Sunday, 16 March 2003

Faking It

One of the few benefits of insomnia is that occasionally you find a TV show on cable that you'd never have found otherwise. Such is the case with TLC's new show “Faking It”, in which a person is recruited to pretend they have experience at something they don't have the faintest clue about; they train for a few weeks and then are presented to a panel of experts who is challenged to find the “faker.” It's sort of like the old game show “To Tell The Truth”, and probably gets its inspiration from the story of Frank Abagnale, the man who gained notoreity as a con artist by pretending to be qualified for jobs he had no training for (recounted in his book Catch Me If You Can and the movie of the same name).

The particular episode I saw was “Ivy League to Big League,” about a 24-year-old self-confessed geek and Harvard graduate (Lesley) who is transformed over three weeks into an Atlanta Falcons cheerleader. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the story isn't so much whether she succeeds or fails, but rather her struggle with an inferiority complex: despite her natural beauty, she still feels unattractive around the “real” cheerleaders. One of the most fascinating (in the Spock-ish, eyebrow-raising sense) things about women is that even most of the ones who don't act like they're obsessed with their appearance are, at least at some level, in a way most guys probably just can't comprehend — in that most guys care about their appearance, but I don't think I've ever met one who wants to look like Brad Pitt, or even compares his appearance to Brad Pitt's. There's probably a life-lesson buried in this fact, somewhere.