As someone who’s dieting himself — hey, I could stand to lose a few! — it was with piqued interest that I tuned in to the premiere of NBC’s The Biggest Loser Tuesday night. And while all that sagging, wrinkly flesh will hopefully serve as a wake-up call to any fatties watching at home, I see this show as widely missing its mark — for two big reasons:
A show that kicks off the contestant who loses the least weight each episode is wrong, wrong, wrong. Did the producers spend any time thinking about the message that this sends to dieters around the world? If at first you don’t succeed, or if you don’t succeed fast enough, then you have lost… Nice. Why not just call it “Crash Diet for Cash”?
Also, at one point in Tuesday’s ep a woman freaks out about how much chicken she’s eaten and what sauce she put on it. In another clip the contestants are confronted with a huge breakfast buffet of both “good” and “bad” foods, and they have to decide what’s right to eat for themselves. Problem is, we the viewers never get any particulars about the specific diets they’re on. In the legal-ese of the end credits we discover that each contestant is supervised by a doctor and has a uniquely-tailored diet — that’s not a bad thing; better, at least, than the show being sponsored by Atkins or South Beach or some other fad. So how come we can’t find out more about the individual meal plans? Shouldn’t TV educate as well as entertain?
Apparently not, and once again the biggest loser is the audience.