Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/09/29

Everybody's tickled to be safe in the house following last week's weigh-in. And well they should be. Savour the moment, guys, you done good. Liz, however, points out that there's no time to celebrate, since they have to keep working.

The next morning, Ali is waiting for them outside the gym. She tries to destroy the happy-lovey team feeling by pointing out that they're all individuals in a competition. She says this week is all about choices, and gives them an important one right off the bat: trainers or a weigh-in advantage? The deal is that everybody gets behind a line. First team to step across the line gets a 2-pound advantage at the weigh-in, but no trainers all week (although they do get to use the gym as usual). Liz points out that the trainers are pretty damn crucial. Ali says that if nobody steps across the line immediately, the stakes will go up, which of course means that if they let this go long enough, the prize will probably be a 10lb advantage or something similarly spectacular.

We see that Rebecca and Amanda are seriously considering this advantage. Which I think is a smart move, since Amanda's really been struggling with her weight loss for the past two weeks. But before anybody can really give this choice any decent consideration, Tracey suddenly steps across the line. Mo looks pissed off. (An interesting irony that the team player has been stuck with the do-it-on-her-own cowboy.)

So Bob and Jillian show up and get this little deal explained to them. They are gobsmacked that anyone would choose two measley pounds over them, which has me wondering whether they have learned nothing from the previous seven seasons of this show. They name a few names, wondering who did it, while Tracey looks like a deer in the headlights. Finally, Tracey cops to it. Bob's jaw hits the floor, and then, being Bob, he takes it personally. Jillian interviews that Tracey is not the brightest bulb. Then Bob and Jillian send everyone to the gym while they have a talk with Purple, which really means a talk with Tracey. They try to turn it into a teaching moment, but I have no idea whether Tracey will actually take it to heart. In fact, I'm kinda hoping that Tracey ends up going this week. I don't like her much. She's too manic, and there's just a quality about her that rubs me exactly the wrong way.

Abby is having problems with her knee and she goes to Dr. H for an evaluation: a stress microfracture in her tibia. So, crap. Dr. H restricts her to the pool until her pain level drops, which could take heaven knows how long. Abby vows not to give up because hey, what's a fracture to someone who has endured the worst thing ever? They do seem to be plugging her tragedy angle at every possible opportunity, which is annoying, since I think she would prefer to be defined by more than just her loss. In fact, it gets worse - they use her injury as a freakin' PRODUCT PLACEMENT, since she's the "your nutrition needs to be on point" person this week. Bob cracks out the yogurt. Ah, sweet, delicious, nutritious there anything you can't do? Abby is sold.

Continuing with the "choices" theme, here we go with our first temptation of the season! The choice is between control of your diet or control of the game. Tracey closes her eyes and tries to breathe deeply while desperately attempting to find resistance. Ali explains the deal: at this week's weigh-in, only one person per couple will get on the scale to represent their colour. The temptation winner gets to pick who those representatives will be. Everyone makes a huge deal about this, which I really don't get, because although in some instances it would be easy to choose a person strategically so that you yourself stand a better chance of staying above the yellow line, for other teams, it's just as easy to be devastatingly wrong and screw yourself that way. However, the contestants didn't have me to advise them, so they still think this twist is "the ultimate control". They're isolated so they can't see each other, and they each have a silver platter, which contains...(drumroll, please)...a single tiny cupcake, worth 100 calories. The person who eats the most cupcakes in 10 minutes wins the temptation.

The camera pans across the contestants who are all, I am sure at the instructions of the producers, inhaling the delectable cupcake aroma for all they're worth. Then Ali brings out more cupcakes, some of them with some darn tempting goodies as toppings. Danny pretends to have a full mouth as he talks and Liz freaks out on him. :) Sean provokes the insanely awful visual image of him rubbing a cupcake all over his body. Tracey starts debating with her little talking hands which want her to play the game.

Finally, Antoine eats a cupcake. Ali mentions that someone's gotten into the game, without saying who or how many cupcakes. It is at this point that Tracey loses her ever-loving mind, and stuffs her face. Antoine seems to have a few more, too.

When it's all over, Sean's jaw hits the floor when Ali says Antoine sampled the cupcakes. But it turns out that it was not enough. Daniel looks disgusted at the fact that Tracey had four cupcakes, and we see interviews with a bunch of people saying that Tracey is a loose cannon, crazy, etc. Mo is once again really disappointed in his partner. DH makes the stunningly accurate observation that Mo has that "Cito" vibe going on.

Bob and Jillian come back to chew out Tracey once again. Jillian reveals that she hates wasting her time, so she hands the floor to Bob so that she doesn't start physically whaling on Tracey's ass. But then Jillian takes the floor back and gives Tracey a well-deserved tongue-lashing, ending up with the beautiful conclusion that she has received Tracey's message that she doesn't need Jillian's help anymore.

(Mo is either the safest man in the house right now because people are going to dump Tracey at the earliest chance they get, or he's doomed because people are going to keep Tracey around in the hopes that she will actually start to learn something. Personally, I suspect Mo is super-super safe.)

Bob interviews about how much he hates the game and gameplayers. DH points out that this is pretty funny coming from Bob, since he's the game-playing trainer. (Anyone else remember his little "Dane and no one else" instructions?) Further, he consistently has the biggest game-playing, manipulative contestants. (Do the names "Heba" and "Vicky" ring a bell? How about "Jackie"? Or "Neil"?)

Anyway, we get shots of much treadmill running. Sean's looking pretty strong. Mo does his best to copy what other people are being told to do. Danny pounds a tire with a sledgehammer.

Challenge time! I have to admit that I'm liking Sean more and more every show. He's funny! The challenge prize is, naturally, immunity. First team to carry 500lbs (or 250lbs, in the case of the teams with only one person participating) up the ramp wins. They get to choose to carry 10 lbs 50 times a short distance, or 25lbs 20 times a longer distance. Orange, red, brown and black choose the heavier weights. All the other teams choose the lighter weights and the shorter distance. What I like is that everybody else kept going until their flags were up. And then they give a pity help to Mo, which is still great symbolism.

DH: Green, winning a challenge. Where have we seen that before?

Last chance workout! Focus is on the women, or, as Jillian insultingly puts it, the "girls". Liz interviews that she's really nervous that she'll be chosen to weigh in for her team, since she's coming off two fantastic weeks. Amanda tells Bob that Tracey promised her that Tracey would never put her name down for anything, so she's expecting that Rebecca will be weighing in this week. (Foolish girl.) Shay interviews that she's gone from doing 20 seconds on the climber to 6 minutes, and that now she's no longer on her way to death, she's on her way to life. Rock it, Shay! Dina whines that she's tired, and wimps out on the treadmill. Jillian yells at her about choices and calls in Dan to TEST-ih-fah to the power of Jillian to make you believe in yourself! And damn, Dan is good. It works. Dina gets a terrific, kick-ass look on her face and does it. Nice moment. Bob seems to have made it his personal mission to make sure Amanda has a good week this week. She, too, whines a lot and starts crying, but Bob pushes her to finish it.

DH: People are smackin' their faces into walls this week, and knockin' them down.

Time for some gameplay. Dan goes to beg Tracey to put him on the scale this week, because Shay apparently has been sick, and Shay really, really needs to stay in the house. Tracey says some decent things to Dan and then whines about all the pressure once he leaves. Suck it up, cupcake. (Cupcake. Heh.) Pink also comes to beg; they want Rebecca on the scale. Amanda says she knows Tracey has her back. As a response, Tracey wants to know how Pink would vote if Purple fell below the line. Man, Tracey is transparent.

Onto the weigh-in. Ali reiterates that Tracey has all the power tonight. Tracey states that she wouldn't make the same choices if she had it to do all over again, because she didn't like the stress and isolation. Based on the expressions on other people's faces, they don't really buy that. Jillian, still on the warpath, gives Tracey another tongue-lashing and tells Mo to stop the "stick with the team" shtick because, basically, his partner isn't worth it and is going to keep screwing him around at every opportunity.

Green has a poor week, so it's a darn good thing they have immunity. Then as Julio goes up to the scale, we cut to him in an interview making the astute observation that the only things you control are how you eat and how you work, so you should just stop stressing out about the other stuff. (A lesson Tracey has clearly chosen not to learn.) Unfortunately, he, too, fails to make great things happen on the scale. And from hereon out, it's all about Tracey's decisions. Liz is still down on her chances for the week, and sure enough, she's chosen. Both she and Danny do poorly, but it's lucky that Liz was the one that counts, as she had the better percentage. Rudy is chosen for Blue, which was totally the right choice from Blue's perspective, as he loses more than 3% whereas Dina screws the pooch. Tracey betrays Pink by choosing Amanda, and tries to make it out like this is really a vote of faith in Amanda's ability to succeed. Again, nobody's buying it, and Pink is now quite pissed off and gunning for Tracey. Tracey chooses Sean for Red, which I thought was weird since it was Antoine who had the cupcakes. This freaks Sean right out, and for good reason, as he doesn't do very well. For Orange, Tracey picks Shay, and wow, Tracey's just making enemies all over the damn house, eh? Shay doesn't pull the number she needs, and now everyone is seriously, SERIOUSLY pissed off at Tracey because she's put purposely put Shay in danger (a massive no-no since Shay really needs to stay) for her own advantage, even though everyone's numbers were very low tonight and Tracey already had a 2-lb advantage. However, unrepentant, we see Tracey asking in an interview, what is wrong with playing the game? Finally, she chooses herself to weigh in, which I figured was really dumb since this is basically her week two.

(Hey, if Tracey falls below the yellow line, d'you think everyone will make an impassioned plea to keep Mo around? Would the producers buy it if they did? Ah, wishful thinking, how sweet you are.)

However, I'm completely wrong because Tracey blows it out of the water, winning the whole weigh-in commandingly, even without her two-pound avantage. And Red knows they're doomed, because nobody wants Shay to go home.

Milestones achieved this week:

  • Daniel and Rebecca hit the 25lb total weight loss mark
  • Rudy hit the 50lb total weight loss mark
  • Tracey dropped below 225lbs
  • Rebecca dropped below 250lbs
  • Rudy dropped below 400lbs
  • Tracey and Amanda hit the 5% total weight loss mark
  • Allen, Antoine, Rebecca and Rudy hit the 10% total weight loss mark
  • Julio moved from being super-obese to being morbidly obese
  • Tracey moved from being morbidly obese to being clinically obese

But overall, it looks like week 3 is the new week 2.

Deliberation sucks. Shay reveals that she despises herself. But Antoine and Sean take the bullet for her. Aren't they absolutely lovely. I teared up as the guys told the house that they have good support systems at home. Sean imitates the forgiveness of God himself and tells Tracey he loves her. (Thank you, youth pastor background.) The show tries to throw in some suspense about the elimination results before we hit commercial, but they're not fooling anybody - we say goodbye to Antoine and Sean. Wahhh.

Back at home, Sean is down to 324lbs, and it really shows. (Basically, he's lost one me off his body.) He's definitely on that journey! He's enjoying running with his children, and his wife is pretty thrilled about the changes. Sean encourages everybody at home who thinks they can't do it to just start. His new baby is due any day now, and apparently they're planning to name her Jillian.

Meanwhile, Antoine has lost 105 and is down to 262lbs. And day-um, look at those muscles! He's doing kickboxing now, albeit awkwardly. He brings flowers to Alexandra and they seem really happy, although I totally could have done without her posing the way she thinks a model should after she emerged from the car. (Barf.) They are active together, and Antoine sees a future for them together. All is fantastic in Antoine-land. Enjoy it, man!

(Crap, but that was feel-good.)

Possible milestones next week:

  • Daniel, Danny, Dina, Julio, Liz, Mo, Shay and Tracey could all hit the 10% mark for total weight loss
  • Liz and Tracey could hit the total weight loss mark of 25lbs
  • Danny and Shay could hit the total weight loss mark of 50lbs
  • Rebecca and Allen could move from being morbidly obese to being clinically obese

It's going to be really fun at the beginning of next week's show post-elimination, eh? Any bets on how long Tracey will live once they get back into the house?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/09/22

Week two: Extreme Teambuilding Workshop

Since the viewers can't be counted on to remember what happens from one week to the next, we have to recap last week's elimination, in detail. Everyone's DEVASTATED that Alexandra is gone. Shay in particular is annoyed because Julio, starting at 407 pounds, pulled just a 13lb loss (that's 3.19%, by the way). The fact that she herself pulled "only" 17lbs and she started at 476 (for a not-too-much-higher percentage of 3.57%) doesn't seem to slow her down. This marks the beginning of Shay's hate-on for Julio, which will be one of the major themes of the week. Antoine is also bummed because he just said good-bye to his future girlfriend. (Yes, according to an interview with Alexandra, she and Antoine are now dating.)

Ali then explains the deal for the next weigh-in: if they lose a combined total of at least 150lbs, nobody gets eliminated. But if they fail to reach this goal, TWO people are going home.

Danny is the first person to point out that this has to be a group effort. Mo then pulls out his mad coaching skillz and whips them up emotionally into the best team evah. He also calls upon Daniel to scare the shit out of everyone by telling them about his Week 2 experience from last season. Finally, Mo makes it clear that Julio "owes". I don't know about you, but I am loving me some Coach Mo. :)

Sure enough, at the first workout, everyone's working diligently. Bob and Jillian arrive and see the results of the first elimination. They, too, freak everyone out by describing the inescapable horror that is Week 2. The contestants all then babble simultaneously to tell them about the 150lb goal. Bob and Jillian seem extremely doubtful that this is possible, but they give it a shot anyway. Jillian stresses that nutrition has to be key. She and Bob team up to get things going. Bob makes people cry, especially Danny.

Workout done, Dina is freaking out. Rudy has been trying to reassure her about her ability to pull the numbers, but it's not working. Bob has a big long blah blah blah boring "chill out" talk with her that I think we could have done without, although I must admit that Rudy and Dina have such a good connection that I think they're my favourite team.

Last week, I expressed delight that the product placements looked like they'd be more straightforward this season. Alas, not so. We are treated to an extended advertisement for Ziploc stand-up baggies, masquerading as a portion control lesson from Jillian to the Brown team. Ugh. Let's move on... the hospital! It's time to get back to Tracey. Mo goes over to hand off her purple shirt, and she's really happy that she wasn't booted off the ranch in the first week.

Back on the ranch, Daniel waxes poetic about how he's never seen unity in the house before like they have right now. But then in the gym, Julio takes a potty break and Daniel and Shay discuss what a slacker he is. Admittedly, most of the negativity is from Shay, who interviews over and over (and, later, over and over again) about her lack of belief and trust in Julio, and then offers Julio some help and trite "we're a team" comments.

(Mark's Work Warehouse is offering a no-line, no-wedgie pantie. I'll believe that when I see it...but I'm intrigued.)

The team is complete when Tracey arrives at the ranch. She's really relieved at how welcoming and nice everybody is. Her state of health still isn't at the point where she can do the big gung-ho workouts that everyone else can do, but she's going to do what she can, although she's intimidated by the prospect of catching up with the rest of the house. She does a bit of a one-on-one with Bob who gives her a pep talk, tells her that her nutrition needs to be top-of-the-line this week, and - BAM! We're sideswiped with another product placement! Goddamn.

