Last summer, Bravo gave us a reality series called Work Out, which starred professional trainer, upscale gym owner and out lesbian Jackie Warner. The show also featured her occasionally faithful legion of personal trainers and her girlfriend, Mimi, who, by the time the season ended, had become infamous for her temper, her tantrums and, of course, her biting.
If you were expecting weight-loss tips and sweating, grunting and contorted faces, watch The Biggest Loser. Jackie’s Beverly Hills gym, Sky Sport and Spa, is an homage to aesthetic beauty, with its glass-enclosed training area, hardwood floors, telegenic trainers and row after row of gleaming
torture fitness machines. Work Out is about already-perfect guns, imperfect egos and personal drama.
Welcome to Season 2.
The Cast — They’re all back from last season (plus one newbie).
Jackie: Equal parts fitness professional and entrepreneur, the self-described "small-town girl from mid-America" dreams big, lives large and has everything under control — except her personal life.
Erika: Even though she looks more than a little like Angelina Jolie, Erika was single last season. Whether she dates anyone this season remains to be seen, because Erika is about as fun-loving and playful as a DMV clerk.
Doug: Older and wiser than the other trainers, Doug has that all-American look — if all Americans are gay, tan, ripped and have 18-inch biceps.
Rebecca: Rebecca is disciplined about fitness and little else, especially when it comes to sex. What some might call affectionate, others refer to as sexual harassment. That said, her appreciation of the human body is happily gender-blind.
Zen: Zen is the cute, perky one. Always quick with a smile and chirpy words of encouragement, she’s like a cheerleader who can bench-press the water boy.
Andre: The trainer with a military background, Andre likes to say he "expects 110 percent." Last season, he also said he prefers smart women. I wonder if he ever did find one to explain how percentages work.
Brian: The kind of guy who likes to go by his last name: Peeler. The kind of guy who gives himself a nickname by putting the word "the" in front of his last name: The Peeler. You know the type.
Jesse: Last year’s new guy, Jesse quickly ingratiated himself to Jackie, and now he’s her favorite. Maybe they bonded because they’re both gay. Maybe he makes her laugh. Maybe he’s just the best-looking suck-up since the Dyson.
Gregg: This year’s new guy. Early reports say he used to date Zen. Gregg looks like Tracy Chapman’s brother. It could just be the hair.
Mimi: She’s baaack — the cute Brazilian girlfriend with many silly hats and one serious penchant for biting. She’s says it’s cultural. Uh, OK.
Wake-up call — It’s another beautiful morning in Los Angeles. Jackie rolls her 3-percent body fat body out of bed. She’s wearing baby-blue flannel pajama bottoms. I don’t know why I find this funny. She feeds the two gerbils she calls her dogs and wanders into the kitchen. It takes me a minute to realize Jackie’s having her morning coffee alone.
Jackie: [voice-over] My morning routine is the same, but almost everything else in my life has changed. I’ve got a new house in the Hollywood Hills that I’m renovating. And Mimi, who I spent the last five years with, is still in my life, but just not so much.
What? And they seemed so good together.
Jackie explains that the good news is she’s "staying focused on what’s most important … and that’s changing people’s lives." Somehow, I don’t think that involves adopting babies from Third World countries. No, it involves a new venture called SkyLab. Not like the 1970s space station, but a fitness boot camp for the horizontally challenged. If Jackie’s SkyLab can offer the same weightlessness of NASA’s Skylab, then she’s onto something.