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Unnecessary Makeover
Pre-makeover and post—
...or is it the other way around?

The YMMV variation of Beautiful All Along. You take your standard Hollywood Homely ugly-duckling, have her lose her glasses, take her hair out of that bun, and throw her in some fashionable clothes. Immediately the love interest begins goggling at the new-found beauty because hey, She Cleans Up Nicely.

But... the audience just doesn't buy it.

Maybe it's because the audience thinks Nerds Are Sexy, or that they identify as a fellow nerd with said character. Maybe it's because the character has unintentionally traded in her Hot Librarian and Meganekko cred for a blander type of attractiveness. Maybe the girl was a happy quirky non-conformist who, by selling out to society's vision of beauty, proves herself to be a less-interesting Rule-Abiding Rebel. Maybe the makeover hasn't aged well; maybe her original "dull" look has stood the test of time and looks more simple and timeless, whereas her new ultra-trendy look fell victim to Fashion Dissonance and now looks dated or tacky. It usually boils down to, she was never all that ugly to begin with.

In any case, the reaction is the same: Why did they change her? I LIKED HER BETTER BEFORE!

Because mainstream fiction pays much less attention to the attractiveness and fashion choices of male characters than female ones, male characters are less likely to get makeovers at all, and this trope largely applies to female ones.

Very likely to cause a Family-Unfriendly Aesop concerning standards of beauty. See also: Just The Way You Are, for a similar reaction in-story, which is probably also a Femininity Failure for her. Can be a result of Unkempt Beauty. See also Fans Prefer the New Her where the opposite happens - the characters hate the makeover but the fans prefer it.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The "Before" and "After" Pictures in the ads for weight loss products. In many cases, some people have found the "before" pictures to look healthy and desirable, while the "after" pictures look emaciated and unattractive.
  • As mentioned in the above trope link, gay.com had some kind of makeover special in collaboration with Out magazine. For one of the guys, he was an average joe in flannel and was reasonably handsome in his "before" pic. Meanwhile, his "after" pic put him in hideously pretentious fashionista clothing and his hair had about five gallons of product in it.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Kyon tells Yuki that she's cuter without glasses, and a thousand Meganekko fanboys curse his non-name forever. This may have been a factor in the choice of which book to make into a movie...
  • Kaaya in the second season of The Tower of Druaga. It was probably done to help boost her popularity (Fatina and Coopa stole all of the fanartist attention; its kinda unusual amongst anime fandoms for the female lead to be overlooked compared to a side character like Fatina was in the first season), but most people seem to prefer her season 1 look and think that her season 2 look just makes her look older.
    • I think was partly done to play her up as a sexier Femme Fatale after her betrayal. Eventually subverted when she does return to her first outfit at the end.
  • Played for drama in Detective Conan when a rock star ended up murdered by his ex-girlfriend and manager as revenge for dumping her and giving her the cold shoulder, which he did due to her having her nose reduced to look more attractive and professional. Turns out that he really liked her natural look, and even wrote a song about how betrayed he felt about her ruining herself just to chase after conventional attractiveness.
  • Played for laughs in an episode of Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 where Priss Asagiri, the rebellious biker singer, loses a bet to her flighty boss Sylia Stingray and is forced to endure the humiliation of being photographed wearing an ugly, outdated ballroom style pink dress with her hair tied back, all to the amusement of her fellow Knight Sabers.
    • Comes back to bite them all in the ass later on when some very ugly secrets come out and Priss pretty much tells them all to go to Hell during a crisis. She relents, of course.

    Comics 
  • Done in-story to Rahne of the New Mutants in the "New Mutants Summer Special" issue, when the evil forces of consumerism tried to convince her that she needed makeup and a bland nuclear family life to be happy. Not only was the in-story makeup a disaster (looking like it was drawn on by a small child), but the picture they show her in place of a mirror doesn't look as good as her natural short-haired tomboy look.
  • In a Silver Age Flash story, Iris West gets a makeover from some hot designer. When she shows it off to Barry, he's stunned speechless because she's so beautiful- causing her to think he's invoking the trope. At the end of the story she goes back to her original appearance, telling him it's easier and more comfortable for her, and he admits that she's just as beautiful this way and it is more fitting.