Time to learn and be quizzed; and, if you're female, to swoon, because "world-class chef" Curtis Stone is here to blather endlessly on about nutrition in the hopes that some of it will sink in. (Rebecca in particular gets annoyingly giggly about Curtis's hotness...which I don't really see myself, but hey, it takes all kinds.) And seriously, we have an entire montage of Curtis going on and on and they all look like bunnies in the headlights. Why they didn't get given notepads and pens is beyond me. Although Sean's professed soda worship did have me giggling. After Curtis is done running off at the mouth, Ali quizzes the contestants, pair by pair, about things they've supposedly just learned. This test is a pretty big deal, though, because if they all answer five questions correctly, their weight goal for total safety this week will drop from 150lbs to 135lbs. There are a few tense moments, but Rudy and Dina save the day and prevent the challenge from hinging on Julio (prompting another dig at Julio in interviews with Shay)b. Everyone is jubilant. Curtis then gives us an oh-so-Australian snack tip - just throw some pineapple on the barbie!

Cut to commercial, and I completely tear up at the Ontario health care ad. The last situational profile is clearly a gay couple...shown as just another relationship, just part of the human landscape, no fuss, totally normal, in an official government commerical? LOVE. IT. THAT'S the kind of imagery we need to penetrate the societal subconscious. Nice work. Keep it coming, marketing industry!

Challenge time! This is a group challenge, which means group prizes. Contestants have to make it across water on four different balance beams to various rafts. The balance beams get smaller and smaller after each raft. If even one contestant falls into the drink, the challenge is over. Each successfully-reached-by-everybody raft contains a prize: 5 more pounds off the weekly goal on raft #1, 5 additional pounds off the weekly goal on raft #2, phone calls home for everybody on raft #3 (Danny starts to lose it), and 10 MORE pounds off the weekly goal on the final raft. I have serious doubts that this will go at all well, but to my absolute delight, they make it across to ALL FOUR RAFTS!!! DH and I were totally fist-pumping after each raft. That third phone-call raft in particular really seemed to unite them all beautifully.

Time for the phone calls home, set to the dulcet tones of Danny's guitar. (Remember, he used to be a "rock star".) Julio's mom questions his manhood when she thinks she hears him crying. Rudy's all smiles as he talks to his wife.

And then, DH asks, "Who's Abby going to call?", and I lost it. But she does have someone to talk to; she rings her mom and tells her that she climbed a mountain, and two little butterflies followed her the whole way, which is so heartbreaking. Cue my waterworks again.

A friend of mine, very into medieval Viking culture - young, strong, dominant personality, full of life - was killed in a car accident some years ago. After he died, I heard a story about a time when he was out with another friend, and they saw two ravens land on the ground near them. He pointed the ravens out to my other friend and simply said, "The old man is watching." Now, whenever I see what I think are ravens, I can't help but think of my friend. Abby's butterfly story reminded me of that, and made the whole thing even more emotional. Dammit, her situation is so unfair.

The tear-fest continues with Danny phoning his daughter and Sean finding out that his next baby is going to be a girl. I predict that Danny and Sean are going to be the Crying Men of this season, a la Mark and Jay from season 5.

(DH: And from this, we go to Jillian's screams.)

It's time to ditch the hankies and pull out the napkins, because it's time to chow down on Subway sandwiches! Jillian and Bob come in and pull the rug out from under everybody's triumph about getting the weekly goal down to 115lbs. They send everybody down to the gym to start the last chance workout while they figure out their strategy. Jillian joins Shay on the Julio hate-train and tells Bob to destroy him...which he happily does.

Fun moment of the week: Bob and Jillian doing a tug-of-war with Rudy, with everybody else cheering Rudy on.

Bob: Pull, Jillian!
Jillian: I AM pulling, Bob!

Jillian reveals that the gym is like a truth serum; all the physical exhaustion breaks people's defences down. Shay is our illustration of this this week. She hasn't been happy her whole life, she hasn't been able to let go of her mom's problems, she doesn't believe she deserves to be happy. Bob makes her say that she does. Hopefully being in this house really can help her out.

