Wednesday, April 14, 2004


I'm a product of my own twisted, mangled, smoking-gun, train-wrecked environment. I tried not to watch. I really did. But it was just like filing slowly past a fatal car accident bad enough to stop 5 o'clock rush hour traffic in Atlanta. I tried as hard as I could not to look. But at the last moment, the very last moment, I turned to stare at the bloodstained sheet on the side of the highway. In less kind and gentle words, I watched "The Swan" on Fox.

What more can I say? If you don't know the premise of this reality show, I'll lift it from the site for you, so you can smolder in endless eternity with me:

THE SWAN offers women the incredible opportunity to undergo physical, mental and emotional transformations with the help of a team of experts. Contestants must go through an intensive “boot camp” of exercise, diet, therapy and inspiration to achieve their goals. Each week feathers will fly as the inevitable pecking order emerges. Those not up to the challenge are sent home. Those who are will go on to compete in a pageant for a chance to become “The Ultimate Swan.”

Aww, that sounds so nice, doesn't it? I think I hear Tinkerbell...

Each contestant has been assigned a panel of specialists -- a coach, therapist, trainer, cosmetic surgeons and a dentist -- who together have designed the perfect individually tailored program for her. The contestants’ work ethic, growth and achievement will be monitored. The final reveal at the end of each episode will be especially dramatic because it will be the first time that contestants will be permitted to see themselves in a mirror during the three-month transformation process. Two women will be featured every week and at the episode’s conclusion, one will go home and one will be selected to move on to the 1st Annual Swan Pageant.

Don't be shy, Fox boys. They downplayed the biggest and best part of the whole transformation: Stripper implants and moose lip injections. Forget therapy, hun. Here's a brand new pair of double D's to turn that frown upside down.

Of course I just had to see how much lower things have sunk since the "The Littlest Groom" so behold, Fox found this show idea stuck to the bottom of his shoe and decided to serve it up steaming hot to you and me. Don't get me wrong: a tiny part of me wanted to see a girl cry so hard that her new nose fell right off. I know who I am, I'll admit that much. I wanted Human Jack'o'lantern. However...

And at the end of the show, the women who've been deprived of a mirror for 3 months end up paraded through a line of their re-creators. As they look upon her new face and body with tears in their eyes, the applause seems to be for the woman, but really, it's for themselves. The curtain is drawn back and the women do the same thing: They clutch their faces and scream "OH MY GOD, I'M SO BEAUUUUUTIFULL!" And then they almost tip over like cows on their high heels, but the tightness of one woman's dress kept her standing til the end.

And now she just looks like The Grinch staring out of a Ho Suit.

Oh well. What do I expect? This is all making Janet Jackson's boob look good. Actually, I have to take that back.

This show is almost as disturbing* as watching a lab rabbit get sprayed in the eye repeatedly with aerosol hairgel. You know, it's for the good of the people. The beautiful people.

I will not be right with this show until they choose to deepen it thoroughly with one of the following options:

(1) The pageant is really not a pageant at all. Instead, the women are loosed into an outdoor arena in which they must fight each other to the death. Thanks to Kenny for this one.

(2) They awake to find they have only one boob implanted, and must live on an island for 3 months in order to win the other boob.

(3) I want a follow-up report show every 6 months, and no one can get a divorce or get a job at a stripjoint by the airport.

(4) I could go on for days here, so anyone out there who'd like to send me an idea, I will post it with credits.

But in times like this, and more times than not, it helps me to ground myself after such a disturbed view like this. To read about simple people with simple lives, and I'm not talking about that show with Paris Hilton and her pitchfork-toting pals either. I mean people who know who they are, people with real conviction, who would never change a thing that would conflict with their personal, moral beliefs. People with less independent thinking going on than mine, in my sad, souless broadcasted environment. But really, why do I care because:


*It's almost as disturbing, but since rabbits are inherently innocent and have more self-esteem than the average housewife apparently, then you know where I'll be on Monday nights: "Birds of America" by Lorrie Moore. Something of substance to read as I work my second job at a stripclub near the airport.

Oh I do, too, have a sense of humor. Still. After all the pain.

If you clicked the last link in the above post, make sure you click the News of the Strange slideshow on that page. Now that's the namebrand of weird I smoke. Such as this next one I like to call "Penny for Your Thoughts, and for Your Colon":

Someone, please save this man from himself. Send him some information on Traditional IRAs.

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