****And now please welcome your newest recapper, SexyPanda!!
It’s the second season of Lifetime’s DietTribe, where we meet the latest group of tubby friends to embark on a weight-loss journey. There’s no competition involved, and the women aren’t even that pretty. So why are you watching? The eye candy that is Jesse Pavelka? Cheap/petty jokes at others’ expense? Me too. Let’s go rag on these bitches. Follow me!
We open with the classic reality show montage, telling us what’s to come this season. I’m confused at this point: is this like Biggest Loser? Nope. These ladies live where the show is filmed (LA?) and are doing this weight-loss show from the comforts of their homes. No one gets voted off, either. I get further confused when the opening montage shows us Therapist Stacy from Celebrity Fit club. The women are talking about divorce and its effect on their health. Hey, it’s Lifetime, we’re going to get in touch with our feelings. I think we’re going to use the word “journey” a lot, too. Get used to it. The montage otherwise treats us to clips of sweaty, gasping women with bad hair high-fiving each other or flipping tractor tires together or crying or funneling whipped cream from the can directly into their kids’ mouths. Typical. Thank God the clips also show us that a makeover is coming, because I have a real issue with some of these women’s hair and fashion choices.
To be fair, and nice for once, I actually think this show is a great idea. Weight loss doesn’t need to be a cutthroat competition, and it’s probably way more successful in the long term to accomplish it A) with friends and B) within the confines of your own daily life. Those Biggest Losers get to spend 8+ hrs a day on a fancy ranch with a kick-ass gym to lose their weight, and how many of them REALLY keep it off once they go home? Remember the partner of that super-fat kid Danny from last year’s BL? He went home and immediately hit up the hot dog hut. I think when you make changes within your actual life from the beginning, you’re more likely to stick with it, especially when your best friends are eyeing you judgmentally. And, hey, it’s Lifetime, wheeee! Friends supporting each other and facing their fears! Hugs!! Unicorns and rainbows and Army Wives!
The five friends are members of a local softball team called “The Misfits”. Doofy music plays while these women bobble balls (heeeey!) and whiff their bats (whoa) and generally act like buffoons.
Whiff! A face only a mother could love
We also get our first glimpse of the horror that is Tiffany’s hair. I’m sure she’s a sweet woman, but she’s got terrible taste in hair. The color is one thing (concentric stripes–WIDE ones–of rich, fake, burgundy and super-blonde), and the cut is quite another. It’s all flipped and winged, and it’s a total mess. I bet she is really going to clean up nicely once they wash the Sharpie out of her hair.
Her sister Stephanie isn’t doing much better, both during the game and at the salon. I’m all for aggressive highlights, ladies, but this is taking it too far.
I love bleach and makeup!
Rita’s up next, and she looks like a sad puddle of mud next to these two. Who needs her wan ass?
Mary speaks up next, and she’s your typical suburban soccer mom, dowdy blonde bangs and all.
Scary Mary No-Neck
Finally, we….DON’T get to meet the big black woman they keep showing us. Racists! Seriously, who is she and why didn’t she get an opening spot like everyone else?
The ladies head out to the local pub after the game and order one of everything off the menu. I bet you think I’m kidding. They know their “journey” (see?) starts tomorrow, so today, they’re living it up. As Garfield says, “My diet starts tomorrow.” And then, yay, we finally meet Laneesa! It’s about time! (Hi Laneesa!)
“He didn’t say ‘twooblah’, he said ‘true love’.”
All their apps come out, and holy shit, that’s a lot of food. And what makes me laugh is that every plate has a pile of deep-fried brown turd products on it (mozz sticks, poppers, fries, wings, you name it) and an equal amount of carrots and celery sticks. Like, the mozzarella sticks are artfully arranged in a fan with the carrots and celery sticks. What is that about?!
Would you like some breasts with your mozzarella sticks?
The women wax poetic about their love of all things fried, and then Tiffany and her Sideshow Bob hair shout an apology to the buffet before them. Yes, in case you wondered, her personality is almost as obnoxious as her hair. Stephanie warns the girls not to be coy when they step on the scale tomorrow–”do not get on there and say, ‘OMG, I don’t know how I got here. Because you’re lying, we all know how we got here!” At least they’re honest with themselves. Gotta respect that. The women grab hands and cheer themselves onto success in the next 120 days.
The girls head off to their first weigh in. The scale is in a fucking garage, and the garage door opens dramatically to let ‘em in. Uh, that’s nice. Hey, heifers, c’mon in! There’s no feed in the trough but I have this lovely pneumatic air-gun to press to your temple! No country for old men, indeed. They’re all wearing matching pink t-shirts and black capri sweatpants. They stand expectantly around the scale and tell us in interviews how scary the scale is. Then Adonis himself comes down the stairs.
