than just a robust set of testes – she has a personality! The modules all gather for a spot of impromptu role-play (and it's just wacky that the camera's there to catch it), and pretend they're at an elimination. Jaeda plays Tyra and, despite not wearing something three sizes too small and gurning like an institutionalised gum-chewer, she does an astoundingly accurate impersonation. All the dryly dramatic catch-phrases are there: "Eight beautiful girls stand before me", "The first name I'm going to call is…", "I only have One. Photo. In my hand", and then, at the climactic bit, just when we find out who's eliminated…. she emotes "The girl who is still in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Model is…." , and I'm marvelling at how realistic Jaeda's impersonation is, and everyone's holding their breath to see who goes, and…. and….. CARIDEE DROPS HER GUTS. A great, big, loud fart, like someone quickly tearing a big sheet of corrugated cardboard in two. It's brilliant, and there are tears glistening in my admiring eyes, which brings me proudly to:

· Emerging Theme 3: Caridee Rocks, Like, Way Hard. She looks good all the time. She's hilarious. She's witty. She's pretty. She's cool. She's down-to-earth. All the modules love her. All the judges love her. She takes ah-some photographs. She farts like a constipated brickie. What in Nigel's name is there not to love?

· Emerging Theme 4: Jaeda Is A He-Woman. As this is a flashback episode, we're treated to a number of pre-makeover scenes, and I'm surprised to admit that Jaeda actually makes an okay-looking girl. With her long hair hiding her steroid-abuse-neck, jaw and shoulders, she passes for Junior Female Body-Builder, rather than Big Bloke With Tennis Balls Down Shirt. Bah to you and your makeovers, Tyra. The girl had a chance, pre-butchering.

· Emerging Theme 5: Melrose Is An Irritating, Bum-Sucking Crawler. I hadn't really noticed before, but Melrose wins nearly every challenge. I actually consider this a good thing. Come her inevitable elimination, her indignation and shock will likely be that palpable that she'll come all unstuck and Release the Postal Worker Within. Let's give her a false sense of security now. Build her up, buttercup.

I feel cheated. Damn you, recap episode. You're a sorry excuse for a show. You're Skipper to new episode's Barbie. Terri to new episode's Steve. Carob to new episode's Chocolate. You suck, recap episode.

Next week, we have the same stuff we were promised last week, before we knew we'd be hoodwinked with a recap show, but I'm still coming up with different rhyming words because I'm a slave to my own desperate desire to look clever: a photo-shoot with racecars, some simulated sky-diving, and a Melrose/Anchal war. Driving. Diving. Conniving.

It'd better be good. Mummy wants some drama.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

America's Next Top Model Series Seven #7

There's so much ham and cheese in this show, it's like a… you know… a ham and cheese sandwich. After each episode I go and look at myself in the mirror, just to remind myself what someone who doesn't have their eyebrows raised looks like. Man, I look smart. And is it too much to ask that people in training to be modules have a photo shoot that doesn't involve prosthetic body-parts, spray-paint or pantomime costumes? Sheesh. Whatever. I'm over it. We want a proper, modelly beauty shot, and what do we get? The 'Mills & Poon' episode of America's Next Top Module.

· Eugena the Boring shows a mildly interesting trait this week – the ability to screw up her face and spit poison in everyone's direction. Maybe she's not boring at all – maybe she just hates everything and everybody. She starts in the right place, though, with "Melrose is a backstabbin' ho". I kind of get the feeling that even if Eugena won the lottery, she'd roll her eyes and sigh.

· Developing the negatives even further, Anchal throws her usual bunch of gripes into the mix with a bit of a self-doubt sampler. "I'm in the corner". "I'm self-conscious". "I have low self-esteem". "I'm shy". "I'm fat". She's not really any of those things. She's just a really pretty Indian girl who seems to store food for the winter in her boobs.

· Every girl seems to have a theme this week – we've covered bitchy and fat – let's move onto young, naïve, and missing out on rites-of-passage. Brooke's high-school graduation is on this week, and she's missing it to be here. She'll miss her prom, too, if she stays in the competition long enough, but it must be worth it – after all, previous winners of this competition are all huge, huge stars now, like What's-Her-Name from series one, and that girl who works at the newsagent. A package arrives from home, and it's packed full of presents to take her mind off missing her grad ceremony, like a Graduation Teddy-Bear, a Graduation Mortar-Board, and a big gold sign that says "Congrats, Grad!".

