Amazing & Wacky Things, Television, Weddings

Bridalplasty – The Brides of Frankenstein

November 26, 2010
Shanna Moakler

Just when you thought you have seen it all in the world of reality TV, E! brings you “Bridalplasty”, the utter nadir of cultural decrepitude.

The new series, premiering November 28 at 9 p.m., will feature 12 brides-to-be pitting against each other each week in wedding-themed challenges (such as writing wedding vows and planning honeymoons) for nose jobs, implants, lipo and the ultimate prize: a celebrity-worthy dream wedding. All twelve of them will begin the journey living under one roof.


Bloggers refer to Bridalplasty as “The Brides of Frankenstein”, “horroreality”, and “the Final TV Show Ever Made Before Mankind Slips Quietly Into The Dust”.

The show, which appears intent on seeing a young brides-to-be transformed into plastic barbies, will be hosted by former Playboy model and Miss USA Shanna Moakler.

Shanna Moakler

Of course, “Bridalplasty” is not the first TV show about plastic surgery. “The Swan” and ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” both followed subjects who went under the knife to modify their appearance.

But “Bridalplasty” will be the first American reality show to have participants compete for plastic surgery, pushing the limits of medical ethics.

Despite “Bridalplasty’s” unsettling tagline — “the only show where the winner gets cut” — the reality competition follows a surprisingly standard format: Each week, the contestants will participate in a wedding- or relationship-themed challenge, such as picking the perfect dress, according to Jason Sarlanis, vice president of original programming and series development for E!

And like many reality competition shows, a winner is granted immunity each week and thus is exempt from competing the following episode. But, on “Bridalplasty,” immunity is also a form of “medical leave.”

Bridalplasty - The only show where the winner gets cut

“Contestants will wait until they’re ready to return — doctor’s orders,” Sarlanis said. “They won’t participate in any part of the episode that could mess with recuperation.”

But recovery time is not the only concern for Dr. John Diaz, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California, who is not affiliated with the show. Diaz says, “By competing in a show like this, patients might feel pressured to undergo surgeries they wouldn’t have under normal circumstances.”

That pressure, he says, can stem from contestants’ peers on the show, as well as the fact that the surgeries are free.

“If a contestant is only interested in her nose, but every other woman around her is talking about her breasts, all of a sudden, she may feel pressure to do her breasts, as well,” Diaz said. “It’s almost like a peer pressure spurred on by this competition.”

Supporters and critics alike agree that “Bridalplasty” will most likely be a hit.

Sarah Polonsky, senior editor at, said she’s worried the show will send a negative message to viewers — “equating cash to plastic surgery.”

“Anyone emotionally unstable enough to desire that much plastic surgery really needs Botox for the soul,” Polonsky said. “They should be giving out therapy instead of nose jobs. … When you start planning a wedding to include lip injections and rhinoplasty in addition to flower arrangements, it’s almost as belittling to your groom as it is to yourself.”

“In today’s entertainment landscape, the most absurd and crazy idea wins,” Hall said. “This certainly feels like the most absurd and crazy TV show in a long time.”

Under the American Society of Plastic Surgeons code of ethics, “We’re technically prohibited from giving procedures away as a prize for a contest. It totally undermines the doctor-patient relationship,” says Dr. Gayle Gordillo, associate professor plastic surgery at Ohio State University. “The ethical and social implications of this show are frightening.”

From a medical and ethical standpoint, many plastic surgeons objected to the use of plastic surgery as a prize to be fought over in the new show.

“It’s a bad idea on two counts. One, they’re rushing a surgery which is dangerous, and more importantly it’s totally unethical to offer plastic surgery as the result of winning a contest,” says Dr. Garry Brody, professor emeritus of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California.

In the first episode, 12 eager brides-to-be from across the country move into a mansion where they live together and compete to collect plastic surgery procedures and fabulous wedding prizes along the way. But before the competition heats up, they first meet with Dr. Terry Dubrow for a private consultation to create a personalized plastic surgery “wish list” that they hope to complete before walking down the aisle – from muffin tops to crooked noses to flat chests, the perceived imperfections they hope to fix are extensive and dramatic. Each bride will leave the consultations with a clear vision of what her new body could be.

Dr. Terry Dubrow is a board certified plastic surgeon in southern California with over 15 years of experience. He is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a Certified Expert for The California Medical Board. He was the plastic surgeon on the Fox television show “The Swan” and his surgical practice includes reconstructive cancer surgery as well as cosmetic surgery.

Dr Terry Dubrow in The Swan

The competition begins and the women go head to head in wedding-themed challenges, ranging from writing wedding vows to planning honeymoons. The winning bride receives the chance to choose a procedure from her “wish list,” which will take place immediately and be revealed at the beginning of the next episode. Each episode ends in a dramatic elimination with one bride being voted off by her competitors, possibly walking away with nothing and losing her chance to be the perfect bride.

The “Bridalplasty” champion will be named and viewers will follow her journey as she prepares for her dream wedding, which includes undergoing all of the procedures on her plastic surgery “wish list,” and her fiancé’s anticipation as he waits to see her full transformation. In a moment anticipated all season long, viewers will witness his emotional and possibly shocked reaction as they stand at the altar and he lifts her veil to see her for the first time following her extreme plastic surgery. The dramatic finale marks the end of her quest for perfection and reveals if her dream wedding does in fact become a reality.

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