Voice of Documentarian: Do you think that most people would say that teenage beauty pageants are a good idea?
Gladys Leeman: Oh yeah, sure. I know what some of your big city, no-bra-wearing, hairy-legged women libbers might say. They might say that a pageant is old-fashioned and demeaning to the girls.
Iris Clark: What's sick is women dressing like men.
Gladys Leeman: You betcha, Iris. No, I think you boys are gonna find something a litle bit different here in Mount Rose. For one thing, we're all God-fearing folk, every last one of us. And you will not find a "back room" in our video store. No, no, that filth is better left to the sin cities.
Iris Clark: AKA Minneapolis Saint Paul.
[Amber is being filmed in her bedroom in her trailer. Annette is heard coughing]
Amber Atkins: That's my mom.
Annette Atkins: [from outside] Hey, Amber, did ya get my smokes?
Amber Atkins: Oh, yah, I'll get 'em in a sec.
Annette Atkins: [walks in and sees the camera crew] Aw, shit.
Amber Atkins: Oh, they're from Los Angeles. They wanted to see my room and film me for their movie.
Annette Atkins: Yah, well, if they ask you to take your top off, get the money first.
[she leaves the room]
Annette Atkins: And go get my smokes!
Becky Ann Leeman: [holding up a pistol] My mom gave me this 9-mil for my 13th birthday. Yeah. I'll always remember what she put on the card, "Jesus Loves Winners". That's why no matter what I do, I aim to win.
Loretta: Are we on 'Cops' again?
Amber Atkins: Yah, my ma's clothes all melted onto mine forming, like, this big polyester meteor in our closet, y'know? But, in some kinda weird miracle, our neighbor boy, Kenny Hanson, found my tap costume on the roof o' their trailer while he was settin' coon traps for his dad. Here's the weird part: it was still on the hanger.
Loretta: Why do I think Becky'll win? You're talking about the richest family in a small town. It's front page news when one of them takes a shit.
Voice of Documentarian: [Gladys has just thought of a theme for the pageant: Proud to be an American] So what was the theme of the pageant last year?
Gladys Leeman: Oh, that was "Buy American"
Voice of Documentarian: And the year before that was...?
Gladys Leeman: "USA is A-OK!"
Voice of Documentarian: And can you remember the theme of your favorite pageant?
Gladys Leeman: Can I? "Amer-I-Can!" People ask me where I get this, I don't know, it's... maybe a gift from God or somethin'.
Pastor: And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.
Loretta: What is wrong with you?
Amber Atkins: I don't know. I just didn't wanna win like this.
Loretta: You stop right there. You are a good person. Good things happen to good people.
Amber Atkins: Really?
Loretta: No. It's pure bullshit, sweetie. You're lucky as hell, so you might as well enjoy it.
Amber Atkins: Okay.
Loretta: Do you guys want some shots? I'm buyin'!
Loretta: Say, you boys been to the Leemans'?
Annette Atkins: Shut it, Loretta.
Loretta: If ya have, you got all the pictures of the winner you need.
Annette Atkins: [giving her hair a yank] Shut up, Loretta.
Loretta: Let's just say who should win, who deserves to win, is Amber.
Annette Atkins: Who don't you just pin a big old target on your ass?
Loretta: She's the prettiest, ya know. Best damn tapper. The most smartest.
Annette Atkins: Most smartest? Oh, that's great, you're real educated. Most smartest! Get a picture of that, most smartest!
Loretta: Most smartest.
Amber Atkins: [shaken after seeing her mom in the hospital] Ummm. I'm quitting the pagent.
Loretta: [grabbing and shaking Amber] You're WHAT?
Amber Atkins: I'm quitting the...
Loretta: I heard you! I was just trying to get you to change your mind. Amber, the woman clung to your tap shoes while she was flying through the air like a goddamn lawn dart!
Colleen Douglas: I can sum up our entire philosophy with this glass. I can look at it and say it's half-full, which in the beauty pageant biz means "Where the hell's my waiter?"
Iris Clark: Amber, I'm sorry, I really am, but you know the rules. All talent costumes have to be OK'd by Gladys before the pageant.
Amber Atkins: But doesn't someone taking your costume so you can't complete overrule that rule?
Iris Clark: Amber, I'm sorry, I don't make up the rules.
Amber Atkins: Oh! This... This is bullshit!
Iris Clark: Amber Atkins, that is not American Teen Princess language!
