I think the product placement is the same as in year's past. I think we are more tired of it because the set-ups are the same--Bob comes into the kitchen and says "hey, eat this". Jillian hold up a package of gum or talks about water. Bob takes the crew to a Subway or whatever. We're bored because we've seen it before. The good stuff, like the chef showing how to make healthy meals segment spends too much time on other stuff and not enough on the actual meal. And we only get one meal.
I agree with those who complain about the show's pacing and edit. There is certainly lots they could show instead of the repititive "here's what just happened" filler. Like more meal suggestions from the chef! And trying to show that Joelle had a real chance against Helen in the challenge at the end--that was a stupid edit.
And Allison or whatever her name is--her pacing drives me nuts. She pauses after nearly every syllable or phrase. I, too, watch via DVR because I can not stand to watch it live.
I feel like we have even less development of players than in year's past. The show has had so much Joelle focus that is has obscured a lot of the other players.
In the past we have had Jillian do her "what's really behind all of this" discussions with her people--and this time she had motivated Tara, Blane, Mandy. Maybe their partners will bring her some challenges.
Can you imagine if Jillian had gotten Joelle?