EM Recap Season 2, Episode 5: From Bucolic Bumpkins to Sophisticated Sirens
Air Date: 10/16/03
This week, Extreme Makeover visits two small towns in the heartland of America to help two women redefine their looks and their lives. Plus, an update on Dan “the Radio Man” from this season’s premiere.
To and Fro
When I first see Paula Baierski, a 43-year-old homemaker and part-time aerobics instructor from San Angelo, Texas, I am reminded of another plucky West Texas television mom: at face value, she looks like Peggy Hill in a fright wig. A big, gigantic, teased up fright wig. Her story, however, is much more amazing and inspiring than any cartoon. After 20 years of helping everyone else, by being a stay-at-home mother (or “domestic goddess,” in her words), taking care of her family, raising three boys, and volunteering her time to community service, Paula has decided to return to college to be a teacher.
There is also one more thing she’d like to do for herself: get an Extreme Makeover. “I like who I am,” Paula explains, “I don’t like what I see that much.” Her first complaint has to do with her chest. As we see her trying on clothes at a local clothing shop, she says, “I’m afraid if I bump into something I’ll go concave. There’s nothin’.” She admits that she has no idea how to deal with her hair, or the tummy and big butt she can’t get rid of no matter how much she exercises. Even teaching aerobics, she is insecure about what her students might think of her backside. She would also like to do something about the “gift from her father” (her nose). Her father, Peter Micale, says that he’s always called it a “Roman nose” because “she’s got the biggest nose in the family” (not because it’s “roamin’” all over the place) and Paula says that in high school her nickname was la nariz or “the nose” in Spanish.
Although self-assured and positive in every other area of her life, Paula would like to return to college with more confidence in her physical appearance, and EM wants to help her. EM arranges for Brenda Maimon, her college counselor, to surprise Paula with the news at a meeting that she thinks is about her enrollment to the university. Brenda tells Paula that a situation has come up, causing a delay in her enrollment--to which Paula responds with a look of real alarm. “You have been chosen for Extreme Makeover,” Brenda finally explains. Paula throws her head back, at first laughing with relief, then choking up with emotion.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Through images of fields, tractors, and haystacks, we’re transported to Wyoming, “a tough land, worked by tough men”. A figure steps out of a John Deere and whips off a cowboy hat to reveal that this ranch hand is, in fact, a woman. Our next candidate, Liane Sewell, is a 42-year-old rancher in Upton, Wyoming, and all the years of grueling work in the harsh elements (like sweltering sun and whipping wind) have taken a toll on her features. “I do the job of a man,” she explains, and it’s left her feeling “like a little weathered-up prune.” Her husband, Tom Sewell, says that even though Liane “feels good within herself” she feels like she is aging faster than he is.
Liane even grew up as a tomboy, wearing boy’s hand-me-downs even as she fantasized about being “Cinderella” twirling in a beautiful, flowing gown. “I have never been the belle of the ball,” she laments. After all these years, she would like to know what it feels like to be feminine and pretty for a change. “For her to feel pretty and like a woman should…is one of the most wonderful gifts that could be given her,” says Liane’s beautiful daughter Kizzy.
EM decides to fulfill Liane’s fairy-tale princess fantasy, and sends her an invitation “to be the Belle of your very own Ball after your Extreme Makeover” through her “very own Prince Charming,” Tom. Her husband hands it to her at a family get-together, where she breaks out into tears of joy. This, however, is only the beginning of Liane’s fairy-tale-come-true! For Chapter 2, she’ll have to travel to Hollywood.
Paula meets with plastic surgeon Dr. Malcolm Lesavoy to discuss her makeover wish-list. She brings up, of course, her “gift from her father” which she would like reduced, sagging in her eyes and jowl area, abdominal “pooch”, and breasts that were “breast-fed to oblivion”. Dr. Lesavoy explains the procedures he will use to correct what she dislikes, adding that she has a good “envelope” of skin for the breast implants (another one of those weird compliments you’ll hear at the plastic surgeons and not anywhere else—“Hey, Baby, nice envelopes!”). A bit more on boobies: Dr. Lesavoy explains that implants will not increase the chance of breast cancer, which we heard last week from Dr. Fisher, and yet contrary to what Dr. Fisher said last week, Dr. Lesavoy says they will not impede the detection of breast cancer, because the implant lies behind the breast. Who are we supposed to believe here? Regardless, Paula, of the concave cuppage, greenlights the augmentation.
