Saturday, July 13, 2013

S8E1: Australia's Next Top Model Recap

A lot can happen in six years.

Children get born, learn to walk and talk go to school. Seeds grow into saplings. Prime Ministers get elected, then booted out, then put back in again.

Pop stars grow their hair back thick and strong...

...and an Australian blogger can waste pretty much all of her time making jokes about skinny girls falling over in high heels.

Yes, I really have been recapping Australia's Next Top Model for six, long years, from the glorious Paloma pavlova days of season 3, to that time in season 5 when I pissed off the entire nation by going to the live finale and getting drunk instead of blogging it, to the glorious "I feel sick about this - it's Amanda!" debacle of season 6 right up to last year's series which I've already forgotten.

Who was the host of that again? Never mind, because we've got a new one: "Australia's supermodel sweetheart" Jennifer Hawkins!

Funny... I thought... Oh well.

We've also got new judges! Well, one new one anyway, a smiley American model called Didier Cohen who shall henceforth be known as "Did he?" and variations thereof, because I'm clever like that.

OH NO HE DI'NT! (See how funny that is?)

He joins judging panel stalwart Charlotte Dawson, who has spent the last 12 months morphing into a Jennifer Hawkins lookalike in an attempt to finally be appointed host of the show...


... and Alex Perry, who has spent the same amount of time unsuccessfully attempting to open his eyes after his experimental sunglasses-ectomy surgery went wrong late last year.

"I can still see a muffin top at 100 paces, so don't think you're getting away with it."

So it's on with the show, and first up we're reminded of the glittering international success of all the previous seasons' winners, like

The one whose name we got wrong!


The one who was in that jeans commercial once!




Er... the one who rode that horse that one time, I guess!


OK, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who watched this season and even I don't remember her.

We open on Cockatoo Island where the top 50 modelettes have arrived, and they're all SOY excited - probably because the ANTM producers told them they were going to an "overseas location". Well, it's technically true.

They all flash about saying things like "OY MOY GOURD!" and "This is SOY amazing!" and wearing things that make me realise I am ancient and totally don't understand youth anymore, like chambray and knee-high stockings and leather shorts and THIS:

I don't know what this is, and I don't care to find out.

"In my group of friends I'm the only tall, really skinny person," blathers one who I've already decided to dislike.

And here's her group of friends enjoying the show at home.

They're shepherded into a warehouse where they're made to line up in front of a set of ominous looking metal doors. I wonder if it's all about to go a bit Red Wedding until New Host J-Haw steps out in slow motion to the sort of dramatic music usually reserved for Olympics telecasts.

All of them wax on about J-Haw is their "idol" and how she's "oy moy gourd so beautiful" and how everything is "amazing".

I tried to take a bad screenshot of her and this was the best I could do, so I guess they're right.

"This very building was built by convicts, and today you will undergo a bootcamp like no other," J-Haw tells them.

Rather than this just being an odd non-sequitur, I like to think J-Haw actually means the modelettes will be forced to participate in a recreation of Australia's convict labour history and they'll all be chained together and forced to hand-carve an undersea tunnel back to the CBD.

Although this is ANTM so any convict-related modelling challenge is more likely to end up like this:

"I feel the cha-aiiins!"

Out comes Pezza to issue the convict bootcamp challenge, dressed in a spray-on denim shirt.

"He's SOY sexy!" enthuses one contestant, who obviously underwent the same failed eye surgery Pezza did last year.

"Any convict party just wouldn't be the same without the beautiful Charlotte Dawson," declares J-Haw, as Dawson strides out hoping no one from the AFP is there to verify that claim.

"Dawson, she's SOY inspiring!" sighs one misguided contestant.

"Not inspiring enough to be HOST though, am I RIGHT, Foxtel?!"

"We need you to go backstage into the old workshops and strip," says J-Haw.

Interesting ways in which J-Haw does not complete the above sentence:

  • "...those stolen cars of their parts for export to Lebanon."
  • "...the varnish off my old dresser so I can sell it on Gumtree."
  • "...for the tourists until you raise enough for your ferry fare back to Sydney."

"But I bought a return ticket!"

In fact the modelettes will be stripping THEIR MAKEUP OFF for a "convict-style" mug shot photo shoot.

Tattoos are OK though.

