I don't mind reality shows. I also don't mind weddings; my Grandma used to plan weddings and I have happy memories of helping her with little things while scouring the bridal magazines. I've been known to watch a few bridal reality shows, mainly because Grandma and I could call each other and dish. But Shedding for the Wedding? It's not my bridal shower tea party.
The premise of the CW reality show is that nine couples will compete to win their dream wedding. Along the way they will participate in challenges to win other things. As an example, in the first episode, one couple won their dream dress and tux that they get to keep whether they win the wedding at the end or not. The big challenge each week, as you might guess, is to see which couple loses the most combined weight. The two couples with the lowest percentage of weight loss then compete in a final challenge -- named "til death do us part" -- to see who gets the boot.
(See also: This video.)
Sound familiar? It does have some slight differences from The Biggest Loser, mainly in the challenge boot versus popular vote boot. But yes, it's basically a niche version of the original lose-lotsa-weight-in-front-of-America's-prying-eyes show.
The differences try to make it interesting. As an example, it didn't take long for the Bridezilla attitudes to come out, when they began dissing on each others' wedding themes. So one girl wants a monogrammed beer pong table. And another wants a gamer wedding. So? Really, it's perfect casting in that it will create drama as each of the couples have vastly different ideas for their dream wedding. I'm sure the series will have more, "I'm more deserving of a dream wedding because I like fancy pants centerpieces," and, "Your marriage is going to fail because you don't care enough about your wedding" malarkey.
The fact that they had them pick wedding dresses at the very beginning made me sad. These women were breaking down into tears because the dresses didn't fit. It was supposed to provide motivation. "I don't feel good about myself," one bride-to-be said as she stood in front of the mirrors -- and cameras. I wanted to hold each of those women in my arms and tell them that they were more than their mirror image, more than a puffy white dress. More over, their marriage is more than the perfect dress.
Unlike other wedding shows, this one attempts to bring the men into the fold as well as they are also working to lose the weight. However, the women got a bunch of screen time while picking their dresses. The men had a brief scene in which one guy was bummed that he had to get a larger sized tux.
The show sped by, an hour to The Biggest Loser's sometimes two hours. Even when The Biggest Loser is one hour, they do a much better job at keeping the workouts the focus of the show. There was no real focus on the workouts in Shedding for the Wedding. Viewers weren't treated to any tips on how to jumpstart weight loss, find and keep motivation or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Instead we were made to believe that working out so hard that you vomit is okay. (It's not.) The trainers were dull, trying too hard to be Bob and Jillian but not quite making it. It really played out as long commercial for Jenny Craig (one of which I saw as I fast-forwarded through breaks) with new spokeswoman Sarah Rue hosting -- in really, really short skirts.
I followed some tweets during the show. It got mixed results, as I expected it to.*/
I think that anything that inspires anyone to be the healthiest version of themselves is a good thing. I think, however, that focusing so much on the one-time event is why the show rubs me the wrong way. Oh, sure, they talked about learning to make meals and how another wanted to be active to parent their future children. But the "I want to look hot when I walk down the aisle" and focus on fitting in the dress makes me believe that this isn't about health and long-term fitness.
Bloggers also have a mixed take on the new show.
Erin, a wedding planner with a blog named Wonderfully Wed, likes the tailgate party idea for one of the weddings and might follow the show.
Now, I have to admit, I am NOT even remotely into reality TV. The only time I ever watch it is when I am subjected to it at the gym when someone else has had that channel on and I just can't find the remote to change it! But, I may have to give this one a try, or at least follow the results via the internet. I'm very curious to know who wants it bad enough to put in the time and effort for their ideal ceremony. And I'm also very curious to know what that DREAM WEDDING will look like when this couple has worked so hard.
Shellthings at Babble's Famecrawler brought up a good point about Wednesday night television:
Worth watching? It is basically the Biggest Loser. And there are lots of other reality tv shows to compete with it on Wednesday nights. My first and probably last night watching.
alerner at Wed Savvy found it refreshing for a few reasons. (She also has a great breakdown of the teams and the theme of their dream weddings.)
The unique personalities and dynamics of each couple were pretty entertaining. They have COMPLETELY different visions of the perfect wedding which made me want to root for the wedding I would most like to see.
Kim Morgan at Tubular brought up the part that actually hit me as well during the show.
Then I felt sad for another couple, when the bride-to-be said "the only thing we argue about is intimacy. We turn off the lights so we don't see each other naked. I want that to change. I don't want to start off our marriage that way."
When it comes down to it, I understand wanting to look pretty on your wedding day. I think many women can relate to wanting to lose a little weight, tone up or look beautiful on that big day. But, like Bridalplasty, something isn't sitting right with me when it comes to Shedding. Sure, it's better than just going under the knife; these couples are working for it. Hard. Maybe it's because these women all seem like top notch ladies with unique ideas and loving mates. I want them to know that they don't need to fit in a certain size to have a lovely wedding day. They don't need to change themselves to be happy and be loved. Yes, being healthy is awesome... but being healthy doesn't seem to be what this show is pushing.
I'm just not sure I like this show. I force myself to believe that the contestants on The Biggest Loser are doing it for themselves, not the fame and money. That they have made a conscious decision to work hard and be healthy -- for life. Shedding for the Wedding doesn't give me much hope that these couples are in the game for the right reasons. I can hope that they are -- and I do -- but it just doesn't seem like losing the weight for one day will have a lasting effect on their lives.
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