    Film 
  • Allison Reynolds, Ally Sheedy's character in The Breakfast Club, has this happen to her. Most people just find her cuter as the "Basket Case". It's one of the most famous examples in movies, but also bears further explanation: in the film, the character is a closet Attention Whore, whose behaviors and manner of dress is meant to draw attention to herself without having to ask for it or acknowledge that she's lonely. She's a loner with no friends, not a Goth or Emo kid who dresses as a way of self-expression or identifying with people like her. Her make-over is partially about accepting affection and kindness from another person (the Alpha Bitch, in this case), and partially about openly acknowledging that she wants attention and human interaction by tucking back her hair and changing her concealing make-up and clothing.
  • Sandy from Grease. The new "improved" version makes her look like a streetwalker! Danny also shows his buddies his newly acquired varsity letter in track, though his makeover is less emphasized (and quickly discarded when Sandy's new "bad girl" look is revealed).
  • Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries.
  • One critic noted that in Just Go With It despite being told constantly that she was ugly, Jennifer Aniston looks exactly the same after her big makeover as she did before.
  • Jean Cocteau intentionally invoked this trope with his take on the fairy tale, 1946's La Belle et La Bęte — this Belle is at least slightly disappointed with the Beast's transformation into a conventionally handsome human, and he set things up to make sure the audience would be too. It worked: Greta Garbo left the screening saying, "Give me back my Beast!"
    • More than a few people feel the same way about the Beast's transformation in the Disney film, with the most popular fanart on DeviantArt for "Beauty and the Beast" being this. It's also worth noting that Belle, while not reacting nearly as badly in canon to the Beast's princely form as in that fanart, was visibly uncertain of how to react to his sudden change until she recognized his eyes as the same as the Beast's.
      • The transformation is important to the plot and symbolically, showing that he succeeded in making a Heel-Face Turn and changed from a "Beast" to a human. (Contrast the Disney adaption of The Hunchback of Notre Dame where the ideas of what makes a "monster" and a "man" are played with, but neither of them were really conventionally attractive to begin with - Frollo is old and skinny and Quasi is Ugly Cute.)
  • In Enchanted, Giselle gets a makeover before going to The Ball, giving her a more "realistic" appearance to contrast with the somewhat silly "fairy-tale princess" look she originally had. Given the plot and themes of the film, this makes perfect sense, and the characters react according to the trope. Unfortunately, the filmmakers put the actress in a rather unflattering dress and gave her an unimpressive hairstyle, completely ruining the intended effect; she was much prettier as a "fantasy princess" than as a "real woman." And then she was sent to a ball that specifically had a fantasy theme...
  • Combine with Fashion Dissonance for truly tragic makeover in Just One of the Guys, wherein a perfectly normal and nice looking young man is transformed into an horrific Eighties Dude.
  • Rachael Leigh Cook in She's All That. The idea that she of all people needed a makeover was parodied in Not Another Teen Movie.
  • In Earth Girls Are Easy, Geena Davis' character is upset that her fiance is sexually disinterested in her; her best friend decides the answer is a makeover. For someone who looks like Geena Davis.
    • Though the movie is half parody, and the best friend is incredibly ditzy AND thinks being blonde is the key to all happiness (which in this universe...it is), it fits. Note, she also encouraged her to stay with the cheating, jerky fiance.
  • Al Pacino's character in The Devil's Advocate convinces Charlize Theron that she needs to give herself a makeover. She ends up giving herself an unflattering bob and a brown colour that adds years to her face, resulting in her looking quite unhealthy and disturbed looking though given the plot of the movie, that was probably the point.
  • To some Princess Ann's haircut in Roman Holiday. The haircut? Trendy and fashionable back when the movie was made but not so flattering these days.
    • Likewise the makeover in Sabrina, which consists entirely of a short haircut, as opposed to the cute ponytail that another character claims makes Audrey Hepburn look like a horse.
  • Many viewers found the Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face a lot more appealing when she was a bookworm wearing black tights and a wool jumper than when she was transformed into a fashion plate. (Audrey Hepburn does seem to get subjected to a lot of unnecessary makeovers in her films....)
  • Kristen Stewart's character in The Cake Eaters gets the mother of all Unnecessary Makeovers when her aunt takes her to the hairdressers for the day. She asks for something sexy and new. She goes into the shop as a sweet looking thing with Rapunzel Hair and comes out with the most unflattering shaggy bowl cut imaginable. Her aunt calls it "rock star" while the audience has a decidedly different reaction.
  • Valerie Boyd, the teenager in "The World of Henry Orient" always wore a 19th century style outfit complete with a Victorian England coat (despite it being The Fifties) and a shaggy wild hairstyle that looked boyish yet not unfeminine. But then at the end of the movie she had a complete makeover. Many fans thought she looked more like a generic cutie after, losing the wild, untamed girl look about her.
  • The protagonist of Head Over Heels was already beautiful and practically doesn't change after the model roommates make her look like a model.
  • In the Follow the Fleet, a Fred-and-Ginger movie from 1936, Harriet Hilliard undergoes her librarian-to-courtesan transformation surprisingly early in the film, in the first fifteen minutes. A scene around ten minutes into the film between the dowdy Hilliard and the glamorous Rogers - cast as sisters - neatly encapsulate the trope itself: 'it isn't that gentlemen really prefer blondes, it's just that we look dumber'; 'connie, women weren't born with silk stockings on, you know'; 'it takes a lot of brains to be dumb'.
  • A wonderful example in Shaolin Soccer. Mui is a girl with terrible acne and greasy hair, but is nonetheless clearly a very attractive girl, so we know what to expect when she has a makeover. However, it is comically bad, and she's almost unrecognizable as a girl in a boxy 80s suit and bouffant haircut, and clown-like makeup
    • Of course, that was the point of it, and later on reappears as herself (minus her acne) and a shaved head (the shaved head being so she could disguise herself as a guy and help Team Shaolin after most of the other players are injured by Team Evil). Even without her hair she's still very attractive.
  • In-universe in Wreck-It Ralph: Vanellope finds her princess makeover—which she gains after her identity as the true ruler of Sugar Rush is revealed—unnecessary as she prefers her regular clothes and the role of president.