Our nascent “Cinderella” Liane, meanwhile, is about to meet her fairy godfather, Dr. Ron Perlman. “I get excited about thinking, not that I’m going to look like a different person, that’s not what I want, but that I just will look fresh, not tired and worn out.” She tells Dr. Perlman that she is full of life and has a lot of energy, it’s only her face that makes her look like she’s tired and worn out. He asks her if she’s ever gotten out the shower, put her hair up in a towel and liked the way her eyes looked, and she answers yes. His answer: she needs a brow lift. She then inquires about nose work, remarking “I’ve never liked the hump although, excuse me, no offense, but I don’t want a Hollywood nose.” Dr. Perlman (whose spectacular work we’re all familiar with by now) says, proudly, “I don’t make Hollywood noses, so I don’t take offense in it.” He suggests a chin implant to balance and fill out her face. To take care of her wrinkles, he names chemical peels or laser procedures, but warns that the more aggressive the approach, the higher risk there is of skin turning colors. These will yield more dramatic results, however. She would also like uplift for her breasts, but not implants, as she feels she has enough in the way of size. Dr. Perlman says that the reason surgeons suggest implants to go with lifts is for maintenance purposes. She decides, for the time being, not to go with augmentation.
It’s surgery day, and Liane has decided to get a brow lift, face lift, nose job, chin implant, cheek injections, laser skin peel, liposuction for her thighs, but no breast work. Paula will be receiving a nose job, upper and lower eyelid lifts, breast augmentation, a tummy tuck, and lipo on her stomach and thighs.
Dr. Lesavoy marks Paula’s body up with a marker, making so many cross-hatches across her stomach and thighs that it looks like she’s wearing a fishnet leotard. Then it’s sleepy time for our Paula while Dr.Lesavoy gets to work. Like most guys, he starts with her breasts, showing us the actual saline implant as he inserts it into what looks like a big flesh empanada (these must be the “envelopes” he was referring to) before using a big hypodermic needle to “inflate it”. Funny, until watching EM, I had no idea this was what augmentation was like. I always thought they stuffed Nerf balls in there, but in fact it’s more akin to the Nike Pump than anything else. He then scrapes out excess flesh to even out her breasts. If you think that sounds yucky, next up is the liposuction and tummy tuck. If you haven’t passed out yet, you then see Dr. Lesavoy as he resculpts Paula’s “Roman nose”. Five hours later, and Paula is already awake and saying she’s ready to go on the treadmill and lift weights. Zoiks! I feel like a sluggish slag compared to this highly motivated mama.
In the meantime, Liane is getting marked—and getting laughs—in the hospital with Dr. Perlman. “Is he writing ‘fat ass’ on my butt? Is he writing ‘Marry her, free steak for life?’” Hey, if I knew that was included, I’d be on one knee, myself. Once Liane is in La La Land, we’re told that Dr. Perlman and staff will have about 8 hours of work ahead of them. They start by harvesting fat from her nether regions to use to soften her cheekbones. Dr. Perlman works on her chin, then does the fat injections, and finally we see him using the laser to zap off the ravages of time and harsh weather from Liane’s deeply lined face. The very last procedure is her nose job, then they cover her face in a cocoon of bandages before she wakes up, imagining that she is in a hay field at home.
We interrupt our regularly scheduled makeover with an update on Dan “The Radio Man” from Seattle, the guy from Episode 1 who wanted his transformation, in part, to win the affections of his assistant on the morning news team, Ann, who was quoted as saying, “I have a long-standing policy that nothing good could come of co-mingling with co-workers.” We briefly see how Dan went from chunky lunk to Hollywood hunk, then are brought to the studios for Dan’s first day back on the job. In front of the coffee machine, Dan tells Ann that “With all the changes that I’ve been through recently in life, you changed me in here,” he says, pointing to his heart. Aww, he’s so sweet, we’d go out with him, wouldn’t we gals?
I’m not too sure about Ann, however, who declares, “You’re a good man, Charlie Brown” (which doesn’t sound too come-hither to me) and gives him a buddy-type hug. When EM asks if our man Dan has a shot, she says “I think he’s a great guy...who’s to say, I don’t know.” We then get a shot of Dan asking Ann out to lunch, to which she says, “Potentially.” What kind of an answer is that? EM promises to update us again on Dan’s love life, but if you ask me, I say he forget about Miss Noncommittal and give many of the other fine women out there in the world a chance. With his handsome new looks to match his sweet nature, he’s a total package that some other lucky lady could “potentially” enjoy.
Meanwhile, back in L.A., Paula is working on her comedy routine in Dr. Lesavoy’s office. Wearing a fake Grouch Marx nose & glasses combo, she cries out, “Doctor, doctor, I’ve got a problem with my nose, there’s hair growing out of it!” She gets a peek at her new nose, with which she is pleased. “There’s still a little bit of my father in there,” she says, which should please him too. Dr. Lesavoy checks her breasts, which appear fine, but “If they end up under your arms, let me know,” he cracks. Badum-ching! Everyone’s a comedian in Hollywood.
