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"Below The Yellow Line": Competitor Discourse on NBC's "The Biggest Losrer"
Unformatted Document Text:  11 The discourse then underwent a second-tier coding in which statements were further separated into the following categories: (1) Fear/Doubt, (2) Success/Pride, (3) Goal Setting/Health, (4) Competition and (5) Disappointment. These five coding categories were selected as they were anticipated to be, and ultimately proved to be, the ones that most accurately reflected the emotional states and attitudes of the competitors. In examining the competitor discourse via these categories we have taken advantage of the primary strength of critical discourse analysis, its ability to give one real-time, intimate analysis of the thought processes, ideas and motivations of those generating the discourse. “Loser” talk___________________________________________________________________ Fear/Doubt Discourse that reveals fear/doubt is language that reveals insecurity or an understanding of competitive or personal failure. 50 fear/doubt statements were recorded and revealed that competitors often exhibited a tangible, often fearful, understanding of one shows primary elements: the yellow line, “I feel scared. I know what being below the yellow line means.” – Elizabeth “Am I gonna be in the top 8? am I gonna be below the line.” – Patrick “As I’m walking up. I’m nervous. I want to finish above the yellow line.” – Brendan It is here that we see a unique aspect of a competitive weight-loss show as opposed to a general health or workout show. By utilizing a visual, semiotic expression of success or failure, many competitors gauge their weight loss success not in relation to their previous weight, but against a

Authors: Dunning, Eric., Alsip, Mary Katherine. and Bissell, Kim.
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The discourse then underwent a second-tier coding in which statements were further 
separated into the following categories: (1) Fear/Doubt, (2) Success/Pride, (3) Goal 
Setting/Health, (4) Competition and (5) Disappointment. These five coding categories were 
selected as they were anticipated to be, and ultimately proved to be, the ones that most accurately 
reflected the emotional states and attitudes of the competitors. In examining the competitor 
discourse via these categories we have taken advantage of the primary strength of critical 
discourse analysis, its ability to give one real-time, intimate analysis of the thought processes, 
ideas and motivations of those generating the discourse.
“Loser” talk___________________________________________________________________
Fear/Doubt
Discourse that reveals fear/doubt is language that reveals insecurity or an understanding 
of competitive or personal failure. 50 fear/doubt statements were recorded and revealed that 
competitors often exhibited a tangible, often fearful, understanding of one shows primary 
elements: the yellow line,
“I feel scared. I know what being below the yellow line means.” – Elizabeth 
“Am I gonna be in the top 8? am I gonna be below the line.” – Patrick
“As I’m walking up. I’m nervous. I want to finish above the yellow line.” – Brendan
It is here that we see a unique aspect of a competitive weight-loss show as opposed to a general 
health or workout show. By utilizing a visual, semiotic expression of success or failure, many 
competitors gauge their weight loss success not in relation to their previous weight, but against a 


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