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Series / Extreme Male Beauty

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Extreme Male Beauty is a British four-episode reality series that aired on Channel 4 in 2009. Presenter Tim Shaw decides that he is fed up with being an Average Joe and is convinced his wife will like him better if he transforms himself into a man with the figure and features of David Beckham. He has eight weeks to get himself into the shape and style he wants while also examining how much attention today's men actually invest into their personal appearances. And there's a lot of criticism hurled at the modelling industry.


This show had good ideas and a lot of potential but seemed unable to decide exactly what Aesop it was pursuing, and the final episode gives off a lot of mixed messages.

Provides examples of:

  • All for Nothing: Tim decides that the eight weeks of hell were not worth it for the look he wanted and decides to revert back immediately.
  • Beautiful All Along: Tim expects this will happen when he gets his hair cut, shaves his beard, gets his entire body waxed, gets a tan and reveals his new physique to his wife. Subverted immediately as she doesn't like it one bit.
  • Beauty Is Bad: Some of the women instantly hate one of the males on display purely because he looks good, instantly assuming he must be vain and arrogant.
  • "Before" and "After" Pictures: But of course.
  • Bitch Alert:
    • We assume this will happen for Tim's wife, Hayley, as we first hear about how madly in love she is with David Beckham and how Tim thinks she wants him to look that way. But when we actually meet her, she is a kind and loving woman that does not want Tim to change at all.
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    • Played straight for every woman that takes part in the polls.
  • Broken Aesop: The series doesn't seem to know whether or not it's condemning male vanity or not. Most egregious is Tim's decision that his new physique wasn't worth all the excessive work he had to do. It's not established that there is a massive difference between getting into shape in the space of eight weeks as opposed to at your own pace. In fact personal trainers advise against such extreme ways of getting into shape, stating that making gradual adjustments and going at one's own pace is the best way to go.
  • But Not Too White: The series, of course, examines the (supposed) appeal of a tanned body.
  • Camp Straight: Tim meets different Camp Straights to varying degrees, including Paul from the first episode, who admits to taking two hours to get ready every morning and even sometimes wearing makeup.
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  • Carpet of Virility: Subverted. The majority of women polled claim they prefer smooth skinned men.
  • Fan Disservice: And how! The "before" shots are pretty gratuitous.
  • Fanservice Extra: The gang of shirtless guys Tim talks with in the gym changing rooms, as well as the other various guys at the gym. There's also a very sexy female model posing with the candidates for the fitness magazine cover.
  • Gag Penis: Episode 2 explores the fascination with large penises, and Tim discovers that penis enlargement surgery is a thing.
  • Hollywood Pudgy:invoked The male version is examined this time around.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Tim drinks his own urine in an attempt to make his skin look better.
  • Just the Way You Are: Hayley keeps telling Tim this, though it's somewhat of a Broken Aesop since the way he is includes a diet of junk food, no exercise at all and one too many frequent pints.
  • The Makeover: A different man gets made over in each episode, though the fourth episode is the most straight example. Tim gets one, too, at the end.
  • Makeover Montage: Tim gets one involving shaving his beard, waxing his entire body, getting a tan, getting his hair cut and cleaning up nicely.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The guys Tim interviews at the gym, who spend the majority of their screen time shirtless in the locker room.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Over the course of the series we meet plenty of manly men who are very concerned with their own appearance (bodybuilders, after all, do care about their physiques) and the show does help lift the taboo that a guy concerned with his appearance is immediately perceived as gay.
  • Right Through His Pants: Averted completely, as you will see plenty of penis shots, whether you want to see them or not.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Tim decides he hates his makeover and won't change his lifestyle at all.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Whichever man is getting a makeover in each episode spends time with a stylist picking out some sharp new clothes for him.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Tim's discussion with the boys in the locker room has everyone wearing just a towel.
    • Tim and the other models for the polls stand shirtless for the women to ogle them.
    • The men trying out for a fitness magazine cover have to take their shirts off for the judges.
  • Spear Counterpart: To women's makeover shows.
  • Stepford Smiler: Tim jokes that he has to keep his wide gleaming smile when he's standing half naked listening to the women passing judgement on his looks out loud.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Hayley unwisely says that when she fell for Tim, "It was never about looks." Really anything she said would have been twisted around anyway...
  • This Loser Is You: Tim represents the average guy who is put under pressure by constant advertising and such.
  • Training from Hell: Tim's routine that he has to pick up in the gym to get in shape within the space of 8-weeks in addition to other workouts he does at home.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: Hayley has this view about Tim, preferring him the way he is but he wants to change in the first place.
  • Unpleasable Fanbase: In-universe, the women taking part in the polls. Most of them say vanity is a turn off but then again say the same about things such as under or overweight bodies, body hair etc. So you apparently have to look good without making any effort at all.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: This is what the series examines, and it doesn't seem to know whether to deconstruct it or not. It does reveal that male vanity is quite commonplace these days and is clearly not the mark of homosexuality. But then again Tim's wife hates Tim's obsession with his looks and claims his new look makes him look fake and too vain, which his friends agree with. The series ends with the ambiguous message that boils down to "there are normal men out there that are just as obsessed with their appearances as women but avoid them as best you can and don't become one of them or else nobody will accept you".


Example of: