Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Australia's Next Top Model Recap: Season 7, Episode 8

In a shocking departure from previous episodes, this week's installment begins with Simon(e) bitching about someone.

This time it's Rachel, who continued her ever-improving Keira Knightley act to win best in show at last week's Amateur Impressionists Awards in the "Actresses You Want to Punch" category.

"Hmm, Rachel looks just like some sort of movie star, but who?"
"Um, WHY isn't anyone paying attention to ME?".

While all the modelettes congratulate her on her ability to possess both a straight nose AND a square jaw, Simon(e) is not impressed.

"I don't really like it that much. She looks the same in every photo," she blahs.

I'm not sure how this is a criticism exactly - Keira Knightley's been getting away with that for years and no one complains. Except for me.

How to make a CAREER. Step One: Pout.

PS: Does anyone else find Keira Knightley's constantly semi-open mouth as irritating as I do? I want to put a cheeseburger in it.

Back at the model mansion and Madeline gets an ever-exciting Sarah Mail, so has to call in the half of the group that got pissed on the beach the night before and slept on the sand.


I'd love to tell you what was in the Sarah Mail, but I can't because I was too distracted by the drama of whether the animal on Madeline's head was going to eat her or not:

Maybe if she feeds it some pellets it will go away.

Anyway all the modelettes pile into their promotional obligations and zoom off through a royalty-free imitation of Lady Gaga's Pokerface (which may or may not be an actual recording of a pokie machine) to NIDA which, as Jess helpfully explains, is "a really prestigious acting school".

Oh, so... not... oh. Damn. That would have been a great photo shoot.

"I'm really excited that this challenge is about acting, I feel that this is something I could really do well at," says Madeline.

Well she has done a good job of acting like that thing ISN'T on her head...

"We're going to do lots of improvisation today, and you're going to look ridiculous for most of the time but you're OK with that I hope," says their NIDA drama instructor.

Yep, she's OK with that.

All the modelettes are thrown into a circle and made to act out various scenarios. Unfortunately for Rachel no one asks her to pout and pretend to fight pirates, but she does have to "strip for the president". Somewhere, in an air-conditioned office, a network executive decides to cast Keira Knightley in new telemovie Devil in a Blue Dress: The Monica Lewinsky Story.

Meanwhile, Izzy is told to pretend she is giving birth to a dog, which is a nice change from her giving birth to a dog of a photo every week.

They all then take turns watching each other crying, which is pretty much like every second day in the model mansion.

She's not doing the acting challenge, she's just realised what's on top of her head.

This is followed by a round of "acting silly", in which the modelettes writhe around on the floor, make stupid noises and pretend to be nazi war widows from 1946.

Well, just Madeline does that last one.

And also Liz, who is much better at it.

Then Director Dawson and her twin executive producers turn up to hand out some scripts to the girls which they must learn for their next challenge.

What a talented trio!

Turns out it's a script for a romantic "soap opera" camper than Ray's Outdoors, so the next 10 minutes is taken up with the modelettes perfecting their best dramatic looks.

Nailed it.

Quite how learning lines for a pretend soap opera is supposed to help you look good in front of a camera is anyone's guess, particularly when this is the result. Maybe after last week's thrilling "waiting in an airport" episode the ANTM producers realised the series needed some actual drama, so manufactured a way to get some in.

Whatever the reason, the modelettes are shuffled off to some production studio somewhere to shoot this thing, and Madeline excitedly explains what we can see on screen for the benefit of ANTM's blind viewers.

"There were big white walls and cameras, and a couch and a chair..." she says.


The host of the show Dawson strides in and announces the script is actually for a Telstra commercial which they'll be shooting, and everyone coos about what great "exposure" it will be for them. That's possibly true, but only if they do an ad like this:

I'd cast Hazel as the kid.

Telstra challenge in a nutshell:

  • The scene they're made to do turns out to be some weird situation in which their boyfriend dumps them via Facebook for their brother. A chocolate frog to anyone who can spot the method actor in the group for this one.

  • Amelia gives a very realistic performance, despite the script not mentioning any luxury hotels or trips to Greece.

  • Simon(e) ditches the script to do a great impression of a cow instead, by criticising Hazel's voice backstage.

    "I don't like Hazel. Hazel is shitter than me. HEY ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION TO ME YET?"

  • Realising that barnyard animal impressions aren't winning the director over, Simon(e) changes tack and reads a monologue from The Elephant Man instead:

    Never go full retard.

  • Liz the perennial smiler attempts to portray "scorned woman full of sorrow" but instead comes off as "drunk woman full of ecstasy".

    "Oh my GOD my chin feels AMAZING."

