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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Weight-loss surgery such as the type that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie underwent may not just improve people’s waistlines, but their health.
Obesity causes or worsens myriad health problems, from diabetes to heart disease, severe sleep apnea to arthritic knees. Christie has revealed that after struggling with his weight for 20 years and the reality check of turning 50, the desire to be healthy for his four children motivated him to have an operation called stomach banding.
“He’s doing the right thing,” said Dr. Jaime Ponce, president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. “He’s at the age he really needs to address his problem, to live longer, in a better way, with a better quality of life.”
Specialists perform about 160,000 weight-loss operations a year in the U.S., according to a recent analysis by the surgeons’ group. Surgery isn’t a panacea, it isn’t for everyone — and some forms work better than others.
Some questions and answers about the different types:
Q: What is the most common form of weight-loss surgery?
A: In the U.S., it’s gastric bypass, sometimes called stomach-stapling. It generally results in the most weight loss. Doctors wall off a small pouch in the stomach, so that it can hold only a small amount of food. Then, they reroute that food past part of the intestine so the body also absorbs fewer calories.
Q: How is stomach banding different?
A: It’s a less invasive operation, and unlike gastric bypass, it’s reversible — the band can be removed if necessary. Best known by the brand name Lap-Band, an adjustable band is placed around the stomach to restrict how much food someone can eat at one time. As initial weight is lost, the band can be tightened. Typically, patients don’t lose as much as with gastric bypass.
Q: Are those the only options?
A: The third major approach is called a gastric sleeve, which removes a large chunk of the stomach and thus cuts production of one of the body’s hunger-stimulating hormones. Other, less used options including a complex operation called a duodenal switch that also involves rerouting food.
Q: How well do these operations work?
A: Over a year or two, weight-loss surgery can lead to loss of 50 percent to even 80 percent of the person’s excess weight — if they stick with a healthy diet and exercise. More important, research shows weight-loss surgeries can reverse Type 2 diabetes in patients who lose enough weight and keep it off. Gastric bypass causes the fastest weight loss, and stomach banding a more gradual loss.
But patients don’t always benefit enough to justify surgery. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality cited reports that within five years, up to a third of stomach banding patients aren’t maintaining their weight loss.
“You don’t want somebody to always drink milkshakes because they’re going to defeat the surgery over time,” Ponce said.
Q: Is surgery safe?
A: Most are done laparoscopically — through small incisions — and Ponce’s group says the risk of death is lower than for operations to remove a gall bladder or replace a hip. However, patients may suffer infection, blood clots, and broken or leaking stitches or staples.
After surgery, side effects can include vitamin deficiencies as food is digested differently, and vomiting as people learn to eat less and chew well. Gastric bypass patients also may suffer a complication that causes cramping and diarrhea, especially after eating sweets. The gastric band may slip out of place.
Q: Who’s a candidate?
A: Generally, someone who is about 100 pounds overweight and has failed other attempts to lose. Doctors evaluate body mass index, a measure of weight for height. Candidates have a BMI of at least 40, or a BMI of 35 along with a weight-related health problem. For example, someone who is 5-foot-10-inches and weighs 279 pounds has a BMI of 40.
In 2011, The Food and Drug Administration relaxed the rules for stomach banding, allowing it for patients with a BMI as low as 30 who have a weight-related medical condition.
Weight-loss surgery can cost anywhere from $14,000 to $20,000; insurance tends to cover it for people who are sicker and more obese.
"Californication" (seven seasons)
"Entourage" (eight seasons)
Much like “Californication,” this man-centric show started strong and buzzy -- a perpetual nominee at the Golden Globes and Emmys, and a perceived gender-swapped “Sex and the City.” Then it ground on and on, and what might once have been read as a sophisticated satire of Hollywood materialism became a grinding conveyor belt of self-congratulatory guest-star appearances.
