If you were a little girl growing up in the eighties as I was, you probably remember The Event the Miss America pagent was every year. We would loyally watch the Miss Virginia pageant every summer and then eagerly await the Miss America pageant in September. My mom and I (and my dad too maybe, I can’t recall, but what man doesn’t care to watch 52 gorgeous woman parade around in high heels and swimsuits?) would pop popcorn and make a whole night out of the occasion.
Miss America was an icon of beauty and public service. I used to dream of growing up and becoming Miss America. I would play my violin. Or would I sing? I would wear a voluminous evening gown and tease and spray my hair into a virtual helmet of elegance. And I would walk the runway to the tune of the Miss America anthem with the glittery crown atop my head and a huge bouquet of fragrant flowers in my arms. And little girls everywhere would look up to me and want to grow up to be just like me.
But somewhere along the way, Miss America lost her charm. I thought I just grew up and lost interest. But evidently the American public has been losing interest as well. Because this year someone decided that it’s high time to reinvent and modernize the image of Miss America. I saw advertisements for the reality show on TLC called Miss America Reality Check, and I was intrigued. Can they really reinvent the Miss America pageant so that it’s relevant and of interest to the mainstream American public?
So last night, I sat down and watched all of the Miss America Reality Check shows as well as the pageant. It was just like old times, except I was able to zap past the commercials thanks to the DVR, and my mom wasn’t keeping me company on the couch.
Did anyone else watch?
I was hopeful. Parts of the Reality Check shows were pretty cheesy. But parts were interesting. I was really surprised at how plastic and out of touch these young women seemed to be. I had to remind myself that they are aged 18 to 24 because they look much older. (They didn’t necessarily act it. If I’d seen one more cheer I think I would have choked on my virtual popcorn.)
By the end of the reality shows, some had gotten drastic haircuts and tried to make their makeup more natural. They were walking the runway more like models than stiff pageant contestants. I didn’t know if they had time to select new outfits or not, and I was hoping they had ditched the high heels with the bathing suits. What’s UP with that!? I couldn’t wait to see how different the pageant was that what I remembered.
Long story short, the pageant was the same old, same old. Once a pageant queen, always a pageant queen, I suppose. I hardly recognized the girls I "got to know" in the reality segments. The stylish new hairstyles were plastered up and out with illegal amounts of hairspray. The makeup was caked on and the smiles plastic. The dresses were glitzy and the walks overly rehearsed. The answers to the interview questions were trite and irrelevant, although in their defense, the questions themselves were downright silly.
In the end, the young woman who walked away with the crown is one I don’t even remember from the Reality Check shows. Whether or not she was one who was showcased is irrelevant. The point is, Miss America seems to be forever stuck in 1985. I don’t think there’s much hope.
Did anyone watch? What’s your opinion??