Tag Archives: reality shows

MTV Recap: “I Used To Be Fat”, Dominick

12 Jan

This week’s “I Used To Be Fat” is about Dominick, 18. MTV shows him on the day of his high school graduation. His family is Italian. I feel myself reminded of the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” you know, where the Greek family is all about food and lots of it. And MTV portrays Dominick’s food-loving family as his major obstacle in his quest for weight loss. Clearly, pasta is the devil incarnate. Ah, well, since I recapped all other episodes, why stop with Dominick’s.

Image: MTV

For Dominick, his weight gain started when the kids from his basketball team called him fat.  He lost his confidence, stopped doing sports, and withdrew inwardly.

Now, at graduation, he wants to say goodbye to his old self. He worries about his mom, who is overweight. He’s sick of being the big guy. Dominick wants to lose weight, he’s 306 lb,  and his Italian mother is the ‘bad guy’ here because she shows her love with food. It’s pasta four times a week, everyone, that can’t be good.

Saran arrives, his personal trainer, and they have a sit down at the table:

Saran: “Give me your summer then I’ll give you your life back.”

Where is Dominick’s life right now… Is he dead? Is there like a place where the ‘life’ of fat people hide until they’ve slimmed down? Just wondering…

So, he has 110 days to lose weight before he starts college. Which means a weight loss of 5 lb a week during the next 16 weeks. Is that healthy goal? I don’t know.

Saran, the trainer, checks out the fridge. And she throws away the packaged pasta. Why the heck do they throw away perfectly fine food? At least donate it to a food drive or something similar, this is seriously messed up.

Saran pulls out the guilt card—admonishing Dominick that he has never been in a gym and now has to suffer for it. Seriously, you can be active and healthy without ever setting food in a gym, just saying.

During the first workout, Dominick throws up into the trash bin. Saran blames the mother that Dominick isn’t in better shape, because, clearly, look at the overweight mom, she has let herself go—nice, Saran, go ahead and insult people because they are fat. Wouldn’t a good trainer be able to assist in a workout that doesn’t result in throwing up? Just wondering…

We see them on the tennis court. Playing tennis is something Dominick would love to do. But we actually don’t see them batting a ball over the net. Instead, he runs around with Saran piggyback style on his back. After he collapses on the ground, they have this conversation:

Saran: “Did you see what just happened today?”

Dominick: “I didn’t puke. I pulled through it.”

Saran: “Is this a new Dominick?”

Dominick: “Yes, it could be the new Dominick.”

Why are they talking about him in the third person? Is he still not alive yet? Is his ‘life’ still in this mysterious place? Will Saran give Dominick his life back soon? Questions, questions…

Saran has a chat with the mom, saying that Dominick doesn’t want to “lose her.” Basically implying that if the mom doesn’t start working out, she’ll die. Thus pressured, Dominick’s mother promises to work out. (Not a bad thing of course, I just dislike the delivery, also, God knows where the life of Dominick’s mom currently is…)

Three weeks later, Dominick weighs  281 lb. Did I mention he likes to wear a shirt with a muffin icon and the word ‘stud’ above it. I let you figure that one out.

Saran is back and makes a trip into the kitchen to check out the pantry…there’s whole wheat pasta now and even green beans, so she’s happy. Dominick is cooking—good for him—he seems to really enjoy it.

Dominick wants to go to culinary college and leave home. The mother cries for two days because she doesn’t want to let him go—empty nest syndrome and all that—I guess it’s understandable, but you can’t hold your teenager back.

Saran is on his side, encouraging him to stand up to his mom and follow his goal. Then she sits on his back while he’s doing his exercise. Well, at least someone is having fun here.

Finally, it’s his last day. Dominick’s hitting the gym again—reminiscing about his first day and how he threw up.  So Saran suggest doing a ‘crazy interval’ just to see if he throws up again. He burns off a thousand calories and doesn’t throw up—it’s a success, I guess. It’s also more than a bit cruel, this challenge. Needless to say, the trainer is proud.

If you care for numbers: Dominick went from 306 lb to 219 lb in 110 days.

We see him on his first day in culinary school (it’s in Chicago) and Dominick feels confident, more than he ever felt during high school. (Is there anyone out there who ever felt truly confident during high school? Anyone?) He lives with a couple of roommates and cooks for them, which I found awesome.

