200 Words with Paul Dini #26 – Janice Syndrome

August 14, 2008


At lunch the other day my friend TR brought up the case of an attractive well-known actress, who had opted to undergo rather severe plastic surgery in an effort to look younger. As he described the woman’s now-permanently half-lidded eyes, outrageously enhanced collagen lips, and radically diminished nose, I recognized all the telltale signs of another tragic victim of Janice Syndrome. That’s what I call the questionable decision by aging actresses to remake their faces into what amounts to an almost perfect likeness of the hippy chick guitarist from the Muppet’s Electric Mayhem band. The resemblance is so striking I suspect desperate women who grew up watching the Muppet Show are bringing Janice dolls to their plastic surgeon and demanding: “Make me look like her!”  

I wonder what another famous puppet, Pinocchio, might have thought about this trend. Desperate as he was to become a real boy, I can see Pinoke shaking his woodenhead in dismay at the paradox of people trying to become puppets, or at least look like them. Then again, puppets don’t age, and in today’s narcissistic society, only a dummy would not jump at the chance for eternal youth. As Janice herself might say: “Fer sure!”


Paul Dini is the Emmy and Eisner Award winning writer of Batman: The Animated Series,Superman: The Animated Series,Detective Comics, Countdown among many, many other things. You can find him online at either kingofbreakfast.livejournal.com or http://www.jinglebelle.com/.   


  1. Heh. When I get plastic surgery it will definitely be to look like Dr. Teeth.

  2. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I have an aunt who, i’m convinced, was the inspiration for Janice.  Aside from looking exactly like her, she owns more than one dream catcher and listens to White Snake.  

  3. wow… that’s a creepily accurate observation.

  4. I intend to follow Chow Yun Fat’s attitude toward ageing:

    "Every single wrinkle is a life experience and means a lot to me" – Hong Kong Action Superstar and Coolest Guy Ever, CYF!

  5. I like this. It reminds of a time when the Muppets weren’t just for kids. I seem to remember Janice making a joke about nudity in The Great Muppet Caper. What a Haight-Ashbury hottie!

  6. Nice!