Saturday Night Live Transcripts
Season 14: Episode 9
Miss Self-Esteem USA Pageant
Denise O’Donnell, Miss New York…..Melanie Griffith
Blaire Dixon, Miss Georgia…..Jan Hooks
Cindy Barlow, Miss Wyoming…..Victoria Jackson
Jamie Farr…..Jon Lovitz
Michael Gross…..Kevin Nealon
Don Pardo V/O: Live, from Mobile, Alabama, it’s the third annual Miss Self-Esteem USA Pageant, with fifty young women who know, like, and respect themselves, one of whom is going to be Miss Self-Esteem USA 1989.
[ Lights up! The contestants dance on stage and sing to a variant of “Let’s Hear it For the Boy” ]
Contestants: [ singing ] Let’s hear it for myself!
Let’s give myself a ha-a-a-a-and!
I may not be a Juliet,
But what you see is what you get!
Wo, wo-o-oh, let’s hear it for myself!
Don Pardo V/O: And now, here’s your Miss Self-Esteem master of ceremonies, “Family Ties”‘ Michael Gross!
[ Applause; the contestants leave as Michael takes center stage ]
Michael Gross: Thank you! Thank you. I have to tell you that I’ve been here in Mobile all week, and these young ladies are the most centered, self-respecting, happiest young people I have ever met. Just being here has made me feel better about myself. And I think you’re gonna feel better about yourselves when you meet our three finalists, as they promenade down the evening gown competition. First, Miss Self-Esteem Georgia, Blaire Dixon!
[ Blaire emerges dressed in blue, and steps up to the mic ]
Blaire Dixon: It is only possible for me to love others once I have loved myself. And since I truly do love myself, I am able to give love to others, such as my family, and those less fortunate than myself. Because I do love myself, so very very much. Thank you. [ walks offstage ]
Michael Gross: [ from off-stage ] Miss Self-Esteem Wyoming, Cindy Barlow!
[ Cindy, in a pink gown, steps up to the mic, trying really hard not to cry as she speaks ]
Cindy Barlow: My boyfriend encouraged me to enter the Miss Self-Esteem Wyoming pageant, to help me raise my level of self-esteem. You might think that winning Miss Self-Esteem Wyoming would have done that, but I was the only person who entered the contest, so it didn’t really mean that much, except to me, which I think is what self-esteem is all about. Thank you.
Michael Gross: [ from off-stage ] And finally, Miss Self-Esteem New York, Denise O’Donnell!
[ Denise emerges to wolf-whistles, wearing a black one-piece bathing suit ]
Denise O’Donnell: I know that uh, we’re supposed to wear an evening gown here but, since there’s no swimsuit competition, I thought I would just take this opportunity to show off my killer bod. I figured, I’m comfortable with it, so youse would be too. It’s fine. Enjoy. [ struts away ]
Michael Gross: Boy, that kind of woke things up, didn’t it?
Blaire Dixon: [ walks up to Michael ] Excuse me, excuse me, I know I’m not supposed to say anything, but that’s not fair. I mean, I think it shows a lot more self-esteem to wear the appropriate garment. I do. [ the next fanfare drowns her out ] I really do! [ shrugs, walks away ]
Michael Gross: And now, let’s meet the judges, who have the nearly impossible task of determining which one of our contestants have the most self-esteem … [ the camera pans across each of the judges ] … Dr. Thomas Harris, author of I’m Okay, You’re Okay … author of Smart Woman, Foolish Choices, Connie Cohen … Robin Norwood, author of Women Who Love Too Much … and actor Jamie Farr. [ Jamie waves and grins ] Jamie, I don’t envy you one bit. Okay, and now, to kick off the talent competition, here is Cindy Barlow, Miss Self-Esteem Wyoming, offering her dance interpretation of Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors.”
[ As an arrangement of the song plays, a nervous Cindy, dressed in rainbow spandex, twirls some rainbow ribbons on a stick. She fumbles, and accidentally destroys one of the sticks. She runs off stage, sobbing. ]
Michael Gross: Gee, that was a shame! She was doing so well! All right, let’s hope that Miss Self-Esteem Georgia fares better, as she delivers her dramatic interpretation of Nora’s climatic speech from A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen’s classic story of one woman’s struggle for her identity.
Blaire Dixon: [ on the floor, in costume as her character ] I believe that, before anything else, I’m a human being … [ stands up ] … just as much as you are. Or at least, I’m going to try to turn myself into one. I know most people would say you were right, Torvald, and I know you’d be backed up by all sorts of books! But what most people say, and what you find in books, it just doesn’t satisfy me anymore! I want to seek everything out for myself … and I want to make my own decisions! [ Fanfare; she bows and walks to Michael ]
Michael Gross: Blaire Dixon, Miss Self-Esteem Georgia! Blair, it looks like you really put a lot of work into that interpretation.
Blaire Dixon: Well, thank you. I believe that hard work is a way of saying I care about myself. I care enough to take pride in whatever goal I set for myself, [ glances at the judges ] and that is why I put in over TWELVE HUNDRED HOURS rehearsing Nora’s admonition to Torvald. Thank you! [ walks away ]
Michael Gross: Wow! She was prepared! Okay, now Denise O’Donnell, Miss Self-Esteem New York, will play “Jingle Bells” on the xylophone.
[ Denise, wearing a skimpy red sequined skirt and matching top, plays the first part in G ]
Denise O’Donnell: Key change … [ finishes the song in C. Wild applause! ]
Michael Gross: Denise O’Donnell, Miss Self-Esteem New York! Denise O’Donnell! [ she walks over to him ] Very nice. Denise, how long have you been playing the xylophone?
