A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this makeover show is based on the premise that people who look older than their real age should try to change their appearance. The criticism that participants get from strangers on the street can be hurtful, though it usually isn't cruel. Much of the discussion between the show's host and guests centers on self-esteem and body-image issues. These issues are handled carefully but fairly superficially.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In 10 YEARS YOUNGER, participants learn that a few simple changes to their appearance can greatly improve their looks. Participants begin by standing in a soundproof glass box on a busy street in Los Angeles while the show's host asks passersby to guess the person's age. Next comes an in-studio segment that's part interview and part therapy session, in which participants talk about how divorce, career, kids, and more have affected their lives and their appearance. They listen to some of the comments from the public (which can be harsh, but usually aren't cruel), and then the host reveals the average age guessed by those who were polled. Next, participants are turned over to the "Glam Squad," who take care of skin, makeup, hair, and wardrobe, before they go for another round in the soundproof box; the average age guess usually drops significantly in the second round.
Is it any good?
Unlike Extreme Makeover, in which participants endure surgery, this show focuses on simple, relatively straightforward techniques. The results are sometimes dramatic and sometimes modest -- but participants uniformly express delight with the changes. The show's host (Mark Montano in early seasons, followed by Kyan Douglas of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) takes a delicate approach to dealing with folks who, for one reason or another, have put their appearance on hold. Some -- like one 42-year-old participant named Dwayne, struggle with self-esteem -- which is reflected in their "cover up" clothing and grooming choices (loose, shapeless clothing, facial hair, etc.).
Teens might find this makeover show appealing, though its focus on older participants might temper the allure. The host and experts aren't as snippy and charismatic as those on What Not to Wear, which may make 10 Years Younger seem like the boring sibling, but with its emphasis on helping people feel better about themselves -- as opposed to criticizing them -- it's the better choice for younger viewers from a message standpoint. That said, the show doesn't go far beyond the surface. Guests receive superficial help with their emotional issues, but the emphasis is largely on their physical ones, leaving viewers wondering how long they'll feel the effect of the changes before reverting to their old ways.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the messages sent by makeover shows. What implications do they tend to make about age and beauty? Does this show do that? How does that make you feel? What's beautiful about age? What tends to make people look older than their real age? Teens: Do you ever try to look older? How and why?