Hosted by the recently slimmed down actress Sarah Rue, the CW's latest reality show, Shedding For The Wedding, revolves around 9 overweight engaged couples who have allowed romantic comfort get the best of their waistlines.
With upcoming nuptials on the horizon, each pair dukes it out to see who can lose the most weight, percentage-wise, based on their combined starting weight. The winning couple nets an all-expense-paid dream wedding and spread in People magazine.
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All the couples seem charming in their own way, but the "dream wedding" ideas portion is easily the most amusing part of the show. We have Lindsey and Chase who tell the cameras with a straight face that they'd like a beer pong table and other frat boy accessories at their "Greek Week" wedding. Taylor and Peter met online playing Final Fantasy XI and want their wedding based off the video game, costumes included. Meanwhile, Dawn and Adam want only the finest foosball and ping-pong tables at their reception. Wedding Dress Trend 2011: Would You Wear A Gown With Sleeves?
Not unlike the other Dave Broome-created reality show, The Biggest Loser, each couple is put through a murderous workout regime with two drill sergeant trainers, hell-on-wheels diet, and wince-inducing weekly challenges. Contestants sob, nearly faint, grab puke buckets—one groom-to-be tells the camera his time in the military pales in comparison, and we believe him.
While painful to watch, we're suckers for this brand of television. There's something oddly satisfying about fleshy (albeit happy) contestants plucked from their pizza and comfy couches and dropped on a treadmill with no choice other than to slim down. With obesity as the number one killer in the United States, reality shows like Shedding For The Wedding at least create the illusion of helping (rather than hurting) their contestants.
But the show can absolutely be trying for the couples, too. Each week after completing 7 days of sweat and starvation (our words, not theirs), the betrothed couples stand on a scale together to evaluate weight loss. Regardless of enthusiasm, the pounds that glide off, it seems, may have more to do with each body's unique way of shedding weight. Is this fair? Which brings up some questions.
Will one's lack of ability to lose weight quickly cause unneeded stress on an engagement? What about differing levels in competitive spirit? Will there ultimately be resentment? Lose Weight, Have More Sex
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The show says "no" and adds that, on the contrary, the teamwork will strengthen each couple's bond. Surprisingly, from the two episodes we watched, this actually seems likely. Resentment amongst individual failures seemed low and in fact, it was warming to watch a couple in dead-last fight to stay in a final competition. While sheets of sweat pored from the woman's every orifice, her limbs trembled, eyes pursed shut, the groom soothingly said to his soon-to-be wife, "I love you, I know you can do it."
And she did. The result? The couple stayed on for another week.