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Bad Idea of the Week: "America the Ugly"

Bad Idea of the Week: "America the Ugly"

Here's an idea that just makes me sad: VH1 could be developing a reality show called "America the Ugly," following unattractive women who get thrown into the glamorous world of fashion and modeling. The show is said to be a real-world version of "Ugly Betty," starring Becky Southwick, the acerbic model manager from "The Agency."

Now, I actually enjoyed Becky's cutting comments on "The Agency" — when she was dealing with models, also known as people who are judged on their looks professionally. But I wouldn't want her giving me a head-to-toe assessment before I headed to work each day — and I certainly wouldn't want her to humiliate other relatively normal-looking young women who might not be too high in the self-esteem department in the first place.

I know we live in a judgmental, Hollywood-obsessed society, but when did it become outright OK to make fun of "ugly" people? I'm still reeling from these yogurt ads that reimagine classic movie scenes with chunkier women in the roles, and this show seems even more offensive. Other than proving that reality TV once again lacks original ideas, it also ignores the major lessons of "Ugly Betty" — that the supposed beautiful people are often nasty on the inside, that your mind and heart matter more than your looks, that the underdog can come out on top.

This especially bugs me because right now, male nerds — many of whom are far from being Hollywood lookers — are being not just accepted but celebrated in entertainment: "Flight of the Conchords," "The IT Crowd," "Chuck," Dwight Schrute. Why can't our brainy, beautiful (if not model-gorgeous) girls get their due, too?

Photo copyright 2007 ABC, Inc.

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