Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Forums

Showtime (ended 2010)

Obesity - What was the point of the episode?

  • Avatar of SerenityNoww

    SerenityNoww

    [1]Mar 25, 2007
    • member since: 03/01/07
    • level: 1
    • rank: Weatherman
    • posts: 6
    I am a Personal Trainer, and so the subject is close to my heart. I started watching this episode expecting them to come out with all kind of nutjob so-called "experts" who would be used in attempt to proove that obesity is not preventable or curable and maybe they would try to argue that the obesity epidemic wasn't real.

    As it was, there was very little in this episode I could disagree with. And yet given the tone of Penn's comments in this, and in the small part of the Exercise vs Genetics episode that I disagreed with, I can tell they are antagonistic to the fact that you can control your health and weight. They obviously have nothing to back their viewpoint up though.

    What did we get instead?

    Most of the episode was spent trying to show that being slim doesn't necessarily mean fit and healthy and being overweight doesn't necessarily mean unfit and unhealthy. This should be fairly obvious to all, but the BS team thought it necessary to devote most of the episode to it. What did they use to "proove" it however? One lame looking "normal guy" and a field of "fatties" which include two athletic looking types who just happened to have a bit of extra padding. There wasn't a single viewer who couldn't tell that the "normal" guy had no chance of finishing better than third. Not that it really mattered that it was fixed, because the point that they tried to proove is, as I said, an obvious truth.

    They disprooved BMI as a reliable indicator of fat percentage. That took all of 10 seconds.

    That large woman that they interviewed at the camp commented that some people are born to be fat and that they can't change it. A convenient statement that many people make who havent got the willpower to eat less (and of higher quality foods) and move more. Which is fine for them. I'm not complaining if people are more attracted to the lifestyyle that promotes fat gain more than the lifestyyle that promotes fat loss or management. It's still their choice though, pure and simple, and to say otherwise is deluding yourself.

    It's funny though that Penn Jillette obviously agrees with that woman's line of thinking but doesn't spend any real time on it to argue or proove a point. And I really am struggling to find a point the episode at all, besides stating the obvious (as per the olympics and BMI) and perhaps sucking up to the overweight viewers who want to be told (all-be-it unconvincingly) that they are powerless to control their weight, so that they can feel better about it

    If anyone can find the point let me know.

    p.s. I usually enjoy P&T episodes and agree with their stances. But this was poor, especially for the season opener.
    Edited on 03/25/2007 5:06pm
    Edited 3 total times.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of Patchi

    Patchi

    [2]Mar 28, 2007
    • member since: 05/17/04
    • level: 6
    • rank: Small Wonder
    • posts: 1,445
    I'm really sorry I have nothing better to say than this...your points are valid and I love the show, but..."prove" is spelled with one "o". It's just that you used it like five times and I'm bothered by things like that.  That's all I have to say. Sorry about that.  Continue discussion.
    Edited on 03/28/2007 10:03am
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of SerenityNoww

    SerenityNoww

    [3]Mar 28, 2007
    • member since: 03/01/07
    • level: 1
    • rank: Weatherman
    • posts: 6
    Thanks for pointing that out. The spellchecker in my head was obviously broken with that one.

    I'm very disappointed that the only response I get is this one though. TV.com is truly dead.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of LMH68

    LMH68

    [4]Mar 28, 2007
    • member since: 08/23/06
    • level: 57
    • rank: Mr Biggles
    • posts: 2,442

    oh

    Edited on 05/09/2009 9:29am
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of SerenityNoww

    SerenityNoww

    [5]Mar 28, 2007
    • member since: 03/01/07
    • level: 1
    • rank: Weatherman
    • posts: 6
    I would have been happy with an episode that covered the quick fix scams out there, but they really did that much better in the Exercise vs Genetics episode. I didn't see much of that in this episode though.