    Literature 
  • In the X-Wing Series, Plourr Illo was a muscular Amazon-type with a shaved head, who sometimes wore a headpiece that looked like an odd hairdo. A few arcs in, she was revealed to be a princess in exile. Her old nanny fussed over her head, bemoaning the long hair she used to have. Plourr and the Rogues went to her homeworld, where Plourr started letting her hair grow - and generally she dressed the same as ever when not in a court function, and she kept her hair short. But although this wasn't a terrible change, there was something about the bald aesthetic. Ah well.

    Live Action TV 
  • One of TV's most controversial Unnecessary Makeovers occurred in Felicity, when the title character cut off her signature mop of brass-blonde curls. This might more accurately be called a Marine Corps Makeover, since she was sheared like a sheep, down to nothing but vacuum tracks. The new hairstyle and accompanying wardrobe change (from sweatery to kicky) mirrored the production team's intent to morph the show into something different, including a jarring change from a moody, introspective opening theme to an upbeat pop song. All done in the name of ratings, the fan reaction was mixed at best, with many viewers outraged and disappointed.
  • The greatest debate surrounding the Wonder Woman TV show is whether Lynda Carter is hotter as Wonder Woman or Diana Prince. There's really no correct answer here.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000
    • The short "Body Care and Grooming", which featured a disheveled college girl "made over" to show the value of grooming in one's dating life. Crow and Tom Servo held a mock debate in the skit after the short, arguing over whether she looked better neat or "sloppy." They riff on the guy going after the "madeover" girl and saying, "Uh, excuse me, I couldn't help but notice how much you look like everyone else!"
    Narrator, disapprovingly: Look at your hair.
    Crow: I like her hair!
    Narrator: Look at that blouse.
    Crow: I'm looking, I'm looking!
    • Inverted in a Rifftrax they did recently for Terrible Truth. The film tries to show how strung out the girl looks after 6 months of heroin abuse, but the riffers actually think she's more attractive after than before.
  • Sometimes people find the women on Survivor to be more attractive while stranded on the island than when they're dolled up for the reunion show (unless they wear Fetish Fuel stuff, that is, like Kelly Wiggelsworth's skin tight strapless leather minidress).
  • Anywhere from a third to a half of all the makeovers on What Not to Wear. Which, apparently, includes everything not worn by Stacy London.
    • Similarly on BBC Three "makeunder" show Snog, Marry, Avoid - most of the contestants start out as underdressed slappers with far too much fake tan, eyeshadow and hair extensions, but every so often someone with an obviously creative, unique taste in fashion and makeup is stripped of all originality for the sake of boring conformity.
      • On the other hand, a lot of contestants seem to have gradually performed this trope on themselves, covering their real appearance in increasingly over-the-top layers of beauty products until they can't face the world without hours spent in preparation; they come to the show in search of re-learning how to look okay with a more ordinary level of grooming.
      • The high watermark in most episodes is the point where they have removed all the make up and fake tan, and the subject is just wearing a bathrobe. After that they proceed to make her (in most shows the subject is a young woman) look like a schoolteacher almost at retirement age.
  • Elliot's makeover in Scrubs wasn't all that big of a difference, just some new very aggressive bangs and A LOT more make-up. Yet it was treated as a shocking cosmetic difference when the biggest change was her being more assertive. It was lampshaded in the show itself, though: "Does this lipstick make me look like a clown?" "No! You look like a prostitute who caters exclusively to clowns."
    • Word of God is that this was mandated by NBC because they wanted a sexier female character to market to the young male demographic. There's apparently even an extra on the season 3 DVDs about it. The extent of the make over was in fact dialed down pretty quickly, as well as her new aggressive personality. The reality was that Sarah Chalke is a hottie regardless and Elliot was already more well-kept than most of the other women in the hospital, even being a plot point when other staff members critique her on being too pretty to be respectable. The only real difference in the long run was that you never saw Elliot with her hair pulled up and the "framing" bangs after that change.
  • Stargate SG-1: Rather meta example in that no one (except, in all probability, the producers) was trying to doll Samantha Carter up, but we'd occasionally see her with long hair and whatever when visiting the future or Another Dimension or whatnot, and every time it happened, it was like...no.
  • Mildred Hubble of The Worst Witch gives herself a radical makeover in the first episode of the spin off Weirdsister College that involves cutting off her Girlish Pigtails. The other characters make a big fuss about how much better she looks except she gave herself an extremely frumpy hairstyle that made her look like she was in her 30s. She tidied herself up a bit towards the end of the series but most fans still preferred her with pigtails.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, the first and the second season, Alex declares countless times how much she hates high-heels. In the third season, she wears only high-heels.
    • Although, she was younger back then. Plus she doesn't get much taller either. This is not an uncommon occurrence in the lives of teens.
    • To make this more bizarre, Alex already started out as a fashion-obsessed girly girl, and then became more tomboyish by the show's end.
  • In LOST many people preferred Kate's natural, casual and outdoorsy appearance on the island to her made-up, formal and fashionable appearance off of the island in the fourth season.
  • In the 2006 Robin Hood, the character of Djaq is forced to disguise herself as a boy for her own protection, leading her to crop her hair short and wear baggy pants and a cleavage-concealing waistcoat. In the second season, she's much more feminine, has longer (though still short) hair and wears what can only be described as an "outer-bra." Most people preferred her season one appearance.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, late-seasons Willow compared to early-seasons Willow. In this case, her change in style may have had less to do with becoming more pretty (she already was) than with illustrating her character development.
