Sunday, January 18, 2004

Celebrity Fit Club (ITV Wednesdays) is back for a new series. Eight over-weight celebrities are put through a rigorous regime of exercise and dieting by nasty marine Harvey Walden. Amy Lamé is one of the celebs - as well as being one of my friends, I'm ever so glad she's on the programme because she stands out as a wonderfully subversive counter-example to all of the nonsense that occurs on the programme. For example, it is set in an Abbey - and there is a rather camply religious feel to it - the idea that weight loss is actually a new religion, and as our high priests we have fitness instructors and lifestyle gurus - hypnotherapy can therefore help us to find out the "problem" that is making people eat too much. (The fact that advertisers and producers of fatty foods like McDonalds, Burger King etc don't make it easy for people is something not to be mentioned - these days everything is down to our personal "issues" which need to be routinely "confessed" before we can gain "closure".)

When the celebs were weighed (a supposedly dramatic moment with lots of build up, music and lighting designed to intensify emotion), Amy simply said she wasn't interested in how much she weighs - she's just interested in getting fit. This is in stark contrast to the other female celebrities who said things like "I want to look like a babe again". Amy has an individual sense of style and glamour - and already looks great. If she lost a lot of weight, maybe she would look like a "babe" - but something would be lost - she'd have kow-towed to the immense amount of pressure that society exerts on people now to conform to a very narrow and difficult-to-achieve set of standards to do with acceptable "beauty". She'd have lost all sense of individuality.

Speaking of the loss of individuality, I was also glad to see Amy tackle the fitness instructor Harvey Walden on a number of occasions. Harvey is a marine, and as Amy pointed out, marines have their personalities broken down and removed, which is why Harvey doesn't have one. "All the losers in my high school joined the marines" she told him. Then when Harvey started screaming at her, she just reminded him how rude it was to point. If Harvey was really interested in helping his 8 celebrities to lose weight he'd realise that everybody responds to different techniques and he'd learn how to use those difficult to pronounce words "please" and "thank you" - it's amazing what they can achieve.

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