The Biggest Loser - Winning by Losing - Is anyone else bothered by final challenge? (spoilers)




MBN
05-07-2009, 05:44 AM
** warning - spoilers below **

Maybe it's just me, but I think asking the final 4 contestants to complete a full marathon distance wasn't fair to them. I'm a runner, I've done a full marathon, and I KNOW how long and hard that is. And I trained for months, and I wasn't significantly overweight!!

Sure, they had individual support teams and there was no time limit, unlike a real event. And they had been training vigorously for weeks, so their baseline fitness was certainly much higher than before. But, expecting them to ramp up training for a full marathon distance in 4 weeks, is begging for an overuse injury IMO -- and that is exactly what happened to Mike. He showed all of the signs of either hip bursitis or IT band inflammation, brought on by ramping mileage up too quickly.

I'm totally impressed that everyone did make it in the end. Especially Ron!! But, at what cost? Ron could have stroked out (systolic BP was over 200 at one point!!) and the mileage certainly didn't do his bum knee any good. Mike has an overuse injury that could take weeks to resolve. It made for good TV, but I don't think it was necessarily good for the contestants.

So ... I'm thrilled that they made it, but a little torqued at the producers for making them do it. How many people are going to look at that challenge and think that they can go out and run a marathon with 4 weeks of "training" ?? And hurt themselves in the process ....

Is it just me ??


maryshady
05-07-2009, 07:01 AM
I do agree with you. Don't most people train for about 1 year before running a marathon. I understand their motivation to give the contestants confidence in their athletic ability but at what cost!
Even on the Ranch I think they sometimes do things that put people at risk for injury. For instance, in the beginning of the season when Jillian jumped on Jerry's wife's back (can't think of her name) That woman was like 60 years old. I am only 43 but that would have put my back out for sure.

RealCdn
05-07-2009, 10:06 AM
I don't watch the show anymore as it really seems to have become more 'leering' is the best word I can think of. I'm afraid that they'll keep doing these things until they kill someone. As it doesn't look like injury is enough to make them rethink it. I stopped watching it because I don't really think that the people involved really like the obese. It's like everything is okay because they deserve the abuse. idk, maybe it's just me.


Terri in MO
05-07-2009, 10:23 AM
I have to agree. They push way too hard. One gal got a hip fracture this season and then Mike injured his hip. I was shocked to see them running Max at over 400 pounds. That is so not right for his joints. He was complaining about his feet hurting - also very susceptible to injury. I used to walk 10K's and those were very hard on my feet, knees and hip. I am skeptical that Ron was really able to do 26 miles. As far as Jillian jumping on someone's back, I don't think I could take that. I probably would have flung her off. :lol: That is just ridiculous and unnecessary.

saef
05-07-2009, 10:57 AM
I stopped watching it because I don't really think that the people involved really like the obese. It's like everything is okay because they deserve the abuse. idk, maybe it's just me.


It's not just you thinking this stuff. I will admit to being obsessed by the show because it enables me to see average people who aren't like the usual population on TV shows learning how to become athletes & to become comfortable in a gym setting which, to a lifelong obese person, was often the site of lasting childhood trauma. Also, I'll admit that Jillian just plain fascinates me as a strong female role model.

But my liking for the show is often a guilty pleasure because I think the show, for all the uplift it professes to offer, really agrees with all the moral judgments made against the obese & that it believes that obesity is grotesque & disgusting. The camera angles glory in the excess flesh (but not in a celebratory way) & invite us to agree that these people are freaks. Never more so than in a recent episode where we were invited to contemplate the contestants' bulging stomachs in profile. Or whenever they showed the contestant Ron shirtless during the weigh-ins, or showed shots of a contestant visiting her morbidly obese father during an at-home segment.

There's a strong whiff of sanctimoniousness about the whole project. It has a religious redemptive arc. It implies these people were **bad** people before they saw the error of their sinful, slothful ways & repented. And that when the show ends, they are "better" people. It not only tracks the characters' weight loss, it examines their behavior & asks us to pass judgment on whether they are too into gamesmanship or manipulation to win. Nearly all the discussions I read involve viewers saying how much they like or dislike certain contestants & these discussions are not about weight loss, they are about the contestants morals & worth as human beings. The biggest question coming up again & again: Are they selfish? Are they lazy? Are they kind to others? Are they evil?

The way to win seems not just to lose the most weight, it's to become the "nicest" & the "kindest." Viewers seem to be looking for role models who are also moral compasses as well as having smaller *sses.

I just hate the equation of fat = imperfect, sinful & damaged while thin & athletic = improved, redeemed, somehow BETTER. Not just healthier. But more deserving of our admiration for their inner beings, which have somehow also been improved. So apparently if you're fat & you haven't been on the show & gone through the process, you are a lesser being.

kaplods
05-07-2009, 11:20 AM
I'm afraid that they'll keep doing these things until they kill someone... I stopped watching it because I don't really think that the people involved really like the obese. It's like everything is okay because they deserve the abuse. idk, maybe it's just me.

Definitely, not just you. I also stopped watchng the show for the same reasons. I've been tempted, but haven't watched a single episode of this season. All of the reality shows (they don't reflect reality, so I prefer the term unscripted), have an air of the gladiators' arena. It almost seems like the producers feel that death would only add to the excitement for the audience. Every year has to "top" the previous, by getting more extreme and more dangerous. I know the contestants sign their life away in term of releases, but I still feel that watching does make me an accomplice in any injury, illness, or death that would result, so I had to finally "just say no."