A month later, he visits his mom and his family and he shows off his skinny jeans. He’s proud of finishing something most of all. (And his mom has lost 64 lb.) MTV already has an update on Dominick, you can check out his video here.

I think Dominick did great on “I Used to be Fat.” Good for him for pursuing his career goals. Before the weight loss, Dominick seemed like a really nice guy with a love for funny, graphic t-shirts. He seemed the same after the weight loss. Whatcha think?

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MTV recap: “I Used to be Fat”, Marci

6 Jan

I watched the first episode of MTV’s “I Used to be Fat”, (which was about Gabriella, recap here), so I tuned in for the second episode. This time around it was about Marci, 18, who wants to lose weight. But that’s where the similarities to Gabriella’s episode ended.

MTV I Used to be Fat, Marci

Image credit: MTV

Marci’s episode was very different from Gabriella’s. In a nutshell: Gabriella was a happy teenager and wanted to lose weight to please her pushy mother, imho. Gabriella seemed to have everything—friends, a social life, a homecoming queen tiara. I thought she looked happy and confident just the way she was.

Marci has no friends, no social life, nothing. She doesn’t look happy or confident. Marci rocks the gothic look, with dark eye makeup and black clothes. She sits in her room all day, watches TV and eats. This isn’t a great lifestyle, no matter what dress size or age. Marci was taken out of 6th grade because she was bullied for her weight. Since then she was homeschooled and sheltered.

What are her goals in life? Her first goal is first to win friends. (Well, there’s one. Heather, a pretty blonde, who has a crush on Marci’s trainer.)  Marci’s second goal is to go shopping for cute clothes. Well, cute clothes come in many sizes, but you can’t always find them in the boutique around the corner, granted. Not her fault, though.

And Marci’s third goal is to lose weight. Marci weighs 250 lbs  and has 89 days to lose 90 lbs—that is her goal. Her personal trainer is ex-military and offers her a very straightforward, boot camp style workout, lots of tough love. I did like that he inquired about Marci’s goals besides weight loss, and he seemed to listen. I liked that he hugged her, sweat or no sweat. Of course, he also used the phrase “you are so fat!” to shame her into working out harder–that’s where he lost all brownie points again.

But they did a variety of exercises, including boxing, and Marci seemed to enjoy it, which I thought was great. A way to vent your frustration.

Marci’s mother seems like a very gentle, loving mother who never denies her daughter anything, including driving her daily to fast food joints. Marci’s mom is a pushover—or so Marci’s trainer says. The family never eats together, but Marci eats her fast food alone in her room. Marci’s parents are divorced since she was four years old and ever since she was given everything her heart desires. Food became her source of comfort and love.

Marci learns how to chop onions and peppers. She never prepared her own meal before. Why her mother never involved Marci in the kitchen before I have no idea. But I thought that part was great about the show, mom and daughter together in the kitchen, cooking. They tried out something new together, which is so much more important than losing weight.

Then there’s more exercise, more sweat, and after losing 50 lbs, Marci and her mother go shopping in celebration, but the cute clothes still won’t fit. If I were Marci, I’d blame the clothes, not myself. But it was set up like a personal challenge so I fully expected that she visits the shop again after more weight loss.

And after 89 days and losing 90 lbs , Marci has achieved her goal. So she goes shopping again and lo and behold, the ‘skinny’ dress fits.

I thought what Marci needed most were friends, lots of them. She seemed like a girl starving for friendship. She wasn’t self-confident or happy at the start of the episode. In the end, it was quite fun to see her turn the tables and boss her trainer around on the lawn. We see her leaving for a Halloween party, dressed up like a dark angel with black wings. She feels gorgeous and amazing and confident.

I felt Marci gained something positive from the show, even though I don’t agree with the method it was achieved. She learnt how to cook, she had fun working out, she seemed to have a new sparkle in her eye. Marci did it for herself, not for anyone else—well, if you don’t count anyone who ever bullied her for being a “fat girl”. I thought the overall message was that you have to lose weight to have a happy social life, to find friends. Which isn’t true. But you don’t gain self-esteem by sitting in your room all day, every day, so how could Marci possibly have developed a healthy self-confidence?

I wish someone could have taken Marci by the hand and introduced her to new people, social activities, volunteering, anything really, to get her in contact with people outside her immediate family. It wasn’t about losing weight for her, she seemed lonely above anything else.

