The Biggest Loser Australia: Now a Loser?

I’m almost shamed to admit that I still watch The Biggest Loser Australia, but it’s more out of tradition than anything else. I first watched the show during its 2009 season, which was a tremendous series that held a great deal of personal value as it played out during my own weight loss journey. It was a six-day-a-week commitment, but I wound up feeling connected to the contestants, who were suitably endearing. And now I watch the show year after year simply hoping that it will become great again, but with each year expectations are lowered. Hell, I even gave up on the 2012 season halfway through, which went overboard with idiotic gameplay and appalling contestants.

We’re at the halfway point of this year’s Biggest Loser Australia, and I can’t say I’m too impressed. Many issues plague the show, so I’ll zero in on a few of the most irksome.

And no, this is not going to be a rant full of fat shaming and taking pot-shots at the obese contestants. It’s more of a critique about what’s gone wrong with the show.

First of all, by trimming the show back to three episodes a week, its cut down to the basics. Basically all of what we see is game play and crying, but what I find most enthralling is watching the contestants hone their nutrition and engaging in training sessions. The reason for its three-episodes-a-week slot is, supposedly, to do with ratings, as it’s no longer the massive draw that it used to be. It’s nice to see the show keep going and continue to change lives, but it needs a massive overhaul.

The most frustrating thing about the show is the contestants. Obviously, this is reality television and the producers can’t do much to change the contestants, but why would we want to spend time with some of the most irritating, idiotic people imaginable?

For crying out loud, one of the contestants this season left the house voluntarily, to go deal with her daughter. Yeah, sure, granted, it’s nice to go be with your family, but at the same time she’s carelessly throwing away the chance of a lifetime. Millions of obese people around Australia would kill to be in her situation – free training, free gym access, no work commitments, free nutritional advice, and the chance to knuckle down and focus on losing weight – but she refused it. It’s absolutely worthy of facepalms.

I know, I know, people are going to say “You don’t have a daughter, you don’t know what it’s like for her!” Sure. But she has a supportive husband to watch over her daughter, and it’s not like her presence is going to change much in the grand scheme of things – the operation will still happen, with the same doctors.

I also know that some people compare the Biggest Loser house to being in prison, which is something the producers need to tend to in order to create better-quality viewing.

To try and bump up the ratings this season, the producers brought back “Big Kev,” a contestant from last year who weighed in as the heaviest contestant in Biggest Loser history worldwide. Despite apparently continuing his weight loss on the outside, Kev is back on the show now for a “second chance.”

Look, Kev is a gimmick for ratings, and I disapprove strongly of his return. The producers portray him as this lovable fatty and everyone on the show talks about how the Australian public “fell in love” with Big Kev. I didn’t love him last season, and I still don’t love him.

The problem with Kev is that he has his fans, and he’s extremely aware of it. So he writes a weekly blog wrap-up (which amounts to just jotting down cliff-notes of what happened for the week, with no valuable insights at all), and he acts like everyone loves him. I cringed when he was first glimpsed in a “seductive” pose and said “You can touch me” to the competitors. Ergh. As I said, he’s very aware that he’s loved, which automatically makes him less endearing in my books. I was fine with Kev being eliminated in the last season, so to see him back is almost a deal-breaker for me.

It’s not that I’m jealous of his ostensible popularity – far from it – but he seems to be in the house for the ratings and for the love to be heaped on him, rather than as a serious competitor.

This is reflected in his weight loss results thus far, which are underwhelming, to say the least. Large people like Kev should be losing massive numbers on the scales, but he keeps pulling mediocre numbers, which reflects that his dedication is just not there. You can say that I don’t know what’s he’s doing and his lifestyle could be perfect, but, as the trainers keep saying, the scales don’t lie. We got the same excuses from Kev in the last season, when cameras caught him oftentimes indulging in foods that are not part of the meal plan.

There is also no compelling reason for Kev to be on the show, apart from ratings. He has a personal trainer back at home, and he’s already been through the competition once. It just irks me. I’m not questioning his worth as a human being at all – he’s probably a nice bloke – but the ego-stroking is just too much.

The Biggest Loser needs a big overhaul. It’s a ratings loser right now, so who knows how long it’ll be before it gets the axe.

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