Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Live (plausibly) blogging the Miss Teen USA pageant



Lest you think we're creepy, a little backstory.

In 1998, a girl who lived in Libby's town whom I was casually acquainted with was randomly named Miss Teen South Dakota. Of COURSE we and everyone who knew us had to watch (even if she was eliminated in the first cut). And from there, a bizarre, ironic amusement was born. Every year, Libby and I watch the pageant and snark on it. Why Miss Teen? Who knows? We certainly don't watch the other pageants. I like to think we're doing it for our friend.

But really, we mostly just enjoy the sound of our own voices way, way too much.

We had hoped to get new blog contributer TBN involved in this, but couldn't work out the timing issues (friggin' Hawaii). If you enjoy this, let us know, and we'll live blog some other stuff, like the Emmys and Oscars. If you hate it, let us know that too.

My apologies for the big block o' text. Blogger is not liking my attempts to add images to things. Stupid Blogger. But click on the links. They're fun! Promise!

Let us begin. Want to play along at home? Go here.

8:00: This has the worst production values of any show I've ever seen.

8:01: The hosts are introduced. They are people we've never heard of. I think the Miss Teen USA hosting gig is pretty much at the bottom of the hosting pyramid. At least when you host Miss America, you get to sing.

It looks like they're holding this in a conference room in a hotel.

8:02: They begin introducing the contestants. Based on a possibly apocryphal family legend that my grandfather could pick the winner of a pageant based on seeing the parade of states, Libby and I attempt to pick the winner from the parade. We, however, allow ourselves five choices.

As always, South Dakota is a freakishly tall girl who is not all that attractive to begin with. Better luck next time, home state! At least one girl appears to actually be a man.

Todd's picks:
North Carolina

Libby's picks:

8:09: The show opens with a horrible dance number that has something to do with High School Musical. Having never seen High School Musical, Libby and I are left speechless. At least they put the girls who can't dance in the back. Like at camp!

"It looks like the people who choreographed the dance number were the people who choreographed the dance number in the Frankenstein episode of The X-Files. And I really don't feel I've missed anything by not seeing teen sensation High School Musical"

8:14: We're learning all about what Miss Teen USA does, and it looks really boring. You have to work and stuff. Miss Teen USA 2005's name is Allie LaForce. Lots and lots and lots of puns on LaForce, none of them good.


8:16: "I really like how she's gone super glam for the final night of her reign with the ponytail and tiara combo."

8:17: Allie brings up, for the first time, Donald Trump who owns the Miss Universe organization. I like to think he owns Allie.

8:19: We get to meet the judges. Melissa Rivers! Nicole Richie's new boyfriend! Some girl from Deal or No Deal! A Disney Channel kid! A soap star! A former Miss Universe! Some enrepreneur! Carl Lewis ("I hate him." Libby admits)! Hayden Panetierre! A magazine editor! Just the right mix of obscure and has-beens.

8:20: Having introduced the states, we get to introduce the states AGAIN. Having seen The Apprentice, I know that Donald Trump is fond of filler, but THIS fond?

8:23: Libby notices that this is rated TV-PG. Why?

8:24: Male host: "Things are about to get complicated." Libby: "What's difficult about this?!"

8:26: The list is whittled to 15.

They are:

North Carolina
South Carolina
North Dakota
New Jersey
Rhode Island

Libby and I each get three a piece. We're getting too good at this.

"Don't look at any of them close up, though. Avert your eyes." -- Libby

8:30: Libby is distressed that the Midwest is the new South. I'm distressed that South Dakota is the ONLY Great Plains state left out. Stop picking freaky tall girls, home state! Honestly, NORTH Dakota? What's up with that?

8:31: The hosts show off what's so great about living in Palm Springs, the host city. We live an hour from Palm Springs and have never been for tourist-y business. Male host's monotonous reading does NOT make us want to start.

8:32: The clowns of Aga-Boom appear to frighten Libby.

8:33: Wisconsin loves shoes. Actually, she sounds like a zombie craving for brains. "I LOOOOOVE SHOOOOOES," she says, drool dripping from the corner of her mouth.

"Wow! That looks like a lot of fun!" female host says. She doesn't sound convinced.

8:35: MTV's Ashley Parker Angel appears to rock us. He's sporting a Kid Rock/Kurt Cobain combo that doesn't really work for him. "He should file all of his teeth down to points," Libby says.