"Will & Grace" (eight seasons)
Hey, did someone say “self-congratulatory guest-star appearances?” Look -- it’s Jennifer Lopez, and Cher, and Janet Jackson, and Madonna! The latter seasons of “Will & Grace” effectively ruined the fun of watching the show in syndication now -- will it be a fun and jaunty early episode, or a later episode in which title characters enact an Ibsen play about having a baby together (really) while Jack and Karen meet one pop star or another? The fact that the show hastened a widespread acceptance of gay people that, then, made the show something of a throwback by the time it ended is one thing; the fact that the show itself seemed uninterested in relying on its actors’ sharp comic timing is quite another.
"The King of Queens" (nine seasons)
This CBS stalwart just kind of kept going, exactly as long as was needed to launch Kevin James’ film career. In the show’s final minutes, a formulaic sitcom became a mile-a-minute soap, with the central characters considering divorce and then having two children.
"Frasier" (11 seasons)
Though it ended strong, "Frasier" had something of the opposite problem as “The King of Queens”: While the CBS comedy chucked a whole bunch of plot at viewers toward the end, NBC’s Emmy magnet stayed stuck in familiar ruts, with Frasier questing endlessly for love and Daphne and Niles in fairly unthrilling domestic bliss. The jokes stayed good, but this maybe could have gone one or two years shorter.
"Weeds" (eight seasons)
As “Homeland” viewers may be learning, Showtime isn’t particularly good at keeping its shows coherent over time. (Maybe this is “Californication”’s issue -- we wouldn’t know!) This show changed settings and, effectively, organizing conceits so many times that by the end, it had few earnest defenders.
"Nip/Tuck" (six seasons)
This FX series, too, changed settings midway through, moving from Miami to Los Angeles four seasons in for no compelling reason. The show’s most gripping subplots had a way of petering out (remember the anticlimactic solution to the mystery of the Carver?), and its bizarre tendencies overtook any sense of fun.
"Glee" (five seasons and counting)
The series has, like its sibling show “Nip/Tuck” (Ryan Murphy created them both), switched locations, moving in large part to New York once its core cast graduated high school. But what’s the point of a high school series when the stars graduate? Despite some lovely moments, the show’s heat seems gone, and attempts to get back into the conversation (the school shooting episode, for instance) have been more desperate and tone-deaf than effective.
"Grey's Anatomy" (10 seasons and counting)
Here’s the thing: By all accounts, “Grey’s Anatomy” is not a creative failure. And it’s still widely watched. But when you begin your life as a world-beating hit, anything else seems somewhat marginal. “Grey’s Anatomy” has shed more regular viewers than many shows will ever hope to get in the first place (same’s true of “Survivor” and latter-day “ER,” to name just a few). Those who stopped watching once the Golden Globe nominations petered out may wonder why the show is still on; loyal viewers know better.
"The Simpsons" (25 seasons and counting)
Like the “Grey’s” doctors, the Springfield clan and their neighbors still draw a crowd. But “The Simpsons” is so omnipresent in syndication and in pop culture that the first-run series seems besides the point (not least because, though there are good episodes here and there, the show’s best days are universally agreed to be behind it -- like way behind it, in the 1990s).
"The Office" (nine seasons)
There was a natural break for this show, where it ought to have ended -- with the departure of lead actor Steve Carell in Season 7. The latter years were a creative fugue state, and as NBC’s Thursday night lineup continued to flatline in the ratings, one-time fans could be forgiven at their surprise that the adventures of Jim and Pam kept on unfolding.
"The X-Files" (nine seasons)
Once one of the show’s leads departs and has to be replaced -- as Steve Carell did on “The Office,” or David Duchovny did here -- the show faces a reckoning; if the lead is so central to the show’s plot as to make people wonder how the show could possibly go on, maybe the show shouldn’t. And even “X-Files” superfans might have been happier with fewer seasons of drawing out the conspiracy string toward a famously unsatisfying ending.
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