At some point in recent pop-culture times, the power of transformation faded away. Cosmetic surgery lost its clandestine, don't-ask-don't-tell nature. Television began to beam a steady parade of changed rooms, traded spaces, extreme makeovers -- and all of these had the quality of bestowing momentary fame upon whoever was getting overhauled.

The camera came into the operating room to watch noses being pounded, stomachs bypassed and fat schlorped. Wardrobes were thrown into the trash can so that shopping could commence for an all-new look, and, somewhere, someone's always in the chair, getting smoky evening eye makeup.

Life is now a series of "befores" and "afters"; viewers tend to run to the fridge during the "during." In celebrityland, the occasional makeover used to signal a progression. Dramatic weight loss (or gain) really meant something. Hairstyles were monogamous. Most famous people adhered to the rules -- once you become recognizable, don't change your look -- to the point of caricature.

All of which is a preamble for: Wow! Look at Jack Osbourne! -- the spawn of Ozzy and Sharon who so ably nailed his part as the spoiled, heavyset, glum, narcissistic teen who occupied a series of upstairs bedrooms in the Osbourne manse. Jack has been seen in the checkout-line media sporting a trim new body and a faux-hawk haircut.

Last we left him (before the end of the family's reality show, "The Osbournes"), Jack was looking to become a permanent part of the D-list rehab scene. He'd let his hair grow out to Bozo-ian heights. He was reveling in his ugly nature -- the show had made him out to be an uncaring, unruly slob; in many ways he was even more undesirable than his sister Kelly, who'd gotten a recording deal (and also a trip to rehab). But the world didn't have room for two fatty bratties, and so it was Jack who had to go the hard-core image-makeover route. Now the kid looks better, feels better. But he's a year or two late. The image of "Jack Osbourne" -- the fat teenager screaming obscenities at the unfortunate employee whose job it was to rouse him out of bed -- is permanently Sharpie-marked on the scrolls of fame. Makeovers, yawn, lost their power to impress long ago.