Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/04/07

Voting aftermath. Mike feels betrayed by Sione, Filipe and Helen. Kristin is wowed at what's going down. Ron does a ha-ha-not-really-a-joke death curse on everybody who voted for him. (Which kinda scared me.) We see a flashback to when Filipe attempted to prop up his integrity on a technicality: when asked whether he would vote for Ron, he replied "You'll be fine." Since Filipe thinks Ron will "be fine" whether or not he goes home, and since "you'll be fine" is technically not a yes or no answer to the will-you-vote-for-me question, Filipe maintains that he did not actually lie, per se. Ron, of course, points out the obvious: "What the hell did you think I thought you meant?" So okay, if we're picking nits, "lie" is not the correct verb. "Deceive", though? Hell, yes. Dumbass move on Blue's part there, I think - although of course if it had actually succeeded in voting Ron off, it would have been a good move. (Which Ron admits.) They risked a lot and kinda screwed themselves. So Filipe gets served by Ron and interviews that he kept his mouth shut during the tonguelashing because his culture teaches him to respect elders. But in reality it's pretty obvious that he kept his mouth shut because he's freakin' intimidated by Ron. :) Plus also I think he knows he done wrong.

So Mike and Ron go back to their room so Ron can give his first-born son a little lesson on what happens when you break with Da Family. He talks smack about Filipe, then we see everybody else talking smack about Ron. Tara makes horsehead jokes. Ron talks Sonny, er, I mean, Mike, down from punching the wall and tells him not to get his emotions involved. (Damn, he's a cool customer. Totally reminds me of my dad there.) Nuthin' personal, you realise, but business is business, and when tings start ta stink, ya gotta take out da garbage. Mike rubs his chin thoughtfully. In the background, we hear strains of string music which seriously evoke the love theme from The Godfather, as we are shown clips of Ron being the father figure, getting pampered with a glass of wine and cucumbers on his eyes, and finally standing nobly alone beside the pool as he talks about being the house father. Good grief.

So, moving on from Italian stereotypes...

(I hate the gameplay and the fractured harmony. Why can't these people just like each other and do their best to lose weight? Damn you, reality TV!)

Temptation? And how! Complete with desperately obvious product placement! (DH: Most jawdropping temptation? Most jawWORKING temptation!) The set-up: There are 100 covered food platters (like the ones they use in voting elimination, but bigger and fancier). Ali tells everybody that most of these platters contain high-calorie foods, but some of them contain a combination of Extra gum packets and money prizes! Everyone gets really excited about this, because wow! GUM! However, just ONE of the platters contains the ULTIMATE prize, a golden ticket: the ONLY VOTE at this week's elimination.

Well, money and power (and gum!) are up for grabs, so of course everybody loses their minds and goes for the platters. (Anybody else think that Tara's legendary barfing skills would come in handy about ten minutes after the temptation was over?) People starting revealing and wolfing down cupcakes, pop, pretzels, PB&J sandwiches, etc. Ron at first appears to be the lucky one, as he gets two plattersful of gum and a total of $1500, which he's really excited about because he immediately pops a stick of the wondrous chewy stuff. Laura and Filipe also luck out with the gum, and they get $5000 and $500 respectively. Platters continue to be opened and calories continue to be snarfed. We are treated to belching sounds, complaints about pretzels going straight to the ass, threats of ralphing, and so-forth. Finally, Kristin emerges from the feeding frenzy long enough to realise how stupid all this is. She says the ultimate way to save yourself is to stop sucking back empty calories and just stay the heck above the yellow line, so she stops opening trays.

Finally, Laura gets the golden ticket, which sends Tara into leaps of glee. (Laura's pretty good at managing to luck out with the extra votes, huh?) Everyone else looks bummed and nauseous, while Laura immediately goes off on a massive power trip. She ruminates on the possibility of extorting massages and stuff from her fellow competitors, and tops it all off with a rather skillfully executed evil Margaret Hamilton laugh. (I'll vote you off, my pretty! And your little dog, too!)

Then Laura and Tara huddle in their bedroom and discuss strategy. For some bizarre reason, Laura thinks that Tara should deliberately fall below the yellow line. Tara interviews that the purpose of this strategy would be to help guarantee that Laura doesn't fall below (we're later told that Laura has to stay above the yellow line if she wants this single vote to remain in her hands, otherwise, we'll revert to the usual everybody-votes elimination process). Of course, if they BOTH end up falling below the yellow line, Tara's completely screwed. Tara says that she's conflicted about deliberately falling below the line, and DH and I agree with each other that it's a strategy that could seriously bite her in the @$$ if she goes along with it.

