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Wanna Go to Hell? Watch FOX TV's 'The Swan'!

 article about The Swan
When it comes to our favorite books, movies, television shows or pop
songs, we all have our guilty pleasures. There will always be that one
thing that youre afraid to discuss publicly. There is a place on this
Earth that specializes in creating guilty pleasure without any shame.
Shame is reserved solely for the viewers. This place is the FOX
Television Network.

I don't know how they manage to do it time
and time again. From "Melrose Place" to "Joe Millionaire", FOX has
cornered the market on guilty pleasure programming. Their latest
offering to the mix is "The Swan."

Here's a quick
summary : every week, we meet two women who are extremely unhappy with
their appearance. These ladies undergo 3 months of extensive plastic
surgery, physical training, mental therapy and dieting. Once
transformed, they compete against each other in a beauty pageant at the
seasons end.

Putting aside fake sentiments about everyone
being beautiful, beauty being skin deep, and any other clich we reserve
for people who are less than perfect visually, this show is BRILLIANT!

Some
of these gals fall well into the great personality category With regard
to their looks, some are victims of their surroundings and are stuck
with unsupportive husbands or fathers who just dont know how to be nice
to anyone. No matter what the story, all of these women are desperate
to make drastic changes in their lives. These women are willing to
endure anything to achieve their goals.

Surprisingly, FOX
manages to make us care about these women. Their stories are so
heartbreaking, one cant help but want them to get their wish. You want
them to get the work done and be transformed into new people. Once
youre emotionally involved in these desperate lives, FOX drops the
other shoe. They make you feel dirty by reminding you that the ultimate
goal of the program is to create a beauty queen. Throughout the show
they bring it back to the pageant and stress that this is not just
about ones self acceptance, but the ability to make men masturbate to
the results. Ill say it again : BRILLIANT!

I dont remember
being so happy about feeling so awful in my entire life. On one hand, I
am happy to see these people start liking themselves and blossom." On
the other hand, I cant believe I am watching people go through all the
pain and discomfort for a stinking beauty pageant. It is almost like
watching a childrens pageant with disgust and then being elated when
your own daughter wins. To quote the cult show, "Firefly", - Im going
to the special hell for this.

After all has been said and done,
I am truly amazed with the before & after shots of these ladies. I
am most pleased to see them accept themselves and hope more than
anything that FOX will do an update show long after the series has
ended. I want to see how these womens lives have changed, if they kept
up with the maintenance of their new selves and if any of them have
sent their ungrateful bastard husbands packing. I force myself to
forget about the final pageant, but I admit that Im looking forward to
seeing all the new hotties parading around in evening wear.

When
contemplating the writing of this review and commentary about the show,
I looked for justifications for "The Swan" being on the air. We seem to
view folks who get plastic surgery as vanity whores taking the easy way
out." That being said, we SAY that physical beauty isnt that important,
but very few of us actually live by this theory. Most people dont
choose to date and marry unattractive people and we all have our own
preferences when looking for a mate. If we ourselves were not the ugly
kids being picked on by the pretty kids in school, we are guilty of
being harsh to SOMEONE during our formative years. I assumed that I
wouldnt be able to look past the pettiness of "The Swan" and find any
value at all. When faced with my own admission that I am an imperfect
human being affected by beauty just like anyone else, I was sure I'd
find no good in the show. Then it happened. I watched "American Idol."

I saw the ever-shrinking Randy Jackson,
looking good and oozing with confidence. He was a much larger man in
the two previous seasons and is now downright svelte by way of
comparison, much to the delight of the audience. Did he hit the
Stairmaster and ease off of the Ben & Jerrys to get to this point?
No. He underwent gastric bypass surgery to trim down. Thinking about
it, NBC weatherman, Al Roker has been touted for his courageous
move to have the same surgery in order to achieve the slender stature
he enjoys today. More and more people are allowing themselves to be put
under the knife to do what Mother Nature and their own self control
could not do -lose weight and look good. Some of these people are doing
it for vanity, others are doing it to save their own lives. Regardless,
all of these folks are regarded as brave and heroic for taking this
drastic step. How are these folks any different from the contestants on
"The Swan?"

I've decided I cannot live in a world where Carnie Wilson is
a hero and an unhappy housewife in dire need of a tummy-tuck is
considered a head case. Even if this decision is made JUST to keep me
from taking a shower after every viewing, I am confident this is the
right way to go.

On their own, these women could never afford
all the surgery and training to achieve their goals. The contestants on
"The Swan" have many needs to be fulfilled. Not all needs will be fixed
by surgery, cosmetic dentistry, exercise and therapy. However, one
viewing shows that these dramatic transformations are suitable
beginnings for some to find a better life. The team of surgeons and
trainers make no judgements upon the people looking for the procedures
and they never pretend that they are waving magic wands in order to fix
imperfections. It is made clear to all contestants that there are no
guarantees about the surgical outcomes and the results depend upon the
patients ability to work hard, maintain a positive attitude, and stick
with the program. They strive to instill confidence and self esteem
into the contestants and start them off on paths that will result in
positively-altered lifestyles and not just new appearances. In my
opinion, that is a worthwhile endeavor. A trite dissertation about
beauty in society would diminish the impact this show has on the lives
of the contestants.

But there's still that damned pageant. I
know FOX will not create a show with the sole purpose of making the
world a better place. Ruppert Murdoch is not Jim Henson and FOX is not
going to air a "Fraggle Rock" type show unless it involves an island, a
mansion, busty Muppets in a hot tub, and some method of voting
characters off the show. No sir, when it comes to programming, there
must be something in it for FOX. The final pageant is the smarmy,
profiteering side of FOX rearing its ugly head, but I cant expect
anything less from the network. This is, after all, what they do best.
Plus, the redhead from the first week is WAY HOT! So lay off the FOX
team and curl up in front of the set for a good time. Get some popcorn.
You can heat it up with fire youll get from the special hell."


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