At the top of Wednesday night’s Botched by Nature series premiere on E!, a narrator tries to explain the difference between this spin-off and its popular parent show Botched. Unlike Botched, Botched by Nature will feature “patients who weren’t botched by a doctor’s scalpel but were botched by nature.” As you might’ve expected, though, the show is tonally the same.
It would’ve behooved the producers to change the title of this show, because the patients on Botched by Nature aren’t technically “botched.” That distinguishing factor is important to note, since a person who becomes “botched” in the pursuit of an aesthetic fix isn’t the same as one dealing with natural or uncommon deformities. But on a TCA panel this week, Dr. DuBrow made it clear they had to keep the name for branding purposes: “We want people to know that the botched doctors with their botched experience and heart are applying these skills and sensibilities to people with congenital deformities...Botched is now a brand that means hope for helping your problem.” Yes, even corrective surgery has become a “brand.”
Like its parent show, Botched By Nature tackles the idea of “normalizing” one’s physical appearance. What clearly won’t be shown here, though, are the Botched segments that feature excessive, non-essential requests for surgery (i.e, the human Ken doll), which the show does purely for entertainment and has more of a circus element.
Last night’s premiere had all the light-hearted moments familiar to Botched fans to counter the seriousness. The most notable change is that the spin-off takes Drs. DuBrow and Nasif outside of the office, essentially making them house call doctors, which gives the show a slightly more down-home feel. While it’s nice to see these two middle-aged people banter and tease each other, not all of it is necessary (we don’t need to see them eating frozen yogurt together).
After the pair lands in Vegas for their first case, Dr. Nasif explains in a direct-to-camera that, thanks to Botched, people have reached out to them to fix abnormalities that weren’t the result of tragic plastic surgery. The first case is Sabrina, a patient with the autoimmune disorder called ulcerative colitis that attacks the colon, causing headaches, dehydration and stomach pain.
After losing too much weight as a result of the disease (“I just didn’t feel like myself anymore,” she tells us), Sabrina got a breast augmentation that led to complications because of her condition, which is what brings the doctors to Vegas. Later, Dr. DuBrow gives Sabrina the option to remove the implants, which would leave her breasts deflated and perhaps aesthetically undesirable, or to remove the implants and scar tissue and get new implants. Sabrina leaves the decision up to Dr. DuBrow.
“We have to be able to think of something new and creative to prevent this from happening again,” DuBrow tells us. There’s a brief moment of unpredictability, but we all know the doctor likely won’t mess this up because that’s never happened on Botched in front of our eyes.
While driving to their second case, Nasif explains that their next patient’s abnormalities are a result of something called twin-to-twin transfusion. “The placenta cuts off the blood supply to one of the twins,” says Nasif. “He survived but he has all these problems.” Nate has had 21 surgeries to fix his facial abnormalities, all of which totaled $2 million. “I’m not asking for a perfect nose. I’m just asking to look like everyone else,” he says, and the doctors end up performing surgery on his eyes, nose and neck. The results make him happy, if not “perfect.”
Again, these consultations and procedures aren’t much different from what’s seen on Botched. But while the original Botched inherently has a similar cautionary effect as a series like Teen Mom, Botched By Nature is Botched in its most innocent form: a chance for the doctors to look good doing good deeds for people with unfortunate circumstances. To that end, the next episode features a woman with an unusual toe deformity.