· Melrose wanders outside to the Module Mansion Backyard for no good reason, and discovers to her unscripted surprise that Tyra has set up an impromptu photo-shoot, with herself as the photographer! This is yet another Groundhog moment, as every series Tyra tries to prove that she's three-dimensional (a fact her dressmaker is painfully aware of) by taking moody black-and-white shots of the girls. She tells Melrose "I recently shot Nicole Richie, and I'm gonna shoot you today", which, if misinterpreted properly, summons all sorts of delicious, violent images. I start to think that perhaps we might be about to see this series' first non-gimmicky photo shoot until Tyra announces that she wants the girls to look angry-but-fashion, with the help, of course, of some novelty Thriller-esque horror contact lenses and teased hair. Despite not winning the lottery, I roll my eyes and sigh.

· After a 3-minute make-up job from the Tim Burton Junior Cosmetics Kit, Melrose is ready to interpret "scary fashion" as "melodramatic homeless zombie". Eugena's next, and her recurring problem of photo-shoot eye-deadness is overcome by a couple of cat's-eye contacts, and she looks half decent. Michelle manages okay despite being given bushy eyebrows and concise, meaningful directions from Tyra like "Don't lose your model". Manly Jaeda, with white eyes and steely jaw, actually rocks it, proving that she who is usually terrifying is just waiting for an appropriately terrifying context to make her feel at home. Amanda has trouble with nerves and discomfort, whilst Anchal is all slitty pupils and heaving bosom. Caridee hisses, growls, and snorts her way into my heart, and those of all who behold her. Really, even with white eyes and scare-hair, she's just a big plate of likeable sandwiches.

· A Tyra-Mail babbling something about flaunting one's assets arrives, and our modules are trucked off to a theatre to be met by Sutan (their camp, cross-dressing make-up artist) in bustier, top-hat, platforms and riding crop, and Dita Von Teese, burlesque megastar and wife of Marilyn Manson. Way to continue a spooky eye theme, guys. Dita performs a quick striptease involving a gigantic martini glass, to the delight of mostly Michelle, and then tells the girls she'll be teaching them the art of burlesque, or as I'm calling it, "Retro-Slutty". The difference between "sexy" and "sleazy" is touched upon (or rubbed, depending on which side of the fence you're straddling), and the importance of subtlety is explained by a woman in a push-up-bra married to a sideshow freak. Each girl is asked to do a quick gyrate with a prop, and I'm speedily whisked back in time to the Friday Night Youth Centre Dance, watching the Year Nine skanky girls trying to dance after downing a bottle of Passion Pop and a fistful of Alpine Lights. A terrified Anchal goes first, and is reasonably confident with her Sexy Sunflower dance. Michelle seems to have skulled more rocket-fuel than the others, and Melrose puts the "ho" into "Oh, wow. What a freakin' ho". Eugena pulls out that classic striptease prop – the …er… gold cheerleader pompoms, and manages to make them boring. Jaeda, after quickly crapping on about her unfeminine hair again, gyrates around with a feather boa in an odd Tim Curry/Vin Diesel hybrid. Amanda finds the desired combination of sexy/sweet, although I'm convinced she did so accidentally, but Caridee, or as I'm calling her in this segment "Strippy McSmut", goes completely off the deep throat end, rolling around with legs flailing, causing Brooke to gush, wide-eyed, "Girl – I can see your panties". You're so young. You're so naïve. You're so talking like someone just pulled a string in your back.

· It's Jaeda's turn for a cheap whine (and we know she's barely a chromosome away from some three-day growth), and it's about her hair, which is about as surprising as finding a ninety-degree angle in right-angled triangle, and exactly as interesting. She complains that she doesn't feel like a woman. It's not just the hair, sweetie. It's the six feet of height, the right-angled jaw and the footballer shoulders. The hair is just the testosterone icing on the testicular cake.

· An ad-break, and auditions for Australia's Next Top Westie Scrag are still being advertised. For those of you who have never seen a series, it's exactly like America's Next Top Module, but with more tattoos. Can't wait.

