Extreme Makeover

It's not how you feel, it's how you look

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: October 12, 2003

Extreme Makeover

There is a show on TV, entitled ?Extreme Makeover? where every week they take two people who, by urban appearance standards, are ?shot to the curb.? Then they give them an impressive rebuilt face and some bodywork on the side, depending on the size of the sides.

The process of getting on the show is a no doubt embarrassing one. Prospective Cara de Camels have to line up several hundred deep for hours on end. They then are given an opportunity to explain to producers why they are ugly enough to be on the show.

Subjects are chosen based on the scope of the work needed; nose job, eye lift, tummy tuck, implants, ears pined back, teeth sanded down. What do you expect when you go to the dentist with a dollar? Buck teeth, whatever...

Producers want average people who can heal in six to ten weeks and whose cosmetic and surgical makeover will dramatically change their life. Many prospective subjects tell painfully sad tales about being ridiculed, teased mercilously and believe that if they looked differently life would be better.

No doubt the self-image makeover is more important than the external one. That being said, it seems to me that the folks who have suffered the most adversity in life are the ones who exhibit certain strength of character that the people who get by on their looks sorely lack.

This country is getting increasingly superficial when it comes to formulating an opinion about a person's worth. Good-looking people, I?m told, are treated better, and are often times discerned as more employable then the average person. Incredibly, sometimes they are elected Governor for no apparent reason.

The Extreme Makeover program is based on a TV show back in the day called ?Queen for a Day.? Queen for a Day (which has a whole new meaning nowadays), was a show where women would tell their sob stories and the one with the worse story would be given a new washer, stove or whatever they needed to make their world right.

Producers admit that there are a disproportionate number of women who apply for the show rather then men. Men in this society can be as ugly as they want to be and if they have money will no doubt find a lovely bride. Talented ugly dudes go into radio, hoping to improve their amorous chances by getting famous without actually being seen by the general public. They asked the comedic actor Redd Foxx (Fred Sanford) how he met his latest wife, he said, ?I opened up my wallet and there she was.?

How badly do the contestants who don?t make the show get clowned by their friends at school and at work? You were over the ugly limit, your makeover would have cost bazillion dollars, with the extra nose left over they could have built a mini me?

Here is the thing that is most amazing thing about the show. Almost every woman who has had a makeover had a nice house, good job, and according to my wife a good looking husband or boyfriend; they must have been doing something right with that wacky grill of theirs.

Notice how many pretty people there are in clubs and in social situations trying to find love in all the wrong places. This leads me to quote a clearly overweight African American comedienne who said, ?We may be big, but we got husbands.?

If and since this seems to be functionally true, then consistent with this one can only believe that external looks is only a part of the whole relational quotient. Self image comes from strength of character rather than the curl of the coiffure.

To be fair, there have been a couple of guys who have been made over, and they looked much better, instantly too cute for their wives, but all that good body work retrofit reconstruction can be changed in a second at a Raider game, or by having ones? masculinity questioned for going on TV trying to look cuter in the first place.

The show seems to draw on a morbid ugly ducking curiosity. It is great at the end of the show to show the unveiling and to appreciate how much the person has visibly changed. Producers, however, have recently amended the unveiling procedure, because in several cases, the children of the makeovers were very disturbed, often times into tears.

Kids don?t understand the modern credo of ?It?s not how you feel, its how you look.?

Or do they?

They are learning it too young.

About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos is a national columnist and a screenwriter.

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