Sunday, October 21, 2007

the biggest loser

In the Times this week there was an interesting article discussing many of the possible negative effects of the seemingly singularly positive show The Biggest Loser. For a contestant on the show, the process and results are drastic and life-changing, they seem to happen almost overnight due to the effects of tv editing. For the viewer at home trying to achieve similiar goals as the people on the show, watching the weight fly off contestants can be viewed as confirmation of their own weight loss failure. Key elements in the contestants success are the resources they have available to them on the show (nutritionists, trainers) and the sense of team created by the set up of the show. In reality as opposed to tv reality, most people who are trying weight loss do not have these resources and are not able to devote all of their time to their health. In comparing themselves to show contestants, viewers do not take into account what unhealthy methods people on the show may be engaging in to further themselves as it is a show about getting healthy, but it is also a public competition. Viewers see the end result of massive weight loss and want the same for themselves, they are dissatisfied with the recommended amount of a pound to two pounds a week. The show creates a false sense of immediacy that can discourage the viewer who wants to lose weight. Logic dictates this show like any other reality tv show is entertainment, not at all an accurate depiction of life, but due to the subject of the show and the emotional piece around weight loss this fact can sometimes be confused.

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