Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/03/10

After an agonizingly slow and painfully endless recap, Mike saves the day! Hooray!

(Ten bucks says the producers set it up that way to give Mike some self-confidence and "can do" positive thinking.)

Mike has now, by the way...

  • lost more than a total of 25% of his bodyweight
  • lost more than 100lbs total
  • moved from morbidly obese to clinically obese

Good lad. Could Ron have looked any prouder?

So then we go outside for a quick pop challenge: Sit bracing yourself against a wall with a medicine ball on your lap. Last person left, uh, sitting, controls the weigh-in, which is one-on-one this week. (Could it be any more obvious that they're giving Blue every chance possible to win something?)

Anyway, Tara does her usual superhuman endurance stuff and wins the challenge. She gets to choose who faces off against whom. Her choices are as follows:

Mike vs Cathy
Sione vs Mandi
Filipe vs Kristin
Helen vs. Ron
Laura vs Aubrey

And everyone tries not to laugh as they stare each other down with psuedo-mean faces. And Mandi, for some bizarre reason, is completely intimidated by Sione. Hello?!? Mandi! GROW SOME SELF-CONFIDENCE! At this point, you have lost almost 2% more of your bodyweight this season than Sione has, AND he has a sprained ankle. Stop being so down about yourself! That's exactly how you got to be 263lbs in the first place! Augh!!!

Anyway, Tara gets to give herself a week where her weight loss doesn't matter. So it's almost like having immunity - she can waterload and do kinda crappy, and then, as long as she's made good choices with the one-on-one so that her team wins the weigh-in, she can kick ass the next week.

Day 2 starts out with the big ol' triple P: Painful. Product. Placement. (*blinkblinkblink* We're supposed to have fibre, Bob? Really?) In response, I have a triple-P of my own: Producers? Puh-LEEZE. (Puke.)

Then at the first workout of the week, we have the lame setup of much draaama. Filipe is bitter about being ignored by Jillian. (Plus, he seriously needs to cut his hair, he looks like a mop. Or a cast member on Welcome Back Kotter, take your pick.) Filipe and Kristin wind each other up to hilarious effect. Jillian worries aloud that the Black team is getting too cocky and that you always have to worry about the underdog (ironic, since Jillian's usually the queen of the underdogs).

Next up: challenge. I was really pleased to see how well Ron kept up with Filipe. I mean, of course he was going to be behind, but I expected it to be a lot worse than it was. I also can't believe it took so long before someone tried rolling UNDER the obstacle bars.

(I am worried about all these "medical concerns" that keep taking Kristin out, though. DH guesses hernia. Anybody know?)

Anyway, unsurprisingly, Black wins and lords it over Blue yet again. But even at that point, I thought it was a good challenge NOT to win. 24 hours of luxury = 24 hours of temptation and no ranch. That immediately gives the team that stays home the advantage. And sure enough, the Black girls geek out over the bath and scented goodies in the hotel before the entire team loses total control. Scads of crappy food, lots of alcohol, and some cigarettes. (Although on the plus side, I thought Tara looked fabulous at dinner, and Helen's hair looked terrific, too.) Now, I totally think that the Black team was told by the producers to be that cocky in the interviews, so I will forgive them for the arrogance. The calorie run-up and smoking, however, were pure dumbassity. Jillian was totally right to be furious. But Jillian's problem is that she tends to sarcasm when she's frustrated, which was obviously the wrong place to go with Filipe at that point. I have that tendency myself when my kids do stupid stuff, and usually, it just highlights your own lack of control over the situation and alienates the person you're trying to help.

Actually, Jillian generally seems to be screwing up a lot this season with her people. A few weeks ago she totally missed the opportunity to get Tara to deal with her control freak issues when Tara hit a wall; last week she was unnecessarily mean to Laura; and then this week with her team when they "strayed". And she seems overly stressed by this particular season. I also read a rumour this week that she totally lost it during a taping of the Tyra Banks show - very possibly a completely false bit of Hollywood talk, of course, but it does make me wonder if she's having some issues at the moment. On the other hand, I've been listening to a few recordings of her talk radio show lately, and she sounds perfectly like her regular self there, so who knows. I'm certainly not underestimating the Biggest Loser producers' ability to make things on the ranch look exactly the way they want them to, regardless of what's really going on there. (Grr.) What has been accomplished, however, is that Jillian once again has things right back to the way she likes it: the underdog position. I really think that having a stacked, unbelievably strong team was messing her up; she had it so good, she didn't know what to do with herself. Now, she's back in the underdog comfort zone where she can concentrate her efforts on just a few people, so things might start looking up for her again.

Anyway, Filipe gets emotional and storms out, taking "Mount Everest" with him. Bob's face when they came to find him was hilaaaarious. He was completely all deer-in-headlights, "WTF is going on?!?" Of course, the correct thing for him to do would have been to try and help everybody on the Black team SOLVE their issues, since he's the only person Sione and Filipe would be willing to listen to at this point, but instead he goes with the "Sure, I'll train ya!" option and cements the wedge.

However, prior to all the decadent luxury and high drama, the Blue team was working their asses off back on the ranch. Headshots of Black team members were used to great effect, both as targets in dart games, and as the "carrot" at the head of the treadmill. (It was good. I laughed.)

So then we go to the most surreal last chance workout ever, where we have people who are competing directly against each other training side-by-side, all under Bob. Weird. Funny, but weird. And may I just say that Mike looks like he's getting damn good at the boxing thing. He is really doing well and looking pretty darn cute, too. I think when he finishes losing the weight and goes to university this fall, he is going to be completely thrown by an awful lot of female attention. :)

(Am I the only one who found Helen's godfather remark about Ron kind of offensive?)

Finally, we move to the most depressing weigh-in ever. I love weigh-ins because I love seeing good numbers get posted, the happiness at success, and milestones reached. This week, however, contained almost no joy. Even the biggest loser of all (Mike) lost less than 3% over the week; plus we had three people who didn't see a loss. THREE!!! That's a baaad weigh-in, folks. The only milestones reached this week were that Helen and Sione passed the 25% total weightloss mark. Worst of all was Mandi's number. I was completely and utterly shocked when I saw that gain. It couldn't POSSIBLY have been done on purpose, and I don't think she cheated on her diet or didn't work out hard enough. The only explanation I can think of is self-induced stress. Also, perhaps she didn't fufill her caloric requirements in a misguided effort to lose as much weight as possible, and it backfired because she didn't have the energy intake she needed to lose the weight? Who knows. It was, however, totally heartbreaking. Especially when the producers basically rigged the whole week to enable Blue to win a weigh-in, and they still couldn't pull it out.

Elimination was tough. Mandi and Aubrey were obviously at risk since there's no way Ron, Kristin and Cathy were going to vote for each other, which would normally make it 3 against 2. (Although pretty soon, Ron, Kristin and Cathy are going to have to start "eating their own".) However, since Laura won an extra vote last week, she gets to come in and potentially force a tie, which means that the Black team gets to make the final decision. This doesn't give the Mandy/Aubrey team a reprieve, however, since Jillian's original team is even more outnumbered over there by members of Bob's original team: 4 against 2. We discover that the Black team's plan is to vote Aubrey out (which is kind of dumb, since Mandi's the stronger player). So, since it was established that Ron, Kristin and Cathy would all vote for Mandi, the situation is as follows:

If Mandi, Aubrey and Laura all vote as a block, it will force a tie, and Black will kick out Aubrey.
If Mandi, Aubrey and Laura don't all vote the same way, the 3 votes for Mandi from Ron, Kristin and Cathy will kick out Mandi.

And Aubrey, sacrificing herself once again as is her wont (and which is one of the reasons she got to 249lbs), gets Laura on-side and sets up herself, Mandi and Laura as a voting block of three so Black will vote her out. She swears up and down to Mandi and Laura that she will do great at home. But in the elimination room, Mandi shatters Aubrey's strategy by voting for Ron instead of Cathy, because Mandi realises that Aubrey needs to stop sacrificing herself for other people and stay at the ranch. And the SECOND that Mandi announced in elimination room that she could do it at home, Aubrey knew EXACTLY what was coming and dissolved into sobs.

I started crying, too. Heck, I'm tearing up right now just writing about it. I thought Mandi did an absolutely beautiful thing saving her sister from herself. It was so lovely. I really hope that Mandi truly has realised how kick-ass she is. She IS strong. She IS worth it. (And she's gorgeous, too.) Back at home, we see that she's lost an additional 18 pounds since leaving the ranch. (I seriously think they must be filming these at-home sequences looong before they actually air, because people just aren't shedding the huge amounts of weight that I would expect from having approximately 16 weeks at home between vote-off and episode-airing.) She's excited about her life and her family's future, and everybody's happy. Even her children are expressing disgust at cheezies and reaching for asparagus instead! Nirvana has been achieved!

Best line of the night was from Kristin, referencing the face-off between her and Filipe: "May the best woman win."

Next week, we have some good potential milestones:

  • Kristin, Sione and Tara could reach 100lbs of total weight loss; even Ron could do it if he sheds 7lbs in one shot
  • Aubrey and Tara will drop below 200 if they lose any weight at all
  • Aubrey could pass 20% total weight loss
  • Filipe could pass 25% total weight loss
  • Mike could pass 30% total weight loss
  • Helen could move from obese to overweight

Also next week: (SPOILERS)

The contestants spend a week at home, where they must run a half marathon and make healthy food choices. Later, the players face a cookie temptation; and the weigh-in reveals the contestants' progress while at home.

And the week after that: (more SPOILERS)

The players pull cars loaded with extra weight assigned to them by their teammates in a challenge featuring NASCAR's Clint Bowyer. Later, the teams are dissolved, leaving the contestants to compete as singles; a player breaks a record at the weigh-in.

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