We laughed. We cried. We endured endless switching of teams. We watched all our favorites get voted off, week by week, but we made it through. We are at the end of Season 11, and it was a good one. I'm going to miss it. Let's look at some of the good and the bad, shall we?
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1) New trainers.
Okay, now that the season is over, I feel like I can come out and say it; I really disliked the new trainers. Bet'cha couldn't tell from all my complaining, right? I just don't think that they were good fits for the show. Brett and Cara are both pretty people, sure, but they weren't really good general, all-round trainers like Jillian and Bob. There was a lot of boxing and a lot of capoeira, but it seemed like almost everyone who started out with Cara and Brett ended up liking Jillian and Bob more towards the end.
Also, they weren't good actors. I know, I know, they're not supposed to be actors, right? But there's no way you believe that Bob and Jillian's little speeches aren't even a little bit planned, right? At least Bob and Jill can read off a teleprompter or improvise along with a script with some panache. Cara always sounded like she was struggling to remember her lines, and did you notice that Brett didn't get a ton of screen time? Maybe there's a reason for that. It was just hard to watch.
2) Team. Switching.
Oh my goodness. I lost count of how many differently colored shirts each contestant wore this season. Let's take Olivia, the winner, for example: She went from purple, to black, to blue, to green (?), and back to purple again. Exhausting. Listen, NBC, I know that after eleven seasons it's got to be difficult to keep things fresh and interesting, but shuttling the contestants around from team to team when all they really want is one consistent trainer and support system to help them out while they're laboring on the treadmill. Are you trying to make good TV, or trying to help them lose weight? Because this continual team switching contributes to neither, just so you know.
The level of self-sabotage in this season was exorbitant. Ridiculous. Never before have I seen so many thrown weigh-ins, so many people gaining weight at the Biggest Loser ranch, and people volunteering to go home. As I have previously said, I feel that a large part of this was due to the high percentage of father-son, mother-daughter and father-daughter couples this season. Parents protecting their children by volunteering to go home in their stead is much more of a no-brainer than making the same decision between spouses, siblings or friends. Look at Q and Larialmy, for example. That decision wasn't as readily made as Marci's decision to go home instead of Courtney, for example.
So, while I'm certainly not faulting Jesse, Marci, Jay, Deni, Ana or any of the others for the decisions they have made, it certainly made the show predictable. Eliminations were largely a non-issue, and I think a lot of the drama that the shows relies on to stay interesting comes from them. This could be one of the reasons why this season felt so long, especially towards the end. There were no real surprises on who was going to go home and who was going to stay.
There is no reason for any television show, let alone this television show, to last for two hours unless it is a special of a finale episode of some kind. Even that is stretching it. But let's look at The Biggest Loser, shall we? Not one but two challenges, weigh-ins that take upwards of forty minutes each time, and hours of boring footage of people running on treadmills. There is no reason why the show can't be shaved down to a neat hour. They did it several times this season to make way for the premiere of The Voice and the President's address, and it worked out fine. If anything, it was even more enjoyable than usual.
Also, 21 episodes?! You're kidding me, NBC, right? Right?
1) Increased focus on nutrition!
Okay, so admittedly the show still has a long, long way to go. Remember all those painful challenges where no one knew that a bowl of bean chili is actually less caloric than a cheeseburger platter? Ouch. But, Curtis Stone did come around, there were more nutritional challenges than usual, and at one point I heard the word "quinoa" bandied around. Baby steps, people. Baby steps. There's hope yet.
2) Increased focus on obesity awareness!
This season especially focused on passing it on, paying it forward and educating people about weight loss and personal health and fitness. Even though the Pound for Pound challenge updates played a little like commercials, it's still a great program. I also loved the focus on how people who got eliminated and sent home were helping their families and communities to get healthier.
3) Everyone lost weight. Everyone got healthier. Everyone inches closer to their goal weight.
And in the end, isn't that what matters most of all?
(Image courtesy of NBC)