The Biggest Loser is one of the most formulaic reality shows on TV, and that's fine. That's why people tune in season after season. They watch morbidly obese people go to a fitness boot camp, get yelled at, puke their brains out and come out the other side in slamming good shape and super-skinny jeans to show for it. But this season, they've screwed it all up, not by adding new trainers or by insisting on keeping the two-hour episodes, but by separating everything into odd capsules, making it seem like two seasons are happening simultaneously -- all in an apparent effort to make us forget the fact that Jillian is leaving. Whether you love or hate Jillian, they've done a bad job integrating the new people, and based on this mess, her exit is going to make a huge difference in the quality, or at least watchability, of the show. I may actually need to follow I Used to Be Fat instead.
I get the concept of separating the teams in order to introduce the new trainers, but not showing us any of these people for a couple weeks (and then only in little snippets) is not doing any sort of service to the viewers. In fact, all it's done is make me hate Rulon because he seems to be angry and yelling at people for not being a family and pulling their weight for the team every time I see him. There's no "character" development happening here. Isolating them was not a wise plan.
It's Jillian Michaels' last season (at least for a while), and for part of it she has a nasty flu? I'm sorry for her and, of course, being sick is no fun and not her fault, but this season has been missing her normal spark (and by that I mean her screaming). During the moments at the ranch when she should have been yelling at the dumb twins (more on them later), she just kind of shrugged it off. I had hoped that Jillian would go out with a bang, but so far it's been more of a whimper.
I have nothing against either of the new trainers but that's mostly because what little that I know about them has been revealed in intro packages that I believe we've now seen twice. Yes, twice. This show loves padding. All I can really say is that these two trainers are into boxing. If you're trying to introduce a replacement for Jillian, this is not the way to go about it. Again, I might have been more invested in them if they hadn't spent weeks keeping them hidden at another ranch and keeping their training efforts a secret, but it's really hard to say for sure. I do know that the last time I really hated a season was when they tried to introduce a third trainer. I think they'd have been better off waiting until Jillian left and just bringing in the newbies then. This forced rivalry between the unknown trainers and Bob and Jillian is more annoying than anything.
Fitness Ridge vs. Loser Ranch
People go on this show to be trained to death, starved and forced to do infomercials, not to sit at a glorified fat camp with gross prepared meals and nothing but a boxing ring to work out in. The whole reason people clamber to be on this show is to get a chance to train at the Loser ranch, since it isn't something people can just waste money going to. Having this whole Fitness Ridge complex for the unknown team is just another month-long product placement. Besides, watching people be tortured to death and learn how to cook bland-looking meals on their own is the reason I tune into this show in the first place.
Together at Last?
I had naively hoped that when the Unknown teams had returned from exile a lot of problems would be resolved, but that wasn't the case. Instead of just putting the teams up against each other head to head, like they frequently do, the show has decided to keep them as two teams who are just co-existing in their own worlds, with separate weigh-ins and challenges. Segregation at its finest. What was the point, exactly, of letting them return from the Ridge? Why not just have a bunch of at-home players that we never saw train with the newbies and then compete at the end? Basically the whole show now is like one long weigh-in with some boxing and elliptical training thrown in. I never thought I'd miss Bob taking the teams to Subway. And by doing this on a season where there are already couples, instead of individuals, it makes matters even more complicated. Trying to figure out which pairs go together, and which pairs belong to which larger team, and which team is competing in which competition... it's just needlessly irksome for a show that is ostensibly simply about fat people getting skinny.
Dan and Don Ruin Everything
I haven't hated twins so much since The Shining. I get that The Biggest Loser is not an ideal way for everyone to lose weight, and that we've seen teams before where one person really jibes with it and the other wants to go home, but really, has there been a couple who so blatantly didn't want to be there that they threw not one, but two weigh-ins? It's a waste of my time, frankly, as it isn't even fun to watch. Particularly not when Don (the twin still standing after the previous elimination in which Dan went home) sucked poor Irene into this madness. Sure, he could have gained all the weight he wanted, but getting her to gain weight, on a show that is about losing it, was just an asshole thing to do. Yes, she did lose a bunch at her next outing, but that's besides the point. This gameplay shit is enraging, and if they didn't want to be there, they should have just up and quit instead of exhibiting such obnoxious behavior. It makes the millions of people who lined up for auditions scream at their television, and basically swallowed up two episodes... and on top of everything, we didn't really even get to see Jillian and Bob go too crazy with the yelling. Just that one little fit where Jillian made Don yell, but that was kind of a 3 on the Jillian Freakout Richter scale.
Have you been watching this season? Do you like all the changes? Or do you just want to throw something at your TV in frustration?
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