Beauty and the Beast: The Ugly Face of Prejudice, C4
Once again, Channel 4 has made a terribly-named documentary that is nowhere near as offensive and sensational as its title suggests. The format basically involves teaming up people who are obsessed with their looks with people who have some form of facial disfigurement so that the former can change and learn something about themselves.
This week featured 43-year-old travel agent Amanda, who spends 80% of her time on her ‘look’, and has spent £20,000 of her money in four years on boobs and peels and having things removed. This is important because she is single and needs to lure a man. She has even offered to pay for her 18-year-old daughter to have a nose job or Botox.
Amanda will spend two weeks with 46-year-old Debbie, who was born with a facial disfigurement and suffered horrific bullying during her teens. Debbie is now happily married with two children and genuinely doesn’t seem to care what anyone else thinks about her looks. Channel 4 cares, so they have brought Debbie and Amanda together in the hope that Debbie can change Amanda and there will be tension and friction along the way.
Amanda does seem to have genuine self-esteem problems, and does things like spending 14 hours a week at the gym and taking eight hours to get ready for a big night out. She even hires a professional make-up artist, all to be groped by sleazy men with clammy hands in a dingy nightclub. To combat that morning after feeling, Amanda takes Debbie for a facial, which is apparently important because it’s ‘me time’. Why does ‘me time’ never seems to involve reading a book in bed, with cake?
For the second part of the documentary Amanda goes to visit Debbie’s family home in Birmingham, and hears the story of Amanda’s fairytale romance with husband Lee, who fell in love with her as a person regardless of her looks. They’ve been together for 22 years. Amanda is forced to confront that the fact that relationships are about more than looks and she breaks down.
Now it is time for the broken Amanda to be rebuilt with the help of the obligatory TV therapist. Apparently therapists like Mike have been increasingly using horses to treat people with low self esteem. Mike encouraged Amanda to go into the field and approach her favourite horse. This will show Mike a lot about Amanda and how she is feeling. Amanda is upset because her chosen horse runs off: ‘Not even a horse likes me,’ moans Amanda, feeling even worse than she did before. Mike then releases her into a pen with another horse that she must try and control with her mind. I think that Mike has been watching The Horse Whisperer too much. None of this makes any sense because horses are unpredictable and skittish; no one knows what they’re thinking, not Robert Redford and probably not even horses themselves. I hate horses and horses hate me, and we are happy in this mutual distrust. However, Mike would probably have me sectioned as a psychopath.
Supersize v Superskinny, C4
Having been off our TV screens for no more than a nanosecond, Dr Christian is BACK, and he’s concerned. He’s in Evansville, America’s fattest city; he’s wearing one of his garish striped shirts and HE’S SAVING LIVES!
This week’s fatty is 25-year-old Rob, whose vices are Coke and cakes; an excellent combination. Unfortunately this means he weighs 35 stone and only has six teeth. He has also never had a girlfriend, which makes me sad face. Step away from the Haribo, Rob, Dr C is going to get you slimmed down and you’ll have a lady-friend in no time. The thin person is Haley, who weighs only 6 stone because she never has time to eat. I hate people who say they never have time to eat, implying that people who do are lazy wasters with too much time on their hands. Although if anyone could claim that they don’t have time to time to eat, it would be Doctor Christian. He’s back in America again, this time surprising Rob on a WAKE UP CALL visit to American fat-person Donna. I’m not sure Dr. C intended the wake up call to involve going to a local restaurant to eat the world’s largest cream puff, but it seems to have worked. The cream puff was so large that Rob could barely finish it, and he’s determined to change his ways. HURRAH!
Now it’s onto the feeding clinic, which this week is a passive-aggressive masterpiece.
‘Are you’re worried if you keep eating like this,’ asks Haley as she contemplates an epic fry-up, ‘aren’t you the same age as me?’
‘Yeah,’ replies Rob, probably feeling grouchy after eating nothing but tea with sugar, ‘but I have to say you look a lot older.’