Is Fox's "The Swan" the worst TV show ever? Salon readers weigh in on Heather Havrilesky's "One Dirty Bird."

Salon Staff
April 14, 2004 12:00AM (UTC)

[Read the story.]

Thank you, Heather Havrilesky! I was thinking the exact same thing and wondering why no one in the media was giving "The Swan" the treatment it deserves. I turned to the show out of curiosity (the train wreck you can't help but watch) and was completely sick to my stomach after a minute or two. And it's not just "The Swan." How about MTV's "I Want a Famous Face," where teenagers get plastic surgery in order to look like Shakira and Kate Winslet?


-- Caroline Tiger

I completely agree with what was said about this tragedy of a show. I was physically ill after seeing it. How can someone honestly think they are doing these women a service? Plastic surgery, sham diets and workouts, and some quickie therapy don't make people feel better about themselves. I saw nothing wrong with the contestants that self-confidence couldn't fix. And I think Fox pretty much shattered their chances at getting it by reinforcing all the negative thoughts they had about themselves in the first place. I've never watched a show that made me feel so ashamed for watching, as if by watching I was part of the reason it exists. And Fox and the creators of this show should feel deeply, deeply ashamed as well.

-- Kaaron Briscoe


My children -- ages 9, 7 and 4 -- watched "The Swan" only because it's the only channel our TV could get at the time. They had all seen the promos and were disturbed by the images of the women being mutilated on TV. Yet we couldn't take our eyes off it. At the end, when the contestants all saw their reflections, my kids wondered what was the big deal. My 9-year-old boy thought they looked better before and just needed to lose weight. My 7-year-old daughter said, "Don't they know that beauty is inside?" And my 4-year-old just thought it was gross.

-- Michael C. Francis

Props to Heather Havrilesky for her article about "The Swan." I was so emotionally disturbed after last night's show (which I was watching for a grad class in media studies) that I almost threw up. My body ached. I felt hurt for being "average" and for all the women around me who might actually believe in this shit -- and all the families that don't encourage their daughters, who give them complexes in the first place. Truly, our society is horrible. I believed it before, but I think this is the television apocalypse. These women are not "ugly ducklings" yearning to be free, but rather women who are beautiful and strong inside, but have been so broken by society and media that they are somehow relying on the media now to bring them back up again. Seriously, seriously, this show is the worst thing ever.


-- Marah Eakin

Salon Staff

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