'The Biggest Loser': Top dogs and underdogs
The Biggest Loser is many things, but subtle ain’t one of them. Tonight’s episode drew a too-sharp division between the team being coached by Loser veterans Bob and Jillian and the team being coached by the mystery trainers, whose identities have yet to be revealed. (Though the lady trainer’s Noo Yawk accent and special affinity for boxing must narrow the field a little for people who know a lot about prominent fitness gurus, right?)
From the beginning, it was clear who we were supposed to sympathize with: Team JillBob, the underdogs who, as Alison reminded us, were “crushed” last week despite having “every advantage.” A darkly-tinted montage of Team Unknown training like beasts made that group seem like an unstoppable weight-losing tornado; they were obviously being set up as the Goliath to JillBob’s David. The point was driven home even further when
the show’s producers Team Unknown cruelly sent two dozen doughnuts to their rivals, saying that they were meant to “comfort [the other team] in this hard time” — and “help [them] through even next week’s loss.” Ice cold, guys. Ice cold.
Maybe it shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the teams got extremely disproportionate amounts of screen time. We watched fledgling Team JillBob attempt to complete an excruciating raft-based challenge for nearly 20 minutes, but Team Unknown’s winning performance was quickly dispensed in another dark-toned flashback. The same was true of the weigh-in: Team Unknown’s results were swiftly summarized, while Team JillBob’s were drawn out. The point of all that crafty editing and spotlighting became clear when Alison revealed that the underdogs had miraculously beaten the Unknowns — and by 11 whole pounds, the same amount by which the Unknowns beat them last week. That outcome might have seemed more like poetic justice if the rest of the episode hadn’t worked so hard to manipulate us into rooting for the ultimate victors.
What do you think, PopWatchers — am I being too hard on this episode? Would you be cheering for Team Biggest Loser Campus even if they hadn’t gotten the lion’s share of sympathetic attention this week? And are you as fed up as I am about the show not just freakin’ telling us who the Unknown trainers are already?