Jewish World Review Nov. 2, 2004 / 18 Mar-Cheshvan 5765

Myriam Marquez

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Consumer Reports

Miss America: Where are dumb bimbos? | Miss America got dumped after lousy ratings. What's a girl looking for world peace and schooled in the art of blazing batons to do?

Turn to The Swan, the reality TV show that exposes all the young ladies' warts as they undergo mega-plastic surgery before morphing into look-alike Stepford Wives to be? Oh, the angst.

Let's not give up hope. Comcast has expressed an interest in picking up the 50-year-old Miss America beauty pageant. Ooops. Did I say beauty pagent? I meant the contest that chooses the best all-around American woman with leadership abilities, community service and brains to boot. Like our very own Ericka Dunlap, last year's Miss America.

Isn't that really the problem? The Miss America contest isn't bringing in big ratings because contestants aren't dumb bimbos. After the women's movement took hold, there was a whole lot of soul searching (in between waterproof mascara dabbing). Contestants not only had to be lookers. They had to have smarts.

But let's face it: Dumb bimbos dating a millionaire, going under the knife or scantily clad and eating slimy critters are a big draw in this new world order of reality TV. And it's not just pimply guys who want to see strategically placed plastic body parts. Fox's Swan rates highly among young women, while Miss America attracts viewers with the median age of 51, hardly an advertiser's top choice.

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Swan didn't get any more viewers last year than Miss America (about 9.5 million for Fox to ABC's 9.8 million), but the pageant's numbers are way below capturing 75 percent of the audience, as it did back in 1961.

I won't fill your pretty little heads with any more facts and figures. If Miss America is to come back strong next year, the show will need a major makeover.

How about Fox's Bill O'Reilly as a judge? All those lovely ladies in a spin-free zone, and no one could call O'Reilly a harasser simply for sizing up the gals in the bathing-suit competition.

Reality-show hidden cameras in dressing rooms? Put Victoria's Secret models to shame.

Morphing Miss America into a new show like My Big Fat Obnoxious Talent Coach, aka Mom?

CBS might produce an investigative report exposing Miss Congeniality for who she really is. (Of course, Dan Rather would have irrefutable documents to prove the winner had help from her mother getting into the Little Miss Poughkeepsie qualifying rounds 15 years ago, which should render the current judges' findings moot.)

There she is ...

Myriam Marquez is an editorial page columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, The Orlando Sentinel Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.