Friday, November 14, 2008

New Show: Ruby

Episodes: None
Clips: 10 clips, about 2 minutes each
Studio: Style Network
Rank: A-
We all know this story by now-- a hugely overweight person who struggles with life embarks on a life-saving journey towards health.

But Style has managed to put a fresh spin on the inspirational-weight-loss-genre, and the fact of their success rests on the ample shoulders of the titular star.

Ruby Gettinger is grossly overweight (487 pounds), but she is about the most engaging "victim" I've ever seen in inspirational documentary television. Where Biggest Loser contestants seem to always be playing to the camera, Ruby comes across as refreshingly genuine. Where news stories about the morbidly obese always seem to dredge up some poor, closeted fattie with no interest in the outside world, Ruby has an outgoing, sunny disposition that acknowledges her bulk without being eclipsed by it.

The show has the feel of a documentary film, with lots of footage of Ruby and her family members as they discuss her newfound efforts to lose weight.

In general, I can't stand the way that network shows wring every bit of emotion they can from a family that is receiving a home makeover or some other such boon. Television has turned a meal for the hungry into a gross spectacle for the viewing audience.

But Ruby is just thoughtful enough to avoid those feelings of crassness.

I recommend that you take a moment to watch a clip or two and see if you agree. I have a feeling this show might come up during next year's Hulu Awards...

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