Tonight’s My 600-lb Life features the harrowing tale of two obese brothers, Steven and Justin Assanti.
While Steven manipulates his father into always getting what he wants — mainly food — by acting out, Justin is lonely and insular, preying on his dad’s sympathy.
Together they take their high-strung Italian American father on a hugely long RV trip from the north-east to Houston, Texas.
Every 100 miles during the 35-hour trip Steven, 33, demands his father pull over to get him food “or else”.
Making matters worse is brother Justin, who rides up front with dad and plays him like a Stradivarius violin.
Justin goads his dad as Steven calls him from the rear of the RV on a cellphone for the umpteenth time, saying to his aggravated pop: “What does he think, you’re made of money?”
The brothers suffered trauma growing up, with an alcoholic mother and a hot-tempered father.
Now what they experienced has turned inward.
Steven has ballooned to near 800 pounds, essentially becoming an invalid, and now uses his temper tantrums to make sure his father does what he wants.
His brother Justin at age 27 is also huge, but at 600 pounds, is more mobile, but is deeply untrusting of anyone.
The family is a toxic hornet’s nest of blame and guilt, manipulation and remorse, which will be a nightmare for weight-loss surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzardian — who they go to for help losing weight.
Steven’s behavioral impulses are so off the charts that Dr. Now may not be able to ever fix him.
By the time Steven rolls into Houston, he is immediately checked into the hospital at 749 pounds, but Justin returns to their Rhode Island home to attempt weight-loss on his own.
When Dr. Nowzardian tries to treat Steven, he plays him as he begins to “hospital hop” in a bid to gain opioids for pain — while continuing to indulge his “insatiable” pizza habit.
From far away Rhode Island, his dad actually enables Steven to get away with this nonsense.
When Justin observes this, it upsets him — and it provides a setback for his own progress.
My 600-lb Life airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on TLC.