Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/01/27

Well, all in all, a fairly decent show, I think, - until the elimination at the end. :( At least I didn't have to psychoanalyze anyone this week.

First of all, I would like to ask the producers of the show what the hell is up with their math. At the end of week one, we were all told that at the end of 30 days, anybody who went home as part of the Great Couples Split-Up could come back to the ranch if their partner was still there. Right? THIRTY DAYS. Now, I'm rather sure that one week is seven days long, so at the end of Week 2, seven days would have passed since the partners were given the thirty-day story. At the end of Week 3, fourteen days would have passed. At the end of Week 4, twenty-one days would have passed. Last time I checked, twenty-one is less than thirty.

So, then, why the hell did the partners all show up at the Week 4 weigh-in? Anyone? Bueller? Bah. Stupid producers. Can't even count. What bull.

Anyway, moving on...

Hearty congratulations to Jillian's team (yes, I'm being totally sarcastic) for destroying the unity and goodwill in the house. As Kristin interviewed, all Jillian's team had to do was be HONEST about the fact that they planned to vote for Damien. There's nothing wrong with that! Instead they betrayed Bob's team's trust, pissed them off royally, and set us all up for yet another team-vs.-team season of bitterness, all for no apparent reason. Anybody see the look Filipe gave Tara after her success at the weigh-in? So much for building up goodwill with that here-take-my-phone-call-home favour. Nice job, morons. Sigh.

Did that glazed rosemary chicken not look FANTASTIC?!? OMG, I want some right now. That "nature's skewer" thing is genius. I'm disappointed that the 2lb pass Dan won for Dave ended up being totally useless, but I'm delighted that Dave did manage to get some time with a chef to acquire some food skills. He DESPERATELY needs them.

Good for Joelle for stepping it up (sometimes literally!) - her breathy "No excuses" kind of stuff still gets on my nerves, but I'm so glad she seems to have had her breakthrough. Way to go.

Good for the show for sending Blaine home this week. Really, there was no excuse not to. You should never have to miss the birth of your child, even when doing something as important as getting healthy. What an absolute sweetie that baby was! Just when I was starting to think maybe I could be okay with not having a third child, along comes a gorgeous newborn on my television screen. Again, sigh. Blaine and his wife have some seriously gorgeous children. I so love that they're the centre of his world.

Anyhoo, back to the ranch...

Dane and Tara didn't have a hope in hell of winning that challenge. That kind of thing absolutely SCREWS anybody who's ever displayed strength in the past, and gives the people who fly under the radar a serious chance to win. But Helen should still feel great about her triumph. And it turns out that she needed it - if she hadn't won immunity, she would have been below the yellow line with Ron and Mike, and between Pink and Brown in the elimination room, I don't think Pink would have had a hope in hell.

I am totally sick of Shannon's whiny phone voice. Who's with me?

And we are shown another glorious moment of Dannish achievement in the gym. Which would have been way more genuinely moving, might I say, WITHOUT THE SHMALTZY CRESCENDO OF BACKGROUND MUSIC, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Could this show drip any more with manufactured cheeze? As if the lame product placements were not enough? Sheesh.

And now we see the at-home contestants return nine days earlier than expected. I think everybody looked pretty much the same, except for Sione, who I thought looked visibly smaller (WTG), and possibly Aubrey. Can't wait to see the weigh-in of these guys at the beginning of next week!

Fantastic week for weight loss for almost everybody on the ranch. First of all, Mandi is totally looking way, WAY smaller, there's a definite difference there. I'm happy that Joelle had success and was so delighted in it - that's going to motivate her to keep going. Dan's weigh-in was bittersweet. Losing 60 pounds in four weeks is terrific, and getting below 400 is terrific, and losing 12 pounds in one week is also terrific...and yet! Still below the yellow line. Bummer.

And so, we go back to the house for the pleas from the teams on the chopping block. Ron opens up a huge freakin' can of vorklemptness, as is his wont. By contrast, Dave royally screws himself and Dan by telling everyone they can do it at home, sure, why not, whatever. Way to go, Dave, you ass. As if the fried chicken binges at home were not self-destructive enough. Tara's recrimination to him in the elimination room was PERFECT and made me love her even more. (She's a total game player, but she's got so much heart and drive, I can't bring myself to despise her.)

