Face Value: The Merits of Plastic Surgery Entertainment
by Cosmetics Expert Mike Dune
The ratings are in for the first season of the E! network’s plastic surgery reality show, Botched, and the show seems to be giving the network quite an uplift. According to a news release from E!, Botched was on pace to be the network’s “most-watched docu-series” since 2011 among viewers ages 18 to 49. The show recently aired its first season finale and was picked up for a second season to begin airing in the first quarter of 2015.
With 2 Los Angeles plastic surgeons at the helm, the show tells the stories of people who are unhappy with “botched” plastic surgery results and want revision procedures. It often features people who got, for instance, a bad nose job that needs fixing, and it also spotlights some off-beat characters such as Justin “The Human Ken Doll” Jedlica, who has had something like 100 cosmetic procedures.
The show is undoubtedly silly at times, such as when the surgeons (who are longtime friends) tease each other about their dancing abilities. On the other hand, though, it’s also a deeper cautionary tale for a generation of television viewers in a time when cosmetic enhancement is more popular than ever.
The overarching theme of Botched, aside from its entertainment value, is knowing the difference between low-quality and high-quality care. The star surgeons, Dr. Paul Nassif and Dr. Terry Dubrow, are both certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, and they talk about this certification frequently when questioning patients on how they ended up with bad surgical results.
Dr. Kouros Azar is another Southern California plastic surgeon who specializes in revising other surgeons’ botched breast augmentation surgeries at his Thousand Oakspractice. According to his website, board certification and memberships in prestigious industry groups such as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery are great ways for patients to know their surgeons have proved themselves as knowledgeable and experienced.
The Botched surgeons echo this sentiment time and again, for the benefit of both the patients they are treating and any prospective patients watching their show.
Joan Kron, a contributing editor for Allure who has long written on plastic surgery issues for leading publications, said in an article about the show’s premiere that it’s clear the surgeons aim to educate. She also said the show’s real accomplishment is that it’s managed to wrap that education in such an entertaining package.
Botched has allied itself with a popular online forum for people interested in plastic surgery called RealSelf. After the show each week, a RealSelf interviewer talks with Dr. Nassif and asks in-depth questions about procedures and patient motivations, and the website posts more information about relevant topics.
This partnership extends the show’s reach not only for entertainment purposes, but also for its educational value, giving RealSelf users who are doing their homework on their own cosmetic goals useful information.
Between segments about how large is too large for breast implants and the occasional tongue-in-cheek joke, Botched covers serious ground on issues such as body dysmorphic disorder and the dangers of traveling abroad for discounted plastic surgery. Cosmetic enhancement gets more popular in the U.S. by the year, and Botched dispenses a lot of relevant information about that part of our culture in a very consumable format.