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A Reality Show That Inspires a Bigger and Better Reality

Throughout the fall, I’ve developed a steady workout routine. Every Tuesday, I rush home to watch my favorite reality show, The Biggest Loser. From my spot on the couch, I watch while quasi-attractive fat people work their way to becoming very attractive thin people. I cringe during the last chance workouts. I recoil from the trainers’ sharp tongue-lashings. I shudder at the suspense of the weigh-ins, complete with untimely cuts to commercial. The show has its soft side, with corny lines, tearjerker moments, and just the right amount of family drama. It has its hard side, with a lot of grunting, groaning, and heavy metal weights. The not-so-subtle product placement has enlightened me to the wonders of Extra gum and Jennie-O turkey. Then, of course, there is the sex appeal. (Although during this season of Biggest Loser: Families, it seems wrong to make eyes at the husbands and fathers, no matter how muscular they’ve become.)

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While watching the Biggest Loser contestants hit the treadmill, lift weights, and eat lettuce wraps, you would think that this would encourage similar behavior from the viewer. At times I am compelled to do leg lifts or crunches, but more often I find myself fighting the urge to make cookies. Or cupcakes. Or sizzling chicken fajitas. And thus I usually end up exercising my gastrointestinal muscles, going at my food with an intensity that rivals Paula Dean digging into a country-fried steak. During last night’s show, I ate two fajitas, three cookies, half a bag of grapes, and a yogurt. I was thinking about heating up some meatballs and opening up a cantaloupe, but there just wasn’t enough time in between commercials.

Some might think it’s weird that The Biggest Loser has inspired my sedentary, food-filled Tuesday nights. But American Idol often compels me to belt out a little Mariah. So You Think You Can Dance encourages me to try some Irish tap dancing. Top Chef makes me want to explore non-microwave cooking possibilities. So why wouldn’t The Biggest Loser inspire me to get really fat just so I can get skinny again?

It makes sense to me. Fingers crossed that I’ll make it for The Biggest Loser: Rabid Fans in 2025.

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