Disclaimer: this isn't the most eloquent rant I've ever pieced together. And there's no point to it. But it was on my mind and - all together now, children - if it's bothering me, it's going to bother you as well.
I’ll admit it – I watch ABC’s “True Beauty.”
I don’t know exactly why. It's not as rewarding an experience as I'd hoped. The fact that it’s executive-produced by both Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher – both of whom are known for looking good and acting dumb – should have tipped me off. Somehow I thought it would be fun to watch good-looking people act like jerks. And don’t get me wrong, it really is. But I’m not sure what the real point of the show is in the end.
I’m getting ahead of myself. In case you’ve not heard of it, I should explain that “True Beauty” is a reality show in which beautiful people compete for the chance to win a boatload of cash and a spot in People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People issue. But the twist is that the contestants are really being judged on their inner beauty, not their outer beauty, or something like that. The winner of each challenge is determined not by who looked the best but by who was the least unbearably obnoxious.
Here’s the problem: someone’s going to win, and yet they’re all awful people. This is the first time I’ve watched a reality show and not wanted any of the contestants to win. I don’t think any of them deserve to. They’re all phony narcissists. Oh, I suppose Julia (the beauty queen) isn’t all bad. But it’s hard to tell with her what behavior is a result of her pageant training and what’s just her being insincere.
If this show is a search for people with inner beauty, why did they cast good-looking people with no redeeming qualities? I suppose the show is meant to teach viewers about inner beauty, but it should teach by example - good example, not bad. But while the contestants to possess some quantity of outer beauty most of the program seems to showcase their inner ugly. And to what point? Not one ousted contestant has shown the slightest bit of remorse when faced with incriminating footage of their appalling behavior. Some, like Monique, actually seem amused by it, as though they think their petty nastiness Is cute.
What’s more, in the interviews and commentary mixed in with challenge footage, contestants have prattled on about inner beauty, seemingly unaware that their catty behavior on film is a blinding example of the exact opposite. Perhaps they mistakenly believe that inner beauty is achieved through good dental hygiene and regular colonics. They have no real concept of what quote-unquote inner beauty is.
I think that responsibility and accountability are part of inner beauty. Yet there are always excuses for their actions, too – someone was asking for it, or needed to be dressed down. So why is it that the ones who are most convinced of their inner beauty are the ones who, when confronted with anything short of perfection, blame everyone but themselves for whatever doesn’t meet their excruciating standards of personal worthiness?
The show is educational in the sense that it tells the viewer, please don't act like this. But studies have shown that people respond better to good examples rather than bad. Instead of showing me how inconsiderate these people are, how about showing me how a decent, truly beautiful person would act?
I'm asking way too much. I know that. So why do I watch? Because it's on TV. And because I've known outwardly beautiful people who are ugly on the inside, and I like to think that they're stabbed in the back by other beautiful people the way contestants are on the show. It does my heart good. I think that most socially inept people enjoy watching socially adroit people treating each other like crap. It makes for good TV. And personally I like seeing conceited people getting kicked off and told basically, it doesn't matter that you're good looking, because you're a horrible person. And we're throwing your picture in the trash.
Oh, and Billy? Two things. 1) You’re obviously trying to compensate for your latent homosexuality. Give it up already. America won't like you any less - and how could they? They don't like you much now. 2) Calling it a “murse” does not make it better. It just makes you sound like a jackass. Bad enough you carry a murse. But to call it a murse? Sigh. Give it up, little buddy. Have you considered a Jack Bauer-style messenger bag instead?