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Supersize vs Superskinny: the end of an era

svs.jpgSo farewell then, bizarro Channel 4 diet show, back-handed Gillian McKeith vehicle and world's introduction to the lovely Dr Christian Jessen. They were the best of times, the worst of times, the fat times and the lean times. Mostly they were the meal times.

Oh SvS, I loved you, but what a weird mixed platter of a show you were. Patronising health advice sat smugly on the plate alongside acidic cuts from McKeith's shrieking misogyny and great unstomachable chunks of hammy Anna Richardson. This last calls herself a "journalist" (ahem, I've seen her stuff in the Mail), was ostensibly "trying out" different extreme diets and weight loss methods in the vein of all those worthy-but-creepy "Make Me A Size 0" shows, but like the women on those shows, was quite transparently desperate to lose weight. And then of course there was the diet-swap aspect...

The central premise, I suppose, was that very thin people generally eat less than very overweight people. A massively overweight (we're talking 20-40 stone) person is air-lifted into a house to meet their cadaverously underweight counterpart. They're shown each other's diets, and realise with open astonishment that one of them eats rather more than the other one. Neither of them have it right, I must stress - the thin person often enjoys things like 8 bourbon biscuits for breakfast. Then they have to swap their meals for a week.

For the first 4.5 days both thinny and fatty flatly refuse each other's food. The thin person is determined to appear to have a tiny dainty appetite, but entertainingly always snaps from sheer starvation by the end of the week and chows down a hearty burger and chips. They generally deny enjoying it. At this point the producers try to get a sly aside to the camera from fatty saying something like "I knew she was hungry!" And all kinds of things cross your mind. What's being challenged here? Their perceptions of each other's diets? Surely not. Their attitudes to food? Maybe, but how is getting people so hungry they'll literally eat anything actually teaching them about what's nutritious? Or are they just trying to make thin and fat people less frightened of each other? That's what it looks like, but I didn't even realise this was an issue.

But what I want to know is what did they do for the rest of the day? Were they just living in that house together like Big Brother? If so, there's hella lot of more interesting footage I'd like to see! Did they talk to each other? Did they only get together for meals? And let's face it did any of them get it on?

After a week together, the pair are sent on their ways with healthy eating plans (don't get them the wrong way round Dr Chris!) and come back three months later to face the cameras again, and get weighed in. They've always got new clothes and a haircut by now, the fat one's generally lost a few stone, and the thin one, who we can assume won't have tried very hard at all, might have put on a few pounds. (the girl last night had put on two pounds, which is a f***ing joke if you ask me, I was disgusted by the doc for complementing her. If it was me I'd have wrestled her to the ground and stabbed a drip in her arm).

A weird plateful but I couldn't stop eating it. And now I feel sick, and kind of guilty. The show wasn't great either.

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Posted by on February 27, 2008 in supersize vs superskinny | Permalink

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