Not really at all convict-style photo shoot (and by the way what happened to the whole boot camp thing) in a nutshell (a big one, like a Brazil nut):

  • Faced with an empty concrete warehouse with a few mirrors inside, 18-year-old Ashley immediately wins the Most Easily Impressed Award by gasping "I honestly felt like I was a movie star!"
  • There are two contestants named Chanique and Shanali.
  • Seeing there are awards going already, another contestant puts a bid in for the "Creepiest Neck Tattoo" category:

    If she's god, why doesn't she just rig the competition to win?

  • Each of the 50 finalists puts on denim hot pants (yes, all of them do) and parades in front of the judges to provide such scintillating answers to the question "What will you bring to this competition?" as "I don't know" and "myself".
  • Contestant Jade shows what every girl who grew up in the 1990s already knows - you should never attempt to cut your own denim shorts:

    One more snip and she would have had a denim g-string.

  • "How do you feel about lingerie modelling?" they ask one contestant.
    "My dad's a police officer!" she chirps, answering a question no one asked.

    "My cat's breath smells like cat food."

  • One modelette mishears "convict mugshoot challenge" as "internet meme challenge" and comes as the Grumpy Cat.

    The one on the right has better hair.

  • Alex Perry asks Perth contestant Monique which designer (Alex Perry) she'd most like (Alex Perry) to do a runway show for (Alex Perry).

    "Ohhh... I darno..." she says.

    Well done Monique.

  • "I FOLLOW YOU ON INSTAGRAM AND I FOLLOW YOUR BOYFRIEND TOO AND YOU TWO ARE SO CUTE TOGETHER AND YOUR BABIES ARE GOING TO BE SO GORGEOUS!" gasps 17-year-old Cassandra at J-Haw, who manages to keep smiling while simultaneously reaching under the judging desk to push the panic button.
  • "I feel like I didn't show them everything I could have," moans April from the Gold Coast.

    Jade didn't have that problem.

  • One contestant with low self-esteem starts crying, prompting a flurry of supportive noises and hugs from the judges... BUT NOT FROM APRIL.

    "I felt jealous of the girl that started crying, I was hoping that it would be a time to show myself to the judges and they were so worried about her," she says, simultaneously posting off her application form for the Compassionate Australian of the Year Award.
  • "Your body's incredible, did you always have that body?" asks Pezza of some teenage girl, possibly violating several commonwealth laws.

    "No, I got it about two months ago," she says, as I cry into my red wine.
  • In a scene played out on every series of ANTM in the history of ever, a South Sudanese contestant turns up in a hiedous wig, is made to take it off, looks a million times better.
The mugshot parade over, the 50 ambassadors for the United Denim Hotpant Enthusiasts Association troop back into the warehouse where they are assigned to either Team Perry or Team Dawson - otherwise known as Team Don't Let The Door Hit Your Arse On The Way Out.

The 25 losers shuffle off through the boondocks of Cockatoo Island, shivering in their NSFW convict rags and crying - except for one enterprising lass who says: "Shit happens. I've got back up plans. I'm going to the mines after this to make lots of money."

A mining ambition makes a change from a gold-digging ambition, I suppose.

 Cut to early next morning, still on Cockatoo Island. The constraints of the ANTM budget have become abundantly clear as we discover our 25 finalists have been made to spend the night on kit beds in the warehouse rather than in a hotel. (Well, how else do you think this show could afford Jennifer Hawkins?)

Suddenly, male model DidHe? comes in to wake them up by bashing a metal bowl with a big stick and saying things like "HELLO GORGEOUS!", just like they did in ye olde convicte times.

The fashions were slightly different back then but it was basically like this in 1788.

Apparently Didn'tHe? is going to assess the girls' runway walks, a prospect at which they become very excited because, as one contestant puts it: "he is bangin'".

As evidenced here.

"Girls, you're about to take on one of the most challenging activities ever seen on Top Model," J-Haw says.

That's a pretty big call from a show that gave us this last year:

Pretty fucking challenging.

As it turns out, the models are going to have to walk, barefoot, across a wooden plank suspended over some water.

This is the appropriate reaction to that news.

It's about this point that it becomes clear everybody has somehow gotten "convicts" confused with "pirates", but never mind. Maybe there'll be a rum drinking challenge next.

"Someone's BOUND to fall in!" gasps one of the girls, as the jaded producers clutch their clipboards and collectively sigh "That's the fucking point."

"I had no idea how long it was," another stammers, as if knowing the exact metre length of the plank would somehow make the task more clear than just actually looking at it.