Reddalice
05-07-2009, 11:30 AM
I've watched nearly the entire season and it wasn't until the marathon that I thought the show went a little too far. Yet, I really think Tara was up to it, but not all the contestants are at a point in their journey were it was safe. Ron should have never been given the option, he's gilt riddled about his kids, and didn't want to let them down. Lets not forget that the contestants knew what they are getting themselves into. I am sure they signed liability wavers up one side and down the other and many have mentioned watching other seasons.

As for leering, that's what reality TV is all about, and I am all for shameless inspiration.

kiramira
05-07-2009, 12:52 PM
I was reading an article on TBL and it was interesting about the original concept. The producers wanted to keep the competition "respectful" to the competitors, but the network wanted ratings.
I read that one of the first challenges the network wanted to do on the show was to divide the competitors into two teams, and take the largest member of each team, DUNK HIM OR HER IN CHOCOLATE, and have the team members THROW MARSHMALLOWS. Whichever team had the member to whom the MOST MARSHMALLOWS STUCK TO THEIR BODY would win the challenge! And the phonecalls home...Now THAT'S entertainment...Apparently the trainers and producers complained and refused to do it, which is why the challenges are physically based and relatively non-humiliating...

Kira

trekkiegirl
05-07-2009, 01:32 PM
Lets not forget that the contestants knew what they are getting themselves into. I am sure they signed liability wavers up one side and down the other and many have mentioned watching other seasons.
As for leering, that's what reality TV is all about, and I am all for shameless inspiration.

Jillian has given some pretty blunt interviews about how miserable this season has been for her. She has said that the contestants come in now with a sense of entitlement and they're jaded. They've seen 6 seasons ahead of them and many of them know how to play the game. That's how you get a Vicky or a Ron going so far. Jillian mentioned one contestant this season came in asking how to get an agent. And, let's face it, if you win, or even if you don't and enough people and companies like you, you can end up famous like Ali Vincent and have your picture plastered everywhere. Lots of them end up with motivational speaker gigs or brand new jobs. They become the "face" or the "voice" of something.

I do agree some of the workouts and challenges seem extreme. But then I have to wonder. They have a doctor there. They have the medics there. Jerry Hayes passed out the first day having done next to nothing and the medic was there to catch him. Dr. H approved Ron going back to the game after his surgery but he basically told Laura not to move for 3 months. Kristin and Laura both were excused from several challenges because of medical reasons. I think some last minute finagling was done last season to send Jerry Skeabach home but allow his daughter, Colleen to stay. I think to myself, stuff seems pretty extreme but the medical professionals go along with it, so what do I know? When Laura got hurt, Dr H made a remark that that is what can happen when you workout at a professional level. But these guys aren't pros. He didn't prohibit Ron from the marathon; Ron said Dr. H left it up to him. Sometimes I wonder how much Dr. H is influenced by the producers or the network.

I do think the show is scripted and edited far more than is let on...some scenes are just too "convenient" to have just spontaneously happened. Certain qualities of people are exaggerated (that whole Ron as the godfather with music spoof); certain information is omitted to create a false impression (like maybe the fact that Ed didn't gain 2 pounds at the end on purpose last season but got filled with fluids while he was hospitalized with a hernia!). One editor this season has admitted Helen's "villainy" has been played up. But Helen is also fond of saying "look at me, look at what I can do!"

I agree with Jillian that the show has been on long enough now that the contestants have a pretty good idea of what to expect and how to play. I also suspect a big part of her negotiating about whether to return next season was to make some changes with regard to how much gameplay the producers/network are interjecting (i.e., the switching of trainers earlier this season she called a disaster).

I think there is mutual and consentual (to a degree) exploitation between the show and the contestants. I say "to a degree" because I think some of the contestants may be surprised by the editing--what's exaggerated, what's left out, etc.--and how the context of things can be altered just by cutting stuff out or replaying certain things. For instance, they may fight or talk smack about each other and you see that but you don't see them being best buddies the rest of the week. Mark from Season 5 said the show wanted to create agitation among the players early on and also that he exaggerated some of his own traits.

Not to say that people can't find inspiration in it or have some positive results from it (whether as a contestant or a viewer) but, ultimately, I think it has to be taken for exactly what it is: "Reality." "Game." "Show."

MBN
05-07-2009, 02:03 PM
Not to say that people can't find inspiration in it or have some positive results from it (whether as a contestant or a viewer) but, ultimately, I think it has to be taken for exactly what it is: "Reality." "Game." "Show."

I agree with you trekkiegirl, but I worry about those that don't take it for what it is. I watch it because I do find it to be inspiring a lot of the time - I see the contestants work out SO hard, and confront some very real psychological barriers. I watch and think to myself - if they can push hard, so can I! And it helps keep me going too.

But, this last challenge is another example of how the "show" can promote entirely unrealistic expectations for the average person. Lose 10 pounds in a week! Lose 100 pounds in 4 months! Run a marathon in 30 days or less!

Well, sure, maybe you CAN with all of the support provided by the show, but certainly the rest of us can't live like that. And it certainly isn't the most healthy way OR the way proven to be most effective for long term success. And you DON'T go out and tackle a marathon with only a few weeks of training!!

I don't know. I still like the show, and I will probably still watch it. But I think the whole "go run a marathon" thing was pushing things a bit too far for me. Where in the world will they go next to "push the limits" ?? Let's go climb Mt Everest?

bindersbee
05-08-2009, 10:46 AM
I agree that the marathon was overkill.

However, they also showed this week just how much harder it is to lose weight at home. Tara worked out 6 hours per day sometimes and still only lost 10 lbs. in a month once home. That is a GREAT 1 month weight loss and all but it isn't unreplicable by the average person. I liked that they showed how much more difficult it is to lose when you have a life to live.

