Now I'm willing to admit from the start that I have a complete bias against the very idea of a weight loss reality show. The last time you wanted to lose some weight, did you ever think the experience might be better or go a lot more smoothly if only you had a bunch of cameras broadcasting your journey to the whole country? Yes, appearing on a reality show is a personal choice, but when it comes to a weight loss competition like NBC's The Biggest Loser, you can usually find me in the corner turning up my nose until they at least change that title. However, The Biggest Loser is one of NBC's cash cow shows so it makes sense that they're now trying to capitalize on that success. The network is developing a couples' weight-loss show called Weight for Love and I have problems with it already.
According to Vulture, "the hour-long show will feature a series of overweight couples 'who commit to separate for a long period of time in order to regain their health, then reunite in an emotional reveal.'" NBC is recruiting for the show with plans to make stops across the country through September. In some ways, Weight for Love sounds a lot better than The Biggest Loser — and it's not because the title is less vaguely offensive. If you're unhappy or unhealthy in your body size, then you have the right to work on yourself physically to get to a size that makes you confident. That much, at least, has never been my problem with weight loss shows.
Even better, Weight for Love makes it easier to commit to losing the weight. After all, winning $250,000 is one thing but knowing that someone you love, who loves you no matter how much weight you do or don't lose, is doing it with you? That's priceless. Money can only motivate people for so long because love don't cost a thing. It's not so much the premise of the reality competition I'm worried about as it is the execution.
The basis of the competition is that the couples have to separate for a long period of time. That, to me, seems pretty unnecessary. Imagine, for a moment, that emotional reveal in the finale. Imagine a couple in which one partner made no progress in losing the weight and one partner won their half of the competition. That kind of thing could leave the former with even more insecurities about their body than ever before. The worst part of it is that this is such an easy fix. For example, the couples could actually get to work together to lose the weight, encouraging one another every step of the way. Or, even better, they could see each other more regularly over the course of the competition for the confidence boost of doing this together and then instead get separated in the home stretch leading up to the finale, like separating the bride and groom before a wedding.
That way, NBC could preserve the "emotion" of their final reveal without giving the contestants what might be an unpleasant dip in their body confidence. And, while we're making easy fixes to an otherwise harmless premise, the title Weight for Love makes it sounds like the contestants are losing weight for the people they love rather than because they want to be healthy. Then again, considering NBC's other weight loss show is called The Biggest Loser (and it actually makes sense in context) it could have been worse.
Image: NBC (2)