11/01 Recap: The Swan 2 "The $34,600 Woman"
I'm not Amanda Byram. I don't have her beauty spot. Heck, I'm not even Irish. But I am your fun-filled recapper for this season's passel of Swan episodes. Shall we begin? If so, stop looking for flaws with your magnified mirror and let's live vicariously for a moment or two.
Gentlemen, We Can Rebuild Her
Perennial hostess Amanda starts us off with her usual sales pitch, introducing the two new women who are offering themselves up to the Beauty Gods. What follows is a fromaggy montage featuring the show "experts", who are most proficient at giving themselves accolades.
We Have The Technology
First up is Gina Davis, a 38 year old wife and mother who's only had 10% use of one ear for the past 35 years, probably due to a bout of pneumonia. She recounts the horrors of being teased as a child, not because of her looks, but mainly her disability and discordant speech pattern. Thanks to the schoolyard hellions, Gina has self esteem issues with her weight and lack of chin. I think she's lovely. To add to her burden, she seems to have married the Incredible Hulk, a complete brute with anger management problems.
Amanda asks mail order therapist, "Doctor" Ianni, what emotional scars Gina has to heal within herself. It's as simple as learning to stand up for herself. The plastic surgeons and dentist predictably have a laundry list of physical imperfections that they have to fix, STAT. I couldn't see much wrong with Gina, but what do I know? They are dead set on giving this woman a mess of physical scars. Gina is signed up for:
Liposuction of the hips($2,400), breast job($4,000), tummy tuck($5,000), chin implant($3,000), eye lift($6,000), nose job($6,000), brow lift($3,000), fat transfer to lips($900), zoom bleaching of teeth($800), gum recontouring($1,500), Da Vinci porcelain veneers($2,000) and 3 months of weekly therapy($100 per hour, 5 hours a week, for 3 months=$6,000)
But hold on to your love-handles! We now meet Lorri Arrias, the 34 year old California mother who Amanda gleefully announces is the ugly duckling who has to endure the most surgical procedures ever! Lorri also has low self esteem, stemming from a verbally abusive mother who called her fat. This naturally lead to bouts of overeating. Lorri resorted to stuffing food in pillowcases, much like hamsters and their cheek pouches. Her husband died without ever seeing her nude, even after a tremendous weight loss of 120 pounds, because she's been left with crepey loose skin on her abdomen and feels "melted and ugly". Lorri will undergo:
Face lift($5,000), tummy tuck($5,000), inner thigh lift($2,000), breast lift/nipple relocation($4,000), liposuction of the knees($3,500), nose job($6,000), brow lift($3,000), eye lift($6,000), fat transfer to lips($900), zoom bleaching of teeth($800), gum recontouring($1,500), Da Vinci porcelain veneers($2,000) and Nutrisystem diet plan(3 months, at $68.74 a week=$624.88)
The World's First Bionic Woman
The ladies arrive in the City of Angels and move into their respective mirrorless apartments. Plastic surgeon Haworth states the obvious, that Lorri's former obesity has left her with Sharpei-like saggy skin. He rudely points out her stomach, adding that he plans on repositioning most of her midsection for a total body lift. It'll be the most dramatic rose ceremony yet...erm, I mean, most dramatic *makeover* yet.
Gina's initial consult is largely unnecessary. Our surgeons deem her face uneven and lacking in symmetry. Okay, if you say so. Her nose isn't small enough and she needs a chin.
Dentist Sherri Worth wants to leave both ladies with radiant Colgate smiles. Lorri is thrown for a loop when she's informed a tooth has to go, due to an infection. And here she thought her teeth were the one part of her that was A-OK. Her face is doodled on in preparation for some facial work, but she calls home first and cries, ruining the Magic Marker map spread across her cheeks. She's also told that she's going to have a buttock lift($1,800).* Two weeks later she has the remainder of her face work done,complete with shots of pinkish fat sucked out of her. I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth. She's left looking like she lost a few rounds with Laila Ali. Even later, after suffering the indignity of having her stomach folds prodded and kneaded, she has her final lifts and augmentations.
Gina also receives the Etch-A-Sketch lines across the face. She opts to call her loutish husband David, with the aid of a nurse, who looks really pained to have to tell Gina he really hasn't much support to offer. Crestfallen over the call, she's told by Haworth that her surgery will be "difficult" and that she may not have enough cartilege in her nose for him to work with. Could it be because she doesn't need a nose job? He somehow succeeds. Gina recovers under the supervision of the team of experts, even though she suffers a setback in the form of bad news from home. Hurricane Frances has huffed, puffed, and blown her house down. Her mother reassures Gina her family is well, and convinces the distraught woman to stay.
Who Will Be That Woman?
Gina is in a severe funk, most likely from realizing she got all this bogus surgery done for the sake of TV ratings. In true Swan fashion, the best cure for what ails her is a visit from a complete stranger, former contestant Merline. In a brilliant attempt to extend her fifteen minutes of quasi-fame, she delivers a pep talk via sign language.
Lorri is on her own, no fame 'ho visit for her. She naturally calls home and whimpers as she talks with her kids. Determined to leave, she packs up her bags, but somehow the plucky children convince her to stay for one more month. Will she see the program through to it's overwrought end?
Better Than She Was Before
Reveal ceremony time! The himbos part the door for Gina Davis. She's clad in a wine colored sequined gown, and has a penchant for striking a Price is Right model "arm up in the air" pose. They've ruined her looks, frankly, from her ratty extensions to her pinched up nose. Amanda forces a rictus that she hopes passes for a smile, and coaxes her up to the curtained mirror. After the requisite pause, she pulls the curtains open and promptly shrieks, shattering her new hearing aide. Gina has morphed into a game show hostess. Vanna, watch your back!
The manservants pull the doors open to allow for Lorri's entrance. She's in a dowdy black ribbed dress and pumps. Not even some cleavage can help her. But I'm nitpicking, because she looks stunning. Her transformation might be the best one yet. The work blends in flawlessly, making her look natural and decades younger. She gazes in the mirror, subdued, taking in her trim figure. I was touched. For once the experts should be justifiably proud of their efforts.
Better, Stronger, Faster
Who will be our next fine feathered femme? The ladies clasp hands and try to smile convincingly at one another. Amanda takes a long time to open the envelope. Is beautiful, poised, and transformed Lorri the lass who gets to advance to pageantry? No, it's haggard and pinchy Gina. What outrage! Lorri is dismissed into the embrace of family members, head held high. After all, she got a free overhaul!
Desiccated winner Gina keeps telling her family and friends that she can't believe she's going to the pageant. For what it's worth, I can't believe it either, honey.
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