(Related post: I Used to be Fat, Dominick)

The Bachelor, ABC. Will you watch?

3 Jan

I’ve watched past seasons of the Bachelor. Why? Because it’s plain ol’ entertainment. It’s cheesy and awkward. It’s rarely romantic but oh the drama. I probably agree with everything negative you can come up with regarding the show. I’ll still watch it–it’s like a traffic accident, you can’t look away. I’ve also watched the season where Brad Womack famously dissed the two girls in the finale, not proposing marriage to either of them. Now Brad is back, still looking hot.

The Bachelor

Image: ABC

It should be noted that The Bachelor has nothing to do with the general theme of my blog. Unless, maybe, Brad Womack will be able to pick from a batch of plus-sized girls? I don’t think so. But I’ll watch it just in case I’m mistaken. Maybe women of every age, hair color and dress size are represented. Maybe Brad falls for a curvy, red-haired, plus-sized girl, who knows. So I have to watch, there. (I might write a Bachelor recap of the first episode, but not sure yet.) Edited to add: Yes, I did a Bachelor Recap here.

And about the age–I just had a sneak peek at the single girls at the ABC site. Most of them are in their early, mid-twenties. Brad Womack is 38 years old. Ahaha, the old double standard. Good luck to all the single ladies, I wish you strong nerves, you’ll need them.

Look at the time, show’s about to start and popcorn isn’t ready yet… Will you watch how the Bachelor breaks hearts again or do you hate the show?

MTV recap: “I Used to be Fat”, Gabriella

30 Dec

Last night, I watched, “I Used to be Fat” on MTV. Oh, where do I even start? Here’s my very biased and totally opinionated take to this series that gives people yet another reason to treat fat people cruelly.

Image credit: MTV

“I Used to be Fat” opens by introducing us to Gabriella, 18. She’s some 250lb, a very pretty brunette, cute smile, has great friends and is the freaking Homecoming Queen of her high school. Does anything here sound like she has a problem? Nope.

In first grade, Gabriella was called a fatso, and all she wants to feel accepted and loved. Honestly, I had a lump in my throat. Now, Gabriella starts college after the summer and wants to lose weight and she has 111 days and a personal trainer to help her “become the three Fs: fit, fabulous and fierce.”

Then Gabriella’s mother enters the screen and it all becomes pretty clear to me why Gabriella feels she can’t be happy as she is right now.

I don’t know, this is a reality series after all, and I have no idea how much “I Used to be Fat” is scripted, but Gabriella’s mother appears to me the culprit of Gabriella’s shame, guilt and insecurities. At the very best, I’d say that Gabriella’s mother has the best, if misguided, intentions for her daughter. At the worst I’d say she’s an abusive, manipulative mother from hell.

Example? The mother tells Gabriella that she inherited the wrong (read fat) genes—she says this in a pitying tone. The mother wants her daughter to be happy—but thin! The mother leaves out food as a test, as a freaking test, if Gabriella will eat it. If Gabriella falls for the “food trap”, she is shamed and made feel guilty! Gabriella goes as far as to hide food wrapping so she can escape her mother judgment.

Gabriella says she wants to lose weight for herself, but I have the sneaking suspicion she does it so her mother will for once accept her, love her, be proud of her.

Image credit: MTV news

Now follows the usual: Enter a military drill fitness instructor. 111 days later Gabriella has tortured herself through a fitness regime that is both boring and unimaginative. Where’s the fun? Well, no fun allowed for Gabriella. And when she struggles to juggle her school, her job and working out, her mother tells her that she is not doing a good job. Can you believe that? Her mother tells her that Gabriella is doing a shitty job. Gabriella holds her own, saying that she is proud of what she has achieved so far—honestly, I wanted to give her a hug.

In the end, Gabriella lost the weight. And suddenly the mother and the rest of her family ohh and ahh over her, hug her, tell her that they are proud of her. Boy, did “I Used to be Fat” sent a great message—lose weight and you’ll be loved.

To be clear, I’m not making fun of Gabriella, she has every right to do what she wants with her life, her body. I’m not saying that it was wrong to lose weight, not at all. But in the end, I feel her real success was not getting thin, but that she had learned to stand up against her judgmental mother.

But “I Used to be Fat” left a very bad taste in my mouth for sure.

(–Related: Episode 2 recap, I Used to be Fat, Marci–)

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