Dear readers, I’m feeling a little veklempt – you see, I feel like we’ve been through so much together. We were there when they got their first dresses. We were there when they first shaved their legs. We were there when they got their first bras and put on lipstick for the first time. *sob* Our little boys are all grown up! I feel like it was just yesterday when they stumbled into the Dollhouse, pure and innocent – not yet having known the touch of a powder brush, or the exquisite pain of a leg wax. Now, would you look at them? Just look at them! *beams with pride*
We descend upon the Dollhouse to find Albert, Dave, and Donnell preparing for the day and reeling from the previous evening’s elimination. Donnell says that now it is down to three, the heat is really on. Dave admits he is a little paranoid since learning that Donnell had been secretly recording confessionals in the house. Donnell doesn’t consider himself malicious, he’d rather call it cunning. Eh – you say potato, I say potahto.
Dave’s suspicion of Donnell deepens as he searches for his notebook and cannot find it. He can’t help but wonder if Donnell was somehow involved in its disappearance. Donnell claims he knows nothing of the notebook, but admits to secretly enjoying Dave’s paranoia. Mwa ha ha ha!
You’re so vain, I bet you think this pageant’s about you
The editors choose some rockin’ party music to accompany the arrival today’s box-mail. Ha, they can’t fool us! We know the box is evil, just look how it taunts the guys with its pretty colors and fancy bows, while secretly containing the keys to their doom. Ever the brave soul, Albert approaches the box with caution, as if he expects it to suddenly snarl and bare its teeth at him. What type of humiliation awaits the men today, you ask? Why, the best flavor there is of course, a pageant! Now is the time for the men to share what they have learned with the world, and what better way is there? I don’t know – maybe an essay, 250 words or less, with a pie chart or something? Donnell gives the other guys the lowdown on the pageant – swimsuit competition, evening gown competition, and the requisite world peace question. Oh Donn-elll, you forgot the cheesy group dancing and the plastic smiles! You can’t have a pageant without those. But we’ll cut the boys some slack, seeing as how they are still men, at least biologically.
Dave says he was nervous when learning of the pageant, thinking with his Outer Dave – the one that is insecure and tells him he is not pretty enough. Shut up, Outer Dave! Who asked you? On the flip side, Albert confesses he has it in the bag, claiming that he looks as good in a dress as any man can look. Oh look, he’s modest, too.
Dave goes to the door to greet today’s visitor. Enter Summer O’Brien, who introduces herself as their “PAGE-ANT CO-OR-DIN-A-TOR!” Oh goody! The men sit down with her, notebooks open and pens poised – ready to be schooled in the ancient art of pageantry. Dave sees an opportunity to share a personal story and mentions that his stepdaughter is in a pageant of her own the very same weekend. Summer, who obviously failed the course in pageant school where they teach you to smile and nod as if everything is wonderful, looks at him painfully and says, “that’s exciting”, in a condescending tone that assures you she finds it anything but exciting. She is much more interested in the cameras that are pointed on her and keeps fixating on them or a nearby monitor as she launches into her demonstration of various items that any pageant competitor can’t live without.
• Vaseline – rub a little on your teeth to help you smile
• Tweezers – your “best friend”. I can see how tweezers may be your best friend, Summer. They don’t have eyes or ears, after all.
• Hairspray – for keeping your eyebrows shaped nicely
• Band-aids – for covering unwanted headlights in a cold room
• Hemorrhoid cream – Donnell excitedly pipes up that he knows what this is used for! He actually correctly identifies its beauty use, which is to reduce eye puffiness. Very good, Donnell! You get a gold star for your pageant card. And some butt cream for your face.
The boys try the various products, and Summer looks on disapprovingly as they slather their teeth with Vaseline. She then goes on to tell them about the most important part of the pageant, the “question”. All the men will be asked to answer the same question, “What, as a lady, have you learned about being a man?” Deep, huh?
The men then take turns walking in heels for Summer and she assesses their chances in the competition.
• Albert – Summer thinks Albert is cute and his Southern charm will score points with the judges. She just wants him to be a little more confident and sure of himself. What? Do I have wax in my ears? I thought Albert was doing just fine in the confidence department, but then again, I’m not a pageant co-ordinator, so what do I know?
• Donnell – Summer says he has a great personality, because he is outgoing, sassy and a diva. I agree, he has great stage presence. But Summer thinks that the judges won’t necessarily go for a diva attitude.
