“Ruby,” a series about a woman trying to work her way down from 700 pounds, is the rare reality show with the depth of documentary filmmaking. No cheap transformation thrills here: At season four, Ruby’s still stuck at 335. Hank Stuever appreciates the nuance — and appreciates that viewers appreciate it — but wonders if the show has caught its star “in a cycle of neediness”:
Does she sabotage her diet in order to prolong the attention she gets from the show? Does she avoid the abuse issues because of the reliable hugs from her support group? … With as many as a half-million viewers per episode; many post emotionally supportive notes to Ruby on the show’s Web site. Ruby now luxuriates in a marshmallowy cocoon of affirmation.
How did Marc Barnes, D.C.’s top club owner, end up in bankruptcy? The pioneer of urban nightlife (secretly a stodgy suburban dad) plots his comeback while his rivals predict his demise.