Taped in Beautiful Palm Springs California, the 2005 Mrs. America pageant
recently aired on the WE channel (that's Women's Entertainment for the uninitiated). I'll be in honest and tell you that I've been waiting for
this special television event for the entire year. I caught a segment of last year's program, but failed to capitalize upon it. How foolish and
stupid I was. A feast presented upon a silver platter, this Celebration of the Married Woman is begging to have a fork and knife stuck into it. By the end of the two-hour
extravaganza, there was juice shamelessly running down my chin and soaking into my notepad.
Mrs. America is a reality-based prime time television special on Women's Entertainment featuring some of the most accomplished married women in
America. Each year 51 delegates (all US States plus the District of Columbia) compete for the coveted title. Imitated but never duplicated, Mrs.
America remains the first, and still foremost, competition for married women! This renowned national competition is devoted to emphasizing
America's 65 million married women are extraordinarily beautiful, poised, articulate and versatile.
This year's show featured only 50 contestants. Mrs. District of Columbia was mysteriously missing. Hmmm. Did she get divorced?
Have an affair with Paula Abdul? We may never know the reason for her absence. She was even removed from the website's
"interactive delegate map" where you can roll over the state and see the Mrs. in the running. Erased from existence.
The first Mrs. America was crowned in 1977. Not to be confused, or even put in the same ballpark, with Miss America, the pageant
vowed to "honor and uphold America's married women." The Mrs. America pageant is kind of like when the girls who weren't cool
(or young or pretty or thin) enough to be in the popular clique, start their own club. Meanwhile, the cool girls are snorting
coke at the Bon Jovi concert, completely oblivious to the group of band dorks that get together in Mindy's rec room every
Saturday night to eat Fiddle Faddle, watch Beaches and talk about how "we sure showed them." Here is the current Miss America,
Deidre Downs, pictured with Jon Bon Jovi.
The Mrs. America pageant was also founded to redeem the spirits of those lovely ladies who were knocked up their senior year
in high school, had a shotgun Catholic wedding to a kid with pimples on his face and crust in his nose and still regret not
keeping that appointment at the clinic. Everyone should get to feel pretty at least a little bit of the time.
If you're still thinking in Miss America terms, there are a few key things that will help you remember you're no longer
dealing with young, nubile singles. These are hardened married broads, ready to take up their broom for a cause.
1. Mrs. America does not have to have talent.
There is no operatic aria, rhythmic gymnastics routine, jumping through
flaming hoops, a scene from Romeo and Juliet (o happy dagger!) or tap dancing. (There are a few group dance numbers,
which we shall discuss momentarily).
2. Mrs. America, Inc. is about product placement. That's it. There is none of that Miss America nicey-nice -- like taking burn victims to the
petting zoo or teaching limbless children to be artists. The pageant is sponsored by TrimSpa, Connie
Stevens' Forever Spring cosmetics line (available through the Home Shopping Network), Hyundai, the SuperSmile
teeth whitening kit, Carol Wior's "Slimsuit" and The Republican National Party.
3. Mrs. America doesn't give a damn about cancer kids.
Mrs. America is promised an appearance at the annual "Victor Awards Television Special" in Las Vegas (whatever
that is) and a trip to an "exotic location" for the Mrs. World competition. Meanwhile, Miss America travels
over 20,000 miles a month, improving the lives of Americans everywhere. She takes time out of her hectic
schedule to pose for pictures that cultivate the right mix of political and social sensitivity: Thom and Ted
from Queer Eye (gay friendly), Magic Johnson (HIV-aware, not a racist), teaching cancer kids to read (healing
the world, one child at a time), Owen Wilson (they fucked), NASCAR racing (for the Southern vote), a very old
Tony Danza (I don't know), Regis and Kelly (couldn't get on Oprah) and Donald Rumsfeld (never alienate the
guy with the guns).
Now that we're clear on the differences, I think I've kept you in enough suspense. Without further ado:
"As the spotlights pierce California's desert skies, it's time for action, suspense and glamour as the fifty
finest married women in America take to the stage, each one of them could be crowned the new Mrs. America!"
Obeying as married women should, a parade of Missusses from 50 states, (sorry D.C.) saunter out from between palm trees and two
white wedges that look like they'd be better suited on a trick waterskiing stunt set. Ice cream flavor gowns
flutter in bubblegum, lime and blue moon as they circle, smile, circle.
The women break into a dance number that appears to have been choreographed by a local junior high school
cheerleading squad. Go Fighting Badgers! The soundtrack is canned awards-show music (of the sweeping-orchestral
persuasion with a touch of Casio tossed in for backbeat) overlaid with two guys furiously trading stage
The audience and television viewers did not
get to see the Pageant Whisperers. I have a hunch that they might have resembled the phonics heads on
classic Sesame Street. One spits out the first syllable (Trim-), followed by the other (-Spa). The
syllables happily consummate their union: TrimSpa!
