VH1's latest reality show offering starts with the federally mandated pre-show montage of stuff that we'll see over the course of the show - weigh-ins, happy people, upset people. There will be challenges with big prizes, but the biggest prizes go to the team that loses the most.
Our party host, Last Comic Standing's Ant welcomes us to Celebrity Fit Club. He promises us that we are in for an amazing experience - eight celebrities as we have never seen them, facing a harsh reality. "God knows why they're doing it, but they're coming." We get some quotes from the eight contestants, many of which we will see later on as well. The funniest is Mia Tyler behind the wheel of a truck calling herself Large Marge.
Ant welcomes them as they arrive. He tells us that they'll exercise on the grounds, learn about diet and nutrition, and have to answer to the panel at weekly weigh-ins. That sounds like the cue for the introduction of the panel! Drill Sergeant Harvey Walden says every muscle in their bodies will ache. Hypno- and Psychotherapist Marissa Peer says weight loss is psychological. Nutritionist Dr. David Katz wants them to feel good about themselves and be healthy.
The panel will choose two team captains, and the captains will choose their teams. How will the panel know who to choose as captains? The celebrities had their first fit camp and medical assessment in front of the panel last week. As we pick the captains and teams, each celebrity is given a short bio.
Sarge names the first captain, someone "with strong character" - Daniel Baldwin. He's the bad boy of the Baldwins, who thinks they should have called it Celebrity Fat Club. They couldn't find anything more to put in his bio. Daniel's starting weight is 264, and he thinks that's too high. Dr. Katz says Daniel looks like he's the fittest of the eight, but he's actually borderline diabetic, which naturally scares Daniel. Sarge tells him that his target weight loss for the week is five pounds.
They choose Judge Mablean Ephriam as the second team captain. She's been single for years, but hopefully that can change. She balks at stepping on the scale, asking if they intend to announce her weight to the world. Her weight is 208. She's concerned about her health, as there's diabetes and hypertension in her family, more than she cares about being "sexy or soft." But she'll take them either way. Her target is also five pounds.
Daniel chooses the first member of his team, picking Mia Tyler because she's a great athlete and has a lot of fun, reminding him of himself at her age. Dude, why not take Ralphie? You want someone who will lose a lot, and he's got the most to lose! Anyway, Mia is a top plus-sized model, growing up on the road backstage, borrowing her dad's (Aerosmith's Steven Tyler) eyeliner. She's married to the drummer from Papa Roach.
In any case, Mia weighs 210. Dr. Katz tells her that she's gained 35 pounds over the past year. He shows her a computer simulation of her if she continues at that pace. She claims she gained weight because she got married, and her husband has gained 50 pounds in the same time. Everyone she talks to about it says that sort of thing is normal. No, moderate weight loss after marriage is normal, almost 20% is NOT. Sarge says she's making excuses, Mia says she's just telling them what happened. He cuts her off, saying her target weight is four pounds. She asks why it's not five, and Sarge snaps that it could be 50. She whines that she was just asking and sulks away.
The Judge tells Ant that Mia was actually her first choice. Sure she was. She takes Ralphie because he's a winner. Well, he SHOULD have been, but that's neither here nor there. Ralphie claims he's fat, but he's sexy, and he didn't get a hot chick (fellow comic Lahna Turner) by accident. She says that for a while, the only reason she didn't want to date him was because he's fat, and that's just wrong because he's got a great personality and he's funny. His reason for losing weight is because he wants children and wants to do things like teach them to ride a bike.
Ralphie weighs 481, and he feels great about that because he was over 600 pounds less than a year ago. One of the panel shows a childhood picture of Ralphie, and asks him what happened to the skinny kid in the picture? Apparently he was in a major car wreck when he was 16, broke a lot of bones, and was in the hospital for a long time. It really slowed him down and he never recovered, getting up to over 800 pounds at one point. Marissa says that they're going to get him back to the normal person he was when he came into the world. He's taken huge strides but it's all about taking one day at a time. His target weight is eight pounds. Ralphie scoffs and says that's easy.
We're half through with the selections, and Ant turns his attention to the remaining four. He asks Biz Markie whose team he does not want to be on, and he says the Judge's. Kim Coles says she doesn't know which team she wants to be on, but will be happy with whichever team picks her.
Daniel chooses Biz Markie because he's a big teddy bear and he knows he's going to help. And doesn't want to be on the other team, right? Biz "exploded" on the scene in 1989 and is still a famous DJ. That's pretty much it, except that he's really skinny in the old clips. His starting weight is 344. He winces and says it doesn't feel good, but he's prepared to do what he has to do. Marissa asks what happened to that skinny guy from the footage. Biz explains that it's his schedule - he works late at night. He also says he's never exercised before today, which isn't quite as good. Sarge tells him to pull his pants up and lose seven pounds before next week. Ant stops Biz and tells him that in prison, inmates wearing their pants low means they're spoken for.
The Judge picks Kim Coles because she's focused, determined, and has the desire. In her bio, she plays around on a stair master and "pulls a muscle," claiming that she has to quit because of it. She says she developed early and got attention from older guys, so she made herself gain weight to make herself unattractive. Her weight is 220. She doesn't feel good but she was expecting it. Dr. Katz says she likes food a lot, and Marissa thinks she comfort eats. Sarge asks if she is committed, and asks why she has trouble with exercise. She says she's had a number of knee surgeries. Her target loss is six pounds. She says it will be difficult. Ant says she got off easy up there. She doesn't know if she can do it, but she'll do her best. Ant says he thinks she can do eight, but he's not giving out the assignments.
Daniel picks Joe Gannascoli. Joe, famous for his role on The Sopranos, has two loves - his fiancé Diana, and food, since he is a former chef. He wants to be a saucier, who is the guy who makes sauces. Joe and Diana have a lengthy conversation about this. He was in shape his whole life, but when he got into the restaurant business he let himself go. He's losing weight to keep "his beloved fiancé off his back." That's a lovely reason. His weight is 302. He says he had a big lunch. Dr. Katz says health is a concern, and wants to refer him for some extra cardiac testing. Marissa asks how committed he is, he says very, she says she'll give him 100%, and he says he'll give her 110. Sarge asks why he is so calm, and he has no answer. Joe gets a target weight of seven pounds, and he asks for eight and gets it. That's the attitude!
Like the poor overweight girl in gym class, Wendy Kaufman is last on Judge's team. She's the Snapple lady, but people don't know she's battled an addictive personality and was an alcoholic for years. Sobriety brings weight gain. Her starting weight is 245. Dr. Katz says her body fat index is high, which means it's harder to metabolize and lose weight. Marissa says Wendy has a bubbly personality, does she see herself as ever being slim? No, she's had weight problems since she was a kid. She's been through worse than this, so if she can get through this, she can get through anything. Her target weight is five pounds.
Our teams are Daniel Baldwin, Mia Tyler, Biz Markie, and Joe Gannascoli against Judge Mablean, Ralphie May, Kim Coles, and Wendy Kaufman.
Ant leads them out to the giant scales - the biggest weighing scales in the world. Each week they will be weighed in teams, and the team that loses the most at the end will win a fabulous prize. They climb on to the scales, and to no one's surprise, the judges' team weighs more - 1154 to 1120. They calibrate the scales so it's easy to see next week which team lost more.
Celebrity Fit Club is already a huge hit for VH1, getting a 1.05 overnight cable rating share, which had to make the suits at VH1 happy.
COMING UP: It goes downhill! They get competitive and start to crack, then they turn on each other. Also, Ralphie goes AWOL, which costs his team a penalty.