I am stunned by this makeover madness on the telly. In my nightly crawl of cable, I see people get makeovers for their cars, their houses, their partners, their careers, their pets, their face, their bodies.
On and on and on.
Americans have given up. Thrown their hands up in the air, and yelled to the Gods: We Sucketh. Expect Us Not to Organize, to Learn, to Manage, to Cope. And the Gods have answered with a crop of gay lifestyle experts, hunky carpenters, teams of surgeons, acerbic wits and Visa/MasterCard. Their dreams come true, they get a new wardrobe, a plasma tv, a new attitude, a new fame and we, the viewers, are satiated. Another one of us is rescued by the Gods. We cheer the triumph of a team of specialists with unlimited budgets over our lives’ most intractable problems. We hope we are next. A nation of 250 million awaits their makeover – one by one.
In this weird moment in American cultural history, the viewers of the 90s reality tv fad (Real World, Springer Show etc.) have become the participants of the new decade. No longer are we content with voyeurism of the freaks and geeks but we have to manifest our own identity as their opposites. We all deserve better. We should dress better, make more money, look prettier, have nicer friends, have passionate sex, and millions should KNOW us. Oprah can sell us a contract and allow us to overcome ourselves. The makeover shows give us all the help we need to finally free the “real” me trapped under bad fashion and bad fat.
What I would like to know is, where does it go? Will the audience grow impatient with the rate of makeovers? Will we have mobs of people hunting experts down? Where is the makeover madness taking us? I can tell that for one, it is taking us to EXTREME editions. Sure, but is that all? Aren’t there bigger issues than teen body image problems arising out of Swan? The very ethos of can-do, do-all Americana is at risk, I venture.