Denise O’Donnell: Oh, about five years now. But uh, you know, I don’t take it too serious, I mean, like I’m gonna be a professional xylophone player? I play for fun. I mean, that’s what it’s all about, right?
Michael Gross: Are you ever! Huh? [ applause, she walks away ] Now that is self-esteem! She plays terribly, and yet she feels great about herself! Huh? [ Blaire re-emerges in her blue gown ]
Blaire Dixon: That’s not, that’s not self-esteem! No one with self-esteem would come out and do that! She played the xylophone and she was awful! And I practiced over twelve hundred hours on my speech —
Michael Gross: [ interrupts her ] Please, Miss Self-Esteem Georgia —
Blaire Dixon: Well, I did! I did — [ storms off ]
Michael Gross: — we have to move on now to our final category. Okay, here’s where we ask each of our finalists a question to test her poise and self-esteem. First, we have Miss Self-Esteem Wyoming, Cindy Barlow. [ she re-emerges in her pink dress, still trying not to cry ] Cindy, that was too bad about the talent competition. But don’t worry — the question-and-answer category is worth twice as much.
Cindy Barlow: Twice as much? Nobody told me that.
Michael Gross: Well anyway, here’s your question: what three things in life are you most proud of?
Cindy Barlow: My boyfriend … and … my self-esteem … and … my boyfriend … [ runs off-stage, sobbing ]
Michael Gross: Oh gee, that’s too bad! All right — next is Miss Self-Esteem Georgia, Blaire Dixon! [ she comes back out ] Blaire wants to be a mother and a pop psychologist.
Blaire Dixon: That’s right, Michael.
Michael Gross: Okay. Blair, in the evening gown competition, you said that you could love others only if you could love yourself. Why?
Blaire Dixon: [ trying hard to look confident ] In the evening gown competition, I said that I could love others only if I love myself because, if I do not love myself then I cannot love others, but because I’m capable of loving myself, I do have the capability, you know, of loving others … because I love myself.
Michael Gross: All right! And finally, Miss Self-Esteem New York, Denise O’Donnell! [ Denise re-emerges, in a proper green gown this time ] Denise, the Rabbi Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am for myself alone, who am I?” What do you think Hillel meant by that?
Denise O’Donnell: Well I guess when he says if, uh, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me,” he could be talking about this girl in my neighborhood, Donna? Well, she married this alcoholic, and she does whatever this guy says. She doesn’t stand up for herself. And uh, when he says um, “If I am for myself alone, who am I,” he could be talking about her husband Duke, who’s a real, totally selfish pig. [ to camera ] That’s right, Duke, you are a totally selfish pig! Um, and I guess, Hillel?
Michael Gross: Right.
Denise O’Donnell: Um, Hillel wants us to live like my friend Brenda — she always knew what she wanted to be, and she’s an x-ray technician. And she always wanted to be that. And she helps people, and she’s real happy. And I hope that I’m like Brenda. Thank you. [ Applause ]
Michael Gross: Boy, Denise, you are amazing! Isn’t she? All right!
[ Denise, Blaire and Cindy line up next to each other ]
Michael Gross: Well — I’m tellin’ ya, you could cut the suspense in this room with a knife, huh? Well, while the judges tally their final results, let’s take our final look at our three finalists. Cindy Barlow, Miss Self-Esteem Wyoming … [ she’s still crying ] … Blaire Dixon, Miss Self-Esteem Georgia … [ she briefly sneers at Denise ] … and Denise O’Donnell, Miss Self-Esteem New York. All right, I think our judges are just about finished tallying up their results — [ they give him a piece of paper ] — and let’s see what we have here. [ Drumroll ] The first runner-up … the first runner-up … hold on a second … let’s go with the second runner-up first, huh? The second runner-up is Miss Self-Esteem Wyoming, Cindy Barlow! [ she is handed a bouquet and escorted to center stage. Denise tries to hug Blair, but Blaire pushes her away, still trying to maintain a smile ] All right! And now it’s down to these two. Before I announce the first runner-up, I wanna emphasize how important she is. Because, should our winner lose her self-esteem, and thus become unable to fulfill her duties, the first runner-up will assume the title of Miss Self-Esteem USA. [ Drumroll ] The first runner-up is … Miss Self-Esteem Georgia! [ Blaire storms off-stage ] The new Miss Self-Esteem USA is Miss Self-Esteem New York, Denise O’Donnell! [ the contestants gather around her and give her a bouquet and tiara ] All right! Denise, before you take your victory promenade, is there anything you’d like to say?
Denise O’Donnell: Um, yeah, I would actually. You know, I really don’t need this award to make me feel any better about myself, but I think Miss Georgia could really use it, so I would like to give it to her.
Michael Gross: Oh, you are amazing! That is — [ Blaire comes back and snatches the bouquet; Denise gives her the tiara ] Judges? Can — can they do that? Aww — no, you can’t do that. I’m sorry. [ Blaire hands back the bouquet and walks off in disgust ] Well, Denise, it’s time for your victory promenade, and the Miss Self-Esteem song, sung by Mr. Jamie Farr. Jamie?
[ Denise walks and blows kisses as Jamie sings ]
Jamie Farr: [ singing ] She believes in herself,
But she’s not stuck-up at all.
She’s a winner, though she may fall,
To pick herself up and pursue her dream.
Because she knows,
She’s Miss Self-Esteem!
[ Applause. The title card appears again ]
[ Fade to SNL Band ]
Submitted by: G. Gomez