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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Matchbox Models

I'll admit, I watched Survivor. I even watched Survivor: All Stars until Richard Hatch was voted off. At various times, I watched "The Apprentice" and even "America's Next Top Model." That was bad enough. But starting this season, Fox has officially overstepped the line by unveiling their new reality show: The Swan.

The premise is very simple: They are going to take "ordinary" women, give them copious amounts of plastic surgery, and then have them participate in a beauty pageant.

I can only begin to figure out how this pitch went:
Bob, Fox Shill: Okay, so people like models, and they like shows like "trading spaces" - so, I start thinking, why don't we combine the two? Two neighbors switch wives for a weekend, and get to surgically alter them in whatever way they want!
Mike, Fox Exec: I don't know... I like the idea of taking a person, objectifying them utterly, and having a lot of cutting. Can we do that without the trading wives? I mean, dehumanization is dehumanization, but we don't want to undermine family values. You know I love family values, Bob. I love them.
Bob: Okay... how about this. We get a van and a cooler full of sandwiches. We take said van out to the poor neighborhoods, lure vagrents into the back of the van, and then... do plastic surgery on them! Think of the spinoffs.... substitute candy for the sandwiches, and we can do children. People like children, Mike.
Mike:Alright, but we have to have some sort of showdown at the end of this, to build drama. We need to give away a job or a car or something. And we need to do a lot of surgery. If we screw one of them up, we don't want to have no show.
Bob: How about we get a bunch of "ugly" women, then rebuild them, and race them?


The whole thing is just amazing. What, there weren't enough skinny women on South Padre who want their fifteen minutes? You have to start making your own? Beyond this, does nobody find it a little problematic that the line Fox is taking is literally one of the tacit rejection of most people on the grounds that they are not literally supermodels? I mean, we talk about the impossible standards set up in society by Cosmo and all that, but is there a more visceral way of doing that then calling show show "The Swan"? They do realize that the direct implication is that by far the vast majority of America is 'ugly ducklings', right?

It's become painfully clear that the American public just likes the abuse. I can't think of any other way to put it. They alternate between accepting insults from the network and watching shows where people act stupid, in order to feel intellectually superior for viewing it religiously.

Of course, nothing beats The American Candidate... but still.

cranked out at 10:19 AM | |

 
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