• Dave – Summer refers to him as this competition’s “sleeper” contestant. While he is not as tall or typical pageant material, he has a lot of charm and draws you in with his heart.
Biceps, Cleavage, and Sugar-Coated Dookie
The next stop is a dress shop, where the guys accompany will work with a designer named Mia Gyzander to help design the dresses they will wear in the pageant. By “help design” I mean “point at the one you like”. They decide that Donnell will wear an asymmetric, strapless red gown. He worries that his arms are too big, but Mia assures him that they are not a problem. Albert will wear a glamorous green gown with peacock feathers along the bottom. He asks for one modification to the dress, that it has a very low plunging neckline. You go, girl. When Dave sees the teal gown that was designed for him, he complains that it doesn’t seem as sexy or feminine as the other two. Mia explains to him that the draped nature of the dress is better-suited for his larger body type. In his confessional, Dave worries that he won’t look good, saying “You can put sugar on dog poop and it is still dog poop”. You’re right, Dave – but it sure is sweet.
When they return to the Dollhouse, we are treated to lovely footage of Albert washing his boobs. In the kitchen sink. You see, when your breasts are fake, you just pop them out, squirt a little Joy on them and scrub away. Easy, no? Kinda makes you wonder why this is the first time Albert is washing them in the three weeks they have been there, especially since the guys have been sharing falsies and Albert says his are dirty and they stink. Ew. Just ewwww.
Oops, they did it again
The next morning, the guys get ready to go the dance studio to learn a routine for the pageant. As they get dolled up in their workout/dance attire, Albert admires his ponytails in the mirror. For a second I think he is going to launch into Britney’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time” routine. But alas, he doesn’t. The guys pile into the limo and off to the studio they go.
They meet their dance coaches, Carrie Ann and Ryan and are informed that they will be involved in a huge opening dance number, and will need some backup dancers to help fill it out. Who would be better suited for that job than – say it with me – the evicted contestants! It’s not a reality show these days if they don’t bring back at least someone who was previously kicked out. Dan, Ryan, and Michael come into the studio and I am glad to see that there are no hard feelings. They all high-five and hug and seem very happy to see each other. The only person missing from this equation is Cree, who could not join them due to a family situation.
Dan, Michael, and Ryan all confess that they have already forgotten how painful and uncomfortable it is to walk in heels. I know that all of these guys have learned to appreciate what their ladies have to go through to look sexy for them, but it never hurts to be reminded. Carrie Ann begins showing them the routine, and it is obvious this will not be a quick process. The guys are stumbling around and have trouble remembering their choreography, but they persevere and learn the routine. Marching to the beat of his own drum is Ryan, who repeatedly puts his own spin on the dance moves, referring to himself as a free-form dancer. The last time he did his own thing he ended up undressed in the middle of a store, so I am curious to see how this will turn out.
Everyone seems concerned about how well – or not well- this is going, but Carrie Ann sends the guys on their way with orders to practice in their heels before the next day. She also lets them know that the evictees will be staying back at the Dollhouse, and everyone rejoices. The boys are all complaining about their feet hurting, but they are happy to be home and together again. It seems the guys who were eliminated had really missed the whole competition and the fast friends they had made. Ryan looks over the framed photos from the modeling shoot and comments on how much they all look like women, especially Albert. They practice their routine, and everyone is falling over themselves and cracking up. Donnell is really concerned that the lack of dancing skills will reflect poorly on them and takes the role of informal coach, urging them to keep practicing. He confesses he doesn’t want this to hurt his chances of winning the pageant.
Later that day, Dave and Albert are resting and reflecting on the question they will have to answer. Dave is very concerned about the question, but Albert is stressed out when he thinks about it and hopes he will get by on his good looks. Dave knows that his chances of winning are resting on his ability to give the best answer and says he will stay up all night if he has to, trying to work through his response on paper.
Its pageant day, and there is a bittersweetness to the fact that this is the last day they will be in the house. It has been a tough road, and they will be happy to leave the heels behind, but at the same time they are sad that this experience is coming to an end. They have grown to love their new home and everyone reflects on the experience, how fulfilling it has been, and what they’ve learned about themselves in the process. Thank God no one uses the words “journey” or “connection”, or I might just break down and cry.
They arrive at the theater and begin running through the routine. Carrie Ann and Summer seems very pleased with the progress the guys have made, and Michael admits that despite their worries, they can finally see things falling into place. Outside, another limo pulls up and Cree gets out to join the other guys. Everyone is glad to see him, even Donnell, and Cree is happy to be back as well. Michael says it feels good to have Cree there, that he completes them. Awww.
As they prepare for the pageant, Donnell, Albert, and Dave tell the camera how badly they want to win, since they have worked so hard for his. Dave says he is ready to let his his true feelings out, and the world had better watch out for Wynona!
Tony appears onstage and speaks to the large audience that has gathered, giggling with anticipation of what they area about to see. He introduces the judges, Morgan, John, and Debbie, for the last time, and then it is time for the ladies! The wives/girlfriends for Dan, Michael, Ryan, and Cree are in the audience, and are in for a shock as they will see their fellas in all of their girlie glory for the first time.
He’s Every Woman
I don’t know if I can do justice to the actual performance, it is really a sight to behold. The guys come dancing out in their costumes, do their moves, and one-by-one prance down the catwalk, strutting their stuff and posing for the cameras. The costumes are fabulous – we have a cowgirl, nurse, nun, ballerina, female cop, cheerleader, army chick – the guys look great! Their ladies’ jaws hit the ground as they see their men come out, and there are many squeals and laughter all around. Even John Salley looks like he is enjoying himself! Shocker!
Tony asks the judges how they feel about the guys. They all agree that the guys have really put their hearts and souls into this process and really seem to have turned a silly situation into a learning experience. The three finalists come out in their evening gowns and walk the length of the stage one-by-one as the announcer explains what their respective plans would be for the money, should they win the $250,000 prize.
The quarter-million-dollar question…
When it is time for the big question, Tony calls the guys out one at a time. Donnell/Raven is first, and in a shocking turn of events, his wife, Nehlia comes out dressed in the same gown as him. This is the first time she is seeing Donnell, and she reads the question to him from a sheet of paper in her hand – “What, as a lady, have you learned about being a man?” He replies that the contest has not been easy, that the heels, wig, etc. are so uncomfortable, and his respect for women has grown tremendously. He feels the experience has made him a stronger, more compassionate man – and he would never do it without the love and help of his woman.
Albert/Alberta is out next. His girlfriend, Diana, is nervous about seeing him, but comes out to surprise him, wearing the same green dress with some minor modifications to make it a little less revealing. She tells the camera that she is so happy to see him, and that he looks beautiful. They walk the runway together and she poses the question to him. He replies that he has learned that he needs more patience, and that he has been somewhat selfish. The other guys have helped him to see that about himself.
Now you may have noticed, that neither of the first two guys really answered the question. Dave, however, has been working very hard on his answers – knowing that he would not miraculously become incredibly hot or graceful in the one last day. Will his hard work pay off?
Dave/Wynona comes out in his teal dress with a ton of red hair piled on top of his head. When he sees his wife, Jeanne, standing behind him, he gets emotional and teary-eyed, and dabs at his eyes with a tissue. They walk down together and she wishes him luck as she reads the question. As Dave gives his answer, the camera pans the audience and we see the other contestants beaming with pride. He says that he has found if you take a group of men who are typically macho and aggressive and put them in another situation where there is no need for bravado or manliness, they can actually turn out to be very caring and compassionate individuals. He also learned that men’s obsession with external beauty can be very hurtful to women when the inner beauty is ignored. Lastly, he has learned that the greatest reward of this contest is the respect and better understanding of his loved ones, and the lifelong friendships forged under these strange circumstances. Dave’s reply is received with cheers and applause, and the judges wipe tears from their eyes. Even John Salley!
And the winner is…
It is time to announce the pageant winner. Tony assures the three finalists that they have all been real troopers and given this game their all. The second runner-up is…Raven/Donnell! He looks dejected and shakes the hands of the others. Albert and Dave, in true pageant form, hold hands as the first runner-up is announced….Alberta! Wynona/Dave is the winner!!! WooHoo! We see Michael and Cree jumping up and down with excitement and hugging each other in the audience. There are hugs and tears all around (including a few tears from yours truly *sob*) as Dave receives a crown and bouquet of roses. He takes his final walk down the runway, waving and grinning at his fans, then hands the roses to his wife and rips off his wig and throws it in the air in victory. His final words are that he always stayed positive and never forgot who he was doing this for. I couldn’t be happier.
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