Thanks to writers strike there is a whole slew of new reality shows. I was lucky enough to get the assignment to recap Miss America: Reality Check, which airs on TLC. Bitchy queens living together? DRAMA! Also, you know that means lots of big hair, bad bangs, Vaseline smiles and overdone makeup. How does your state measure up? Find out after the jump!
The show starts off with all 52 girls (including Miss District of Columbia and Miss Virgin Islands) filing out of the bus in their evening gowns and giant ass sparkling crowns. Each girl is sizing up their opponent when Michael Urie bursts through the doors of the house, revealing that he is the host.
“My eyes. MY EYES!”
All the queens scream and so do I. I LOVE him! He is by far my favorite gay on TV. Everybody watch Ugly Betty! He is fabulous as Marc St. James. He explains that Miss America is super outdated and needs a makeover. They are going to reinvent their hair, makeup, clothes, and make them walk with sass. The girls are all screaming to show excitement. There will be challenges every week to see how the girls can transform themselves from drab to fab. There will be three judges who will critique their every move and make them cry. Then they will rank the girls and reveal a top and bottom three to measure their progress. Yay pageants!
Charity case 2008.
Michael’s voice gets all low and creepy and says that once the girls go inside the house and the doors close there is no turning back. The girls look confused and also a little frightened and you literally hear crickets in the background. But then they are told to come inside and the screams return. I was getting worried there for a second.
There is a TV right next to him and he shows us clips of people who were randomly asked on the street about their feelings towards the Miss America pageant. I’m preeeeeetty sure these people were set up. The cameraman probably slipped them some cash money and told them to act sad that the pageant isn’t what it used to be. The people are acting as though Miss America is what holds our country together. Obviously giant ball gowns and flaming batons are all we care about. Terrorism schmerrorism.
Then they show this little old woman who I have no doubt in my mind used to watch Miss America back in the day.
It was almost called Miss Britain, you know.
And then they show this guy, who I have no doubt in my mind is reading a cue card when he says, “It was special.”
Can I have my twenty now? I’m hungry.
The queens looked a little shell shocked that people aren’t into it. Do they not remember the Tara Conner fiasco from Miss USA? She did coke, went to rehab AND got to keep her crown. Us people outside the pageant world just may be a little turned off. What we did all learn is that the Donald loves hopeless cases. And really hot blondes. It was an all around shocker we just haven’t gotten over yet.
Michael explains that this year America wants the winner to be relatable and stylish. Whoever embodies these qualities by the end of this four-week exercise wins fabulous prizes! More screams.
Before we get to the judges or the prizes, its time to crush the queen’s egos a little bit. Specials guests Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear run out of the house. Nice plug for other shows on your network TLC. Can a Paige Davis guest spot be too far off? I love this duo, but I also fear them. I would never subject myself to the 360-degree mirror room. They are here to start ripping the girls apart by searching the contestant’s suitcases. Here we go! Tear ‘em down! Make them cry! And quick!
That crown makes your ass look huge.
The first lucky queen is Miss Pennsylvania. GOOOOO PA! That’s my home state. I can’t help but be a little partial. Anyway, they pull out this hideous white dress. Clinton comments that it’s made of polyester and only strippers wear that. Miss PA is not a happy camper. She tells us in the confessional that she watches What Not to Wear, yet we can see she has learned nothing from it.
They showcase some other girls awful clothing and I am embarrassed for them. They are all sooooo regretting what they packed. One of the queens even says that she didn’t pack an ugly shirt that was pulled out. Someone else stuck it in her suitcase. Suuuure. The duo believes her about as much as I do. Don’t lie to Stacy London, you fool. She’ll rip your lashes out.
Miss South Carolina is next and they pull out the absolute ugliest boots I have ever seen. They are leopard print and gold. Gross. Well, Miss SC is full of sass and is pissed that they dissed her boots. Stacy makes a comment that they are the boots for streetwalkers. What’s up with Stacy and Clinton’s love for skanky girls and their jobs? The other 51 girls laugh uncomfortably and are surely thinking, “Thank God that wasn’t me!”
Two screamers in one shot.
We are finally introduced to our esteemed judging panel which includes: the West Coast Editor for US Weekly, Dina Sansing, stylist to the stars, Jeannie Mai, and top international photographer (and HOT British man) Mark Liddell. At the end of the four weeks, and right before the pageant, the judges will reveal their top three and those girls will win a $10,000 scholarship from Crest White Strips and a hot wardrobe from StopTuition.com. Everybody screams. I guess Phoenix Online College and the Glade Plug Ins people passed on this show.