It’s only 4 days after surgery for Liane, but she is also going to get a preview of her new look. Dr. Perlman carefully removes the beard of bandage on her lower face, covering the results of her laser peel. Although it will take another week for the redness to vanish, Liane is already happy with the results. Looking into the hand mirror, she gets emotional and cries, saying “I look young. It still looks like me, only better”
But Wait, There’s More
Liane and Paula both get Zoom whitening and porcelain veneers from dental heartthrob Dr. William Dorfman (sorry, Jules77, only a brief glimpse of the Dorfman today). Dr. Robert Maloney then performs Lasik eye surgery on Paula, so she can ditch those Peggy Hill specs. For the first time, she can read her watch without glasses. “Holy cow, you’ve given me my youth back,” she says, endearingly, before giving Dr. Maloney a hug.
Soon after surgery, Paula, whom we already know is a fitness aficionado, is sent to bodywork guru Michael Thurmond to work out twice a day. He tells her that step aerobics can actually make your butt and legs look bigger (Aieee! I knew I hated those classes for a reason), and he creates a personalized regimen specific to her body type, to address the features she dislikes. He also says that the body gets used to doing routines, so it’s not good to always stick to the same exercises, but you should change as the body changes. A few weeks later and they show us a shot of Paula, in a sport bra and shorts, looking amazingly cut and muscularly defined. I mean, jaw-droppingly so, like she could be on the cover of Fitness magazine. She now has a 26 inch waist (down from 31) and 34 inch hips (down from 41), and went from a size 12 to a size 4 in 5 ˝ weeks. Also, what you won't see in the After photos are her rock-hard abs. “Oh my God!” Paula declares, just as stunned as anyone else at her progress. Bravo to Paula, as this part of the makeover is due to the weeks of hard work she did for herself.
Liane also goes in to work with Michael. He customizes every workout to each individual, and aware of the fact that she is a rancher, he works towards a hard, lean look. We learn, however, that the weeks of intensive workouts end up putting her back in the hospital.
On Second Thought, Why Don’t You Go Ahead and Supersize My Order?
Don’t worry, Liane didn’t get hurt. She just decided that she was going to get those implants after all. Well, that’s what 6 weeks in an LA gym will do to you. Also, as she explains to Dr. Perlman, the physical training and diet regimen caused her to lose a lot of body fat, leaving her breasts empty and drooping. “I had this great body but…saggy breasts,” she admits. Dr. Perlman to the rescue! After only an hour, Dr. Perlman equips our ranchera with two full C cups.
Liane returns to her hotel room, where she watches taped video messages from her family back home. She cries as she sees her husband and children wish her well, but express that they miss her and want her home soon. Her husband blows her a kiss and she blows one back.
Likewise, Paula is in her room, also watching a special videotape from her family back home in Texas. She pretends to pinch the face of her son onscreen. Her husband tells her youngest boy to say hello to his mom, and he does this as he stoops down to tie his shoe by himself, which she has never seen him do before. This was something he and Paula had worked on before she left, so seeing his accomplishment fills her with astonishment, but also a touch of that bittersweet sadness that all mothers feel as they watch their children grow up and become more independent.
Denim Disasters/Skorting the Issue
Sam Saboura, EM’s resident font of fashion knowledge, arrives on the scene to dissect Liane’s closet. The wardrobe of a ranch hand consists of denim, denim, a little chambray, and yet more denim. While there’s nothing wrong with denim in and of itself, Sam has a few tips for Liane, and all of us. Try to choose only a single denim item to wear at one time, either just jeans, just the shirt, or just a denim jacket, but not all three at once. Also, he points out the cut of the jeans she owns—high in the waist and tapered at the ankle gives the illusion of a big ol’ butt and skinny chicken legs. The modern silhouette calls for a slimming boot cut, and a lower rise which gives lift to the tuchis. He then takes her to designer Kevin Hall’s studio, where the likes of Halle Berry and Charlize Theron have had their famous flanks frocked. She tries on various dresses that she might possibly wear to her reveal, all of them slinky, sophisticated, and sexy. Quite a change from her everyday ranch hand wear.