Anyway, back to the aftermath of The Ultimate Temptation - everybody's trying to clean up the evidence, and Bob and Jillian come in mid-carnage. Kristin (getting all holier-than-thou because she slammed on the willpower partway through) outlines to them what just happened. Jillian nearly loses her shit and starts talking about disrespecting weight that no longer exists. (The hell?) Bob tries to turn it into a "lesson" for everybody, but then learns from Ron that his own team almost voted Ron out, so BOB nearly loses his shit. (Certainly his jaw gets a good workout.) Bob and Ron then go outside and discuss a) Ron's miraculous skill at evading vote-off, and b) Ron's desire to wreak revenge on anybody who screws with him. (Never mess with a Sicilian when WEIGHT is on the line!)

(Okay, I don't know if Ron is actually Sicilian. But the takeoff of the line scans really well.)

Bob and Jillian are so disgusted with their people that they beat the crap out of them in the gym, and even trade off people in their teams. Jillian works a bit with Kristin and Ron, and Bob destroys everybody else on the spin bikes. Later, Helen is still feeling gross from all the calories she ate, and takes a lifelong vow of cupcake celibacy.

Kristin decides to be (hilariously) blatantly obvious about sucking up to She With The Power, and brings Laura breakfast in bed, complete with some lovely flowers and bed number adjusting. Just about the only thing she didn't do was fluff up Laura's pillows. DH threatens to be ill. :)

Jillian brings her team to Subway and brings out Coleen and Jerry from last season to shill the joint. Coleen is wearing a poofy apron and is kind of waddling, which makes me she pregnant? Dunno. She's still looking lovely, and Jerry's looking terrific.

We then move to this week's challenge, which takes place in the Rose Bowl stadium. Being American, all the contestants are thrilled. I couldn't care less, myself, but since everyone else seems happy, so am I. The deal is: boys against girls racing up and down 2,156 stadium stairs. Top boy and top girl then do it all over again to determine the final winner. The prize is...wait for it...a two-week trip for four people to Utah.


Geez. You know the economy's bad when. Anyhow, anyone who couldn't see right from the start that this would be a face-off between Tara and Sione obviously has not been watching the show very long. My money was on Tara, and of course she wins. Sione is bummed and Ali rubs it in.

Then we get right back into gameplay and headgames, because Blue, Purple and Pink all have a nice, brisk walk together. At least, it looked nice until everybody tried to pressure Kristin into promising to vote against Ron. Sione, Filipe, and Helen are all apparently terrified at Ron's Evil Mastermind-like ability to manipulate everybody into voting the way he wants it to go. Guys, it's called leadership. Ron didn't get a place on his city council back home for nothing, you know. He's charismatic, likeable, is good at persuading people to see his side of things, and is a natural leader. He is also probably pretty used to petty little backstabbing plots going on behind his back, so unless you want to choose the open and honest route, your plots are likely going to fall flat. Sure enough, Kristin doesn't want to promise a damn thing (remember, she was with Ron on Bob's team this whole time, whereas Blue went Black for a while and Helen's still with Jillian), and after weeks of hearing how Kristin considers Sione and Filipe to be her brothers and how Filipe and Sione adore the team camaraderie of being with Bob...Filipe interviews that he doesn't think he knows Kristin anymore. Nice.

But the headgames-disguised-as-nice-brisk-walks don't end there. We next see Helen talking to Laura. She advises Laura that getting Tara to go below the yellow line is not good for Green. She almost has Laura convinced that it's a bad strategy and that she has Laura's best interests at heart, until she brings up the possibility that if Tara does drop below, Laura might do the old bait-n-switch and vote Tara off because Tara's such a huge threat. Laura tells Helen that she would NEVER do that (right, cupcake, like you never thought of it) and then interviews that now she's wondering if Helen's really being honest with her. She brings up the possibility that maybe Helen's trying to play both sides? Well, DUH! I think Helen is super-spunky and that she will absolutely help others out when her own heinie isn't on the line, but ultimately, Helen is totally looking out for number one. And in this environment, who can blame her.

Bob makes a last desperate bid to restore harmony and talks to his team about reconciliation. Tensions build. Bob is powerless to stop the avalanche. At least things didn't get violent.

(Hey, Ron's eyes are looking really nice this week. Maybe it's because of the revenge glinting out of them?)

Jillian also tries valiantly to pull everybody out of their gameheads and into themselves. She tells Tara not to throw the weigh-in. Helen confesses that she's nervous she'll fall below the yellow line, and I also think she has a lot to worry about since she had such a kick-ass week last weigh-in.

