The holidays are upon us and I've turned into Suzy Homemaker. I've got food on the brain, except with this episode of The Swan, it's not turkey I'm considering as the centerpiece of my table this Thursday. No, it's gamier than that. Think Texas free range Swan with cinnamon glaze. Yum! I don't know if I'm watching FOX or the Food Network.
Sugar, Spice, And Everything Nice
Lucky for all of us, it's not annoying chefette Rachael Ray who makes the grand entrance, but my girl-crush, Amanda Bryam. She's resplendent in a delicious looking chocolate colored satin strapless with rhinestone "X" appliques alongside the bodice. In clamor the experts, ruining our admiring reveries. Okay, maybe just my reverie. Whatever.
We are introduced to 31 year old Cinnamon Smith, who's really at odds with her girly moniker. She's a Philly bicycle patrol woman and a divorced mother of three kids. She mentions son Sage by name. Hopefully the girls weren't named Coriander and Anise. Cinnamon is a tough lady, but not an unattractive one at that. She's a tomboy from way back, judging from photos. In her teen years she was a dead ringer for Wham! era George Michael, and later morphed into Kristy MacNichol for her wedding day. Not surprisingly, her marriage suffered and collapsed after 10 years. Cinnamon claims to have ruined her body by eating the junk her kids eat, leaving her with some slight saddlebags. She mentions hating her nose, thighs, mustache and chin hair. Dr. Dubrow agrees, commenting that she needs some refinement to her nose and some body reconstruction to soften her masculine frame. Dentist Sherri Worth mentions her puffy, infected gums, indicative of some major decay problems. Specifically, Cinnamon is slated for a tummy tuck, breast augmentation, and liposuction to 4 major areas of her body. She'll have rhinoplasty and a brow lift. Dr. Worth plans zoom bleaching, gum reconstruction, deep cleaning and Da Vinci veneers. The trainer lays forth the standard 2 hour daily workout routine, heavy on the cardio, plus a 1,200 calorie a day diet regimen. Ianni gets some counseling sessions in, which I'm convinced are more girl talk than anything else, considering her "credentials".
The competition is in the form of Patti Chadone, a 42 year old computer technician from New Caney, Texas. At first glance, she's not giving herself enough credit if she thinks she needs a lot of surgery to make her look her best. She's thin, blonde, and pleasant looking, with a smattering of freckles. She favors Sissy Spacek, complete with a Texas accent. But it's the sadness reflected in her face that is her biggest obstacle. Patti has had a hard life. The former police officer lost her first husband Lydon to a cancerous brain tumor in 1999, and feels she missed out on a significant chunk of her life to his illness and the raising of her family. Now married to Stan, 7 years her junior, she's plagued by doubts over her looks and figure. She laments having to wear padded bras and having "pop eyes". Stan thinks she's active and vibrant as she is, bless his heart. Dr. Dubrow mentions that Patti is the oldest Swan candidate yet, and will address her eyelid problems. Doctor Ianni thinks Patti will need help dealing with the past cancer issues in order to embrace her present life, free of that emotional pain. Her complete makeover plan includes a full face lift, eyelid lift, lower eye lift, and Lasik eye surgery. She'll have breast augmentation and liposuction to 5 areas on her body. Dr. Worth does not deviate from her regular dental detailing. She does not need to lose weight, so she's not on calorie restriction, but does need the gym time to tone up her arms and legs.
Bam! Kicking It Up A Notch!
With the plans to feminize Cinnamon and turn back the clock for Patti in order, the ladies check into their reflection-free rooms. It's clear these two women have entirely different demeanors. Cinnamon gets busted with sugar packets stashed in her bags and later jumps on the bed jubilantly. I think she must be on a sugar high. Meanwhile, Patti sits on her bed weeping as she reads a letter from her family.
Patti has a consult with Dr. Dubrow, who tells her he would like to make her look 15 years younger by softening the lines and planes of her face. She's enthused about getting a face lift and agrees to seeing an ocular specialist in order to fix her lower lids and rid herself of the googly eyes. She briefly mentions a cyst on the right side of her nose, and is completely ignored by Dubrow's excitement about outfitting her with lower C sized implants to complement her slim figure.
Cinnamon starts off with Dr. Worth, confiding that she got some caps years ago, which are pretty fake looking. Worth looks horrified. Veneers, caps, same difference, I say! She further confesses her sins, admitting to not having seen a dentist in over 10 years. Worth gets down to the nitty gritty, deciding to remove the crappy crowns then and there, accompanied by crunching and snapping sounds. The teeth underneath are filed down, pointy and either corn kernel yellow or ashy grey. Worth, a woman in tune with the viewer sensibilities, kindly outfits Cinnamon with temporary veneers. Cinnamon is traumatized and shaken by it all.
By week 2, Cinnamon is somewhat mollified and calm enough to face Dr. Haworth's surgical plans. He is striving for overall feminization by balancing out her muscles and body fat, via lipo to her abdomen, hips, and knees. Cinnamon jokes that she will get a swan tattoo on the small of her back to match the ugly tat on her stomach pouch. She giddily tells Haworth she wants a new and improved spice rack, at least large C's or a D cup. To his credit, he tries to talk her out of it, adding that a large chest will interfere with her job as a police woman. But she insists. He tries to deflect by describing how he will have the ball of her nose tip refined, but all Cinnamon can think about is stripper worthy boobies.