· A Tyra-Mail drags the girls to a house where they're met by Cathy Gould, the director of Elite Model Management, and Kylie Bax, a Kiwi ex-supermodel with exactly the level of charisma and intellectual precociousness we've come to expect from Kiwi ex-supermodels. It must be from trying to wairk ut on the ketwalk. Our modules are told they'll be the main show at a private party, and the long dinner table will be their catwalk. Cathy tells the girls to be sexy, which trips a switch in Anchal's head that makes her yabber about how fat and hence unsexy she is compared to the other girls. The other girls with concave chests, bony arses and ribs that show through the skin on their foreheads. Shut up. Clothes and make-up are slapped on until the desired Punky Brewster: The Crackwhore Years effect is achieved, and it's up on the table for a trampy trip through the tableware. Eugena, for some reason carrying a tray, apparently "tried too hard, and worked the tray too much" according to Cathy. Amanda almost fell arse-first into a guest's coffee, giving new meaning to the phrase "Waiter, there's a crack in my crockery", and Michelle was underwhelming in her underwear. Jaeda managed to be slow and sexy, no mean feat for a big bloke, but Brooke looked like an underaged groupie trying to get into a slapper convention. Melrose, as is her annoying habit, was bloody good, but Caridee overdid it again, and Anchal was obviously obsessed with what she regards as her heifer-like proportions. Cathy comments that Anchal perhaps needs to be in better shape. Predictably, Melrose wins the challenge and grins her now familiar Cheesy Psycho Grimace. I want her to snap. Soon. There's absolutely a postal worker inside her, just scratching to get out and shoot up the joint – we just need to find a trigger. And some plastic explosive.

· Melrose picks Brooke and the Twins to share her prize of an editorial spread in Seventeen magazine, and except for the re-appearance of Atoosa "Bless You" Rubenstein, and the fact that Melrose looks like a seventeen-year-old's auntie-who-owns-a-lot-of-cats-and-smells-like-medicine, this segment was less interesting than getting keys cut.

· It's nighttime poolside, and in another moment destined to make this the most tiresome of all ANTM episodes, Anchal is moaning to Caridee about how grotesquely obese she is. Puh-lease. She's obese like I'm shy on the dancefloor. Caridee plumbs the depths of her wisdom and suggests that perhaps it's the eating that's the problem. Anchal thanks her for her advice, gives her a hug, and calls her "coach".

· Somebody do something interesting in this episode. And by interesting, I mean mental. And by mental, I don't mean a wacky photo shoot concept.

· Photo-shoot time, and Jay meets the girls in a big house, where they'll be taking part in a sexy romp as chicks on the cover of romance novels. For. F*ck's. Sake. I'm sick of being amazed at how stupid these shoot ideas are. So sick, that I'm going to make three predictions (no cheating, I promise) about future photo-shoots, and we'll see if any of them come true. My three predictions are: Ostrich. Underwater. Vegetables. If any of these three themes or items turn up in photo-shoots in the rest of this series, I am a champion. If they don't, I've just written a really short postmodern poem.

· Melrose summarises the covers of most romance novels as "groping, aggressive paintings", which momentarily makes her less hateful. The girls are advised of their scenarios in this dumb, dumb farce – Jaeda will be in love with a vampire, Eugena will be "caught in the act", and Melrose will be the madam of a brothel. Anchal will be an Egyptian beauty, Caridee will be a peasant girl in love with a rich man, and Brooke will be a forsaken, jilted lover. Straight Amanda will somehow be conjuring leaving a man for another woman, whilst Gay Michelle will be nursing her lover's illegitimate baby. Just… just so stupid. Speaking of which, the modules are introduced to their co-star for the shoot, and yes, I'm afraid it's Fabio. I wish I could lie and say it isn't. But it's Fabio.

· Caridee, in her only subtle performance this week, does well, but Fabio is awful. Jay comments about Amanda that she's "consistently fair", but you can tell he thinks Fabio is awful. Gay Michelle isn't comfortable rolling around on a bed with Fabio and a fake baby (strange girl), and uses the excuse that she's never rolled around on a bed with anyone. Anchal looks gorgeous as Queen Nefer-titty, and Fabio looks stupid as Chunky Man With Eyeliner. Jay thinks that Eugena is working on "a three-quarter tank of gas", which is his way of saying "boring". Jaeda struggles to look more feminine than Fabio, and doesn't manage much through her obvious revulsion. Fabio jokes to Brooke that he's a virgin, to which she replies "Are you? Me, too!". She's required to grip tightly onto his thigh in the shot, which she says is difficult, because he's "not just tall – he's thick, too". When asked to move her hand one centimetre closer to his crotch, she feels like she's being "forced into adulthood", which is probably a different concept to Brooke the Naïve than it is for, say, Macaulay Culkin. Fabio comments that she is "berry inessperience". Mel-As-Brothel-Madam acts the randy slut to perfection, and may have given Fabio a little Italian soldier. She's the only one to openly flirt with Fabio, because all the other girls have a relatively low chunder-threshold. He's awful.

