Some people never learn.
The FOX network, to take one example.
This was going to be a review of the New and Improved Miss America Pageant, but, to paraphrase a line from Dickens (who knew his beauty pageants, as evinced by the recent discovery of his heretofore unpublished work, The Old Collagen Shop), it is a far, far better thing that I now review, that I have ever reviewed:
Who Wants To Be A Princess?
Stop me if you've heard this one. Several dozen visually pleasing and emotionally stunted young women vie for the chance to marry a wealthy and mysterious groom. They are made to answer a series of incrementally invasive and innuendo-oozing questions about love, men, dating, rumpy-pumpy, what have you, while intermittently parading around on stage in a series of progressively smaller outfits. All of this, while their individual beauty, poise, elegance, and overall worth as a human being is picked apart by a probably drunken and definitely over-pheromoned live audience.
...What do you mean, you've heard it before? Are you referring to Who Wants To Marry a Multimillionaire? Please. When that thing aired long ago and far away, everyone was a multimillionaire -- at least before everyone's stock options took a poleax to the forebrain
So if you're willing to give the FOX Folx the benefit of the doubt that they wouldn't dare try to revisit an already poisoned well, read on.
Who Wants To Be A Princess?
8:00 PM -- The PremiseThirty women descend like a marauding Hun convoy on Las Vegas (a city that just screams staid nobility, as we all know) to complete for the honor of becoming the bride, confidante, and/or current arm candy of a mysterious European prince. (Hereafter referred to as "Our Mystery Prince," because that's what this show called him, and there's no need to fix what ain't broke.)
8:03 PM -- The DisclaimersThe host introduces the ladies, and informs the audience that their possible beau is, quote, "a real prince! With a real history!" No, really! We've actually checked this time! Any future discovery of creepy misfitness can be chalked up to the normal combination of sheltered entitlement and inbred behavior endemic to European aristocracy! Seriously! Our lawyers said so!
(Actually, it is better than the garden-variety sociopathology exhibited by the "multimillionaire" they got the last time they pulled this stunt. Better in the sense that getting one arm bitten off by a crocodile is better than getting both arms bitten off by the selfsame crocodile, but we may just be quibbling here.)
8:04 PM -- The PromiseThe host promises the audience: "You've never seen anything like this!" Although, technically, this does look painfully familiar....
But, considering that Our Mystery Prince is, in fact, a prince, this adds a new dimension to the proceedings. Historically, the noble houses of Europe would pawn off their younger, underachieving scions on the church or the military in order to secure their fortune. Now they bid them go forth and troll for Vegas chippies. The Old Regime may have fallen, but it knows exactly when to get up off the canvas.
8:10 PM -- The LadiesThirty young women. They're all pretty hot, if not quite as demure as most royalty I've met.
They, true to form, have the requisite vague occupations that naturally prepare you for life as royalty. Fashion consultant...choreographer...singer...bartender...model...actress... ...intern...God...save...us...
8:19 PM -- The CutAnd within 9 minutes, 20 of them do not make the cut. Our Mystery Prince, based on how they introduce themselves, decides which 10 of the ladies continue on to the semi-finals. (That's exactly how Andrew picked Fergie, if I recall. And we all know how well that turned out.)
As a not completely tangential aside, the announcer keeps referring to the semi-finalists as the "10 ladies of the prince's court." There's another word for that, class, and it's called "harem." Is this what Our Mystery Prince is concocting as he whittles down the available chattel displayed before him? (Well, maybe. We don't exactly know, at this point in the evening, which country he's a prince of. They might get up to some pretty outré stuff in Liechtenstein, for all we know.)
8:20-9:20 PM -- The Q & AUnlike that peasant multimillionaire thingy, this part of the program is important and needs to be closely monitored. We're speaking of the choosing of a royal mate here. Wars have been fought over this very thing.
So, because this is royalty, I only paid attention to the aristocentric questions that were asked of the ladies. Might you be princess material? Let's find out....
And Now, A Royal Quiz...
Q: How will a relationship with a prince change or enhance your way of life?
|Even though I'm a princess, I plan on remaining the same old down-home girl that I've always been.|
|I would look forward to living in a completely different culture, soaking up all of the exotic wonders of my new country.|
|How dare you speak like that to one of your betters, you insufferable little commoner.|
Q: If you started a relationship with a prince, and he still maintained friendships with his old girlfriends, how would you handle it?
|I'm quite secure in my relationship with the prince and I wouldn't think twice about it.|
|I would discuss it with him, but I'm sure that it would all be innocent and that our relationship would emerge stronger than ever before.|
|GUARDS! GUILLOTINE! PRONTO!|
Q: If you could have any song played for you when you walk into the royal palace, which one would it be?
|"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap."|
|A stirring rendition of his nation's anthem, to demonstrate my heartfelt gratitude for being embraced wholeheartedly by the wonderful people of his glorious country. Performed by N'Sync.|
|What do you mean, you don't have anything by the Plastic Ono Band? What the hell kind of jerkwater territory is this?|
Q: If you had the opportunity to have sex with a famous celebrity while still in a relationship with the prince, would you?
