“Who here has never been in love?” asks the host from under an umbrella while the contestants stand in the rain. “Come on, be honest!” she goads as a few sheepishly put their hands up.
“The Biggest Loser this year, is all about singles,” we are told and there is so much wrong with this that I’m going to have a hard time putting it all in order without punching a few walls.
We can see what the basic idea is here. The Biggest Loser has been going for a few years so it’s time to bring in a new gimmick by mashing it up with Farmer Wants a Wife or some such. That would be bad enough. Hell, the original idea of The Biggest Loser is bad enough. Making weight loss a race is unhealthy in itself and they make their participants try to lose unhealthy amounts of weight over a dangerously short time period which risks triggering the body’s starvation response. Most reality television is merely stupid but The Biggest Loser is seriously irresponsible.
Now they’re making it even worse by making the humiliation not just about body image but about their love lives as well. The message is clear: they’re too fat for love. Ha ha! Look at the fatties out in the rain! They’ve never been in love! They’re probably virgins! Haha! But, as the captions inform us, they’re “ready for love.”
“You’re all here because you want your lives to change,” lectures the presenter, who goes on to list some of the torment they are in for before stating, “At the end of it all, sixteen singles will be ready.”
Ready? Ready for what, exactly? Ready to submit themselves to the judgement of people who wouldn’t have looked at them before? Ready to present themselves with confidence? That’s got nothing to do with weight and if that is what was sapping their confidence, shows like The Biggest Loser have plenty to do with that.
That promo got me angry enough, but this next one is even worse:
The contestants are forced to explain themselves, to explain how their weight has stopped them finding love. One perfectly attractive girl says she has never kissed a boy while another poor lady is shown wondering how she can give someone a loving relationship if she doesn’t have the confidence to look at herself in the mirror. None of this is challenged as the wrong way of looking at things. It’s never pointed out that they have internalised the media’s perception of beauty or that accepting yourself doesn’t come from changing yourself.
Then there’s the soundtrack. The use of the Beatles’ final ever song to promote crap like this is vulgar enough in itself, but let’s just think about the words of the song in relation to what it’s being used for.
It’s real Love,No. It. ISN’T!
Yes it’s real.
Real love is for better or worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. If you need it spelled out for you, it also means for fat or for skinny you pricks!
We all know that ‘reality’ television is a social disease that chews people up and spits them out. Most of the time, I don’t care. If some precocious brats think that subjecting themselves to ridicule on The X Factor is going to set them on their way to becoming the next Miley Cyrus, or that their tomato-julienning skills are going to impress the pants off of Master Chef and have them rubbing shoulders with Heston Blumenthal, then more fool them. I don’t give a shit. But when television producers take a group of already vulnerable people and submit them to physical and psychological stress, and play on their insecurities, in public for fun and profit, under the guise of self-improvement – that’s when a civilised society should say Enough is enough!
I don’t blame the contestants. I know what it’s like to be desperate for love and to be willing to try anything to find it. To them I would say: you are all beautiful and deserving of love just as you are. If you want to try to lose weight for yourself, that’s fine. But if you’re doing this because you think it’s the only way you can love or be loved, then I have to tell you that’s not how it works. I never had a weight problem, but I never had a girlfriend until I was a couple of weeks off thirty. I don’t know why, but I know it wasn’t weight. Just because you’re single or lacking confidence doesn’t mean you have to put yourself through this. And just look around at people who have partners. Are they all TV beautiful? Do they all have model figures? Of course not! If someone won’t accept you as you are now, then they don’t deserve you afterwards. If there are people who would only love you if you lost weight, then fuck them and fuck anyone who tells you to.
There are many reasons why people watch reality television. Some watch it because they’re silly enough to believe the premise of the show. Some watch it to be catty about the contestants in their choice of song or frock or dish or whatever. Some people watch it to hear what bitches the judges are. As usual, the network and producers don’t care WHY you watch, so long as you watch. That’s where you can make a difference.
Do NOT watch The Biggest Loser. Don’t watch it, “just to see how bad it is,” or “just because it was on after ____,” or because they have a guest star you like. Just do NOT watch it for any reason. I want to be perfectly clear about this: if ANYONE watches The Biggest Loser for ANY reason, then YOU are the problem and I will blame you for it.