Jesus Christ, is this guy HOT. His arms. His cheekbones. That smile. *siiiiiigh* (More evidence of how hot this guy is: a very good friend of mine and I have radically different taste in men, and we were BOTH stopped cold by this fox. Yep, universal hottie, folks.) This, ladies and gents, is the host and personal trainer for the season, Jesse Pavelka, Hottie Extraordinaire. Anyway, he moves down the line, shakin’ hands and meeting everyone–Tiffany and Stephanie (the Jay Leno sisters–did I mention they both have big jaws?) giggle like schoolgirls. Jesse introduces the program and warns them that he’ll “challenge them like they’ve never been challenged before” and they all mutter a half-assed “bring it on!” and other bravado while gulping nervously.
Jesse tells the women that they’ll each aim to lose 50 lbs each by the end of the 120 days. He explains later that this is about 3-4 lbs a week, and that this is the limit for safe weight loss. Now, I know a thing or two about weight loss, and I am worried for these women. Two pounds a week is a reasonable goal. Not three to four. Plus, if they don’t hit that 3-4 lb/week goal, they’re going to be bummed. And if they DO hit that goal, they’re going to have a hell of a time keeping it off. And staying in a good mood while they’re losing it! Not to mention, they’re all in their late 30′s (except Laneesa), and it’s more difficult to lose weight as you age. Ugh, I kinda feel bad for them now. Though, for four months, they can suck it up.
I roll my eyes at Jesse’s introduction to the weigh-in: “Every journey begins with the first step, and your first step is going to be on this scale.” The women each step up to the scale, and Jesse holds their hand (not in hand-holdy romantic way, but in a “don’t fall down, dummy!” way). I’d probably throw up at his touch, he’s so hot. And he’d probably throw up at the sweatiness of my hand. Anyway, it makes me uncomfortable and I wonder how they feel about it.
I’m turned on and horrified at the same time. Those guns. That hair. ACK!
Starting weights and goals:
Frumpy Mary (5’7″), starting weight: 210 lbs; goal 160 lbs
Bland Rita (5’2″), starting weight: 177 lbs; goal 142 lbs. (She’s short, so her goal is only 35 lbs.)
Clowny Stephanie (5’8″), starting weight: 244 lbs; goal 194 lbs.
Sideshow Tiffany (5’7″), starting weight: 221 lbs; goal 171 lbs.
Gigantic Laneesa (5’11″), starting weight: 335 lbs. Goal weight? 285 lbs.
Jesse loves Laneesa’s attitude about her commitment to her health. I think she’ll probably be the most successful, because she’s youngest and she’s got the most to lose. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if she pulled 60 lbs by the end of the season. Go, biggest chicks!
Anyway, now Jesse explains the rules for the program. He’ll check in every two weeks, and he’ll set team goals for the women. That’s kinda fair–one woman might have a shitty week and pull low numbers, while Gigantic Laneesa rocks everyone’s socks off and kills the goal for them all. Works for me! The first team goal is 30 lbs in two weeks, which is six pounds apiece. Jesse also explains that every time they meet a team goal, they get a reward. Hey, this sounds pretty nice. I wonder if I can drum up a few chubby friends so we can apply for Season 3. It beats counting WW Points! And I could stare at Jesse all the live-long day.
Wait, one last piece. Jesse’s raising the stakes. These bitches are doing a triathlon at the end of the season! They all freak out and nay-say. (“What is this, HorseVille? Because I’m surrounded by neigh-sayers!” Thank you, Tracy Jordan.) Well, hey, not to make this all about ME, but *I* compete in triathlons, so I totally know what it takes to get it done. These women may not be in the best shape now, but I betcha they can pull a sprint-distance tri outta their asses in four months. I can’t wait to see how they train! (And believe me, you see some lard-asses doing these things. One time, there was this guy who was probably 5’0″ tall, 250 lbs, and made of hair-carpet who walked the entire run portion of his race. If he can do it, so can they.) Jesse promises them that they WILL be able to complete the race, and that completing it will change their lives. I believe it. All of a sudden, I’m really rooting for this show. And I want Jesse as my triathlon coach next season. The things I would do for that man would astound….
More yadda yadda about friendship and motivation and challenges and journeys. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before.
The next day, the women meet at their local Bally Total Fitness for their first workout with Jesse. They’re all nervous about their performance. He plops them all on treadmills first, to get a baseline. Sideshow Tiffany’s hair is in pigtails, and it’s cute and awful at the same time. They all look like they’re about to barf and he hasn’t even started them off yet! They begin at a steady 3.0 mph on the treadmill as a warm-up, and already they’re complaining. “This is WARM-UP??!” Um, holy shit, 3.0 is slow. Patience, Sexy Panda, patience! He ups their pace to get ‘em running, and then waits to see how long they could go. They start dropping like flies. Frumpy Mary’s legs are hurting and Sideshow Tiffany thinks she’s going to fall off. After 45 seconds. Jesse explains that the average person can run on a treadmill for 7 to 10 minutes at a pretty good clip, and these girls lasted 2 minutes.
