The premise of Bridalplasty is in the name, and I can’t decide whether I’m appalled or amazed by this blatant over marketing of such a preposterous but authentically real concept. Seriously, you have to give some kudos to the creators of this show, if only for the sheer balls it must have taken to successfully pitch and then bring this idea to fruition, as I imagine that the concept was littered with red tape from the start.
Take everything you know about reality TV, and highlight the worst possible aspects of it. Forget the life affirming journeys and the people who learn to love each other and head 180 degrees in the other direction. Look at people who are so desperate for attention they’ll do anything to be on TV, add in some serious backstabbing, a therapist surgery’s worth of mental health problems and a bunch of eating disorders for some extra zest. Add a dash of the gruesome (achieved with doctors in masks and some surgery action) and you have the bare bones a Bridalplasty- where the aim of the show is to change the bride to be into someone her future husband won’t recognize.
Who cares if he loves you, if you don’t love yourself? Let Bridalplasty change you into somebody you can love- but only if you’ll bare your soul on national TV, sharing your deep secrets, sexual proclivities and backstab any girls you befriend. OK with that? Great, you’re the perfect candidate …
I’ll start by describing the bare bones of the show to you, so your mind can circle the various points of disbelief.
-12 women, all engaged to be married in one house.
-Each week, the women battle it out Top Model style to be the ‘Top bride’.
-Each bride to be gets something each week (a ring/cake/dress) that goes in her ‘bridal closet’ to be claimed if she wins the show.
-The Top bride gets to have the surgery of her choice and go to the ‘recovery room’ (pause where all other brides to be look sad and wistful).
-The three bottom brides spend the next 20 minutes (it’s a 1 hour show) convincing the other brides to be why they should stay in the show. (Formula changes a little as the contestant numbers decrease).
-Showdown at the RSVP ceremony where girls sit at the Bottom Brides tables. The other brides to be make a speech ‘This is sooo hard, etc’, and go sit at a table. The one with least votes goes home to the refrain of “Your wedding will still go ahead. It just won’t be perfect.” Oh no you didn’t!
The show is designed to make all the contestant objects of ridicule, as even when you feel the merest smidgeon of sympathy for them (one is an army bride and sobs about her fiancé being in danger) they then follow that up with talking about how perfect having their nose/boobs/stomach changed would completely improve and alter their life. Some girls are twiglets and talk longingly about liposuction whilst others basically seem to want to tear their skin off and stand inside someone else’s.
Each week they are put through challenges which make each girl look like a fool, whether it’s discussing their sex life with a ‘sexpert’ (one outed their fiancé as short of stamina on national TV) or practising their wedding vows via a web link. The challenges revolve around seeing how willing he contestants are to open themselves up for mockery, be it sharing what their planned wedding vows might be ‘have sex every day’ and seeing if they correlate with their partner. In every case, the ‘three bottom brides’ lose out and the ‘Top Bride’ gets wheeled away to surgery.
The doctors they use on the show may be experience talented professionals, but they come across as media whores. Before on girl went in for a nose job the two doctors operated on her pumped fists going ‘Boo-yah!’ and when one girl drifted off to sleep, the surgeon waved his hands around going ‘Wooh! This is the general anaesthesia sleep’. When one girl had her boobs done, we saw her breasts being mauled- one implant pressed in and then pulled out for the ‘perfect look’. The show could have gone with thoughtful caring guys who would question, ‘Are you sure about this’, but though this may happen (behind the scenes) we’re only ever presented with knife happy surgeons who happily list the women’s flaws and talk about how they can make them ‘perfect’. No surprise then, that season one of Bridalplasty is based in Los Angeles.
I get a strange feeling when I watch the show. It feels like the next level in voyeurism, car crash reality TV, and I literally can’t look away. I don’t particularly like any of the contestants, but I’m compelled to root for different girls (despite thinking they look fine) and the creators have somehow managed to make you care about the manipulation and backstabbing in the voting ceremony (some girls have formed an evil alliance where they vote eachother in).
It’s a horrible comment about society today and the huge value we place on looks, and leads to bigger questions such as the mental health of the participants- and people in general who see surgery as the ultimate goal. Is surgery now such an easy commodity that people can compete for it on a gameshow, or should we look at it as something that needs proper care, time and attention devoted to it? Week by week the pretty girls get bandaged up, attending events in wheelchairs, casts and splints and you can’t help feel sad as you view them lying in the ‘recovery room’, the place they all covet to get to, when the reality is bleak and filled with strera strips and sutures.
I find the whole concept and the lackadaisical attitude towards surgery really sickening; despite what Bridalplasty leads you to believe, operations are not simple easy affairs and being able to win ‘the perfect body surgery’ (and wedding, let’s not forget that’s the OTHER reason) is morally wrong and I object to it on multiple levels. Reality TV has officially taken a new low, and though I know I’ll keep watching, I seriously hope this show does not herald the beginning of a new reality TV vacuum of misery and exploitation.