Plain Jane Kind of Gives Us the Warm Fuzzies

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I don’t often admit this, but I really enjoy certain makeover shows. I say “certain” because there are many that I loathe, like What Not To Wear. I hate how Stacy and Clinton treat people on their show; the two of them are so high and mighty about their fashion knowledge, and they even discard stuff with sentimental value. Not okay. My favorite makeover (and reality) show of all time is Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, because the Fab Five weren’t mean—they joked around sometimes, but they always had the participant’s best interests at heart. It was heart-warming television, at least while it lasted.

Plain Jane’s Louise Roe is no Carson Kressley—let’s face it, no one is—but she’s got the same well-intentioned approach to the television makeover. She doesn't strive to take away the participant's personality or find pleasure in making her uncomfortable. And that's why she and Kristen, the plain Jane in the series premiere, kind of won me (but not many others) over last night.

Roe doesn’t poke fun at Kristen's unflattering plaid shirts and her weird fear of snails. She also doesn't belittle Kristen for harboring a six-year crush. Instead, Roe helps Kristen find more flattering clothes, encourages her to touch a snail, and gives her tangible advice for how to interact with the opposite sex. In fact, my only qualm with the show is the torturous “buzzer.” After the makeover, Roe sends Kristen out with a wire and an earpiece to practice flirting with random guys in a dog park—and zaps her whenever she does something counter-productive. Kristen's as collared as the dog she’s walking. It’s weird.

But really, if you can get past that, the show works because Kristen is incredibly easy to relate to. She’s not annoying—she’s just shy and naive and unaware and head-over-heels in love with her best friend Ty, who is also adorable. I ended up rooting for her to believe in herself just as much as I rooted for Roe to help her find that confidence. And thus, my heart is warmed.

Follow writer Stefanie Lee on Twitter: @StefAtTVDotCom

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