When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground.
– Cersei Lannister
NOTE: As always, everything you read here is a bit NSFW. Then again, stop working there.
NOTE NOTE: Lots of TV/Game of Thrones talk, but no really BIG spoilers. Also, your own fault for not watching, fucks I give not.
The 500 Section is all about the Zeitgeist. And the Miss 500 Tournament is all about the the Zeitgeist on steroids. And there is nothing more white hot in the Zeitgeist than Game of Thrones…or so we thought. Over the past 48 hours, voters (of all sex and sizes!) embarked on a journey to discover who actually is America’s/The World’s sweetheart. Or maybe who had the best Google Image page 1 results. Either way, year to year the field of contestants for Miss 500 is an ever evolving cornucopia of individuals, usually reflecting the current cultural swath of brains and beauty.
Speaking of evolution, sports nowadays has also undergone a rapid transformation on how it is watched, enjoyed, analyzed and ultimately consumed. In 10 years, you will not be able to have a decent football, baseball, or basketball conversation without understanding the true numerical beauty of advanced metrics. Players are no longer throwing touchdowns in a vacuum; everything an athlete does is quantified and juxtaposed against all of their counterparts, in real time. Nate Silver is your 21st century Grantland Rice. Maybe this is a result of a smarter, more college educated population, or the overwhelming amount of data and numbers involved in most career fields, or the internet and digital age being measured in Zeros and Ones as well as YouTube hits. Either way, numbers is to sports as cheering is to sports. We’re past just rooting for what we see, we’re rooting for what we know.
As numbers permeate one field, they obviously matter in the pop culture realm too. The highest rated TV show right now is AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead. The Season 4 Finale in February 2014 garnered a 15.7 rating (to put that in comparison, the NCAA Football BCS championship game garnered 15.3…although most of the people on the field that night are gonna be football zombies come a year or two). While not as much of a juggernaut, the less accessible (due to HBOs pay to play style) Game of Thrones garnered a series high 8.6 rating in early May 2014. Even with a limited viewing pool, that almost caught the current network TV king Big Bang Theory (10.0 rating), a phenomenal achievement given the difference in access.
What does this have to do with voting for 64 women in the most subjective fashion ever? Well four of the Game of Thrones finest contestants not only for 500 glory but the right to sit on a very cold, metal piece of furniture were Ned Starked last night. You can’t escape a late night TV joke or water cooler conversation or even Jayson Werth’s walk up without a Game of Thrones reference. And still…dragons, littlefingers, or bows and arrows couldn’t save Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell; 8th seed), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark, 15th seed), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen; 10th seed) or Rose Leslie (Ygritte, 13th seed). Despite their willingness to put up with the Joffres and Jon Snow’s of the world, we weren’t able to put up with them for even one round. I blame the dragon queen’s lack of de-frocked scenes for this outcome. And I thought this was the year of the red heads!
So, if the ladies of Games of Thrones couldn’t even win at their own game, what does that mean for the little gals in the room?
Enter: April Ludgate aka Aubrey Plaza. The 15th seed of the Vivid Region, Aubrey Plaza has more deadpan than King Joffre has more…(Spoiler Alert!) dead. The Washington Nationals (read: racially ambiguous) of our contestants, Aubrey Plaza stars in the continuously under threat of cancellation life support NBC comedy Parks and Recreation, who’s ratings have sometimes been sub Houston Astros. While Leslie Knope (played by wunderwoman and if it existed 2009 Miss 500 winner Amy Poehler) and Ron Swanson steal the show, Aubrey Plaza has probably gained the most loyal of fans from a show that’s only on the air because of its loyal fanbase. While much of Parks and Recs comedy has become internalized, there’s no doubt that Aubrey Plaza plays her intern turned civil servant, quirky, outside the norm, “did I mention deadpan” role to a key.
Still, AP was not like the NFL’s AP and was merely a 15th seed. And a losing one at that during the first 40 hours of voting. And losing to Lauren Cohan, a key player on that show we just mentioned that collects more ratings than Donald Sterling does lifetime bans, The Walking Dead. There’s no way the Zeitgeist gods were going to let TV’s Goliath and Goliath go down to a show that only survived because NBC is the Walking Dead of network television. But much like sports, the 500 loves an upset. And what an upset. It took an overtime midcourt heave, but Aubrey Plaza bested Lauren Cohan 10 to 9 to move on to the best of 32. So congrats Aubrey/April, you have somehow bagged Chris Pratt AND the 500 voters. You are (for today at least) the Queen of the Iron Throne.
Other First Round Highlights
Catalina Goes Down on/for Austin
Sometimes rooms filled with smoke need to crack a window. Despite the Committee Chair for Chicano Culture, Labor and Construction Material Acquisition last second efforts to save its late to the dance contestant, Columbian model Catalina Otalvaro, with even more smoke filled dealings (remember, that Baja kush is dank but dangerous), it wasn’t enough. At least we’ll always have the memory of the Little Paisa that Couldn’t.
If you’re at the Sports Business Convention (whatever it’s called) the king of the prom is, well, the Senior QB. Naturally. In 2013, estimates are that the NFL generated about $9 billion in revenue. What a boondoggle! Then again, there was another industry that comprises of a bunch of men being filmed to take hold of their counterparts and impart as much physical interaction with them as possible, often inducing a lot of bodily fluids. Both things go deep and both things involved too many ball shots at the wrong time. Yes, I’m talking about the adult entertainment industry! And you know how much their 2012 revenue estimate was? $9 billion like the NFL? Nope. Maybe an extra billion for old time’s sake? Still not close. In fact, if you combine the revenue of the NFL AND the NBA, then you’ll get to matching the $14 billion that adult entertainment rakes in. FOURTEEN BILLION!
