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'The Biggest Loser' is back, and for goodness' sake, why?

For the 12 years that “The Biggest Loser” aired on NBC, everyone was a loser. 

The disgusting display of hatred of fat people, their bodies and their lives helped cement the modern stigma against them, and often ruined the health of its contestants. But for some inexplicable reason, last week USA Network premiered a revival of the reality series to traumatize us all (Tuesdays, 9 EST/PST).  

There are plenty of good and bad TV shows these days, but it’s rare to find reality TV that’s actually harmful to the people involved and society as a whole. “Loser” is a frightening example of what can happen when our worst impulses are given airtime. 

PhiXavier Holms, James DiBattista, Kristi McCart, Domenico Bruggelis, Teri Aguiar, Katarina Bouton, Erica Lugo, Bob Harper, Steve Cook, Megan Hoffman, Robert Richardson II, Dolores Tomorrow, Micah Collum, Kim Emami-Davis on

If you have somehow blissfully purged this awful series from your memory, here are the finer points of the weight-loss competition: A group of overweight people competes to lose the highest percentage of their body weight. Most of the episodes are devoted to watching the contestants participate in grueling exercise challenges while the trainers berate them, or watching them stand – shirtless so as much of their bodies as possible are on display – on a prop scale (a disclaimer reminds the viewer that accurate weights are determined off camera). Each week, the person who shed the least weight on a percentage basis goes home, and the last person standing wins $100,000.

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