Extreme Life Makeover

         The fad these days is extreme makeovers of all degrees. With shows like What Not to Wear, Extreme Home Makeover, and How Do I Look?, it is hard to not think about it at least once. After watching George Cukor’s 1964 version of My Fair Lady, based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 Pygmalion, one can see that it seems that Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) got something we all wish for, an extreme life makeover.

         The Start. Eliza can be seen as an unruly woman who is not educated or very articulate. Her profession is a street beggar selling stolen flowers to anyone brave enough to get close to her. Her manners are a lack thereof. This can been seen when Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison) is trying to talk to her, and all she can do is yell gibberish to him. Her presence is that of a street dweller. Eliza wears torn, dirty out-dated dresses, with her hair and face covered with filth. Meals are on a “as she finds” basis. When Professor Higgins agrees to take her in as his “project,” I do not think he realized just how much work was on his plate.

         The After. With lots of hard work, Professor Higgins is able to turn Eliza Doolittle around a complete 180! With long hours and lots of tension, Professor Higgins is able to teach Eliza proper English to a degree that she fits in with the Queen’s people. Colonel Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White) is so generous to buy her a wonderful new wardrobe complete with casual and ball gowns. What woman could deny! She lives in a lavish house with meals three times a day, plenty of company to keep her occupied. Once Professor Higgins is done with her, no one could recognize her. This is proven when Eliza runs away to her old selling grounds, and no one knows it is she. They think it could be she, but then a woman goes back and says, “You just look like someone I knew.” However, the woman backs off because Eliza is now looks like a high-class lady.

         The End. Now a complete success, Eliza Doolittle goes from rags to riches in just six months—no lipo, no crash diets, in exchange, extensive speech therapy, a bar of soap, and etiquette lessons. It would be nice if only all extreme makeovers could be so simple.

Ashley Stensland

Table of Contents