Oh no, she did not just ask me if I want to fill out an application.

I am at Faneuil Hall hot spot Ned Devine’s on Sunday afternoon, where a new, yet-to-be-titled weight-loss reality TV show, produced by Ricochet Television and set to air on ABC, is casting its net, looking for real people eager to shed pounds in the privacy of millions of living rooms.

Apparently, not everyone is as touchy about their body image as I am. About 100 people showed up for the Boston cattle call (no pun intended — that’s really what these things are called), hoping to be fat and perky enough to have their weight struggles exploited by Hollywood.

It quickly became clear, though, that the hopefuls in the waiting area weren’t the unwitting exploited; they were the exploiters, spring loaded for their Oscar moment. They were sharks, I tell you. Sharks who were starving for the limelight, prepared to annihilate anyone who stood in the way of televised glory.

I talked to Bernadette, a middle-aged singer/songwriter who wants to be on television for the media exposure, and Bethany, who wants to lose weight so that she can audition for American Idol. That’s right; a woman who wants to be on a reality TV show so that she can . . . be on a reality TV show. Then there was Tom, something of a reality-show-audition veteran; he was a finalist for the reprised role of the Skipper on a show recreating Gilligan’s Island. All three were convinced they had the smack to make the show sing.

Meanwhile, the people at Ricochet Television talk earnestly about the problem of obesity in this country, and how their new show aims to give viewers both inspiration and at-home weight-loss tips. Can it be true? Has reality television become the good guy, something like . . . a social-justice advocate? Okay, that’s going a little too far, but the role reversal is striking; suddenly Hollywood’s concerned with the well-being of the American public, and the American public’s concerned with producing compelling television.

Of course, the irony here is that most people watch TV while they’re supine on the couch, stuffing their faces with fistfuls of greasy chips. Is it Ricochet to the rescue? Only time (and the scale) will tell.

Related: 7. Jim Cramer, 97. Toby Young, Collective mentality, More more >
  Topics: Television , Entertainment, Media, Television,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   INTERVIEW: ANDY RICHTER  |  November 25, 2009
    We have a chub for Andy Barker, P.I. (just released out on DVD), because we have a major chub for the show’s star, Andy Richter. Richter plays an accountant who is mistaken for a detective-for-hire and decides to just roll with it. 
  •   REVIEW: SPREAD  |  August 19, 2009
    If only there were some way to watch a con-artist houseboy give his cougar sugar mama a squirming reach-around, charm the pants off a candy-necklace string of countless empty-eyed Hollywood stick figures, lose his heart to an untouchable social chameleon, and, in the process, find himself .
  •   NORTHERN EXPOSURE  |  July 29, 2009
    While New York is grittier, Los Angeles juicier, and Boston is wicked smahter, for some odd reason it is Montreal that, for two weeks every summer, becomes the epicenter of the comedy universe.
  •   JUST FOR LAUGHS  |  July 27, 2009
    Blogs, Tweets, and comedy video direct from moose country
  •   BEAT THE TWEET  |  July 22, 2009
    Warm weather is supposed to be accessorized by lackaday, by a breezy sensibility best enjoyed with a frosty tall boy in one hand, the sloppy product of a back-yard barbecue in the other. Instead, I find myself struggling to balance my beer between my knees and my overstocked paper plate on my thigh as I furiously poke at my BlackBerry.

 See all articles by: SARA FAITH ALTERMAN