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.

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2 Comments

  • Sharon
    Sharon on

    This size 8 watches every show, for almost every season. While I am far from obese, I watch not only for health tips, but also to keep myself in check. Yes, editing can be a wonderful thing, however, these people are real, with real stories and real weight issues. Not everyone is lucky enough to learn good nutrition at an early age and then follow that throughout 70-90 years of life. Do you write reviews just to get online? Maybe you should give Biggest Loser (AND NBC!!) the benefit of the doubt. If YOU had a loved one who TRULY wanted to be on BL, how would you react then? Trash them for being fat in the first place because they didnt know soda was loaded with sugar??? I think not. Relax Mr Roberts. Not everyone thinks the way you do, nor should they be ridiculed because they enjoy things you dont. I say more power and bravo to them for putting their lives in hands of others to help THEMSELVES change. More people should do that, even if it IS only ‘a chance to get on tv’. Life changes are just that, life changes, tv or no (reality) tv. Period. AND just so you know, Ms Sweeney wasnt ALWAYS a size 4, and if you had paid any attention, she has long struggled with weight issues. She has ALSO done WONDERFUL work with the Feeding America thing (among other charities!!)so cant we just LET THEM continue helping what you seem to think are a gross population of STUPID people. Well, THIS girl is FAR from stupid, and I will keep watching Biggest Loser (and Days for 25 years now!!) until I decide not to. If anything, your review has made me even more of a believer that BL is doing a wonderful job for so many wonderful people. God Bless every single one of them.

  • Chris Roberts
    Chris Roberts on

    Well…thank you for reading my review and writing in. Sadly I could not disagree with you more.
    1) There is nothing real about these characters at all. If you have ever seen another reality show ever then you will notice that the lines they are saying are clearly being fed to them on cue cards to advance the storyline that the producers are trying sell.
    2) No, if a loved one of mine wanted to go on the show I would encourage them that there are other ways to lose weight other than selling you soul to a TV network. Now if they were doing it in an attempt to win the money them I would give them my full support.
    3) I did pay attention and I did know that Sweeney wasn’t always a size 4. I also know that she certainly wasn’t a TV star in her chunkier days.
    4) I would never begrudge you for watching a show that I deemed to be bad. Yes, I find it to be a cynical attempt to capitalize on the wow factor that extremely fat people create, but that’s just me. But IF “Coach” Mo really did mean it when he said that he didn’t know if he would recover from the 1st elimination then clearly he is too stupid to be on TV. What did he think was gonna happen? That they were just gonna sit around in the sun, singing songs and watching the pounds melt away. Or maybe he just forgot that he signed up to be on a winner take all reality show. Who knows.

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