All in all, faced with the shittiest decision ever - even worse than the Jerry/Dan fiasco, probably - I think the house made the right choice overall. Ron still really, really needs to be at the ranch, and I think Mike does too. But Dan's seen the light and has the motivation.

Finally, it was great to see Dan having made such a huge difference. The sad thing is, even after dropping 101 pounds and over 22% of his bodyweight, he is STILL SUPER-OBESE. (BMI of 53.7 - anything 50 or more qualifies as super-obese, which is even WORSE than morbidly obese.) He has such a long way to go...but he's GETTING there, and that's the important thing. Go, Dan. Even Dave is making small changes. It might actually be okay for those two...or at least, for Dan.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/01/20

As much as Joelle is whiny, childish, dependent, lazy, and BS-ing, I totally feel like she's getting far more of a bum rap here than she deserves. Carla ganged up on her and bullied her throughout the time at home, and with very little justification, as far as I'm concerned. Who was the person with the smallest percentage of weight loss in week one? Carla. Who consumed over 2700 calories at the temptation this week while her partner did a really good job of resisting? Carla. Who accused her partner of not sweating enough when there wasn't a drop of the salty stuff marring her own damn shirt? Carla. I mean, yes, there's a lot of justification for portraying Joelle as a wash-up, but NONE for portraying Carla as a righteous martyr. And Bob did NOTHING to stop the dysfunctional crap, and even backed it up a little! They are seriously too much for him to handle, he had no control there. Carla was spouting meaningless jibberish which was completely ineffectual because you could actually SEE Joelle shutting down and retreating into herself, stopping all listening entirely. (Which was really sad, because a few times she really started doing some mature communication - not that "I have vision" crap, but the calm "You're mad at me" bit. Carla just WAS NOT LISTENING, she just wanted to yell and rant and yell some more, not solving a single damn thing. Geez, even if Joelle had shouted her undying commitment from the rooftops I don't think Carla would have let up.) I mean, shit, how do you expect someone to react when you're dumping all over her like that ALL THE FRICKIN' TIME? Sir yes sir? The whole thing just made me mad. The both of them each think they're the centre of the universe.

Other things that made me unhappy:

  • Dave. Like, seriously, what the HELL is he doing? Does he take this seriously at all? While Dan is working his ass off at the ranch, totally devoted to saving his life, inspiring the crap out of everybody else in the house? That boy needs to find some self-control. His weigh-in in three weeks is going to be painful.

  • Jillian's team's duplicity. I mean, okay, there are two very good reasons for them to have voted for Damien. Firstly, compassion/bigger picture: Damien has Nicole at home, who is completely fired up about this process and so he's going to manage to do well, whereas Joelle needs so badly to stay in the program - partly so that Carla won't murder her if she goes back, and partly because she has such a serious need for a breakthrough, and she sure as hell isn't going to get it at home with her beeyotch of a partner. Secondly, voting off the stronger member of the opposing team is just good sense, gameplay-wise. HOWEVER...for them to make Bob's team THINK they were going to vote unanimously against Joelle and then turn it around in the elimination room? Not. Cool. It's only going to foster bad feelings between the two teams (did you see Ron's face when Blaine revealed the black team's vote?), which is the kind of crap I think I can safely say the viewing audience for this show is really sick of seeing. Ten bucks says this was the brainchild of Blaine and Tara.

  • Mandi needs to suck it up. There are five other contestants on the ranch who are away from their kids, too (some with little ones - Blaine's going to miss his fourth child's BIRTH, for heaven's sakes and you don't see him wiping away tears every five minutes), and she's the only one who seems to be letting it drag her down.

  • But Mandi breaking her styrofoam bar in the challenge was really sad. She was doing so well, looked fresher than anybody else, I really thought she was going to wipe the floor with the rest of them; she just messed up her timing. That sucked.

  • Carla's! Utter! Agony! Every! Time! She! Presses! Weight! Oh, Jesus have mercy! She's a walking stereotype.