He then sticks them on some recumbant bikes for some sprint intervals, and then he has them do some weight training. Meanwhile, he keeps popping onscreen to explain the basic concepts of weight loss. Every time he does, I think of every Women’s Health, Shape, Self, Fitness and Glamour magazine I’ve ever read, as well as every Yahoo Health link I’ve ever clicked on. The thing is, we all KNOW this stuff, but not everyone puts it into practice. Clearly. Jesse explains the time commitment for the DietTribe workout, which is five times a week, with one hour of cardio and 30 min of strength training. Hey, that’s pretty reasonable. As they stretch at the end of their workout, Frumpy Mary gets dizzy and complains of nausea. Next thing you know, she’s sobbing. Everyone stands around looking concerned. Jesse reassuringly rubs her back and the girls swarm around for hugs. Lifetime!
“I die.” You, miss, are no Rachel Zoe.
We start to meet the ladies’ families. Frumpy Mary is first. Typical story for her–she was skinny as a teen and gained weight with her pregnancies and marriages. Next we meet Tiffany and Stephanie, the Leno sisters, because they live together. Those two in the house, PLUS a husband (Stephanie is divorced) and four or five kids? Oy. They’re having a yard sale, to flush out their old life and make room for the new one. We see lots of old photos of the Leno sisters, thin and otherwise, and we learn how they’ve done EVERYTHING together since they were kids. They went to college together, nursing school together, had a double wedding, started having kids together, had gastric bypass together, etc. They’re very close, which is actually sweet.
GHOST FACE KILLA!
At the yard sale, the sisters find their old wedding dresses. Two of their kids climb into Sideshow Tiffany’s wedding dress, sending Tiffany into the house in tears. Clearly, she’s ready for this weight loss journey.
But you’ll look sweet on the seat of a wedding dress built for two
Jesse turns up at the yard sale, guns blazin’ in a tight gray shirt. His meaty forearms are tucked casually into his front pockets of his jeans as he grins at the…Oh, sorry. Ahem. Anyway, he surprises the ladies–he’s not there to make nice, he’s there to check out the shit in their kitchen! The meal plan starts TODAY. They head inside, where Jesse passes out at the sight of the largest refrigerator he’s ever seen. It’s seriously the size of a Buick. These women sure are dedicated to eating! Once he comes back to consciousness, he starts to root through the cabinets. He chides them for every box of prepackaged meals and sugary cereal he pulls out of the pantry, his blood running cold at the site of a tub of funnel cake mix. (Jesse covered in funnel cake = heaven in my mind.) They all shriek as he throws all the junk in the trash. (Hope it’s actually heading to a homeless shelter or something!)
He finally stops humiliating them and pulls out bound meal plans for each of them. Jesse breaks down for us the meal plans, which is basically a balanced diet of 1500 calories a day, focusing on fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. Math is involved, so I tune out a bit. Then he pulls out some grocery bags heaping with examples of the food they should be eating. I feel a little insulted, because he’s basically pulling apples and milk out of the bag, like these women have never seen it before. More helpfully, though, he shows them the portion sizes of what they should be eating–such as cutting a typical store-packaged chicken breast in half. They all gasp in amazement. Personally, *I* think that for all the working out they’re doing, they need more protein than that, but I’m not a gorgeous trainer with arms to die for, am I? They all look bored, or maybe just scared at the idea of having to actually COOK.
Now we finally get to meet Gigantic Lanessa, whose script is on repeat about how she grew up heavy, that her family “trained her” to be heavy. She’s the youngest of the bunch at 27 and is only now in her first relationship, which really makes me sad. Her boyfriend is a pretty skinny white guy with a chin full of pubes. Hey, good for them. We don’t spend much time with Laneesa at all. She’s really nice, but I guess she’s boring.
Jesse takes the women on a hike, which isn’t just a hike. He’s taking them to Trust Fall Land, where therapist Stacy Kaiser is waiting for them atop a telephone pole. She yodels down to them as they approach and everyone’s confused. Who is that, and why the eff is she up there? Therapist Stacy leaps off the pole and the women scream–but, oh, hey, she’s on a wire that prevents her from plummeting to a bloody, compound-fracture-laden demise. And now they all get the chance to try it too! It’s called “Facing Their Fears”. Oh golly. More emotions. Lifetime! It’s for women!
“I’ve lost some weight…over a…block of time…and have kiiiinda kept it off.”
