Sunday, November 14, 2004

COLUMN: The Swan

Attention, women of the world:

You are all very, very ugly.

It came as a shock to me, too. Often, I've been the admirer of what I thought was your beauty. Sadly, I have to admit that I've been misled all these years; you are all, in fact, revoltingly grotesque.

I was made aware of your mass hideousness recently, all thanks to a television program that strives to correct the error of all of our ways.

Ladies and gentlemen, a toast... to "The Swan." Hip, hip, hooray!

"The Swan," if you're unfamiliar, is the Fox network's latest entry in the craze of reality makeover shows. The premise is simple: Find women who appear fairly normal, and then torture them until they look like transvestites. Then, and only then, will we know what true beauty REALLY is.

Welcome to the lowest low. We've finally found it. "The Swan" might just be the worst show in the history of television. Take a seat, "My Mother the Car," you've just been trumped.

According to the Fox website, "The Swan" turns a "fairy tale into reality." Yep, sounds just like a fairy tale to me. In fact, my favorite part of "Cinderella" has always been when the Fairy Godmother straps Cinderella to the gurney, shatters her nose with a chisel and then reshapes it with a molded implant.

(These special 7 p.m. dinnertime plastic surgery moments yield an important question: Why, why, WHY is the liposuction hose always clear? Fuel hoses aren't clear. Water hoses aren't clear. Vacuum hoses aren't clear. Yet somebody somewhere decided that it's always best to have a see-through hose when it comes to sucking bloody fat globules out of your innards. Society is sick.)

From what I've seen of the show, these poor women go through hell. First off, none of them are particularly heinous looking to begin with. I've yet to recoil with horror upon seeing a "before" picture, even though the producers go to great lengths to make the "befores" look as bad as possible -- no makeup, baggy clothes, dirty hair, etc. In reality, they look like 90% of the people you meet on the street. Yet they're painted by this show to look like the shunned outcasts of society, unable to mingle among the masses because their nose isn’t perfectly symmetrical.

So the women go in for extensive plastic surgery and come out looking like they just went ten rounds with Roy Jones, Jr. Bandaged, bruised, and bloodied, the contestants on "The Swan" then submit to a month-long regimen of rice cakes and running (basically anything to occupy their time while the swelling goes down.)

At the end of each show, it's time for the big reveal. The bandages come off, the makeup goes on, and the women (in front of America, mind you) look into a mirror for the first time to discover that they all... kinda sorta look like Cher.

Am I the only one who thinks that a lot of these women look considerably WORSE in their "afters" than their "befores"? They all look sort of -- how can I say it? -- melty. With their newfound puffed-out lips and rigid noses, the overall effect is sort of like looking at a Barbie that's been left in the sun too long. And while it's true that angular cheeks and a striking jawline are considered classically beautiful, to me it comes off a little, well, man-nish. It's all a bit too "Priscilla: Queen of the Desert" for my tastes.

Then comes my favorite part. Once the reveal is over and done with and after the women stop crying at how hideous -- err, BEAUTIFUL they now are, they're then judged against the other contestant of the week. One of them goes on to complete in the grand finale pageant.

Which means that every week, one of the contestants gets told by the judges that, though she's spent the last month attached to a Thighmaster with her face swollen to the size of Jupiter... too bad, because basically, she's still kinda uggers. Thanks for playing, here's your parting gift, and we sure hope your new nose doesn't fall off. That isn't entertainment, it's just plain mean.

True beauty doesn't come from plastic parts; it comes from your real, live, asymmetric, ugly heart. Be a good person and your real beauty will shine so much you'll need Oxy Pads to sop it up. So let's stop watching these ridiculous makeover shows and turn the channel to something more virtuous, more decent, and more worthy. Ooh, gotta go, "Sopranos" is on.

No comments: