Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/02/17

In this week's show, we see that Tara has more issues than the archives department of Chatelaine. :)

So most of the house is forced to work outside the gym this week. Drama. So Bob discovers that his team went against his wishes and kicked Blaine out of the house instead of Dane. Drama. (Although not as much as I thought there was going to be, admittedly. Notice how Ron got to be the one who told Bob about what happened? Good move there on the part of the team - Bob probably would have gone kinda ballistic on anybody else.) Laura is feeling pressure and inadequacy. Drama. Tara misses Blaine and can't concentrate. Drama.

Notice a theme?

Most infuriating part of the episode, though? Shanon's homemade "MEMBER'S ONLY" sign. And this after she actually had to ask her mother how to spell "members".


Shanon, it is bad enough that your voice and intonation constantly enter the Whine Zone, now this. Where are my fellow grammar nitpickers to back me up here?

I am, however, really really glad that they started profiling Ron's alternative workout techniques and showing people actually using the goddamn pool for a change. Thank HEAVENS. I know that they DO use the pool at the ranch a whole lot, because I've read interviews with contestants who say that the pool gets used all the time; it's just that we never SEE it, which is very annoying since "aquacise", whether you're swimming or whatever, is such an awesome method of getting fit. It's also been extremely annoying watching Ron have this injury all these weeks and not be told what exercises they're having him to do to get around it - this would be extraordinarily valuable information for a significant portion of the viewing audience at home, no? So I'm really happy they finally covered it a bit this week. All the different stuff you can do "sans gym" was also informative. Keep that up, please.

And then we slip into The Tara Show. Honestly, as pathetic as it was, I didn't get annoyed at her, because finally we're starting to see the kinds of issues she has which got her to almost 300 pounds. She is a control freak. She wants to control everyone and everything, and she hasn't accepted yet that she can't. Laura being a weaker teammate freaks her out. Black going below the yellow line and Blaine going home freaks her out. Not having the gym freaks her out. Add to that the tremendous pressure she's been putting on herself since day one, and how hard she's been pushing herself (thanks ever so for more shots of her throwing up, by the way, that's exactly what I needed to see), and of COURSE she hit a wall. (Normal people would have hit it WEEKS before she did, I think.) What did surprise me (because Jillian's usually so good at getting to the heart of people's issues) was that her trainer didn't seem to dig deeper into what was going on and start forcing Tara to deal with her control issues. It would have been really helpful if Jillian had, I think.

The real criticism I have is, what is up with Tara being THAT attached to Blaine? She went to pieces in the elimination room last week and you could kind of see this wary fear enter Blaine's eyes, like, "OMG with the inappropriate, my WIFE is going to be watching this..." before he said (very platonically, I thought), some kind of "You're a very special person too, Tara" platitude. I don't think that there's actually anything going on between Tara and Blaine, but I think maybe Tara wants there to be? Yeesh.

The mud sequence was hilarious. It's so good to see that there's a basic high level of genuine camaraderie in the house which crosses teams. That was awesome. Also, the interviewing and profiling we saw of Kristin really let us see how far she's come. I mean, she's still really big, but by comparison to how she was at the beginning of the show, the transformation is really noticeable. Way to go, Kristin.

And then - weigh-in time!

(Just as a quick aside...I think it's so ridiculous the way the women totally doll themselves up for the weigh-in, season after season...they've got the PERFECT hair, the GORGEOUS makeup, and...spandex. Yeah. That's a look.)

Anyhoo, we had a lot of redeeming successes this week, which was great: Aubrey, Kristin (although, duh, since I'm sure she waterloaded last week), Laura (one of the top 2 losers of the week AGAIN; y'know, they have just got to stop painting her as this pathetic cancer on Tara's ass, because although she doesn't have Tara's drive or capabilities, she's still taken them to second place in challenges for the last two weeks, and she can be an enormous threat at weigh-ins), and Ron (phew!). Dane had a bad week, but I'm sure he would have waterloaded at least a little bit with immunity. Sione and Filipe had a bit of an off-week (for them), but not enough to bring them close to the yellow line. Helen, meanwhile, is a machine, cranking out these 5- and 6-pound weight losses every week (which, at her weight, is really good), with 8- and 9- pound losses showing up as well. Sadly, her partner didn't back her up this week, loss-wise, and they fell below the yellow line.

(And am I the only one who wishes they'd bring back the concept of giving some kind of prize to the biggest loser of the week? I miss that.)

Then things got weird. Pink bucked the parent-sacrificing-for-child theme that's been running throughout this entire season by asking to send Shanon home. And it was pretty clear that this decision sat sort of "iffily" on Shanon's shoulders. Once Pink went back to their room, they started having second thoughts, and everyone else in the house expressed doubt that sending Shanon home was the right decision. Gameplay-wise, it's hard to say exactly what would have been the better move for each team - is Shanon the bigger threat because she has more to lose, or is Helen the bigger threat because, well, she always does really well? It's a tough call. So instead, I think everyone abandoned all thoughts of gameplay and just accepted Pink's wishes. In one way, this was nice, because it's respectful and builds goodwill, but on the other hand, it wasn't so great, because it was probably the better decision to give Shanon more time on the ranch, as Kristen and Ron pointed out during the discussion.

Fortunately, Shanon's done a really good job at home - she's got a 16.8% at-home weight loss percentage, which is an extremely close second (Jerry's was 16.9%) of all the eliminated contestants we've seen so far (that we've been given concrete weight numbers for, anyway). She's got some waist definition going on and is under 200 pounds! Yay!

(My husband was shocked to hear that Roller Derby still existed.)

Back on the ranch, though, the person I'm really concerned about is Cathy. She's lost 30 pounds over 7 weeks for a total weight-loss percentage of 10.24%. By comparison, the average total weight-loss percentage of everyone else is 19.11%. (Tara is currently the leader at an unbelievable 24.49% loss - after week SEVEN! - awesome.) I don't know exactly what's happening with her, especially since she doesn't have injuries like Ron (that we know of) which could hold her back...but she's just not dropping the weight. Once things go to individuals, she could be in serious trouble. :(

On the plus side, there are some excellent results to report from this week:

  • Kristen and Sione both fell below 300 pounds
  • Mike, Sione, Helen, Mandi and Filipe all passed the 20% total weight-loss mark (Tara and Dane passed it last week)
  • Dane is now merely "clinically obese" (he started the show at "super obese")
  • Shanon is now merely "clinically obese" (she started the show at "morbidly obese")

Some potential milestones to watch for next week:

  • Helen could fall below 200 pounds (she's now 205)
  • Mike could fall below 300 pounds (he's now 307)
  • Ron could fall below 350 pounds (he's now 354)
  • Aubrey and Laura could move from "clinically obese" to "obese" (their BMIs are currently 35.9 and 35.6, respectively)
  • If she loses anything, Cathy will move from "morbidly obese" to "clinically obese" (her BMI is currently 40)
  • Filipe and Sione could move from "morbidly obese" to "clinically obese" (their BMIs are currently 40.6 and 40.1, respectively)
  • Mandi could move from "obese" to "overweight" (her BMI is currently 31)
  • If Tara loses just two pounds, she will have lost over a quarter of her bodyweight since the beginning of the show

But enough of the speculation - here's what we know will happen next week: (SPOILERS)

The teams are re-organized, leaving many contestants without their original trainers; each team tries to bike as many miles as they can in a 24-hour period

According to this link, there's a Biggest Loser article in Entertainment Weekly (the one with Lost on the cover) which shows behind-the-scenes stuff, including what looks like Dane wearing a BLUE shirt (I guess Bob's about to get a loss less pissy that the house didn't vote out Dane last week!). So things are about to get verrry interesting!

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