Game of Clowns-- Oh, I mean CRowns

I have now officially caught up on my TV watching; I was sick for a day this week and ended up binge watching Bravo's Mrs. Pageant series Game of Crowns. But, really, a more accurate title would have been Game of CLOWNS. It's like they took the worst elements of so many reality shows (Toddlers & Tiaras, Jersey Shore, Real Housewives, etc.), mixed it up with a bunch of "fame whores" (as one of the contestants calls another on the show), and put it on Bravo.

Unlike Toddlers & Tiaras, Dance Moms, or Kim of Queens, each episode is not devoted to a competition. In fact only a few pageants are shown as the drama is really between the women in other aspects of their lives (clothing, husbands, legal action, etc.). In this respect this is like a knock-off Real Housewives show-- I suppose it would be The Real Housewives of New England given everyone is from CT and RI (and since our family is moving to Rhode Island sometime in 2015 I guess I learned a bit about towns like Cranston and Johnston).

IMG_0888Yes, I just snuck some big news in there. Starting in January 2015 I will be part of the Department of America Studies at Brown University and my husband will be in the Economics Department at Brown!

Like so many reality shows there is much we don't know. For instance, why did we never see the husband of the too-classy/beautiful-for-this-show Shelly Carbone? What's the back story on these women's previous pageant experiences, before they were married? Are their current husbands the fathers of their children? How do Mrs. Pageants work in terms of categories about age, children, talent, etc.?

It should be obvious, but just in case it's not, Mrs. America has absolutely nothing to do with Miss America and Mrs. United States has absolutely nothing to do with Miss USA. In fact, in case you missed it, these women all compete in the same NE pageant systems run by the same family-- a married husband and wife and their daughter who emcees and sings looking to get her 15 minutes. Unclear if this is because there aren't other options or these are the only people who would agree to be on camera.

Needless to say, talent isn't included at these events and I had to laugh when everyone said how important INTERVIEW is and then it was revealed these interviews last THREE MINUTES. At Miss America pageants interview is 10 minutes and it's not even close to enough time. But three minutes? Very funny.

The women all tan, use Botox, fake hair, nails, etc. Some even have blue hair. Yet they all look different given that some are moms and some aren't. Lori-Ann Marchese was the only one without kids, and she comes from the world of "fitness competitions." I really saw a strong resemblance between her and the reigning Miss America, Kira Kazantsev.

The season is filled with typical female reality show fights about jump suits, bets, breast cancer walks vs. vow renewals, and rogue stylists. And then things take a darker turn when death threats are made followed by alleged private investigators, and then a restraining order. Things actually got physical a year after filming ended at the premiere party at Foxwoods (one of the women, half Native American, is married to a part owner of the resort-- and given the history of Foxwoods and the Mashantucket there is some backstory there I am sure [I read Without Reservation many years ago, which I found interesting]).

I can't imagine a second season, but I expect to see more from a few of them, like Shelly Carbone who is Bravo material, and Susanna Paliotta who has now been on TLC (through Toddlers & Tiaras, and who I wrote about at The Huffington Post when she called herself "Susanna Barrett" and linked up with the Eden Wood fame train) and Bravo, so I'm guessing Lifetime is next. I expect more clowning around, with crowns.