Wednesday, 26 November 2014

All the glitters is not gold

Netflix is on it's way Down Under and the locals are excited.  And so they should be.

For years, our best TV option was Foxtel, which, like most monopolies, kept a tight reign on the channel packages and pricing.  It's no coincidence that the whiff of Netflix coming to Australia sent Foxtel prices tumbling.

After more than a decade of devoted Foxtel channel flicking, I ditched it a few months ago in favour of Netflix.   While Netflix has yet to launch in Australia, it seems about 200,000 Australians like myself have been getting Netflix by subscribing to the US version and working around the geo-blocking.

Now I'm no tech head, but I found it all surprisingly simple using the instructions outlined here.

So apart from being much cheaper than Foxtel (I'm talking a total of $13 a month total compared to Foxtel's previous $60), there's more content than you can poke a stick at and it's available ad free and on demand.

As I've delved into Netflix, I've loved the choice and freedom, but I've also discovered that just because it's on Netflix doesn't mean it's any good.

A prime example of this is the horrible/addictive TV viewing that is Bridalpasty.

Yes, this show is a bad as it sounds.   I think you can guess the premise: it's part Extreme Makeover, part Bridezillas and part Survivor.

Originally screened in 2010 (and surprisingly never commissioned again), Bridalplasty is a US reality TV show where 12 engaged women compete to win a dream wedding, complete with plastic surgery procedures.

The husband-to-be of the winner does not see his fiancee for months until the wedding day, by which time she has been nipped, tucked and sucked within an inch of her life and is probably considering an upgrade in the life partner department.

Each week, the engaged ladies compete in a series of challenges of questionable importance: flower arranging, cake selection etc.  The winner of each of these challenges gets one of the many plastic surgery procedures they want.

Given the lengthy surgery wish list each of the participants have, from breast enhancements through to liposuction and nose jobs, you'd mistakenly think you were dealing with some of the world's most hideously deformed women.
This is Cheyenne, her before photo and her surgery wish list

Each week, the bottom two losers are up for elimination, with the the remaining contestants choosing who should stay by "RSVP-ing" and siting at their bridal table during the brutal elimination ceremonies.

Once the most unpopular wannabe bride is identified, she is sent away sans cosmetic enhancement and accompanied by the cutting final words of the show host: "Barbara, you'll still have your wedding, it just won't be perfect."

You could do a thesis or two on the terrible messages this show sends: from perceptions of beauty, body dysmorphia, the role of a wife, narcissism, and what constitutes a perfect wedding these days.

Still, it's a highly addictive show thanks to the inevitable tantrums, back-stabbing and constant stream of contestants being wheeled back from the operating theatre.

Looking good!

Bridalplasty not only serves as a great reminder of how not everything on Netflix is cinematic gold, but also how, just like with free-to-air television, if you're not careful you can easily get sucked into watching pure and unadulterated crap.

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