So has the Nightmare on ELMM street continued (Dr. Sharma's moniker - ELMM = eat less, more more)?
Notable this week?
There was also some good.
Now I recognize that there's no doubt that small-stepped sustainable lifestyle change doesn't always make for good television. As commentators on both my and Arya's blogs have noted, yelling at people to exercise and deriding them for their weights and perpetuating the stereotype of obesity being a disease of willpower makes for far more entertaining television than talking about food, and this episode with a focus on further "butt kicking" and folks who are filmed being repulsed by vegetables doesn't do much to bust those stereotypes.
But how much should ratings and "entertainment" matter to the CBC? Shouldn't the CBC be held up to a different standard than NBC (the home of The Biggest Loser)? After all, the CBC is funded by us, the taxpayers, and consequently entertainment value need not be their foremost consideration.
There's also no doubt the CBC could make this program great. It's clear that the producers of Village on a Diet are quite talented and were they to set their minds to it, I'm certain they could make thoughtful lifestyle change and environmental overhaul great TV. By means of example, you don't even need to leave the network. Not sure who out there saw it, but Jay Wortman's and the CBC's My Big Fat Diet which followed Jay and his work with Alert Bay, BC where he put that community on a low-carb diet that saw them losing weight and improving their biochemistries, was wonderful and didn't rely on ridiculous and inconsequential in the long run physical challenges.
Dr. Brian Goldman of White Coat, Black Art fame and a man whose public health advocacy efforts I greatly admire, suggests that I and others are missing an important point,
"As a nation, we have let the obesity crisis creep up on us like those unwanted kilos. Sometimes, you need shock therapy to grab peoples' attention. Shows like Village on a Diet do just that."And while I don't disagree with the notion of shock being useful, suggesting that Village on a Diet thus far has been a wise and laudable shock treatment is more than a stretch. Shocking people by perpetuating disparaging stereotypes about obesity isn't a great plan for the nation. Nor do I think that the celebration and publication of one of the primary things that needs to change - the notion that weight is an individual problem that's caused by laziness and cured primarily through exercise - as the means to solve the problem is a good one either.
I know that the CBC reads my blog, and I hope that the ongoing discussion, both here and in the comments, will help to shape the next season of Village on a Diet, because I don't think the CBC set out to perpetuate harmful stereotypes, I think they truly set out to do what they thought was best and were they able to turn this around, I think they'd be doing Canadians a tremendous service.
Looking forward to next week's apparently food focused episode.