Plain Jane

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Plain Jane TV Poster Image
Makeover show focuses on helping "plain" girls get a man.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The message is mixed. Although the show says that it's about improving a woman "inside and out," more importance is placed on a Jane's exterior -- namely her clothes, makeup, and hair. Exercises designed to boost the Janes' confidence aren't notably substantive either and can be borderline-demeaning.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the Janes come out of the experience seeming more self-confident
(thanks to their new and improved personal style). The host also seems like she genuinely wants the Janes to find happiness and "succeed."

Violence
Sex

The Janes are encouraged to boost their sex appeal with more body-conscious clothing. ("If you're gonna seduce a guy, you can't dress like a guy.") There's some sexual innuendo, too, such as references to "sexy time."

Language

Some use of words like "damn," "boobies," and "Jesus!" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism

The Janes get Bloomingdales gift cards worth $1,000; in return, the store gets some brand promotion.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There's some social drinking on the Janes' blind dates.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this adult-oriented makeover show will probably appeal to older teens, too. But it sends a very mixed message about what makes a woman "attractive" to the opposite sex (hint: Outward appearance is really important!) and employs some borderline-degrading tactics to teach women the "right" way to flirt, etc. And while the women do come out of the experience with more confidence, that doesn't change the fact that more emphasis is placed on the outer makever than the inner one. In addition to some fairly mild swearing (think "boobs" and "damn"), you'll hear some sexual innuendo and playful talk. The show also partners with Bloomingdales to give the women a fashion makeover with a $1,000 gift card.

User Reviews

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Teen, 16 years old Written bybieber_fever55 August 23, 2010

Horrible Message For Kids

After watching this show once or twice, the problem with the show isn't that it's neccesarily bad but that it sends a horrible message. Although the s... Continue reading

What's the story?

In PLAIN JANE, host Louise Roe takes a woman who (in the show's own words) is "ordinary, awkward, forgettable, and lonely" and transforms her into an attractive, confident woman. But looking and feeling better isn't really the central goal ... the game plan is getting a guy (more specifically, a guy the woman has been crushing on for quite some time). After an extensive day of confidence building, strategic shopping, and primping, the no-longer-plain "Jane" confronts her crush and reveals her true feelings. But he doesn't always feel the same way.

Is it any good?

There's a point in an early episode of Plain Jane that reminds you -- quite literally -- just how far reality producers are willing to go to shock viewers these days. Because, apparently, they think it's perfectly fine to wrap a device around a woman's arm that gives her a low-level jolt every time she screws up while she's trying to flirt with men at a dog park. Too boring? Buzz. Too snippy? Buzz. Talking too long to a guy who just told you he's gay? Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzzzzzz!

Enduring borderline-degrading treatment like that makes a lady look pretty desperate, to say nothing of the show's iffy messages when it comes to snagging a man in the first place. (A little stalking seems to be necessary, as are good posture, big hair, and a flirty dress.) Sure, self-confidence can give a pretty woman the edge. But Plain Jane does little to prepare her for the possibility that it might have been the only thing she lacked.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's overall message when it comes to men, women, and dating, as well as the importance of being "pretty" (as opposed to "plain"). Is self-confidence the only thing keeping these women from getting the man they want?

  • How substantive are these "inside and out" makeovers? Do you think the women are happier at the end of the experience? Do you think they'll incorporate the things they've learned into their lives -- and, more importantly, should they?

  • Where does "getting the guy" fit into all this -- and how does a women react if he rejects her? Are these guys worthy of such adoration?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 28, 2010
  • Cast: Louise Roe
  • Network: CW
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming

For kids who love reality TV

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