    Genetics is doubtlessly a factor, everyone can see that. Some people find it easier and some people find it harder than others. But there is not a single person I have ever trained or advised who hasn't gotten the results they are looking for by consistantly sticking to the plan I have given for them. The same goes for fellow PTs I know and have encountered who train and advise their clients in similar ways. When they are not progressing then it inevitably comes down to something they have neglected to tell you about their lifestyyle or something they have been dishonest about. The truth is that most people out there are perfectly capable of getting results.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of Absent_light

    Absent_light

    [6]Apr 2, 2007
    • member since: 05/14/06
    • level: 3
    • rank: Soup Nazi
    • posts: 6
    I don't think you ahve relized that a lot of people are not as informed as you are in what healthy is. You are obviously not taking into account how knowledgeable you are in your profession into scociety standeerds. People that are fat are unhealthy and people who are slim are healthy. That's what they were trying to get across in thier eppisode. The common misconception that overweight people are unhealthy and that skinney people are fit. That was a good eppisode but you allowed your knowledge to cloud the trusth of waht scociety percives. Not everyone know's this.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of Absent_light

    Absent_light

    [7]Apr 2, 2007
    • member since: 05/14/06
    • level: 3
    • rank: Soup Nazi
    • posts: 6
    Erm, what I meant that people that are fat are unhealthy and people who are skinny are healthy is a common misconception in society.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of dashx2525

    dashx2525

    [8]Apr 3, 2007
    • member since: 04/03/06
    • level: 8
    • rank: Super-Friend
    • posts: 77

    ya, it was a "meh" episode.  the one thing i dislike about the episodes about obesity and exercise is they seem to promote the theme that genetics reigns supreme, and that nothing you can do can change that.  that's simply not the case.  yes, genetics plays a part for sure. some people could eat/do the same things and come out at very different weights/body sizes.  but for those people that were in that obese people community thing in this episode, i'm sorry, but that's not entirely genetics. a lot of it is the lifestyle your leading.

    anyways that was my major beef with it.

    like a couple other episodes of P&T, they stray from the original topic and end up tackling something entirely different. so the title of the episode is almost misleading.  sure, it's related, but it might actually be the opposite of what they are really trying to get at.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of SerenityNoww

    SerenityNoww

    [9]Apr 3, 2007
    • member since: 03/01/07
    • level: 1
    • rank: Weatherman
    • posts: 6
    Absent_light wrote:
    I don't think you ahve relized that a lot of people are not as informed as you are in what healthy is. You are obviously not taking into account how knowledgeable you are in your profession into scociety standeerds. People that are fat are unhealthy and people who are slim are healthy. That's what they were trying to get across in thier eppisode. The common misconception that overweight people are unhealthy and that skinney people are fit. That was a good eppisode but you allowed your knowledge to cloud the trusth of waht scociety percives. Not everyone know's this.


    Erm. I seriously doubt that there are many people who believe that weight and fitness/health are directly and absolutely related. They certainly affect each other, but you can effectively tick any combination of the boxes. This isn't some specialised knowledge I have. It's extremely basic and observable in everyday life. Just like how I said that there wouldn't be a single viewer who couldn't tell that the "normal" weight guy had no chance of winning the fat guy olympics.

    The shows regular viewers are going to be largely made up of people who choose to think critically of things they see and hear around them and are prepared to put their limiting beliefs to the question eg religion/psychics/abstinence etc etc. I highly doubt this episode is going to have much affect on these people. But the show doesn't or hasn't aired in my country so i'll bow to your judgement of your own countrymen.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of asecooper222

    asecooper222

    [10]Apr 19, 2007
    • member since: 03/12/05
    • level: 21
    • rank: Snagglepuss
    • posts: 944
    Well, I have yet to see this episode, gotten catch up with my TiVo. This sounds like one of their "miss" episodes. P&T use many bullsh** tactics themselves, and tend to say so and then use experts and data to communicate their POV. I don't always agree or disagree with what they say, but I become more informed and am always entertained by the way they go about things. Unlike Michael Moore, P&T don't look at the world like a 6th grader and see it thought rose coloured glasses.

    After all, what was said in the Recycling episode I already knew, and many people I told before that episode I kept saying how Recycling is stupid and shouldn't be practiced, but then I learned in that episode that recycling alluminum makes economical and environmental sense, so I learned nothing is ever completely right or left wing, but more centerous, in the middle.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.