Anyway, Stacy explains that she used to be heavy and works hard to maintain her weight-loss, so she’s uniquely qualified to help these women meet their goals. She says that the weight loss journey (!) isn’t just a physical challenge, but it’s an emotional and mental challenge, too. And stepping off a platform from a telephone pole is somehow going to metaphorically teach them how to face their fears. Eh, gimmicky and useless. But hey, it makes for some good drama. Especially because Stephanie is way afraid of heights.
As each woman climbs the 30-ft to the platform, the group calls out encouragement. “Don’t look down!” “Just do it!” “Try not to shit your pants, it doesn’t smell good and we have a long car ride home!” Clowny Stephanie’s apprehension mounts as each woman heads up the pole. Gigantic Laneesa even does it–and if the wire can hold 335 lbs, it can hold Clowny Steph.
To her credit, Clowny Steph saddles up and heads up the pole. Once she’s up there, though, she’s terrified. Now the cliches come pouring out: “This is a leap of faith; just take the first step.” “You gotta face your fears.” “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush that you might splatter on.” I’m thankful that Lifetime doesn’t drag this segment out. I’m sure Stephanie was scared shitless, but she counts to three and sails off the platform. EVeryone freaks out with applause. When everyone else made it back to earth, they were all smiles and poses and happies, but not Stephanie. I think she may well have crapped her pants for reals. In all seriousness, she’s way subdued and you can see this was a true test for her. She tells her buddies that if it weren’t for them, she wouldn’t have been able to do it. Lifetime! Emotions! Friends!
Oh wait, we’re still introducing these bitches? We are. We meet Rita and her family. They’re all athletic and she’s not. Apparently, she’s just ungainly. Hey, you can still do the elliptical, ya nerd! Plus, if she’s uncoordinated, I don’t think weight loss itself is going to help her be able to play sports with her family. Then again, when you’re skinny and feel good, you don’t give a shit if you look like a bozo in public, so maybe this is actually a good concept. Whatever, we’re done with Bland Rita now.
We’re coming to the end of these first two weeks. The camera follows Clowny Steph as she leaves the gym, sharing out-of-breath thoughts about how they’re each getting their asses to the gym, and making sure we know that they’re not fat because they’re lazy slobs–they’re heavy because they’re busy with work, family, being moms, and regular life. Lifetime! Frumpy Mary shares that she is craving mozz sticks. Bland Rita and Gigantic Laneesa complain about the toughness of the daily workouts. Next up? Weigh in!
The garage door is opening up–c’mon in, ladies! I’m glad to see that they’re back in the pink t-shirts and capris. You should always weigh in at the same time of day, in the same clothes. Thank GOD we don’t have to see them in their sports bras, though, like some other shows. *AHEM* They each weigh in, complete with awkward Jesse hand-holding. Remember, the goal was 30 lbs for the group, for a reward.
Clowny Steph lost 10 lbs.
Sideshow Tiffany lost 10 lbs too!
Bland Rita lost 3 lbs. (She ended up in the hospital with kidney stones, though, and she’s bloated from the IV saline they treated her with.)
Gigantic Laneesa the Giant also lost 10 lbs!
Frumpy Mary lost 13 fucking lbs!
Total: 46 lbs lost, goal achieved! See, here’s where the group goal works–Rita could have done better if she hadn’t been ill, but it’s okay–the group covered for her. Teamwork! Lifetime!
So what’s their reward? A day at the spa! They’ll get massages, pedicures, facials–whatever! Hey, sounds pretty nice! When I lost my first 10 lbs, I treated myself to a subscription to a health magazine. No spa days here! God, I even had to wait til triathlon season was over to get a pedicure, because there’s no good reason to spend $30+ on feet that get constantly battered by long runs and spin classes every day! Lucky Lifetime Ladies… Jesse also reminds them of how far they have to go, and what their goal is for next weigh-in. Another 30 lbs group goal. Hmm, we’ll see! The ladies clink strawberry juice martinis at the spa to celebrate their success.
I don’t think alcohol’s on the diet plan
Next week on DietTribe, the ladies meet with Stacy for the first time, and apparently, they’ll be exploring their anger. Then Jesse’s going to kick their asses on the obstacle course at Camp Pendleton. There are already a lot of unflattering ass-shots and “ooof”s. He also catches the women dressed up all crazy (why?!), boozing it up. Apparently, next week’s weigh in isn’t as perfect and Jesse’s perfect, gorgeous brow is furrowed with disappointment.
What do you think? Is Jesse’s plan going to work? Are these women going to get (and keep) their shit together? Is there supposed to be some kind of play on words with DietTribe and diatribe, and if so, WHAT IS IT?! (Seriously, I can’t figure it out.)