Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Village on a Diet episode 4 recap: Unrealistic expectations

So could anything make a show that continually and falsely suggests to Canadians that exercising till you throw up is how best to lose weight any less helpful?

Yup.

And we get it this week when the show starts off with the person who thinks it's, "pathetic" that she's only lost 5lbs, another who's upset she's only lost 2bs, another who can't see her 12lb loss, and a dad who thinks his young son's a failure and should be busting his hump 24/7 because he's only lost 9lbs.

Never mind that to lose faster than 1-3lbs per week pretty much necessitates non-sustainable approaches, this show's all about the non-sustainable, and while Dr. Zentner puts the dad in his place in her office, and later tries to make Jamie feel better about her 12lb loss, it doesn't seem as if she sat down the show's producers. Oh, and don't bother discussing energy balance with viewers - better just to think as the show suggests for most of the episode, that the town's just not working out hard enough.

But that's not all. Today we also get taught that healthy eating has to include ingredients that I'd bet the vast, vast majority of Canadians aren't familiar with, nor interested in. Think that's going to inspire viewers to want to change what they're eating? Think perhaps it would have been more helpful to explore healthy eating that didn't include tofu and quinoa?

Oh, and their registered dietitian's given a new nickname by British accent voice over guy - "calorie cop". Way to inspire Canadians to consider seeing dietitians.

But it's probably just TV. You know if I had to wager, I'd bet that in the town the Taylorites got far better treatment, advice and help than what viewers have been shown.

So why are Canadians getting the short end of the Village on a Diet stick?

I want to share part of a comment from last week's recap.

"These programs are popular as they are designed to produce a sense of unearned superiority in the audience, with pat,over simplistic solutions presented as the answer to complex problems (see eat less,move more)."
I don't disagree.

It's interesting too, each week in the comments a few folks will tell me the show's inspirational, that I shouldn't rush to judgment, that great changes are taking place.

So let me ask you - would it be inspirational to watch a show about depression where people simply yelled at you to, "pull yourself up from your bootstraps"? Would you judge a show on stock market investing as lacking if the only formative advice they aired was, "buy low, sell high"? Would you consider a show teaching a family how to hold their breath as proof the family will be able to hold it forever?

I wish I could be applauding this show. I wish that each and every week I commented about how wonderfully the show tackled another facet of the struggle against obesity.

Ultimately I wish that it was a show that focused on education, not entertainment.

There's always Season 2.

Bookmark and Share