Amber Atkins: Good, cos this isn't an American Teen Princess Pageant! This is... This is... This is Nazi Germany!
[she storms off]
Iris Clark: [to the camera] Where do they get this stuff?
Mary Johanson: With one week to go before the pageant, I was finishing my outfit, rehearsing my talent, brushing up on current events, and running 18 miles a day on about 400 calories. I was ready.
Gladys Leeman: Oh, my baby... Oh my God, the swan ate my baby!
[the documentary crew are filming the reigning local pageant winner, a hospitalized anorexic girl. Amber is doing her hair]
Becky Ann Leeman: [entering with a box of chocolates] What? Oh my God, lights, camera and me without a stitch of makeup on! What are you guys doing here?
Amber Atkins: What are you doing here?
Becky Ann Leeman: Oh, Amber, like you're the only one who visits Mary.
Mary Johanson: Who are you?
Becky Ann Leeman: Who are you? Oh, Mary, you kill me!
[to the camera]
Becky Ann Leeman: She always says that, it's a little game we play, every week, same dippy little look on her face, "Who are you? Who are you?" Just like that. It's me, Becky. Mmmm, and I brought your favourites.
[she gives her the box of chocolates]
Amber Atkins: Real nice, Becky, she's anorexic.
Becky Ann Leeman: [covering Mary's ears] She's skinny, Amber, not deaf.
Mount Rose Mayor: [about the town sign, which says "Home of Freda Hegstrom, Minnesota's Oldest Living Lutheran"] Oh, yeah, sure, Freda, sure. She was the oldest living Lutheran, now she's dead as a doornail. It's the damn Shriners who won't take down the Goddamn sign, the lazy sons of bitches. Every year, every damn year, I tell 'em, "Take down the Goddamn Freda sign, you lazy sons of bitches!"
Cop #1: Oh yah, hell of a way to go there. After some thorough investigating we determined that the Curry girl must have been smoking and driving.
[cut to Amber working in the funeral home]
Amber Atkins: Well yah, Tammy liked to drive her dad's thresher, but I mean... I mean she said the heavy vibration helped her think. But I know for a fact Tammy only smoked AFTER a good drive. You ask me, or anyone who isn't scared to talk about it, Tammy was murdered. Oh God, I bet Diane Sawyer never had to deal with crap like this.
Amber Atkins: Oh yeah. Guys get out of Mount Rose all the time on hockey scholarships... or prison.
Amber Atkins: [crying after her tap costume disappears] I just wanted to compete.
Lisa Swenson: I can't believe this is happening. I can't believe she said...
[thinks for a moment than takes her jacket off]
Lisa Swenson: Amber, here, my jacket, take it, cos you know I know I got my costume OK'd a month ago before the pageant, you can wear it! Come on, put it on, here...
Michelle Johnson: Oh wow... Lisa, I don't think you should do this.
Leslie Miller: They're never gonna let you perform naked. I asked.
Lisa Swenson: Shut up, you guys.
Amber Atkins: No...
Lisa Swenson: Amber, I'm not gonna to win. OK? And let's be honest our family only needs one Liza and and Peter's got much better legs than me
Amber Atkins: Your parents'll kill ya.
Lisa Swenson: Come on, I love 'em... And you know that they only had me cos Peter needed that kidney.
Annette Atkins: I shoved your tap shoes in my panties before I was blown out of the house. You go find the guy who cut 'em off.
Connie Rudrüd: [commercial featuring a former beauty queen turned actress] In fact, I love St. Paul Pork Products so much, I work here now!
Gladys Leeman: [looking for a parking space] You'd think they'd have the parking lot of America to go with the Mall of America.
[Gladys parks in a handicapped parking space]
Iris Clark: That's a $200 fine!
Gladys Leeman: I told ya I would move the car if a cripple came. Now just run in the store and pick out some outfits.
Hank Vilmes: Harold, are we on COPS? Are we on COPS? Are we on COPS, Harold?
Harold Vilmes: Shut up, Hanky, this here's business.
[Harold gives Hank a smack on the head]
Hank Vilmes: Ow! Harold, Mom said not in the head!
Harold Vilmes: Well, Mom's dead, so shut your fly trap.
Hank Vilmes: I will if you shut your piehole.
[Harold starts fighting with Hank]
Harold Vilmes: Don't make me kick ya where the good Lord split ya!
Amber Atkins: I don't eat shellfish. Mom always says, "Don't ever eat nothin' that can carry its house around with it. Who knows the last time it's been cleaned." She should know.
