I first became familiar with trainer Jackie Warner from the short-lived Bravo show Workout, which primarily focused on her Sapphic relationships, secondarily on the drama that went down at her gym Sky Sport and Spa, and in a distant third the actual clients who came in to lose weight. Frankly, who gave a crap about L.A. richies who worked out now and then when Jackie, in her leonine toned golden glory, was forcing thousands of straight women across the country to consider their sexual preferences?
Aside from her on-demand TV workouts (which are pretty great, if you like that sort of thing), Jackie’s been off TV for a couple years but now she’s back with Thintervention. I was curious to see how it stacked up to Losing It with Jillian Michaels, which I also reviewed. Like Jackie, Jillian’s a TV fitness personality (again with great workout videos) but unlike Jackie, her personal life is but a small part of her reputation. Jillian wants to help you lose weight but more importantly she wants to inspire you. On Biggest Loser and Losing It her shtick was all about coming to your home and screaming at you until you passed out and then whispering at you until you told her the reason why you’re fat (there’s always a reason), leaving, then coming back in eight weeks to see the dramatic results. While I love Jillian’s workouts, I think her TV shows are crap, both from an entertainment point of view and as an example of what weight loss is really like. At least with Jackie you got to live vicariously through an alpha lesbian with a hot bod.
Now here comes Jackie with her own weight loss show that is all about the clients and not so much about the trainer. How would it be different from Jillian’s show? Here’s the concept that Bravo came up with: instead of having the contestants all be real people who are barely alive thanks to horrible past traumas that caused their misery and weight issues, they’re rich L.A. assholes. Ta da!
When it comes to the weight loss, Thintervention doesn’t break any TV molds. The (very TV-friendly) contestants turn themselves over to Jackie who works them out, cleans out their fridges, has them sit through group therapy and weighs them once a week. Some of the contestants actually look pretty svelte compared to contestants on other weight loss shows but just because a lady weighs 170 pounds instead of 370 doesn’t mean she’s not allowed to feel crappy. There’s no actual competition, in fact, just the goal of weight loss. The preview of upcoming episodes promises a lot of familiar weight-loss show tropes: the ol’ waterworks, cursing the trainer and of course EMS showing up with oxygen.
If you’re into the Bravo Housewives model of reality TV, then Thintervention just might be for you. There’s opulence (one contestant, Jeana, actually a former Housewife, has a mansion and a personal chef), bitchiness, backbiting and loads of makeup. Most of the contestants are not on the show to live to see their daughters’ wedding or what have you: they want to get back to how they looked when they posed for Playboy or were a professional cheerleader or just to bang hot chicks. The show also seems to be desperate to prove that it’s edgier than Biggest Loser, as Jackie’s and other contestants’ sexuality is joked about in interviews almost to a forceful degree. Joe and Nikki, both jerks with big mouths who seem to have a real problem with fat people despite appearing on a show about people who want to lose weight, largely provide the acidity of the show. Nikki is the only real reason to watch this show, as she is occasionally hilarious with her Australi-ish accent (“I’m no longer voluptuous; it’s just becoming hideous) and often just pointlessly rude (“Poor unfortunate little queer,” she says of Bryan. “I would never hang out with a chubby queer.”)
Fat hatred seems to be one thing that sets this show apart from other weight loss shows, where referring to the other contestants as “piggies,” “fatasses” and “fat chicks” seems to be frowned upon. I suppose some viewers might find this refreshing, that an astringent dose of rude reality is good for shows about weight but I don’t know, to me a weight loss show is a weight loss show and no matter how cutting the contestants are, the show is still the same. People fail, they succeed, they achieve things they never thought they could. What sets Thintervention apart from those of its ilk is not Jackie Warner but the simple fact that the clients are some combination of wealthy, mouthy and attractive. You may want them to lose weight because that’s good TV, or, you might not be interested in seeing these people find new reasons to feel satisfied with themselves.
—Shay made the brilliant decision to wear a thong while she worked out on the beach and coined the phrase “veggie” after describing the wedgie she got in her vagina. “My thong has goned up my vagagills” People, can we just not?
—For fun I have made up a list of fake words that have the word “thin” in them to go with “thintervention” and “thinspiration.” Are you ready? Thinheritance. Thin and tonic. After-dinner thint. Thinterview. Thincest. Thinvestment. Thinovation. Thintermittent. Thindubitably. Thinterpretation. Military thintelligence. Thinterception. Thinsanity. Thinexpensive. Thinocerous. Thinnamon Toast Crunch. Osama Thin Laden. Feel free to add your own!