Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/04/14

I was having some lovely reading time with my older daughter right before 8:00, so I missed the first minute or so of the show. But I don't think I missed much - as I came downstairs, it seemed like Filipe was talking about how devastated he was that Sione was gone, and vowing to the Tongan gods that he would avenge him. Or something like that.

Every season now, it seems that they do a freaky frightening challenge over the local canyon to scare the crap out of the contestants. And apparently this season is no exception. In the past, we've seen contestants ziplining (or something similar) over the canyon, or going hand-over-hand with a wire over the canyon. This time, it's more lame - they have to walk sideways across the canyon on a wire, holding onto a second wire above their heads. It looks a little silly. Everyone gets straps and harnesses and wires attached to them like crazy so that they don't die if they screw up. Mike reveals that he has acrophobia to the point where he can't climb ladders, so this could be interesting. Filipe pledges that this will be for Sione! Kristin just looks generally freaked out. The challenge begins.

Ron gives up about 40ft into the challenge because his knee kills like a sonovabitch walking sideways. Tara falls off her wire and looks absolutely ridiculous for a few minutes trying to get back on, like a turtle on its back struggling to roll back the right way up. But eventually she makes it, and starts up a "glide-step" chant which gets her into the zone. Filipe has a massive lead, and she cuts it down.

We cut to commercial. DH ponders: WHY does anybody care about the Kardashians? They're as shallow as a summer rain puddle, and as reflective as a lump of lead.

And we're back. Tara is a goddamn machine. I know I say that every week, but it's SO TRUE! She is the most amazing role model for women, you gotta love her. Even though Filipe had a really big lead over her, even though she fell off her wire and seemed to take forever to get back on, she still wins it. Unbefreakinlievable. Her prize is a kitchen makeover, which sounds pretty sweet, unless of course she rents or still lives with her mom.

Kudos also to Kristin, who looked absolutely petrified in every shot of her throughout the challenge but did it anyway; and for Mike, who totally overcame the fear. Well done.

As they're all still coming down from the adrenalin high, Ali pumps it right up again by announcing that it's makeover week! The squeals commence. Filipe points out the obvious need for a haircut, and makes a funny-because-it's-so-true joke about a haircut taking care of all of his weight loss requirements for the week. :)

Off to macy's we go! With a sample perfume mean, Tim Gunn! I simply know that he's from something called Project Runway, which I believe is some kind of fashion-related reality show, but that is all I know about the dude. Everybody else, however, seems to know exactly who he is and why this is important, and is completely tickled. Tara is so gleeful that she goes inappropriate and rushes in for a hug. Once he's extricated himself from Tara's grip, Tim tells everybody that they're getting dressed up for a Hollywood movie premiere, and everybody's thrilled.

Tim - who seems just as nice as he did two seasons ago - then lets us know that makeover week is not all joy and rapture, but also terrifying and emotional. We then cut to various clips of the contestants looking dazed/confused/overcome while shopping through the racks as proof of this assertion. Tara tries to get used to the idea of showing skin again. Helen gets teary about being able to shop like this again. Mike confesses a dislike for pink...right to the face of the guy wearing THE PINK TIE! Way to subtly insult the famous guest, Mike. DH has no idea if his gaydar's going off with Tim, or whether it's just a metrosexual thing. Finally, everybody gets surprised with $1000 macy's gift cards. (Isn't macy's pretty expensive? Won't that buy, like, two pairs of pants or something?)

After clothes shopping, it's off to the salon of the undead! Er, I mean, Tabatha Coffey. (Same diff.) We are treated to shots of the contestants getting their hair coloured, cut, and styled. There are some vague allusions to the question of whether Ron's beard will survive the makeover.

Next up, the reveals! Which all went waaay too quickly, I might add. They seemed horribly rushed and I never really got a satisfactory full-body eyeful of anybody. But anyway.

As usual, the producers have flown in a loved one to surprise each contestant at the reveal. (Why it's still a surprise to these guys after all these seasons of doing it, I have no idea.) The reveal occurs with each contestant walking down a grand staircase towards their loved one. This is a really crappy way to do a reveal, because a) it's more awkward to go down stairs than it is to, say, walk a runway or stand in front of a mirror, especially when you consider that a lot of the contestants are wearing HEELS; and b) it's quite an unflattering shot when the camera is looking up at you from below, especially when you consider that a lot of the contestants are wearing DRESSES! However, they clearly didn't ask my advice before setting this thing up, so their loss, and all the women get screwed.

