Tim Gunn shows up as The Biggest Loser shamelessly pimps itself out to even more advertisers

There’s no reality show, as far as I’m concerned, that’s more shameless about its product-whoring than The Biggest Loser. Hell, even the new host, Alison Sweeney, is product placement for her NBC soap opera; she certainly can’t be there for her hosting abilities.

The product placement would be laughable if it wasn’t so disgusting, like when one of the trainers and contestants pretend to organically mention whatever the producers are forcing them to shill, like Zip-Lock baggies or Extra gum, products that immediately spring to mind when one thinks about weight loss. Those segments come off as parodies of The Truman Show’s parody of that kind of nonsense, but it’s all too real.

Last night’s episode featured even more product placement. In the first hour, it was for Macy’s, where the contestants went to get makeovers, and Prevention Magazine, which sponsored their photo shoot, and we knew that because their names were said constantly and their logos were everywhere. One contestant cried, emotional about the small size of her new outfit, and the camera operator made sure to include Prevention’s logo in the background. Here’s a fun drinking game: Every time a logo appears on the show, take a sip. You’ll be blind drunk in three minutes and barfing by the time the fake scale shows up.

Thankfully, while last night’s show brought us all of that attention to corporate America, it also brought Tim Gunn. He, of course, is product placement for NBC’s sibling network Bravo’s signature show, Project Runway. (There was also incidental Bravo product placement from the stylist, Brandon Martinez, who used to be on Bravo’s Blow Out but left and got his own Bravo special, Salon Diaries; now, he’s pimping his hair product, B. The Product.)

Oddly, the show didn’t mention Tim’s day job at Liz Claiborne, for which Tim is now on a cross-country tour, perhaps because they didn’t pay. Every logo or image that’s not an ad gets blurred out by the editors, who have to work harder than the those responsible for blurring out butt cracks and pubic hair on Survivor.

Anyway, Tim helped the contestants shop and selected a new outfit for them, and all of it was much more entertaining than his other Bravo show, which also wasn’t mentioned, perhaps because it sucks. The cast all looked great on the runway, although neither Tim nor Brandon got Dan to shave off that scary neck-beard thing he has going. Tim even broke down and cried during the runway show, which included surprise reunions with family members, and his genuine concern and emotion reminded us why we love him. And why we sometimes need Kleenex brand tissues.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.