And while I agreed with what Jillian was telling them (Tara and Helen) about balance, it kind of doesn't work if they're competing for $250,000, you know?

Finally, I wonder what (if any) support the show provides to contestants after the season ends to help them transition into a 'normal' life and maintenance routine. The whole way the weight is lost isn't 'normal' but extreme. To go from extreme overeating to extreme exercise and nutrition doesn't really teach them anything about a sustainable lifestyle. I wonder if they do anything to help them figure out what balance actually is?

I like the show and will continue to watch. Still, I agree they are starting to push too hard for numbers which are too big and that's not good for the contestants.

Amarantha2
05-08-2009, 11:13 PM
As silly as it may seem, I am also obsessed with the show because, I guess, I'm interested in the process of weight loss and how to go from obese to a state of fitness and this show illustrates many points for me.

I feel they have medical personnel monitoring them intensely from the outset. I agree with a previous poster about how Jerry passed out at the beginning having done really nothing to warrant that (nothing against him, he WAS very unfit so next to nothing was a lot for him, plus stress, I guess). The medicoes are right there ready to move in on them at all times.

I do think Jilllian seems to go too far jumping on people and humiliating them, etc., although some of that may be editing.

Re Ron at the marathon, he WAS guilt ridden and that's why he allowed himself to almost die (I thought) to finish that, but that was a choice he made. He seems very self-aware and capable of making his own decisions (as well as having a tendency to make decisions for others, he's strong willed). He was carefully monitored during that whole incident and supported to the inth degree in either deciding to quit, in which case they'd probably have transported him to the hospital or to be supported to finish the event and maybe they should not have let him but, why not, if that was important to him?

I personally don't feel the people (other than my aforementioned statement about Jillian sometimes) are humiliated or made to feel somehow bad by the producers for profit. It IS not a good thing, IMO, to be as obese as these contestants, putting themselves at risk for extreme health problems and decreased enjoyment of life.

They seem to have reached that decision by themselves, lining up in hopes of getting on there (I have seen one of the audition events the show puts on, the line snaked through the mall and out along the sidewalk and people waited for hours to get a chance).

There is a prize of $250,000, along with other valuable prizes, plus a paid vacation of sorts in which they are allowed to focus entirely on their own health and weight loss journeys. Their relatives are paid a stipend.

And at the end of the day, if they don't like it there or don't want to do something, I don't see any way anyone could make them do it.

Btw, it is really easy to injure a hip just walking in everyday life at Mike or Laura's original weight.

It's also easy for thin runners and other exercisers to get such injuries. I've had them but sometimes I think, well, it's better than sitting in a rocking chair for the rest of my life.

Findmyself
05-10-2009, 04:05 PM
Their relatives are paid a stipend.

Is this really true? I didn't know this. I always wondered how they managed to be away from work for 4 to 6 months.

Leeesa
05-10-2009, 05:11 PM
I thought the marathon was way too over-the-top as well, people have DIED on marathon courses. I just read in a running magazine that the classic individual who dies during a marathon is a middle-aged man who, at autopsy shows coronary heart disease and hardening of the arteries. Organizers of these events also acknowledge that if you have 5,000 participants in a race, you run about a 5% chance of sudden cardiac death. I wonder how those statistics change given the condition of these contestants... I would imagine they've been medically checked up the wazoo, but still, just given where they came from mere months before, I'd be hard-pressed to force them into an event of such magnitude. "People should respect the amount of training involved and the ways in which it's going to impact their bodies." Another quote I read, and I agree, a marathon is a massive undertaking and shouldn't be taken lightly and I think the producers did take it too far.

kiramira
05-10-2009, 06:45 PM
I think that RUNNING a marathon is completely over the top. But to complete the distance on one's own two legs with no time limit and no requirement to run is, for these contestants who have been training 6-odd hours a day for months, is NOT over the top. It WOULD be unreasonable if they had to do this in week 1 or 2.

There was a full medical staff going along with them, and there was a cash award for a charity and not for the contestant. And there was no other "incentive" to continue. Also, don't forget that Ron continued but it may have been that the editing made his medical check perhaps more dramatic than it was. You can be sure that the producers err on the side of caution medically-speaking because there would be no END of trouble if something serious were to happen.

So, YES one must respect RUNNING a marathon within a timeframe. BUT the distance, at one's own pace, with a full medical team to follow you, isn't insurmountable if you have the history of training that these competitors have. And way more physically demanding things have been done by individuals with less physical training.

Kira

Amarantha2
05-10-2009, 11:07 PM
I'd have to agree with you, Kiramira.

Although, walking or running at whatever speed and whatever terms was still an accomplishment for these contestants, it was NOT insurmountable or unreasonable in my opinion.

They were totally supported and prepared to go at their own pace. In the case of Ron, he even said to the camera that he had told himself he'd do it even if he had to sit and rest an hour and then continue and that is what he did, maybe even more than one time. It took him all day and into the night to finish and following that dramatic scene with the medicoes he made his own decision to continue and was accompanied with the chief doctor they have in charge of these contestants (the Dr. H that is always seeing them at the university medical center).

Another thing that made this a little less daunting in my opinion was that there was no massive crowd as there usually is at a marathon. They didn't have the stress of getting themselves to the right starting area, standing there and waiting in a crowd, then jostling their way along the course with a huge number of runners and walkers and people with baby strollers or whatever.

I thought it looked like fun. :)

Amarantha2
05-10-2009, 11:11 PM
Sorry, me again, had one more thought. I didn't think this challenge was actually as hard as the run they did in Australia one season and another season the contestants did a run up some structure with a zillion stairs.

Running with only four people on the course, two of them walking, one of them stopping and resting along the way, along a flat well kept track in a nice locale with all the time in the world to finish didn't seem that extreme to me, although certainly challenging.