· It's elimination time, and I'm desperately relieved to see that Tyra, after a couple of weeks nibbling at the Milk Arrowroot of Style, has once again jammed the Tim Tam of Tack. We're treated to an asymmetrical, triangular hairstyle seemingly held in place with egg-white and Spakfilla, and a two-tone strapless sheath that Tyra seems to be holding in place with her armpits. It's wretched. Miss Jay goes out in sympathy with his own black-cockatoo-styled coiff, and Twiggy just surrenders in plaits. Spunky Nigel looks dashing and handsome, and may find my shoe-prints outside his window soon. Guest judge, to Anchal's self-loathing-based horror, is Cathy from Elite.

· Tyra spends a couple of minutes talking to the girls in a high-pitched baby voice which I do not understand. I prefer not to analyse her behaviour here – I'll just put it down to a combination of prescription drugs, Cristal, and chicken fat. Let's move on.

· Photos are picked through, and the romance novel shots are completely and utterly unremarkable, save for Tyra's advice to Anchal to "back the booty up, make it less hoochy". The Scary-But-Fashion contact lens shots, however, are a different story. Disturbing in a "Why you do this to me, Dimmy?" kind of way. Twin Amanda looks like a feature on When Ginger Corpses Attack, and Brooke is a snarl away from Teen Wolf. Twin Michelle adds unfathomable creepiness by licking her lips in her shot, and Eugena is angry, not boring. Caridee's shot causes Tyra to gush "You blew me away. You commit to a photo in a way that's insane to me". Insane? To You? That's freakin' nutty, man. Melrose is a bit pantomime scary, but Jaeda is the most petrifying freaky ghoul I've ever seen in my life. She looks straight out of her photo into the core of my soul, and chars it red/black with the heat of hellfire and the faint whiff of sulphur. Or something.

· The judges deliberate, and the ludicrous comment is made that Caridee is "trying too hard to be a model". You know – like how irritating it is when horses in the Melbourne cup keep running all the time. There's just no place in a modelling competition for trying to be a model.

· Names tumble dramatically out of Tyra's mouth one by one, until only Rappin' Brooke and Eugena The Boring are left. Tyra tells Brooke that the judges love her personality, but that she has no potential, and then tells Eugena that she has loads of potential, but no humility or respect, those two traditional hallmarks of models like, say, Naomi Campbell for example. Brooke is given the shunt, and in between racking sobs, wails that she could've been at her high school graduation after all. She's devastated. I'm indifferent. Bye, Brooke. Try not to rap the names of all the Bratz dolls on your way out, kiddo.

Next week, we have a photo-shoot with racecars, some simulated sky-diving, and a Melrose/Anchal war. Laps. Flaps. Snaps.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Emails I May Never Send #12

Dear National News Producers,

There seems to be some confusion regarding which stock footage clips should be shown with which news item. For the avoidance of doubt, please stick to the time-honoured formula below:

- Story about drugs: close-up of someone cooking up a hit on a spoon
- Story about paedophiles: close-up of children's legs walking to school
- Story about obesity: close-up of numerous fat arses walking up and down Pitt Street Mall
- Story about hailstorm: close-up of local bloke's hand holding big f*ck-off hailstone
- Story about drought/water restrictions: image of puddle of water surrounded by cracked, dry earth
- Story about anything to do with Muslims: image of women in hijabs at local shopping centre
- Story about apartment building on fire: image of residents in jammies standing in street
- Story about bushfire: image of fireman squirting own face with hose
- Story about bush/sea rescue: image of person wrapped in blanket
- Story about sex scandal: image of Shane Warne
- Story about court case involving teenager killed in police chase: image of mother/sister/aunt arriving at courthouse with bad perm and cigarette
- Story about baby animals born at zoo, shown after the weather bulletin: whatever you like, channel has been changed immediately after surf/snow report

Please also tell Sandra to pull back on the fake tan.


Friday, November 10, 2006

White With Two Acting Lessons, Thanks

I've often been accused of making a big song and dance about nothing. Let's add this to the pile.

Actors on television can do a lot of things – they can cry on cue, throw themselves out of trucks, hold you in their thrall with an emotive soliloquy, make beach scenes look convincing in goosebump climates, feign mental disease and ride horses.
Why, then, is there not one of them that can convince me that the Styrofoam cup they're holding contains any liquid whatsoever? Actors can't do coffee. None of 'em. Put a takeaway cup o' Joe in their hand and watch them wave that thing around like a glowstick at a bad teenage rave. If that cup was full, all the extras would have stained clothes and third-degree burns.

Seriously, have a look. Tell me I'm wrong.