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"Extreme Makeover" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 04/28/2003

I’m a bad TV geek.  I didn’t watch the original one-hour special “Extreme Makeover” when it aired on ABC last December.  It sounded too TLC Channel to me.  After it became a big ratings hit, I made the second mistake of missing it when they re-aired it a week and a half later.  The idea of the show just didn’t appeal to me.  I figured if I wanted to watch a makeover show, I could just tune into a random episode of “Oprah.”  When I heard they were making a weekly TV series based on the special, I pulled a Homer Simpson and said “d’oh!”  Unfortunately, they didn’t rerun it a third time (or at least I didn’t hear about a re-airing), so I ultimately didn’t see the original special, but I did see the first episode of the series.  I really can’t picture caring about this show over an extended period.


Each week the show will present two people, first in their “before” stage, then as they undertake their makeover procedures, and finally in their “after” stage when the results of the makeover are presented to their friends and families.  After the original special aired, the show held nationwide open casting calls and received over 7000 applicants.  All of the people who were finally chosen faced the show’s Extreme Team of makeover doctors and specialists.  In the first episode, we met Kine and Tammy.  Kine is a 29 year-old barber from Chicago.  She had an upper and lower lip reduction, a breast lift, liposuction of the abdomen, teeth whitened and straightened, and Lasik eye surgery.  Tammy is a 40-year-old stay-at-home mother from St. Petersburg, FL.  She had a face-lift, an upper and lower eyelift, rhinoplasty, laser resurfacing of the perioral region, and her teeth whitened and straightened.  Both women also consulted with hair stylists, makeup artists, fashion stylists, and fitness trainers.  Sissy Biggers, the host of the original special, is once again the host this time around.


While it was somewhat interesting to see this show once, I could easily see this show getting boring after time.  In the case of Kine, she definitely needed work on her lips (her top lip was split in an unnatural way), but otherwise, she wasn’t that bad looking.  While Tammy’s extreme makeover did make her look a lot better, I think a vacation from the kids and the husband for a week or two would have done the same thing.  She just looked tired before, but not especially ugly.


I’d like to trumpet out the old warhorse statement that a makeover doesn’t necessarily make you a better person (which is true), but in truth, I’d probably get many of these things done to me if I could afford it.  I don’t blame these folks for wanting to do this, I just don’t know how much I care about watching it week after week.  It might shake some things up if the person who got the makeover was disappointed with the results, but that wouldn’t make for a very happy ending, and I doubt this show wants to risk that.  My girlfriend always scorns me for getting some kind of sick thrill out of seeing people become disappointed (like on the very rare occasion when dissatisfaction occurs on TLC’s “Trading Spaces”), but it is only because it is more fun to watch the conflict than the sappiness of a happy ending.

Extreme Makeover” only has a seven episode run, and I will give it a chance.  Maybe the “stories of inspiration” through artificially becoming a hottie will melt my cold, cold heart.  If every episode becomes indistinguishable from the next though, I may give up on it sooner than later.  One thing I have learned is to never again ignore a special that becomes a ratings hit.  Eventually, that special might turn into a TV series that I will have to review, and I will be behind everyone else because I didn’t see the special!

Ratings System:


Try to catch this show every week...

If a better show is on, tape this one...

If nothing else is on, maybe this will be good...

If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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