Friday Fun: Bridalplasty: The New Reality Show That Proves We're Doomed

Dec 03 2010 Published by under friday fun

I generally try and avoid reality TV at all costs, mostly seeing as a sign of the coming apocalypse. But this new one shocks even me and seems to stretch the bounds of sanity. Sometimes I think only a wordsmith like HP Lovecraft could describe the existential horror these shows provoke.

Cracked has a scorching take on it here.

On E!'s Bridalplasty, 12 brides-to-be have to live in a house together, away from their fiancees, competing in challenges for four months. If they do well in their challenges, they'll get a new cosmetic enhancement each week but, if they do poorly, they could get eliminated. The last bride standing gets a free, extravagant Dream Wedding, but that's just the bonus. The real prize is unlimited plastic surgery. These women are competing for the chance to get every nose job, tummy tuck, butt suppression, arm fat reconfiguring, neck deflapping, jowl erosion, thigh silencing, tit awesomization, and any other cosmetic surgery they'd ever wanted, so they can be in perfect shape for their wedding. The groom of the winner will not see the bride in advance; when he lifts the veil, he will be seeing a brand new person. It's Nip/Tuck meets Survivor meets nightmares.

*snip*

There's a divide in the world's population. For every decent human being, there are three soulless, terrible human beings. That is a fact. The kind of women who [i]won't[/i] go on television and fight a bunch of gown-clad she-Wookiees instead of buying a goddamn gym membership is outnumbered in this world by the kind of women who will. There's a nation of awful people living among us, people incapable of experiencing empathy, but people who are acutely aware of how to illicit empathy in others. They use our emotions against us, because they have no morality. Of this nation of people, there's a sub-nation full of the worst of the worst of that group, the bottom-of-the-barrel, where even the barrel itself is toxic. This group isn't satisfied with just not having morals, they want to challenge the idea of morality for the rest of us and test the limits of our collective decency.

And that group of people is in charge of green lighting new reality television shows every year.

2 responses so far

  • Art says:

    I think you can tell a lot about a nation and people by examining their dreams and how they plan to get there.

    In the late 40s the dream was usually about a job with benefits and some chance of advancement, a job that would support a family, provide a decent and ever improving standard of living. From this base there was a fair expectation that if they saved and avoided calamity their kids could move up.

    Two things have changed. The first shift is that dreams have become more extreme. It is no longer a decent job and decades of hard work that leads to small improvements. It is going from moderately poor to filthy rich, with all the expected excesses. A slightly better car and home aren't valued as goals.

    The second thing that changed is the method of getting to their dreams. Dedicated work is out. Winning a lottery is in. That lottery can be an actual lottery, people would be surprised by the number of people whose retirement plan begins 'I win the power ball and then ...', but the lottery can take the form of getting on a reality show or otherwise gaining celebrity.

    Another form of winning a lottery and gaining celebrity is through the 'improvement shows'. A middle class couple might aspire to home improvement but about the only home improvement anyone sees is on a famous remodeling show where a celebrity crew comes in and in a week redoes your house.

    Jump to exceptional in a week. Without decades of hard work. Like a blessing from on high.

    Bridal makeover is like that also. Middling token to trophy bride in picture-book marriage in four months. The selection process, with regular scenes of tragic failure, serves to highlight the glory of the winner.

    What gets lost is that the middle-class job with benefits, slowly rising standard of living, a reasonable expectation that the children will experiencing their own advancement if they work hard was all part of a social contract and all the pieces fit together in a mutually supporting structure.

    The rising standard of living justified working harder and increasing productivity justified slow but steady increases in pay and benefits. The small but nice house would be owned outright in thirty years and the good pay on 40 hours of work left time for maintenance and kept necessary repairs affordable. The savings from a mortgage over renting went toward the slowly improving standard of living and education for the kids.

    But now these shows present pieces of a hyper-idealized dream, completely unsupported by other structures, and awarded without the necessity of hard work and dedication, as being the ideal. The picture-book wedding and fairy tale marriage is a presentation to but one woman, out of millions, and once the show is over there is little hope of the fairy tale marriage working out.

    The society has largely eliminated the previous social contract of hard work, dedication, and loyalty being the path to advancement and a stable and fulfilling life. It has been replaced by a narrow path where you get ahead by winning a lottery. Hard work and dedication may keep you alive but neither you, nor your children, can have any reasonable hope of leaping the crater where the middle class used to be. For that you need to win the lottery.

  • Ketil Tveiten says:

    Art: word.

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