Well, here we are again. Yet another week in the life of Paige, proud owner of Joann’s Dress Shop. But this isn’t just any week. It’s the week of the Miss Fall Fest, which is a prelim to a prelim to a prelim to the Miss America Pageant.
Miss Fall Fest is incredibly important to Paige. Why? Because – ok don’t laugh here – she was miss Fall Fest 1991. No, you guys… guys… I’m serious. No, seriously. I can prove it. Here, look:
Holy Crap! Paige was hot!
Do you think 20 years from now people will be wondering what the hell happened to Kate Middleton? Or do you think she might stick it out and eat a few less donuts?
Whatever. Paige wants nothing more than for world peace an end to hunger the crowned Miss Fall Fest to be wearing a dress from Joann’s, so she’s really upped the stakes this week. Actually, I’m not sure why I just said that. This week seems like every other week at Joann’s.
Britney needs a gown for the talent portion of the Miss Fall Fest pageant. But her talent gown can’t be like any other talent gown – it needs to make up for the fact that Brittny doesn’t have a lick of talent in those skinny little bones of hers. She was taking voice lessons, but her voice teacher told her to quit while she was ahead. So Brittny moved on to the piano – and even though she’s never performed in front of a live audience before, Brit is going to be playing the Tennessee Waltz. On national television. Lord help her.
As it is, Brittny doesn’t come from a very smart family, seeing as her parents don’t know how to spell “Brittney.” But Brittny’s trying so hard! She’s been practicing for weeks now – which any musician will tell you is all it takes to make it in the entertainment industry, so she should be good.
Brit’s mom looks into the camera and tells us she’s really playing the piano a lot better lately before smiling weakly, nodding and starting to quiver. Oh what the heck, we’re here cuz we need a dress that makes her look so good no one will notice how badly she’s playing the piano! There! I said it. I hate my child!
Well, they’ve come to the right place. Paige can make anyone appear to be something they’re not. After all, points out Brittny, before she started coming to Joann’s, she was placing but not winning. But now that she’s been winning pageants, she’ll never go anywhere else for a dress. I hope Paige can teach her how to channel Mozart.
She can’t. But Paige does come up with a great idea: A dress with flowing material that will drape over the piano bench and distract the judges. Because, says Paige, if you perform like a “2,” you have to look like a “10.” And I would say Brittny is a solid “6.”
You may not play like Liberace, but you’ll sure look like him!
The first dress we see is red with long, beaded sleeves. But does it live up to the test? Paige actually has Brit sit down and pretend to play the piano. It’s so realistic you can almost hear the music. But alas, this dress doesn’t have that much-needed train, so they pass. I don’t blame them. Why spend $3500 on a talent dress when you’re just going to lose the competition anyway?
Next is a stunning emerald gown that has the train Brit needs. And it even passes the air piano test, so it’s a winner. Which is nice, cuz for $2500, we need to attach “winner” to Brit’s name at some point in this recap.
You’ll be playing the Union City Philharmonic in no time!
It’s such a great find that we need to get some follow up commentary from Paige on all of her dress secrets:
Paige (all proud of herself): We picked out a talent dress, and we hit the rhinestone on the crown!
Paige: You know, kind of like the nail on the head …
Long silence. Birds chirp. Dusk falls. Random shots of Nowhere, TN.
Well, luckily Joann is back to break the tension. And she’s brought DONUTS! She’s definitely up to something. Jared passes, causing Joann to say in the most condescending tone she can muster, “But it looks like you like donuts.” So that’s it? Is that all you got, bitch? Insulting a man of average build while your second chin jiggles as you speak? Cuz in case you haven’t looked in the mirror lately, I think Jared’s got one up on you in the looks department.
Poor Jared. As these episodes go on he has fewer and fewer comebacks, and this time he looks genuinely hurt. It’s a good thing this is being filmed – cuz when Jared sues the crap out of them for having to endure a hostile work environment, he’ll have plenty of proof!
I can’t help it you guys. It’s my thyroid.
But Paige knows Joann didn’t just come here to insult Jared. There’s something else going on. According to Paige, “I don’t know if there’s some kind of sixth sense, but my mother picks the most unopportune (it’s inopportune, sweetie) times to come by.” She has a point. I mean, why does Joann always show up when the cameras are here? That is just so out of the ordinary for a reality television show. Well, Joann has an idea. She wants to help out with Fall Fest. And no sooner does she offer than Paige shoots her down, giving Joann the ol’ “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” And, well, that’s it. Nothing else happens. Geez, just when you think the real drama is about to begin…
On to Ellen, who at the age of 24 is fully retired from the pageant business. Early retirement was a good career move for Ellen, because as Miss Tennessee 2008 there’s nowhere for her to go but down anyway. And according to that big rock on her hand, it’s time for her to just sit around and make babies now.
A diamond is forever. Or, at least until he cheats and it’s time for the “I’m sorry, please don’t leave me” ring.
Ellen landed a temp gig as the Miss Fall Fest emcee, and she needs an amazing dress to prove she hasn’t fallen from grace. And Paige has just the one: A red jersey halter with a rhinestone necklace. And it’s only $358, which is great considering Ellen’s unemployed and all.
Now that they’ve found her dress, it’s time to reminisce. Paige has dressed Ellen in every pageant she’s been in, including Miss America. As much as Ellen trusts Paige to dress her, Paige can’t seem to say anything right in Ellen’s eyes. She has the nerve to call Ellen a “former,” which in pageantry speak means you have wrinkles and are now banned from competition. The look of death Ellen throws her causes Paige to switch course, nervously fiddling with the bustline of Ellen’s dress and asking her how long it’s been since she competed in the Miss America pageant.
