The Real World, Diabetes: As cameras roll at a Jamaican resort, desperate patients seek healing
MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — The man who boasts of changing the face of diabetes spreads his arms out wide, like the Christ the Redeemer statue, but in neon orange shorts and bare feet. He looks earnestly into the rolling camera.
“Welcome to ‘Reversed,’” he intones. Seated behind him are four of his disciples: Americans with type 2 diabetes who’ve flown to this tropical beach town to participate in a reality TV show marketed as a momentous opportunity to restore their health. Over eight days, they’ll learn to exercise and eat right and bare their struggles in cathartic therapy sessions.
Their host, Charles Mattocks, is a smooth-talking, fast-moving entrepreneur, who has leveraged his family fame (his uncle was Bob Marley) and his own medical history (he uses diet and exercise, not insulin, to manage his diabetes) to set himself up as a guru to diabetics everywhere.
In an age where nearly 1 in 10 Americans has diabetes, a disease that can bring a lifetime of painful complications, patients are often desperate for miraculous turnarounds — and there’s a booming trade in supplements, diets, and self-help books that promise answers. Now, there’s a TV show, too.
But “Reversed” is unlikely to prove anyone’s salvation.
The show, which will begin airing next month on cable, is at once a vehicle for Mattocks to proselytize his gospel of self-help, a marketing gambit by a pharma company that’s running out of money, and a season-long advertisement for a luxury getaway at the sparkling resort where it was filmed.
The carefully choreographed, relentlessly upbeat atm Continue reading