Overweight people find love — heck, even marry each other — so at least the increasingly obese U.S. needn’t worry about a severe population decline. Still, societal pressures being what they are, young women fret about how they’ll look on their wedding day, providing a fertile hook for “Shedding for the Wedding,” a CW show that’s little more than another “The Biggest Loser” couples edition, only with a “dream wedding” dangled as the prize. Granted, “Loser” has lost some Nielsen heft, but this corpulent clone ought to do just fine drafting off “America’s Next Top Model’s” skirt tails.
Hosted by Sara Rue (an inspired choice, that, given the slimmed-down actress now looks like the “After” photo in a Jenny Craig ad), nine couples are whisked to a romantic resort and forced to exercise (by two trainers, naturally, “Loser”-style), augmented by the inevitable contests and final weigh-in. The producers include “Loser’s” Dave Broome, who didn’t so much create “Wedding” as pluck it, fully grown, from that show’s rib.
The ordeal will “test their relationships,” we’re told, and the trainers say helpful things like, “It’s your choice to be big,” exhibiting a complete lack of sympathy when one young woman works out until she vomits. Ah, the things some people do to squeeze into a Size 12 wedding dress.
Frankly, none of the couples really stand out by reality-TV standards in the first two episodes, but the basic template contains enough relatable elements — struggling with weight, and stressing about wedding details — to carry the show along. Barring that, the producers seek to maintain suspense through a variety of overproduced twists, of the “You’re out of the game! But wait, there’s a chance to get back in!” variety.
Of course, “Shedding for the Wedding” doesn’t really bother to celebrate that these people fell in love despite being overweight, a rather uplifting note in our image-obsessed culture. And like other weight-loss shows, nobody talks about the slim likelihood of keeping off pounds shed in this competition-style, crash-exercise fashion.
But hey, it’s all in the name of a good cause — giving one gal and intended a very special day. And if they have to hurl once or twice en route, you can’t make a reality-TV omelet without breaking a few extra-large eggs.