Pirates Convicts walking across a plank challenge in a nutshell:

  • The accepted method for this challenge appears to be "walk the way you did when you first got wasted and had to convince your parents you were still sober". So it will be a good practice for that up-coming rum drinking challenge, then.
  • "You're not walking the line to the buffet, it's a runway," says Pezza, which gives me an idea for a great weight-loss business idea: Hungry Pete's Plank Dinner Buffet! All you can eat, as long as you can bring it back to your table across a wooden board suspended over a shark pond. It's genius.
  • A few fall in but their performances are nothing compared to Duckie the newly wigless who does the best impression of a drunk clubgoer walking across a suspended plank I've ever seen:


  • Meanwhile, after his big introduction DidHe? appears to have been relegated to the sidelines and is mainly just handing towels to wet models. I guess there are worse ways for a bloke to spend his time.
  • "I fell in but I just took it in my stride," says Skye, without any sense of irony.

  • That was kind of the problem, Skye.

Having learned absolutely nothing about modelling from the "plank over troubled water" challenge, we charge on to the final photo shoot which - SURPRISE! - has a prisoner theme.

Sadly not THIS Prisoner, though.

It's more of a Chicago-style jailbird theme, with a "beatnik, Edie Sedgwick feel", and whatever other random reference you feel like throwing in because nothing else interesting has happened this episode.

Everyone gets dressed up in black and white stripey tops and drapes themselves on some scaffolding to pout for a bit and look prisoner-ish, which is quite ironic because the only person on set who looks like they've ever been remotely near a jail is the photographer.

"I'll swap yer a shiv fer some fags."


This is better than one of those motivational posters on Facebook.

DIDIER UPDATE: He is still not really doing anything.

Unlike Dawson, who is drawing on her decades of modelling experience to help the girls with their facial expressions:

"Trust me, this will work on camera."

Meanwhile: ARE THERE ANY CONTESTANTS WITHOUT TATTOOS? If I'd realised this was going to be a thing I would have screencapped them all from the beginning of the episode as evidence, but you'll just have to take my word for it that there is almost no contestant not sporting ink.

Disappointingly there are no major disasters, no one falls off the scaffolding, and everyone looks pretty good - even the contestant who mistakenly thought it was "come as your favourite Addams Family character" day:

I don't get it, which one is she? Gomez?

On to the picture bitch, which J-Haw is thoughtfully popping into even though she's on her way to a "retro TV" themed costume party at Pezza's house:

His Major Nelson costume is a bit crap though.

Given that this involves looking at photos of 25 girls in the exact same outfit whose names I don't even care about yet, let's skip straight through this to... ELIMINATION.

Having somehow not yet exhausted the stock of convict-related puns, J-Haw announces it's time for the finalists to receive "their final sentence".

I'm hoping the sentence will be something like "Petstarr, this episode is finally over, please go and drink the magnum of Bollinger we've left on your doorstep" but no, apparently they're referring to the other type of sentence, where you either get sent off to model HQ or sent off to Cockatoo Island to undergo 12 months hard labour in Didier Cohen's hair wax mine.

"I can't even feel my hands or feet I'm so numb," says 18-year-old Shannon of the Gold Coast, who may actually have hypothermia.

"Congratulations for surviving one of the most brutal bootcamps here on Cockatoo Island," says J-Haw.

Just a reminder: Took off makeup, woke up early, walked across a plank, had a photo taken. BRUTAL.

Anyway a bunch of nameless girls go through and it comes down to the final two - one with a tattoo problem, the other with an attitude problem.

Tattoo gets punted just in time to hear that everyone else will be jetting off to Thailand next week.

"OY MOY GOURD I've never been overseas in my life!" exclaims one, who has clearly forgotten the day's earlier trip to Cockatoo Island.

As they all rush off to Model HQ to pack their bags, we once again ask: Where's Didier?


Now go on and read EPISODE 2


  1. far out these girls are sporting so many 90s fashion rejects that they're going to be soyyy out of style before the season is over.

  2. Soy glad you're back! Please continue,please! Your summaries are always funnier than the show and mean I can spend 60 minutes more productively. Many, many thanks. It's a brutal task and I'm glad you're doing it.

  3. Woo. You're back. And still amazing.
    Though nothing will top S3.
    "It's still peeling!"

  4. Thank you, your comments are spot on and are more exciting than the show. It's not often when I laugh out loud. Please continue!!!

  5. I snuck into the work bathrooms to read this and my muffled laughter must have sounded like strangled sobbing as there were several concerned knocks on the cubicle door. I found it hard to explain what I was really doing. Keep it up, funniest thing I have ever read

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. When Next season of this show well be come.