    • Or wardrobe just gradually forgot they were supposed to be doing anything different shopping for her clothes specifically. It happens.
  • Rachel's makeover in Glee is acknowledged as one of these in-show, when Finn eventually tells her "I'm gonna say this as nice as I can, but you look like a... sad clown hooker".
    • They did it again in Season Four with the same character. "New York Rachel" dresses and carries herself almost exactly like Lea Michele (the actress playing the role). A very large segment of the fandom prefers the way she dressed before.
  • Deconstructed in one Hannah Montana episode where Miley convinces Lily to change her tomboy image and look/act more "girly" to attract her latest crush, only to find out that the boy actually liked tomboy Lily better.
    • This is also done in iCarly with Sam. The boy likes Sam's new look, but reveals that he likes her neutral look even more.
  • This is exactly the intended effect in a Twilight Zone episode, "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", where everyone is required to get cosmetic surgery to make them look like identical models. One Hollywood Homely gamine, perhaps tomboyish for the day, shocks everyone and is sent to a psychiatrist when she questions whether the surgery is really necessary. They end up performing the surgery against her wishes - and she ends up very happy with the results.
    • She also invokes it earlier, when she looks at a picture of her pre-surgery mother and thinks that she looked better that way. The mother, meanwhile, insists that she was "a fright" back then.
  • In one episode of Jake20, Diane gets this treatment.
  • Crossing over with Real Life, Margaret Houlihan went from natural Hospital Hottie to having her hair done in a fried perm, her lips bloated, a fake tan and lashings of eyeliner that stretched Willing Suspension of Disbelief massively. One wonders if viewers even liked it at the time, let alone now.
  • In That '70s Show, Donna gets an Unnecessary Makeover when she dyes her hair blonde for... Really no good reason at all other than the fact that Jackie thinks that her red hair looks ugly.
    • Actually, this was because Laura Prepon chose to blondify herself, and so the explanation for her character had to be essentially a Hand Wave. She dyed her hair for the film Karla (2005).
  • In an episode of The Mentalist, Cho needed to go undercover and pick up a woman. For a sexy guy like Cho, this shouldn't be a problem, but for some reason they thought he needed a makeover first. It just ended up making him look like a sleaze.
  • 10 Things I Hate About You. In an early episode, Bianca convinces her (already cute) sister Kat to get dressed up for prom. She gives her some pearls, a little black dress, a little make up, puts her hair up in a bun. And She. Looks.Horrible. The bun draws attention to her square jaw, the dress basically attacks her figure, and yet even the non-conformist bad boy love interest thinks she looks beautiful.
  • Hilariously lampooned on Monty Python's Flying Circus where possibly-omnipotent alien Mister Neutron (Graham Chapman) falls in love with Mrs. S-C-U-M (Terry Jones) and uses his powers to turn her into 'the most beautiful woman in the world' - which means Terry Jones in frumpy women's clothing morphs into Terry Jones in marginally less frumpy women's clothing.
  • A good majority of fans see Lisa Zeemo's makover in the last season of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide as being this. Her appearances lessened and her personality took a major dive once she came back, plus fans liked her Adorkableness.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the William Hartnell-era story "The Chase", the Doctor encounters Steven, who has been living in a People Zoo with no human contact for two years, and so bears longish, unkempt hair and a short beard. After the Doctor takes him as a companion in "The Time Meddler", the Doctor recommends he have 'a wash and brush-up', causing him to shave his beard off, and Vicki cuts his hair for him at the start of the next serial, "The Myth Makers". The trouble is that before his makeover, he looks very distinctive and dreamy in an Unkempt Beauty kind of way, and after his makeover he looks like a slightly prettier Ian clone (the previous companion who Steven is a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for). Modern fans seem to prefer the bearded version, though this may be down to Fashion Dissonance - looking like that is very fashionable in the 2010s but was borderline unaccpetable in the 1960s.
    • The complete change of the Fourth Doctor's fashion sense between Season 17 and 18 - from a collection of playful early-Victorian-style garments worn with a gaudy scarf, to a dark red, almost military outfit with plus-fours - was done because the new producer, John Nathan-Turner, wanted to leave his mark on the show. He had originally envisaged a far more extreme change in the Doctor's appearance - he had wanted the scarf gone, possibly a drastic haircut, a 'completely new design of shirt' (that could be sold as Official Cosplay Gear), extreme Limited Wardrobe and big red question marks on the lapels. The costume designer managed to wangle this down to a more toned-down scarf, a heavily-layered Limited Wardrobe that the actor could switch out pieces of whenever he felt like it, and a shirt with an interesting cut modelled after Victorian waistcoats with ivory question marks on the lapels. The new outfit does look good and flattering and everyone involved was satisfied with it, but both the costume designer and Tom Baker himself felt that the producer wanted to change the outfit for the sake of change alone.
  • In the first season of RuPaul's Drag Race, the drag queens were tasked with giving glamorous makeovers to a group of tomboyish female martial artists. The challenge ended up being very lopsided since there were maybe two Brawn Hildas; the rest were already fairly attractive and simply needed help with makeup and walking in heels. Needless to say, when Rebecca Glasscock won the mini-challenge and was tasked with choosing her own and the others' partners, she picked the prettiest one for herself and the...most challenging one for her rival Shannel.

