Friday, February 27, 2009

The Biggest Loser: PsychoTherapy Edition

I guess it's news that the NBC reality show The Biggest Loser is having a casting call in Macomb Township tomorrow (Saturday) between 10am and 4pm. Anything that brings the prospect of potential free money to one of Michigan's downtrodden is something of minor note. I have one big problem with the show based on the few minutes I've caught of an episode here or there: the show is CLEARLY fatist. I can not think of a better example of fatism in the history of the United States, the world, or reality television. I understand that it's easier for heavy people to lose weight than not heavy people, but shouldn't everyone be allowed the chance to dream? Just look at Christian Bale in The Machinist. There is clearly nothing wrong with that guy.

Over the past few years, there have been a few different iterations of the franchise - regular fatties, fatties in relationships, and fatties in a family. At this point, it is probably appropriate to make it clear that I am not trying to make fun of fatties in any way - like most people, I have intermittently struggled with my own weight and it very hard to control what I eat. For example, for breakfast I had a can of mandarin oranges, and lunch was a huge bowl of Lucky Charms and a brownie bigger than my fist. I snacked on ice cream and M&Ms in between and I'm probably going to eat pizza for dinner. I'm not kidding when I say that some of these things are out of my control, so I understand the pain and challenges of being a fatty. Now that this disclaimer is out of the way, I would like to suggest a new entry into The Biggest Loser family - Biggest Loser: Legitimately Crazy People.

On the local news today, they were saying that at the casting call tomorrow, producers will be keying in on people in relationships or families (pairs or more of people) with interesting stories. I think that someone who is clinically diagnosed as schizophrenic meets both of these criteria: they have at least one imaginary friend, additional personality, or belief in the tangible presence of an ultimate being, and who could possibly have a more interesting story to tell? Before you get offended, bear with me for a moment.

These contestants would be awarded victory based on two key criteria. The first one, of course, is weight loss of the actual person. The second, but equally important, criterion would be the loss of "weight" of the burden of the perceived presence of some secondary but non-existent entity. The scoring of this secondary metric could be determined by a team of psychiatrists who have been working with the contestants over the many weeks of the show, and maybe also slightly influenced by viewing audience vote. The show would consist of the standard workouts and meal plans from those two overly-involved and unnecessarily intense trainers currently on the show, coupled with individual and group therapies and prescribed medication from a team of respected and proven psychiatrists. Not only are the contestants improving their physical state, but also their mental well-being.

With all of the types and groups of people currently exploited in the realm of reality TV, how long will it be before people with real problems are put in front of the rest of the world for our enjoyment? Hopefully a really, really long time.

1 comment:

Katie said...