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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 each episode follows two people who undergo several cosmetic surgery procedures to "improve" their looks. While the show's producers are careful to show the physical and emotional side effects of the procedures, the overwhelming message -- thanks to the smiles and "oohs" and "aahs" that accompany the subjects' big "reveal" after they're done -- is that plastic surgery is good and solves your problems.
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What's the story?
In EXTREME MAKEOVER, viewers watch as people who are unhappy with their looks spend several months in Los Angeles undergoing life-changing plastic surgery and medical procedures before returning to show off their new look to family and friends. Each transformation is made possible by the \"Extreme Team,\" a squad that includes plastic surgeons, fitness trainers, fashion stylists, dermatologists, dentists, hair stylists, and makeup artists.
Is it any good?
In theory, Extreme Makeover does good -- people with serious problems like cleft palates and premature female baldness are given a chance to correct them. But for the most part, the show glorifies and sometimes trivializes the notion that plastic surgery is the solution to all appearance-related problems.
While a small portion of each episode is dedicated to the painful recuperation process, and some people are given a "life makeover" that doesn't involve surgery (in one episode, for example, a violinist gets the chance to play with her idol, Leann Rimes), viewers never see how the people who altered their appearances feel three, six, or nine months later. And not knowing whether the folks who went under the knife ultimately felt better about themselves -- or if their issues weren't fixed by the surgery -- is a big question mark to leave hanging.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cosmetic surgery. Why shouldn't people take it lightly? What's the difference between medically necessary surgery and elective surgery? What are the risks involved in plastic surgery? Are there any aspects of yourself that you'd want to change? What other options do people have when it comes to changing how they look and how they feel about themselves?