Miss America: Reality Check

  1. In a way, it is one of those ideas that is at once brilliant and one of those "well DUH" moments.

    The Miss America pageant does not generate the kind of interest and excitement it once did.

    Changes in culture, especially television culture, have meant some significant changes in the way we view - if we view them at all - these proto-reality shows.

    While "pageant" has evolved into a definite genre unto itself, with the contestants carefully boned and trained and laquered and sequined (in a lifelong lifestyle process that for some, begins almost in infancy) into super-stylized glittering indistinguishable creatures somewhere in between Las Vegas showgirls and Disney princesses in appearance, and Stepfordized politicians' wives in manner and bearing, the nature of our interest in televised pageants has changed so much that making changes to the shows is a no-brainer.

    Miss America Reality Check claims to turn the pageant on its ear, bring it up-to-date, actually take it out of that very defined pageant genre and make it into something new and different - a reality show! Hee-hee. Little joke there.

    But the girls receive some mixed messages and some of the "advice" they receive is blatantly contradictory.

    While some are counseled to show more personality and humor, others are reprimanded for showing too much personality and reminded that not everyone is going to appreciate their humor. One is upbraided for being quirky.

    The two girls who do actually have their own "real" look and exhibit individual "real" personalities have been called out for it twice in two episodes.

    While the first two episodes, including makeover day, have included a lot of talk, and some walking of the walk, in the area of transitioning the girls' physical appearance away from the stylized pageant conventions toward a more "modern glamor" direction, the one girl who turned down the makeover, but toned down her eyeshadow, was first scolded and later praised for it.

    I don't envy this gaggle of poor hamsters. The producers and "experts" can't seem to decide how or how much or even if, they want to "change" Miss America at all.

    We should probably prepare for the "New Miss America" to look - and sound, and be - a lot less different than the Old Miss America than advertised in the promos for the show.

    Miss America Reality Check's mission, it turns out, is not out to turn the pageant on its ear at all, but maybe drape the ear with a softer, layered hairdo as opposed to the architectural and immobile structures of pageants proper.
     
  2. I saw the first episode. The hamsters were shocked that the general public didn't find the title of Miss America prestigious. But yet, they still piled on their aquanet and wet n wild. These girls probably started pageants when they were still in diapers and haven't changed since.
     
  3. Yeah...what are you supposed to do then? :confused1:
    I don't know if I'll be able to tolerate this one.
    I'm sure I will, though. I must watch every reality TV show. :wtf::wtf::wtf::wtf::wtf::wtf:

    ..Almost.
     
  4. In a way, I can't blame them. Pageant has, over the decades, evolved into not only a genre, but a lifestyle, a culture, and for some of these girls, it has been their culture and their lifestyle, and shaped and defined their goals and their self-image and their world view as thoroughly and solidly as any culture, and to ask them to throw away their Aqua-Net and cease applying eye makeup as if they were channeling Sophia Loren in 1963 is tantamount to asking a SoCal enclave beach n' bleach blonde to trade in her designer bikini for the demure bonnet and buttonless gray rainment of a traditional Amish maiden.

    From a career standpoint, Miss America may be, in their culture, considered the top of the pageant heap, but it is still just one pageant, and some of them might be understandably, and in a cockeyed pageant-view way, sensibly, hesitant to bet the farm on a single sow, as it were.

    As you point out, some of them have been training for pageant-winning since the memorable day when they donned their first pair of (ruffled and sequined) Big Girl Pull-Ups. It is all they know how to do. (Be in pageants, I mean. Not put on their own Pull-Ups).

    Aqua-Net aside, some might be hesitant to do anything that might jeopardize their chances in future, traditional pageants. Like be caught on tape forming and expressing actual thoughts or opinions.

    Now that I have said all that, it occurs to me that maybe that is also in the minds of the producers, and one of the reasons that the girls are not being asked to "change" as dramatically as was suggested in the promos...
    Exactly! But the upside is that damned if you do and damned if you don't is actually very liberating.

    On the dull downside, I guess they are supposed to find that lowest common denominanated, focus group-approval rated middle of the road, edgeless and flavorless, sort of a toned-down Whitney Port.

    Red Carpet instead of Pageant Interview Booth. Reese Witherspoon instead of Nancy Reagan.

    But if this is indeed what the goal is, the producers and advisors and "dialogue consultants" (with props to twinkle.tink for my new vocabulary word) are doing a really sucky job at getting this across.

    Which is kind of odd, since in a way, none of this is a whole lot different from the kind of advice ambitious young people are given on the subject of workplace comportment and demeanor.

    Especially in recent years, I myself have noted, on more than one occasion, that it is prudent to limit conversation topics with co-workers, casual acquaintances, frequently even most family members, pretty much anybody outside of one's smallest and closest circle of intimates, to flowers and dogs.
    :lol: I'm a total sucker for them, too. Even the ones that suck. Sometimes especially the ones that suck, but I digress.

    I'm kind of disappointed, of course, because I was sort of liking the idea of transforming Miss America into a Real Person, maybe even one who read books and formed and expressed opinions, some of which not everybody would agree with, maybe one who was not especially glamorous, who did not necessarily conform to this or that standard of "beauty." Maybe even one who was funny.

    But that is so not going to happen, so I will try to enjoy this show for its own suckiness, appreciate the absurdity that is offered, and adjust my hopes and expectations to be more in line with, hm, well, reality.

    Which translated into brutal frankness, means I now hope for a food fight.
     
  5. ..on purpose. :lol:

    Ah, TLC, you disappoint us.
     
  6. The poor hamster who was scolded for being quirky, a friendly-looking, fresh-faced girl with a twinkle in her eye, but understandably somewhat bewildered, asks the experts for advice and clarification, and is informed that she is opinionated. Terms like "delivery too strong," "overbearing," and "offensive" are tossed around, and she is advised to be more aware and apologize to the other girls who are offended by her opinionatedness, and presumably, that quirkiness problem.

    She appears to still not quite get it completely, but enough to state, in her video diary, her intention to try to "be positive," since her purpose in being there after all, is to "be better."

    A choreographer is brought in, to explain to the hamsters that Miss America is updating the presentation of the swimsuit and evening gown competitions, to be more "playful and fluid" instead of "stiff and robotic," and he is there to help the girls make the necessary changes to their runway walk skills.

    The hapless quirky girl is chided for "playing it too safe" with her walk.

    Any rumors that the show is staged are debunked when we are treated to scenes of the girls just sitting around their bedrooms, relaxing and chatting like girls do everywhere, all wearing their pageant sashes. One says that she was insecure about the camera showing her face after she jumped into the pool because when she was fifteen, her "face was involved in an explosion." The others reassure her, telling her that she has inner beauty and radiance, and that her personality shines through.

    Her face, even in close up, bears no visible scars.
     
  7. I think I hate this show.
    You should be interesting and opinionated, but so much that it offends people, so make sure to censor yourself, because offending people is wrong and evil, and you know what, just remember to be seen and not heard.

    Yeah...I noticed the same. Hmmm.