Monday, March 22, 2010

Kirstie Alley's Big Life- episodes 1 and 2- "The Tipping Point" and "Good Help is Hard to Find"

I love Kirstie Alley. I loved her on Cheers, I loved her as Pier One spokeswoman, I loved Fat Actress, I loved her as Jenny Craig weight loss wonder and superstar. I think she is lovely whether she is little tiny or she is big and curvy- I mean, really people. When you are pretty you are pretty no matter what size you are. Needless to say, I was thrilled to see she was giving reality TV a try (score!) and star in a show that showcases her life as a fat lady. Not "circus fat" (her words, not mine) but just fatter then she was when she lost the 70 some odd pounds on Jenny Craig.

Clearly she won't be shilling for JC again. And as Valerie Bertinelli has shown you can keep the weight off. Fingers crossed, Jason Alexander! So what is the point of The Big Life?

As the title of the first episode shows, she has reached a tipping point in her life. Kirstie should have stock in US Weekly and The National Enquirer because when she is on the cover she sells magazines. And not because she has a hot new movie coming out or a new book: It's because she was thin then she was fat then she was thin again and then she was fat again. She is currently fat. And she wants to change, but she knows it will be hard and she needs help.

The first show introduces her support team: Lillie and True, her teenage kids who love their mom and want her to be happy and fit. And they are totally willing to call her out when she is being lazy. Kelly, her longtime assistant whom Kirstie states would totally get a date if she would just brush her hair. Kyle, her "apprentice" (I don't know what that means, but I think he is just another assistant) who came all the way from Kirstie's home state of Kansas to work for her. He taught her how to Twitter. Tracy, her stylist who finds all those long flowing twirly gowns that she likes to wear. And JIM. Jim is a handy man who is based in Florida- and I don't know why he is there "working" when he lives in Florida- and is Kirstie's "chubby buddy". If over 300 pounds makes you chubby.

Kirstie also has a menagerie of animals- cats, dogs, lemurs (think Madagascar). I think I saw a bird cage in there. It's a literal zoo.

With this "wacky" cast of characters set, where does the weight loss come into the equation? The episode shows Kirstie trying to pick out a New Year's Eve dress, but she stops when the paparazzi (also a major character) take a picture of her while she is sitting in her back yard that is incredibly unflattering. She decides not to go out, defeated. Her assistants are going out on the town, but have to be back to work at 5 AM January 1st to weigh Kirstie for her newest weight loss endeavor.

From what I can ascertain, Kirstie has some new weight loss product that she is going to be using during the show. She has also roped in Jim, her "Jimmy" pig for testing the products. Kirstie is going to need some serious motivation- this episode showed her working out for about seven minutes before she quit.

On New Year's Eve, she has a dinner "date" with Jim, where they swap stories on how they gained the weight. Kirstie is very candid about her old methods of losing weight- snorting coke and smoking cigarettes- and that she has very bad habits. When she stopped doing drugs she never stopped eating, hence the weight gain. Jim is shown eating monster fat food burgers (I meant to type fast but I like the mistake. It's fitting, no?) so we know why he is heavy. He says after he got married he sort of gave up because there was no more reasons to stay fit.

The next morning is "the moment of truth". At 5 AM she gets on the scale with Kelly and Kyle looking on. She weighs in at 230 lbs. "Is it over 180?" she asks. "Just a smidgen," Kelly lies. Kirstie decides she wants her weight in stones, and she is 16 stones wanting to lose 6.4 stones. Or 90 pounds for us non British people.

"The truth hurts," Kirstie sighs.

On the second episode, Kirstie enlists her assistant Kyle to find a personal trainer for herself and Jim. And they need that motivation, because Jim doing jumping jacks may be one of the funniest things I have watched in a while. Kirstie has an at home gym, kind of like a Curves set up, but let's be honest. They are pretty half-assed exercisers. Even the Wii is kicking their butts. And Jim, if you are reading this? Don't wear shoes on the Wii balance board. :)

Kirstie states that she hates trainers, but Jim knows the only way they are going to do this properly is to get someone to get them to really push themselves. Not anyone too Jillian, but not anyone too new age fruity.

Kyle brings in a motley crew of PT choices: From Stephen who looks like a pedophile to Dallas who may have been a man at some point, things look bleak until J.R. walks in. Tall, dark, and made out of muscle, Kirstie seems immediately drawn to him and his methods. And his ripped abs. In a somewhat awkward conversation, Kirstie hires him. . .but tells him she isn't used to being around black people. "Aren't you friends with Oprah?" he asks. She laughs (the whole time she has been sitting next to her stylist Kelly who is black) and all is right with the world.

J.R. comes in to give Kirstie and Jim a fit test. Let's be honest- J.R. has his work cut out for him. There is a lot of grunting, groaning, and complaining and this is only the beginning. THE EASY LEVEL. But J.R.'s philosophy is simple: "Hard work is hard muscles." He establishes his client's goals: Kirstie wants to weigh between 130-140 pounds and Jim wants to weigh 195.

I think Kirstie has the fire. Of course, the next morning at 5 AM she tells Kyle to let her go back to sleep and if J.R. calls to not answer. But she is a fighter, that Kirstie Alley. I know she will succeed. Just after she wakes up.

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