Moment of truth: weigh-in. Everyone's nervous. Julio wants to prove that he should be here. That 115lb goal looms large in everybody's mind.

Pink goes up first and screws the pooch, panicking everybody, especially Amanda, who has yet to post a good number. However, as Rebecca was going up the steps I did notice that she has lovely curvy hips - I'm really looking forward to her figure taking definition as the weeks go by.

(I think it's hilarious that they're playing Trojan commercials during the breaks. I don't think that sort of thing would happen for American viewers. :)

However, everyone else blows Week 2 right the hell away and hits the 115lb goal! And squinty-man Julio is the one who tips them over into safety, prompting Shay to eat crow. After that, with the orange team still left to weigh in, Bob gets cocky and says that the whole team is even going to hit that original 150lb goal. Daniel's answering facial expression is priceless. But...they do it! Everyone's feeling pretty damn invincible and united and this, baby, is good TV.

Great line, from Shay: "The fifteen of us just showed Week 2 where to shove it. :::giggle:::"

Milestones reached this week:

  • Shay dropped below 450lbs
  • Danny dropped below 400lbs
  • Allen and Daniel dropped below 300lbs (MASSIVE milestone for Dan)
  • Liz dropped below 250lbs
  • Abby dropped below 225lbs
  • Abby, Allen, Antoine, Danny, Julio, Mo, Sean and Shay all hit the total weight loss mark of 25lbs
  • Abby hit 10% of total weight loss
  • Antoine, Daniel, Dina, Julio, Liz, Sean and Shay hit 5% of total weight loss
  • Rudy moved from super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Dina and Liz moved from morbidly obese to clinically obese

Biggest loser of the week: Julio!

Next week, will they keep up the momentum? Will Week 3 become the new Week 2? Only time will tell! Watch for the following milestones:

  • Rudy and Sean could drop below 400lbs
  • Rebecca could drop below 250lbs
  • Tracey could drop below 225lbs
  • Rudy could hit the total weight loss mark of 50lbs
  • Daniel, Rebecca and Liz could hit the total weight loss mark of 25lbs
  • Allen, Danny, Julio, Liz, Mo, Rebecca, Rudy, Sean, Shay and Antoine could hit the 10% total weight loss mark
  • Amanda and Tracey could hit the 5% total weight loss mark
  • Julio could move from super-obese to morbidly obese
  • Rebecca could move from morbidly obese to clinically obese

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/09/15

Welcome to Season 8 of The Biggest Loser, subtitled "Second Chances". Because this is the theme.

DH and I are immediately irritated because the quality of our recording sucked. The sound cuts out or is overlaid by static a lot of the time, and the video kept pixellating, so we missed a fair bit of dialogue. We weren't sure if it was the tape or the broadcast itself, although hearing from other people who watched the show suggests it was the broadcast. But I think we got the general gist of most of what happened.

We open with a montage preview of the season, and then cut to the contestants in the bus on their way to the ranch, talking about their problems. Before they get to the ranch, however, they turn off the road near the beach, where Alison is waiting. That's right, they haven't even gotten to the ranch yet and already we are piling on the twists! Because right where they are now is the starting point of the last mile of the marathon that the final 4 ran right at the end of the previous season. Today, they're racing that last mile, and the rewards are pretty big: immunity AND first pick for who's going to be your teammate, who will also get immunity. Everyone is stoked.

