It’s Miss Americaaaaaaaah!

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??

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17 Responses

  1. I remember the days of Miss America growing up much the same way you remember it. Although I saw all the hype for this new version, I just find myself unable to commit to much of any TV shows these days.

    I can’t say that I’m much surprised about your take on the final pageant though. Thanks for the summary of it!

  2. You summed it up pretty accurately! I was terribly disappointed after watching the reality show. I know they used clips from the show but other than that it was hardly represented.

    I would have like the 3 advisors to have some part of last nights show! In the end I felt the winner was the same pageant person, big blond hair and all!

    I liked Megans idea for the contestants to blog about their experiences! It would have added so much!

  3. We watched all of the Reality Check shows but then we missed the pageant itself except the beginning. I agree with your assessment of “same old same old” at least from the bit I saw. We went to sleep just as Clinton was introducing whatever he was going to do. (I do love me some Clinton, so I enjoyed seeing his contagious smile for a few minutes. I guess he and Stacey are my two favorite pretend BFFs – oh and Alton Brown. What were we talking about? Oh yes, Miss Ameeer-i-caaaaah.)

    I thought the Reality Check shows were interesting if a bit scattered in their focus. I suppose it would have been better to me if there had been a clear statement of purpose or mission – other than just “updating Miss America.” Might have made it easier for the young girls to actually adopt, too. Most of what they did on the show was the superficial stuff, you know? It would have been nice to have seen them address some deeper issues than just hair, make-up, dresses, as to have focused on only the physical elements kept the whole thing as shallow as ever, didn’t it?

    Oh and wouldn’t it have been neat to have had some of the contestants BLOGGING their experiences? Or even some one-on-one interviews about what they were learning and/or how THEY viewed the “make-over” experience?

    Also, the host was a bit lacking as were the advisors.

    It was a good idea, it just needed more fleshing out. Maybe next year?

    Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  4. Watched it and the marathon of the “Reality Check.” In the end, I thought Miss America would at least be one of the contestants that got all the air time … Alaska, Washington, Indiana, Florida. I did love Miss Illinois, who I don’t even think made it into the 15. I don’t even remember ever seeing the girl who won on the show. Was it Wisconsin or Michigan? Don’t remember. But you’re right, same cheesy contest. If I had to sit through one more song or dance from the talent competition, I think I might die. Cheese Ball! Totally not relevant to young women today.

  5. I used to love watching the pageants too. I didn’t even realize it was on last night. I’ve seen the Reality Check in the tv listings but never had any interest in watching it. I feel sorry for those girls. Most of them probably started out very young and whenever I see shows with young girls in pageants and their moms pushing them to do more and more it makes me ill.

  6. I watched the Reality Check and the pageant. I really liked the Reality Check and thought that the girls looked FANTASTIC by the end without all the big hair and make-up. I was really disappointed with last night. It was the same old pageant with big hair and lots of make-up – very disappointing. I fast-forwarded through much of it. I would have loved if someone different like Miss Washington, Miss Alaska or Miss Utah had won.

  7. I watched a little of the rerun on TLC today. I have the same feelings as you do. I used to think it was so glamorous. My dance company danced for our state’s pageant when I was in High School, and I looked up to the girls. But the fake-ness frankly makes me nauseous now.

    The only way they can revive the perception, IMHO, is to make Miss America actually do some good instead of partying all the time. -Or was that miss USA? I can’t keep all the beauty queens straight.

  8. Nope… I didn’t watch it…

    I can also remember eating popcorn and watching the pagents as a child….

    I think either I matured and realized how dumb it is or it was always like that…

    I’m still waiting for real talent on these things…

  9. While the pageant holds no meaning for me today, I do recall watching it with Mom and my sisters back in the day. We each had our own little notebooks with our predictions and did NO tabulating, thank you very much (I hate that computerized stuff). I think it would be interesting to see a reality show about what happens after they lose; now THAT might hold my interest (the fits of crying, the weight gain, drug use, stalking, etc.)JK

  10. Nope – too busy watching Chuck that I taped the other night.

    And, too busy taking off the makeup I spent too much money on trying to look like Mrs. America. Just need a little nip and tuck and some botox and they will never know. Come see the list of that I got put on my face during the Sephora facial! I just put it up. 16 different items. I feel even more sorry for those Miss America girls now.

  11. I didn’t watch because my kiddo’s don’t like that one. They like the teen one so they found other things to do. I secretly kinda wanted to see it, but wasn’t going to make a huge deal out of it.

    I liked your run-down on it though. It made it worth the fact I missed it 😀

  12. I watched it all Saturday afternoon/evening, sick on the couch. Based on the reality show I felt Florida or Washington would win. Glad Michigan won (I am a Michigander) but wasn’t able to see how she was different from everyone else.
    Loved the old Miss America….

  13. I’m so out of it! I didn’t even know it was on. Same with the State of the Union which I just noticed on my yahoo is on tonight, which I’ll miss cuz of my pampered chef party. I seem to be stuck in blogland, thanks for alerting me to things!

  14. I watched some of the reality show, but wasn’t terribly interested. The lives of these women just seem so artificial and removed from regular life. Which is sad, because they do go to college and have jobs and such. I would have liked to see some background on the girls–that would have been way more interesting. I remember one contestant finally admitted she was in a horrible accident and had plastic surgery to repair damage–sounds like that could have been great material for going beyond the surface. What did the other contestants think about that? Anyway, we didn’t watch the pageant and I don’t feel like I missed anything. With celebrity watch 24/7, the glamour has worn off the pageant industry I think. Celebrities are our new beauty queens.

  15. I watched, and had high hopes as well. I was definitely disappointed. I was a bit surprised that some of the girls didn’t make it, and realized I only recognized 2 or 3 that did make it. I really wanted Miss Florida to end up in the top 8 and couldn’t believe she didn’t. Of the ones who did, I was hoping Miss Indiana would win, but disppointed yet again. It did still seem far too stiff. A couple of the girls took what they learned and loosened up in the ‘bathing suit parade’, but most of them were stiff as ever. I was shouting at them to relax and have fun – but they didn’t listen. Oh well. Yep, a big fat disppointment for sure!

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