Isn't it enough to live in a world where we are all judged harshly and cruelly on our outward appearances? A world where our insecurities fuel innumerable multi-million dollar industries created to sculpt, disguise, change, flaunt and otherwise alter our outward appearance to fit a narrowly defined standard of beauty. Isn't it enough that we all harbour some small place within us that is terrified, horribly terrified, of being thought of as, dare I say it, ugly?
Apparently, it's not enough for the wonderful folks who bring us the innovative and oh-so-real reality television.
Average Joe Two: Hawaii. Incredibly, the name suggests there must have been a predecessor of the same sort which I was fortunate enough to escape being sucked into, but this second monstrosity has made me incredibly sick. Not the kind of sick that usually comes from seeing reality TV where hard-bodied or emaciated individuals display the worst sides of their natures for the ravenous cameras, only to proclaim in their post-show interviews they were "just playing the game." They really are nice people, they really are in love, and of course it wasn't for the money...
No, this was a feeling that made me squirm, it was painful to watch.
Eighteen men were brought to an island to live in a house and compete for the love of a beautiful woman. Nothing new here. However, these men are, as the show's title would suggest, average. There are men with bad teeth, men with speech impediments, men who are consumed with shyness to the point of being incoherent. There are several men who are overweight, some with medical problems, many with bad hair. These are the men people made fun of when they were boys, those that few spoke to then and few speak to now. And they brought these men to an island, to compete for the love of a beautiful woman.
If the premise of the show was to demonstrate, in a heartfelt and honest way, that there is more to a person than their looks I would be the first to stand up and applaud. If this show was created to prove the age-old adage that one shouldn't judge a book by its cover I would be ecstatic .
This is not the intent of Average Joe Two: Hawaii. These 18 men were chosen to be laughingstocks for North American viewers.
This is a chance for the beautiful people to be cruel, judgmental and ridicule them without the chance of being caught or made to understand the consequences of their actions. There is no chance that those 18 poor men onscreen will hear your comments and react, show some semblance of emotion and therefore ruin the amusement you're having at their expense. There is no chance for you to realize there are people underneath those less than aesthetically pleasing exteriors.
The beautiful woman's reaction was predictable; shock and horror, bleeped swears as she conferred with producers after meeting the men. She conducted herself well, being polite to the men and, if future glimpses of the show are correct, she ends up being romantically involved with more than one of them.
Then, just when you begin to think the show might not be so sleazy and cruel, the kind shell that has formed around these individuals is shattered when, one day, a yacht load of beautiful men arrives.
Isn't it enough to have these men overcome themselves and gather the courage to speak and act and be, in spite of being mocked their whole lives? Just when they begin to feel comfortable within the artificial setting of the island and the show, they are confronted with the very people whom they have been compared to and fallen short of their whole lives.
Gee, I wonder what happens.
In a final and sickening clip, one of the "average" men asks one of the "beautiful" men "do you think you're better than me?"
Flashing his white teeth and rock hard abs, the tanned young man replies "yes, yes I do."