Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fat March: TV Review

Monday nights there's a new obesity reality show on ABC called, "Fat March".

The premise is simple. 12 obese Americans join two personal trainers and "march" 570 miles trying to lose weight. There's money involved of course. $1.2 million dollars to be split 12 ways at the end. The catch? Anytime a person is voted off or quits everyone's prize money goes down by $10,000.

So how do I summarize this monstrosity?

Take every stereotype you can think of about overweight and obesity, roll it into one, mix it with two wooden, idiotic trainers, shake, add inappropriate exercise and voila both you and the cast members get to go to the hospital. You, for your new found brain damage and the cast members for the myriad of injuries the show has cultivated.

Yesterday's episode had marchers calling each other derogatory obesity slurs, had a big plate of doughnuts that the marchers were supposed to "resist", had one marcher try to eat a doughnut off the ground, had shots emphasizing how whiny, lazy and will-less the marchers were, had the second of thus far two emergency room visits due to poorly designed exercise and over-training, had marchers whinging about how much they missed food and eating, and had a preview of future weeks' episodes where at least one more of the marchers is taken to hospital and told that he'll need knee surgery.

What upsets me more is the fact that the show is setting the marchers up for failure. They are being taught a ridiculously non-sustainable lifestyle and are being given the expectation that they'll lose weight, get rich, go home and stay skinny when in reality they're just on a crash diet where the word crash is quite apropos - people tend to get injured in crashes.

Unless these marchers plan to keep marching for 4-8 hours a day and continue adhering to a blindly restrictive low calorie diet, the weight they lose will come back as soon as they revert back to their old lifestyles which I would predict will happen the very moment the show is over because the lifestyle the show has given them no one in their right mind would want to live.

Bottom line: The show is awful. It will not only not help educate you in means to manage weight but it will promote all that is wrong about "dieting" as truth and do so with cameras whose jobs it apparently is to perpetuate and exploit cultural obesity stereotypes.

I give it an F.