I love makeover shows. Just simply to see how far people are willing to go to be humiliated on television. Till now in India I’ve had to make to with Band Baajaa Bride, which features an array of women whose only aim in life seems to be to “surprise” their husbands by looking prettier on their wedding day – whether that’s through collagen implants, dental surgery, botox, skin whitening treatments (all conducted on television). All of them prodded on by a host who tells them things like “I’ve noticed two brown spots on your pale white cheek. You need to get your epidermis removed, pronto." It’s so bad, I keep watching it. The way you do a car wreck on the road.
When I heard Trinny and Susannah were coming to makeover India on TLC, I didn’t hold out too much hope that they could do much better. Even though, I love their international shows.
Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine are two British makeover queens, who take the average woman on the street, go into their houses, redo their wardrobes, give them a full hair and wardrobe makeover and end with a fashion show for the family. Trinny and Susannah Undress The Nation was fun, because of how blunt the duo are with the badly dressed. There’s a sense of humour, nothing is taken too seriously, and the newly dressed actually used do look better after the makeover. It was also impressive to see the number of women who were willing to try on bras and knickers on camera and allow Trinny and Susannah to cup their breasts and say that they were saggy or non-existent.
But then this is India. Would anyone agree to appear in lingerie on camera? And would the women be either models or celebrities or actors posing as ordinary women?
Trinny and Susannah Makeover Mission India began on Monday and has started off well. The first two episodes are over. And the energy on the show has only increased. The first show was a little straitlaced. Trinny and Susannah accost a couple chatting in a restaurant and then a young woman in Fabindia. The couple did look suitably surprised as did the girl. So they have a future in acting, at least.
There are no lingerie shots, thank the lord. Going by the people being made over, I don’t think it would have made for very pleasing television. What worked for me was that these were people like us. People who would watch TLC. They were funny, self-deprecating, didn’t seem to take it to heart when they were told they dressed badly or like people double their age. They simply didn’t take the exercise too seriously. There was a “it’s not a big deal” air about them, which was refreshing. Which is the way it should be.
There was no premium placed on what you look like and how that is the main determinant of your personality and whether someone would want to be with you – unlike Band Baajaa Bride. In fact, going by the people featured, I think if they were told that their husbands would love them more if they dressed a certain way – at least the first girl on the show would have just slapped or sat on Trinny and Susannah to show them the light.
My favourite though was the second episode where two women were made over. One was a singer and voice-over artist who was pretty, confident and seemingly undisturbed by the criticism of her clothes. The other was walking down Mumbai’s streets dressed in shorts the size of panties and a skin-tight black shimmery corset. Which is when you come face to face with the Trinny and Susannah you see on their international shows. They said exactly what any right-thinking person would. They told the girl that she was dressed like a “tart”. That was of course beeped out by our censors. We should give our censors some props for knowing that the hosts didn't mean a confectionery, but a woman of flexible morality and limbs. And again, what was nice was that the tarty girl took it on the chin. She laughed at the criticism and sportingly got made over. Whether off camera she tried to do herself in with the strings of her corset, I don’t know. But on camera, she seemed quite the tarty sport.
A word about the hosts. You do feel like placing some healthy fatty food in front of Trinny though, who is painfully thin. Or telling Susannah to hide her flabby arms. But their imperfections make their advice more palatable. It’s as if they’ve been there and done that and have trouble finding flattering clothes themselves.
And my vote goes to any show where people don’t mince words and call a tart a tart. Always trust the British biddy, they’ll never let you down.
You can watch Trinny and Susannah Makeover Mission India on TLC from Monday to Friday at 9pm.
Disclaimer: Firstpost is owned by Network 18 which also owns channels that compete with TLC .
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Updated Date: Aug 16, 2013 11:21:34 IST