Here are some other fun facts about the adult entertainment industry:
– There are nearly 25 million porn sites in the world, approximately 12% of the internet.
– The Walking Dead of adult sites: PornHub
– 82% of adult site viewers are male (in other news, 82% of web browsers are set to auto-delete history and cookies)
– The average time spent on an adult website is 15 minutes; 14:30 of which are spent searching
– 1/3 of 13 year old boys in Alberta, Canada admitted to having watched porn; related stat: its cold in Alberta, Canada
– 1/6 women admit to having an addiction to porn (ha!)
– 7/6 men admit to having an addiction to porn (oh.)
– Every 39 minutes a new piece of adult video is being created (with the San Fernando Valley aka this writer’s home turf being the “Silicon” Valley of adult entertainment)
Then again, 500 voters are apparently above the fray. All three of our adult entertainment contestants have gone down to defeat. Not exactly the money (3 point) shot finish we were hoping for.
These were always the dumbest part of the High School Yearbook. All of the superlatives that mattered when we were 18 (Best Dressed! Best Eyes! Best Dance Moves!) are all pretty useless now that we (or most of us) pay taxes. Now it should be, Best Able to Actually Afford a Downpayment on a House! or Best Weathered the Freshman 15 AND Junior Booze 20!
Still, when deployed like a drone over Pakistan, superlatives can still be a lot of fun. And we’ve decided to throw a few at our contestants this year. Determination for each of these will be based on who get’s the furthest in each category. For example, the Conor Marshall Award will go to the contestant that qualifies under the Conor Marshall rule (RIP) and gets the furthest in the bracket. Got it? Got it. Your awards!
*South American Belt
*Connor Marshall Award
*Best at the Beach (best model/who you most want to see in a swimsuit)
*Best at the Ball (most classy/who you most likely see on an E runway)
*Most Talented (who’s professional career trumps all)
*Most “Talented” (who you would want to “trump” over all)
*Best Eyes (best eyes)
*Dirty and Over Thirty (looking at you Olivia Munn!)
*Best Wife (Who are you bringing home to mother)
*Best One Night Stand (Who are you making a mother)
Award winners will be announced prior to the Championship Results
As always, your round round-up
– Our Double D Digit Winners:
(1) Alison Brie vs. (16) Paulina Gretzky: 16-1
(3) Arianny Celeste vs. (14) Lily Carter: 13-3
(5) Kate Upton – 14 vs. (12) Madelyn Marie – 2
(6) Nina Dobrev – 14 vs. (11) Anara Atanes – 4
(1) Jennifer Lawrence 17 – (16) Lauren London – 2
(2) Poly Parsons 14 – (15) Sophie Turner – 3
(4) Adriana Lima – 15 vs. (13) Chrissy Teigen – 2
Just the (Buzzer Beater) Tip!
(15) Aubrey Plaza vs. (2) Lauren Cohan: 10-9 OT
(6) Leeanna Vamp vs. (11) Irene Nell: 10-9 OT
(9) Katrina Bowden vs. (8) Natalie Dormer: 9-8
(5) Natasha Barnard vs. (12) Lorenza Zorer: 10-9
(2) Kate vs. (15) Emma Watson: 10-9
To quote last year’s exit: “Now that Emma Watson is free from the pressure of the tournament, who knows what the future holds! (please be a sex tape, please be a sex tape, PLEASE BE A SEX TAPE!)”
…still waiting Emma.
Bottom or Top? Your Upset Specials!
Your Round of 64 upsets:
(9) Katrina Bowden
(9) Ashley Benson
(10) Gal Gadot (May the spirit of Kate Bock haunt you all!!!!!)
(11) Lena Gercke
(13) Anna Kendrick (I smell Emma Watson 2.0…)
(15) Aubrey Plaza
Mandatory “Fail Video” Break
Chick Fil A Challenge (Sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign)
Uh oh, Hart’s not gonna like this (EDITORS NOTE: I miscounted, surprising since you know my people are all about owning laundromats. Hart has THREE not two contestants. He’s still not gonna like this):
Dooley – 4
Schroll – 3
Bailey – 3
Half Asian – 3
Charles – 3
Mike – 3
Kyle – 3
Hart – 3
Guck – 2
Evan – 2
Scott – 1
Ryan – 1
Conor – 1
– Not a good day to be a Brit.
American – 21 (down 14)
Canadian – 2 (down 4)
British – 1 (down 8)
South African – 1 (down 1)
Israeli – 1 (down 1)
Brazilian – 1 (down 1)
Australia – 1
German – 1
Danish – 1
Czech – 1
New Zealand – 1
Columbian, Slovenia, Portuguese, Afghan
Conor Marshall Rule Contestants (In Memorium)
RIP Video Hip Hop Vixens. We really (REALLY) never knew you:
5 – Olivia Munn, Genesis Rodriguez, Arianny Celeste, Adriana Lima, and Aubrey Plaza
Model – 9
Singer – 0
Actress – 21
Girlfriend/zero actual life accomplishment – 0 (Good Bye Lindsey Duke aka Blake Bortles GF!)
Surfer – 1
Skier – 0
Human Rights Lawyers – 0
TV Personalities – 1
Emma Watson’s – 0
Adult Performer – 0 (GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR)
Republican Congresswomen – 0
Wayne Gretzky Daugthers – 0
Blonde – 12
Brunette – 15 (we lost half the brunettes. god save us all)
Redhead – 2 (Blame Game of Thrones for this one)
Dark – 3
Really Sh%$ty Faux Blonde Job – 0 (Good Bye Lindsey Duke aka Blake Bortles GF!)
Awaiting test result submissions from all contestants
Voting for Round 2 will begin promptly at 10am Eastern on Thursday, 7 May!