  • We are treated to the best three minutes of ANTM so far this season, which consists of the male stand-in actor shouting "CHAD IS YOUR BROTHER" at the modelettes as they react for the cameras. In this short segment:

    • Jess confuses "Telstra" with "Gaviscon" and does a great impression of a pensioner with indigestion.

    • Rachel ditches the Keira Knightley impression for Christian Slater instead.

      Tell me you see it too.

    • And Madeline mishears "Chad is your brother" as "I've just farted in your handbag" and therefore reacts like this:

      Well, you would, wouldn't you?

Madeline, Monotona, Simon(e) and Amelia are deemed the four least likely to waste everyone's time on a film set and so win a spot in the Telstra ad, while Izzy goes off for a sook to ensure she continues her transformation into an irritating character on the show.

"My parents will be shocked to see me on TV," says Monotona as she prepares for her first take. I think it's safe to say we all will be - if this ad ever makes it to prime time I'll eat Madeline's hat.

And that's a big ask.

After several reels of footage in which nothing interesting at all happens (so, well done Telstra, you've got another hit on your hands), all the modelettes are whisked off to their next photo shoot.

They all think they're going to the airport. Wollongong knows better.

Cue the perpetual chorus of "WE HAD NOY IDEA WHERE WE WERE GOING OR WHAT WE WERE GOING TO DO" - sing along if you know it - before they're interrupted by a call from The Shiralee on the car phone. Or, if you're Montana and were born in 1731, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT RINGING NOISE, IT DOTH MAKE ME AFEARED.

"We had no idea where the voice was coming from, it was like God," she says.

Even chimps understand the telephone, Montana.

"It's FULL STEAM AHEAD for Australia's Next Top Model today," winks the Shiralee. They are so clever, those script writers. For future reference, here are some other train-related puns they could have used:

  • "I hope you've done your TRAINING for this shoot, girls!"

  • "Do well and you'll be ON TRACK to win!"

  • "Do your best so we don't CHOO-CHOO-CHOOSE you for elimination!"


The modelettes spend the four hour journey debating the meaning of The Shiralee's cryptic clue. Madeline votes for a steam-bath while Hazel is sure they're going to Carpet King Discount Cleaners - so they're all surprised when they arrive at a train station.

Madeline still doesn't know what coal is used for.

They're even more surprised when Bros turns up and informs them they'll be doing a Great Gatsby inspired shoot.

"I had noy idea what the Grape Gapsky is," smiles Liz.

The HSC: Edumacating Aussies for more than 50 years.

"I've never read The Great Gatsby, but I've read A Streetcar Named Desire so I kind of just pretended it was that," says Simon(e), while simultaneously accepting her "Complete Lack of Knowledge in both History and Literature" award.

What? Streetcars are like trains, aren't they? That is what that book is about, isn't it? What do you mean it's a PLAY?

By the way, anyone who believes Simon(e) actually read A Streetcar Named Desire, raise your hand.

Thought so.

"I've been listening to some old-school music this morning to try and get into character," says Madeline as all the modelettes are done up in 1920s style. Sadly, Madeline's definition of "old school" only extends as far back as 1985 - so hopefully her Mel and Kim inspired characterisation of Daisy is what the photographer is after.

Bros tells them they're going to be working in three groups of four. Izzy gets her abacus out and they all crowd round it for 20 minutes sliding beads about and arguing until one of them shrieks "BUT THERE'S ONLY NINE OF US!"

Fortunately the great mystery of how to turn nine into 12 is solved when Bros reveals the special guest star who'll be joining each shoot - SOMEONE OR OTHER LEWIS!

"So was the casting couch comfortable, or...?"

Apparently he is on Home and Away, which is why he's able to give all the girls top acting tips like "give your character your own spin" and "have fun". With lessons like this I don't know why they all bothered to go to NIDA.

Predictably, all the modelettes get very excited about being within a five metre radius of a heterosexual male (let's be fair, it doesn't happen very often on this show), but that's before they get on set and see him in his Gatsby get up.


The Grape Gakspy Named Desire challenge in a nutshell:

  • Madeline, Liz and Rachel are first on the platform with Someone Lewis, and manage to look rather like an emo band at a costume party.

  • "So you guys have all been out on the town, you've caught the train back and now you're all going home to have... another drink at home," says the photographer who has just remembered some of the people on his shoot are 16.

  • "I've never been drunk before, so I just acted how I thought I would act if I was drunk," says Rachel. As it turns out, this means gripping on to Liz as she stumbles along, realistically rolling her ankles every now and again, because that's the best way to sell shoes. Sadly she doesn't add in any chundering, which would have made for a really entertaining photo. (Side note: if you're an 18-year-old Australian and you haven't experienced intoxication, you're at risk of being deported by the authorities for crimes against the crown. Get on it, Rachel.)

