Remember that old game show, "Queen For a Day?" in which
housewives would air their grievances on national TV for
a top prize as well as the title "Queen For a Day?" as
voted upon by a studio audience? Yeah, it was basically
reality TV before reality TV, folks.
Well, in this
"everything old is new again" age, we've got an updated
version, but this time, sob stories won't help much. For
only the most deserved will head to LA to face off for
the title. Hundreds of nominations from loved ones led
to four finalists. They're off to Hollywood to take on a
studio audience and judges Joely Fisher, Meshach Taylor,
and Dayna Devon for the title. The prizes attached to
the title total up more than $100,000.
That said, "Do YOU want
to be queen for a day?"
No, not you, the woman
behind you. Heh. Anyway. Mo'nique starts out by airing
out how hard it is to look for royalty among us and...
well, it's Mo'Nique. You've seen "The Parkers," right?
She explains that only one woman from New York, Chicago,
Dallas, and LA would be chosen among the hundreds
nominated in secret. Sisters, wives, girlfriends,
daughters, mothers, female friends, anyone with two
X-chromosomes was fair game. Even themselves. Some sang
(don't know why). Some lied (see previous remark). Some
just cried. All in an attempt to recognize the important
women in their lives.
First stop, Chi-town,
where Capt. David Noble nominated his wife Jihyun,
originally from Korea. She's overcome lots of obstacles,
from coming to the US, to becoming a citizen to becoming
a college graduate twice. Now she's working on giving
back to her mother. That, and she's a big Lifetime fan.
Mo'Nique loves a man in uniform, but because his wife is
there, she's holding back. Good Mo.
Next up, NYC, where
composer and teacher Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum is nominating
Margo Lamb, a switchboard operator at Julliard and a
friend and mentor to most everyone at Julliard, Nora
included. "She would be absolutely floored."
Doing Dallas now, as Tom
Hubbard nominates not his wife, but his neighbor Denise
Ross. She had one son, but couldn't have any more,
even as she wanted to. So she and her husband flew to
Russia where they adopted two little girls. "It's just
uplifting to see someone with this type of attitude."
Back to LA, where we
Sarah McCrary nominating her mother, Chaye. Her number
one: she always wanted to make sure everyone was happy.
Also, she always said "Follow your dreams and follow
your heart." "She's beautiful and she deserves a man!"
Yeah, that too.
Now we get our four
prospects to the throne, as they prepare to receive the
royal treatment. But before we do, we've got to go back
to the moment when they received the royal tidings.
First, Capt. Noble rallied his troops together at 1100
hours for "Operation Queen for a Day" (I'll hand it to
the military on their creativity). Mission accomplished.
"Baby, we're going to Hollywood!" Okay, at ease. She
says the hardest thing about being a military wife is
the moving (as a military brat, I can relate). She likes
to volunteer her time to other families with their loved
ones at war. Quoth the captain, "Whether she wins is
inconsequential; she is my queen every day."
Oh and did we mention
that each woman gets a gift package worth $5000? Just
thought we'd throw that in. For Jihyun, that will be FTD
flowers for a year, dinner at Spiagga's in Chicago, and
the engagement ring that she never got (the captain was
a little miffed about that). Group hug!
At Julliard, it's a
switchboard overload, as Nora unloads cell phone fury.
Her little army responds with a crown and the golden
tickets. Matt Servitto, one of thousands of graduates
who served as surrogate children to MArgo, salutes the
performer from his "One Life to Live" set. "Margo is the
base at Julliard. She knows everyone." The everywoman
gets her flowers, a Fendi wristwatch, a Costa cruise of
the Caribbean, and a visit from Bernie Kopell, telling
her that she's going to perform on board! Whoa. Judges
agree that it's going to be hard to judge, as Dayna was
confused... she thought SHE was going to be Queen for a
day. Uh... no.
Tom goes to his church
to surprise Denise. She, of course, has no clue what's
going on. Cue Handel's Messiah, please. And thank you.
Now as to why, well, she's a church organist who agreed
to go to work full time while her husband was at
seminary. The kicker for her case was her two Russian
girls, who spoke no English upon arriving in America.
She says you have to find the strength within to remain
positive in the face of such adversity. And the girls
say "Good luck, mama" with the charm of the Children of
the Corn. She's presented with flowers and Ashley living
room and dining room sets.
Finally, Sarah visits
Chaye in the studio, where the family starts to sing her
praises... literally. Look out for the single. Single
parent, three children. Loves to cook. She never asked
the ex-husband for a thing, saying that her benefits
were born out of her own pain. Here's little something
you didn't know. One of her sons? Darius "Eddie Winslow"
McCrary. But it's not about him. It's about Chaye. And
today, Chaye's presented with flowers, a seven-day
holiday in Hawaii, Platinum Plus cookware, and a gift
certificate to Ciudad in downtown LA. Judges call? Still
too close. Joely's swayed by the two moms.
But all is not flowers
and sunshine, for this is a competition, and it's about
to be on, as the four women must now convince the
audience who should be Queen for a day.
Jihyun is asked what
she'd do if her husband was called to action. She would
stay behind and rally her support group for the cause.
Margo is asked what she gets from Julliard students. She
gets a very deep fulfillment and vicarious living. She's
rooting for all of them to succeed. Chaye is asked how
she makes her family close. Love, positive
reinforcement, prayer, meditation, and support. Denise
is asked how she could juggle everything in her life.
She says balance is the key, with her family being top
Enough said. Time to
vote. While the old series had a VU meter, this is 2004,
so we get the computerized Ask the Audience machinery.
Their totals will be one-half of the final tally,
combined with the opinion of the judges to determine a
winner. If the on-screen graphic is any indication,
Margo is a lock.
The moment of truth is
upon us. The throne is set. The crown is ready. Our
Queen for a Day is... MARGO LAMB! The final tally set
her at 38 percent to Chaye's 24, Denise's 23, and
Jihyun's 15. And with the crown comes a bounty fit only
for a queen: a 1.6 carat diamond pendant, a cruise to
England on the Queen Mary, a tour of London, Ricardo
Beverly Hills luggage, Whirlpool home appliances, Ashley
bedroom set, $500 from Linens-N-Things, one year at
Bally's Total Fitness, one year of Merry Maids, $20,000
cash, and a royal carriage... a 2005 Chrysler Town &
Country Minivan? Well, it's large, right. And so is the
grand total... over $100,000! And she didn't even have
to undergo painful plastic surgery and self-help courses
to do it. Imagine that...
Well, in this day and
age, you'd be hard-pressed to find something so
endearing, so positive. That really says it all, what I
think. Now go and crown a special woman in your life.
Who knows, she just might be the next Queen for a Day.
And it's good to be 'da