I have a fear.
My fear is that the wonderful people whose lives are changed by getting new veneers and new breasts and laser-defeated facial scars and new homes with new pools and new rumpus rooms and new garages filled with crown-molding and new electronic whiz-bang doodads are, in the end, not as happy as we think they are.
And do you know why?
Because when the cameras have stopped filming and when the ratings have been celebrated and forgotten I have this horrible feeling that the veneers start to rot and become unwieldy dental problems, the new breasts grow hard or begin to sag, the acne comes back and is too expensive to re-zap, the pools grow moldy and the rumpus rooms grow dirty and the garages are stained with oil and the crown-molding cracks and peels and the electronics fail to work any more and people are, in the end, not as happy as they thought they’d be.
You could try to deny it but you wouldn’t know for sure.
But the reality is — all of these wonderful presents people are getting on shows that range from Extreme Makeover to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to The Swan to The Complex: Malibu to Billy-Joe-Jim Bob’s Explosive Home Blow-Up…there is upkeep that is necessary to keep them in shape.
If you are a fat person who eats like crap and doesn’t exercise and gets acne because of it and because you’re unhappy your house is a mess and you can’t find a partner because of your lack of self-confidence — then when the show has ended and you’ve walked into that ballroom and made your family cry because you look the best you’ve looked in years…once the spotlights have faded will you keep up the hard work? Will you exercise and see that psychiatrist and eat better and what not?
If your house is in shambles and blah blah blah (you know where I’m going as per the previous paragraph) and you never took care of your place in the first place, will you really do your part when the show has stopped airing? Not to mention, is any house that is built in seven days really solid through and through?
I smell shoddily-made light fixtures, people. Shoddily-made.
It’s a wonderful, emotional experience — living an hour with people whose lives are changed for the better. It is touching and makes me almost…ALMOST, shed a tear. But when the credits roll I don’t believe that these people will live happily ever after. In fact, I believe life has just been made tougher for them.
For now, they have to maintain a level of perfection that they have never maintained before. If you didn’t have the money for veneers or a trainer in the first place — you won’t now. If you didn’t have the money to fix those moldy holes in your walls before, what will happen when there’s the first sign of a leak? If you didn’t have the money to pay your bills before, how will a house affixed with flat-panel HDTVs in every room lower your energy costs now?
In the end, there’s a reason we don’t ever hear from these people ever again. There’s a reason nobody ever asks.
There is a dark side. And nobody wants to know.