Fox in the Henhouse
Not long ago, the Fox Network unveiled its new reality series "The Littlest Groom," a "Bachelor"-style program which began with a 4'5" single fellow and followed him through an elimination process in which he'd pick his soul mate. Let's be honest. It was really just "The Bachelor," only with little people. When certain activist groups caught wind of the upcoming show, they caused a fuss in the media concerning Fox's exploitation of little people. Fox combatted this uproar by releasing the statement: "We have gone to great lengths to make sure everybody on this program is treated with dignity and respect."
What made this statement interesting is that no more than six months ago, Fox had aired another program including little people -- only the program was entitled "Man Versus Beast" and featured a group of forty little people racing against an elephant to see which one would be the first to pull a jetliner 75 feet on an airport tarmac. Now THAT's dignity and respect.
Fox continues to set the bar for dignity and respect in its announcement of "The Swan," which, according to the press, "takes women who are stuck in a rut and revitalizes them by restoring their beauty and confidence via incredible physical, mental and emotional transformations."
What this means, in Fox-speak, is that the show plans to take eighteen women they deem to be unattractive and perform intensive plastic surgery on them, then team each with a coach, therapist, trainer, cosmetic surgeon, dentist and stylist. The promos portend that the contestants will undergo in-depth physical reconstruction and be unable to see themselves until a dramatic event during which each woman will be revealed to herself in a mirror to, we assume, suddenly realize she's beautiful.
In the Fox ethos, this is a wonderful public service because beautiful people don't have problems. Everyone loves beautiful people. Fox has shown us this in its other pillars of broadcasting -- "Paradise Island" and "Forever Eden," both programs in which beautiful people argue with other beautiful people because no one involved has the capacity to realize that they have absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever.
Now, let's suppose for a moment that Fox, through its magic machine, could take anything you don't like physically about yourself and make it go away. Wow. That's amazing, right? God bless the Fox network. Who doesn't have something they'd like to change about their physical appearance?
What Fox is saying is this: by fixing the flaws you've lived with your entire life, you'll revitalize your energy, your appearance and your state of being not only internally, but societally. You'll feel great about yourself. And job offers will pour in, because hey, you look terrific. The world is yours.
But because this is Fox we're talking about, there's a catch. And the catch is this: not only are they going to transform you from ugly to beautiful, because you're ugly and you should be beautiful, but once they've done it, and revealed to you how wonderful you are, and revitalized your life, etc. etc....they will proceed put you on stage in what they're hyping as "The Ultimate Beauty Pageant" and judge you! Again!
It's all true. Horribly, horribly true. Once your body is fixed as perfectly as medical science can make it, you get to stand with the other "swans" as judges rank your physical appearance. And negate the entire process. So while you may be beautiful and rejuvenated, and feel great about yourself, just bear in mind that you're not as beautiful as Shirley there to your left. Sorry.
But hey. You knew what you were getting when you signed up, right? I mean, this is Fox, after all.
And the scariest part of it all? Press releases are referring to the dramatic end-of-series beauty contest as "The 1st Annual Swan Pageant."
Which means there will be more.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Fox won't stop until it has destroyed us all.