As a spokeswoman for Jenny Craig, Kirstie Alley has already lost 80 pounds. In the past, she has been the butt of tabloid and talk-show jokes, and in response, she defiantly lost the weight. But now Alley is back to fat, and she isn’t afraid to say it.
“Kirstie Alley’s Big Life”
Sundays at 10 p.m.
“Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” on A&E chronicles her second round of weight loss, shedding light on the ups and downs of a formerly thin celeb gone big again. Alley is again discouraged by the paparazzi’s obesity obsession, but that doesn’t stop her from pulling a self-directed fat joke in almost every scene of the show. After the first few times, it sounds less like a joke or personal motivator and more like a coping method that isn’t working.
Alley has a crazy, complicated “Big Life,” just like more than half of America. A&E’s new show is just another look into the lives of people trying to lose weight — in the same boat as shows like “Biggest Loser,” “Ruby” and “One Big Happy Family.” Nobody said those shows were good, but they do have one thing that “Big Life” lacks — inspiration.
The pilot episode shows Alley doing literally nothing to jump-start her weight loss. One scene finds her on the floor of her exercise room, admitting that she worked out for just seven minutes. Even her two grown kids, Lillie and William, don’t seem to encourage her at all. When Alley asks them to work out, they decline. And even better, when she asks them if her being fat embarrasses them, her son shrugs and gives her a resounding and helpful “not really.”
One thing’s for sure: Alley has the same kooky attitude she has always had. She’s loud and fun — albeit a bit lonely — but she just doesn’t seem serious enough. And neither do many of the people around her. “Big Life” feels like a lazy look into weight loss, in which there’s the obvious goal to be thin, but no interest in the benefits that come with a healthier lifestyle. Alley never once mentions the medical dangers of yo-yo dieting, and her seven minutes of exercise with five-pound weights isn’t exactly moving.
If seeking motivation to lose weight, “Big Life” isn’t the place to turn. Sure, Alley can shed the pounds, but it takes more than a scale and a smaller dress size to measure success. Any well-informed trainer will advocate a change in lifestyle over any fad diet, and that’s where Alley falls short.
This is why “Big Life” inadvertently works against Jenny Craig. The diet obviously doesn’t support a continuous healthy lifestyle once the pounds are shed. Alley’s show is one big oxymoron, but if half-hearted weight loss sounds interesting, go for it.