Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Biggest Loser

The show "The Biggest Loser" had its season premiere tonight. On the show, two teams of fat people compete to see who can lose the most weight. Every week, someone on whichever team didn't do as well that week gets voted off. So kind of like fat survivor.

I usually consider reality shows to be pure exploitation. And a show in which fat people are seen being fat, sweating, and arguing with each other should be the worst. But it isn't. I think that what makes this show different from a lot of shows is that the contestants are really trying to do something. They all, for whatever reasons, want to recreate their bodies. The challenges and reality show conventions become secondary.

Before reality TV, shows always had some kind of story. Unless it was "Seinfeld." In a format with a beginning, middle, and end, like a book or a play, the main character is almost always the one who changes. The rest of the story serves as a vehicle for this personal growth. That gets lost in TV, and completely eliminated in most reality TV. On "The Biggest Loser," people really are trying to change themselves. Story is reintroduced through a back door. I think that's why a show about people who I have to admit to looking past or through in real life is compelling to me.

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