|Depends. Will it land me a guest role on the new Star Trek show?|
|I told you backstage I'm not interested, you unbalanced pencil-necked twerp.|
|It would be selfish, in my newfound position, to deny the tabloid press a decent front-page story. They have mouths to feed, too.|
Q: While dating the prince, he wants to visit you at your home. Do you make any changes?
|None whatsoever. I am very proud of who I am, and I'm sure the prince will appreciate my honesty and down-to-earth background.|
|I'd probably take down the poster of Oliver Cromwell if he feels put out by it, but it's going right back up the minute that peasant-exploiting hyena leaves.|
|He's coming over? Here? TONIGHT?! But his majestic entourage will never fit in the driveway! And it's a resident-parking-only street! AAAIEEEEEE......|
Q: What is your fantasy of life as a princess?
|Incalculable wealth, unbridled power, and worldwide fame.|
|Worldwide fame, incalculable wealth, and unbridled power.|
|Unbridled power, worldwide fame, and incalculable wealth.|
|All of the above.|
Q: An old boyfriend wants to get back together with you while you are in a relationship with the prince. How do you respond?
|Well, he was hung like the Bayeux Tapestry...|
|Have the entire membership of the Privy Council push him under the wheels of the royal carriage.|
|Dammit, I told you three questions ago I wasn't interested, you pathetic lamprey.|
Q: If you became a princess, what would you do with your position and power?
|Milk it like a Jersey heifer.|
|Take up the cause of the less fortunate and be a beacon of hope around the world.|
|Visit icy, pitiless revenge upon Cissy Finkelstein for that time in high school when she refused to let me join the cheerleading squad and called me a cellulite-swollen banshee....GUARDS!|
Q: The prince give you a gift that you think is inappropriate. How do you respond?
|Thank him for the sentiment, but kindly explain to him that it's a bit much and that I'd like to remain the same old girl with simple tastes that I am at heart.|
|Just toss it on the pile with all the other islands.|
|"Forget the gift, just plant some more o' dat hot primogeniture lovin' on me, Your Royal Bootyliciousness!"|
Q: What are the qualities in you that a prince would find appealing?
|My down-home charm and cheery disposition.|
|My brilliant intellect and sophisticated social graces.|
|My silicone implants.|
Q: What is the most difficult thing about being in a relationship with royalty?
|My royal portrait on the country's new currency makes me look 3 months older than I really am. **sigh** It's a struggle just to face the dawn.|
|Being seen as a superficial adherent to a vestigial manifestation of an irrelevant social order.|
9:30 PM -- The BeachwearAnd just in case Our Mystery Prince remains unable to glean evidence of the innate regalness from the ladies' answers, they've been kind enough to throw on a two-piece and display the crown jewels for all and sundry. Forsooth and hubba-hubba, milady!
But how relevant was this part of the program? Sure, 10 hotties on stage in bikinis is a royal treat no matter what the occasion, but too many unanswered questions remained at this stage of the game. What if Our Mystery Prince is the prince of a landlocked country? What if the once and future princess is sunbathing on one of the country's beaches whilst her royal navy is conducting bombardment exercises? For that matter, she's going to be sunbathing on a European beach? Have you SEEN the sorts of genetic irregularities that frequent most European beaches? In the NUDE??
9:40 PM -- The Cinderella QuintupletsOne cut later, and there are only 5 "ladies of his court" (there's that phrase again) left. The breakdown: Brunette, Slightly Blonde, Blonde, Extremely Blonde, and Blonde Enough To Show Up On Satellite Imaging Photos.
Everyone squeezes themselves into a Disneyesque ball gown, and -- in the tradition of fairy tales throughout the ages -- gets to beg, plead and debase themselves in front of God, Our Mystery Prince, and the viewing public to get His Royal Highness to choose her. (A widespread fantasy among the more sinister members of the male population of this country, but in the interests of taste and FCC regulations we'll decline from further pursuing this angle.)
9:50 PM -- The ChoiceOur Mystery Prince is revealed to the world! He's from Italy (ooooo!) He's a grandson of Guillermo Marconi, the inventor of the radio! (Who must be doing a triple Salchow in his grave at this moment.) And he's short! Quite short! Any one of the five "ladies of his court" could step on him and squash him like a dung beetle! Which I was seriously hoping for at this point in the proceedings!
...Ahem. Sorry. Whom did Prince Radio Gaga choose?
The cute, blonde Floridian with the perfect little button nose and the great teeth.
I know, I know. Typical, you say. Maybe. But maybe there was something else there. Maybe he saw something deeper in her perfect aqua-blue eyes. Maybe he saw something endearing in the way she smiled...in the answers she gave...in the way she seemed willing to put out like a slot machine...who can say?
And who should say? He's found his princess bride. And they all lived happily ever after.
Including me, once I figured out where I left the gin bottle....