It's episode five, hooray! All the models are excited because they can count up to that number using all the fingers on one hand, and it's much less confusing. So to celebrate, they decide to throw a fancy dress party for the opening flashback montage, the theme of which is "disco drag queen".
Well, can YOU explain this makeup? Didn't think so.
The flashback this week is extra enjoyable - not only because we get to watch Mikarla being kicked out again, but because of Cassi's enthralling performance of her new one act play, "I don't deserve this".
"I'm the one that tries the least in this house, it's only because I produce good photos that I'm here," she wails, putting a self-congratulatory spin on her self-loathing.
It's a top performance - the only criticism being that sniffling, scrunching up one's face and speaking in a broken voice isn't a substitute for ACTUALLY crying. People can usually tell you're faking it when wet stuff isn't coming out of your eyes. So next time, Cassi, think of something ACTUALLY sad - like a puppy being thrown out a window, or Clare having a shower - and the tears will come.
Without tears to give her performance credibility, Cassi has to continue the charade of "feeling unworthy" by announcing that she wants to go home, a suggestion which is greeted by absolute indifference by pretty much everyone. See ya, Cassi! Don't gain any endearing features on the way out now, will you?
Clearly whoever bought that robot in last week's episode had some change left over from Toys R Us as this week's Sarah Mail is delivered courtesy of some crappy plastic farm animals with the models' faces glue-stick-ed on. As always, the special effects in this show are SECOND TO NONE.
Budget-busting effects are what make ANTM great.
Not nearly enough comedy is made of the fact that Laura is a dog and Madison is a cow, but that's more than made up for by Lola's impromptu impression of "an animal", which she believes will stand her in good stead for whatever barnyard photo shoot they're being sent off on.
Squeal like a pig, girl!
With this masterpiece of method acting in mind, all the models are packed off to some farm to meet Blondie McPins, one of the dudes from Hot Chip and the bikie from the Village People in what will prove to be one of ANTM's stupidest ever segments.
One of these people looks uncomfortable for a good reason.
"We saw Sarah there and we thought 'Yeah OK, this is different'," ponders Lola, possibly referring to the fact that Sarah is ALWAYS there and there is absolutely NOTHING different about this situation at all. Except for the presence of a member of a gay 1970s pop band.
The bikie actually turns out to be their photographer for the day and is called "Justin Spittle", a name that sounds rather gloriously Dickensian. I hope against hope that he'll come to the shoot in a frock coat and top hat and rap the girls across their knuckles with a cane when they pose the wrong way.
Hot Chip man, who is actually called a stylist called Boon (or Poon, I couldn't quite hear) tells the girls they'll be putting on animal costumes for a shoot that will be "very Italian Vogue".
"When he says Italian Vogue, I think he really means Italian Vogue," explains Blondie, clearing up any confusion there may have been about what "Italian Vogue" means.
As it turns out, "Italian Vogue" is actually shorthand for "batshit crazy", as all the models change into furry costumes and set about getting their faces mutilated with makeup that looks like it has been applied by a drunk five year old.
The rare and endangered Moronicus Uglyfus.
It is about this time that the five and a half people watching at home who didn't work it out as soon as we met Spittle and Poon start to realise that this is perhaps a wind up - a conviction that is not dispelled by the makeup artists who are NOT EVEN TRYING to make their terrible work look believable. Fortunately, the models aren't quite as sharp, and take the whole thing very seriously. Is there anything funnier than someone dressed as a donkey trying to look sexy while reclining on a bale of hay? I think not.
Barnyard shoot in a nutshell:
- Poon tells Lola she has "transgender feet", a criticism she deals with remarkably well - by saying "thank you" and then mouthing "f*cking dickhead" under her breath. Lola, I think I love you.
- Cassi describes Poon as being "mentally insane" and having "an anger problem" - both judgements she is more than qualified to make, especially in her latest guise as a bogan Amy Winehouse.
They tried to make me go to anger management classes, I said no, no, no...
- Clare stumbles around in an oversized tiger suit while grappling with a screaming piglet in what looks like a scene from Winnie the Pooh themed horror film "Night in the Hundred Acre Wood".
- "Everyone's going to look at this shot, and it's going to be shit, and it's going to be your fault," spits Spittle at Cassi, who is dressed as a leopard with purple lips. That is all.
- The models do a costume change and emerge in flannelette shirts and boots, and huddle together on the floor with a bunch of pigs in what looks like an outtake from Deliverance.
- Blondie McPins streaks in from nowhere and lets all the models in on the BIG SECRET that the photo shoot is all a set up. Italian Vogue starts launching legal proceedings.
