Miss New Amerika: Mariel Hemingway, 1987

In 1987 ABC broadcast the highly controversial miniseries AMERIKA, a bloated piece of late Cold War hysteria that was clearly out of place in the era of Mikhail Gorbachev and glasnost. This 14 ˝ hour (including commercials) right wing rejoinder to THE DAY AFTER (1983) was written and directed by the auteur behind ICE CASTLES (1978), Donald Wrye. The premise of AMERIKA, which is set in 1997, is that the Soviet Union conquered the United States ten years earlier and that the country is now suffering under a brutal Red occupation. Just how did the Russians take over America? Incredibly, that critical piece of information is only alluded to in the miniseries. The novelization tie-in by Brauna E. Pouns, however, explains that the Soviets exploded four “enormous nuclear devices” in the stratosphere creating an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) that brought the U.S. to its knees. Whatever.

The miniseries is a staggering achievement in the annals of boredom, but there is one scene that is so incredibly strange that it single-handedly makes AMERIKA and, indeed, the Cold War itself, entirely worth the effort. Mariel Hemingway plays Kimberly Ballard, an American actress and singer who also happens to be the mistress of a Soviet colonel played by Sam Neill. But Hemingway’s character is conflicted over the occupation and circumvents her lover’s authority by moonlighting as a member of a guerrilla theater troupe that performs subversive sketches. One such sketch is a musical comedy number entitled “Miss New America” that must be seen to be believed. CONELRAD tried repeatedly to obtain a comment from Ms. Hemingway on her show stopping performance, but her assistant, who initially promised a response, eventually stopped returning our e-mails. Ms. Hemingway also failed to respond to several inquiries regarding AMERIKA that we submitted through her website. We'd still love to hear to from her.
Amerika script
In the meantime, if you find yourself craving more Soviet-American musical entertainment after viewing "Miss New America," we have also posted the Lara Flynn Boyle dance tryout scene. Enjoy!

Lyrics to Miss New Amerika

(from a December 3, 1985 draft of the script "Amerika: A Novel for Television" when Hemingway's character, "Kimberly," was called "Christina")

I'm Miss New America --
raised with care and gentility.
Used through my life -- from
grace to senility
Do you think you can have your way with me?
I've always had a sense of right and wrong --
It mainly used to help me get along. But --
I've been raped or so it's said.
Apparently I've lost it to a Red.
Did I give up -- did I fight back?
It's just I did it in the sack.
I'm attracted to the politics of sex --
Never mind the thought -- show me
the pecs--
A virile voice says it's my turn--
It just makes me want to squirm.
Tell me the truth, tell me a lie--
What matters to me is my piece
of the pie--
Don't give me the glory that once was ours,
That's from a time as far as Mars,
What if my wit and skills may slip,
Alll I need now is party membership.
I'm Miss New America --
it's come to this
A new America, but with a twist,
We learned the lesson of capitalist excess,
For now we live in Communist bliss.
Don't cry for me if I've lost my way,
The Russians are fine, let them stay.
Lincoln brigades are the hope of the day.
The future is ours is all that they say,
So let it be there for better or worse,
We gave up ours and left them a curse,
Don't cry for me if I seem just a whore,
Cry for yourselves --

And...cue the Soviet goons to round up the defilers of the Sedition Act of 1988. End scene.





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