8:36: "'Stupid fight. Wrong or right. Goodbye.' He must write all of his own lyrics." -- Libby

8:37: Ashley Parker Angel is halfheartedly rocking on what appears to be the set from the revival of Cabaret. "I've heard about this guy. I've heard he wants more street cred. I have to say. . .appearing on the Miss Teen pageant? Not gonna do it," Libby says. An eight-year-old girl in the audience is excited. So you've reached one person, Ashley Parker Angel. One person.

8:40: NBC shows off The Office. Hooray for The Office! It's an ad designed to drag in teen girls with lots of romantic music and shots of the DREAMY John Krasinski. But, hey, whatever gets 'em watching.

8:41: The Biggest Loser, inexplicably, gets the same teen girl-baiting treatment.

8:42: "Oh. The bikinis. PG." -- Libby

8:43: The losers have to dance in front of something that looks like "something printed from a graphics program from 1988," according to Libby. New Mexico screws it all up by turning the wrong way LIVE ON CAMERA. Good luck living that one down!

8:44: High School Musical music plays as the top 15 wander about in bikinis. Michigan reveals herself to be clumsy.

8:45: America's tweenagers reveal themselves to have awful taste, if the songs from High School Musical are to be believed. Libby is approaching murderous rage.

8:46: I'm convinced North Carolina will win. She's got the big teeth to pull it out! Libby thinks Michigan can win. "Beauty can still win a beauty pageant," she says.

"Midwestern girls are actually pretty. The Southern girls are more pageant. So that's the problem." -- Libby

8:47: We have nothing but bad thoughts for Miss North Dakota. Didn't the judges realize she was from NORTH Dakota? The blog ain't called NORTH Dakota Dark.

8:48: That's it. High School Musical and Kidz Bop are enough for me to want Western civilization to end. Right. Now.

Virginia struts. "Ew. She looks like Ann Coulter. You are automatically disqualified for creeping me out," Libby says.

8:49: High School Musical also features random Spanish words, shouted at irregular intervals. Caliente!

The number ends, and the girls have NO IDEA WHAT TO DO. Somehow, they start dancing, like in a musical or The Deer Hunter.

8:54: Libby mistakes a statue of a cat for a warthog statue. Obviously, the delirium is setting in.

Libby speculates that male host is rooting more for the 18 year olds than the others.

8:57: The top ten is announced. Their collective hobbies include "The Beach," "Old Movies," "Laughing," and what I misread as "Joggling."

Rhode Island
New Jersey
North Carolina
North Dakota

All three of my picks move on. None of Libby's do. She accuses me of cheating and takes solace in the fact that my picks include "a fattie" and her picks are "much prettier than mine." I AM my grandfather's grandson!

8:58: "People who say the problem with teen girls is how they view themselves and then further their goals by entering a beauty pageant should be drug out into the street and shot." -- Libby, channeling Garfield.

8:59: The giant eye has returned. JoJo has come to serenade it with her new single. I guess the failures of Aquamarine and R.V. sent her scurrying back to the world of music.

Look out world! Libby demands back-up singers!

"Do you think the guy in the back, jammin' out on his guitar, said, 'You know, I'm gonna practice real hard and get really good so I can be in JoJo's band, man.'" -- Libby

9:02: Libby has had enough and fast forwards through the JoJo. Thanks, TiVo!

9:08: NBC shows footage of the windmills outside of Palm Springs to cruelly remind us all how when the oil crash comes, the desert city will still have power.

9:09: MORE MUSIC FROM HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL!!!!!?!? Okay. Those of you with kids. What's the appeal?

9:10: "How many Muppets had to die for Miss Montana's dress?" -- Libby

9:11: Tyra Banks would whip these girls into shape right quick. As it is, they all kind of wander about awkwardly and shift from foot to foot uneasily, like extras in that 80s Christian kids TV show, Gospel Bill.

9:12: Most of these dresses are trying to make the girls look better than they actually are. Granted: Whole point of wearing a dress. But the camera close-ups are not helping in that regard.

So. . .what? The kids decide to clean out the gym and put on a musical? Or what? Could these songs be any more pedestrian?

9:13: Arizona attempts to enhance her already copious bosom (seriously -- you can't look away from it) with ruffles and fringe and stuff. Libby is NOT pleased. "She IS the surrey with the fringe on top."