OK. Now this is just getting awkard.
Wrong move again, Paige. It’s been two years … two long painful years since Ellen stood there, hand-in-hand with the other contestant, waiting to find out who would be crowned Miss America. And poor Ellen’s name was never called. Nope, Miss America 2008 went to some other contestant none of us remember.
Oh, boy, those were good times, weren’t they? Remember when you were standing there and they didn’t call your name and you were second runner-up? Wow. Those were the days…
Just a reminder: You’ll never get that back, Ellen. Oh well. Hope you find something else in life to look forward to.
With Fall Fest coming up, Joann’s has a lot of alterations. So let’s check in on Stephanie, the resident seamstress. Stephanie isn’t too worried about those alteration orders, cuz she’s busy making a top out of some old jacket Jared threw in the garbage. Uh-oh, Stephanie! Turns out Jared cleaned out the stock room and tossed out some old outfits that belonged to Joann (the person, not the store). Well, says Paige, you better not let Joann know – cuz if she finds out she’s bound to go ballistic. So whatever you do, Steph, DON’T LET JOANN SEE WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO HER OLD JACKET! Not completely understanding foreshadowing, Stephanie agrees and the matter is done.
On a side note, Paige reminisces that her mom wore that jacket when she went out with her husband. I can only imagine what happened to him. I believe he may have faked his own death and skipped town to get away from her.
Our last contestant of the show is looking for an evening gown for Miss Fall Fest. Apparently 17-year-old Madison has talent, so she can make do with whatever old talent gown is already in her closet. But considering she needs to look taller and older, Paige has her work cut out for her in the looks department. Like Paige says, “If you don’t look like the queen, you’re not gonna be the queen.” So unless Madison can develop a British accent and snooty attitude overnight, I guess she’s gonna have to put all of her effort into the evening look.
Madison is a first-time client, so it’s extremely important that Paige gets it right. It’s not till after the clients lose Miss America that Paige can let it slide a bit. Plus, every Miss Fall Fest winner since Paige has worn a dress from Joann’s – and Paige isn’t gonna break her winning streak on some short, dopey kid.
So Madison models a couple of dresses and settles on a silver halter one that makes her look 21. This $2400 dress actually has plenty of other uses. She could wear it to convenience stores to purchase liquor for her friends. Ugh, the things I know now that could have really helped me out in high school!
Madison attempts the time warp to the year 2015, when she’ll finally be 21.
Did I mention Madison has a talent? She yodels. No, really, she does. She’s a little too embarrassed to do it on camera, but her stage mother gets her to yodel for a few seconds, and it’s pretty cool. But unfortunately what my urban hipster mind thinks is cool doesn’t cut it in the pageantry world, so for the talent portion, Madison will stick with singing. BORRRRING!!!
We’re all rooting for Madison. The prize money for Miss Fall Fest is $5000, and the way Paige explains it, those who make it to the Miss America level can have their college educations and living expenses totally taken care of. And after years of spending thousands and thousands of dollars on super-expensive dresses, shoes, pageant entry fees, yodeling lessons, etc., I’m sure she’ll break even this round. See? Pageantry is totally worth it if you just stick it out for awhile.
And we’re back to the Stephanie and the very nice shirt she made. Nikki, another random store employee, just innocently and unsuspectingly happens to be modeling it up and down the runway (yes, there’s a runway in the store), when who walks in but Joann! Oh, no! No one saw THAT coming. Everyone is on edge here. Will she notice that the material used to be part of her old jacket? Well, let’s see…
Joann: I like your top, Nikki. Who made it?
Paige: Funny story. Blah, blah, blah (I’ll spare you the recap of the recap). Doesn’t she look nice?
Joann: Yes. It looks better on you than me anyway.
That’s it? Are you serious? They built up all this tension for THAT? Looks like Stephanie’s not the only one in this production who doesn’t understand foreshadowing.
We’re in the final stretch, which takes us away from Joann’s and to the much-anticipated Miss Fall Fest. Oh, I wish you could have been there. There were plenty of seats open. We get glimpses of the swimsuit competition, talent competition and eveningwear competition.
Madison has been singing since she was 3-years-old, and when she got on the stage it showed.
It’s a little harder when you’re not playing air piano, isn’t it?
Brittny, not so much. But at least she wasn’t doing this:
Someone told her this was a good idea.
Finally, we have the evening gown competition. Paige talks us through how beautiful Madison looks in her silver dress, and she must be right, because Madison wins! Paige is elated! This is great for business! Oh, and Madison is kind of excited too.
Guess that time warp worked after all!
Even though we witnessed the pageant, Joann still has to give us a recap:
- Brittny did a good (not great) job of playing the piano. But the dress did exactly what it was supposed to do, so what can you do?
- Ellen looked great for a washed-up, old pageant has-been. How she did as an emcee, we’ll never know. We’ll just have to wait and see if she gets asked back next year.
- Madison won – and has an engraved plate to prove it. And Paige takes full responsibility for it. Of course, all those years of voice lessons and working out had a little to do with it, I guess.
Whelp, one more week of this, then I’m on to bigger and better shows, I hope. So ‘til next week, my friends. In the meantime, I leave you with this pageant question:
Would you rather be beautiful and stupid or ugly and a Noble Prize-winning genius?