    Video Games 
  • In Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the protagonist Sam Fisher has been severely changed, even his much-apraised voice actor, Michael Ironside, has been changed. It has generally not been taken well by the fans.
  • Male example would be Otacon switching his glasses for contacts in Metal Gear Solid 4, because it makes him look "more handsome". General consensus was relief when he put his glasses back on and started looking sexy and sophisticated again instead of mildly dorky.
  • Xenosaga 2's new 'realistic' character models were so reviled by the fans, that the new, new characters in Xenosaga 3 were much closer to the first game (though not the same).
  • Lady of the Devil May Cry series was changed from an appropriately moody teenager with a slight tomboyish Catholic Schoolgirl moe (due to purple spandex shorts and her 'skirt' being made of ammo for her guns) to... just another busty woman with Absolute Cleavage and flawless skin, having her dress less modestly than Trish. A lack of a role in the fourth game didn't help either.
  • The Cinematic Mod for Half-Life 2 gave the old Source engine a serious kick in the pants, allowing for far more beautiful environments. While these were applauded, fans everywhere raged at the inclusion of the author's version of Alyx Vance. The mod replaces Alyx's down-to-earth, realistic appearance with a new model based on real-life supermodel Adriana Lima, wearing a midriff-baring shirt and exposing her cleavage. Later versions removed her bra, showing Alyx's nipples through her shirt. Many Half-Life 2 fans revolted at the changes, because the entire reason she was popular was because she wasn't an overly sexualized pinup girl like every other woman in gaming.
  • The Sims games act as a storytelling medium as well as a video game. Anyone can send stories to the official website accompanied by images from the game. Many, many of these stories consist of sims getting makeovers. Some are fine; a lot are unnecessary. A lot of them feature Maxis sims being redesigned so as to lose their distinctive quirky apperances. A particularly bad story featured only two or three images: A before shot of Gothically-dressed Lilith Pleasant, and an after shot of her dressed in generic preppy clothing. Based on the outfit change alone, the narrator told us we were supposed to believe that all her family problems went away, too.
  • Hawke's Love Interest in Dragon Age II gets a costume switch immediately after their Relationship Upgrade, in most cases a pretty minor alteration. Merrill gets a complete change from her grey and green clothes to a strange white and silver costume that not only ditches the Scarf of Asskicking but doesn't interact with the character model correctly to the point that her neck overlaps the high collar when she's moving her head around.
  • It's a plot point twist where we discover who Princess Zelda is and not a proper makeover so it serves as more of a visual cue than an intentional makeover, and for that reason wouldn't be this except that the in-game reaction in The Wind Waker is that Tetra is much prettier as Zelda. Many feel she looked better as Tetra the pirate girl. It's more the in-game reaction that evokes this trope, because it's not meant to be an actual makeover, but merely a revelation. But then again, there was no need to have her clothes change from her cute pirate outfit to a typical Princess Zelda dress since only the identity was revealed, but I guess a text revelation isn't as dramatic.
  • Some would say Ashley's new look in Mass Effect 3 is this. Her Prim and Proper Bun in the first two games is a much more practical hairstyle for her vocation, and more flattering to her face shape than the new Peek-a-Bangs.
  • Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim have extensive modding communities; there are plenty of mods that change the appearance of the protagonist as well as various notable characters, bearing titles such as "Attractive Lydia", "Attractive Veronica", "Attractive Breton", etc. While the mod developer likely consider it an improvement over the canonical appearance, this is not automatically true with every player. The same goes for clothes mods and body replacers: names like "More Realistic Female Bodies" or similar were popular for a while, until the trend of just bloating the female models' chests to large sizes regardless of whether it was actually realistic or even functional - often breaking armor meshes and textures - quickly became over-saturated and only a few "high quality" ones remained.

