This show is indeed part of VH1's successful "Celebreality" format, which has provided reality shows that been successful, although controversial in content (especially "Flavor of Love" and "I Love New York"). However, "Celebrity Fit Club" comes as a breath of fresh air to viewers who have grown tired of the "barron wasteland" some reality show brain candy has provided.
"Celebrity Fit Club" has to be one of the best reality shows on TV because the show isn't just about exploiting celebrities. It's a show that really inspires viewers to overcome obstacles and gives them hope that it can be done. The celebrity meltdowns are admittedly honey on the side, but what really makes the show is it's panel of experts.
The panel of experts are parallel to the judges on American Idol. Dr. Ian Smith plays the role of the "supportive brother" (a la Randy Jackson), providing encouragement to the contestants but also offering frank criticism with good intentions. While Dr. Linda Papadoupolos was on the show, she definitely provided the "loving mother" archetype (a la Paula Abdul) as the noticeably soft center of the expert team. Dr. Stacey Kaiser, who replaced Papadoupolos, was equally as intelligent but a bit less "loving" so to speak. She appeared to give more frank criticism than Papadoupolis, but then again, Kaiser had to deal with Dustin Diamond. And of course, Harvey Walden is great as the "abusive father" (a la Simon Cowell), but he's not limited to that archetype. If anything, Walden is tough but fair. He rarely gives complements until the very end of the series, but he's fun to watch all the way through. I just wouldn't want to be in his boot camp.
I heard one criticism of the show, stating that it teaches audiences that losing weight will be the only way to make yourself happy, and that it can be a dangerous message. As true as that theory may seem, this show promotes losing weight the safe way. Dr. Ian Smith encourages a balanced but livable diet that you don't necessarily have to be rich to partake in, and he strongly discourages plastic surgery or taking dangerous medications to achieve that goal. Those are important morals to extract from this show.
Admittedly, the occasional skirmishes on the show can be fun to watch sometimes, provided you see them less as a gimmick and more of a learning experience. When these skirmishes happen every week (as in the case of Dustin Diamond), they can get old fast. Even though the Dustin Diamond controversy attracted more viewers, I personally grew annoyed with him. I even thought Harvey Walden's rant against him was properly justified, and that Diamond should have been kicked off the show after that incident. Either way, I'm sure the more people who watched the show took away the primary positive message, and were probably as repulsed by Diamond's actions as the other celebrities and panelists. If just a few more reality shows had this sort of positive message, TV would be far more watchable.
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