After a quick dip and shear, the models are hurried off to some bar somewhere to meet "diamond man" Nicola Cerrone. Tahnee is saddened to discover he's not actually made of diamond, but simply sells them. After already discovering she won't actually be in Italian Vogue dressed as a cow, that's the second time she's been let down today.
After laying around on hay bales for most of the morning, the models are now told they have to go to a party and lay around on slabs of ice wearing diamonds - ICE, GET IT? - while the 12 guests who bothered to RSVP stand around drinking champagne and ignoring them.
Meanwhile, Cassi Winehouse hear the words "ice" and "party" and gets prematurely excited.
Use your imagination.
"We're going from squealing pigs all the way through to chic and expensive," says Pease Porridge in what would appear to be a non sequitur but has the added bonus of allowing me to do this:
I KNOW he didn't technically say it, but it still counts, OK?
Ice party in a nutshell:
- Clare straps what looks like a diamond encrusted medieval torture device to her neck and leans on an ice angel, in the embodiment of what could potentially be a lyric from a Meatloaf song.
- Cassi goes for top spot in the predictability awards by whingeing that Clare has an easy ice sculpture to work with. Coming in second place is today's rain, which fell directly after dark storm clouds filled the sky.
- Madison helpfully explains why Cerrone jewellery is so expensive by comparing it to her mum's wedding ring. "That's just got one diamond, and this is like, shitloads," she says. Ahhh, now I understand!
- "When you first get on it it feels like it burns, like it's burning your skin," says Tahnee in that strange way she's developed where she stares straight ahead, wide-eyed, and speaks in a monotone voice as though she's a member of some sort of cult. I assume she's talking about the ice, but who knows. Tahnee creeps me out.
- Franky straddles the ice slab and does a passable impression of Kate Winslet at the end of Titanic, when she's freezing to death in the Atlantic.
- Sadly, everyone resists the urge to stick their tongue to any of the ice sculptures, but Lola comes close by attempting to freeze her ear to one. She looks perfectly gorgeous until it's time to stop, and she stands up and wipes her nose with the back of her hand like a brickie's labourer in drag. See how ice can distort reality?
For managing to glue her face to a slab of ice without looking like something from the Sydney fish market, Lola is declared the winner and is given a hideous heart shaped pendant that looks like something you'd get inside a Kinder Surprise. Except it's not, because it's worth $2000. Go figure.
In an effort to keep her Queen of Predictability championship crown firmly on her head, Cassi explains how she's not jealous of Lola winning because she doesn't wear silver, she wears gold. And she knows it's gold because she bought it at Goldmark.
The girls arrive back at Model HQ to find someone has helpfully filled up their suitcases with dirt and left them in the foyer. Could this be Mikarla's revenge for the "Maccers bag o' butts" incident last week? Sadly no - it seems the girls are "going earthy", according to the accompanying Sarah Mail, and they are instructed to "pack their bags". What, with soil? This of course can only mean one thing - the girls are being sent off to live in a giant biodome where they will cultivate genetically modified vegetables and recreate the entire human race from scratch with a band of gypsy male models.
Actually, as it turns out they're just going to South Australia.
"Yay, my home town!" shrieks Clare, who probably isn't the kind of person you want answering the "geography" questions on your Trivial Pursuit team.
Everyone seems more excited than you'd think possible at the news they're all flying economy Virgin Blue to Adelaide, except for Cassi, who decides anything would be better than that and stomps off to whinge to her mum on the phone about wanting to go home.
Here's how Cassi's mum approaches the topic:
MUM: Cassi my dear, you know not what you do for you are but young. You will regret it if you leave - trust your mother and stay in the competition. I love you.
Here's Cassi's interpretation of it:
"She yelled and screamed at me and didn't have any support for me for like, the millionth time in my whole life AGAIN."
Mothers can be so troublesome, can't they? Always full of good advice and not letting you do stupid things and stuff. Sigh.
And with that, it's heave-away, haul-away (but probably mostly heave), they're off to South Australia.
"We're flying over red dirt and nothing," marvels Laura, who has clearly already declared SA "terra nullius", blissfully unaware that it is home to one and a half million people.
Although having said that they're soon packed off to Parachilna, about six hours out of Adelaide, where "red dirt and nothing" pretty much sums up the landscape, so perhaps Laura was onto something.
The population of Parachilna is two - this bloke, and the tumbleweed.
