I know what you’re thinking: AGAIN?!?! Oh, yes! Kirstie Alley, the woman behind “Fat Actress” and oh so many weight loss commercials, has let reality TV cameras into her home to do a show about losing weight. (And, apparently, her pet lemurs.)It may surprise you that on principle, I actually don’t think this is a terrible plot for a reality TV show. It has the potential to be relatable: I, for one, have been eating healthier and doing cardio so I can fit into my beloved J.Crew matchstick jeans again. And while I doubt I’ll really relate to Alley, I’m sure I’ll relate to her struggles more than the crazily obese contestants and their 24/7 drill sergeant trainers on “The Biggest Loser.”
But still, let’s be honest: People don’t know Alley anymore for “Cheers” or “Veronica’s Closet” and that’s a damn shame. She has become a one-trick pony with her weight battles, even talking about how “humiliated” she is with herself on “Oprah.” It’s not only disappointing to see Alley’s talent squandered, but as a fellow woman, it’s irritating to watch her obsess over her weight, call herself “fat,” and participate in the “humiliation” in what seems like such a self-hating way. And that’s why, relatability aside, “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” has me very suspicious.
Let’s unpack some dodgier Kirstie-isms from the “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” trailer, shall we?
“I have a big life. I’ve had all these incarnations in one lifetime. I’ve done scripted, I’ve done comedy, I’ve done drama, so [reality TV] is a new challenge for me.
Come on, Kirstie, that’s not really what the show’s about …
“We’re going to see me lose weight in the show because we always see people in the ‘before’ and the ‘after,’ but we don’t really know happens in between. The in between is really the meat and potatoes, no pun intended.”
Fair enough point. This is, of course, the theory “The Biggest Loser” is predicated on. But what’s really essential is that “what happens in between” — whatever that might be — is something healthy and not, like, Kirstie Alley starving herself or admonishing herself as “fat” every single episode.
“I think it’s stupid to say I’m ‘full-figured.’ F**k you, I’m f**king ‘fat.’”
Jeez Louise, that could be a Frisky Quotable, couldn’t it? I get what Kirstie’s saying here — her natural figure isn’t larger, she is just carrying excess body weight — but a comment like this is so irresponsible because so many women do have fuller figures. Is it “stupid,” according to Kirstie, to call Christina Hendricks or Kate Winslet “full-figured,” too?
Kirstie: (to her kids) “Does it upset you that I’m fat?”
Kirstie’s son True and daughter Lillie in unison: “No.”
Kirstie: “Slightly?” Lillie: “No.”
Kirstie: “You’re not embarrassed?”
True and Lillie in unison: “No.”
Kirstie: “Circus fat?”
Kirstie, honey? These are the conversations that $250-an-hour therapy sessions are made for.
“I don’t want to do this again. I hate being fat. I’m not one of those girls who says, ‘I’m loud, I’m proud, I’m large and in charge!’ I hate it!”
So Kirstie Alley is the anti-Crystal Renn. (Renn is proudly a plus-sized model for Vogue, Glamour and Dolce & Gabbana.) But you know what? I’ve actually interviewed Crystal Renn and she seems like a HELL of a lot happier person.
“Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” debuts March 21 at 10 p.m. (EST) on A&E. Set your TiVos, if you can bear it.