Is "The Biggest Loser" perhaps kinda-sorta sponsored by the government? I ask because I was watching it just now while making dinner (ah, Hulu), and at one point, one of those ads came on for what might be the First Lady's attempt to end childhood obesity - or what was at any rate an ad about preventing childhood obesity - by encouraging children to play outside and risk an infinitesimal chance of abduction rather than play video games inside with a much greater chance of needing to buy an extra plane ticket as an adult. It got me thinking: is the whole show a giant public-service announcement? It's certainly got private sponsors galore, clumsily inserted into the script, with contestants saying things like, 'That's right, Bob and Jillian, by eating Name-Brand 99% fat-free turkey burgers, I'll lose those extra 400 pounds in no time!' But there's something about the show - is it the flawless racial and geographical mix? the nonsense message that weight loss comes nearly entirely from exercise, with diet almost too taboo to mention, perhaps because of corn subsidies or whatever it is Pollan's going on about when he's actually making sense? - that makes me suspect it's more official than meets the eye.