Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Biggest Loser is Officially Out of Control

I watched a whole season of The Biggest Loser for the first time last Spring, when I was totally Team Tara because she was awesome and kicked EVERYONE'S butts on a consistent basis. I loved her attitude and her dedication to changing her life. Overall, I thought that season was pretty good and focused on people improving themselves emotionally as well as physically, even if I did have qualms about the brutal workout regimens.

However, I've been watching about 1 episode out of 3 this season and I have to say, I think a line has really been crossed this time. First, the contestants are bigger than ever, which the ads leading up to the season proclaimed with pride. But the brutal workouts have not changed at all. You have Bob and Jillian, tiny little people themselves, bouncing around like crickets, leaping on top of contestants' backs, and making these 400 and 500 pound people run and jump for hours on end starting on Day One.


When the show started several years ago, the contestants were generally in the 200s and even though such brutal workouts were, well, brutal, the impact on the contestants' bodies was that much less. Now people are passing out and going to the hospital on a regular basis, or dealing with joint issues so severe that the only way they can work out is in the pool.

Last night one of the guys with bad knees was pulled out of the pool and put on the treadmill and made to run with everyone else. He's still upwards of 400 pounds. OK, let's just cripple everyone in the name of television, shall we?

Also last night, one of the contestants got her appendix taken out at the beginning of the week (as well as some sort of cyst and a mass, which they just glossed over. Um, is she dying? Should we be concerned?) Yet ONE DAY after surgery she was out walking. 14 miles. I'm sorry, but I think having surgery should equal immunity for the week. I don't really like this woman (at least as they've portrayed her because I realize editing can make anyone seem evil), but I would argue that she should be given at least a week to recuperate and not have to stress about making sure she didn't fall below the yellow line.

I guess my point is, the show has ceased being an inspiration to me and has devolved into pure exploitation. I realize any sort of reality show is exploitative, but when you are seriously risking the future health of people, all the while claiming that the ultimate goal is to make them healthy, that's the height of hypocrisy.

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