The Mrs. States part like the Red Sea, jazz hands all a-flutter, to add oomph to the entrances of the very
special guest stars. First and worst, squeezing another few minutes out of her Apprentice notoriety is
the one-name "celebrity," Omarosa. She is followed by the Israeli
Mrs. World, and then the current Mrs. America, Julie Love Templeton from Tuscaloosa Alabama. Finally,
it's time for the big guy:
"Your host for the next two hours, dancing his way to the stage -- John O'Hurley!"
I was befuddled. Why was this man miming a partner? What the fuck was going on? The women's smiles
stretched like plastic masks, Vaseline teeth all a-glistenin', as he dipped and spun an invisible date.
He took a bow, blew a kiss to no one in particular, and in one smooth move, slipped a microphone out of the inner pocket of his tuxedo. I threw
up a little in my mouth right about then. I won't rule out that it was because of the spicy tacos I had for dinner. You know
how touch-and-go some of those tacquerias can be.
"Whew! Did I pick the wrong night to debut as a solo dance act!" His arm sweeps over the grinning married
mannequins. "Ladies, you were sen-sa-tion-al."
John O'Hurley recently took second place on ABC's Dancing with the Stars -- hence his "comic" take on the
one-man act. As an actor, he's appeared in a bunch of soap operas, Seinfeld, The Mullets, Lifetime movies, and, my
favorite, Night Eyes II with Shannon Tweed (Does she get naked? You bet your ass she does.) However, Mr. O'Hurley
seems most alive when he is Host and MC. "Johnny-O," as he instructs Omarosa to call him during their
soul-sucking banter, has thrilled audiences with his presence at the First Annual Miss Dog Pageant (make
of that what you will); The Great American Celebrity Spelling Bee, that featured Alice Cooper, David Faustino,
Sherman Helmsley and Cindy Margolis struggling to string a few letters together for their favorite charity
(oh...I'm so sorry, Cindy -- 'butter' has two t's…next time you'll get an easy one); and the Get Golf with the PGA Tour.
A well-rounded television personality -- animals, education and sports -- John's covered it all. We can trust him.
He greets the "millions" of viewers watching WE at home and thanks the breathtaking Mrs. States for their performance.
Omarosa's reappearance on stage is presaged by a video clip of her competing in the Mrs. America pageant four
years prior. Something that doesn't surface quite as often as her scuffles with Donald Trump -- Omarosa was a pageant princess:
Since Omarosa's first pageant
she has had an insatiable passion for pageantry. She has competed successfully in all
major pageant systems including Miss USA, Miss America, Mrs. America and Mrs. United States.
I don't know about you, but I equate pageant "success" with actually winning.
Omarosa is sent backstage to interview the Mrs. States who fail to make it to the finals. Johnny-O in a tone of mock
threat, affecting a Trumpian accent: "If you don't do a good job...you're fired!" Goddamn these tacos! I'm spitting up like crazy.
With Mrs. Fifteen Minutes gone, we can finally get a good look at the contestants. It is a tradition at the Mrs. America
pageant for each lovely lady to appear in a costume dedicated to her home state. They march out in alphabetical order to
a voiceover that explains what they are (which in most cases is necessary because it's often hard to tell what these crazy
bitches were possibly thinking).
There were three Native Americans, two butterflies, two gold finches (an Eastern and an American), two with a giant fan
of playing cards strapped to their backs, two angels, two football players, Mrs. Ohio's 38-year-old sweet sweet ass, a white diamond and a black diamond, a moose and "Mrs. Alaska as
Mrs. Claus -- representing the North Pole, where the Christmas spirit lives year round."
With the exception of Mrs. New York, who wore a "Big Apple" costume that looked like the Kool-Aid Man without a handle,
the general idea was to be as slutty as a late thirty-something (or late forty-something, as Mrs. Georgia demonstrates with her Old Whore in the Chicken Egg
costume) woman could get away with. Even though Mrs. New York
lost 65 pounds using the TrimSpa system, she must still feel fat on the inside. These things can take awhile.
A few highlights:
Mrs. Kansas as "Sheath of Wheat"
Mrs. Utah as "The Mongoloid". Beware: this is what Mormon inbreeding can do, people.
