First episode recap: Omaha's "Obsessed with the Dress" on WE TV

Michele Strom, right, a former Mrs. Nebraska, shares a laugh with her store manager Beau Olson, left, before they start to measure Maddie Newstrom, 18, of Omaha, a client of Stroms.


“It's like mother of the bride, granny and stripper all in one,” an aspiring pageant queen says of a pale blue gown near the beginning of the first episode of “Obsessed with the Dress,” the new reality show set at an Omaha pageant dress shop.

The show itself is like “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Real Housewives” and perhaps a bit of “Survivor” all in one.

The first episode of the new WE TV series, set at The Winning Crown boutique, premiered at 9 p.m. Friday.

In that episode, viewers meet the characters: the show's star, Mrs. Nebraska 2007 Michele Strom, who founded the boutique out of her home shortly after winning the title; store manager Tiffany, an aspiring fashion designer who says early on that the only thing she has in common with Michele is the air they breathe; the shop's top salesman, Beau; and three former beauty queen salesclerks, Sara, Gretchen and Hannah.

In the premiere, the Winning Crown staff outfits several Miss Nebraska contestants, including one who was notoriously struck by a bull during a rodeo. Tiffany designs a gown for a dog whose squeaky-voiced owner says they're about to begin participating in mother-daughter pageants. Michele chastises the staff for the store's sluggish sales and implements a commission system. She also lets Tiffany know that unless she steps it up — someone, likely her nemesis Beau — will replace her as store manager.

It's clear here that the heroes and villains of “Obsessed with the Dress” aren't the pageant contestants but the pageant store staff. Beau, aloof and a bit catty to his coworkers, can extol the reasons one should spend several hundred dollars on a hot pink pageant dress as convincingly as anyone.

Hannah, the youngest staff member, laughs when Michele chastises her for her heavy use of Facebook during work hours, then cries about the incident as her mother drives her home.

Tiffany, who some viewers might recognize from Omaha Fashion Week, where she's shown several collections, and Gretchen come across as the most sane staffers — at least in episode one. But there are five more episodes this season, so there's plenty of time for things to change.

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