I don’t know the full story. You can watch the first fifteen minutes of the episode above to see what I’m commenting on. I think anyone who saw last night’s episode does not know the actual story. Here are some of my thoughts …
There are two sides two every conflict. In this particular case, one side (Biggest Loser) got to control the portrayal of the story. Coincidentally, it came across making them look right. I would weigh that in any opinions formed. Had the contestants controlled the editing, the portrayals, and how it played out, I wonder how it would have appeared. I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that the show picked up when it was basically over; there is not a moment that contestants are not on camera. Hidden cameras, camera men … why didn’t we get to see the initial conflict, how it began, their conversations with each other and the directors? We only get to see the aftermath, when they’re all sitting there silently? Every moment of their conversations with each other and the production staff was caught on film and on audio, guaranteed.
Seasons 1-12 were produced by 3Ball studios. For season 13, NBC switched control to a different production company. It is a new staff of producers, camera people, staff, etc. About the only thing held over were the celebrity host and trainers. Something in the back of my mind was wondering how the contestants have been handled to build to that kind of explosion; I don’t know their stories. I do know that of the several hundred former contestants, over the last half year I don’t think one has said anything positive about the new production company’s handling of contestants or former contestants (we communicate regularly). I think they very much contributed to the conflict, and it’s no coincidence that this kind of explosion did not happen under 3Ball’s watch.
I don’t for one moment believe the timeline in the episode. The clock telling the time, the idea that it started one morning and was over the next, the trainers being surprised, a lawyer prepped and ready for the camera within an hour, etc. For example; in my season’s opening episode, what was portrayed as the first the 30 minutes on the ranch actually took two FULL days to film. We were told to dress the same, do our hair the same, use the same clothes (right down to the same pair of socks), etc., so that it could be edited together to represent a much shorter period of time. When the story hit the news it was well known that production shut down for several days. Several days worth of negotiating, debating, and struggling through all of it was reduced to fifteen minutes. What we saw was a highly edited, reduced and sanitized version of 60-100 hours worth of drama.
The ‘contract’ read to Jeremy was a prop. Three or four pieces of paper? That’s a joke. It was used to communicate the idea that he should have easily remembered what he signed, to make the contestants look ridiculous. In reality, the contracts are over 40 pages long. At the beginning of the episode Ali mentioned in the voice over that they had started over four months before (but it’s week 16? Shouldn’t that be just under four months … Biggest Loser weeks film for more than 7 days sometimes … more on that later). Is it any wonder that he didn’t remember something in a 40+ page legal document signed five to six months before (you sign the contract before you ever fly out; they don’t want to waste time and money on you if you’re not going to sign it).
Most reality shows film in 30-40 days; Biggest Loser films for 4-6 months. On top of that, everything is controlled. The contestants are bossed around, shuttled and handled by production assistants half their age. The schedule for the day is found out in the morning. Communication with the outside world is cut off. All of this is done to heighten the emotional tension and drama with the purpose of creating and manipulating ‘great’ reality TV. Even other reality show contestants can’t understand the state of mind it puts a person in to have lived under that for the length of time the final five had.
People have criticized Mark and Buddy for leaving because they were quitters, whiners about the game, etc. If it was really so simple, I don’t think for a moment the two pastors would have walked away. We have mutual friends in the ministry world that have nothing but good things to say about them and their integrity. I trust their assessment of them. Buddy was a very real contender for the prize. That money represents many years of a pastor’s salary – I remember when it was potentially in my reach, I was almost hospitalized as a result of my efforts to win the runner up prize! It is very, very appealing. If it was as black and white as NBC portrayed it, they wouldn’t have walked away from it so close to the end. A lot more went on during those days when production was shut down than we saw.
Anyway, just some of my jumbled thoughts to say … don’t form an opinion based one what you saw. It was a very small, very controlled peek of something that was a lot bigger.