22 April 2005

Extreme Makeover (UM)

There's an interesting trend in television these days: shows about makeovers. You know what I mean: shows where shabby houses, cars, and people are re-done so as to make them more attractive. And they have trendy "urban cool" names, like Pimp My Ride, Pimp My House, and Pimp My Wife.

Invariably, the "before" picture is a mess. Particularly the people. Some are just plain; others are just plain ugly. But after copious amounts of surgery, exercise and couture, they emerge to their shocked and amazed families as now being.... presentable, I guess.

I've watched a few of these shows, involuntarily (by being in the same or adjoining room), and in none of these cases would I consider the "after" version of these people to be desirable except perhaps to someone serving life in prison and even then, only if the made-over person was waving a pardon.

What message is being conveyed here? Assuming, of course, that there is a message at all (and there is some type of message in virtually anything that becomes popular in our culture). Well, message number one is that appearances are everything. So if the '60s weren't already really over, they are now no longer just dead: their corpse has been exhumed, incinerated, and its ashes flushed down the toilet.

If you're plain and unattractive, that equals unhappiness. The "before" men and women aren't just plain. They're miserable. But let's not bother exploring the reasons for their unhappiness. The cure, obviously, is to become more attractive. Let's forget about the fact that many very attractive people commit suicide all the time. That would distract from the show's message.

Your unhappiness, says the subliminal message, is like a worn-out sofa or a dented fender. The cure is as close as a scalpel. After all, what's the difference between surgery and repairing sheet metal? Of course, surgery carries with it a risk of death, but why be so darned negative? There's a whole room full of fat ugly relatives waiting to gawk and fawn over you at the end of the show.

Let me also point out parenthetically that the subjects of these shows are complete unknowns. Inherent to the program's interest and watchability is the unspoken premise that we, the public, have any reason to give a shit whether these people become beautiful or die on the operating table. But none of the viewers question this premise. So the producers have bet correctly on this issue.

Anyway, after being "pimped," the renovated beauty is presented to her family, whose eyes open wide as if a tsunami were coming right at them, and then there's the hugs, the tears, etc. My God, Cynthia! Your face! Your tits! The hump that's gone from your back! I could actually be seen in public with you now!

But what if the newly-pimped beauty is still unhappy, after the cameras are turned off and everybody goes home? You're not going to cure a lifelong self-image problem in 30 minutes. But really, who cares? In the words of Billy Crystal as Ricardo Montalban, "It is more important to look good than to feel good."

Who in their right mind would agree to be featured on national television as a person so unattractive that they need an Extreme makeover, have every bodily flaw presented to the world in closeup while they stand in their underwear, and then show the whole world the surgical procedures necessary to remodel your pathetic face and body? In the adult film industry, at least, one could do some "fat" or "ugly" niche videos and get paid for it.

Conspicious for their absence are any TV shows that concentrate on one's personality. You know, like transforming somebody from a shallow, greedy moron into a multi-dimensional, caring, sensitive individual. Let PBS try that shit during sweeps, we'll be inhaling KFC to American Gladiators vs. The Real World No-Holds-Barred Cage Match, thankyouverymuch.

So here we are, five years into the new millenium, almost four post-9/11, and the evolution of our collective spiritual development has brought us to this level of enlightenment: it's what's on the outside that counts. And beyond that lies the constant threat of massive destruction by a sinister and fanatical foreign enemy bent on wiping out our way of life.

It's like the 1950s without the tail fins.

-Uncle Meat


Blogger Craig said...

a bit broad on the decade generalizations. A pre-occupation and obsession with image (over substance) doesn't strike me as something new at all nor is it something that the 60s was free of.
There always seems to be a concern with image in the mainstream and a counter culture that despises this as well as counter cultures that are concerned with image as long as its not that of the mainstream. I guess the difference is now we have the technology, we CAN rebuild you!
Yeh, too bad for the poor bastards that feel like they need this. And yeh, they'll probably still be as empty inside as ever. And how does one initiate a spiritual/mental makeover in popular culture when the road to REALLY doing something like that is pretty much the anti-thesis of ratings?
But the healthiest alternative I can think of for all of us? Turn off your TV.

4/23/2005 10:56 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

nike free, burberry outlet, ray ban sunglasses, ugg boots, oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, polo outlet, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet online, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, oakley sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin outlet, prada outlet, tiffany and co, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, uggs outlet, christian louboutin uk, louis vuitton, replica watches, kate spade outlet, longchamp outlet, jordan shoes, prada handbags, chanel handbags, tory burch outlet, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, uggs outlet, replica watches, michael kors outlet, michael kors outlet online, nike outlet, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin shoes, gucci handbags, nike air max, burberry handbags, louis vuitton outlet, tiffany jewelry, ugg boots, nike air max, uggs on sale

1/12/2016 9:28 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

hogan outlet, nike tn, nike air max uk, longchamp pas cher, nike air max uk, sac vanessa bruno, lululemon canada, true religion jeans, louboutin pas cher, hollister uk, coach outlet store online, air max, timberland pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, ray ban uk, mulberry uk, ralph lauren uk, kate spade, oakley pas cher, guess pas cher, vans pas cher, coach outlet, true religion outlet, sac hermes, coach purses, burberry pas cher, new balance, michael kors outlet, nike roshe run uk, hollister pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, north face uk, nike roshe, true religion outlet, north face, nike air max, michael kors, true religion outlet, polo lacoste, nike air force, converse pas cher, nike free run, replica handbags, nike free uk, jordan pas cher, michael kors, ray ban pas cher, polo ralph lauren, sac longchamp pas cher, michael kors pas cher

1/12/2016 9:32 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

ghd hair, insanity workout, mac cosmetics, p90x workout, asics running shoes, longchamp uk, nike trainers uk, iphone cases, abercrombie and fitch, iphone 6s plus cases, lululemon, nike air max, oakley, soccer shoes, iphone 6s cases, babyliss, herve leger, giuseppe zanotti outlet, iphone 5s cases, soccer jerseys, ipad cases, vans outlet, celine handbags, wedding dresses, mont blanc pens, ferragamo shoes, nike huaraches, ralph lauren, hermes belt, bottega veneta, beats by dre, chi flat iron, instyler, iphone 6 plus cases, jimmy choo outlet, mcm handbags, timberland boots, valentino shoes, new balance shoes, baseball bats, nfl jerseys, iphone 6 cases, reebok outlet, hollister, north face outlet, s6 case, hollister clothing, north face outlet, louboutin, nike roshe run

1/12/2016 9:34 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

lancel, swarovski, juicy couture outlet, swarovski crystal, supra shoes, links of london, moncler, pandora charms, ray ban, barbour uk, juicy couture outlet, ugg uk, moncler, moncler, replica watches, pandora jewelry, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, pandora jewelry, hollister, canada goose, louis vuitton, converse, canada goose, doke gabbana, converse outlet, ugg, louis vuitton, moncler, barbour, gucci, nike air max, hollister, ugg pas cher, karen millen uk, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, doudoune moncler, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, canada goose uk, moncler uk, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, moncler outlet, vans, moncler outlet, coach outlet, canada goose, wedding dresses, pandora uk, canada goose jackets, thomas sabo

1/12/2016 9:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home