17 February, 2010

Biggest Loser – Top 5 Faults of the Show

It’s a game.
When you first consider what the show is about, it’s hard to remember it's just a reality show and the main focus is on game play. Looking at it from that aspect and there is no problem. But the contestants on the show are trying to change their lives and the focus turns dramatically to weight loss. Watching these people change their lives can be truly inspiring and it’s what drew me to the show originally. Let's remember though, there is the $250,000 dollar cash prize and many of the contestants remind us of that. Ironically, those contestants are generally seen in a negative light and at times unfairly shunned by the other contestants and trainers. Not really fair when you consider it is just a game after all, and the prize is there for a reason – to inspire the contestants to do their best.

I get annoyed any season they bring couples to the show instead of individuals. Couples seem to heighten the game-play aspect of the show as alliances are now formed from the get-go. Once three or more couples align there is a major alliance formed with a possibility of controlling the game to their own end. This doesn’t happen so dramatically when just singles play, usually because several different groups form and many people focus more on voting people off based on weight loss rather than the person they like least. Also, once you are closer to the end of the game with any original couples still around, you KNOW they will always vote together. Blood is thicker than water and a contestant is certainly going to vote to save their own family member/friend rather than someone they met on the Biggest Loser ranch. If the show wants to focus more on the weight loss than on the game play, they need to go back to the original formula of singles.

Normally commercial breaks don't bother me too much. In a world of DVR, it’s a simple task to simply fast forward through undesirable commercials. Ah, but the producers have found a way around that in the form of in-house commercials. I’m sure you could ask any avid follower of the show to name a brand of chewing gum or chicken and get the same response. I also know I can buy Biggest Loser books, movies and video games, though these are not advertised during the normal commercial breaks. Sure, they have their products and they want us to be aware of them, but each time they want to sell their own products or the products of their sponsors, they take away time from the game. The movie Space-Balls did this years ago as a joke; Biggest Loser doesn't have a sense of humor I'm aware of.

Let’s go over what's been mentioned so far. The focus of the show tends to move away from the weight-loss aspect and more towards game play. Having couples enhances the game play focus, but when weight loss is the spotlight its usually interrupted with commercials in one form or another. Now that I’ve reviewed the points, let move on to the next one – recaps. Why is it after every commercial break they feel we are in need of being reminded of what just took place. Then at the beginning of the first hour we are given another recap of what took place during the first portion of the show. Now either the target demographic for the show is Alzheimer patients, or they think the average person watching has a piss-poor memory. I can't imagine other shows trying to pull this off, but then again the show does have lots of time to kill.

2-Hour Format
If I were to change something major in the show it would be the time frame. You’d think in 2 hours we’d get lots of great information and entertainment. For me it’s more of an aggravation. If the show were cut down to only an hour or even an hour and a half we could do away with many of the points above; i.e. the endless recaps, and product placements. Sure the producers want to make a buck, but what other reality show force feeds us their products as much as Biggest Loser does? The average person does not want to sit for two hours filled with recaps and product placements. A shorter condensed episode would be forced to maximize what the show is truly about; people changing their lives and giving couch potatoes and fitness nuts alike something to be inspired from.

Would Biggest Loser do this? Could changing the format save the show? Is the show even in jeopardy? Well, if they want to keep this viewer some things need to change. I really don't see it lasting much longer otherwise.

Jeffrey Scott


  1. Very good points, Jeffrey! I agree with you regarding Couples vs Individuals. My favorite seasons have always been the individual-themed seasons. I also wish they'd focus more on exactly what a typical day in the life of a contestant would be like - when do they get up, what times do they eat, what do they eat, what do their workouts consist of ... these are the things I'd like to know, so I can follow them at home.

  2. I'd love to know when they rest and on what days. I think there may be some people who get the false impression the best way to lose weight is to simply work, work, work. Yet you still have to rest yourself. Now that would be interesting to see, how some down time is spent.