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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Australia's Next Top Model Wrap Up: S3 E1

Well BC-ites, has PetStarr got a treat for you!

Since my Oz Idol wrap ups last year won me so many fans (and enemies) and caused so much scandal, I've decided to do it all again with a new TV show, ensuring that I can once again go out of my mind trying to program the VCR and stay up late writing utter crap at least once a week. Hooray!

The TV show in question this time round can be none other than Season 3 of Australia's Next Top Model.

So let's get this shit on the road (or on the runway, whichever you prefer).

For anyone familiar with previous seasons of ANTM, the first change this year is that hoary old Erika Heynatz is gone, which is sort of a pity, because Erika was like a cross between Janice Dickinson and a rabid polecat - skinny, mean and frequently telling girls to "get over it", whatever "it" was at the time. She's been replaced by swimwear designer/former Packer wife Jod-hello Meares, who is rather more likeable, and yet still ranks pretty high on the "who the fuck?" scale of celebrity. So not too much has changed, really.

Despite the fact that ANTM fans have been waiting for THREE WHOLE SEASONS to have a sassy tranny on the judging panel, our wishes have again been ignored. This season our judges are fashion designer Alex Perry, former model and "identity" Charlotte Dawson (such an all-encompassing word, "identity", isn't it?) and some photographer called Jez Smith. NO TRANNIES IN SIGHT. Unless you count the first contestant, Paloma.




Paloma


Paloma is 17, 177cm tall, and thinks she's won the entire competition already. Actually that's not entirely true, as she explains in her opening comment:
"I think I can win Australia's Next Top Model. It's just a case of whether or not I WANT to."

Ahh, tricky, tricky, Paloma! Waiting in line at Westfield with thousands of other girls for HOURS AND HOURS, filling out entry forms and enduring the boredom of a casting call to enter a competition that you might not even WANT to win is a stroke of true genius. She CAN win it, if she wants. She just might not wanna. So take THAT, everyone.

We see the stylish Paloma getting out of a cab dressed all in black, with reams of long black hair and big black sunglasses, making her look like a deadly Spanish femme fatale in mourning for something ("My shoe, she break yesterday - I now must wear the black for nine years.") Either that, or Cher.

Meanwhile, the judges are hidden away backstage in their special batcave, craftily watching all of the girls on their own TV screens. They all coo over Paloma, although Identity Dawson says she's "too gothic". Non-Identity Smith intelligently remarks that "she's aware of who she is". Yes, and so are we - her name's on the screen, idiot.

Paloma gets shunted into a room to wait for the other hopefuls to arrive, and acts all meek and awkward, so everyone will be even more surprised later in the show when her horns pop out and she starts breathing fire.

Our next lovely lassie is 19 year old Sophie.




Sophie


Identity immediately shrieks: "She's a bit Lindsay LO-Han!", and everyone waits for Sophie to knock back a few valium followed by a vodka chaser and then fall asleep in the gutter - but unfortunately she doesn't quite live up to her celebrity lookalike.

Sophie joins Paloma in the special room, where Paloma greets her with an icy stare and a smile that looks rather like the smile a rabid dogs gives you just before it bites your arm off.

"I'm a bit nervous, are you?" asks Sophie.
"Nup," says Paloma, eyeing her up and down in the least subtle way possible.

Our next few model wannabes are rather unremarkable - Stephanie (who looks like a cross between Brooke Satchwell and Billie Piper) and Steph, who must be forever referred to as "Steph H" because Australian parents are unimaginative and always call their kids names like Stephanie. Meanwhile, Paloma smirks quietly to herself.




Stephanie (L) and Stephh (R)


And then there's Anika, who seems to have entered the wrong competition, as she's turned up as Australia's Next Top Dag.




Anika


The most exciting thing about Anika seems to be her leopard print bag (although in this photo you can only see her smart faux tapestry one) which the judges all go crazy for. It's understandable - we ALL need a bit of distraction from the awful outfit of horrid NAVY button-up shirt, cheap belt with HUGE belt buckle and "I'm off to play hockey with the other gels" hairdo she's put together. She looks like Jessica Biel playing a studious ugly duckling in a new telemovie called Pretty Like Me, before she makes friends with the cheerleading squad and gets a makeover for the prom at which she empties the punchbowl over the star football player's head and dances with the captain of the chess team instead. I know 90s fashion is clawing its way back, but come on, Anika.

