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The Walls Are Coming Down December 9, 2009

Posted by monty in TV.
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It’s always sort of funny to watch this blog capture – or reflect, I guess – the zeitgeist.  I can tell what’s happening in pop culture by which of my posts are currently getting the most hits.  So far today, roughly 500 people have stumbled across my comparison of The Biggest Loser (honorable and empowering) with More to Love (whiny and gluttonous), which means people are burning up the Internet trying to read about last night’s Biggest Loser finale. While I’ve written posts that are certainly more deserving of attention, I’m at least happy that the focus is on this one and no longer on the stupid one-sentence joke I posted about Levi Johnston several weeks ago.  Following Sarah Palin’s appearance on Oprah, hundreds of people were reading this blog, mainly because they were hoping to find a photo of Levi Johnston in the altogether.  Sorry to disappoint you, pervs.

Anyway, since I’ve written about Biggest Loser before, it seems appropriate to briefly discuss this season’s final episode.

• I love Bob the trainer.  I really do.  Jillian’s my favorite because … well, duh.  But Bob has that zen calm that I wish I had instead of the ball of anxiety that’s permanently lodged in my gut.  As much as I love Bob, though, I sort of resent the clips of him telling the contestants that they’re “heroes.”  I get that we live in a hyperbolic society where words are continuously dulled and diminished, but it seems especially cheap to refer to someone’s weight loss as a heroic act.  I don’t even care if, in winner Danny’s case, he’s doing it to be a better father.  Losing weight to be good to your family doesn’t make you a hero.  It means you’re finally not being a selfish bastard.

• On that same point, I grew tired of how 49-year-old Liz was continually portrayed as a victim, as though gangs of rogue Hostess executives held her down and force-fed her Twinkies.  Numerous times throughout the season, Jillian or Bob or Liz herself would say something like this: “You gave everything you had to take care of your family, and you didn’t have any time to take care of yourself.”  I’m sure she was busy.  No doubt.  I’m not diminishing the difficulty of raising a family.  But when the show started, Liz weighed 270 pounds.  That doesn’t happen by accident.  She might not have had time to take care of herself, but she sure as hell had time to stuff her face.  I think this bothers me precisely because The Biggest Loser so often avoids treating the contestants like powerless victims.  The show is usually about owning up to your demons and taking control of your life.  Laying the blame for Liz’ obesity at her family’s feet seems like a cop-out.

• Rebecca, the eliminated contestant who won the runner-up prize, looked pretty good, I have to say.  But I admit to being a little weirded out by her 180-degree change.  Tara, last season’s winner, clearly had a major-league epiphany, becoming more active as a result of her time on the show.  Even so, she still seemed like Tara – just a healthier version of herself.  Rebecca, on the other hand, almost didn’t look like the same person.  In her appearance last night, and on Jay Leno’s show a few weeks ago, she seems to have adopted a disconcerting gymrat/sexpot persona that has sent her careening completely to the opposite end of the personality spectrum.  And any extreme, lest we forget, is never good.  I always worry a little about people on the show becoming so transfixed with their weight loss that they lose sight of who they are – as though “fit” is a personality type.  I realize this is all just conjecture on my part.  I don’t know Rebecca, and I’m basing this only on a couple of 30-second television appearances.  But man.  There was something about her appearance – wiry, effusive, blond – that just seemed a little off, slightly manic and frenzied, like a person teetering on the brink of disaster.

• I could’ve done without the marriage proposal.  Just watching this show nearly sends me into a diabetic coma.  The last thing I needed to see was a guy blubbering on one knee while his wife-to-be impatiently held out her hand for the ring.

• Danny, this season’s winner, cut an impressive figure.  As much as I don’t buy into the notion of heroism through weight loss, there’s something undeniably exciting and motivating about seeing how much he accomplished.  It’s not just him, either.  The success stories are certainly inspiring, and if you’re obese and ready for a change, I’m sure it helps to see people overcome their condition.  And if the Dannys and Rebeccas and Shays and Rudys of the world can convince other people to get off their couches and get exercising, well … maybe there’s something heroic to it, after all.

*****

Current listening:

Rhett Miller – The Instigator (2002)

Current reading:

Chuck Palahniuk – Snuff (2008)

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Comments»

1. Fred Mowery - December 9, 2009

Did you see where “Subway” Jared fell off the wagon?

2. thoreauly77 - December 10, 2009

this is absolutely not fair. you should be writing about how d-volt should not have won top chef, and how it should have been the gastrognome.

is it too soon? does your heart hurt as much as mine?


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