    Webcomics / Web Originals 
  • In the short comic Can I Be Drawn Better, a stick figure asks its artist to draw it better, from which he turns it into a cartoon girl. The girl then asks to be drawn pretty, to which the artist gives her long hair and nicer clothes. However, her facial features are exactly the same and as shown in the Know Your Meme comments below, plenty of readers think she looked pretty before he gave her the makeover.
    • Inverted in this parody comic, where the artist leaves it a stick figure, saying "You are already perfect." The stick figure is pleased with this.
  • Made into an entire story arc in Girls with Slingshots after Clarice questions Maureen's sex appeal. Maureen reads US Magazine, gives herself a makeover, and starts trying to be aggressive, which upsets her boyfriend and her platonic friends until she reverts to being Maureen.
  • This poem by Monica Gilbey Bieber gruesomely deconstructs this trope. In the poem, an evil seamstress most likely meant to symbolize society forcibly sews a dress and mask into the skin of her victim, meant to symbolize the person being forced to change into someone s/he is not.
  • In The Nostalgia Chick's video on Grease, she has a "makeover fairy" drop by to give her BFF Nella a makeover. Boy, does it not work. Most of the comments on the video said either "There's nothing wrong with Nella!" or "How could you be so nasty to her?"note 
    • The makeover fairy makes another appearance in the Hercules episode, when she takes advantage of Nella and the Chick being trashed and unconscious to apply lipstick and make them "so pretty!"
    • Her appearance in the Jem and the Holograms episode sends the girls into the "height" of 80s fashion. Oh, yeah, they look as ridiculous as that sounds.
    • When she appears in the Grease 2 review, she attempts to makeover Todd in the Shadows. She fails miserably. Again. Honestly, her entire shtick as a recurring character is failing miserably at makeovers.
  • Danny of Roomies! shouts at his TV about this here. Thankfully, Joe's prophecy appears to be coming true these days.
  • In Sticky Dilly Buns, Amber and Dillon helped Ruby prepare for her first date. Some fans at least felt that their efforts didn't improve much on her nerdy charm.
  • In Obscurus Lupa's review of "Vampire Dog", she notes that the makeover the dog helps give his owner is pointless - not because he looked better before, but because he doesn't look any different whatsoever. As she notes, they are even using clothes he already has in his wardrobe anyway.
  • In one episode of the React series, some of the YouTubers reacted this way upon watching the music video to Tay Allyn's "Mass Text." To quote, "Did [Allyn] just get a makeover? She looks the same!"

