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I'm sitting here randomly watching Buffy on FX this morning, and… - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
I'm sitting here randomly watching Buffy on FX this morning, and they advertised a new contest show, The Swan. I've seen the ads before, and they never fail to annoy me. For those who aren't watching this station, the basic gist is that a bunch of "ugly ducklings" are given months of plastic surgery so that they would be beautiful enough to compete in a beauty contest.

Two things.

First, is this, like, the most offensive and misogynist idea in ages, or is it just me? People picking out women who pretty obviously have a low self-image, telling them they're ugly and need to be re-made, re-making them, then putting them through another competition to see if their plastic surgeons fixed all their faults right. Just really annoying. Makes me want to smack someone.

Second, advertising this during Buffy? Your basic girl-power show? This is the second time they've run ads for blatantly misogynist TV during this show (they also did Nip/Tuck ads for ages). Now, maybe it's me, but that seems like a really bizarre choice. Who do they think they're catching? I mean, just on a logical level. Are Buffy fans really likely to be the best target audience for these things? I mean, really?

ETA: For the show's version of itself, here is The Fox Network Webpage for it.

Further ETA, now that I'm looking: Here's the Casting call. Apparently, the women were chosen for the "compelling nature of their stories." Am I wrong to translate that as, "we're collecting sob stories and milking their uncertainty about their looks"?

I feel a bit...: annoyed annoyed
Soundtrack: Season 3 Buffy

23 comments or Leave a comment
jiminyc From: jiminyc Date: April 5th, 2004 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Holy crap. I hadn't heard of this show before...but my skin is crawling just from the idea of it. It's really scary to think of what kind of adults the 'raised on reality TV' generation are going to be.
ashtur From: ashtur Date: April 5th, 2004 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Um... the same as adults who were raised on Charley's Angels, Dallas and the Dukes of Hazzard?
the only difference is the "reality" tag.

Of course, I'm a cynic, so what do I know :)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2004 07:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I don't know that it's doing more damage than non-reality shows. It just annoys me. I thought we'd made some progress!
ashtur From: ashtur Date: April 5th, 2004 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Point taken. I agree with your annoyance totally actually. There is no doubt that Reality shows are bottom feeders and LCD panderers.
akilika From: akilika Date: April 6th, 2004 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
. . . probably just a sign of weirdness, but I misread "LCD panderers" as "LCD peddlers", and got a mental image of shady men in trenchcoats selling calculators on street corners . . . won't somebody think of the children?

Still a valid point you made, even if I misread it. <_<
From: sarapallas Date: April 6th, 2004 02:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I suppose the difference is that at least with fictional TV shows and characters, you could say "Oh, that's TV". But reality TV is all, real.

Hee, I'm so incoherant this morning. Don't mind me.
alphabet26 From: alphabet26 Date: April 5th, 2004 07:16 am (UTC) (Link)
I enjoy how one of the taglines is that they're "doing the impossible." Yes, these women are so ugly that making them look pretty is impossible!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2004 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Eek, I know. Skin crawling, indeed.
From: falco_999 Date: April 5th, 2004 07:25 am (UTC) (Link)
As if teenage girls and young women weren't already put under too much pressure to look pretty by pop culture - this show just takes the biscuit. *fumes*
lessthanpie From: lessthanpie Date: April 5th, 2004 07:29 am (UTC) (Link)
I've seen the ads for that show, too. They made me want to throw my television out the window. I hate reality tv, anyway, but this is just really... icky.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2004 07:54 am (UTC) (Link)
I have to admit, I have problems with major plastic surgery in general--I mean, a little smoothing out of lines is one thing, but total reconstructive surgery is no joke. That's risking your life in order to be transformed into something you aren't.

I also admit to a general dislike of reality t.v., so the combination of the two was bound to tick me off.

But just... "icky" is a good word.
From: 88l71 Date: April 5th, 2004 07:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. I saw that last night (granted, I was watching the Simpsons, not Buffy) and went "Oh, God..." More proof of how, unfortunately, our society is all about image and style rather than substance.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2004 07:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't even mind image and style, to tell the truth... but surgically altering people to fit a particular image and style? Why not have a contest over who can create the best image and style or something?

leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: April 5th, 2004 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)
That is...man, I HATE reality TV with a passion! The whole lot of it is an insult to our intelligence, but that is creepy.
liwy From: liwy Date: April 5th, 2004 10:08 am (UTC) (Link)


That's just sick.

May I have permission to link to this on one of my communities?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: April 5th, 2004 10:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, sure. No problem. I wouldn't mind seeing a lot of people get annoyed with this show.
ashtur From: ashtur Date: April 5th, 2004 11:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Kind of odd all of this came up today. Sitting home on my day off, watching the new baseball season (Go Royals!) and one of the most annoying TV commercials ever comes on. I've seen it before, and I still find it *blegh* Anyway, it's a local commercial, so unless you live in Oklahoma, you won't see it (lucky!).

It shows a woman, and starts listing all the things wrong with her life (daughter getting a tatoo, IRS audit, termites in the basement)... but she's happy and everything is fine! Why? Because she got some laser treatment to smooth the wrinkles off of her face! Woo! Now, hopefully the writer of the ad had at least part of his tongue in his cheek, but still! Eaugh!
ivylore From: ivylore Date: April 5th, 2004 01:12 pm (UTC) (Link)

It's pretty damned craptacular...

Several of those women are what I would call beauties in their own right to begin with. I don't get it!!!! I don't know what's supposed to be wrong with them?

The premise of this show makes me feel squeamish. I'm not a fan of plastic surgery either snf I can spot collagen injected lips a mile away and they NEVER look real.

Blech, blech, blech!!!!
c4bl3fl4m3 From: c4bl3fl4m3 Date: April 5th, 2004 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
yeah, it made me sick, too.

I've got a thing for chubblies on a woman, and that shot where they show that woman's beautiful chubblies that they're about to get rid of almost made me cry.
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: April 5th, 2004 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll watch some of these reality shows at least once for their kitsch value, but this particular one has me convinced you can pitch anything to the networks as an idea for a reality show and someone will bite. I saw the "ugly ducklings" (nice term) and they look like regular women to me. There's nothing really wrong with them. To fix them up and then pit them into competition--a beauty contest no less--is cruel.
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: April 5th, 2004 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
that was just bleh! how muc hwrong cna oen tack in one show?
From: sarapallas Date: April 6th, 2004 02:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Praying that this kind of crap doesn't work its way to screens in the UK. It undoubtedly will, though. Sigh.
shosironfist From: shosironfist Date: April 7th, 2004 10:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
A friend gave me a link to this entry, and what can I say..

HOW LOW CAN THIS ALL GET?? Now, I do know that I should not be ethnocentric about most features of the American "culture", but this is way over the line. WOMEN ARE NOT OBJECTS. Really, there's absolutely no right to criticize about the gender mistreatment in other cultures WHEN THIS SHIT'S GOING ON.

And really, the network's not only to blame here. They've created this crap because they anticipated that there will be a large body of audiences. The people themselves are also responsible for these degrading shows.

I guess my point is that most people are too stupid to even realise that these things are morally wrong. Hell, they even consider it entertaining! I can't stand it. Burn it.
23 comments or Leave a comment