Thursday, January 10, 2013

You big fat loser.

Yes, it is exploitative, and dangerous, and unrealistic, and perhaps even irresponsible. But damn it, "The Biggest Loser" sure is entertaining.

The new season premiered this week and I watched the first two episodes immediately, way more excited over a fat-people competition show than any person should be. But I'll just admit it: I really do find the show so inspiring. Last year, I discovered a bunch of seasons of TBL on Hulu Plus, and marathoned that shit all of November and December. I really think that was the catalyst for me finally being able to commit to Weight Watchers so wholeheartedly at the beginning of 2012.

I'm optimistic about the cast this season, they all seem pretty likeable and I love the addition of focusing on childhood health. Last year featured such unrelatable, miserable, whiny people, I hope this year is much better. Nothing much changes about the format of the show year to year, season to season, but it doesn't really need to. The formula of the show is simple and effective, and I can't tear myself away. Plus: Jillian Michaels is back! Raging bitch, but I love her.

I definitely understand why the show is so wildly successful and why people like me find it so inspiring. It's comforting to see people on screen dealing with the same problems you are (on a much grander scale, of course), and being witness to their success, however unrealistic it may be, gives you that necessary inspiration. "That could be me!" Plus, the producers do a great job of creating drama with all the competitions and weigh ins, you'd be surprised how captivated one can be by someone stepping on a cale.

Yes, the show has its issues. Taunting the contestants with food, teasing them with the promise of phone calls home if they pig out, brutal workouts that just can't be healthy. But you's reality TV. What can you really expect? At least they seem to take all the necessary precautions so no one, you know, dies. And no one is eating roaches.

This week's episodes featured two moments that really spoke to me. The first was when one of the male contestants (can't remember his name, he was the one who will definitely be a hottie when he loses some weight) was talking about how he was never really good at anything as a kid, and he began using being fat as an excuse not to try anything new. I really related to this, I've always said I was born without any real talents, and I know I used my weight as a safety blanket. It kind of made me cry a bit.

Another moment I loved came from Ms. Jillian, when she was working with a crying, whiny woman. She said:

"It's gotta be for you, it's got to be because the desire to change is outweighing the pain and the fear. You just have to dig deep and make a choice."

I do love her tough-love inspiration, and I do love this show. 

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