The second Sam meets Paula, she cries out “I need you badly!” He gives her a consoling hug—admitting you have a problem is always the first step. And boy, does she have a problem. The first thing Sam pulls out are a pair of Granny-patterned, floral Capri pants that Paula says her sister Gina helped her pick out. “We love Gina [but] Gina’s not allowed to take you shopping anymore,” he says judiciously. Later on, Gina gets a plus point for having picked out a nice basic black top for Paula. Sam returns to exorcising the fashion demons, when he tosses out a frightening pair of San Angelo Soccer Mom striped shorts, and finally, the piece de resistance: CHAMBRAY SKORTS!!! “Anyone who has a skort in their wardrobe needs some fashion help, and that’s why I am here today,” Sam declares. He takes her to Lisa Klein’s boutique, where Paula, already the serious student, asks Sam some pointed questions on style and, yes, literally takes notes. As she tries on a myriad of cute and trendy new clothes, Sam intones, “Skort is no longer in your vocabulary!” In a delicately pretty silk top, Paula starts to cry because she’s never felt feminine before. Sam gives her a comforting pat on the shoulder and says that clothes have a lot of power, and now that her body’s changed, she can finally look pretty and feminine. She credits Sam with helping her to finally get “a sense of self”.
Sam takes Liane to Craig Gangi at Christophe in Bev Hills for hair help. He uses a razor to cut her hair which he says might feel weird at first but will give her style a new and interesting texture. After that, Robert Bolanos of Gavert-Atelier spruces up her make-up and shapes her brows. He tints her eyelashes so she doesn’t have to wear mascara, and kills the rumors that shimmer is dead. You can still wear shimmer make-up as long as it’s well-blended. Phew, now I can sleep at night!
Sam has brought Paula to Umberto’s in the 90210. For Paula, it is the moment of truth, and Sam “releases the beast” by removing the scarf on her head to reveal the Sideshow Bob Fro that you can’t help but notice is attacking Paula’s cranium (I’m convinced that if they had only made over Paula’s head, she would have improved her looks by 89%). Umberto says that underneath all that excess is beautiful hair with great wave, she just needs to learn to work with it. Paula says that she uses a lot of gel to counteract her hair’s tendency to frizz, but Umberto says that gel (which contains alcohol) can be very drying and can make frizzies even worse. He says that what she should be concerned about is a good shampoo and a leave-in conditioner to control her style. Jeannette Casablanca works on Paula’s color while Sam paces around the salon “like an expectant father” half out of his wits to see what they’ve finally done to Paula’s unfortunate fro. When she’s done, Sam and Umberto show her the new style. “Who is that?” she asks, and is again overcome with emotion, while Sam and Umberto both look upon her warmly. It’s hard not to feel affectionate for this sweet and spunky lady. “Bellissima!” Umberto proclaims.
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
A tricked out stretch SUV limo rolls down a desolate Wyoming dirt road to the decorated barn where Liane’s family anxiously awaits her. Her husband says that the two months that she’s been away, he’s realized that she’s the most important thing to him, and her daughter Kizzy also expresses her eagerness at having her mom back. The barn doors roll back, and she comes in dressed in an elegant cappuccino colored evening gown, with her hair in flirty curls, and looking much more refreshed and, yes, feminine. Tom takes her into his qarms immediately, and dances with her before sharing a loving smooch. Thoughtfully, he also gives her a pretty diamond pendant as a gift.
Liane says that she finally does feel like the Belle of the Ball, but in a different way than she imagined, in “the grown-up sense not because of necessarily what I looked like, but people were there because of who I am.” Then as a touching coda to Liane’s fairy tale, she states “I kind of went through this journey to find out that I was okay to begin with.”
Queen of the Hill
“I didn’t to ever say that I am going to be a different person, but I am a different person. I’m healthier, I’m younger, I’m just a little more powerful,” Paula says, as a classic car makes its way to the landmark Texas hotel where her family and friends are waiting to greet her. “Because I think she’s a beautiful woman anyway, I think I’ll recognize her when she walks in,” husband Chris says. Her dad says, “I don’t know about the hair, I don’t know what you guys have done to her.” Trust me, Pops, even a shaved head would have been better than what we started with. “I walk a little different, and I feel like a woman,” Paula says, and then, to the chanting of her name by the multitude of loved ones waiting to see her, she walks down the staircase in a black sequined halter dress that shimmers with silver-screen glamour. She then flexes her incredible guns that Michelangelo couldn’t have sculpted better, then walks straight to her husband to give hima big, long, sexy smooch. Oh my gosh, her body will surely intimidate her aerobics students now.
Her entire family is as sweet, funny, and loveable as she is. Her son (a cutie in his own right), Michael, says, “It took me 20 years to admit I look just like my mom and now you guys went and changed it all up.” Her dad, Peter Micale, dubs it a “Wow moment” and in the sweetest scene I have ever witnessed on EM, he and Paula stand together touching noses. “See? This is before and this is after,” she jokes. Feeling powerful and confident at last, Paula closes the show by saying, “I have the ability to pursue whatever it is I want to pursue. I pretty much can conquer whatever I want to.”
You’re all beautiful to me! Feel free to send any questions or comments to snowflakegirl@fansofrealitytv. com.