Now, I've been to Parachilna and I have to say despite the lack of pretty much everything, it's a very cool place. The sunsets are absolutely magnificent, and the Prairie Hotel (which is about the only structure in town) is utterly fabulous, serving boutique beers and gourmet "outback" food in a casual, relaxed environment. (by the way, Prairie owners, if you happen to be reading this, gee I'd love to try out your accommodation...)
There's just one small drawback. You know in Summer when you throw a barbecue, and all of a sudden a million flies come out of nowhere and descend upon your food, and you find yourself exclaiming "Where did THEY come from??"? The answer is Parachilna.
For some reason, there is a constant National Fly Convention being staged in Parachilna. They have delegates fly in from all over the world to discuss new strategies on how to ruin barbecues and avoid Mortein. If you stand still in Parachilna for longer than five seconds, this is what happens:
I know, because this is a picture of one of my mates standing still in Parachilna in January. It was a dare. She won a beer.
Add to the mix searing heat, red dust, lingerie and angry Cassi and you've got the recipe for THE BEST PHOTO SHOOT EVER.
"This is AWESOME!" shrieks Cassi as she spies the decidedly spartan sleeping quarters they've been assigned, proving that while she might whinge a lot, at least she's easily pleased. She'll be so upset when she finds out there are no crocs to wrestle.
Lying on each of their pillows is a cheap polyester g string, which gives the bunk-bed filled dorms a renewed air of seediness, along with a Sarah Mail that says... well who cares, what it says, I think it's fairly obvious what's happening here.
"We were trying to figure it out and we just had no idea," says Adele while simultaneously posting off her application to join MENSA.
For the rest of the nation, it's no surprise when the girls are dragged out into the desert to meet a photographer and Pease Porridge for a lingerie shoot. Hang on, did I say Pease? I meant Brad Pitt, circa Thelma and Louise.
OK, maybe not.
And so... um... gosh, I've forgotten what I was talking about now... Umm... where were we? Oh that's right:
Mmm. Definitely a different hat.
Sorry, had to check that. Anyway, Pease Pitt tells the modelettes their photo shoot isn't JUST about getting half naked and showing off some lacy bits of polyester - oh NO! It's more than that. It's about a STORY. And "delivering emotionally" on that story. So what IS this enthralling story the models must act out emotionally? Allow Pease, the storyteller, to enlighten you:
"You're with a male model, you're travelling in a car, you're in the middle of the outback and it's so hot the car breaks down..."
Ohhh yes, Pease, go on....
"He takes off his shirt, and so do you..."
Yes... OH YES!
"You reveal some beautiful lingerie..."
OH YES, PEASE, YES!
"You're looking for water, and that's where the story begins," he finishes.
Out now through ANTM publishing.
Truly an engaging story, and one to which we can all relate - many's the time I've been travelling through the outback with my male model friend when I've been forced to strip down to my knickers in order to fix the car. In fact I'm not entirely convinced this is a lingerie shoot shoot after all - it might as well be a COMMUNITY SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT on what to do if your car breaks down in the desert: remain calm, stay with the car and strip to your unmentionables. Basic survival rules.
Community service announcement masquerading as a lingerie shoot in a nutshell:
- Seconds after starting, the shoot is shut down when Clare takes off her shirt and temporarily blinds the photographer and all the crew from sun glare.
- Clare quickly revises her character from "vulnerable and frightened girlfriend" to "fed up, ripped off hooker" when wardrobe dresses her in a black lace teddy, massive hoop earrings and shiny orange mini. You know, the stuff you normally wear to do roadtrips in the desert.
- Laura wanders on set looking like a Barbie doll that's been stuffed into a condom. The photographer tells her to look "pissed". I can't wait to see this photo.
- Adele sets the Slip, Slop, Slap movement back about 30 years by posing on top of an oil drum in not much more than a bra while the sun beats down mercilessly on her alabaster skin. I have no idea what anyone says during this segment, because all I can hear is my mother's voice in my head shrieking "PUT ON A HAT, YOU SILLY GIRL!"
- Madison says she feels "lightheaded". Perhaps because there's nothing actually IN her head.
- The photgrapher tells Madison she needs to work out what to do about the flies that keep zooming inside her mouth. Never one to miss a chance to say something overtly sexual and highly inappropriate to a young woman, Pease reminds her the choice is "spit or swallow". Classy, Pease.
- While everyone else is cavorting around in lacy bras and frilly knickers with a hunky male model, for some reason Lola is stuck in some support underwear that looks like it's been designed by industrial engineers, and made to sit in the dirt. Something about this seems rather unfair.
