This week Clare and Jessie Stephens take you into a place no reviewer has dared to tread before: the minds of The Biggest Loser’s producers.
We are now in week one million of The Biggest Loser Australia, with only 10 contestants left. Seriously? How are there still 10 people left on this show? We are in November, is this going to be wrapped up by Christmas? Surely these people have families to go home to and mortgages to pay.
Well, this week they don’t seem to be in any rush. We open with a challenge which is literally to stand on a block for the longest amount of time. Just stand on it. That is neither fitness nor diet related. They just ran out of ideas. The meeting with the producers went as follows:
Prod. 1: So, ah. What should we do this week in order to humiliate fat people on national television?
Prod. 2: Uhmm. We could make them roll around in a mud pit like pigs?
Prod. 1: No, no we did that already.
Prod. 2: Oh yeah that’s right. Er, we could play on their (culturally induced) addiction to ‘bad’ foods, and tease them with it right in front of their face? Oh oh and just to really mess with them, REWARD them if they eat it hehe.
Prod. 1: Have you not been watching at all? We’ve done that at least three times.
Prod 2: Pfft no I’d never watch this crap. Maybe we get them to do a near impossible obstacle course, and make sure they get stuck in small crevasses. Then we can zoom in as they try and wriggle out, people love seeing fat people stuck in things.
Prod 1: Did that two weeks ago. Eh I give up. Let’s just make them stand on blocks in the middle of the ocean until one falls off. It will adequately torture the contestants and makes for compelling television.
So that, my dear friends, is what they did. To complicate what was already an unbelievably exciting game, the contestants had to gradually move onto smaller blocks. Jodie’s classic ‘can’t do’ attitude, which has made her possibly the greatest reality TV star of the last decade, meant that she gave up when it came time to take the step up.
What ensued was easily the highlight of the season.
For anyone who has somehow missed any of this series two distinct camps have emerged. We don’t have time to go into the complex politics, but essentially there are cool kids, and not so cool kids. The cool kids have an alliance, manage to keep winning (as cool kids inevitably do), and week after week boot out the uncool kids.
Since the beginning of time, the human race has waited for the cool kids to get their comeuppance. The uncool kids work hard, plan and strategise, but inevitably end up being sent home in tears. But on this day, the equilibrium of the universe was restored.
SO. Jodie shrugged her shoulders, said “can’t do it” and belly flopped gloriously into the water. But that wasn’t it. As she jumped, seemingly in slow motion (it had been edited into slow motion, they replayed it like four times), she accidentally bumped the pontoon.
As she innocently swam back to shore, Jodie realises her own genius. Having been picked on since the beginning, Cliff was unaffected by Jodie’s shrewd (albeit entirely unintentional) move and emerged victorious in the most absurd challenge of the series. Despite the replay, we rewound it over and over again, basking in the unparalleled greatness that is Jodie Pestell.
In all the fun we almost forgot for a moment how deeply problematic and offensive this show is.
But do not fear – we are soon reminded. Firstly, Cliff works out in the gym where instead of wallpaper they just decorate the walls with pictures of the contestants at their fattest.
Somehow, it gets worse. Johnee, who started the competition at 215kgs, severely injured his left Achilles a few weeks ago. You see, the not-so-funny thing about forcing a previously sedentary 215kg man to exercise for several hours a day, is that they will inevitably, and we mean inevitably, get injured.
Given that there is $250,000 at stake for the winner of TBL, and $20,000 up for grabs for this week’s biggest loser, Johnee continued to exercise. His personal trainer, who is literally the face of a SAGE fitness degree, encouraged it. We repeat: Commando encouraged Johnee to sustain a training regime that included at least four hours of intensive exercise a day, while suffering a severe Achilles injury, and boasting a pretty serious looking knee brace.
We knew Commando was no Einstein, but surely he could have predicted what was going to happen.
Johnee injured his other Achilles. And now, not only is he unable to exercise, he can’t walk. We’re going to suggest something fairly provocative and controversial here: exercising so much that you seriously injure yourself, and consequently cannot exercise for months to come, might not be the key to an active and healthy life.
Furthermore, four plus hours of physical exercise everyday is not only unsustainable, it’s dangerous. It might make for a good five minutes of TV every week, when we see that Johnee lost SEVENTEEN GODDAM KILOS in seven days, but it is not a recipe for long term health and fitness.
Just as we were suspecting that the exercise regimen might be slightly over the top (some contestants wake up at 4am to get an edge on their competitors), Moses collapses and is rushed to hospital.
So, we have one brother barely able to move, and the other in hospital. Commando enters with his characteristic compassion, telling Johnee; “Life throws us curve balls it’s always going to do that”. We are trying to imagine something worse to say to someone whose only sibling has just been rushed to hospital with no explanation, and we are unable to – congrats Commando.
Despite the circumstances, Johnee is still forced to participate in last chance training, and attend the weigh-in. When Moses returns, it turns out that it was nothing serious, just an inflamed heart.
Please. Abort mission. Cancel season before someone has a heart attack on the rower.
Just when we thought that things couldn’t get any worse, the star of the show, Jodie, is eliminated. She is planning her wedding even though her boyfriend hasn’t proposed yet – confirming her status as an absolute legend.
Join us next week, where the producers have to somehow top the ‘who can stand on the spot for the longest’ challenge. HA. Good luck!
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