First up is Helen, and her loved one is her husband, Russell. He tells us that this isn't really a movie premiere at all, which is sure to piss off at least a few of the contestants. Helen is resplendent in a really nice purple dress and she looks awesome. Russell is sooo sweet and starts crying and whimpering about how beautiful she is. (Awwwww!) Helen tells us that she feels beautiful and that it's been a long time since she's felt that way. DH tells them to get a room.

Tara's loved one is Tara's mom. Tara is, of course, knockout gorgeous and RUNS down the steps faster than anyone should who's wearing heels. However, she manages to do it without a single wobble. Is there any physical feat that this girl cannot accomplish? (Hey, maybe "running downstairs in heels" should be a future challenge?) Tara is wearing a dress of a gorgeous green colour and complains that her mom showed her up by losing 40 pounds herself.

Filipe's loved one is his wife. The best part of his reveal is that he has decent hair! And he's looking really nice. Wearing a tie still makes him look thicker than he is, but he's also the only guy on the show who could pull off a burgundy blazer like that.

Kristin's loved one is her husband, and she is wearing a freakin' FANTASTIC dress. The only problem with the dress is that by the time the finale rolls around, she's going to be too small to fit into it, which is a shame, because it is sooo flattering. Maybe she'll buy a new one with her gift card. She should. Her hair looks good, although during the reveal it unfortunately made her face look fatter.

Laura's loved one is her best friend. (This may say interesting things about her relationship with her parents?) She limps down the stairs. She's gone auburn with a pink dress - gee, that's an interesting choice.) But seriously, she does look great. She obviously has a lot of weight still to lose, but she's now got SHAPE, which is awesome.

We then get the one-two punch of Ron and Mike's reveal. Ron's loved one is his wife, and Mike's loved one is his enormous younger brother Max, so both mom and Max are able to be there for both of these reveals, which is really nice. (If you'll remember from the going-home-for-a-week episode, Max is the only one left in his family who hasn't gotten on the weight loss bandwagon and did the ugly cry when his dad and brother showed up because he was feeling left out and, well, fat.) First up (er, down) is Ron, who has indeed gone beardless. I can't believe he let them do that, and I think it was a horrible decision, as it makes his face look older and fatter. (Although admittedly a lot more like John deLancie, which is kind of weird.) Since Ron is a very handsome man, I think, this constitutes a travesty as far as I'm concerned. But he's also scads smaller than he used to be, so Max starts getting sad again. But the let's-make-poor-Max-feel-like-crap extravaganza isn't over yet, because next down the stairs is Mike! With a gloriously confident swagger, no less! (So cuuute!) The one-button-done-up-on-the-balzer thing, though, looks really dumb. Why this is a tradition, I have no idea, it makes men's bellies look bigger, which is not - as I understand it - a look that men actually want to have. However, partially buttoned blazer aside, Mike looks awesome, and Max gets really upset. His family rallies around him and spews pithy encouragement until Mike takes him aside for an intimate little one-on-one...intimate, that is, except for the CAMERA CREW AND THE ENTIRE CONTINENT WATCHING! Gosh, my heart breaks for Max. Growing up so large probably did a number on his self-confidence, and now he doesn't even fit in visually with his family at home. Add in adolescent hormones and you have one sad kid on your hands, the poor sweetie. Mike does his best to infuse Max with the belief that he CAN do it, and reminds us all that most people are never going to get on the show, but that they don't need it in order to succeed. Way to go, Mike.

After the reveals, everybody goes in for a celebrity-style red carpet photo shoot. There is much hamming it up. Some of the hamming (as with Filipe) is totally joking; some of it (as with Helen) is trying to be a star a wee bit too seriously, making it a bit awkward to watch.

Turns out they are watching a movie premiere, but the "movie" is a Biggest Loser retrospective about the season. Everyone is shocked at the differences they see, physically and emotionally. (Hey, movie therapy!) One of my favourite moments was Tara's mom's jaw dropping straight to the floor, with accompanying gasp, when she saw the before and after shots. Incidentally, Kristin's hair looked way cuter when she was watching the movie than when we first saw it.

