From the moment I heard about Kirstie Alley's new reality show, Big Life (A & E), I was looking forward to watching. I hate the word "fan" but I guess I have been a fan since she first appeared in Star Trek: Wrath of Khan as Lt. Saavik over twenty five years ago. Then there was Cheers, the Look Who's Talking series, Veronica's Closet, Fat Actress and a bunch of other projects in between. There something about Kirstie that has always captivated me.
For me it has never been about her weight. I never really much cared about the fact that she gained weight, that she lost it or that it found her again. I still find her to be a beautiful and funny woman.
I think one of the biggest fallacies of the size acceptance /fat advocacy movement is that they don't allow for women to feel what they feel. Some people are never going to be comfortable with their fat. But they should still be as accepted as those who are. This is something that I have struggled with and it has often made me feel guilty for liking Kirstie.
Last week I got to watch the first two episodes of Kirstie Alley's Big Life and one of the things that comes across is how really honest she feels. I thought it was going to be one large infomercial for her new weight loss system (Organic Liaison) but I didn't feel that after watching.
In the first episode we get a look at the main characters that will be regulars in her life during filming: her son True and her daughter Lillie, her assistant Kelly, the handyman (and weight loss partner) Jim, her stylist Tracy, the apprentice assistant Kyle, lots and lots of pets like dogs, lemurs and an amazing white cat who should get more air time. Of course there are paparazzi because no one wants Kirstie to fail more than paparazzi.
Kirstie hasn't started to officially lose weight and has made the first day of the new year her official start (as you can see the shows three months behind real time). During the weigh in we learn she is 230 pounds and wants to lose 80 pounds. Jim, whom Kirstie likes to call her "chubby buddy", weighs in at 324 pounds. He would like to lose 130 lbs. This day and the day after bring a lot of false starts for both of them. We see Kirstie barely interested in exercising in her room full of exercise machines. Eventually she and Jim decide they need stronger motivation and hire a trainer. But what I really enjoyed seeing was Kirstie interacting with her staff and her lovely children who are very supportive of her.
In a lot of ways Kirstie is like other women. She loves her kids, she loves her pets, she loves her friends and she likes to shop (she has great taste in dresses).
Kirstie is not afraid to say she's fat but on the opposite side of the scale she lets the fat hold her back -- she picked out a gorgeous dress for New Year's but end up canceling because of a picture printed by a tabloid. In Kirstie's case it really is easy to understand why. Unlike other women Kirstie has to look at her body image pasted all over the place with news of her latest fictitious breakdown over her weight. If the average woman has a hard time with body image I can only image what it is like for her. For some reason there is this unwritten law that demands celebrities to be above it all.
I don't watch a lot of reality television. From what I have seen there is a lot of cheap crap put out forsaking quality television. At the moment I'm finding Big Life entertaining. Unfortunately or not, unlike a comedy or drama Kirstie doesn't have the supportive actors to make her look good which means despite all the people traffic she has on the show, she's going to be standing out there under the spotlight sweating by herself.
Am I going to watch it again? Definitely. I love Kirstie Alley fat or thin or fat again.