Yesterday's Oprah featured a stunningly thin and fit Gwenyth Paltrow, who had recently lost twenty pounds and yet eschews dieting of any kind, claiming that even thinking about dieting causes her to gain five pounds.
But after a bit of prodding and (conveniently) a packaged video piece, it was revealed that Paltrow works out six days a week in a beautiful home gym with an omnipresent trainer who "makes" Gwyneth sweat it out in 80 degree, brutal strength training and cardio sessions. Paltrow likes the setting because she can look out the window onto an apple orchard and hear her kids playing in the pool while one of her two nannies watches them and she does countless "butt" repetitions.
This video is the closest thing to lifestyle porn as anything ever conjured up by the talented Oprah production team, outperforming Martha Stewart on her best day.
Good for Paltrow, I guess, for amassing the wealth to support her quest for peace with her own body.
But how, exactly, is it supposed to inspire me?
Most of us will never be able to achieve that body so we can eat whatever we want by working out for twelve hours a week with a trainer urging us on to perfection. Surely Oprah knows this.
Is she simply feeding into our voyeuristic impulses and celebrity worship, which Oprah herself purports to share with us, creating an illusion that we are Oprah's girlfriends as we round the television together at four p.m. to watch our celebrity goddess achieve that ideal form, that ideal role as mother and wife and object of desire?
Or should we be more cynical, concluding that perhaps the less secure we feel about ourselves, the more we will watch Oprah in search of solutions, making us nothing more than a desirable demographic?
If neither of these things are true, then wouldn't it have been nice if Oprah had said, "Results not typical" ?