Arizona also ruins the stage picture by standing in the middle of the staircase, obviously in the wrong spot. Thanks, Arizona. I hate that I picked you.

9:17: Nicole Richie's new boyfriend starts using pronouns with no antecedents as male host tries to STREEEEETCH things out by talking to the judges. "Things are about to get beautifully wild," he says.

9:21: The girls are asked what actor they find hottest. The first one says Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks?

9:23: The girls all say they would never be without their cell phones. Teenage girls and phones? Wow! That's a new one.

9:24: Golf stymies our young beauty queens, who all take slices at golf balls and don't manage to hit anything.

9:25: America picks Miss Photogenic. And it's North Carolina! Probably because she has a MySpace page.

The contestants pick Colorado as Miss Congeniality. Libby speculates that our friend (Miss Teen South Dakota 1999) voted for herself.

9:30: The top five are announced.

North Dakota
North Carolina

Libby is despondant. The Midwest holds strong, but the South still outnumbers them.

9:31: The interview begins. Now, Libby is excited.

North Dakota -- She saved a life. It's a potentially exciting story that she sucks. all. the. life. out. of. I've forgotten what is was like to date teen girls. Thanks to this, I remember.

Georgia -- Apparently, she's the girl who lived at the end of The Descent. Or so she says while talking about her harrowing cave adventures.

North Carolina -- She was Cinderella at a little girl's birthday party but, wait, hold on! The wig was a Sleeping Beauty wig! The horror! "How is that interesting at all?" Libby says.

Montana -- She likes Vincent Van Gogh. But can't say anything about Van Gogh himself. Instead, she talks about everything BUT Van Gogh. I smell application padding!

Virginia -- Finally, a girl who can talk. Now, she's talking about nothing I'm particularly interested in, but she's obviously had forensics coaching.

9:40: Male host says there are many stressful situations for teens. Like what? Unless you're an illegal immigrant, I don't want to hear it.

North Dakota picks actress Hayden Panetierre. Hayden wants to know if girls are obsessed with their image. Welcome to the health section of Time magazine in 1995, folks! She's pretty awful, all around, trying to tell everyone that they should just "be themselves."

Georgia picks Chelsea Smith. And talksreallyfastaboutcommunityserviceandhowitismandatoryandshetriestomakeitfun.

North Carolina picks Brody Jenner. He wants to know about drunk driving. North Carolina talks mostly about how long it took her to get her own license. Why? Was she drunk? Or what?

Montana picks Carl Lewis, coasting off his Olympic glory, asks about integrity. Libby and I want to know if integrity is winning a gold medal through a technicality when the winner is disqualified (not that that was a BAD thing, of course).

Virginia picks Darren Brooks, who wants to know what song is the soundtrack to HER life. She talks about some song I've never heard of. But the crowd eats it up! I think we have a winner. Let's give it up for coaching!

9:45: Allie shows off all the crap Miss Teen wins. Most of it is highly impractical. And we wonder why the terrorists hate us! We fast forward.

9:48: We get long, lingering looks at all of the contestants before the winner is announced. These are the moments dirty old men live for. Libby can hardly function. She's just glad that High School Musical isn't involved any more.

"This is really depressing to me. I don't like judging teenage girls, but that's what this is," she says. Get with the program, sport! This is a time-honored tradition!

9:49: A button in the upper left-hand corner keeps saying "LIVE." No, NBC, no. We live on the West Coast. This is PLAUSIBLY live.

The announcer says Miss Teen will become a star before our eyes. Somehow, I doubt that. The best they can hope for is dating Nick Lachey.

9:53: Utah is dressed like a Mormon. Natch.

9:54: The hosts thank everyone. Allie takes her final walk, relishing the sweet, sweet freedom she will soon have as she escapes the cruel grasp of Trump. She thanks everyone in her family, including some dead relative. Her speech is suspiciously good. I suspect speechwriters.

9:55: Here are the final results. An accounting firm even signed off on them. Fortunately, the accountants don't talk like at the Oscars.

5th: Georgia
4th: Virginia -- I guess we DON'T know anything.
3rd: North Dakota

Represent Midwest/Rocky Mountains states!

2nd: North Carolina -- So much for MySpace.
1st: Montana

Really? Montana? Okay.

Much weeping. We will see you next year, if we can somehow overcome the self-loathing in the meantime.

"Why do we watch this every year?" Libby says.

Why indeed?

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