Addicted to Beauty

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Addicted to Beauty TV Poster Image
Workplace reality series touts beauty as a glamorous drug.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show celebrates -- and sometimes skewers -- an upper-crust culture fueled by beauty worship, self-absorption, and consumerism. Most of the people featured on the show believe that natural beauty is a myth.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The folks featured on the show actively encourage others to make changes to their physical appearance that are both expensive and addictive. They spout phrases like "Beauty is important inside and out. If you don't feel beautiful outside, then you're not going to feel beautiful inside -- and then nobody will date you."

Violence
Sex

Some cheeky references to sex between adults and frequent mentions of body parts like "boobs," "butt," and "nipples." There's a ton of (surgically enhanced) cleavage, too.

Language

Language like "bitch" and "ass" is audible, but stronger words -- like "f--k" and "s--t" -- are bleeped.

Consumerism

The show not-so-subtly promotes a recently formed plastic surgery/medical spa practice, as well as the use of Botox and other "injectibles." You'll also see luxury brands like Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, and Pucci and see characters buying expensive things.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult characters occasionally overindulge when it comes to alcohol served at office functions. But the Botox and other "injectibles" the practice carries could also be viewed as addictive substances. Says one character: "Botox is a gateway drug."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality show isn't necessarily targeting teens, but they could still be susceptible to its negative messages in the areas of materialism, beauty, and body image. Most of the people featured in the show partake in periodic surgical and non-surgical "enhancements" to make themselves look better (although the end results are up for debate) and admit to having done everything from liposuction, cheek implants, and Botox to strategic injections into the balls of their feet to cushion the pain of walking in high heels. Luxury-brand worship and language are issues as well, although the strongest words ("f--k" and "s--t") are bleeped.

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What's the story?

Botox is the buzzword in ADDICTED TO BEAUTY, a workplace reality show about the antics inside a Southern California med-spa that offers its patients both surgical and non-surgical beauty options. The cast includes a high-maintenance front-desk receptionist who has trouble staying on task, a calculating executive assistant who's trying to learn the ropes from her nipped and tucked CEO boss, and a no-nonsense spa director tasked with keeping everyone in line.

Is it any good?

If you can accept the fact that the "reality" you're seeing here probably isn't real, you might be halfway entertained by the sheer absurdity of people who can say things like, "Getting an injectible is something that's quite normal; it's like taking vitamins" or "I have protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act because I have ADD" with a straight face. After all, the show is hardly breaking new ground in terms of programming and actually takes the genre a few steps back with scripted dialogue that sounds and feels a bit unnatural ... much like the surgically altered mouths that crank it out. The producers are clearly pushing over-the-top receptionist Gary as the comic relief. But even he can't make this show a hit ... or can he?

If nothing else, Addicted to Beauty is a fascinating (and often frightening) study of the youth-obsessed culture we've created, a world in which beauty can be bought and sold to anyone who's willing to pay for it. But there's an added layer of curiosity in that those who sell these products seem to consume them as much as their customers. So who are the real addicts? You decide.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether watching this show makes you feel better or worse about your own body image? What types of messages does it send about beauty?

  • Does the show take a position when it comes to the plastic surgery industry and those who flock to its products and procedures? Does it criticize it or celebrate it?

  • What's your opinion of using surgery, injections, or lotions to alter your outward appearance? Do you think there's a fine line between putting on a little bit of blush to make your cheeks look rosy and having make-up tatooed onto your skin? At what point do beauty regimens become "extreme"?

TV details

  • Premiere date: August 4, 2009
  • Network: Oxygen
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14

For kids who love reality TV

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