Did you remember the Miss America Pageant was on? I don’t mean that it was on yesterday, Saturday the 15th, but that it is still on TV? Indeed, it’s not just “still on” like Family Guy is still on. Or Monday Night Football is still on. This year marked the NINETIETH anniversary of the pageant. That’s over five lifetimes of this year’s seventeen-year-old winner (the youngest in pageant history). Did you tune in to see the big hair, Vaseline-smeared teeth, and wide-eyed interview stare that says “Love me, or I’ll never love myself”?
No? Well why the hell not? The chick from Nebraska won, you know. And I’m from Nebraska, so it’s sort of like I won without having to do anything other than nap awkwardly with my leg up on the back of the couch and drool on my right arm. Yeah that’s right, I didn’t watch it either. Which gets me to my point: why does America give fewer and fewer shits about this pageant every year? What can the Miss America Committee/Miss America Grand Inquisitor/Miss America Chief Lord Admiral do to regain this country’s confidence once again? How can the Miss America pageant turn itself around to go from the demeaning monstrosity that makes me want to donate my vagina to science that nobody watches, to the demeaning monstrosity that makes me want to donate my vagina to science that nobody misses?
1. Exnay on the evening gown portion. Anybody that argues that Miss America is just a glorified beauty pageant is paddleboating up Obvious River. Scaling the summit of Obvious Mountain. Drunkenly stumbling across Obvious Street. Whatever. Point is, that’s not my beef. The average American female did not attend a Debutant Ball, and doesn’t want to watch one on TV, either. The average American female wears leggings with, like, everything, washes her jeans every two weeks unless they spill some nacho cheese on them, and wears Chucks not because they’re cool but because they’re supposed to look dirty and beat to hell. They are also likely right now standing in snow, and thus wearing some sexy furry Uggs. So what is my s-Uggested replacement segment? If the contestants want to appeal to my sympathies, wake them up at 11 a.m. after an all-night basement party where they may or may not have accidentally gulped down straight vodka from a water bottle and got danced on by a very short man in a Jheri curl and brown leather vest. I want to see them unshowered, left eye drooping, and in as many t-shirts and cardigans as is necessary to look kind of like a hobo. I feel that chick, I would say to myself. I could party with her. And also, Holy shit, I have that shirt.
2. Add an element of danger. Last year’s runner-up gets to hoist herself up in the rafters high above the stage armed with a sharp knife and a desire for vengeance. Five sandbags are tied to the lights, and the runner-up is given free rein to cut the ropes at will. Will one of our starry-eyed contestants have the misfortune of standing beneath a falling sandbag? Perhaps. That’s a risk they’ll have to be willing to take. It would require dedication on a whole new level to maintain a wide smile during the swimsuit segment. Don’t show fear. Don’t show fear. Don’t cry. Take that walk in heels and a one piece with pride, ladies…for it could be your last.
3. Miss Palindrome. All interview questions must be answered in the form of a palindrome. Failure to do so will result in being tased with a cattle prod and put into stocks to be jeered at by the audience for the remainder of the competition. An arbitrary addition to the competition, perhaps. But are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era? If all else fails, they could always try answering in the form of PalinDrones, a collection of male honeybees all dolled up to look like Sarah Palin that spell out answers in mid-air. Shut up, it doesn’t have to make sense.
4. All-Contestant Orange Passing Contest. This would take place very first in the competition, and probably knock about an hour off the run time. All fifty-three contestants (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Planet Zorgonon X) line up shoulder-to-shoulder across the stage. Alabama gets handed an orange. Using the ol’ chin-tuck technique, the orange must make it all the way to Wyoming before the competition is over. Anybody who drops the orange or accidentally (or otherwise) headbutts a fellow contestant in the process is immediately disqualified from the entire pageant. Enrique Iglesias’s “I Like It” should be playing for the duration.
5. Three words: Hotdog Eating Contest.
Come on, you heartless wench! Some of my reading audience no doubt cries. These girls work hard! Is there anything you like about the Miss America Pageant? Yes. Yes there is. This.
–Katie Sisneros is not a fan.