13 November 2009

The Biggest Loser

I have been watching The Biggest Loser lately and screaming in my head...and out loud...every time I see it. And for days after, just ask S :)

...rant approaching...

I started watching because one of the blogs I read regularly commented that this season all the contestants would be working as a team to complete the challenge. Having had some history of the show, I found it excellent that instead of pitting people against each other the producers were having them work together. And really, it's a weight loss show and the only thing I like more than weight loss information is debt reduction information, so it was easy to find the time to watch. I have been disappointed to find that the rest of the season has not reflected that one episode. I have been continuing to watch for the same reason I watch Survivor: to assess and deconstruct the interpersonal relationships and drama. As a person who just doesn't fit into society very well, I find it fascinating to watch how others do it, both in real life and 'reality' shows.

My biggest complaint with TBL is that it takes a healthy challenge - losing weight and getting fit - and puts an unhealthy spin on it - making it entertainment for the masses and a platform for advertisers. Something about the unhealthiness of the show has been nagging at me and I couldn't quite pin it down. With the glory of Google I found this post on the blog Weighty Matters that explained what I was feeling reasonably well. I also found out from that post that the show outright lied about the accomplishment of the contestant.

Some of the questions that have been banging around in my head are: if the show lied about the contestant's time on the marathon, what else have they lied about? Why are they continuing to promote the unhealthy weight loss as a good thing? Are they telling their Fellow Americans that they are lazy and undisciplined, which is why they are fat? Are they sending the message that no matter what you are just not good enough (one contestant lost 17 lbs in a week and still didn't lose enough compared to the others)? Are they sending the message that you need to make gigantic changes to your life all at once in order to succeed? Is that even a sustainable plan?

I really do find it kind of sad to see that the show is so popular despite the unhealthy nature of it. I understand that a show about the slow progression of weight loss might be boring, or a show about minor changes having major impact might be dull. But at least label TBL as it is: pure entertainment, instead of: achievable goal for all. Even the title is insulting - you want to be labeled a LOSER? And the BIGGEST LOSER at that? Does anyone actually have any good associations with that phrase or am I the only one that has the image of a schoolmate putting an L on their forehead with their hand, pointing to me and shouting "loser!"? Massive weight loss and massive lifestyle changes just lead to a whiplash reaction of food engorgement. It would be great to see something more realistic being just as popular with the viewing audience.

...end rant.

1 comment:

Chantelle said...

I totally agree with you on your rant here... there's something so icky about a show called the biggest LOSER that encourages/forces the participants to lose way more weight than is healthy for them.

I read somewhere that people take diuretics and stuff - and do all the stuff that wrestlers do - to weigh the least at the weigh-in. It's ridiculous.

I wonder if reality tv has gone too far. it's a game to see who can humiliate themselves the most. Like jon and kate plus 8 - those kids are under the microscope and don't get to live a real life.

Love you,
Chantelle