If you want the TL:DR version, here’s my Game of Crowns recap: A+ drama, would watch again. This show is hilarious. I mean, it’s probably one of the funniest reality TV shows I’ve seen in a long time. Everything is so frigging sad. I mean, the way these women carry themselves, the way they speak, how seriously they take themselves. Imagine a half-dozen Jill Zarins competing in an evening gown competition in a mostly-empty convention center in suburban Rhode Island: there you have Game of Crowns. It might get old, but right now it’s entertaining as hell.
I’ve already introduced you to the beauty queens of Game of Crowns, but that was only scratching the surface. In the season premiere, we get a closer look at these women – this includes winning local pageants, gluing their butt cheeks and, of course, screaming at each other in the airport. Good times.
Ms. Tri-State: A Beginner’s Pageant
Shelley Carbone, Mrs. America 2011, is practicing her speech. She and “pageant sister” (and longtime friend) Vanassa Sebastian will both be speaking at the Ms. Tri-State competition – which Vanassa makes sure to mention is a beginner’s pageant. Don’t get it twisted: this is amateur hour. As pageant veterans, Vanassa and Shelley might be above Ms. Tri-State, but Susanna Paliotta doesn’t think any pageant is too small. She’s an expert in child pageants (she describes her 7-year-old daughter as a “matriarch” of the child pageant world, which is both weird and terrifying) but still fairly new to the adult circuit. Luckily, she has lots of supporters. In addition to Shelley and Vanassa, Mrs. Rhode Island herself, Leha Guilmette, is a friend.
Susanna really wants to win Ms. Tri-State, you guys. She gets all dolled up and participates in the interview portion, impressing the judges with her pilot’s license and ability to say random phrases in French and Chinese. For her, the interview portion is all about “speaking elegant,” so obviously, she nails it.
At the Ms. Tri-State, we meet Lynne Diamante, and here’s what some of her friends think about her: she’s a washed up beauty queen living vicariously through her wins in the 1980s, clinging to a past that’s long gone. She also might be a horse. Obviously, Lynne is well respected amongst her peers. We learn that Vanassa is a breast cancer survivor, but that only pushed her to try harder. Lori-Ann Marchese is the current Mrs. Connecticut, but everyone thinks of her as a fitness model. By the way, “fitness model” is said the same way someone might say “poopy diaper.”
Susanna chooses a classy gown and a tasteful bathing suit, which probably helps push her toward the coveted Ms. Tri-State crown. I mean, there were some serious old lady bathing suit situations happening, you guys. I don’t want to be mean, but if you put it out there for judging… my point is, Susanna wins! She is Ms. New England Tri-State, a life accomplishment if I’ve ever heard one.
I’d Kill To Lick A Tic Tac
It’s five days before the Mrs. America pageant, which I suppose is a pretty big deal if you have the same warped world view as these women. Leha, as reigning Mrs. Rhode Island, will be competing and Lynne is her mentor. To help, she presents her with a tray of freshly baked cupcakes. See, Leha has always struggled with her weight and body image. Throughout her teens, she popped pills to lose weight, but now she’s trying to stay thin the healthy way. Recently, she lost 70 pounds and feels great. So obviously, Lynne is a caring and supportive mentor. Obviously.
Leha’s got a fashion emergency: her “Uncle Sam” costume (so chic!) is a little booby-licious and she’s afraid it’s too risqué for the conservative Mrs. America competition. Lynne, who seems to be missing her top in at least two different scenes, thinks it’s fine. Leha is understandably concerned about taking modesty advice from this hussy.
Meanwhile, Lori-Ann is having costume troubles of her own. “I am your Red Robin!” she exclaims, wearing a skimpy, ill-fitting red sequined nightmare with black feathered wings. It’s…no. It’s just no. “What the eff? Seriously?” Vanassa wonders and yeah, that about sums it up. She and Shelley are mentoring Lori-Ann, who has no idea what she’s doing, quite frankly. She’s a veteran of the fitness pageant circuit, but won Mrs. Connecticut as a fluke. Luckily, Vanassa has a spare Native American costume on hand and generously lends it out. Of course, no one seems to consider that a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman might not want to wear a traditional Native American costume? But hey, whatever. I guess a little cultural insensitivity is better than looking like a stripper bird.
I Almost Punched The B*tch
Lori-Ann met her husband when she was 16 years old and he was 22. He’s a little immature, but very supportive of his wife. In fact, he even helps her determine whether or not she needs a Cuchini. What’s a Cuchini, you ask? Oh, well I will tell you. A Cuchini is a little insert that helps women hide their camel toe. I don’t want to get too into it, but if you have a chance to check out the Cuchini website, I highly recommend it. My roommate and I spent at least 15 minutes going through it and hysterically laughing. Maybe have a drink first. Just a suggestion.
Both Lori-Ann and Leha are packing for Arizona, where the Mrs. America pageant takes place. As Lori-Ann and her husband decide that she’s okay without a Cuchini, Leha packs her butt spray, which keeps your butt cheeks glued to your bathing suit. I cannot lie – that one makes a lot of sense. No one wants to walk the runway with a wedgie. Although they aren’t competing, the rest of the women are flying to Tuscon as well, because
Bravo made them they want to support their friends. Susanna calls Vanassa to confess that she’s made a fashion faux pas – she’s wearing the same jumpsuit as Vanassa to the airport. Vanassa makes it clear that she doesn’t have time to change – and she leaves the situation thinking that Susanna will change. BUT NO. SHE DOESN’T CHANGE.
This is obviously a huge deal. A HUGE DEAL. After the flight, Vanassa has to confront Susanna for this “malicious, underhanded” move to undermine her. “I WAS HONEST!” Susanna yells, which I guess means that she was honest about stealing Vanassa’s outfit? But Vanassa will not accept this: clearly, Susanna’s head has grown too large and now she thinks she’s queen of the sh*tty boutique jumpsuit. She thinks Susanna is too big for her britches. Susanna thinks Vanassa is jealous. Vanassa thinks Susanna is copying her in an attempt to “get famous” – I don’t know what she thinks is happening at this Arizona airport, but it’s apparently just like New York Fashion Week up in there. What you wear at the Tuscon International Airport makes a statement to the world, you guys.