Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Biggest Loser Phenomenon

This is the first season I have seen the very first episode of the Biggest Loser...I've decided to watch an entire season...(thank goodness for Tivo!)...so I can see if there are nuggets that I can use...what works for me and what doesn't.

My first reaction was that it certainly is "good television" in that they edit it and score it to amp the viewer up and keep you watching.

I still have trouble with the whole competitive nature of the show. Is voting someone off every week necessary? I think it is more for the angst that the contestants go through and the fact that you get to like them and don't want to see them voted off (or you don't like them and DO want to see them voted off)...that is all part of the television drama off it. Especially last week when not only was their a traditional vote, but 2 other teams were "eliminated" before they even got to unpack their bags.

I used to be a competitive swimmer...I know I have a competitive streak in me. But, as much as I like to believe that I really was only competing against myself, I remember how demoralizing it could be to lose when you worked hard. It lead to my beating myself up a lot...about not being fast enough, talented enough, good enough.

I wonder if the Biggest Loser was more like swim meets if it would be as successful. After all, we ended up having rivalries like other sports...and you got to face off against your rivals time after time.

Quite a different situation with Biggest Loser where if you don't win you are sent home.

What do you think? Does the threat of being sent home inspire the participant to work harder? Isn't the prize of health (and potentially a lot of money, prestige, improved appearance, a wardrobe etc) enough to get them to work hard?

I believe the threat of being sent home is strictly for the television factor and has little to do with motivating the participants...and can potentially be detrimental to them. If the goal is truly to inspire us, the audience, to be healthier wouldn't it be better for us to see as many examples of success as possible?

What do you think? What do you like about The Biggest Loser? What don't you like? Would you want to be on the show? Why or why not? Are you inspired into action by it? Or are you sitting there on the couch watching it while eating ice cream (or your snack of choice) thinking you can only get healthy if you are ON the show?

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