MBN
05-11-2009, 08:36 AM
I get the sense that runners are most bothered by this (based on an unofficial poll of my small running group). ;) When you've trained for months for a full marathon and completed one in a race setting, I think it gives us a different perspective.

I agree that walking 26.2 miles, fully supported and monitored, with no time limit, is challenging but not impossible for people that have been training like the contestants have. But, that's not how the TV show presented it -- "you are going to RUN a marathon in 26 days!!". I guess if they had said, you're going to take a really long walk in 26 days, it wouldn't have been nearly so dramatic. :rolleyes: And Mikie really did try to train to run it, and hurt himself in the process.

I just think it sends a terrible message to viewers. We already have lots of people who set out to train for full marathons with little or no running experience, try to increase mileage too quickly and end up hurting themselves. It just takes longer than that to adequately prepare for the stresses of the marathon distance. I wish there was some kind of disclaimer -- Results Not Typical. Do Not Try This At Home. ;)

JulieJ08
05-11-2009, 09:41 AM
Organizers of these events also acknowledge that if you have 5,000 participants in a race, you run about a 5% chance of sudden cardiac death.

You have to wonder about that statistic. That's 250 people having sudden cardiac death during that marathon. The Boston marathon has over 20,000 people, 5% would be 1000 people. Doesn't seem right.

RealCdn
05-11-2009, 10:19 AM
I don't think the statistic means that 5% of the people will have cardiac issues. What it means is that if you have races with 5000 people that there's a 5% chance that one person will have sudden cardiac death. Meaning more likely that in 20 such races, 1 person will do so.

(There's a good reason for the saying - there are lies, damn lies, and statistics)

ETA: "A study on London Marathon runners over a 20 year period, in fact, found that with a rate of death of 1 in 67,414" (although it should be noted that heat related deaths might be lower as it doesn't mention if this is only London based runs)

http://coachjoeenglish.wordpress.com/2008/03/13/running-why-do-runners-die-during-marathons/

kiramira
05-11-2009, 10:53 PM
I think the disclaimer "Results not typical, do not try this at home" SHOULD be on a ticker tape at the bottom of the screen, like Ms. MBN suggests. But they should run this ticker throughout the ENTIRE BTL program, not just the final challenge!!!
Kira

Amarantha2
05-12-2009, 10:30 AM
There is actually a sort of blanket disclaimer shown in the credits at the end of each program, although people probably don't watch those. They also generally say things during the program that indicate that the results aren't typical unless one can train six hours a day, etc., probably people don't hear that. :)

Re it bothering runners, I've been one (still am, but less so, now I'm a walk/jog kind of person), but I've never been ok to run a marathon and in the past I've allowed this attitude that it's not legit to walk one but I think soon I will.

As a sort of runner/jogger/walker/yogini person, I think that just in general runners, at least the ones I've known and run with, as well as the way I used to think also, are always bothered by the idea that walkers do marathons and they don't see that as the same level of challenge for the individual, but in my opinion, walking 26 miles in one day whatever your gait or speed is quite a physical accomplishment and the mark of a fit person, although not a runner.

But things change slowly, remembering (not in my personal time frame) when women were not thought of as real runners and they weren't allowed for the most part to participate in most organized races until one woman forced her way onto a famous race and they tried to throw her out but she prevailed.

They addressed this idea of "well, I didn't really RUN a marathon" on BL with Mike who was lamenting that he had to walk.

Re death, I feel I can wake up some morning and walk to the kitchen for a cup of coffee and drop dead.

I can lie on the sofa and do nothing at all because I might die from doing something, but eventually I would still die.

There are death statistics for anything one does, because, well, that's the way it goes. :)

Whatever, they did good and I'm happy for them and I'd bet someday soon, Mike WILL run a marathon.

Hun.e.B
05-14-2009, 08:45 AM
As silly as it may seem, I am also obsessed with the show because, I guess, I'm interested in the process of weight loss and how to go from obese to a state of fitness and this show illustrates many points for me.

I feel they have medical personnel monitoring them intensely from the outset. I agree with a previous poster about how Jerry passed out at the beginning having done really nothing to warrant that (nothing against him, he WAS very unfit so next to nothing was a lot for him, plus stress, I guess). The medicoes are right there ready to move in on them at all times.

I do think Jilllian seems to go too far jumping on people and humiliating them, etc., although some of that may be editing.

Re Ron at the marathon, he WAS guilt ridden and that's why he allowed himself to almost die (I thought) to finish that, but that was a choice he made. He seems very self-aware and capable of making his own decisions (as well as having a tendency to make decisions for others, he's strong willed). He was carefully monitored during that whole incident and supported to the inth degree in either deciding to quit, in which case they'd probably have transported him to the hospital or to be supported to finish the event and maybe they should not have let him but, why not, if that was important to him?

I personally don't feel the people (other than my aforementioned statement about Jillian sometimes) are humiliated or made to feel somehow bad by the producers for profit. It IS not a good thing, IMO, to be as obese as these contestants, putting themselves at risk for extreme health problems and decreased enjoyment of life.

They seem to have reached that decision by themselves, lining up in hopes of getting on there (I have seen one of the audition events the show puts on, the line snaked through the mall and out along the sidewalk and people waited for hours to get a chance).

There is a prize of $250,000, along with other valuable prizes, plus a paid vacation of sorts in which they are allowed to focus entirely on their own health and weight loss journeys. Their relatives are paid a stipend.

And at the end of the day, if they don't like it there or don't want to do something, I don't see any way anyone could make them do it.

Btw, it is really easy to injure a hip just walking in everyday life at Mike or Laura's original weight.