During the periods where the contestants were changing and gussying, the audience was treated to a taste of their adventures
during the previous two weeks in Beautiful Palm Springs California. While not practicing their 7th grade dance routines and
attending TrimSpa forums with the current Mrs.-America-Julie-Love-Templeton-from-Tuscaloosa-Alabama, the Mrs. States toured the desert in an armada
of Hummers, hitting the springs and canyons and stopping for $3.50-a-gallon-gas fourteen times. They ate steaks (aged 28 days!)
at the Beautiful Palm Springs California Chop House and posed with the pageant sponsors' products like champs. They even let Connie
Stevens breathe on them. Connie earnestly assured the television audience that "for eighteen years, Forever Spring has
had millions of women looking soft, dewy and more youthful -- just like all of you! It will make you feel and smell de-licious." This
is what Tara Reid will look like after a little more weight and another botched boob job.
Johnny-O announces the Top Ten (CA, WA, NY,GA, NV, UT, WY, IL, MS, IA). As they prepare for the evening gown competition,
we get to watch the 2008 US Women's Synchronized Swimming Team thrash around. I don't know why. Maybe that's the talent portion?
Meanwhile, Omarosa has cornered some of the losers backstage. She thrusts the microphone toward Mrs. Tennessee's enormous
breasts: "What went wrong for you tonight?"
Mrs. Tennessee's Breasts: "We didn't stack up to Mrs. New York's silicone. Goddamn these government restrictions!"
To Mrs. Hawaii: "What did you do that was unusual to prepare for the competition?"
Mrs. Hawaii: "I tucked my penis."
The evening gown segment was the highlight of the pageant. Not only do we get to see the ladies in their finest, we get
to learn a bit more about their personal lives -- jobs (or no), hubby names, kids (or no), and two or three "interests and hobbies."
I'm not making any of the following up:
Mrs. California:A pharmaceutical sales manager married to a national account manager for a major oil company. A former
professional ballerina, she enjoys home improvements as a Weekend Warrior.
Mrs. New York:A homemaker, she keeps herself busy buying and selling on eBay and 'scrap booking' to document her family's life.
Mrs. Nevada: A model, she collects fortunes out of fortune cookies.
Mrs. Wyoming:A financial planner who is married to a gas production specialist (snicker). Her interests range from Chinese
food to parachuting from an airplane to watching Fear Factor in the safety of her own home.
Mrs. Utah:A homemaker (who almost fell on her way down the catwalk) volunteers as a reading coach at elementary schools
and enjoys pilates (which the announcer pronounced 'pie-lates').
Mrs. Mississippi:She enjoys watching old pageant tapes and would love to be a crafts guest on Do It Yourself Television.
Fortune cookies and Fear Factor: Hobbies for the New American Woman. None of them said "reading" -- I guess that's not as
exciting as Chinese food or 'scrap booking'.
As the judges decide which five to ax, the audience enjoys another montage of contestant activity at the Beautiful Palm Springs California Riviera and Racquet Club.
The Mrs. States sit through another
TrimSpa seminar (where free duffel bags and water bottles are distributed), they visit a "Saharan" sanctuary to hand-feed penned
animals and model the type of clear-heeled shoes I've
previously only seen on strippers.
The judges boot UT, GA, MS, IL and IA. Omarosa corners Mrs. Mississippi (whose name is Missy...) backstage. Mrs. Miss, who
was given the Mrs. Congeniality title, is a little teary -- particularly when she mentions how ravaged Mississippi is from
Hurricane Katrina. Omarosa consoles Missy from Mississippi by telling her that "the folks in your home state really need some
uplifting and I think this will be just what they are looking for." I agree with Omarosa: I think the Mrs. America pageant is
totally what will perk up the citizens of Mississippi who lost every possession they owned. Mrs. Mississippi -- especially
now that she has been crowned Mrs. Congeniality -- is sure to put hope in their hearts…provided, of course, they are subscribers to
the WE channel. And have a TV and a house to watch it in.
The final bit of competition involves the five remaining contestants answering random questions written by other Mrs. States -- designed
to "test their poise under pressure." I won't bore you with this part. Instead, I'll tell you about all the shit the winner will get:
$25,000 in LeVian jewelry
$5,000 in his and her watches
$6,000 in cash from TrimSpa (plus a contract to be the face of TrimSpa DreamBody)
$3,000 in resort merchandise from Carol Wior (designer of the Slimsuit - "that takes at least an inch off the waist
just by slipping one on. It even comes with a tape measure so can measure the difference.")
$20,000 Hyundai Sonata
$6,500 in leather/fur coats
$7,000 in Forever Spring, the Connie Stevens line
A quick calculation determines that Mrs. America is taking home $72,500 in loot and goods. Not bad for not even having to visit cancer kids.
Mrs. California wins. The Beautiful Palm Springs California hometown crowd goes wild. Julie-Love-Templeton-from-Tuscaloosa-Alabama crowns her.
She takes her first royal walk, blond blue-eyed children clinging to her skirts. The whispering heats up once more: