Some fans of “My 600 Lb. Life” are calling out the show for not providing an ending to the story of James K that they could understand. Perhaps TLC wants to hype a follow-up episode, but the lack of closure after two hours of maddening behavior by the patient and his girlfriend Lisa rubbed people the wrong way.
This man took all that anyone offered, and gave back nothing. He took his own daughter out of school to make her the co-enabler with Lisa. Bayley, the daughter was the only one on camera who tried to tell the truth and looked depressed that her parents wouldn’t listen. For that alone you had to dislike James. There were plenty of other reasons, like listening to him vow to live and comply with whatever the doctor ordered, then refuse to do it. He didn’t fail, he sabotaged himself, along with Lisa’s assistance.
He got every break, like Dr. Now agreeing to video chat with him rather than make the trip to Houston. It was a first for “My 600 Lb. Life”. Without an expensive ambulance ride with medical professionals at his side, he wouldn’t survive. No fundraising effort proved successful, despite a local news story on James’ plight. When your own community won’t help, it should wake you up, but it never did because James got yet another break.
His dad, who had a mini-stroke in front of his son’s bed, refinanced his home so that his son could get to Houston. When he got there he didn’t make the most of his chances to survive or get better. Lisa went along, and seemed like she was under his spell. As Dr. Now pointed out, how could she fear him when he couldn’t move anything but his upper body? James came off as a guy who talked the talk, but couldn’t back it up with action. Lisa would cave anytime he insisted and sometimes without that.
If James was given one iota of a chance to cheat and overeat he took it. He justified it like all the other patients do, but we’ve never seen someone this size and with a body so grotesque that you had to look away when his legs were on camera. Speaking of that, did we really need to see his entire lower body, with only a blurring of a camera shot to hide his genitals? It makes you wonder if the production crew wanted James to look as ghastly as possible.
We have never seen Dr. Nowzaradan scream and try to shame a patient as he did with James and Lisa. Despite calling them liars on multiple occasions, they never fought back, other than to protest that they had followed the diet plan most of the time. Instead, the couple looked dumbfounded that James, who blew up to almost 850 lbs. while under a doctor’s care, could gain rather than lose.
How about that Chinese food run Lisa made when James whined about not wanting fish again? Weary of chicken and fish, which presumably he ate in larger quantities than prescribed, he begged for Chinese food and sure enough, Lisa complied.
By that time the couple had more bad luck befall them. Their only car was impounded and they didn’t have the resources to get it released for weeks. According to Lisa, there were no healthy food choices sold at places near enough to the apartment in Houston for her to make the trip by foot. This was also after the first of many loud and emotional verbal beat-downs by Dr. Now.
The very difficult to watch episode of “My 600 Lb. Life” ended with James still promising the camera crew that he would be able to buckle down, exercise and eat right. That was after the only glimmer of hope and triumph in the episode, when it took three people to get James into a sitting position. Over his screams of fear and pain he got there, then felt proud of himself because it had been three years since he wasn’t flat on his back in a bed.
James K had a miserable and sad childhood. He never really knew his alcoholic mother, and then felt shunted aside by living with his grandmother. Once his father remarried he felt marginalized because he had so many step-siblings. His solace was food and he was like other patients on “My 600 Lb. Life”. Other than that he was one of a kind. The only comparison is the case of Penny, except even she managed to work her own program and lose some weight, despite being obnoxious to all around her.
Tell us your thoughts about James and Lisa, including your speculation about how he is now.
Image credit: TLC, used with permission.