It's also easy for thin runners and other exercisers to get such injuries. I've had them but sometimes I think, well, it's better than sitting in a rocking chair for the rest of my life.

I couldnt agree with you more! And really havent these people been training for the past several months, i highly doubt they just up and said...oh lets make them run a marathon. Bob and Jillian and the other medical personnel are not stupid. Plus, we dont even know how it all went down they edit these shows so much. For all we know they took breaks and just turned the timer off.

I found the marathon to be extremely motivating and I'm going to start training for walking one myself. The program is 16 weeks.

If they were doing the dipping in chocolate and throwing marshmellows stuff I wouldnt watch, that isnt motivating and I find it highly insulting.

Amarantha2
05-14-2009, 04:55 PM
"If they were doing the dipping in chocolate and throwing marshmellows stuff I wouldnt watch, that isnt motivating and I find it highly insulting." ~ Hun.e.b

:lol: Me, too!

Melissa, best of luck in your marathon training! :wave:

Bette k
05-14-2009, 06:05 PM
Melissa,
If you want to train for a marathon then I would encourage you to contact your local chapter of Leukemia and Lymphoma society. They have Team in Training where they will help you train and walk or run a marathon and you raise money for them. They have great coaches and rally help you train. It's a great cause and helps everyone involved.
Bette K

Hun.e.B
05-14-2009, 10:40 PM
Oh great! Thanks for the tip Bette!!

Andi18
05-16-2009, 02:27 PM
I do wish the last challenge would have been something different, but they all did a great job even with the limitations that a couple of them had.

These people in a sense have been training for a marathon this whole time. A few weeks back (Original Air Date: 03/17/2009) they also did a half marathon. Which considering the editing time, the race was actually probably done some time around January. They all lost quite a bit of weight in between these races as well which should have been a benefit to their finishing the course. This weight being removed makes a huge difference... I know!! Last year I did a 5k weighing 30 pounds heavier than I do now and it took me 40 minutes to complete it (this was also with about 12 weeks of training). Last weekend I did the same 5k and finished it in 32.5 minutes with very little training but I am down that 30 pounds.

Granted a 5k is not the same as a marathon, but the fact that they had that time to train and lose the additional weight, helped them be ready for and complete the marathon! Plus, they had the medical staff right there along with them.


Is this really true? I didn't know this. I always wondered how they managed to be away from work for 4 to 6 months.

Yes, they do get a stipend when they are on the ranch that helps them pay for their bills. The stipend is a set amount so if you earn a higher salary, you may be taking a cut by going on the show, or if you are making pennies flipping burgers at your local fast food chain, this could be a pay increase while you are on the show. Some people have been able to take leaves from their jobs and some have totally had to just walk away from their job because of the uncertainty of not knowing how long they will be away.


btw - go Mel on your marathon training!!


Edited to add: They were given the option of completing the marathon. They never HAVE to complete the challenge as we saw so many times where people would sit out for medical reasons or quit shortly after starting because of fear or pain. If I remember right, there was an award where money was donated to their charity of choice if they finished the marathon. They didn't have to finish it, but their charity did not get the money if they did not finish.

kaplods
05-16-2009, 02:52 PM
I agree that Bob and Jillian and the other medical personnel are not stupid. However, there is a huge conflict of interest here, because the contestants have signed away their lives through the releases, absolving the show and it's staff and producers including Bob, Jillian, and the medical staff of all responsibility, should anything bad happen to them on the show, including death.

What incentive is there for Bob, Jillian, or the medical staff to protect the contestants, when their income is dependent upon, to a degree, putting the contestants at risk. I'm not saying that any of them are consciously trying to kill off contestants, or that any of them are intentionally trying to hurt anyone - there's just a lot of incentive to push the contestants beyond the limits they would attempt if the contestants had not signed documents preventing them from suing. Freed from legal responsibility, there's little incentive for the show or it's staff to protect the contestants. Even a death might not be bad for ratings, and ratings are the biggest motivator here.

I'm not at all impressed, or comforted by the fact that the show has medical staff on hand. Celebrity doctors and doctors for celebrities do not have an impressive track record of ethical and sound medical judgement. Celebrities seem to have little trouble finding doctors who are willing to prescribe medications that no doctor for average citizens would consider. If the financial incentives are high enough, you can find a doctor to give pretty much any opinion you want.

When we live in a culture that views overweight people as subhuman (almost worse than criminals), and being fat as a fate worse than death (so death isn't a terrible consequence) - I have no doubt that these folks all think they have the highest motives. They're "helping" people. That there may be safer and more effective weight loss strategies, or that the show might inspire some folks at home to mimic what they see without medical supervision - "oh well, not our responsibility."

I don't see these shows as much different than the ancient Roman gladitorial games, except that death, while possible, is less likely and not (I sincerely pray) an intentional outcome.

Hun.e.B
05-17-2009, 10:38 AM
I gotta stop reading this thread.

vixjean
05-17-2009, 11:47 AM
The marathon was awesome, I don't think the meant to offend any "REAL" marathon runners/trainers/wanna bees.
I taught step class for over two years, and you might not believe how incredibly challenging and dangerous it was for the overweight contestants to complete 8 hours of stepping (I don't remember how long it was), but I didn't see all the step people being offended by it - although I did cringe a little.

JulieJ08
05-17-2009, 11:54 AM
I didn't get the impression this thread was about "real" marathoners being offended, but about the danger to the contestants. If nothing was said about the stepping, it's because no one who knew better (i.e., had extensive stepping experience) said anything. Just like with the marathon - it takes someone who has done it to understand the dangers.

