Why do you watch those shows? An answer for my critics.
I'll admit it--I love plastic surgery shows. Not that horrifying fictional one, but the real-life ones they have on the Discovery Health channel and stuff. I am enamored with surgery in general, and I am especially amused/horrified/conflicted about surgery for the sake of vanity. Plus the people crack my shit up. So I was mildly excited to see advertisements for the upcoming Miami Slice. Trailing five Miami plastic surgeons through their professional and personal lives for six episodes? What could be a guiltier pleasure?
Well, it is unmitigated awful. I really, really want to believe it's fiction, because the idea that these are real people is simply too disturbing for words. Not one of the plastic surgeons (all men, by the way) seems to have any identifiably good characteristics (except that one of them has a super-cute dog). Every single woman on the show, including one doc's 76 year-old mom, has fake boobs and an over-tightened face. The show is very big into Miami!. All the stars play in Miami!. If you live in Miami!, you have to have a tight face and big fake breasts (and lipo'd ass and an eye tuck and...). Everyone wears a bikini and listens to Latin music in Miami!. And on and on. It goes beyond enough to make you barf and moves right into enough to make you writhe on the ground in spasms of laughter and pain and humiliation at sharing a species with these people.
So why do I keep watching it? Well, for one thing they show some surgery, although it's not in as much detail as the much better programs on Discovery Health (to be fair, they did have an extensive liposuction scene last night). But it's something beyond that, something...sadistic? I find it oddly comforting that by the standards of these folks, I am not only obese, I am also too old, my nose is too long, my chin is too strong, etc. The fact that they have invented a standard for "beauty" that can be met only through invasive surgical means makes me feel all the more satiated about being middle-of-the-road, kinda-cute, a bit chunky, and 100% real. The more plastic breasts and plastic asses and ab implants and Botoxed faces I see waltz across my screen, the more in love I am with my cellulite, my glasses, my breasts that are going to sag, my unplucked eyebrows and belly roll. I don't know if that's a normal reaction, but it's the reaction I have. And that's why I watch these shows--they make me feel like shit about humanity, sometimes, but they also make me feel beautiful. And because I know their business is the opposite, I feel like I'm pulling one over on them.
None of this is to say that my reasons are unobjectionable. I mean, I've written many a rant against reality TV chastising people for this same thing--using the misfortunes of others to make themselves feel better/smarter/sexier/fill-in-your-needed-attribute-here. And I know that's exactly what I am doing. It's a habit I'd really prefer not to have. But at the same time, I feel like I am seeing something here that other people aren't. Watching a rhinoplasty performed makes me really, really happy with my nose. And that's a good thing, right?
All those plastic people
Got their plastic surgery
But we got a big, big beautiful
And we got it for free