Hump, Marry, Kill: The Miss Universe Costume Parade Never Lets Us Down

Hump: Like most people with eyes, there’s nothing I love more than seeing traditional native outfits indicative of a country’s traditions and culture completely bastardized with flashing lights, glitter, capes, bra tops, and so many hues that you start to feel like you're looking at any given nation’s take on Joseph’s amazing technicolor dreamcoat. That’s why the National Costume Show portion of the annual Miss Universe Pageant is clearly one of the highlights of my year. Between the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and this regular parade of cultural adulteration, our social-sensitivity radars are getting a hell of a beating.
This year’s costumes did not disappoint. Well, some of them did (cough, Denmark, cough). Don't you think it’s super awkward when some of the contestants are wearing full-blown Chihuly sculptures on their backs, while others are wearing solid-colored long skirts that don’t even have sparkles on it? Just look at Miss Mexico, Karina Gonzalez, up there. She clearly went to her costumer and said, “I want my costume to remind people of Mexico’s rich Mesoamerican cultural history, but also have every color in the visible spectrum on it and enough pom-poms to absorb any freak water-gun accidents backstage. Oh, and can it also be crazy revealing with matching shinguards?”
“Sure,” her costume designer replied, already calculating her bulk purchase of pom-poms that would finally earn her that coveted millionth-pom-pom-purchased stamp on her bulk, pom-pom-purchaser club card, “One question: How do you feel about peacock feathers?”
“Love them,” said Miss Mexico. “In fact, I have the perfect silver lipstick that’ll really tie everything together.”
Marry: How I Met Your Mother is known for many things, but change is not one of them. Ted Mosby’s kids are definitely sitting on that couch wondering what they did wrong in a past life so that their lot in this one was to listen to their dad tell the most drawn-out, rambling story about how he met their mom. While Ted hasn’t really changed over the course of the show’s eight seasons, there’s definitely one character who has.
On Monday’s super-sized episode, self-proclaimed legendary ladies-man Barney Stinson did the unthinkable (Well, he did the unthinkable again — he had proposed to someone before, but she was a stripper, and when besides a secondary plotline of the movie-version of Tucker Max’s I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell has a romance between a fairly mainstream guy and a stripper ever ended in happily ever after?).
Not only did Barney propose to Robin, he did so with his final play, signaling the true end of an era for a Lothario so committed to conquering the ladies of Manhattan, that he actually he wrote an elaborate guidebook to pulling tail. The play was masterfully hatched and took weeks to execute. It even involved difficult, unpredictable elements like Ted’s emotions and Robin’s hated coworker Patrice. There was no guarantee Robin would even see that Barney truly had changed, which is why, when it came to the moment of truth, Barney simply wrote “Hope she says yes” on the back of a paper explaining a guide for executing his greatest play “The Robin.”
We knew from the season premiere that Robin and Barney would get married (although the show’s creators are as cagey as ever when it comes to revealing whether or not the wedding actually happens). As with most things in life, however, how they arrived at the event was more interesting and important. So, a big potential mazel tov to Barney and Robin — may your future happiness not be contingent on whether the show gets renewed and for how many seasons. (Also, Robin in that red Monique Lhuillier gown? Damnnn.)
Kill: If you don’t already watch Million Dollar Decorators on Bravo, please start now as your Hanukkah present to me. Anyone who’s ever furnished a home knows that the things you sit, eat, sleep, and put tchotchkes on are ridiculously expensive. Then, on top of that, you need ways to illuminate the place, and no one seems to be fond of the bare-bulb-on-string look these days. Hence the meteoric rise of the Swedish temple of prefabricated, Allen-wrenched accouterment, IKEA.
While the rest of us make our bargain stuff work, the rich and famous accessorize their homes like the new Versailles (although I would really like to see a show called Million Dollar Landscape Architecture about the cutthroat world of highly-stylized hedge mazes), and, most of the time, they hire people to do it for them. And oh, the world of interior decorators. Apparently you’re unfit to choose furniture, textiles, and drapery for someone unless you have a bizarre, haughty affectation.
Take Martyn Lawrence Bullard, for instance. His decor style is gaudy and ridiculous — just like he is. His profile says he’s from London, but his accent sounds more like transcontinental-film-star-of-the-'30s-meets-molester. Everyone is dahhhhling, and the word “love” has about 50 more o’s than you would ever use. Also, while we’re on the subject of “love,” Martyn speaks like he wants to make it with everyone and everything around him.
Photo: Courtesy of Matt Brown/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP; Courtesy of Ron P. Jaffe/Fox; Courtesy of Isabella Vosmikova/Bravo

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