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Weight and See: Twist and shout

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‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 11

biggestloser.wadeonbirmingham.com
By Ginny

Check out the new “Biggest Loser” workout: You sit and throw things at the TV set for two hours and then call 10 friends to ask them why a once-great network can’t put together a compelling reality show.

(We still hug the set when our local boy made skinnier Roger Shultz appears.)

And 1 and 2 and 3 and breathe, after the jump …

[To be updated with screencaps.]

A twist too far: Believe it or not, it’s been nearly 10 years since CBS put its first blockbuster season of “Survivor” on the air. That set off a cavalcade of reality programming which would prove successful not only for the Eye network, but also ABC, Fox and even the lowly CW. Invigorated and with a new audience, reality would also head back to the cable nets from whence it came, spawning even more new hits.

Following a simple structure (gather x boneheads, set up cameras, rinse, repeat), smart shows stick with a formula and let the boneheads create the drama.

The Formula for Reality

“The Bachelor” “America’s Next Top Model” “The Amazing Race” “American Idol” “The Biggest Loser”
Network
ABC The CW CBS Fox NBC
Host
That guy Tyra Banks Phil Keoghan Ryan Seacrest Alison Sweeney (previously, Caroline Rhea)
Players
Individuals Individuals Pairs Individuals Pairs, or teams, or new teams, or one team vs. all other teams, or individuals
Catchphrase
“Will you accept this rose?”
“Most ___ rose ceremony ever”
“You’re still in the running to becoming America’s next top model”
“Love, Tyra”
“TyraMail!”
“A roadblock is …”
“A detour is …”
“You are the last team to arrive. I’m sorry to tell you, but you have been eliminated from the race.”
“After the break”
“Dog, horrendous, pitchy, etc., ad infinitum”
“You are not the biggest loser” (even when said to a couple)
Twist
He’s British! The models go to another country! U-Turn! Intersection! Non-elimination round! The singers can play instruments! Couples, extra votes, immunity, 1-pound passes, team swaps, change of campus, change of trainers, etc.
Challenge prize
Date Clothes Trip or vehicles n/a (sometimes they get new cars) Random
Goodbye
Rose ceremony Panel Philimination Elimination episode Elimination ceremony
Who goes home
Bachelor chooses Panel chooses Last-place finishers (time) Last-place finisher (votes) One of two last-place finishers (weight) receiving most votes, or one of two last-place teams, or member of losing team receiving most votes (except anyone with immunity), etc.

And despite these producers’ adherence to mind-numbing formulas, the winners have been incredibly varied (even on “The Amazing Race,” which heavily favors male teams). Compare that to the “Biggest Loser” winners, a rainbow coalition of buff white dudes.

They all look and act exactly the same (as shown below): really heavy guys with average frames and abrasive, OCDish personalities. This year, that contestant was Mark, who was sent home in a surprisingly deft move by our homeboy Roger.

The Biggest Loser
The Biggest Loser
The Biggest Loser
The Biggest Loser

I was thrilled, not just because I’m pulling for the Alabama guy, but also because we were going to have something different happen this season.

But then, NBC pulled twist No. bajillion out of its peacock ass and brought back every eliminated player for a second chance. The man and woman with the highest percentage of weight loss would stay.

Mark of the beast: Obviously, on the guys’ side, Mark reigned; the returning woman was Ali from the mother/daughter team. Not only does he narrowly beat out my beloved Bernie, he’s back on the juggernaut jock team to continue crushing the girls’ spirits.

All of these unnecessary twists are just absolutely killing my interest in the show. As noted above, most of the other shows carry a big twist or two per season. “Loser” has at least one per episode.

In addition, the challenges often have no bearing on the weigh-in or with weight loss at all (fighter plane duels, anyone?). And don’t even get me started on the two-hour episodes …

NBC ain’t a fledgling network, nor is it making an early attempt to break into reality programming. In the name of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, how can its sister network Bravo have the best reality shows (“Project Runway” and “Top Chef”) while this fifth season just limps along?

All right, rant over.

The Biggest Loser

The weigh-in: This week’s episode contained 90 minutes(!) of weigh-in and a cliffhanger non-elimination between Brittany and Maggie. Roger is not up for elimination, having lost 8 pounds. Oh, and the guys won a bike-riding challenge with their hands tied behind their backs.

Is this season as frustrating for you? Or do you like the twists? Tell us below.

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: The da vending code … so dork the con of man.
Next: Speaking of “Project Runway,” NBC makes it work (ugh) with a Tim Gunn cameo.

Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at blog.myspace.com/whiskeytangofoxtrotblog.

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Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at biggestloser.wadeonbirmingham.com.

4 Yips for “Weight and See: Twist and shout”

  1. Wade on Birmingham » Blog Archive » Weight and See: Gift of the Bernie
    Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 11:49 pm
    1

    [...] Related Content Also see:The Biggest Loser: Couplesshopping conundrumWeight and See: Pride goethWeight and See: Twist and shoutthe cold [...]

  2. Ginny
    Sunday, March 23, 2008, 1:55 am
    2

    Of course Jillian and I agree: http://www.buddytv.com/articles/the-biggest-loser/the-biggest-loser-jillian-mich-17813.aspx

  3. Wade on Birmingham » Blog Archive » Weight and See: That not-so-fresh feeling
    Monday, March 24, 2008, 12:02 pm
    3

    [...] Weight and See: Twist and shout Ginny | Of course Jillian and I agree:… [...]

  4. Wade on Birmingham
    Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 11:07 pm
    4

    Weight and See: Hybrid Test Drive…

    “The Biggest Loser: Couples” recap for 4/1/08
    ……

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