Hun.e.B
05-17-2009, 03:04 PM
Despite previous comments I find it incredibly hard to believe that the show would intentionally harm the contestants, those people have been training for months. Had they not been training and gearing up for this kind of challenge their bodies wouldnt have been able to do it. Again, we dont know the editing that was involved. For all we know they were told when they first signed up that they were gonna run a marathon at the end. Why must the discussion always be so negative and cynical. That show alone has inspired me to train to walk a marathon, if Ron can do it so can I!

Amarantha2
05-17-2009, 03:08 PM
:lol:

I gotta stop reading this thread.

Amarantha2
05-17-2009, 03:20 PM
Re the stepping, I can't remember how long it was but they were to reach a certain number of steps to win. I don't think it took them 8 hours. I am terrible at step class, not overweight (for years) and I experimented with doing the number of steps they had needed to win and it didn't take all that long, plus I did not fall down on the ground as though I were dying as some of the contestants did, so honestly that segment confused me. But of course, they were under stress and it was evening after they were tired and had been traveling and there were all those lights and cameras, so I think that would make a big difference in their abilities. They had all been physically training for some time and some were quite athletic even though overweight.

Re their doctor, it is my understanding that he is on staff at the medical center in LA (?) where the contestants are monitored and studied and there are frequent references in every season to a few of them being whisked away to that medical center and placed in hospital whenever there is any problem. I wish had such an attentive medical team on my side. It is one of the perks of the show, besides all the money they are making, but this is just my opinion. The contestants do not seem to be thrown to the lions or treated as ancient slaves who are unwillingly thrown to the lions. I used to worry about that also, thinking they were being humiliated and exploited but I do not feel that way now. They are there willingly and they seem to be treated (despite the histrionics) quite well and they seem respected for their achievements.

I personally do not equate the understanding that obesity is not a healthy state and is a disease that is difficult to deal with and treat as the same thing as being treated like a criminal. I was obese and I did not feel like a criminal but wanted to lose the weight to improve my life. If someone had offered me a chance to go somewhere and lose the weight free of charge on TV or on the moon and maybe win a lot of money or prizes I would have done it, but everyone has different takes on things and we should all respect the range of opinions on such a strange phenomonen (sp?) as BL.

I need to stop watching it as I post about it too much. :lol:

kiramira
05-17-2009, 03:22 PM
I haven't seen the contract that the contestants signed, so I can't state that they have signed away all responsibility for what happens to them. And even if they had, there are so many legal issues that would surround the legitimacy of such a contract that it would be challenged in court in any event (after all, I can successfully sue MacDonald's for not warning me that my coffee might be HOT). The intention of the competition and the ability for the participants to opt out at any time would major factors for consideration and it was clear during all of these competitions that anyone could cease to participate or not participate at ALL in any or all challenge. So the idea that the producers and trainers have a legal free-for-all to make unwilling contestants participate in whatever they want them to do to whatever end they choose is simply, well, not true.

If something really serious happened to a contestant on the show, the LEAST of the show's worries would be getting sued by a family! The real impact on the show would be as a result of the public outcry and negative publicity. The show/NBC has more money that God right now, and they could pay out any settlements to an affected family. They COULDN'T however withstand the public scrutiny and the loss of income from cancelled sponsorships and cancelled commercial time (which is why shows that have such a public outcry like "Who Wants to Marry a Mulit-Millionaire" were cancelled despite stellar ratings -- public opinion and the withdrawl of commercial sponsorship meant that there would be no second show). And that, above anything, is what drives the safety factors of this show. NBC and the trainers have a vested interest in protecting the participants IF they want their network to remain profitable and their show to survive. And if the trainers want to continue training clients and have any sort of public standing. It is a fine balance, but it is hardly a case of "fight or get eaten by the lions", here...

The final challenge was presented in a very dramatic way, with lots of doctors and ambulances and ominous musical orchestration for effect. I doubt anyone has ever been in serious medical danger during this show. It just comes down to how much you believe of what is presented to you on TV, and how discerning a viewer you really are...

Kira

Hun.e.B
05-17-2009, 04:22 PM
I personally do not equate the understanding that obesity is not a healthy state and is a disease that is difficult to deal with and treat as the same thing as being treated like a criminal. I was obese and I did not feel like a criminal but wanted to lose the weight to improve my life.

I've been overweight practically my entire adult life and I've never felt like or been treated like a criminal either.

Kira....every intelligent post!! thank you, I completely agree!

Amarantha2
05-17-2009, 04:42 PM
I also agree, Kira! :wave:

Leeesa
05-17-2009, 05:16 PM
Yes RealCdn, you have it right, it wasn't meant to be a 5% out of 5000 runners, but a 5% chance that at least one runner will suffer a cardiac event. The quote was taken directly from Canadian Running Magazine, Trail Special 2009, the article is called "The Myth of the Killer Marathon". They also talked about a study regarding damage done to a "typical " marathoner's heart, the study will appear in the International Journal of Sports Medicine and interestingly they've found that out of about 150 marathon runners, about 15 to 20% showed some damage to their heart. Granted, these are actual runners and not walkers, so that makes a difference for sure. Also, I think I saw Bob and Jillian's mouths drop open when they were told the contestants were "running" a marathon, they were horrified if I recall weren't they? In any case, they did have a team of experts at their beck and call the entire way, but I still think it was too extreme given some of these individuals' medical histories.

kaplods
05-17-2009, 05:21 PM
I've been overweight practically my entire adult like and I've never felt like or been treated like a criminal either.

