The Biggest Loser
The Biggest Loser, NBC's standard issue reality show, is now in it's eighth season. The basic premise involves 16 morbidly obese contestants who do exciting things like work out and eat right in an attempt to out lose more weight than the others and thus be declared the biggest loser. It operates under the belief that fat is inherently bad because, well, it's a lot easier to be a TV star when you have an attractive waistline. To underline this point NBC have gone with Alison Sweeney, a size 4, as their host since season four.
Besides an ideal weight, Sweeney also brings to the table her resume filled with other trash TV ventures (Days of our Lives, Fear Factor), which is fitting since this show seems to be actively campaigning for the title "Worst Show on TV." Unable to come up with one original thought the producers have instead decided to drown their show in stale conventions. Yes, even the good reality shows (Top Chef, Project Runway, Amazing Race) are slavishly tied to the formula, but with The Biggest Loser you legitimately have to wonder if the show wasn't edited by an arbitrary artificial intelligence designed to hone in on the vaguest hint of drama and then show it forty different ways.
Then there are the contestants. The nicest thing you could possibly say about them is that perhaps they are all actors following NBC's asinine script. One of them, some clown by the name of "Coach" Mo, even goes so far as to say that he may never recover from the first elimination such is the emotional devastation. The point was obviously an attempt to convey to the audience the gravity of being sent home but what they are really doing is exposing their contempt for anybody who dare watch their product.
In the first episode of the season one contestant Tracey pushes herself so hard that she ends up collapsing and hospitalized with heat stroke. Well, you might ask, don't they have trained physicians on hand to make sure that the contestants don't push their body to the brink? Surely they do, but when you realize how many tears they are able to wring out of the situation, you might come to the conclusion that the whole thing was staged just to add so called "drama."
On the following episode Sweeney lays down a deal for them; if the 15 remaining contestants can lose a combined 150 pounds then nobody will go home that week, if they fail then 2 people will. Once again the brain-dead contestants leap at the chance to show their inability to think critically and begin moving, like sheep, towards the goal. But if it were you, wouldn't you want yourself to do well but for the group as a whole to fail so that two of your competitors would be eliminated?
Lots of TV shows out there are bad (this one unusually so), but NBC's total incompetence here does feel like a lost opportunity. There simply aren't many shows out there that deal realistically with the pain of obesity or the struggle to lose weight. With The Biggest Loser NBC seems to be saying that all obese people are so slow and stupid that this show is all they deserve. And to make a bad situation even worse, they stuff this already bloated show (2 hours an episode) with terribly condescending life lessons. Really, I can prepare my meals in advance and then put them in Ziplock (TM) bags for later? Really, a two-liter bottle of soda is loaded with sugar? Who knew? As with a lot of crap TV these days it does have the ability to draw you in but any temptation to watch this unholy mess should not be indulged. Just because extremely large people standing on scales is something of a grotesque spectacle doesn't mean that this show is in any way good for your mind, body or soul.