The past decade has seen an explosion of lifestyle makeover TV shows. Audiences around the world are being urged to ‘renovate’ everything from their homes to their pets and children while lifestyle experts on TV now tell us what not to eat and what not to wear. Makeover television and makeover culture is now ubiquitous and yet, compared with reality TV shows like Big Brother and Survivor, there has been relatively little critical attention paid to this format. This exciting collection of essays written by leading media scholars from the UK, US and Australia aims to reveal the reasons for the huge popularity and influence of the makeover show. Written in a lively and accessible manner, the essays brought together here will help readers ‘make sense’ of makeover TV by offering a range of different approaches to understanding the emergence of this popular cultural phenomenon. Looking at a range of shows from The Biggest Loser to Trinny and Susannah Undress, essays include an analysis of how and why makeover TV shows have migrated across such a range of TV cultures, the social significance of the rise of home renovation shows, the different ways in which British versus American audiences identify with makeover shows, and the growing role of lifestyle TV in the context of neo-liberalism in educating us to be ‘good’ citizens.
This book was published as a special issue of Continuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Revealing the Makeover Show Tania Lewis Part I: Industry 2. Changing Rooms, Biggest Losers and Backyard Blitzes: A History of Makeover Television in the UK, US and Australia Tania Lewis 3. Makeover on the Move: Global Television and Program Formats Albert Moran Part II: Frameworks 4. Makeover Television, Governmentality and the ‘Good’ Citizen James Hay and Laurie Ouellette 5. Economy and Reflexivity in Makeover TV Guy Redden 6. Insecure: Narratives and Economies of the Branded Self in Transformation Television Alison Hearn Part III: Sub-genres 7. Property and Home-Makeover Television: Risk, Thrift and Taste Buck Clifford Rosenberg 8. Media-bodies and Screen-births: Cosmetic Surgery Reality Television Meredith Jones 9. Out For Life: Makeover Television and the Transformation of Fitness on Bravo’s Work Out Dana Heller 10. Little Angels: The Mediation of Parenting Peter Lunt 11. Fixing Relationships in 2-4-1 Transformations Frances Bonner Part IV: Audiences 12. The Labour of Transformation and Circuits of Value ‘around’ Reality Television Beverley Skeggs and Helen Wood 13. Epidemics of Will, Failures of Self-esteem: Responding to Fat Bodies in The Biggest Loser and What Not to Wear, Katherine Sender and Margaret Sullivan 14. Afterword: The New World Makeover Toby Miller
Tania Lewis is a Senior Research Fellow in Sociology at La Trobe University. She is the author of Smart Living: Lifestyle Media and Popular Expertise (Peter Lang, New York: 2008). Her current research is on green lifestyles and ethical consumption, and lifestyle television in Asia.