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What The Hell?

I have a shameful secret. I actually watched Extreme Makeover last night. At first, I wasn’t even sure what I was watching; then, I was so angry that I couldn’t turn it off, because I felt sure it was some sort of horrible joke gone terribly awry. If you didn’t catch it, be very glad. It is quite possibly the most hideous thing ever to have entered into the homes of the American people. Seriously. Joe Millionaire had nothing on this show. Apparently, the whole point of the show is to take someone “real” (as in: reality TV) and completely make them over, by whatever artificial (as in: so very not real…silicone, et al) means are available. Cosmetic dentistry? Sure! Plastic surgery? Be sure to bring your list! They’ve got boob jobs, liposuction, nose jobs, face-lifts, lip reshaping, even Lasik. I kid you not; this is a no-holds-barred, truly extreme “makeover”.
I disagree with the premise for a number of reasons. You should be happy being yourself, if you don’t like you the way you are then no one will, yadda yadda yadda. However, while my biggest issue is built on the foundation of self-esteem, it is not directly to what I am referring. It seems to me that the most distressing aspect of the program stems not just from the fact that these poor people literally begged ABC for a free makeover (which, bear in mind, includes tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of free plastic surgery, a new wardrobe, dental work, a personal trainer, a stylist, spa treatments, limousine service, and organic food delivered straight to their all-expenses paid Beverly Hills hotel room—for six straight weeks…wait, I’m starting to warm up to this idea…), but that they are so excited at the prospect of enduring tortuous surgery, pain, and humiliation in front of the entire American viewing public. Nothing is sacred in this show, and if you’ve ever seen someone in the recovery room waking up from surgery, you know how truly awful an experience it is, and not just for the patient. But wait, there’s more! You, the fortunate viewer, then have the privelege of watching the “healing process” begin complete with extreme close-ups of bruising and scarring! But this is just the beginning of the journey. You’re then treated to the “fun” part of the process…you know, the shopping, the hair-do’s, the workouts, the makeup, etc. Finally, the lucky…I guess “contestants” isn’t quite right, so let’s go with “pathetic individuals”…ahem–“particpants” finally get to go home to their families and friends (with whom they have not had contact for 6 weeks) for the big “reveal”. Tears of joy ensue, blah blah blah. This whole sideshow began as a one-shot deal; however, due to amazing viewer response, the powers that be at ABC have turned it into a full-blown three-ring circus, available to you, dear voyeur—uh, I mean viewer— once a week, and all just in time for May Sweeps.
The participants of the show make me sad, ABC pisses me off for encouraging this kind of thing (do you wonder why we lead the world in deaths due to eating disorders?), but most of all, the viewing public (popular demand?!?!?) needs to get a friggin’ life if this is what we’re reduced to as a society. Reality TV has now turned into a contest pandering to the lowest common denominator. Stand up for yourself and turn it to PBS, TLC, Discovery Channel, even Nick at Night. Better yet, turn of the TV and read a book. Yes, I did indeed watch it in its entirety, and no, it wasn’t a sick joke. You got me once, ABC, but you won’t get me again.

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