I’ve had a good hard think, and I’ve come to the conclusion that E! hates women. And not in the casual way that television in general hates women, homosexuals and minorities. No, I’m pretty sure E! is part of an organized misogynist conspiracy to drag down the female gender. How else to explain the network’s lineup, which runs the gamut from reality shows about skanky gold-diggers (“Married to Rock”) to reality shows about do-nothing celebutards (“Keeping Up With the Kardashians”).
About the best role model E! has to offer is “Kendra,” yet another docu-reality show—this one about a former Playboy model who married a pro football player. Dare to dream, girls! Sure, there’s plenty of Hollywood news on E!, but the scandalous focus (Charlie Sheen + hooker = ratings gold) only enforces the idea that women are inveterate gossips. Meanwhile, shows like “Fashion Police” encourage women to tear one another apart based on their clothing choices. It’s like the network is run by the evil, alternate-universe version of Oprah.
Now comes E!’s surest contribution to the collapse of civilization, “Bridalplasty.” As if there weren’t already enough shows on TV assuring women that marriage is the end-all, be-all of their existence. Here we have a show that fully enables women in their self-loathing. A perfect companion to “Dr. 90210,” the network’s other plastic surgery-based show, “Bridalplasty” further enhances the Hollywood ideal that women are unattractive unless they have breasts like baseballs and a nose like Michael Jackson’s.
Here we have a show that fully enables women in their self-loathing.
The basic concept of “Bridalplasty” is the same as any other reality show competition. A bunch of contestants are locked in a fancy house somewhere in the hills of L.A. They’re pitted against one another in pursuit of a fancy prize. Every over-encouraged interpersonal conflict is aired and somebody gets voted out of the house each week. The minor difference here is the prize, which will consist of a complete surgical makeover. Or as E! tastefully puts it, “The winner gets cut!”
The gals are an unappealing collection of future “Real Housewives of ... ” cast members who manage to demonstrate that unique, oxymoronic reality show contestant quality of being both incredibly self-centered and completely lacking in self-esteem. (One even managed to get herself kicked off a previous reality show, “The Biggest Loser.” Don’t worry, honey, I’m sure MTV will assign you a dating show soon.) Each week, the gals perform a series of dull tasks wholly unrelated to matrimony—like, for example, assembling large puzzles. (A task that one contestant tearfully described as “pure hell.”) The winners get cosmetic prizes like an “injectables party” (a term I could have gone all my life without adding to my lexicon).
At the end of each episode, the ladies weep like hired mourners at a Roman funeral when they’re forced to vote out one of their fellow contestants—whom they hate and are competing against, mind you. The mood swings here are so extreme, you’d think the show was sponsored by Pamprin. Honestly, I haven’t been this embarrassed since ... well, TV’s last plastic surgery-based reality show competition, FOX’s “The Swan.”