Tuesday, June 28

Slog Week

Wherein one intrepid blogger subjects himself to stuff he wouldn't be caught dead looking at otherwise, an idea he realized only later a) was stolen from Joe Queenan's book Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon, and b) came to him after he'd been out in the sun in 94º heat without any head covering.

Monday: TLC's 10 Years Younger.

If you've never seen 10 Years Younger, as I know I hadn't, it's a program where they try to make people look roughly ten years younger. Willing participants, as it turns out. They are actually put in a big glass case on a public street, and the sort of people who are willing to stop and talk to anyone with a microphone are invited to critique the subject's looks (and, naturally, to guess her age). Then they set a team of skilled and semi-skilled experts--The Glam Squad--at her, repeat the process, and gauge the results.

The show is hosted by the requisite Guy Named Josh, who has the requisite I Just Got Out Of Bed And Only Had Time To Button Half The Buttons On This Shirt look. Right off, I don't get this. This look may be (in fact it must be) the acme of style for Joshes who host makeover shows, but if for whatever reason I wanted a makeover I would not want it supervised by someone who just happens to fit the style of the next three months. This, it seems to me, is akin to being the fan club president for a specific member of Menudo. Plus, within the first thirty seconds of the program, Josh had used "jonesin'" as a verb.

After the opening humiliation, our plucky makeoveree had a heart-to-heart with Josh. Wait, I got ahead of myself. The woman was imagined by the public to be 53. Not surprisingly, the public seems to consist entirely of people between 18-26, some of whom seemed to divine her age by appraising her hairdo. The reason all the people interviewed were young, of course, is that anyone older might have been exposed to Dignity back before they had a vaccine for it. So Josh sits down with this woman, and talks about achievement and boosting confidence, since everyone who earns a paycheck as a teevee performer is now not only an "achiever" but capable of dispensing nuggets of wisdom about the process of becoming one, and they're all confident the way a shark is a carnivore. And Josh says, "The question that's on my mind, and I'm sure on everybody's mind is...how old are you?"

The answer was 43, but to be honest that wasn't the question that was on my mind, which was more along the lines of, "What the fuck are you doing?" The woman was appraised of the various construction work the Glam Squad would be performing (starting with a dermatologist, who may not actually be an official Squad member). But the catch was, as Josh explained, she had "to bring something to the table." And that something was she had to overcome her fear of flying. Not metaphorical flying, but real flying. Apparently, having an exploitable yet photogenic phobia is an important part of making the cut, contestant-wise. This gave Josh a chance to ask, "Do you think that your fear of flying is a signal of some of the other fears you have in your life?" Yes, he said "signal". I rewound the tape twice to make sure.

I was hoping against hope for redemption. I knew there was little chance she was going to shout, "Listen, you shiny-shirted twit, I'm 43 years old and I don't have to be listening to some happy-talk psychobabble from a pup who can't even get the words right and whose great accomplishment seems to be overcoming his fear of looking at himself in the mirror constantly," while clawing at his sideburns. No such luck. "I'm totally ready," was her pluck-filled reply. We rushed through the makeover segments, which included a belly dancing lesson from Nina and Vina, the belly-dancing twins. Then our subject got her hair styled by a woman with blue hair and a bright green teeshirt. Wow, blue hair, what a brave fashion decision. I'll bet she really stands out at the Iconoclast's Club. Next came a woman to help pick out clothes. She seemed helpful and informative, and her hair was a color found in nature. Then came the unveiling before the whole Squad, minus the MD and the belly dancers, before our subject was hauled back out on the street for some more sidewalk appraisals. This time the public voted 39, four years younger her chronological age but a full fourteen off her earlier estimates. Though I'm not convinced it's a scientific poll, exactly.

"I want to encourage you to keep pursuing the boundaries for yourself," was Josh's parting advice. Prostitution, maybe. Or work up the confidence to try out for Dr. Phil.


Anonymous said...

Man. They used to actually, you know, have programs where you could learn things, that weren't related to how badly people are willing to embarrass themselves in public.

A glass case, really? That's fantastic. Honestly. Just like some sort of yellowing-skinned, crusty-haired, "Classic" Barbie with the huge pointy tits and the sun-bleached slutty clothes and the facial expression of an inflatable date, in a decaying box with mouse nibbles at the corners.
I'm sure it did wonders for the woman's ego. And, uh, how the hell does this fix her fear of flying again?

Anonymous said...

American Public..this is mass media... you are getting verrrrrrry sleeeepppyyyy.... don't look at that important stuff, here's a bright shiney thing!

Anonymous said...

Are you okay after that? Did you suffer from dizziness and nausea? I usually get that after trolling past what they call "The Learning Channel."

Dr. Pepper made me stop watching after I chugged a bottle of Pepto following a night with TLC.

Anonymous said...

Man, shouldn't there be some damn learning on The Learning Channel? I mean, Discovery Channel may have become the freaking American Chopper network, but at least they still have one or two educatiional programs, and they have Mythbusters, which is fluff, but is at least fluff dealing with science and discovering things.

Meanwhile, The Learning Channel schedule seems to consist entirely of makeover shows. What the hell am I supposed to learn from those, anyway?

Oh, and I like that Joe Queenan book. I think he's the only person who dislikes Billy Joel as much as I do.