Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Watching Fat People Exercise: In Praise of The Biggest Loser (and Ron & Mike)

As I write this, I wonder if years from now there will be a lawsuit against me for my use of the word "fat" in the title. People have grown to be sensitive about adjectives and word choice as they describe people, and people's body weight is a sensitive subject.

In fact, when I first heard about the biggest loser on the advent of it's first season in 2004, I thought that the name of the show and the premise was just another ploy filled reality show to match ridiculous shows like Joe Millionaire and Temptation Island. Networks sure seemed like they were grasping for reality anything.

Yet, some how I've found myself watching the current season of Biggest Loser (Season 7, couples).

I started watching when I went to gym on Tuesday nights, and you can only watch the blah-blah-blah of CNN and Fox News so many minutes before you want to rip out your skull.

Plus, when I was working out if you here the trainers telling these obese contestants "Come on, let's run 3 more miles" how else can I not help but at least stay on the elliptical machine another five minutes to see what happens after the commercial break.

So, it turns out that this show is not a gimmicky reality show with no value, in fact, I'm tempted to say it's one of the best things on TV.

A show like Survivor test your ability to manipulate and mentally handle the paranoia, American Idol seeks out undiscovered talent, and Extreme Home Makeover gives an amazing gift to someone who usually deserves it.

These shows are all great psychological studies, entertainment, and heart warming (respectively), but The Biggest Loser it's something different, it's transformation of people when their CANNOTs become CANs.

(And don't get me started on the Bachelor...a reality TV show with absolutely no-value, in fact an absolute negative social value)

Anyways, I think that The Biggest Loser is more than just watching people exercise, it's watching people strive for their greatest most unimaginable dream, and finding success with a little help, a little challenge, and a few tools that radically transform their lives.

Ron & Mike
I included a picture above of Ron and Mike Morelli, because they are two of the most heartwarming Reality TV characters I have ever seen on TV.

This Father son team is incredible. Ron's long term obesity (over 200 pounds since 9, starting the show at 430 pounds), has caused him knee and shoulder damage, and yet with the most recent episode (3/17) he has lost 103 pounds in 10 weeks.

His son, 18 year old Mike has lost more than any other contestant on the show at this point going from 388 pounds to 270 pounds.

Yet what is amazing goes beyond their weight loss, it is their relationship with each other that challenges and pushes each other, and the deep love that is so clear as it is shown on television to millions of viewers.

Mike's a good kid, giving one of his prizes he won (groceries for a year) to another contestant who he thought could use it more. His Father's pride (and lack of surprise) was so evident, and touching.

Even at this point in the game, they are on different teams but the way they still show their care (beyond the game) is incredible. (I really hope they win.)


ehome said...

I agree - I have come to love Biggest Loser, Ron & Mike and Trainer Bob! I think I cry every week at some point in the show.

Moviezzz said...

This is the first season I've watched the show and also have to say it is much better than I thought it was. A rare "positive" reality show.

I do have a couple problems with it though. I wish more time were spent on diets, what the groups eat while on the ranch. Most people don't have the luxury to live for months on a ranch, with nothing to do but work out. And, we rarely see what the groups eat.

Also, some of those product placements are way too awkward.

"You look hungry, how about a stick of Extra gum?"

"Really? Extra gum? Will this make me less hungry?"

"You better believe it."

(Chewing gum) "Wow, this tastes great! I'm not hungry at all!"

Although some of these work. After they plugged that yogurt a couple months ago, I started buying it and it is quite good.

RandomK said...

I must say, That I am excited for how much Mike has lost, but I was totally stoked that Tara won immunity this last week after all that weight.

Hello Ryan, how are you?
~kirsten :)

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