It is rare that a show is so stupid, so offensive, so asinine and yet at the same time so incredibly dull that you can't wring a single drop of guilty pleasure from it.
For those of you fortunate enough to have been spared it, ABC's True Beauty is the new steaming pile of manure from the production companies of Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher, a reality program that tricks a bunch of bimbos into thinking they're competing for the title of "Most Beautiful Person In America" while in fact showing that beauty is only skin-deep.
Well, sort of. See, the bimbos assemble (they're not really worth breaking down; they all look similar and talk a lot about how attractive they are, you know the drill) in a fancy house and do 'beauty challenges' while all the while being judged for how they react to plants like overburdened waiters or people collecting money for charity. But the thing is, they're still being judged on their beauty. In the first episode, contestants visited a "scientific beauty expert" who determined their objective beauty by a series of Nazi-like measurements, comparing them to "ideal" charts and ratios. Think this is some kind of sick trick? Oh, no. See, the two "losers" of this challenge (ie, those whose features are the least symmetrical or perfect or something) are the ones who are up for elimination.
At this point, the judges — a grieved Cheryl Tiegs, a stern Vanessa Minnillo and a smirking Nolé — look at how the two losers did on the "inner beauty" challenge, and the one who failed to put change in a cup, or open a door or something, gets eliminated. Because, you see, he's ugly both inside and outside! On last night's episode, the second of the series, contestants were judged on outfits they put together (it seriously doesn't bear getting into). One chick got the axe because she failed to help a planted bike rider who took a spill in front of her. (Oh, and because her outfit "wasn't fresh.")
The premise is, to say the least, flawed. It's also offensive, stupid, incoherent, boring, lacking in suspense, and with no payoff whatsoever. Watching idiots preen is bad enough; watching them be humiliated in contrived situations by self-righteous judges who apparently don't understand their own clichés is worse. As my friend said, "this show has Ashton's incoherence and Tyra's inability to make a point. And they don't even have the excuse of a writer's strike."