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Cosmetic surgery freaks out L.A. Times readers too, critic finds

April 14, 2008 |  3:11 pm

When I wrote the article that ran in Sunday's Calendar section ("On TV: Botox. Face-lifts. Reconstructive Surgery.") about how cosmetic surgery and other procedures are conspiring to make more and more actors look weird, I was more than a little nervous. That people would think I was crazy or mean or petty in my complaints that it's hard to focus on a television show when you're wondering whether this actor or that actor was in some terrible fire you didn't hear about.

Photogallery As it turns out, I am far from alone. E-mails have been pouring in from frustrated television viewers grateful for the chance to talk about this "elephant in the living room." Listing men and women, actors after actor, newscaster after newscaster as offenders, many viewers say they are so disgusted or demoralized, or both, that they have stopped watching some of their favorite shows.

The television industry shouldn't just dismiss this as minor kvetching. Because the people who have been writing to me say they also consider the apparent assumption that the audience is either too dumb to notice or too jaded to care to be insulting and part of a widening gap between those who make television and those who watch it.

In other words, the issue is far from cosmetic any more, and should, perhaps, give entertainers pause. Just because you can make your nose smaller or your cheeks fuller or your eyes tighter doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

For my part, I am grateful for the reassurance we writer types so desperately need. It's nice to know that I'm not crazy, not just an envious, querulous, aging mother of three who would probably go ahead and have lipo except I'm pretty sure they don't make lipo machines big enough. Some of these people really do look weird. And not just to me.

(For those who argued that one of the women I listed as looking very much like herself after years in the biz has, in fact, been public about her cosmetic surgery -- and you know who you are -- please let me know where she has been public. Not just evidence from sketchy blogs. Because I couldn't find it, and if it's true, we definitely need to get the name of her very excellent surgeon out there. Fast.)

-- Mary McNamara