    Western Animation 
  • In the Futurama episode "The Cyber House Rules", Leela has surgery to replace her one eye with two. Fry (and some fans) liked her better before the surgery. Leela eventually decides to have surgery to revert the change. (Hey, Status Quo Is God.)
    • The episode, however, was worth it for the line where Leela gives an ultimatum to her plastic surgeon boyfriend: "Listen, buddy. By the end of the day, one of us is gonna have one eye!"
    • It also gives a rather nice moral about conforming one's appearance. Leela spends the entire episode celebrating that she's average and just like everyone else, but ultimately realizes that being different was who she was. Notice that Fry is the one who supports that, while the plastic surgeon boyfriend ultimately is too narrow-minded to do anything that fits outside of the norm, to the point at which he wants to perform plastic surgery on a child so she looks more normal and thus fit for adoption.
    • It should also be noted that the child doesn't object to his proposal and the ex-boyfriend was willing adopt the girl HIMSELF and perform the surgery HIMSELF. (Leela and the boyfriend were talking about getting married and adopting the girl. It is far easier for a couple to adopt, rather than a single parent. When Leela calls off the engagement, the surgeon falls back into the single parent category automatically.) The child has an extra ear on her face and a tail and she is mocked for those features by the other orphans. Even Leela recoils in horror after learning about the girl's tail.
  • Joan of Arc goes through several rather horrendous makeovers in the two-part finale of Clone High before finally getting to one that's...not really an improvement. And Gandhi as a prep? Just...no.
    • The entire episode was made as a satire of this trope. There are no less than six makeovers, maybe more.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Gwen Stacy, who looked rather like a teenaged Debora Whitman (although this continuity's Debora underwent a Race Lift. It's complicated), had a makeover for a Valentine's Day outing. The glasses went, the hair was loose and longer, and she kept the headband, making her look... like comics!Gwen Stacy, however it also makes her look a lot like a Blonde MJ and most fans preferred her geeky look. She kept the look in subsequent episodes.
  • Parodied in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy VI from Spongebob. Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, who were fairly average-looking for the SpongeBob universe, come out of the makeup trailer as horrible, stapled, rubber-banded monstrosities.
  • A similar deconstruction to the Hannah Montana example above pops up in an episode of The Weekenders where two Valley Girls decide to give Tomboy Lor a makeover when they hear a guy likes her. Her friends are creeped out by it since she looks identical to the two of them and at the end the boy states he prefers Lor as a Tomboy.
  • Both Bright Eyes and Lancer get one in the My Little Pony Tales episode "Roll Around The Clock". They are also told to act like pompous jerks, which causes both to get angry at the other.
  • Barbie movies fall regularly under this, due to Barbie habit to wear bright pink and cheerful colors, including when her character is supposed to be poor. As a result, difference between Erika's princess or pauper blue dresses is barely visible, peasants dresses in Barbie & The Diamond Castle are nearly as fancy as the princesses ones, and Blair wears a hot pink skirt and (nearly identical) pumps whether she's in her waitress or princess-in-training attire.
  • A late episode of Johnny Bravo has Don Knotts, "Weird Al" Yankovic and Blue Falcon give Johnny a makeover to appeal to changing tastes in kids. After the new Johnny is presented, the kids hate it.

    Real Life 
  • Jennifer Grey owed her movie role success in part to her big nose which made her a more convincing Hollywood Homely appearance. Unfortunately, she chose to have a rhinoplasty that went so sour she required a second rhinoplasty and reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to her face. Whether or not she was more attractive with the bigger nose, she didn't look like Jennifer Grey anymore with the smaller one. It was like trying to start her career over from scratch. Most people agree that she looked much better before all the surgery - it would appear that she agrees. In her words, "I went in the operating room a celebrity - and come out anonymous."
    • In fact, her decision is given a nod bigger than the old nose in the short-lived It's Like, You Know... where she plays...herself, out of work because she got a nosejob.
  • By contrast, Barbra Streisand has always known that while she has a huge nose, getting it altered would ruin her, so no scalpel is ever going to touch it. Most singers tend to leave their noses alone because altering the nose also alters the tone of the voice.
  • It's almost a rite of passage to go through these at various points in life to "conform" to what is normal for your age group, sex and position. These usually common times are when starting High School (conforming to your peers), when starting College or University (once again to your peers), when becoming an "adult" and starting in the world or work (back to conforming as power dressed professional or worker drone), and retirement (old people clothes). Again someone going through one of these makeovers will usually get praised by almost everyone as looking so much more "grown up" "mature" or in the right circumstances "handsome/attractive", yet leave others (especially those resisting the changes themselves) thinking they looked better before.
  • Many female teen recording artists have this at the end of the Jail Bait Wait. They abandon their earlier "teen" persona for something more "grown up". This usually translates to "more slutty". It's hard to pin down if this phenomenon is Executive Meddling to show the audience that she's finally an adult and allow the guy fanbase (which is already sizeable, but quiet for fear of being branded a pervert) to pay attention to her, or if the artist was tiring of playing goody two-shoes so the parents in her fandom believe she is a good role model for their daughters. Sometimes the male fanbase prefers the girl next door.
  • When Shakira first broke into the English language market, she decided to bleach her dark brown hair blond, leading almost everyone to ask "Was that really necessary?" (especially American fans who were already dealing with a music scene drowning with Plenty of Blondes at the time. Better yet, before the Anglo jump she was a redhead for almost two years but came back to her brunette self while claiming that keeping with the red dye was too much of a hassle, baffling people even more.
  • Mariah Carey fans have long been divided on whether she looked better before or after her plastic surgery. And that's before you delve into the "But Not Too Black" implications, since she looked more ethnic before the surgery.
  • WWE Diva Aksana made the unwise decision to go from blonde to brunette.
    • This is a polarizing one, however, as just as many prefer her with dark hair as they do with blonde.
  • In the 14th season of Dancing with the Stars, Martina Navratilova going from a somewhat butch appearance to looking like a middle-aged Hello, Nurse! entered this trope for some of her fans. Just look.
  • In 2009, tennis player Rafael Nadal cut his long hair and ditched his trademark sleeveless shirts and baggy piratas for a more "grown-up" look. Many of his fans missed the old look, mainly because they felt that his original appearance had been quite distinctive and helped him stand out from the rest of the crowd and that his new appearance made him look much more generic and bland in comparison. (Not to mention how his old sleeveless shirts were a lot better at showing off his biceps...)


Training MontageThe Makeover    
Unfortunate Character DesignPersonal Appearance TropesUnusual Ears
Unfortunate ImplicationsYMMVUnwinnable by Insanity
Unfortunate ImplicationsYMMV/Home PageUnwinnable by Insanity
Beauty Equals GoodnessStock AesopsEvil Is Sexy
The Breakfast ClubImageSource/Live-Action FilmsBreakfast on Pluto

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