In the first major understatement of the season, Identity says Anika's personal style "leaves a bit to be desired".

Next up is Jaimi - ADELAIDE'S Jaimi. She's 18 and very pretty.




Jaimi - her parents forgot the 'e'


And that's about it. Then we've got Jordan.




Jordan


"OH MY GOD, SHE'S GOT A MUFFIN TOP!" Identity squeals excitedly.

Unless Ms Dawson is referring to the two millimetres of flesh poking out above Jordan's extremely tight jeans, Jordan does NOT have a muffin top.

"And that HAIR looks like it's in really BAD condition," Non-Identity pipes up.

"But she HAS got a beautiful face," he continues, trying to get himself out of the hole that he and Dawson are now proudly standing at the bottom of.

Then Jordan shows she will probably be the most fun of all the models this year by exposing her G-banger to the entire nation.




Nice, different, unusual...


Next up is Danika who proves conclusively that having the letters "anika" in one's name renders you devoid of style.




Danika


"Hmm, she maybe needs to lose a few K-Gs," says Mr Perry. (Yes, he actually says "K-Gs".)

Realising such comments usually result in viewer mail, Perry qualifies the statement by saying something about "puppy fat", to which Identity cryptically retorts "Yes, but that has the potential to turn into turkey neck." No one has any idea what she's talking about, but everyone laughs uproariously anyway.

Then there's Cassandra from Emu Plains.




Cassandra


Cassandra has two scars, an extremely rough looking mum and a boyfriend that could easily be her stepfather (and maybe is - it's sort of unclear). She also walks and talks like a truckdriver, and is clearly going to be this year's Eboni.

"Ostraya's Next Top Model will change moy loyfe in three moollion, troollion different ways," she says, like a true blue zombie.

"She is really, SERIOUSLY good," gasps Identity.

Next off the truck is Alice, from Melbourne.




Alice


Alice is strikingly beautiful - tall and willowy with porcelain skin and beautiful strawberry blonde hair that floats around her head like a dreamy haze, she is an absolute gift from supermodel heaven after all of these mallrats.

She looks exactly like Botticelli's Venus - IF SHE'D BEEN STUCK ON THE CLAM SHELL FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH WITHOUT FOOD.

She is skinnier than an Ethiopian child - the very sight of her bony legs makes me dry retch. Perfect model material, really.

"I would see her on the street and think she was a model," says Mr Perry.

Yep, either that, or in need of a cheeseburger. One of the two.

NEEEXXXXTTTTT!




Cobi


GOOD GOD what is that? That's Cobi, 17, from Victoria. Yes, yes, I KNOW she looks like a Cabbage Patch doll, calm down. Just imagine her with sunglasses on and you have Grandma Yetta from The Nanny. Feel a bit better now? Good.

Now try and keep that calm feeling going, you'll need it for Adelaide's next contestant, Jane.




Jane


Jane has a face like a busted sandshoe and an attitude to match.

"My friends say I can pull off anything," she spits.

I think even THEY would be surprised to see Jane pull off this competition, but hey, stranger things have happened.

By now the entire group has congregated in the special room with Paloma, who has busied herself by looking everyone up and down and reminding everyone how not nervous she is. In the spirit of ANTM tradition, Jod-G'day channels Tyra Banks and appears on a giant TV screen to tell the girls she's too busy to show up to meet them in person, and then shows up. For some reason, everyone acts surprised.

She introduces some guy Jonathan Pease, who looks like the missing member of Franz Ferdinane and who has the dubious title of "style director". He introduces himself by saying he has tight knickers. Oh wait, no, sorry, he RUNS Tight Knickers. What? "It's a fashion label," he explains. Oh..right.

Pease reads a whole bunch of tried and tested ANTM cliches off the teleprompter, including such gems as "I don't pull any punches" and "I'll tell it like it is" and "I'll either be your best friend or your worst nightmare," while "ominous" music plays in the background to show he really means it. He also introduces the first challenge for the models, which is to prance about an office block through four different rooms, each of which holds a new challenge MORE DASTARDLY THAN THE LAST (but which will really be an absolute piece of piss).

