Lost by a Nose
Liz Horton wants to expose the Young Miss Odyssey beauty pageant as a sham. One problem: She must enter the contest to bring it down.
Where are personality, talent, academics and beauty found all in the same room? The Young Miss Odyssey contest, of course! When Liz Horton discovers it's once again time for the infamous Young Miss Odyssey contest, she attempts to write an undercover story for the Odyssey Owl proving to the world that winning the competition has more to do with beauty than with personality, talent or academics.
To do this, however, she must enter the contest herself. While at the preliminary interviews, she takes in many different levels of beauty—the prettiest girls in school all the way down to girls whom Liz labels as having a lot of guts to even enter the contest are at hand. According to Liz and Mandy Straussberg, one of those girls, Gwen Kablonski, is kind of "unstunning."
Liz is very opposed to and negative toward the contest until Mandy shows her the list of finalists...and Liz is on it! With this news, Liz finds herself completely enamoured with the contest—especially as she starts to get attention from the popular kids. She becomes preoccupied with her hair and her new dress, losing sight of why she entered the contest in the first place. When stopping by Mandy's house one day, she discovers the unthinkable—a monster zit has affixed itself in the middle of her nose!
Liz makes up her mind—she can't go on stage with a big-screen projector magnifying that zit for the whole town to see! She quits the contest, but as she does, she overhears Brenda Frazier throwing a tantrum in the bathroom over a nail polish stain ruining her dress. She remarks to Mandy about how ridiculous Brenda is being, but Mandy thinks Brenda's behavior is a bit too familiar—there's not much difference between a huge zit and a nail polish stain. Mandy reprimands Liz for her behavior and tells her that she's no longer taking a stand against America's obsession with beautiful people—she's endorsing it herself.
However, Liz finds out that Gwen, the “unstunning” girl, has also made it into the finals! How can that be? But after hearing Gwen’s poem in the final competition, Liz is reminded that looks don't matter—hers, Gwen's, or Brenda's. She discusses with Gwen the exposé she was planning to do in the Odyssey Owl of the Young Miss Odyssey Contest, and tells her that instead, she plans to publish Gwen's poem—throughout the whole competition, Gwen was one of the only people who truly had fun with what she was doing, which Liz finally understands is what true beauty is all about. As she tells Brenda later while comforting her over having placed second, no one will remember who won a middle school beauty pageant, but they will remember who was a true friend.
- Why do you think Liz got so obsessed with the contest?
- Why was Mandy so upset?
- Have you ever been embarrassed about what people may think of you?
- Do you think Brenda and Liz turned out to have more in common then they realized?
|Brenda Frazier||Tierra Abbott|
|Gwen Kablonski||Vanessa Marano|
|Liz Horton||Lauren Schaffel|
|Mandy Straussberg||Aria Curzon|
|Nick Mulligan||Chris Castile|
- This was Nick's last appearance onscreen (so to speak) to date.
- Liz refers to the pimple on her nose as the "Temple of Doom", a reference to the titular location in an Indiana Jones film.
- Main article: List of Indiana Jones references
QuotesGwen Kablonski: I see my face reflecting in the window as the rain falls. How many times have I seen that face staring in the glass? How many times have I wished that face was not my own? The rain fades softly away. A shaft of sun pierces the brooding clouds like a sword. And a thought pierces me as well. There is one who knows me deeper than the others. He knows how I cry inside while I put on a smile for the others. He knows how I remember mocking words and deeds. He knows how I dream of countries and castles far away. He calls me by name and smiles at me. He reaches out his hand for mine. He knows me. Because he made me. And now shows me life beyond the window.
Mandy Straussberg: Liz, it's in times like these that you need two things—courage and heavy make-up!
Liz Horton: Okay, how's this for my opening line? "March 1st, 10:32 AM. A teeming mass of humanity waits in anguish for a glimmer of hope—a hope that will soon be dashed to smithereens upon the rocks of deception!"
Mandy Straussberg: Sounds like the sinking of the Titanic.
Liz Horton: She's freaking out about a stain on her dress. Can you believe that?
Mandy Straussberg: Actually, it sounds kind of familiar.
Liz Horton: What's that supposed to mean?
Mandy Straussberg: A zit, a stain on your dress, I don't see much difference. But at least she really wanted to win from the beginning. You...you've changed.
Liz Horton: What d'you mean?
Mandy Straussberg: What happened to taking a stand against the country's obsession with beautiful people? It just...it doesn't seem like you're taking a stand against anything. It seems like you're joining the team.