Miss Iowa is on my screen, talking. I couldn’t tell you what she said because I was distracted by her crazy face and misuse of purple eye shadow
Tone it ALL down, sweetheart.
We then get our first (of many) Debbie Downer moments of the show when Michael says, “One of you will go on to win Miss America – that means for 51 of you that dream will not become reality.” Cue the sad horns – waaaa, waaa. It’s bad news for us, too, because we won’t get to see them all kicked off one by one to cry separately. Now that would be a reinvention of the Miss America Pageant that I could get behind.
Michael then splits the girls into groups. Each group has something in common and they will find out later just what that is. The queens finally get to go inside to start unpacking and to get to know each other. Miss Connecticut is in the confessional saying that she is having an identity crisis. I think she’s just pissed because she has really ugly bangs.
So many bangs, so little time.
The next morning all the girls are enjoying breakfast dressed in their team color uniforms when Michael and the judges come in the room. All the girls scream and clap. There has been way too much screaming so far and it’s only twenty-seven minutes into the show. These girls are acting like Michael is The Bachelor for all of them to fight over. Or maybe it’s more like when Tyra shows up on ANTM and everyone acts like they have never seen her before. Either way, it’s annoying.
Michael breaks down what each group stands for, in case the girls were unable to figure it out on their own.
Blue: Most State Wins (the cocky girls)
Green: Recent Contenders (states that won the title in the last decade)
Light Blue: Always a Bridesmaid (states that have come in second but never won)
Red: Brown Eyed Girls (Fact of the day. Apparently the judges love girls with brown hair and brown eyes because that is the most winning combination.)
Purple: The Seniors (the oldest bitches in room)
Pink: The Underdogs (girls that have never won a title or come in second, and are an embarrassment).
The challenge is starting soon, so they have 20 minutes to get ready. Most girls take their time to primp. For a competition. That involves running around and getting sweaty. I see girls like this all the time and I wanna push them off their treadmills. Miss Idaho says that her poof is what makes her stand apart from the other queens. The poof meaning her hair. Out control, pinned up, hair sprayed, crazy hair. This girl needs hair rehab stat!
We see each team pumping each other up for what I’m sure will not be a grueling competition. The purple team’s clear leader is Miss Utah. She tells us she is a proud member of the Military. Her entire team is in a line repeating everything she’s chanting/singing. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little intimidated by her. She’s small but I bet she packs a mean punch.
Miss America 2007, Lauren Nelson, then treats us to a cameo appearance. More screams from the queens. Lauren says they will need endurance if they win the crown. The competition consists of hurdles, putting together a giant puzzle of the Unites States, getting their state flag and running to the finish line. How this will help them transform them, I do not know. The first team to cross the finish line wins first dibs on the showers. Really? That’s the prize? Yes, because there are only seven showers for 52 girls. I smell hostility in the air! And athlete’s foot!
And they’re off! Pink, light blue and purple all take a clear lead. Most of the girls crawl under the hurdles, which makes no sense to me. I really wish someone would have bit it. Light blue and purple pull ahead and get to their puzzle first. I would so rock at this. When I was in 5th grade I was the master at everything state related. Capitals, exact location of each state; you name it, I knew it. I even learned an annoying song to name all the states alphabetically. Challenge me – I know it all. Sexy, right?
Light blue and purple finish their puzzles first and are off to find their state flag. Miss Pennsylvania (who is on purple) can’t find her flag. Don’t embarrass me PA! I just admitted I rocked at the State Game and you’re not helping! Miss Military is clearly annoyed that PA can’t find her flag. Miss PA is definitely gonna get like 25 pushups from the troop leader when the competition is over. Light blue takes off with their flags in hand and crosses the finish line first.
YAY!! Now let’s go back to coming in second!
The judges are there to critique them and the photographer says that some girls got too primped and look too glam to run around. He’s talking to you Miss Poof. Their next challenge is taking place just one hour later and the queens learn they will be hosting a dinner party and there will be a special guest.
Randomly Miss Rhode Island says she hopes that the dinner has nothing to do with dinner etiquette because she failed that course in college. Are you kidding me? I wish I had gone to a school where that class was offered. And she failed? What sort of pageant girl are you? Must be slim pickings in Rhode Island.
All the girls are frantically primping and running around the house in curlers and using a lot of hairspray. Miss Minnesota says she hopes the special guest at dinner is Mario Lopez. She gets the award for the most random comment of the episode.
