Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Transvision Revamp

Some of you may recall my recent shameful confession regarding makeover shows Help, I'm A Binge Makeover Show Addict!

However in lieu of a show yet to help no-lifers like me, I may as well share that one of the best makeover shows in my view was a series on BBC2 several years ago called 'Would Like To Meet'.

Each week a man or woman who had had a disastrous relationship history - or quite often none at all for many years for whatever reason - would be rehabilitated by a stylist, a confidence coach and a body language/sexuality expert, so that by the end of the show they were fit to face the world and hopefully attract a suitable partner with their newfound confidence, knowing that they really did have something to offer/what that something was.

A particularly quality production, WLTM encouraged participants to be totally honest about themselves without injury to their dignity as human beings, or degeneration into emotional or physical strip-tease for the camera. Unlike subsequent low-budget attempts by lesser channels, you felt the WLTM team maintained a lot of respect for their subjects, as indeed did the viewer.

One of their most startling subjects was an engaging former journalist from Plymouth, Jon Massey. Despite being bright, attractive, courteous and charming, Mr Massey (now McKnight) had managed to get to 41 without losing his virginity and lived alone in a small terraced house eating greasy takeaways night after night and despairing of ever finding love. Rather touchingly he'd decorated his bedroom in romantic-fiction style on the off-chance love should ever come knocking, no matter that he'd allowed his wardrobe to go to pot and childhood toys to proliferate.

My heart went out to him, and far from finding him 'pathetic' as he saw himself, I found my admiration for his honesty about himself and how he came to be in his situation grew as the programme went on. Despite having to uproot and face one deeply-held fear after another, Jon threw himself into the process of his own refurbishment, only baulking at the prospect of a professional massage to get him used to being physically touched by another human being in preparation for finding a relationship, and even that fear he overcame.

Within a year of the show Jon was contacted by the woman of his dreams who'd seen the show, and whom he subsequently went on to marry!

I defy anyone to remain dry-eyed at such a human renaissance, or deny that some makeover shows can achieve life-transformingly positive results.

Jon's case, and those of several other of the WLTM participants, also highlighted that all too often human beings have to reach rock bottom in order to be ready to change whatever is blocking or making them miserable about themselves. Also how an unfortunate background, coupled with the lucky breaks in love simply not materialising for some can have a devastating effect on human confidence. Or as Sting so aptly put it; 'How Fragile We Are'.

It also left this viewer wondering how many decent human beings are going to waste being lonely when they needn't be, because some unfortunate life event or unfounded insecurity about themselves has paralysed them from living a full life or making the best choices for themselves.

The show was particularly poignant at the time as I had just endured a horrible relationship break-up and come through an equally horrible illness, which together had conspired to leave my own confidence and feelings of attractiveness at rock bottom.

It was therefore nice to see an interview with Jon in one of the weekend papers prior to a follow-up show of Would Like To Meet Again being screened this week. Apparently true love is still holding good for him and he is continuing to enjoy being the GTi version of himself! I look forward to watching the show and catching up with him and the others, though one subject who opined that she would never consider dating anyone 'ginger' naturally deserves to stay on her tod and unloved for the rest of her days!

As for me, I joined MatchCom internet dating site for a year at around the same time that WLTM was being screened. But that's another posting!


Brother Tobias said...

I worry about what happens when the makeover show makeovers wear off; when the stylists have left and the outfits tire. On the other hand, I confess to a shameful tolerance for reality shows, because the opportunity to observe people closely is as likely to reveal what is best about them as what is worst about them; so often we meet and assess people on an unflatteringly superficial level.

Aunty Belle said...

Jon's fairy tale hope came true?? Endearing. Ain't it odd, Ms.Poet that in the age of "sexual revloution" so many is livin' lonely lives? Why is that, ya' reckon?

I akshully came lookin' fer ya! Thar's a squirrel limerick on the Front Porch, along wif' a contest tailor made fer a Poet-laurate!!

teeni said...

Wow Laura - that show would have had me hooked as well if I had seen someone that honest and willing to try new things in pursuit of happiness. That Jon sounds like quite a nice character. I'm glad he found a lasting loving relationship. As for anyone making such a blanket statement about "ginger," well she's just showing her ignorance on a very big flag. She is eliminating some wonderful people from her life.

The Sagittarian said...

I'm a sucker for a happy ending! Haven't seen that show, but I also wonder what happens to people when the cameras are gone and they "subject" is left to do their own hair etc so I am also addicted to Follow Up shows! My Husband can't stand "Lab Rat TV" as he calls it but my girls and I are way too nosy to switch channels.

Donnnnn said...

That is a sweet story but truth be told nobody need ever be alone.
There really is a 'Lid for every Pot' and an 'Ass for every Saddle'.

Reality shows scare me because they are like Crack for TV, fast, and addictive..
the bean counters with starched shirt collars and pocket protectors who now run the Networks will avoid going to the trouble of producing good old fashioned Whodunnits.

All of those nobodies should bloody well stay on Facebook!

Steve said...

A reality show that maintains and shores up the dignity of it's subjects...? Wow. Now there's a startling concept! Transformation shows are always great and hit a chord with me too... I was alone for a long time before finally getting myself sorted out. The number of lonely people out there who are unable to help themselves though is frightening...

