OxStu TV: The Biggest Loser

Art & Lit

It’s my own personal tradition that in 5th Week I do my best to eat my own body weight in carbohydrates to distract from the inevitable blues, so in a desperate attempt to put some distance in between me and the Domino’s Pizza menu I turned to ITV’s ‘The Biggest Loser’.

‘The Biggest Loser’ is pretty standard weight loss TV- there’s man boobs galore, and every workout is set against dramatic music while contestants deliver variations on how life changing the experience is. Imagine my happiness when I realised that I’d inadvertently tuned into makeover week- it’s ‘America’s Next Top Model’ meets fat camp at its very best. They’ve even got a style guru in, so you know this is serious.

Reality TV wouldn’t be reality TV without a healthy dose of personal drama, and it turns out that Sarah eliminated best bud Tara and, as a result, thinks that everyone hates her. Ooh, and Kevin and Amy aren’t talking. OH EM GEE. And Amy doesn’t see Sarah as competition in terms of weight loss. Bitchy.

My only prior experience of watching weight loss programmes was from briefly watching ‘Australia’s Biggest Loser’ over Christmas, and the British version seems a bit more glamourized- maybe it’s just the episode, but whereas the Australian version had the contestants carrying 1000 tyres up a hill (or something similarly Herculean), the UK series has footage of the contestants complaining about each other, followed by a quick work-out montage (interspersed with contestants complaining about each other), and then they go and get their haircut by a celebrity hairstylist. The bit when they all look in the mirror and cry at how pretty they actually are- “and then I fell in love with my hair” was okay, but if I’d wanted to watch a makeover show I’d watch Gok Wan hugging naked people, or whatever it is that he does nowadays.

Thankfully, the programme does move on to the gritty weight loss staple of the gruelling assault course, although I became distinctly alarmed as one of the girls started to sound like she was about to give birth- “argh. ARGH. ARGHHHHHH”. And I still have no idea what Davina McCall was doing standing on the side lines cheering. In fact, I’m not quite sure what Davina McCall is doing on the show at all.

‘The Biggest Loser’ was just a bit too insipid to hold my attention- presenting all the drama going on between the contestants meant that it was difficult to sympathise, while it just seemed to be lacking the emotional connection that makes good weight loss shows successful. Watching the episode passed the time- it didn’t inspire me into going jogging, and it didn’t shock me into never eating cake again in the way that an effective programme should. My view? Switch over and watch reruns of ‘The Great British Bake-Off’, or discover the website that makes the internet worthwhile- foodporndaily. Life’s too short.