That's great. I've been overweight since kindergarten (i'm 43, now), and I have quite a few horror stories, especially as a child and teen (not only in the treatment from other kids, but from teachers, also. I had a P.E. teacher in grade school - 6 torturous years - who thought that ridiculing me in front of the other kids, and encouraging them to do so would motivate me to lose weight. And sadly, the other teachers and even my parents were ok with his reasoning. The ends justify the means, I guess - except it didn't motivate me - it made me think I had no friends in the world, except food). I've also had some incidents in adulthood, as well. I actually had it pretty lucky, because I often fought back - so I didn't get quite as much repeat harassment that I saw more timid overweight peers receive.

Things have improved somewhat in the last 15 years. I don't see nearly the overt harassment that I did in my 20's and before - probably because it's become "more normal" to be overweight.

But "the end justifies the means," is still very prevalent when it comes to weight loss. Extreme methods that are unhealthy for most people and even dangerous for some are praised and showcased far more than more sensible attempts. Medical insurance will cover obesity surgery, but not a gym or Weight Watcher's membership.

Sadly, I don't think that a death would be a terrible blow to ratings, because there's a common belief (even without medical evidence to the contrary), that any and all fat people could drop dead from the fat, at any minute anyway. It would be seen as sad, but it would be the "fat" that killed them, not the show.

kiramira
05-17-2009, 06:12 PM
Hey, when Jerry collapsed from low blood sugar on the first episode, he was medically ordered off the show...according to your theory, they would have revived him with cold water, slammed him on a treadmill, filmed the cardiac event, and then said "well he was fat"...

And who is to say that what these participants did was unhealthy? They were medically followed, poked, prodded, tested, observed, and monitored throughout the program. The final medical report on the contestants at the final show was nothing but positive -- prescribed medications were no longer needed because of their vast improvement in overall health...so while it may not be a method all of us would follow, neither are low-carb diets nor vegan lifestyles. It all comes down to taking responsibility for one's dietary and exercise choices, and we all need to respect the different paths taken. Including the paths of the TBL participants.

Kira

JulieJ08
05-17-2009, 07:36 PM
Sadly, I don't think that a death would be a terrible blow to ratings, because there's a common belief (even without medical evidence to the contrary), that any and all fat people could drop dead from the fat, at any minute anyway. It would be seen as sad, but it would be the "fat" that killed them, not the show.

I don't think it would be a ratings blow either, but not because people just think it's a risk of obesity. I think it would improve ratings. For one thing, many people would feel, perhaps subconsciously, that the deceased *deserved* it, morally. And sadly, in this day and age, a death on the show would increase ratings, regardless of whether obesity or negligence was involved. Sure, the appropriate PC brouhaha would be raised. But vast numbers would at the same time be somehow gratified and entranced.

kaplods
05-17-2009, 08:06 PM
Hey, when Jerry collapsed from low blood sugar on the first episode, he was medically ordered off the show...according to your theory, they would have revived him with cold water, slammed him on a treadmill, filmed the cardiac event, and then said "well he was fat"...

And who is to say that what these participants did was unhealthy? They were medically followed, poked, prodded, tested, observed, and monitored throughout the program. The final medical report on the contestants at the final show was nothing but positive -- prescribed medications were no longer needed because of their vast improvement in overall health...so while it may not be a method all of us would follow, neither are low-carb diets nor vegan lifestyles. It all comes down to taking responsibility for one's dietary and exercise choices, and we all need to respect the different paths taken. Including the paths of the TBL participants.

Kira


I'm not saying that they are trying to kill contestants. I am not saying that the show is not trying to do the best for the contestants (and may or may not succeed at it). However, by absolving themselves of all responsibility should anything unfortunate happen, it creates an ethical conflict of interest - they no longer have any incentive to protect the contestants. There's no evidence that the medical team is acting irresponsibly - and no evidence that they aren't, but the pressure to "put on a good show," cannot be dismissed as a risk (of course it doesn't matter, because the contestants all signed their lives away in those releases).

I'm just saying that the releases that contestants sign, and the "any publicity is good publicity" climate of todays unscripted television, removes the incentive for the show to truly care one way or another. They get the contestants to say "we won't hold you responsible, if we are injured or drop dead." You can bet that any contestant who refused to sign the release would not be allowed on the show. By putting all the responsibility on the contestant, it absolves the show and its staff of any responsibility. Absolved of that responsibility, their actions cannot be compared to staff who provide services to "normal" people. Ultimately you are your personal trainer's and your doctor's boss. They have a vested interest (not only in keeping you from suing) but in caring for you, because you (or your insurance company) are providing their paycheck. In TBL situation, the show is their boss, and only their personal ethics are their incentive for putting the client first and the employer/job second.

Who is to say whether they (the contestants) are doing anything unhealthy? Not I, but the potential is so great, that for me it's not worth contributing to, because I don't know that they aren't. Because I am not satisfied that they are (or have sufficient incentive in) keeping the contestants safe, I don't watch. The contestants have every right to do whatever they want, but if I watch and one of them is severely injured or dies - I believe that as an audience member I contributed to that death, just as much as one of the Roman citizens in the Colliseum seats watching the gladiators and Christians die, because ultimately the audience is the reason for the show existing.

Another aspect of the this, is the affect on the audience. I am disappointed that the show doesn't do a better job of explaining why this isn't a smart thing to attempt at home (the two second flash of printed warning, doesn't cut it for me). And if any impressionable child, teen or not-so-bright-adult is injured at home mimicing stunts they have seen, then the show staff, the contestants and the audience is responsible for that, also. Ultimately, the audience may be MOST responsible, because it is the audience that the show is catering to.

These are my opinions, and I'm not saying that there's no chance that I'm incorrect. These are the reasons I choose not to watch the show, and I'm not trying to impose them on anyone. Even I am somewhat ambiguous about the worth of the show. If I were sure that it WAS extremely harmful to the contestants and some of the audience, I feel I would be ethically obligated to try to do what I could to get the show canceled (at least writing letters of complaint to the network). I haven't done that (and if there are deaths or injuries in the future, maybe I will have to consider whether that was a mistake).

