Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Biggest Loser loses.

The Biggest Loser is really getting on my last nerve.  The product placement and questionable nutrition advice is getting completely out of control.

The BL has always been one giant commercial for various processed foods and 24 hour fitness but each season the segues from actual content into advertising has become increasingly ridiculous.  Last week I was horrified when trainer Bob excited his team with an advanced copy of the Marley and Me DVD.  He then used that little mention as an excuse to talk about how to not eat popcorn when you go to the movies.  It was just the most nonsensical, blatant product placement in the history of television. At least the other product placement is somewhat related to health.  It doesn't help that this season, the show has expanded to a two hour format.  When you spend 2 of your 4 precious hours between getting from from work and going to bed watching a show, it would be nice if 40% of it wasn't hidden advertisements.   

The show has always been a big fan of totally processed, chemically enhanced food but I am increasingly finding it too much to take when every episode contestants are opting to chew Extra sugar-free (and chemical-full) gum instead of having say, an apple, for a snack.  I also cringe at the point in every episode when the contestants are heading to Subway, having challenges in a Subway, or (my personal favorite from last night's episode), gathering up their Subway packaging for the trash as they head to the gym.  Hope you enjoyed that 300 calorie sandwich and its antibiotic-filled processed meat!

It's a good thing I watched last night's episode alone because there was one segment that made me want to get up and punch someone in the face.  In this particularly irritating bit, trainer Jillian extols the benefits of drinking milk to contestant Helen.  She then recommends drinking at least 3 glasses of milk a day.  I cannot imagine any educated nutritionist recommending anyone drink three glasses of milk a day--especially someone who is trying to lose wait.  Ok wait a minute, I take that back.  This is the good ole U.S. of A where we are indoctrinated with milk propaganda from birth, so there are definitely a number of health professionals who choose to ignore the massive amount of scientific evidence pointing to milk's many adverse health effects.  But it just seems like such a huge disservice, if not an injustice, to have the dairy lobby buying air time to sneak crazy unproven "factoids" about milk to The Biggest Loser's 10.2 million viewers. 

But here's the kicker.  Having started my career in reality t.v., I know a number of people that currently work on or have worked on The Biggest Loser and it just so happens that Jillian Michaels is vegan.  Now Jillian is a big animal lover so maybe she couldn't care less about the nutritional aspects of veganism and is only in it for anti-cruelty reasons, but it still sent me into a blind rage seeing her sitting there talking about milk like its the Mother Teresa of beverages when she won't go near the stuff herself.  As if her carnie based diet books weren't hypocritical enough.  

Sigh.  I am already completely immersed in the plot twists and turns of Season 7 (I know I wasn't the only one sobbing hysterically when Mikey's brother broke down after seeing his newly fit family!) so I would be lying if I said I was going to start boycotting the show.  But I might not start watching the next season.  The Biggest Loser might help inspire people to lose weight but that doesn't necessarily mean they are helping them be healthy and it's getting too damn frustrating to watch.


Kirby! said...

a) I watched this episode on my iPod at the gym while I was riding a stationary bike, and I too started crying at that part with Mike and his brother. It was the 6:00 gym rush hour, so there were people all around me watching as a I wept over fucking Biggest Loser. Very embarassing!!

b) I knew you would die at that milk part!! I agree, even if you're not anti-milk, recommending 3 glasses a day is just retarded. And did you notice how they had both Jillian and Helen holding giant full glasses of milk, but showed neither of them drinking it?? Very interesting.

c) I'm pretty sure we're both pretty huge losers ourselves for getting so into this.

Becky said...

I agree with what you are saying about mostly everything, I just wanted to point out that Jillian is not a Vegan. She talks about eating fish. So I don't know what she thinks about milk, though I know that she despise soy milk, so I don't know if this was all bs, considering the stupid product placement it seems possible that she was promoting something she doesn't eat, like cheerios.

Lex said...

way to call them out on this crap! Sooner or later some enterprising attorney will sue the crap out of all these snake oil salesmen and their toxic products! I can't wait until someone has the nerve to stand up to milk and their 800million$ ad budget

Katy said...

Omg, SO TRUE! I hate those product placements! If I didn't love the show so damn much, I would totally boycott it. But it's just too addicting!

Oh, and that milk part nearly made me gag!

Jillian of Bitchin' Vegan Kitchen said...

Ahh I was also seething with rage re: the milk propaganda. Why does an athlete NEED milk exactly? Pus, hormones, phlegm- producing milk?

I can't believe Jillian Michaels is a vegan. That adds another layer, uck. I'd love to see that bit done with soymilk actually, hah!

Charlotte (Music and Veganism) said...

whoa! That is CRAZY. I mean the thing about Jillian spouting milk-lies and being vegan herself. Huh.

Anonymous said...

Jillian is vegan!? What on earth. So I drank three glasses of milk a day growing up and developed kidney stones by age 12. Great advice, Biggest Loser! These people are nuts.