“That’s Bullsh”: The Sublime Madness of Kirstie Alley

By | March 18, 2010

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Yes, that right there is a twelve-minute Today show clip of Meredith Viera interviewing Kirstie Alley about her new reality show, how she hates reality shows, her new diet company, whether her new diet company is a Scientology front, and Kirstie’s long and exciting history of being fat and less-fat and fat again (if you can’t watch the video, the attending article sums it up pretty succinctly). Sure, I want to smack Meredith Viera in the back of the head for a few of her comments, such as the fun “food = cocaine” trope I keep hearing lately. But generally, this interview is a good example of why, even against my will, I so enjoy Kirstie Alley’s crazy ass.

I have little patience for whining, in general, in life. And this was part of why the Carnie Wilson recapping attempt was so difficult for me (if not doomed to failure from the start): because all Carnie does is whine. She whines about being fat, about working out, about eating, about not eating, about her schedule, about pretty much every damn thing in her life. And that might be okay — some people are just whiny — if she didn’t also continuously whine about the fact that the people she employs to tell her what to do are actually daring to tell her what to do. If her jackass personal trainer is getting on her nerves, she should fire the sleeveless prick. If her husband is being a jerk, she should stand up for herself and tell him to treat her with respect or GTFO. Carnie’s whole modus operandi is rooted in being passive-aggressive and not taking responsibility for herself. And truly, I’ve known a lot of real people like that in my life, and you reach a point where you just can’t prop them up anymore. I broke up with Unstapled mostly because of Dr. Oz’s heinous miscarriage of medical “care”, but it was also because there are only so many ways I can scream at the television for Carnie to just fucking assert herself. With snark’s help, I could deal with the dieting, the body-loathing, the dysfunctional married life, the extreme narcissism; but in the end, I could not deal with Carnie’s inability (or unwillingness) to make her own decisions, to figure out what’s best for her, and to carry that out with the expectation that those who care about her will support her no matter what. And to know that if they don’t, well, she’s better off without them.

Kirstie Alley, to her credit, needs no encouragement from me in the arena of assertiveness. Nor does Kirstie strike me as putting on a show or a persona for the camera, as she comes across as disarmingly authentic, which is no doubt a big part of why the people who are fans of Kirstie Alley tend to be positively crazy about her. There’s something extremely appealing about her personality that I find difficult to resist. Maybe it’s her dry sense of humor. Maybe it’s that she comes tantalizingly close to saying “bullshit” on live TV in the above clip. Does she also often annoy me to the point that I hate that I like her so much? Sure. Am I disgusted that this whole show is going to be about her losing weight and promoting her crazypants diet company? Absolutely. But do I also think that there’s a good likelihood of also seeing some interesting analysis-worthy material on fatness, culture, and celebrity? Hell yes. The clip shown on the Today show segment above, in which Kirstie talks about when the tabloids first began focusing on her weight following a miscarriage, is already evidence of that. Say what you want about her, Scientology and Twitter feed included — but Kirstie’s not stupid. Where Carnie seems to believe that she deserves to be treated like garbage for being fat, I am inclined to think that Kirstie doesn’t fully buy that. But we shall see.

Kirstie Alley’s Bigass Life premieres on A&E on Sunday, March 21. My first recap will premiere here shortly thereafter.

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