Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Too Much TV--Yet Another Review

Photo from

This past Sunday night, I snuggled up in my big comfy bed at the Delta Hotel after an exhausting and difficult day of work. I would have liked to do a bit of time on the hotel's treadmill, but I'm still being rather careful about how much I walk, due to my recent hip scare. I did actually take a brisk walk around the floor I was on a few times, but it wasn't much.

Anyhoo, after going over the documents for the next day's meeting (a real snorefest), I got into my PJs and settled in for some serious TV viewing.

I ended up watching three programmes on TLC, all dealing with the trials and tribulations of the morbidly obese.

The first programme followed a teenager who had been hospitalized so that he could start losing weight, with a view towards eventually getting bariatric surgery. It was really depressing, as his weight problem was directly linked to some very, very dysfunctional family dynamics. There was also a parallel story about another teenager who had had the surgery and was going nowhere with the weight loss. Again, a terrible family dynamic seemed to be at the root of his weight problem.

But the two programmes that I watched a lot more carefully dealt with the so-called "650 pound virgin". How's that for an attention-getting moniker? Reel 'em in with that title and then create a pretty superficial programme that doesn't get at the root of anything. Both of the programmes were depressing. Again, the reason for his excessive eating and morbid obesity was basically psychological. The programme did look at the psychological aspects somewhat, but of course, the main theme of the programme was how this now good-looking young man was finally going to find a girl friend (and judging by the title of the show, finally get laid). His attempts at speed dating and meeting with various life/dating "coaches" didn't seem to get him anywhere. There was even a scene where he just couldn't get the words "give me your phone number" out. I felt really uncomfortable.

Virgin show number two showed our hapless friend still with his virginity intact, still room mates with his personal trainer (a more buff guy you couldn't imagine), and with 30 pounds back on. He still seemed massively uncomfortable with himself and the show continued on its superficial way. One scene showed him "counselling" his obese sister, who was talking about the heartbreak of splitting up with her boyfriend two years previous and her signifcant weight gain. Believe me, I can understand that heartbreak (been there, done that, still remember every moment of it), I can understand trying to quell the pain with food, but there was something so voyeuristic and yet completely superficial about their talk. It was all for the camera and there was no substance.

Yes, he finally lost his virginity. But it wasn't at all as he had hoped. Another superficial experience, from what he said on camera...

As I watched the two shows, I felt like I had been watching a car crash. I felt like this poor man had emotionally stripped himself naked for the camera and for what? In addition to eating healthily and working with a personal trainer, what this poor guy needed was some serious psychotherapy. But psychotherapy does not make for good television and anyway, it's covered by privacy laws so even if you could make good television out of it, you wouldn't be allowed to.

I wondered why there was no discussion of his recent weight gain. Granted, when you've lost over 400 pounds, 30 pounds is not huge, but it does indicate that something might be going on. That's what I wanted to know about although no information was forthcoming.

Maybe I'm asking for too much from my TV shows. I just don't want to hear anymore about what he ate and how he exercised and what the dating coach said. I wanted to know what was going on in his heart and soul. That's where it's really at and that's probably too personal to ever find out about.


  1. I think that psychological causes of weight gain and weight loss are not generally accepted as mainstream. It's all about buying the next diet book, or joining WW! What kind of family dynamics were going on? I haven't seen 650 pound virgin, but once watched 2-ton son/mom.

  2. Yes, I watched all of those shows too, and aside from the whole "virginity" angle I was so annoyed. There were 101 ways to help him learn to succeed, not just for his future manhood, etc. but for his FUTURE. Sure they helped him exercise and learn to eat, but did they really go deeper.

    As my husband would say, "Don't get Diane started on this!"

  3. Heart and soul are not tv material! That's why I never watch it.
    BODA weight loss

  4. We've been TV-free for a year now and I have not once regretted the decision. I simply have better things to do than watch that kind of stuff.