FOX brings back 'The Swan' with 'celebrities': Bad idea, or worst idea?
When Zap2it was compiling a list of FOX's 25 worst shows to mark the network's 25th anniversary, "The Swan" was a no-brainer for inclusion. Here's what we had to say about it:
"FOX took the plastic-surgery concept of ABC's 'Extreme Makeover' and turned it into a pageant competition among women who radically changed their appearances, managing to offend lots and lots of people in the process. Somehow it earned a second season, but its ratings tanked and we were spared further horrors."
Alas, that part about being spared further horrors is no longer true. Reports say the network is reviving the format as a two-hour special -- with celebrities this time. (Presumably with the usual, very loose definition of "celebrity.")
Casting is underway, although no one is as yet attached the show, which will give them the chance to, in the network's words, "undergo physical, psychological and career changes as cameras follow them through the transformative process. This opportunity will allow these women to come back better than ever, have a second chance at personal and career redemption and re-introduce themselves to their supportive fans in a whole new way."
"The Swan" was a retrograde, demeaning spectacle that paid lip service to the inner qualities of its participants but ended with a beauty pageant that featured not just a swimsuit round but also a lingerie round. They underwent extensive plastic surgery to make them conform to a Barbie-doll beauty standard that does women (and men) no good.
Subbing in semi- or faded celebs for non-famous women -- one report mentions Monica Lewinsky and former "Happy Days" star Erin Moran as potential contestants -- doesn't improve the concept. It will be like televising two hours of snarky blog comments about who has or hasn't had work done.
Production on "Celebrity Swan" is scheduled to begin in the spring, provided the show can find enough willing participants. Here's hoping that enough of the women the producers approach have the good sense (and dignity) to say no.