Okay, I’ve never watched this show, as I’ve mentioned before, but this season, I’m giving it a fair chance. However, after two episodes, I’m struck by a number of things that have really started to bug the hell out of me.
1. The Voting
Isn’t losing massive amounts of poundage enough excitement for the producers? The money shots of fatties sweating it out on treadmills and getting screamed at by Jillian while Bob shakes his head and hates his life, isn’t that enough manufactured drama? Why add the voting? Why put these people through that? And the rankings are only based on how you did THIS week, not total percentage of body weight lost, therefore if you’ve been doing awesome but then hit a plateau one week, you’re screwed. Niiiice.
2. The caloric intake montage
The contestants were ushered into a room and watch an interview where they talk about their favorite foods. Then a scary automaton voice tells them how many calories, fat and sugar they consume every year, based on eating their favorite guilty pleasure meals every single day. Come on, folks, an apple a day equals like 8 pounds of sugar in a year. Way to sensationalize those numbers and remind the viewing audience again that the contestants are fat and disgusting. Also, the set up for the contestants, standing in a dark room while surrounded by giant screens and scary voices? Totally A Clockwork Orange.
3. The auf Wiedersehen
Okay, officially the dumbest parting line ever. “I’m sorry, you are not the Biggest Loser.” What do you say to that? “Um, thanks”?
4. The weigh-in uniform
Girls wear just a sports bra but the guys get to have some modesty by wearing their Biggest Loser shirts until the moment they step on the scale. I understand the fear of a prolonged span across a crowd of man nipples, but the girls should get to wear a shirt too, damn it.
5. The temptations
So last night, there was a temptation challenge the night before weigh in, where the team that ate the most calories would win $5,000. A woman ate a cup of M&Ms for a total of 210 calories and then, at the next weigh in, gained a pound. Okay, first of all, if you don’t expend 3,500 calories, you will gain a pound, so clearly, a few M&Ms wasn’t to blame for her weight gain. I’m thinking that girlfriend was about to get her period or something, and yet, they made certain to show lots of guilty expressions and finger pointing for “giving in to temptation.” A healthy approach to eating allows you to eat something fun now and then and no one should be crying over 210 calories. No one. Oh yeah, she got voted off, while the guy who “gave in” to 900 calories got to stay. Lesson: guys are forgiven for gluttony, but women must be perfect.
6. The challenges
Okay, we get it. They’re fat. But must everything be ginormous? Giant balloons, giant see-saws made from industrial steel. Come on, people, they’re not elephants.
7. The commericals
Propel, Jenny Craig, Subway, Nabisco (the people who bring you Oreos and Nutter Butters), my god, make it stop. Anytime anything interesting is about to happen, they cut to 15 commercials and then we come back and have to rewatch a minute before finding out how much weight the black team lost. God help anyone who watches this show without the benefit of TiVo.
8. The unrealistic weight loss
Shock and dismay over only losing 3 pounds in a week? People are voted off for that? How does that make the viewer feel when they’re losing a healthy one or two pounds a week? Like a damned underachiever, that’s what. Why is no one concerned that the folks on the safe end of the weigh in roster are losing, like a pound a day?
9. The lack of real information
How many calories are these guys eating a day? What kinds of foods? How many hours are they spending at the gym? What kinds of exercises? How much water are they drinking? Boy, if the viewer at home were feeling at all motivated by this show, it would be nice to use a few minutes to talk about that rather than showing people crying about missing their kids for ten solid minutes.
10. The lack of smart fitness
You know what I’m most struck by after watching the Losers sweat and be abused by Jillian and then work some more? The fact that man, does it look like it sucks! At one point, a contestant clearly looks like he’s in physical distress (um, heart attacks are not an unlikely outcome when an out-of-shape, unhealthy person goes from couch potato to marathon workouts in the span of a few weeks) and the message is that he’s just not motivated enough. There is no on-screen attention to safe, sane workouts. What about the strain on joints? What about these people with knee injuries? They have those awesome pools, yet nothing about water resistance training. It’s just a weight loss sweat shop, no pun intended. Also, man, way to impress upon America that fitness can be torture. Come on, it can be fun too, right? The see saw looked like fun. Why can’t we see these people laughing and having a good time as they drop the weight? Maybe that would inspire rather than make us feel like lazy jackasses for not doing enough.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I watched last night’s episode while eating a bag of Muscat Gummies. Clearly, I am a slow learner and require Jillian to ride me like a pony around the block until I repent.