Kirstie Alley's Big Life

Kirstie Alley is overweight and makes no excuses. What's engaging and ultimately worthwhile about her new reality show, "Big Life" on A&E, is that despite her crazy lifestyle (a home zoo including lemurs, dogs, cats and Hollywood assistants), Alley has a way of seeming like the eccentric girlfriend down the street. Whereas her 2005 Showtime series "Fat Actress" was satirically fictional, "Big Life" is satirically realistic. Still, with whimsical music, Alley's voiceovers and an irreverent tone, the result is more like an episode of "Arrested Development" than a reality show.

Alley addresses what shows like "The Biggest Loser" don't: The weight often comes back. With her considerable resources and a cadre of assistants -- along with the staggering statistics regarding overweight Americans -- it's pretty obvious that the process is a little more complicated than simply calories in, calories out. (And it isn't accidental that the show coincides with Alley's launch of a new weight-loss program.)

Love her or hate her, you gotta give Alley props for honesty, even if she does have quite the potty mouth. Few would fess up so matter-of-factly about drug use and other bad choices, all of which led to a 75-pound weight gain. Alley lost the weight very publicly, only to gain it all back and then some.

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