'The Bachelorette's Experiment Is Played Out

by Laura Rosenfeld

They say love is timeless, and on this season of The Bachelorette , Andi is definitely hoping that old adage is true. Andi wants to find her future husband out of her sea of suitors, and we can't help but believe she genuinely wants to fall in love with someone she can grow old with. That might be easier said than done on a reality dating competition where truth and substance aren't always a part of the game. The interesting solo date Sunday night's episode has in store for us may just help Andi weed out the flings from the ones who are in it for the long haul.

There are minor spoilers ahead (you know, if you're allergic to watching the "Next time on the Bachelorette reel"), so if that's not your thing, skip down to after the jump. During Sunday night's episode, Andi goes on a solo date with pantsapreneur JJ, but it's not your typical romantic lunch, stroll through the park type deal. Oh no. This date is so mature, it's practically elderly. With the help of some fancy shmancy makeup, Andi and JJ will age 50 years right before of our eyes. Luckily, they still try to keep things young at heart by having fun on a playground and smooching on a carousel, although scooters are still involved. When in Rome, right?

Yeah, this all seems like a pretty weird idea for a date to us, too. Cuddling with someone who looks like an 80-year-old doesn't usually put youngin's like Andi and JJ in the mood. But The Bachelorette is doing something very important here for Andi. If JJ is one of the guys she might consider spending the rest of her life with, he better still love her when she's no longer young and beautiful. Better to find out the answer to this question sooner rather than later.

Reality TV is no stranger to temporary body alterations for entertainment. Whether it's clothing, makeup, or even plastic surgery, several shows have used this technique to carry out a social experiment to make us laugh and also make us think. We've rounded up some of the most memorable shows that have enlightened participants and viewers alike or have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

The Tyra Banks Show

In a 2006 episode of Tyra Banks' talk show, we saw the usually fierce supermodel live a day in the life of a homeless person with no makeup and ratty clothes. Being ignored for her pleas for money by passersby and bathing using a convenience store restroom sink was an eye-opening experience for Banks and the at-home audience. We could've done without the melodramatic tone of the segment though, from the over-the-top graphics to Banks' overly emphatic narration.

Forever Young

After the success of his first social experiment Beauty and the Geek, Ashton Kutcher figured he would apply a similar premise with the old and the young to see what these people generations a part could learn from one another. In one episode, the juniors and seniors give each other makeovers. Shirley, for instance, digs her new threads chosen by her younger partner Angelina. Unfortunately, Angelina isn't too thrilled with her dowdy dress. Overall, this style swap didn't seem to be too effective in fostering more understanding between the two age groups.

Black. White.

This controversial 2006 FX series took one white family, the Wurgels, and one black family, the Sparks, and had them wear makeup to portray the race of the members of the other family for the duration of the show. Though donning these new identities helped bring a new perspective on race to both of the families, the relationship between them was tense throughout the series. By the last episode, Brian Sparks called Bruno Wurgel a racist, and it seemed like not much progress had actually been made.

A Walk In Your Shoes

If you watched Degrassi: The Next Generation on The N way before you were old enough to do so, then you probably stumbled upon this heartwarming, kid-friendly gem. In each episode, two pre-teens living in different circumstances swapped lives so they could learn a thing or two from one another. In one memorable episode, a thin cheerleader named Laura wore a fat suit in an attempt to better understand the life of Kim, an active plus-sized girl. In the end, Laura realized she had more in common with Kim than she previously thought and that overweight women are sometimes unfairly treated based on their appearance. (Ya think?) All in all, it seemed like an effective way for the pre-teen audience to learn an important lesson by watching their peers.

He's a Lady

Long before RuPaul's Drag Race, there was another cross-dressing competition in town. In He's a Lady, 11 men competed to see who would ultimately understand the other sex better by learning how to walk, talk, and think like a woman. In the end, David won for realizing it's OK for men to be caring and compassionate, too, and that gaining greater respect and admiration for his wife was more important than the prize money. He did it all with a tear in his eye, which made us get choked up, too.


Yeah, we put Jackass on this list. You want to fight about it? Sure, when Johnny Knoxville dons heavy makeup to become the elderly Irving Zisman to do crazy stunts and generally mess with people, you don't get the warm and fuzzies. But it is sometimes interesting to see how people perceive and react to him as a senior citizen. Is it possible that Jackass is deeper than we thought? Hmmm, probably not.

Undercover Boss

Doesn't it always seem like the bosses dress up in some ridiculous disguises, like the president and CEO of Yankee Candle's curly mop top hair and soul patch during his appearance on the show? It really helps in hiding their superior status, apparently. Most episodes have a happy ending with the bosses seeing how hard their employees work to the point where some of them get extra perks, so we guess we can overlook the truly horrid get-ups.

The Swan

The Swan was a beauty pageant gone ugly. The show took women deemed "ugly ducklings" and transformed them into "swans" with the help of major plastic surgery. It may have seemed like the intention was to increase these ladies' self-esteem by making them look and feel beautiful, but watching their own insecurities play out before us as entertainment made us kind of hate ourselves.

Image: David Moir/ABC