Irked lately by the food snobbery on Top Chef, I swung to the other extreme by catching a bit of the anti-food series, The Biggest Loser, on NBC.
Watching people diet is even less fun than watching them eat, so I have only seen snippets of TBL over the years, but I thought its purpose was to help morbidly obese people get in shape and feel good about themselves, with viewers cheering them on.
Man, was I wrong!
In Season 11, torture and humiliation are constants, with contestants getting the boot if they fail to lose dangerously large amounts of poundage (like 15-20) every single week.
This season exploits couples — siblings or parents and their adult children. Last night, a mother who’d just gotten under 200 lbs. gained 8 back to keep the younger contestants from being sent home.
Most of the parents believe the kids have a greater need to get healthy, so the parents plot to get themselves eliminated.
By regaining more than a pound a day in spite of incessant, grueling workouts, this mother also proved to America what a fragile farce the whole premise of this show is, and you have to wonder how many of the previous 10 seasons’ contestants are waddling around today, even bigger than before.
Previously, I had tuned in near Valentine’s Day and was stunned when they locked the contestants, one at a time, in a room full of delicious chocolates, rewarding the person who ate THE MOST the “privilege” of crushing the spirit of 4 fellow contestants by making them switch teams.
The “winner” ate 35 pieces of candy, became a pariah to his fellow teammates, and then risked elimination because he didn’t drop a dramatic amount of weight.
The producers’ idea of getting these suckers into shape consists of taunting their willpower, destroying their morale, and subjecting them to brutal workouts.
It’s a sad testament to our society that the morbidly obese are so desperate for help, they’ll endure relentless psychological and physical abuse and total degradation on national television.
Oh, and did I forget to mention unrealistic expectations? During the weigh-ins, they are profoundly disappointed to lose “only” 7 pounds in a week. Some of the men have lost 100 pounds in less than 2 months. They must have Dr. Strangelove “monitoring” the contestants, as their disclaimer asserts.
I almost wish we really had the neocons’ fantasy “health police” so they could step in and pull the plug on this travesty. Instead, we’ll just have to wait for someone to die.
On second thought, maybe Top Chef isn’t so bad. At least the producers aren’t trying to actually kill anybody.