Bizarre product placement: DVD plug for a movie I've never heard of and which certainly doesn't sound like appropriate entertainment fare for a bunch of grownups with no children around. The contestants fake enthusiam totally unconvincingly. Then, a further plug: healthy popcorn! Sione gobsmacks us with the shocking news that 300 calories is LESS than 1000 calories! Amazing!

Off we go to the last chance workout. Jillian plans to open up a serious can of torture. Tara wimps out all day and butts heads with Jillian. But Helen, bless her, sums it up for everybody. She may be the one person here who gets that the only person you can control is you. Helen looks like the strongest woman ever with all the weightlifting, it's awesome. Mike boxes and, I'm sure, makes teenage girls all over the continent swoon. Bob tells Filipe mid-stairclimbing to tell him how good he feels! If Filipe had a hand free, he totally woulda flipped Bob the bird right there. Finally, Sione has a crisis of confidence. He never wins against Tara. His best isn't good enough. Wah wah wah. But Bob takes him in hand and leaves pools of Tongan sweat all over the floor. (We even get a closeup. :P )

Off we go to the weigh-in: Laura's still limping, and Ali is wearing a goddamn FANTASTIC dress. Mike's up first and twitches with uncontrollable nervousness. He obviously still has a lot to learn from his dad about staying cool under pressure.

(DH points out that Tara could totally guarantee Brown's support for her for the rest of the show if she popped Mike's cherry. Now it's my turn to feel slightly ill.)

Results of note:

  • Mike and Sione go from clinically obese to obese.
  • Kristin moves from morbidly obese to clinically obese. I do a little happy dance on my sofa.
  • Laura DESTROYS the 25% total weightloss mark
  • Filipe passes the 30% total weightloss mark
  • Kristin and Mike drop below 250lbs

Other things that happened at the weigh-in:

  • Ron gets sad that his weight loss might push Mike below the yellow line. Mike rightly tells him to shut up and be happy. :)
  • Tara loses only 3 pounds. Laura swears up and down that she didn't do that on purpose.
  • I think it might just be shadow, but Kristin looks like she has freckles on her face in her weigh-in interviews! They make her look totally cute!
  • Filipe foreshadows that Sione is doomed by interviewing that if HE lost seven pounds, Sione will of course lose even MORE. Kiss of death, dude. You shoulda kept your trap shut.

So, weird week, weird results: The top three contestants in overall weightloss (Tara, Mike and Helen) are three of the four lowest losers of the week. Sione and Helen fall below the yellow line, and Laura alone holds their fate in her hands. She meets with each person separately. Sione is really nice about it. Helen plays the game for all she's worth.

As Laura's agonizing over what to do, Sione and Filipe bond in their room. Then they get it all out of their systems by haka-ing like crazy. (Filipe is REALLY good at that, I love watching him.)

Personally, I thought it was a tough decision. Helen's a serious gameplayer and an excellent loser, she's a big threat. Sione, on the other hand, is half of one of the three intact pairs left in the house. If Laura gets rid of him, she will be part of one of the only two twosomes left. Plus, Sione is a huge threat in challenges to her partner, Tara. Overall, I thought it was a better move to get rid of Sione, and apparently Laura agrees with me. I'm sure Ron is doing the happy dance inside (one down, two to go) as Sione says goodbye and vows to be a Tongan Brad Pitt. He goes home to his family and his dad says he can't even tell Sione is his son anymore. Uh, dude? Have you seen you? We can TOTALLY tell he's your son. Flash forward to the "Sione Today" segment, and we find that he's down to 235lbs. Part of the loss is no doubt due to the haircut that he FINALLY decided to spring for. Yay! And he's a trainer now! And he channels Bob! And his wife is thin, too! Everybody's happy! We end the week on an up note. (In all seriousness, I think Sione will make a fantastic trainer.)

Potential milestones for next week:

  • Kristin could drop below the 1/3 total weightloss mark
  • Laura and Ron could pass the 30% total weightloss mark
  • Ron could pass 125lbs total weightloss
  • Filipe could drop below 250lbs
  • Laura could drop below 200lbs
  • Filipe could move from clinically obese to obese
  • Laura could move from obese to overweight
  • Mike could break the record for pounds lost on campus (144lbs, previously held by Roger Shultz in Season 5)

Also next week: (SPOILERS)

The players receive makeovers with guidance from Tim Gunn, Tabatha Coffey and Brandon Martinez. Elsewhere, a player sustains an injury that will affect her workouts, and the contestants reach new heights in the challenge.

Week after that: (more SPOILERS)

The players take part in a health-trivia challenge to win a trip to New York, Later, Bob and Jillian critique the contestants' grocery purchases; the players face a balance challenge; and someone hits a milestone at the weigh-in.

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