Friday, February 27, 2009

The Biggest Loser

I have avoided watching previous series of The Biggest Loser, for obvious reasons -- I didn't need any more guilt.

I'm not sure what drew me to watch it this season. I guess I was intrigued by the promos for Biggest Loser--Couples and decided to watch the first episode to see what it was like.

Naturally I got hooked. I have this horrible feeling that I'm becoming a reality TV junkie. I keep thinking about the movie Fahrenheit 451 where the husband comes home from a day of burning books and finds his wife fixated on the "huge" television screen, listening to messages from the great leader or something--essentially reality TV. I saw Fahrenheit 451 recently and realized that the "huge" television screen is smaller than what I have in my family room...and we have a "small" HD TV.

So anyway, I became addicted to Biggest Loser. This season has the biggest woman ever to be on the program, and the heaviest person ever to be on the program. I watch the program with a combination of fascination, revulsion and guilt. (Kind of the way I watch 24! LOL)

It's on at the same time as Lost, so I watch Lost in that time slot and The Biggest Loser usually in the wee small hours of the morning, when I wake up pre-dawn. I think I decided today, though, that I won't watch the next series. I had been sitting there for literally 25 minutes just watching people be weighed. I just hate the dramatic pauses, the numbers which click on and on and on, flashing random numbers until they register the correct new weight. That is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

But you care about the people and I watch with admiration what these guys have accomplished. The guy voted off last night had lost one hundred pounds in only eight weeks! And this only with diet and exercise.

But the "diet" part of the program makes Biggest Loser one gigantic product placement program. Three people sit down to eat lunch and the trainer just happens to show up to point out what is missing from their plate, then take a brand name product from the refrigerator or freezer to show how easy it is to prepare.

Last night it was packages for steaming vegetables. He popped it in the micowave ("so simple even a child can do it" he says--yeah, I can just picture my kids coming home and fixing themselves a big bowl of broccoli for a snack!), then the people measure out portions of unadorned vegetables and look like they'd just bit into a chocolate eclaire. I know they are hungry, but the ecstasy is a bit misplaced, I think!

And then there are the exercise sessions, which, apparently go on all day long (though you never seem to see anybody using that beautiful pool). I know they're out to win big bucks to be the biggest loser, but I suspect that Marine Corps boot camp would be a delightful reprive from the exercise regimen they are put through and a Marine Corps drill sergeant would seem like a real pussy cat compared to the in-your-face trainers who get so disgusted when a 300 lb woman can't run another 2 miles! I am in total awe, especially of the larger people, and what they are able to do. And how they stick to it seemingly hour after hour.

But the worst part, especially now that they have all become so close and so supportive of one another, is having to vote someone off.

Whereas on other shows, like Survivor, contestants plot and scheme about the person they are going to get this week, the decision to vote a friend out of The Biggest Loser is so painful for almost everyone. Some vote based on whose departure will make it easier for them (the voter) to win the top prize, but most base their decision on who has the strongest support system at home so they can continue with the weight loss program, and who needs to stay "in camp" and continue the program. And then tears all around when someone leaves because they truly seem to care about one another. This is only going to get worse as the group size gets smaller and smaller.

I hate the woman who is the moderator (and whom I thought had her own weight problem until I finally figured out that she is about 5 months along in a pregnancy). I know she has to be impartial, but everyone around her (including me) is crying and going through the tortures of the damned having to vote against a friend, she remains the stoic stone face, showing no emotion or compassion whatsoever.

Kind of like my ophthalmologist.

While I've enjoyed getting to see what this program is all about, I think it's a reality show that I will skip the next time around. I skipped The Apprentice after I got so fed up with Trump and haven't missed it one single bit. (I also seem to have given up on American Idol this season as well...and I don't miss it either!)


Le laquet said...

Bugger - Blogger just ate my comment, it went something along the lines of "love it, feeling the guilt too, here to mingle." Bloody machine!!

Indigo said...

Happy Mingling Bev!

I am a reality tv junkie, but this is one show I haven't watched. This is my first real season of American Idol though and I am totally addicted.

Bev Sykes said...

I was addicted for 3 seasons, but there are too many other shows now that conflict, so I haven't watched it at all this season.