So many Americans struggle with their weight that there’s ample demand for programs designed to help them, even one with a rather grandiose title and the slightly goofy concept of a “diet detective.” Enter nutritionist Charles Stuart Platkin and “I Want to Save Your Life,” which beyond those silly trappings proves a fairly straightforward exercise, in which Platkin puts his chubby charges on revised diet and exercise regimes, revisiting them four months later for the hopefully not-quite-so-big reveal. There are, of course, lots of tears, but amid the emotion, some solid information actually seeps out.
Briskly sliced into half-hour installments (with two airing back to back for the premiere), the series doesn’t break any new ground. Part cheerleader, part rabbi, Platkin exhibits sympathy toward those under his tutelage, while still trying to give them a stern push away from the dinner table and onto the treadmill.
The initial episodes deal with Jennifer, a 276-pound mom; and Micah, a near-400-pound single dad. Both have bad dietary habits, and Platkin’s advice — which mostly has the ring of common sense — extends beyond just food to lifestyle matters that impact how they eat.
The real question, should the show go beyond its initial eight-episode order, is will “I Want to Save Your Life” showcase unhappy endings — instances where Platkin’s platitudes don’t yield the desired results. After all, for every person that sticks to a diet, there are countless others who drift back to noshing on junk food while they sit on their big butts watching WE.
For the women-targeted channel, the program should nevertheless deliver the goods, if only because so many are desperate for help in losing weight, and it doesn’t need to attract that many of them. Still, as TV detectives go, this diet dude is no “Columbo.”