Wednesday, August 6, 2008

latest obession: BBC America

Saturday afternoon tv - Gillian, originally uploaded by mikeybeartx.

How Clean is Your House? - Kim Woodburn & Aggi MacKenzie, originally uploaded by Bookmole's Pictures.

A little over a month ago, we decided to splurge and upgrade to digital cable. My latest obessions are BBC America's personal improvement shows You Are What You Eat and How Clean Is Your House?. It's great watching these shows' average (and sometimes sad) subjects willingly expose their personal embarrassments on TV (i.e. stretch marks and crusty toilets).

Both half-hour shows follow a simple format. Show how bad things are, confront the subjects, throw in a little scientific-sounding analysis, break the subjects down into weeping messes, give the subjects a plan, reveal the subjects' new life, and follow-up with the subjects a few weeks later. The major difference between these shows is the hosts' styles. The How Clean hosts are a little silly, but motherly and mostly gentle; whereas What You Eat's 'Dr.' Gillian McKeith uses a much harsher technique of blantantly telling what fat people (including myself) already know -- they're fat and unhealthy.

The best part of watching any personal improvement show is that we can take a little comfort knowing that things are not that bad (yet). Certainly, I could develope a more regular cleaning regiment and I'm not yet rolling down the fast food drive-through in my personal mobility device (yet). It should be said that many of the How Clean subjects seem to be hoaders or have some other psychological challenge. However, there is certainly room for improvement and I'm not that far from being a suitable What You Eat subject should there ever be a US version.

Inspired, I bought one of McKeith's books and did a little research on her. It doesn't take much Googling to discover there are numerous McKeith critics. Apparently, she has become a Martha Stewart-esque phenomenom in the UK and is much reviled. She earned her PhD online which has led to the show's network to remove the "Dr." from her title and refer to her as a nutritionalist. Many of her theories are questionable, but the most sensational technique on her show -- analysis of subjects feces -- as earned her the nickname "that poo lady". Her frequent complaint is that her subjects' poo smell foul, which would probably be accurate of most people's poo.

Regardless of the criticism, we may just try out her diet for fun soon although the cooking seems to be the major drawback.

No Dogs, originally uploaded by bitrot.

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