In the first room waits a photographer with a wanky Italian name whose job is to take a "streetwear photo" of each girl, which basically means a photo of them AS THEY ARE. Poor, poor Anika.

"Until they've been shot we really won't be able to tell how they're going to be," Jod-hello muses intelligently.

They're going to SHOOT them? This could get interesting, I think - but no, there are no guns in sight. Not yet, anyway.

Adelaide's own heroin-chic-rocker-with-a-face-like-a-dropped-pie Jane is wearing boxer shorts (ok...) and has them sticking three inches above her bumsters, which makes her torso look about five feet long. Not entirely attractive, but the tog is going nuts "Yeah, a bit Calvin Klein!" he proclaims. "A bit fucking ugly," proclaims everyone else.

Dag-ika, Grandma Yetta and Cher all look atrocious, but of course Anorex-icelli looks beautiful.

On to Room 2 and a big, fat ad for Jod-g'day's swimwear line, Tigerlily. All the models get themselves into some tiny bits of black spandex and away we go.

Rexi-celli shies out at first, recognising that a black bikini looks rather ridiculous strapped to a Paddlepop stick (especially one who hasn't had a wax in a while - oops!), but eventually she's coaxed into a swimsuit and manages to look like an extra from the Aphex Twin video Come to Daddy:




I TOLD YOU I DIDN'T WANT TO WEAR A BLOODY BIKINI!


Yep, that one.

Room 3 holds another big, fat advertisement, this time for Ghd and Napoleon. Although it's not a particularly GOOD ad for either product line, as the girls are made to do their own hair and makeup and come out looking decidedly scary indeed. Remember the last time the girls were allowed to do their own makeup on ANTM?




And she WON.


In Room 4 the girls are forced to choose from "a rack of stylish dresses", all of which are awful, and then pose for a photo in it.

Grandma Yetta comes on in a singlet that barely covers her pink bits, hair that looks like it's been flattened down with vaseline and then dragged through a hedge backwards. Very Vogue.




Oh. My. God.


Although it's not as good as Angry Jane's effort. She throws on a very feminine, lilac, silk cocktail frock and manages to look rather lovely in it - until she spreads her legs and grabs her crotch, confusing everyone.

Everyone looks uniformly awful except for Rexi-Celli and a couple of others.

And then Pease Porridge appears to announce they're all off to judging already - hooray! We can get rid of a few, and then these wrap ups won't have to be so fucking long...

But surprise, surprise - it's not ACTUALLY judging, it's another stupid pretendy segment to add interest. Yawn. Have we found a winner yet? Bugger.

Pretend judging in a nutshell: Jane reveals her only two facial expressions are "pissed off" and "bored", which may ultimately thwart her career as a beauty model, but will put her at an advantage in next week's "angry jailmate" photo shoot; Grandma Yetta may only be six years old; Rexi-Celli is told to put on weight, which for some reason surprises her; Paloma reveals her hair is her "trademark", which is interesting seeing as no one has ever heard of her before; and one of the models reveals she's an E cup.

Then Jod-hello says she's extremely disappointed with all of the models and threatens to eliminate HALF of them, but SURPRISE SURP- yeah whatever. They all stay.

Now we go back to Model Mansion, where the hopefuls will live together for the next X weeks. Rexi-Celli says it's the best house she's ever had, which begs the question - how many houses HAS she had? Cassandra says...well, who knows? She's been taking elocution lessons from Eboni and no one can understand a fucking word she says.

There is much sighing and humphing over the "house rules", which dictate that all the under-18s have to go to bed at 10pm and do half an hour of schoolwork every night, apparently whether they still go to school or not. Paloma has a good old whinge and a cry which includes the memorable phrase "I'm not good with rules, never have been." She goes off to sulk in the bathroom, and then gets even more upset when someone kindly asks if she's ok.

"I DON'T LIKE BEING ASKED IF I'M OK, I DON'T DO IT FOR ATTENTION!" she shrieks.

She then has a further whinge about being stuck with all the other under-18s, when she's clearly more mature than them. All the girls are inexplicably sympathetic. I can sense the cameramen are trying hard to resist the urge to punch the bitch.