Well, all that shopping, pampering and glamour was fun, but sure enough, everyone has to head back to the ol' grind. And yeah, I'm totally not going to get used to Ron's beardlessness. We go to the last chance workout, in which Kristin still fails to figure out that she has to clip back her hair. Having those locks dripping down into my face would piss me off something fierce. Bub cusses like a sailor to try and motivate Filipe to work harder. Finally, we see Filipe and Kristin working side-by-side on those weird combination medicine ball/tray doohickies. As they balance, I cannot help but notice that Filipe is wiggling like jello while Kristin is solid as a rock, completely in the zone.

Finally we find out why Laura's been limping for several shows. Apparently it's her hip - she's got a stress fracture.


This is apparently the most severe sports-related injury in the history of the American Biggest Loser, but that's certainly no comfort to Laura. Dr. H and his cottonball-stuffed cheeks say that they need to be totally conservative if they're going to fix the fracture and avoid making it worse, which would necessitate some serious surgery to correct. Laura can't do any impact running, or anything which causes her pain. So basically...she's toast. Jillian and Laura are devastated. I feel so sorry for Laura, that sucks a whole lot. :(

Cut to commercials! And then, once we've gone through those, we come back to...another commercial! Milk rocks! Helen and Jillian click tall, frosty glasses and, I must assume once the camera is off them, give themselves big ol' white moustaches.

Then, cue the dark sky and serious music, it's weigh-in time!

  • Mike breaks Roger Shultz's record of weight loss on campus, in the same number of weeks as Roger did (as Mike said, "no asterisks" - he's too funny)
  • Filipe moves from clinically obese to obese
  • Filipe drops below 250lbs
  • Ron passes 125lbs of total weight loss

Other things of note:

  • Ron says that the last time he weighed this little, he was somewhere between ages 9 and 13. Mike interviews that he doesn't think his mom was even ALIVE the last time his dad was at this weight. This explains why Mike's mom looks so young and hot - it's because she is! Ron! Day-um, you tiger! ;)
  • For added dramatic effect, the guys carry Laura to the scale and Jillian pretends to weep at the humanity.
  • Helen stuns the crap out of everybody by losing 7lbs. The show totally got me this time with the facial expression preview shots right before the commercial, I absolutely thought it was going to be a horrible result.

In the end, though, it's Kristin and Laura below the yellow line, which makes deliberation really tough. Kristin begs beautifully for people to save her, pointing out that although she's lost 117lbs, she is still at the weight that many people are when they START the show, which means she still really needs to be here. She reminds people that she is trying to get healthy so she can have babies, which of course is one of the most worthy causes ever. I'm pretty sure I teared up at this point. So we have the what's-best-for-Laura issue and the Kristin-needs-to-be-here issue, and those are both pretty serious things to consider. Throw in the various alliances and you have a whole bunch of confused voters all trying to do the right thing. Ron, despite the fact that Kristin is a bigger threat than Laura (yeah, right, Ron, like you wouldn't hold up your ages-old alliance with Kristin at this point no matter what kind of a threat she was), wants everyone to vote Laura home so she can stop being in denial about her injury and get the therapy she needs. DH doesn't buy this. He speculates that Laura probably doesn't have the medical coverage to get proper treatment at home, and that they do have people who could help her at the ranch.

Ultimately, however, alliances stay strong (except for Helen, who gameplays like crazy) and Laura is sent home. We are given the absolutely FANTASTIC news that The Biggest Loser is providing her with all the therapy and support she could possibly need at home in order to recover from her injury. I'm getting vorklempt just writing about it. Laura goes home, seems to be doing very well at healing the stress fracture, and has apparently maintained her weight. I don't know how she's going to manage to lose another 23 pounds by the finale with her injury, but I wish her all the best. She certainly looks happy and healthy, which is great.

Next week, watch for these potential milestones:

  • Helen could hit the 100lbs of total weight loss mark
  • Mike could hit the 150lbs of total weight loss mark
  • Ron could drop below 300lbs
  • Ron could move from morbidly obese to clinically obese
  • Ron could pass the 30% total weight loss mark
  • Filipe could hit the 1/3 total weight loss mark
  • Tara could pass the 40% total weight loss mark

Also next week: (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.

(Gosh, I hope that "milestone" is Ron dropping below 300. But it'll probably be Helen losing 100lbs.)

Week after that: (more SPOILERS)

The players create workouts for Bob and Jillian. Later, the contestants scale hills while lugging bags matching the amount of weight they've shed; Dr. Huizenga provides updated "real ages"; the players try on goal outfits; and the Final 4 return home for 30 days before the final ranch weigh-in

Ooh. Now that sounds like good TV.

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