We Interrupt This Frivolous Show To Bring You An Important Announcement:
Another week, and more procedures. Patti has two major issues that she'd like the doctors to address. She wants a sexier body and a youthful appearance. After her C cup breast augmentation surgery, she has Dubrow examine her nose. He stumbles upon the bump-like cyst alongside the bridge of her nose and sets about removing it. At one point he holds up the meaty little mass with some surgical tweezers and my stomach lurched. Way to ruin my Thanksgiving, Doc! After bandaging Patti, he tells her he's going to postpone further work until he can get the mass checked out.
Cinnamon has better luck with Dr. Haworth. He tells her she'll get a nose job, skin-only tummy tuck, lipo, and her augmentation done in one day. Cut to shots of the lipo wand being wielded quite brusquely. He eradicates her ugly tattoo when he tucks her tummy, thank God. Her nose gets set back and sculpted. After the ordeal, he's nice enough to call her kids and hold the phone receiver to her so she can hear them yelling their love and support. That was really thoughtful of him.
Patti, nose bandage and all, gets the test results read to her. Her lesion is cancerous. Shock settles about her shoulders and they droop. Unfortunately the first procedure didn't remove all the malignant tissue, and they have to go back and remove more. Remembering all the suffering her first husband went through, she voices concerns about how her family will handle this news. Dr. Dubrow hugs and comforts her. Doctor Ianni leaps at this chance to show off her skills and spends many a minute giving Patti some pep talks about accepting her diagnosis and getting over her obsession with cancer. Patti heaps the blame on herself, for ignoring the bump for over 2 years, but is told to shun the culpability and accept life's inevitability.
Cinnamon spends day after day in the following weeks calling her family compulsively because she misses her kids. She has to stash her family photos away in her luggage to ease her homesickness. Cheer comes in the form of a videotape from her bicycle cop partner. He's a goof and manages to lighten up her mood by sending her a pair of black high heels. Blahniks they're not, but she's giddy regardless, tottering around in them on the sidewalks outside the Swan Pad.
It's do or die, sink or fly day for Patti--the results of her basal cell cancer testing are in. There are concerns it has spread and there will be the need to remove further tissue, which could really disfigure her nose. Luckily, the second surgery removed all the malignancy and she can get her face lift. The specialist gets to debug her eyes and leaves her looking like a redfaced, puffy-eyed newborn baby. Patti has a bit of catching up to do, but it's not so bad, since she didn't have as many figure issues as Cinnamon. Is she emotionally prepared for the pageant, though?
Spice, Spice, Baby
It's a time for revelation, and a whole month has transpired since we last saw the competitors for the crown. The assorted team of experts remind us that Cinnamon had to track down her feminine side, with the help of major nasal refinement and dental work. Dr. Worth promises a beautiful smile.
Himbos heave open the doors, and in strides Cinnamon, modeling a black matte dress, with a rhinestone broach at the plunging neckline, which does not sufficiently pull the eyes away from the exaggerated skirt slit. I hope she got a bikini wax. She's blonder, which illuminates her face quite a bit, but she doesn't look too different. Chatting with Amanda before she takes a gander at herself in the mirror, I detect a slight lisp in her speech. Maybe it's her Da Vincis. After holding Amanda's hand way too long (GRR!), she is ready for her reveal. She holds back on rubbing her cheeks, and sinks up and down a few times as she yells in joy. It was as if she were doing squats.
Thankfully, Patti's reveal is much less dramatic and bizarre. There's the brief recap of her tragedies, with Dr. Dubrow commenting that the Swan program was doubly hard for her due to her life threatening diagnosis. Doctor Ianni adds that the cancer was always the primary focus in her therapy sessions.
Patti makes her presence known in a bright pink, mid-length ribbed dress that's uber-tight and has an atrocious car wash fringed hem. It's meant to accent some seriously nice legs, but doesn't quite work. Maybe it was last week's hair overkill, because Patti also has a nice, straight, blonde mane that looks very natural. She now resembles CSI's Marg Helgenberger, vibrant and youthful. As she gazes at her reflection, she's overjoyed her nose was not mangled after the numerous procedures. She lets out a big ole Texas "Woo!" and proclaims that her kids will be so proud.
Who moves on to pageantry? Both women make their entrance, beaming, and await Amanda's verdict. After a long, drawn out moment, it's announced that Spice Girl Cinnamon gets to move on. I was rooting for Patti, personally. Ianni explains that Patti lost because she lost focus of the program and really just wanted to go back home, whereas Cinnamon threw herself completely to the experience. Amanda takes some time to say goodbye to Patti, welcoming her family into the salon. Husband Stan is very chivalrous to his wife, although their teenage daughter ruins the moment by saying Mom looks like Pam Anderson. Hon, Mommy now has dirtypillows, but she's no Pammy. Amanda smothers Cinnamon in girly hugs in a saccharine sweet display that sparked my jealousy and almost left me a diabetic. If I'm not in a sugar coma, won't you join me next week?
Want to swap holiday recipes with me? Email me at email@example.com