First off, i heard about this show on Oprah -- but only because my mom was watching it, okay? It's not like i sat down and watched for a few minutes or anything. *whistle*
Extreme Makeover is a new show that is pretty well described by this quote (paraphrased, of course, as i don't remember it verbatim):
"never before has a show been so based in shallowness and expressed all the ugliest sides of humanity. The premise is one of the most disgusting things ever to be shown on TV, and because of this it is the absolutely most fascinating show I have ever watched."
In a nutshell, two or three people are chosen in each episode to recieve an "extreme makeover." The participants are, in general, mousey middle-aged housewives with the occasional youngish guy or girl who are unhappy with the way they look and want an overhaul. When picked by the producers to be on the show, they are whisked away from their lives for 6 weeks to be given a new style from famous fashion designers, a special wardrobe, a quick-toning workout/dieting routine from world-renown dieticians and, most controversially of all, their pick of pretty much any cosmetic surgery procedures they want.
Over the course of 60 minutes, we are given a glimpse of each one's home life, how their terrible low-self esteem stemming from their non-movie-star-looks is weighing down on their job/marriage/parenting, etc, as well as their exciting journey away from home to wherever it is that the show is filmed (Los Angeles, methinks), their consultations with the various medical experts that will be helping them choose as well as performing their various surgeries, and even short snippets of the procedures themselves (for the most part, not for the squeamish). After a long, several-week recovery period, they are taken out to choose their new wardrobes, get made over by hollywood make-up artists, and are sent back to their hometown in a limo where they will emerge with their new look at a party where all their family and friends will be present to gawk and gasp in shock at how stunning they look.
Despite the shallow look this show gives us about our own culture, I really do find it quite fascinating. The end results really are amazing, as even the plainest of housewives can be turned into a fairly attractive woman. Most of the participants do seem to be women, and i think this is because the few guys that have been made over don't have results that are quite as drastic as the women. If you like reality television or think Plastic Surgery is interesting, this show makes for pretty good entertainment. It airs from 10:00pm to 11:00pm (EST) on ABC every Wednesday night (as of this writeup).