Then there's the obligatory phone call to the dud boyfriend back home, which this week is taken care of by Jaimi, whose man has heard rumours of her infidelity.

"Are you ok?" she cries into the phone.
"Yeah I'm over it."
"You're not over it!"
"I am."
"You're NOT, I'm coming home."
"Nah don't do that. I don't care."
"Don't care that I'm DYING INSIDE?!"

There'll be one of these every week, don't worry.

Then it's time for Jodhi Mail, alerting the models to their first assignment - shooting a TV ad for Fox 8. Hurrah for in-house promotions! Each of the girls is assigned a character - from schoolgirl to air hostess, although why we're not sure. It possibly has something to do with having every possible teenage boy's wet dream covered in the one 30-second commercial. Paloma is made a "judge" and predictably gets pissed off about having to wear a wig. You know, cos her hair is her trademark and everything.

The ad involves them walking through various streets and railway stations looking "modellish". Jane is told to smile and almost punches the director; Rexi-Celli "struggles with the heat" and is forced to have a little nap on a train station bench half way through (if only she'd had that THIRD Cruskit for dinner she might have made it...); and Paloma has another bitch about something. Who cares anymore.

On the way home poor Paloma has an "anxiety attack" which is brought on by Dag-ika talking too much in the taxi. Seriously. We are treated to some hilarious footage of Paloma calling her mum in the phone room, dark glasses on, quivering like a junkie in need of a fix, and crying hysterically while her mum sensibly ignores her:

"Mu-um.. I'm..having..an...anx...iety...attack..."
"What?"
"I'm...having...an...anxiety...attack..."
"I can't hear you honey."
"EVERYONE IS DOING MY HEAD IN AND I HAVEN'T HAD VERY MUCH TO EAT AND SUDDENLY I CAN'T FEEL MY BODY AND IT'S ALL GONE NUMB."
"You're probably just tired."

PRAISE PALOMA'S MOTHER. What this woman has had to deal with for 17 years I can only imagine.

A few of the models bugger off to Icebergs for lunch (some sort of prize for not being a COMPLETE bitch, I think), while all the others have to do their laundry at home. Except for Paloma and Jane, who pussy out on the grounds of being bitches.

And oh god, we're not even half way through yet...

After getting another Jodhi Mail all the girls trundle off to another photo shoot for Charlie Brown. They all pour themselves into sparkly evening gowns and arrange themselves in a tableau a la Vanity Fair. Jane complains that the dress wasn't her style - unfortunately there weren't any diamante boxer shorts going. Paloma scowls at everyone, while Jordan battles a 10-tonne wig that makes her look like a bad Barbara Streisand impersonator. Rexi-Celli looks like an albino Ethiopian famine victim, prompting our style director Pease Porridge to remark "She looks undead". SO fashionable.

After the shoot there's some long overdue Paloma bashing, as bush moll Cassandra tells her to "get the fuck out of my fucking face." Paloma sums up the exchange by saying "I feel that we don't get along." But not before calling her a "derro" and accusing her of being a size 16. Not quite sure where she got that from, but one thing IS clear - we all hate Paloma.

Jaimi continues the boyfriend/phone/infidelity saga, telling him she's going to leave the show and go home just for HIM, to fix things up with HIM because she loves HIM and nothing's more important than HIM, none of which provokes much of a response in HIM at all.

And then it's off to elimination (thank GOD, the end is in sight), where Jod-hello explains all the booty the winning girl will get in vague terms like "an INTERNATIONAL photo shoot" and "a trip to New York to meet a TOP MODELLING AGENCY". What's the bet the winner gets taken to New York to meet "Greasy Steve" of "Babelicious Bodz" before being whisked away to Beirut for that international shoot (that may or may not involve actual shooting)?

The girls are given their final challenge, which is to present themselves to Priscilla from Priscilla's models as if they were on a "go see". Paloma puts on her meek and awkward voice again (ahh, remember that from all the way back at the beginning of the episode? Good times, good times) but loses all credibility when she asks PRISCILLA, of PRISCILLA MODELS what her name is. Um... let me think... IT'S PRISCILLA, YOU STUPID TART.