Steerforth said...

I loved that programme (although I always thought that the fashion expert had a bit of a cheek telling people to spruce up their appearance when she was so overweight).

It was CBT in action and I loved watching people regain their self-respect.

I have several single friends who are attractive, interesting, intelligent and funny and I'm mystified why they are so pessimistic about their prospects of finding a partner. However I think that people become set in their ways. WLTM, for all its superficial froth, was exhilarating because it showed how people could transform their lives in a relatively short space of time.

moi said...

I believe I would find that story touching as well. See, these TV shows need to hire Moi. In my next life, I aspire to be a matchmaker.

teeni said...

I just checked out your tee shop! I will try to do a post soon that gives a link to you and see if we can't generate some interest.

Rol said...

I'm well known for my disinterest in this kind of TV, yet back when WLTM was originally shown, I found it addictive viewing. As you say, a cut above most similar shows - I could never understand why it wasn't more of a success.

Unfortunately, I missed the Thursday update, but I see there's another one on this week so I'll try to catch that.

LucyFishwife said...

Hi Laura - This is totally unrelated (don't blame me, I'm at work on Saturday) - but I just tried to feed your Boris the Bunny a carrot and he ignored me. It is a sad indictment of my self-esteem that I now feel downright REJECTED by a virtual pet. Am off to cry. Have got myself a virtual wolf.

kaylee said...

AWWWW Thats nice :)

Brother Tobias said...

I caught the programme by accident, and see what you mean - Massey a re-made and contented man, and it's clear the programme really did change his life for the better. It's a pity he felt he had to dye his hair though.

Wisewebwoman said...

I confess I've never seen a reality of makeover show, being TV-less by choice but your story sounded very touching.
I would like to be in a partnership, I'm quite fed up with living alone. I've done all the do things, registered on line, put word out to friends, have lots of male friends but ne'er the romantic flicker from any of them. it has to be me, I think, some fatal flaw that I'm not aware of and others are too kind to tell me?
Don't get me wrong, I'm reasonably happy but feeling this sadness more often these days.

Can Bass 1 said...

Goodness me, I must have missed this show when it was first aired (otherwise I might have applied to be a competitor on the new series. Felicia seems immune to my somewhat meagre charms, in spite of any number of makeovers).

The Poet Laura-eate said...

BT, I also worry about the makeover shows with purely cosmetic or fleeting results. That's why I was impressed by WLTM and their 3-pronged attack on a person's dating problems.

Aunty Belle - thanks for dropping by! Maybe half the population is having all the sex the other half are missing out on! Seriously I think it is more symptomatic of a world where community is breaking down and the cyber world is taking over, which although it facilitates communication in one sense, also destroys real life interaction too. But I'm sure there's a lot more to it than that. Bad luck in someone's life can definitely be a big factor. I shall investigate your Squirrel limerick forthwith!

Teeni, Yes he was a lovely chap.
And anyone narrowminded enough to miss out on a 'ginger' partner is possibly missing out on the best experience of their lives, I agree! Notwithstanding from a female perspective, we're just grateful if chaps've got all their own hair and teeth, right?

Sagittarian, oo-er, I wasn't going to admit to follow up show addiction, but since you went first! Of course it's too intriguing to know if they kept up the good work once the cameras departed. I'm a sucker for a happy ending too - and even more so the human renaissance of the lasting kind.

Donn, I think you may be right there, so perhaps it is a marketing failure when a pot doesn't find its lid, rather than something being wrong with the pot! However I fear you are also right that makeovers can be a lazy 'n' cheap excuse not to make more worthy programmes (as most makeover shows are pretty awful it has to be said, and I speak as a mainlining addict!). If only they were all of the same standard as WLTM.

So true, Steve. Glad you were one of the lucky ones re true life happy endings!

Steerforth, I think that is always the way with makeover shows - that you never always agree the stylist etc! Though I think Jay Hunt gave mostly good advice even if she had a bit of a cake tyre herself!

I wish your attractive single male friends all the luck in the world -of failing that a new series of Would Like To Meet to volunteer for!

Moi, how many people have you successfully matched, just out of interest?

Teeni, must confess I've given up on my internet T-shirt shop, but you've prompted me to start thinking about rejuvenating it again! Or perhaps I should wait for Would Like To Run A Successful Online Shop to hit the screens!

Rol, that is proof of the pudding that it was a good show if hardened cynic like you watched & appreciated it!

LucyFishWife - blimey I didn't know I could feed my cyber rabbit in the first place (you learn something every day!). I shall have a go myself later.

Cheers Kayleee.

Aw BT - you saw it too! Yes I also preferred Jon's more romantic locks to the rather severe dark short back and sides they gave him, much though I appreciate he needed to feel completely different from the bad old days and the look change was part of that.

WWW - some man out there is missing a veritable human bargain gal! Perhaps you need to change tactics.

Can Bass, I'd offer you mine but it's a Skoda Felicia! I think you should definitely volunteer for another series - you sound like you have a lot of excellent qualities - for the right pianist!

Lucy Fishwife said...

Can't believe I'm still obsessing about this but - yes, in theory you can feed him (and pat him on the head) with the cursor. You click on the little "more" tab, it brings up a carrot, and you can move it up to the rabbit's face - and lo and behold, it ignores you... sob