Friday, November 10, 2006

missing the point

I know that $250,000 is a lot of money. I also know that winning "The Biggest Loser" title might also have other perks, like endorsements or future paid appearances on NBC shows (like Matt & Suzy's cameos on "The Today Show" highlighting their offscreen romance). But the real prize on this show, and one that all of the contestants can win, is the chance to get their lives back.

Though I didn't watch the first season because I didn't like the constant in-your-face food challenges, in the second season the show's producers seemed to hit on a winning formula -- choose very overweight people who might see themselves as "no hopers" and give them serious physical challenges to boost their confidence and teach them that they could be winners. That formula had me in tears during almost every episode of Season 2. Though the people on the teams competed with each other, there wasn't the gameplaying that dominated shows like "Survivor." After the first few weeks, there was the sense that Red Team, Blue Team, whatever, all the competitors were genuinely invested in each other's success.

This time around, though, things have changed. Hiring a fitness model instead of a real trainer for the Red Team was the first mistake. Kim seems more concerned with staying flexed out for the camera than teaching her team how to exercise and work together as a group. For example, her temper tantrum this week when the newest member of her team expressed some doubts that the workouts were effective. Kim pitched a fit, keeping her abs tight all the while, and told the new girl that if she didn't do as she was told, she was completely on her own.

I think that Kim's lack of leadership has allowed Heather, who is a much stronger personality, to take over as the real leader of the group and turn the emphasis to "The Game" instead of teaching the contestants how to live happier, healthier lives. So this week she purposely gained weight so she could send Bobby (a stronger competitor) home and guarantee herself a big loss next time. I hope that the strategy backfires in some way. Now that the game has shifted to "everyone for him/herself," she may have a harder time staying in it, because many weeks she seemed to rely on her teammates to cover for her lackluster numbers.

Matt, who won last season, seems to have regained more than the 27 pounds discussed publicly. He was also more into "the game" than the other competitors at times, and I think that once you get back into the real world, the game can't carry you, you have to supply your own motivation. The ones who seem to do the best are the ones who realize that getting to a healthy weight is worth a lot more than $250,000 in the long run, like Pete from last season, who lost almost half his body weight and is now training for marathons (and snagged a $100,000 consolation prize in the process).

1 comment:

  1. Pete was my all time favorite player. Added bonus, once he got back home, his wife lost a bunch of weight too.

    That is a pretty good observation about Matt. You are probably right, once the "game" is over, so is the desire to lose/compete. I saw the Today show last spring when he proposed to Suzy and I thought he had gained a lot of weight and Suzy too.

    My husband thinks TBL hired Kim because of her . . ahem assets.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07