Sunday, 23 January 2011

Is The Biggest Loser the winning contestant or the obsessive viewer?

Apologies for the lack of posting recently. As the Yorkshireman has explained on his blog, we've both been having a few health problems. Thankfully he seems to be on the mend anyway, with only a little residual mucus still causing a problem (mainly for me, since he keeps coughing or blowing his nose when I'm midway through a sentence, which drives me nuts). As for me, well, as Facebook would say, "it's complicated" but not particularly worth whining and moaning about, especially since it's not even serious enough to get me out of work, dagnammit! Funny how some things in life can simultaneously be a blessing and a curse!

So, how are you all enjoying January? I'm not a big January fan, since I always end up broke, cold, tired and verging on Seasonal Affective Disorder, and at the moment I'm also running the risk of breaking myself every time I step out the door on to the slippery frost/ice combo out there. It's apparently -3°C outside at the moment so it doesn't look like it'll be any less white out there tomorrow. Thankfully it's the weekend, so I can spend the majority of my day indoors in my classy Primark pyjamas. Actually I think my current nightwear is a George D'Asda creation - clearly I felt like dressing up a bit this evening.

One good thing about January is that a lot of good TV shows are back on our screens. Well, I suppose it depends on your definition of "lots" and "good" really. Most people would, I imagine, not join in my delight that there is not just one but two series of The Biggest Loser on at the moment (British and USA versions), but surely you have to love a bit of Glee? No? Really? Ah, you clearly have no taste but we'll agree to disagree.

I do love a good weight-loss show though and The Biggest Loser is one of my favourites, so I was highly excited when I learned that series 9 of the US version had started on LivingIt (so excited, in fact, I mentioned it in the blog post I was writing at the time). Then, when I was checking the TV Guide website for the next showing of said show, I accidentally stumbled upon the new series of the British version starting the next week! How thrilling!

It's hard to describe why I love The Biggest Loser so much, especially when most of the things I mutter about when it's on are fairly critical. She's annoying, why did he bother signing up, they're cheating, that's sneaky, oh they're not going to be happy about that, etc. But like all reality TV shows that's part of the fun. I like to hear people's stories and figure out what makes them tick, but if there's a juicy argument or some duplicitous underhandedness to observe along the way, all the better! It's entertaining. But then why would I merrily watch The Biggest Loser and yet remain so scornful of I'm a (D-list) Celebrity Get Me Out of Here or Big Brother?

I guess it's because the people who sign up to The Biggest Loser are (for the most part) doing it to improve their lives and those of the people who love them. What they're doing will help them to live longer, learn more about themselves and gain confidence and skills they probably only dreamed about possessing, and you get to watch the transformation, week by week. It's inspiring. The eejits on those other reality shows, on the other hand, are only after money or fame and quite frankly I don't really care who they're flirting with or why. Heat magazine would definitely go into my Room 101 because it's that kind of "celebrity" gossip obsession that only encourages more and more reality shows about uninteresting, superficial people with no discernible talent and are about as entertaining as watching algae form (with the IQ to match). I prefer my reality TV with, well, a point really.

So, whilst I realise that watching bossy personal trainers yell at fat people to run so hard they end up vomiting is not everyone's idea of a good night in, I really do enjoy it. There are two episodes in each series that I particularly enjoy. The first is when the doctor guy does a full health assessment on them all and then tells them just how bad shape they are actually in. I'm actually gutted because I accidentally missed that episode in this series of the US show and now cannot find any form of catch-up online for it that NBC hasn't had removed for infringement - bah humbug! In one of the previous series I remember the doctor asking one guy how healthy he thought he was and the guy said something like, "well I know I'm a big guy but I'm fairly healthy - I mean it's not like I have type 2 diabetes or anything", to which the doctor replied, "actually you do." There's a conversation-stopper!

Yes there probably is an element of schadenfreude in liking those bits, but really I just find it fascinating, both from a medical perspective (the effects that weight really does have on your body's ability to function) and also from a psychological perspective (watching years of denial that "it's not that bad" instantly drop away and a vulnerable, scared and highly motivated person emerge).

The second episode I like so much is the makeover episode, where they take people who have lost loads of weight very rapidly and whose heads probably haven't really caught up with their new and improved bodies, they give them amazing haircuts and put them in flattering clothes they would never have even considered before, and then show them the finished product in a dramatic mirror reveal. They always look completely amazing, even when they're still relatively big, and then just when they're overwhelmed by how great they look, they bring in someone really close to them who is gob-smacked by all the changes too and they inevitably cry. Even the men. In fact the men are often worse, especially the Aussies. It's so touching and it just makes you feel like you can achieve anything if you have the right attitude and resources.

I must admit that I don't like the British version of the show quite as much as the US version. The trainers aren't as personable (stereotypical English coldness I suppose) and some of the accents and things the contestants say make me facepalm in shame for our nation. That said I have a bit of a girl-crush on Davina McCall, who has taken over presenting it this series, so that's a plus point. I can still get my Bob and Jillian kick from the US version after all.

It's quite early in both series so I haven't yet developed any favourites, although I have taken agin' a few people already. In the British version I'm glad the orange team got booted out because they were just taking the piss really. "Oh I'm too sore to work out today" - boohoo, that's what you signed up for! In the US version the red team seem to be throwing the weigh-ins at the moment and I really hate cheaters; so does Bob if his rant to them during last week's weigh-in is anything to go by. The green team really annoyed me last week too. "We didn't come here for you to change who we are". Actually you kinda did. The white team are sort of bugging me too. Alright so the guy is over 500lb and yes it's hard to get around never mind work out when you weigh that much, but he needs to stop messing around and annoying the other contestants when they're trying to work hard and get his head in the game. My opinions tend to change as the series progresses though, so I look forward to seeing how everyone gets on.

So tomorrow evening my entertainment will be the British Biggest Loser (ITV at 9pm) and then Glee (E4+1 at 10pm) - it's a little sad but whatever gets you through a cold, miserable January Monday, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment