A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
While there's an element of exploitation to this show -- putting people who struggle with their weight on display -- the core message is a healthy (and, ideally, inspiring) one: Eat right, exercise, and stick to your goals.
Positive Role Models
The contestants' struggles -- and achievements -- make them relatable and realistic. Their speedy weight loss may give some viewers the wrong impression about how "easy" it is to slim down, but they do it all under the guidance of professionals.
Violence & Scariness
No violence, but team members sometimes argue fiercely after losing a competition.
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"S--t" is bleeped a couple of times per episode, usually as the contestants exert themselves. There are occasional other tirades, including bleeped strong language (even "f--k") by contestants/trainers.
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Products & Purchases
24 Hour Fitness is a sponsor and is plugged frequently. The trainers recommend specific food products, such as Weight-Control Quaker Oatmeal.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reality competition series deals almost exclusively with weight loss and the effects of being overweight. The series emphasizes the benefits of healthy, long-term lifestyle changes related to diet and exercise, but the competitive weight-loss angle could potentially encourage impressionable viewers to slim down quickly without a doctor's supervision. The competitors also recount being made fun of for their size and are forthright about worrying that they might not live long enough to see their kids grow up. Their long separation (up to 100 days) from friends and loved ones could also be hard for sensitive viewers.
Is It Any Good?
Although Biggest Loser lacks some of the sexiness and drama of reality shows like Survivor (to which it bears the most structural resemblance) and The Bachelor, the contestants' constant togetherness (they live, eat, and work out together) means that there are still plenty of times when the going gets tough. When teams lose challenges, they'll often argue fiercely over who caused the loss or didn't work hard enough. Plus, they're constantly tempted by high-calorie foods and are often nauseated by the strenuous daily workouts.
It would be easy for the show's producers to hype the vanity angle of weight loss. But what's nice about The Biggest Loser is that the contestants -- and, therefore, the viewers -- are constantly reminded that the point of losing weight isn't to look like a supermodel, but rather to live longer, healthier lives. The coaches, while tough, are extremely encouraging and sensitive, and the host acts as both a cheerleader and a sensitive mother hen. Though The Biggest Loser is technically a dogged competition, it's also feel-good fare with a message that everyone can benefit from: Eat right and exercise to be healthy, and the weight should take care of itself.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.