Hun.e.B
05-17-2009, 08:20 PM
Guess its good that you dont watch the show then. And since you dont watch I question the validity of your comments, if you don't watch the show how can you even know what you are talking about? You are going off assumptions and we all know what they say about making assumptions.

kaplods
05-17-2009, 08:54 PM
Guess its good that you dont watch the show then. And since you dont watch I question the validity of your comments, if you don't watch the show how can you even know what you are talking about? You are going off assumptions and we all know what they say about making assumptions.

Yep, it is good, very good.

However, you're making an assumption (an incorrect one) that I never or infrequently watched the show in the past. While it's true that I don't currently watch the show, I watched the first four seasons religiously (almost never missed an episode), but as each season got more and more extreme, it made me more and more uncomfortable, and over time I watched less and less (and felt more and more uncomfortable with what I did see).

You are right in assuming that I am assuming some things. I am assuming that the last two seasons have been progressively more extreme than the five previous (because that was evident in the first five seasons, why would the trend not continue). Even that is not entirely an assumption, as I have heard and occasionally read discussions that confirm my suspicion that the show has gotten more extreme each and every year, including this one. This is the only season that I have entirely avoided. I did see a few episodes of last season, and finally couldn't stomach any more.

Hun.e.B
05-17-2009, 09:06 PM
so then why not avoid it all together, if it bothers you so badly why would you participate in a chat about it...to each her own, I'm just not one who keeps talking about things that bring my life angst that to me just invites negativity.

kaplods
05-17-2009, 09:24 PM
so then why not avoid it all together, if it bothers you so badly why would you participate in a chat about it...to each her own, I'm just not one who keeps talking about things that bring my life angst that to me just invites negativity.

For the most part, I have avoided the show, and the related threads here. I do not walk away when friends and aquaintences discuss the show, and generally do not participate beyond saying that I don't care for the show. If they ask why, I tell them.

As to why I discuss things that I do not agree with, I can only say because I find it interesting and informative to do so. As to why I came into this thread and participated in the discussion - the title of the thread piqued my curiousity. I wondered how extreme the latest season had become. The show and it's existence does not cause me "angst" anymore than other difficult subjects of theology, psychology, sociology, politics, ethics, ecology. If I only could discuss things I embraced and agreed with entirely, there's not a lot I could discuss (and even less that anyone else would be interested in).

I think that "avoiding negativity," is not always always a desireable or honorable action. I discuss difficult and "deep" topics, because they exercise both my intellect and my ethics. To only discuss "positive," topics is to pretend that negativity does not exist. If darkness is not discussed, it will prevail.

"‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing," or perhaps in this case "say nothing." I'm not saying that TBL is evil, but I don't think that the merit of something should be discussed only based on whether it is pleasant or positive, or for that matter negative or evil. The conversation and sharing of opinions has value in and of itself.

Amarantha2
05-17-2009, 10:01 PM
Actually I am of the opinion that the seasons have gotten progressively less extreme and that the attitude of really caring for and embracing as friends in some cases the contestants by the BL staff has increased, but then there it is, that's just my opinion and we all have one.

Re negativity and positivity, everyone has a right to their opinion, although it's nice to remember sometimes that BL is entertainment that appeals to many people (me, for one, though, no, I don't think it's perfect, it is what it is) and that's why sometimes on these kinds of BL forums, people get into no win discussions because, well, some of us just enjoy it.

Glad we have folks always willing and able to discuss the negative otherwise we'd just go on enjoying it and being happy about the success stories. :)

Hun.e.B
05-17-2009, 10:09 PM
I think you are right Janga, thats why people like Vicki and Ron were such villians, they really have embraced supporting each other I think anyway. It always gets the tears flowing for me when they go back and help the last person trailing along, I dunno why that gets my feelers everytime! I absolutely adore this show!

Amarantha2
05-17-2009, 10:17 PM
Lol, so do I, Melissa! :wave:

Although, I do have my less than favorite people, but I still applaud them and their efforts and their successes.

Ron was a big favorite of mine this season.

Sigh, I am having BL withdrawal at the moment, which is why I keep reading all the forums about it.

I think you are right Janga, thats why people like Vicki and Ron were such villians, they really have embraced supporting each other I think anyway. It always gets the tears flowing for me when they go back and help the last person trailing along, I dunno why that gets my feelers everytime! I absolutely adore this show!

Hun.e.B
05-17-2009, 11:52 PM
See I couldnt stand Tara all season long, but I would have been totally okay with her taking the prize, as much as i didnt like her she did kick butt and she looked great in the end! I didnt mind Ron, but he has been my biggest inspiration this season and it took the marathon to do it. I have total BL withdrawl myself!

vixjean
05-19-2009, 08:48 PM
VICKY was icky...
Vicki is good... that's me ;)~ Get it right girls.

Hun.e.B
05-20-2009, 09:59 AM
ooops sorry Vix!!!

Michelle125
05-21-2009, 03:35 PM
See, I think the show is still great, and we have to realize that it's still a 'show', so things will be extreme. As for Jillian yelling and jumping and all that, just think- she suddenly has to train people who have 20, 30, 40 YEARS of bad self-esteem, bad habits, and troubled minds. One person gets sent home each week. She must absolutely SCARE them and SHAKE them into changing those decades of self-loathing and bad habits in order to save their lives. And for the one person who will only be on the ranch for 1 week, she only has 1 week to shake them so severely that they'll change their life. That's why I am so impressed with what she does.