[answering "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?"]
Becky Ann Leeman: I'd have good strong roots in a town like Mt. Rose, a solid Christian trunk, and long, leafy branches to provide shade for handicapped kids on a hot summer day.
Lisa Swenson: [being interviewed for the documentary] I fell in love with the big apple last summer when I was visiting my brother Peter there. He followed his dream all the way to New York... Wait, this is Peter as Liza. This is him as Madonna...
[she kisses the picture]
Lisa Swenson: This is Barbara.
[after the pageant, where Lisa let Amber take her place]
Lisa Swenson's Father: I hope it was worth it.
Lisa Swenson: Dad, it was worth it. Amber shoulda won.
Lisa Swenson's Father: Yeah, well, I'll tell you one thing, Peter never would have pulled a shenanigan like this.
Lisa Swenson: Well, you know what, Dad? You know what? Peter's gay.
Lisa Swenson: GAY!
[she walks off]
Lisa Swenson's Father: What?
Iona Hildebrandt: I was Mount Rose American Teen Princess 1945. We were at war with the Japs. Didn't even get to keep my damn tiara. Had to turn it in for scrap.
Becky Ann Leeman: I chose Mount Rushmore. 'Cause to live in a country where you can take an ugly old mountain and put faces on it, faces of great Americans who did so much to make our country super great. Well, that makes me Rebecca Leeman, proud to be an American.
Gladys Leeman: Our 2nd runner-up and winner of a $50 scholarship to the Vo-Tech of her choice is Leslie Miller.
Lars Larson: Amber, I need Stella now. The family's steaming like a cowpie in July. Said she doesn't look nothing like the picture they gave you.
Amber Atkins: Sorry, I just thought she might not want to meet her maker looking like a cheap whore.
Lars Larson: Well, this cheap whore is that family's loving mother.
Lars Larson: Amber!
Amber Atkins: [while working on Brett's corpse] If it's another stray bullet to the head, I'm gonna need more caps.
Lars Larson: You have to go home. There's some kind of emergency at the trailer park.
Amber Atkins: Relax, that's my ma's code for bring home milk and a carton of Lucky's.
Lars Larson: No, Loretta called; there's been a fire!
Harold Vilmes: So, who gets the crown? How are you going to figure this all out?
John: Well, you know, we'll, uh, compare scores and, uh, figure out a winner because, I mean, we don't know who the winner is yet. I mean, I have no idea who Jean picked, or Harold... No idea.
Hank Vilmes: I know who da winner is. I know who da winner - Harold! I know who da winner is!
John: That's it... You shut your Goddamn mouth, you shut your Goddamn mouth you Goddamn retard!
[he climbs over the table and jumps onto Hank, wrestling him to floor]
Harold Vilmes: [pulling John away and pushing him into chair] Come on! Back off, college boy, now listen...
[he pulls John's tie and it rips off - it's a clip-on]
Harold Vilmes: Hanky here can't help it if he was born crazier than a shit house rat!
John: Well, for fuck's sake, why didn't you leave him with a sitter?
[Hank starts to cry]
Harold Vilmes: Nice, John. That's real nice... You know the babysitter's dead!
Voice of Documentarian: So you've, uh, you've judged a lot of pageants over the years?
John: No, no, no way, no. Never judged a pageant before in my life. Mm-mm. No way. Never been around young girls. I mean, even if I was, I mean, why would I wanna be, y'know? I-I don't get off on that kinda thing and that's really why you're askin', right?
John: Someone say somethin'?
Gladys Leeman: He sells reproductions! His furniture's as fake as my orgasms!
Amber Atkins: Hi. I'm Amber Atkins, and I'm signing up cause uh my two favorite people in the whole world competed in pageants: my mom and Diane Sawyer... Course, I hope I end up a little more like Diane Sawyer than my mom.
Colleen Douglas: [with forced sobriety] People, people - wait, wait a minute, here. Uh, while we haven't ruled out sabotage from neighboring state pageants - Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota...
Terry Macey: Yeah.
Colleen Douglas: Dakota.
Terry Macey: Ohio...
Colleen Douglas: That bitch from...
Terry Macey: What?
Colleen Douglas: Wisconsin.
Terry Macey: All right, then.
Colleen Douglas: The bitch.
Terry Macey: The important thing is that we have a winner...
Lisa Swenson: Why? Well, ah, it's kind of like askin' why all the guys chew Copenhagen, you know? I mea - If you're 17, and you're not a total fry, it's just what you do.