- Franky is poured into a black leotard with spiky epaulettes and stomps around on top of a rusty jalopy in what could easily be a poster for Mad Max 4: Tina Turner Aint Got Nuttin' On Me.
- Cassi spends her hair and makeup time revising her understanding of the Stanislavsky method to allow her to "emotionally deliver" on the compelling storyline Pease has developed, but in the end finds it rather easy to deliver "angry".
- Proving that she may just be the only modelette with any brains whatsoever, Cassi is the only girl to suggest a shot in which the sexy-as-all-get-out male model holds her off the ground. Perhaps we're underestimating you, Cassi...
Suddenly, out of nowhere a couple of outback-ridin' cowboys trot into shot to deliver the girls a Sarah Mail. They've clearly been riding for days, as they look exhausted, and it's a miracle they managed to even FIND the girls out there in the middle of the desert like that and... Oh.
What do you mean they were just waiting out of shot until their cue was called? That's not out of shot!
Well anyway, the Sarah Mail announces the entirely unsurprising news that it's time for elimination, to which all the models react with utter surprise and a chorus of "OY MOY GOURD"ing. As usual.
In the interim, Cassi decides she's going to stay in the competition. Raise hands everyone who gives a shit....? Right, moving on.
So it's off to the elimination warehouse, or rather - woolshed, as they're out in the country and stuff and everything has to be yokel-themed this week. All the judges are there, looking so groomed and shiny like they've just breezed out of an air conditioned vehicle 10 minutes before shooting because... well, they have.
There's Blondie McPins, looking like the kind of annoyingly beautiful woman who doesn't sweat OR perspire; Identity Dawson, the "Glamazon of the Desert" (why oh WHY did they not invite Priscilla to this elimination??); Alex Perry, whose head refuses to shine this week despite the weather providing the perfect opportunity to, and my favourite ANTM photographer ever Russell James. Why is he my favourite? Because he made Demelza look like an alien in last year's series, and he looks a bit like Scott Hicks crossed with Iggy Pop, and he's just generally awesome.
Before we get to the picture bitch, can I just say WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH THE MODELETTES' ELIMINATION OUTFITS? AND WHY ARE THEY NEVER PICKED UP ON IT? Not an episode of America's Next Top Model goes by without Tyra and Miss J having a crack at someone's elimination outfit - "Oooh Miss Thing, you look like a HOT mess!" - but our girls can turn up in their best Supre and Goldmark and no one bats an eyelid.
Anyway, let's picture bitch:
- Blondie tells Lola she should be an actor, which is meant to be a compliment. Except Lola is in a MODELLING competition, so...
- Everyone goes ga-ga over Tahnee's photo, except for me, who decides it makes her mouth look tiny, her teeth look "bucked" and her neck non-existent.
- Clare looks like a sexy string of cold cooked spaghetti dangling from a stick in the desert. Whether or not this will sell lingerie, only time will tell.
- Pezza describes Clare as "expensive in the outback" - so that spaghetti probably has truffle oil on it.
- Madison's shot consists of her standing in the middle of nowhere in only a shirt and bra, looking angry. The words "sexual assault victim" spring to mind.
- Dawson tells Cassi her photo is so divine it makes her want to cry. Somehow I think Cassi could have made her cry no matter WHAT she thought of the photo, courtesy of her two fists, but anyway...
- Laura's photo manages to transform her from Barbie doll in a condom to Real Doll in a condom. Given the photo shoot required them to strip to their lingerie and roll around in hot sand I'd say this is fairly in keeping with the vibe of the day.
- Pezza describes Adele as looking like "expensive sex", which begs the question - what experience does he have in this arena?
The Pezza Expens-o-meter gets another workout.
- Blondie pulls out Madison's photo, causing Pezza to start chanting "Kill me now" like some sort of Tibetan suicide chant. Please guys, South Australia's "serial killer" image is bad enough without fashion designers offing themselves in the outback too...
- "I think she understands how not to make a shot look like it's soft porn," says Pezza of Franky's photo. Of course, it helps when you're dressed like a bad-ass futuristic robot-killer, as opposed to an underwear-clad "girlfriend" hanging off a male model.
As usual, it comes down to just two: Laura the Real Doll and Madison the Angry Girl. Blondie tells Laura she's not the entire package - luckily, Laura can explain realdoll.com's shipping terms and conditions and vows to get her a refund, and so Madison is kicked out the door instead, sent back to Adelaide in the back of a rusted old ute. Hope she's wearing good underwear...
Finished? NOT BY HALF, YOU'RE NOT. Leave me a comment (please?) and then head over to Jo Blogs to see what she has to say about all of this. Go on.