  • If I hear ONE MORE CONTESTANT in the interviews talking about how it's not just about them, it's about their partner at home? Well, duh!!! We get it.

  • Blaine, can we cut it out with the "don't wanna lose to a girl" crap? It's still a piss-off, even if you're kidding.

But, things that made me happy:

  • How about Damien's reaction when Nicole showed up on the screen? Loved it! He was so totally into her! Which was really good to see, because up until this point he seemed pretty emotionless about a lot of stuff.

  • How about that Kristin and the challenge? I was absolutely elated to see how well she did!!! Total surprise. She blew away all expectations. I really wish Tara had just let her take it. I'm convinced Tara waterloaded last week, so she knew she was going to post a good number this week, and could have just let Kristin have the glory. However, I guess you always have to do your very best in these things, so I guess it did have to go the way it did. (Although hearing that Tara kept hydrated by throwing up in her own mouth was way more information than I needed to know. And can we please stop showing Tara throwing up on the screen? I'd like to ditch the association between models and vomiting, thanks.) I'm sorry Kristin was so down about it though, she should be ferociously proud of her accomplishment. I think Cathy is going to completely plotz at how hard Kristin rocked the challenge when she sees this episode.

  • How about that cute expression of surprise on Dan's face when he saw that 406 on the scale? I loved it. He could go below 400 next week - I'm so looking forward to it.

  • We finally got to see a freakin' interview with Mike! He has been totally underprofiled in the show so far, and it's seemed like he's really in the shadow of his dad (who seems like a great guy, just with a big personality). It was really nice to start to get a sense of him.

  • Blaine's and Ron's meetings with Dr. H. Nice to see. And sending the message that obesity hits you in the WALLET - that's a message America might actually listen to, especially now. Well done.

  • I was totally cheering for Mike and Helen during the last chance workout. Way to go, guys.

All in all, though, the Week 3 show can't even hope to touch the Week 2 show for heartwarmingness and just plain old good TV. Hopefully next week will be an improvement.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/01/13

Y'know, I've been thinking about it, and I think I know what Joelle's problem is: she's not a grown-up. The only way she does something is if there's a parental figure standing there making her do it - yelling, if necessary. I mean, seriously, the way Bob was freaking out on her reminded me completely of the place I'm in when I'm angry at my older daughter. (Not that I behave towards my kid like that, of course, but the fury and loss of control is the same kind of headspace.) She lives with her mom. She has such a non-career that twenty-five thousand dollars represents a few YEARS worth of salary to her. She is so completely childlike in so much of her behaviour, such as during the votes in week 1 when Carla said, "This is a test of our friendship" and Joelle agreed - Joelle was so meeky and "yes, mummy" at that point it was quite sad to see. And the whole talking-and-talking-and-talking-instead-of-DOING thing is exactly what kids do a lot of.

I don't know why she's still in a child role/headspace, but she is. If she's going to succeed in ANY kind of way on this show (or life in general), she has to snap out of that. And OMG, cut it out with the trying to be deep chatter! "Yes sir, you want perfection, I know that"; "If I can beat myself, I will win"; blah blah blah blah bleepin'-BLAH!

It's really quite sad. When you think about it from that angle, she's one of the contestants who most needs to be on the ranch; at least until she grows the bleep up.

But aside from the Joelle fiasco, there were sooo many wonderful moments in last night's show. First off, Dan and his running on the treadmill? I totally got chills there. Tara handing off her phone call to Filipe. Blaine's phone conversation with his wife. And Ron's passionate plea for Dan to stay - he's so the house dad, I love it. I got more vorklempt in five minutes watching this show than I did all last season. That is the way to play Biggest Loser, people! Love. It.

Some downsides, though...watching David at home broke my heart. He really has NO idea how to make it happen (hot dogs and fries? are you freakin' KIDDING me?!?), and even worse, he has zero support from his family. LESS than zero support, actually. They're all huge, they all eat crap. No wonder he's huge. He needs to get back on the ranch ASAP.

One thing I am wondering is whether Tara did a teensy bit of water loading since she knew she had immunity? Just a thought there. It'd certainly be good strategy, since it'd parlay into a huge loss next week.