I am rooting for Khloe Kardashian.
Amidst all of the family drama, the highly-publicized controversies and the glossy Instagram photos, Khloe Kardashian has always seemed to remain the voice of reason, the most genuine in a family of over-the-top and beyond-belief, cartoonishly beautiful people.
This isn’t to say that Khloe Kardashian isn’t (and wasn’t always) beautiful. She is stunning, but always seemed to remain aware of her uniqueness and her own role in the scheme of the family, particularly on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. When there seemed to be madness or pain, Khloe was there with a joke to make everyone laugh, an observation to make everyone think, or a demand to keep everything in perspective. When interviewers asked off-color or tough questions, she wasn’t afraid to answer (I mean, have you seen her Howard Stern interviews?). When her estranged husband needed her, she dropped everything.
Often Khloe is attributed for adding reality to the country’s biggest reality show.
One way in which Khloe is the most relatable is in her candid battle with her weight, resulting in her recent weight loss and subsequent “revenge body,” as she calls it.
By Khloe’s own admission it seems less revenge than it does coping mechanism, and Khloe decided to help others embark on their fitness journies by launching her own show, Revenge Body. The show’s goal is to allow other people to explore their own sense of self-confidence by getting fit, proving to themselves that they can accomplish their health goals and proving to others that they are so much more than the labels often given to overweight people.
After watching the two first episodes of Revenge Body, I am still rooting for Khloe Kardashian, but am also aware of the flaws in the idea of a revenge body itself and how the show falls a bit short of its mission.
Serving as the show’s resident voice of reason (the aforementioned role she seems born to fulfill) Kardashian hosts two guests per episode, each with their own goals to get fit and change not only their own perception of themselves but others’ perceptions of their appearance as well.
I immediately related to their struggles, having lost over 50 pounds in the last year myself, and I felt for them. There is bravery in coming forward about being self-conscious, particularly about weight, and it takes a lot of guts for an overweight person to stand next to a Kardashian, be partially undressed on television (for the before & afters, which were simultaneously inspiring and depressing) and then work out, eat and sweat on camera. It’s a perfect storm of inspiration-porn and manufactured KUWTK reality show drama.
The guests sit down with Khloe, tell her their stories, she provides them with some sage advice and then she sends them on their way with trainers tailored to fit their needs. Khloe serves as some sort of curvy, glowing oracle on the journey, occasionally showing up to provide them with even more words of wisdom and style help, though she mainly sticks to the initial studio interview with the guests.
One guest is losing weight because of a cheating ex-boyfriend, another because of an ex-BFF that used to taunt her by calling her names. Their stories are heartbreaking and though the desire for revenge is totally understandable, relatable and human, it is also really, dishearteningly flawed.
Weight loss is an unsustainable journey if it’s done only for the validation of others. Reactions and compliments are amazing, but they’re only given once. Nobody’s approval can maintain a healthy diet or work in the five more minutes on the treadmill. They may serve as a short-term inspiration but they can’t win the war. Creating a healthy lifestyle of constant dedication can only be done through acquiring inner confidence, affirmation and drive. Kardashian seems to grasp this concept, hinting at it but never being explicitly helpful enough to tell her guests that their cruel exes or shallow former friends aren’t the ones who need pleasing, but themselves. The show’s events feel like a sort of ‘create your own adventure’ policy, with the guests having to learn on their own that confidence comes from within while undergoing training, dieting and styling. For the most part, it seems that they do understand by the end that their new sense of self-efficacy is the ultimate prize.
But what about the viewers? My worry is that viewers who suffer from their own insecurities might come to the conclusion that the opinions of others (about their bodies, lives and a myriad of other things) trump their own. It’s an emotional show that definitely sucks viewers in, and even after my own weight loss, I found myself wanting to go on a run after watching, which isn’t exactly how I think the show claims it wants viewers to walk away. It’s not as much empowering as it is thin-spiring, walking a fine line at times between (don’t roll your eyes) triggering and motivating.
What it lacks in heart, it could stand to gain from Khloe herself. Though she seems genuine, her presence is relatively minimal, her own journey only mentioned in short, detached segments. The lack of candor isn’t shocking (it’s reality TV we’re talking about) but it is slightly depressing. Khloe Kardashian is the name behind the show, and to say that people aren’t also watching for their daily fill of Kardashian 411 would be wholly inaccurate.
Going forward, Revenge Body could use its own makeover. More relatable, funny Khloe K. to help contestants, to get to know them and to sit with them, feel with them and advise them, it would all add some more emotional investment to the at-times hollow production of the episodes. Also, adding Khloe’s own routines to the workouts would be helpful, and even featuring some more explicit tips and tricks for healthy weight-loss (applicable recipes, ideas and workout moves) would all add a bit more.
Though Revenge Body needs a little change, its heart is there. And that’s what’s important to remember when watching this show. Weight loss isn’t all about the exterior, it’s also about the pivotal inner factors of emotional and mental health. One person who knows all about that is Khloe Kardashian, and we’re pulling for her.
Revenge Body With Khloe Kardashian Viewing Details
Date: January 12, 2017
Time: 8:00 P.M.
TV Channel: E!
Starring: Khloe Kardashian