Makeover shows are the bane of reality television. A wardrobe re-vamp is one thing; radically transforming a participant's appearance to the point they barely recognize themselves is clearly another.
In the past, ethically questionable programs like Fox's The Swan and ABC's Extreme Makeover have perversely employed astonishing amounts of plastic surgery, allowing contestants to be sliced, diced, chiseled, and carved to achieve what would have been an otherwise unachievable desire for perfection. It's thinly veiled superficiality masquerading as a bear hug, and it's American culture at its very worst.
Yet, despite our ardent protesting, newborn makeover shows continue to tumble out of reality television's womb with alarming regularity. The latest, ABC's Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, actually has a bent we can get behind. No surgery, no competitions, just aesthetic marvel/"transformation specialist" Chris Powell and a handful of contestants who truly have everything to lose. Powell shacks up with the contestants to mutually toil towards a seemingly impossible goal: Each will attempt to lose 50% of their body weight in a single year.
With a new season of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition debuting this Sunday, we hunted down the most astonishing before and after images reality television has ever produced to assemble the following gallery of The 15 Craziest Reality TV Makeovers.