The Vanity Fair-esque group shot is flashed up on the screen, and it's horrific. Almost everyone looks appalling, mainly due to the bad lighting that makes everyone look like they have two black eyes. Either that, or Paloma lost her shit half way through the shoot and decked everyone twice.

Identity, however, thinks it's awesome, and compliments Paloma - even though she looks like someone's shoved a stick up her arse and told her to look like a Greek tragedy. Cassandra looks like a stunned mullet, as does Dag-ika; Jordan looks like a drag queen (hard work NOT to, under that wig); and Rexi-Celli looks anorexic. All up, it's a nightmare.

Clearly seeing where this series is going (ie: straight to Shitsville), Jaimi ups and bails to go home to the boyf. The judges tell Rexi-Celli to try and eat something; Paloma scowls at something else (probably); and Grandma Yetta is given the boot. It seems there's no room in Australia's modelling scene for a girl who can simultaneously look six AND 86 years old.

But don't think we've gotten rid of two models this week, OH NO, we're not that lucky. Another truck rolls up out crawls Kara, to replace Jaimi the Piker.

It's gonna be a long season, kids.

---

Roll on to EPISODE TWO

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Incredible Inedibles: Pocari Sweat

I love Asian supermarkets. Apart from having completely awesome items unavailable anywhere else (Yan Yan, anyone?), they fulfil two of my basic entertainment needs when I'm out food shopping: Crazy foods and mental packaging.

There are dried up things that look like mummified testicles, dried up fish that may or may not have been run over several times by a B-double truck, lollies that look like fireworks and lots of products involving "haw".

That's why it was no surprise to see a bottle of sweat in the fridge at my local.


Thirsty?


Remember those vomit-inducing ads for Gatorade that sent you running to the basin with the memorable line "Puts back in what the sweat takes out"? Well Taiwanese beverage company POCARI's taken it one step further, presumably to eliminate any confusion.

And the great thing is, it even LOOKS like sweat!


Mmm, milky.


Lord knows, when I'm wiping the sweat from my brow after my morning workout the first thing I want to do is wring out my towel into a glass and have a nice, long drink. Well, now Pocari's done the hard work for me! Thanks, Pocari!

I'd like to think the Pocari factory is like a hotted-up version of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, with bar heaters filling every wall and employees forced to wear polar fleece 365 days a year while large men with hair dryers stand over them and force them to drip into buckets. This would then be chilled and distilled before being mixed with a delightful lemony flavour and poured into bottles. Gives a whole new meaning to the term "Asian sweatshop", doesn't it?

It actually took me several months to get up the courage to try this "ion supply drink" - I bought it in a fit of childish glee, took it home, put it in the fridge and promptly forgot all about it. Until recently, that is, when a friend stayed over after a big night and accidentally guzzled half of it in a dazed, drunk and dehydrated state at 3 o'clock in the morning. "That water tastes like shit," she announced in the morning. "Sweat, actually," was my reply, which was followed by several minutes of copious vomiting on her part.

And so, the moment of truth. What DOES sweat taste like?

Not bad, actually. Anticlimatic, I know, but it's really rather good. If you can get over the name and appearance, that is - there is a REASON Gatorade adds food dye to this shit.

It smells and tastes a bit like watered down orange and lemon cordial, and when it's chilled and poured over ice it actually comes close to being delicious. Yes, I said delicious. This could be a first for Incredible Inedibles - previous experiments have described foods as "disappointing", "dodgy" and "death in a bowl", so I think "delicious" is a new zenith (not to mention another adjective beginning with D).

Coming soon to an Asian supermarket near you - Pocari Blood and Pocari Tears. Collect the whole set!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

'You'll Love Coles' National Moment of Zen: Foil

The pack tells me I'll LOVE Coles foil. So does Jonathon.


'Quality Strength' - they clearly left off the word 'poor'.


"Super foil that won't tear in the oven!" exclaims Jonathon excitedly, putting the super finishing touches on his super healthy baked potato.

Jonathon's right - it really doesn't tear in the oven. IT TEARS IN THE GOD DAMN PACKET.


Sigh.


Apparently Jonathon loves life and great food. He clearly also loves shitty cheap-arse foil that rips itself to shreds on the roll, as he's decided to use his own gummy mug to endorse Coles Shite-Foil TM.

Apologies for the lack of zen.