Gladys Leeman: [nearly runs over a priest] Gosh darn it! Hello, Father Donegan - Sidewalks? Sidewalks?
[Iris mimes drinking - "glug, glug"]
Gladys Leeman: Iris, stop it. It's not his fault, the communal wine just proves too tempting for some of them.
Iris Clark: And that's why we Lutherans use grape Kool-Aid for the blood of Christ.
Annette Atkins: I am reaching the point where I would kill someone for the nicotine under their fingernails.
Tammy Curry: This one's for varsity soccer, I'm captain. I run track and, uh, right here, I'm the new president of the Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club.
Crew Guy: Fuckin' beauty queens blowing chunks everywhere. I-I've never seen anything like it before, and I live in L.A.
Mr. Howard: [angrily, to his daughter who has come in speaking Japanese] English! Speak English, you stupid little retard!
Gladys Leeman: [to Becky on the swan float] Rebecca Ann Leeman, what's going... You are the one that wanted this, now get up there! I don't care if you have to ride this thing side-saddle like a horse, get up there!
Becky Ann Leeman: It smells funny. Like gasoline.
Gladys Leeman: Oh, for Christ's sake! Everything smells like that in Mexico!
Becky Ann Leeman: My dress will reek, Mother.
Gladys Leeman: You listen to me now missy, this thing cost your dad a pretty penny, so you get your ass up there! And show me some teeth!
[Becky puts on a smile]
Gladys Leeman: Lovely, baby.
Annette Atkins: [Annette thinks Amber is pregnant] Honey, honey, come talk to Mommy. I promise, whatever it is, I won't be mad.
Amber Atkins: Okay, I'm quitting the pageant.
Annette Atkins: [grabs Amber by the shirt and begins hitting her with a beer can] What?
[to the documentary crew]
Annette Atkins: Oh, could you excuse us for a moment? Loretta, take the guys outside, please. Now, sit your skinny little ass down!
Lester Leeman: Beautiful as a whore's ass today, huh, boys?
Loretta: [referencing a pageant dress] Your ma did want you to have this, though, since your other one got toasted an all.
Amber Atkins: Oh, my God! It's just like Diane Sawyer's!
Amber Atkins: Oh! Of course it's not a size 10. Diane was little hippy then.
Loretta: Not our girl.
Amber Atkins: Oh, no.
Colleen Douglas: Stop with the friggin' Marco Polo or I'll come over there and rip your fat little heads off!
Harold Vilmes: [to Hank] Here's your paint can. And the next time you drink window cleaner, I'm just gonna leave it in you!
Female Reporter #2: Amber, how do you feel?
Amber Atkins: Well, I feel like I need to take a shower.
Female Reporter #2: Honey, is this the best day of your life?
Amber Atkins: Yeah... I wish my mom was here, though.
Loretta: You can wave hi, say hi to her!
Amber Atkins: Hi mom!
[they both wave to the camera]
Annette Atkins: [sitting in her hospital room] Hi, monkey!
Loretta: I got some!
[all the contestants are vomiting]
Loretta: [to her lover] Did they hear us?
Brett Clemmens: [Becky has noticed Brett gawping at Amber, who's working in the cafeteria, so she's dropped her lunch tray in the basin, splattering Amber] Oh man... you got some lutefisk in your hair.
Amber Atkins: [cheerfully] Then it must be Wednesday.
[cutaway to Mount Rose American Teen Princess 1945, doing her librarian job]
Iona Hildebrandt: Lutefisk is codfish that's been salted and soaked in lye for a week or so. It's best with lots of butter.
Amber Atkins: [being startled by the documentary crew] Oh, my God! Jesus Christ on a cross! Look, number one rule in a funeral home: never sneak up on the living. You never know who might have an enbalming needle or a skull saw in their hand. Mr. Larson's son learned the hard way. He's buried next to my grandpa.
Voice of Documentarian: So, just tell us your name, and why you're signing up for the pageant.
Leslie Miller: Ok... Hi... I'm Leslie Miller... and I'm signing up 'cause... oh... I always watch the pageants on TV and my boyfriend thinks I'll win
[cuts to Leslie and her boyfriend making out]
Leslie Miller: Hi Pat. GO MUSKIES WOO!
Leslie Miller: [performing her cheer at the pageant] Roll him over! Lay him flat! Pin his shoulders to the mat! Goooo Muskies! Yeah!