Thanks for doing your part in saving the enviroment.
I am sad that there is no drama over the lack of showers. It would have been pretty sweet if Light Blue decided to hog them for that entire hour, and the other queens would have had to go to this fabulous dinner with a special guest all smelly. But no, all the queens are just too damn nice for any of that. At least so far.
They are all seated when Michael and the judges arrive. More clapping and screaming. Michael tells them that the envelope sitting on their table includes the name of the special guest. With a dramatic camera angles and music we go to commercial. Sigh. I hate when they do that. I’m on the edge of my freaking seat, here. I’m half expecting it to be Mario Lopez.
The special guest is, drum roll please, CONTROVERSY!!! Seriously? I’m let down, and so are the queens.
The envelope contains a list of fun topics to discuss over dinner, such as gay marriage, sex before marriage and gun control. Very normal dinner conversations indeed. This is going to be super relaxing, especially with the judges hovering around the tables. Add a side of religion and a splash of the death penalty and we got ourselves a recipe for the most awkward dinner party ever. Now we get to see if our queens can get a point across without screaming and clapping.
Gun control is first up and one queen claims to own a gun, but swears she would never hurt anyone with it. Unless they messed with her. Or scared her. Or annoyed her. Then we cut to another queen saying her brother was shot at Columbine and the table goes silent. Debbie Downer moment number two.
Is anyone else uncomfortable watching this? I mean I know that these are important topics, but this is a REALITY show. If this were on MTV, the girls would be pole dancing by now and at least seven of them would have flashed the camera.
Next up is the topic of gay marriage. Aww geez. Here we go. Miss Vermont is all over this issue – in support of it. I notice here that it doesn’t even look like Vermont tried to get ready and look nice. Not that I’m all about the pageant look but this girl needs a little more effort in my non-expert opinion.
Maybe she’s born with it…maybe she’s not.
Miss PA’s table is discussing sex before marriage. Other girls chime in that they believe sex should be saved for your spouse and don’t believe in it. Jeannie, the judge, is listening intently and totally LOVES the gossip. She then says that if they are true to what they are preaching then we would have a table full of virgins. She looks directly as Miss Alaska and asks her on national television what her status is. It’s like Probst all over again trying to out the V-card status of hottie Eric on the live reunion show!
Miss Alaska looks p-i-s-s-e-d. She is clenching her teeth and speaking with a firm voice. She seems like an angry queen. It must be the lack of sunlight in Alaska and her pale skin that is attributing to her rage. And in case you were wondering, because I know you all are, she never answered the question. Classic pageant girl.
Following the dinner the judges are left to go off and discuss the girls behind their backs. Very pageanty. We hear some pros and cons of a few of the girls which I’m sure will be told to us later as well. Maybe this show really doesn’t need to be an hour.
It is here that I observed Jeannie’s articulate speaking abilities when she shouts out “DUDE, Oklahoma did not dress to impress” and said “Utah impressed me MAN”. You are around pageant girls. You must talk with the utmost respect! In all fairness, Jeannie is probably used to working around the likes of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and has to dumb herself down.
The girls then march through some random field of luminaries to hear what the judges have to say. Six girls are called down to the front, South Carolina, Idaho, Vermont, PA, Oklahoma and Utah. DUN, DUN, DUN.
The good, the bad, and the ugg.
They are impressed with South Carolina, but say she is wearing too much make up. Regardless she’s in the top three. Idaho, a.k.a Miss Poof, has a great personality but is just too much with the hair and makeup and is the bottom three. She still has her poof pride though because in the confessional she tells us that without the poof she wouldn’t have been noticed. I’m not sure that’s what you want to be noticed for chica. I’m just saying.
Dear Tabloid Magazine God, Please let the winner be an absolute crazy mess so I can feature her in US Weekly and make millions. Love, Dina Sansing
They are intrigued by Vermont but want her to try harder and stick her in the bottom. PA forgot her flag earlier and they were disappointed but she proved herself at the dinner (I’m not exactly sure when…) and she makes it to the top. GO PA! Oklahoma needs to change her ways because they feel she is too set with the old pageant world. Utah needs help with fashion and beauty. They don’t teach enough of that in the Military I guess. Utah is in the top, Oklahoma is in the bottom.
On the previews for the next few weeks we see a montage of bikinis, screaming, walking, crying, screaming, high-fiving etc. Did I mention screaming? Looks exciting!
What did you all think? Was anyone else bummed that there was zero drama? Who are your favorites? And who needs a serious reality check? Vote now for your favorite contestant!