  • For some reason Rachel's drunken foot-rolling, Liz's chin-lifting and Madeline and Someone Lewis's total lack of chemistry fail to produce a decent photo. The photographer has a mini meltdown and we move on to group two, Simon(e), Jess and Hazel.

  • "It's all about the expression and subtlety in the eye," says the photographer.


  • Jess and Simon(e) both have a crack at Hazel for not being good enough to win the competition, which basically means she'll get best picture later on.

  • Even with Someone Lewis around, the ANTM producers decide there's still not enough drama in this segment so invite a Japanese kabuki artist on set.

    They got him from Dial-a-Kabuki.

  • Amelia, Monotona and Izzy are told to convey "sadness" in their photo, and Izzy leaps at the chance to demonstrate how she can cry on demand. It remains to be seen whether a photograph of a depressed Japanese opera singer will successfully sell clothes or not.

  • In an attempt to add authenticity to the shoot, Simon(e) yells out "STELLA!" at random moments, as well as pointing at the train and saying "Hey, I really DESIRE to get on that STREETCAR." It doesn't work.

And then it's off to the elimination warehouse, where unloved models are bleached, pulped and turned into bootleg copies of great American novels and sold on Amazon.com.

The Shiralee introduces the judges, including Dawson, who can be seen here shielding her eyes from the bright reflection off Pezza's sunglasses:


And so it's time for the picture bitch - GROUP EDITION!

  • Madeline, Liz and Rachel's photo is unanimously deemed a failure, mainly because Liz looks like a passerby who accidentally walked into shot and because Madeline "looks more like an actress than a model".

    Um, remember this?

  • Hazel, Jess and Simon(e)'s photo wins the "Most Like a Family Holiday Snap" award for everyone looking in opposite directions, not one at the camera.

  • Monotona looks like a stuffed moose that someone topped with a dead hen.

  • Dawson labels Madeline more "slapper" than "flapper", which rather rules out any similar joke I can do. Damn you, Dawson.

  • Pezza jumps in to bat for Liz, despite her looking like a transvestite geisha in her photo, because she is fabulous and has a wonderful neck and will probably win.

  • Amelia is criticised for failing to outshine Izzy and Monotona while hanging out of a train window with half an ostrich tied to her neck. This seems somewhat unfair.

Again it comes down to three - Jess, Amelia and Liz, all of whom have been so interesting this series that I can't think of anything funny to call any of them. Seriously, what have they all been doing for eight weeks?

Liz is spared the axe, which is lucky because she was already smiling (I don't think she really understood what was going on, to be honest), meaning that both Jess and Amelia are given the boot in a special DOUBLE ELIMINATION.

Amelia packs her bags and trips off to join her family drinking French champagne on their private yacht in the Greek Islands, while Jess grabs her bottle of Decore and sings a farewell ode to the model mansion that goes something like "My photos were heaps better than Madeline's and Izzy's, this competition is a bit of a crock". I didn't quite catch all the lyrics but it was something like that.

Let's leave the final word to surviving bottom three-er Liz, shall we?


See you next week, kids.


GO BACK A WEEK TO episode 7 ... OR GO FORWARD TO episode 9



  2. I had real hopes they were about to enact ANNA KARENINA and throw themselves in front of a train, but alas!

  3. Simone should have gone home.

  4. Love Liz's final word. Also love that I read Jo Blogg's recap while waiting for yours, but then wasn't bored by yours coz it was different and still hilarious. Kudos.

  5. i hate kiera knightly so bad. totally with you on that one.


  7. We love the twin producers :)

  8. Best recap yet! I'm still giggling at the Christian Slater comparison!

  9. Oh my, Keira annoys me soooo much! If you watch her in Bend It Like Beckham she's a normal pretty actress. Then sometime after that she started her permanent pout thing. I can't stand watching her in most movies because she pushes her lips out like a duck to talk so that in every freeze frame she still has full poutage. Grrr!!

    I also agree that the judging this season is whack. Uplands & Jess had portfolios 10x better than girls still in the comp. I like Madeleine but seriously, she hasn't taken one great photo yet. They've all been very average. I also don't vet the obsession with Rachael. Her photo this week was great but I haven't really loved any of her previous photos and I just don't see "model" when I look at her.

    Keep up the AWESOME work! Love the new look website and your American Coffee series!!

  10. Ha ha ha! Auto-correct hammered me! Yolanda not Uplands, get not vet, etc etc