Before they get going, however, there's yet another twist, and this one fits beautifully into the Second Chances theme: Daniel from last season is back! Fresh off of a 142-pound weight loss, he is still morbidly obese and has been brought back to continue his journey, this time with way more self-assuredness and energy, which is absolutely lovely to see. Everyone lines up at the starting point. Tracey vows to kick ass in this race, which is really stupid, since Daniel has been working up his endurance for months and is basically a pretty fit guy surrounded by a lot of fat. In fact, in his at-home profile, which was filmed quite some time before this point, he told us that he was able to run for over 19 minutes straight. So I'm thinking Tracey is pretty clueless to think she has a chance here. However, she goes for it anyway, zipping ahead right off the bat. Unsurprisingly, she runs out of steam and swears with annoyance as Daniel passes her, shouting encouragement as he goes, despite all the trash-talking she did with him. (So far, I'm not a Tracey fan.) He wins handily, which is beautifully poetic since he kept coming last in all the challenges last season. Everybody else does well, except for Mo, who gets dehydrated and has to go to the hospital; and Tracey, who pushed herself way too hard, needs to be dragged over the finish line, gets this horrible glassy stare before she passes out, and becomes non-responsive. She, too, is taken to hospital.

Next, it's time to pick partners. In order to have a tiny bit of knowledge about the people they're choosing from, the contestants are given an hour to exchange their stories. We're shown a few of them to get a bit more insight about some of these people, and the most heartbreaking tale of all is Abby's. She was married with two children, one of whom was just a few weeks old, when her husband and children were in a fatal car accident and now she's alone. Which is just one of the most terrible things I've ever heard in my life. This guarantees that my waterworks are going to come on automatically every time Abby is shown on the screen for the rest of the season. We also hear about Shay, whose mother was a drug addict and died young. Shay was raised in foster care. Needless to say, she has issues.

After that, it's time to choose partners. Daniel is up first, and he's given his orange shirt back. He chooses Shay as his partner, thus bestowing immunity on her. I didn't write down the order of the rest of the choices, but the eight teams are as follows:

  • green: Abby and Allen
  • black: Alexandra and Julio
  • pink: Amanda and Rebecca
  • red: Antoine and Sean
  • orange: Daniel and Shay
  • brown: Danny and Liz
  • blue: Dina and Rudy
  • purple: Mo and Tracey

Time to work out! We are told that there are no "sides" this year; Bob and Jillian are jointly training everyone. (At least for now, since nothing ever stays the same in The Biggest Loser house.) Shay wimps out at one point and quits, leaving the building. Jillian wisely tells Bob that they should leave her alone and see what happens when people stop paying attention to her. Fortunately, Shay sucks it up and gets back inside. Her reward: more working out.

Everyone is relieved when Mo gets back safe and sound from the hospital. Tracey, however, is still there. Since they weren't around for partner-picking, by default they are partners with each other, but Mo is on his own for now. No pressure.

It's time to flash the nation your organs with Dr. H! Everybody is put through huge amounts of testing, which apparently is going to advance obesity science. I thought the thing where they monitor brain activity while the contestants are making food choices was particuarly cool. After the testing, several contestants get huge wake-up calls. Mo is biologically 69 as opposed to his actual age of 55, and is scared shitless about that. Likewise, Shay is biologically 45 as opposed to 30, and once again demonstrates that she has issues coming out the wazoo. Especially frightening is the shot of her skeleton surrounded by a huge layer of fat. Meanwhile, Sean is in complete denial. He put "no health problems" on his questionnaire, but Dr. H tells him that he actually has Type II diabetes. This makes Sean dissolve into tears.

We move on to the last chance workout. It contains the usual screaming and yelling and barfing. Mo's fighting for Tracey. Jillian calls Julio "bitch" and spouts off the line, "Julio, there's no crying with tractor tires!" (Duh, when Jillian's around, there's no crying with ANYTHING.) What I did like was that Julio came back and kissed Jillian, that was pretty sweet. (Along the lines of 'Thank you ma'am, may I have another?') Bob tells us that he thinks this group has a lot of baggage. Gee Bob, ya think? We get some extremely unflattering shots of Jillian as she's yelling at Alexandra.

It's then time for the week's product placement, which is at least blessedly overt and bearable. It's Bob, Alison and Jillian telling us directly about the thing we should buy, instead of having the contestants lamely make happy noises about the product as the show attempts to make us believe that this is a totally spontaneous moment at the ranch.

And now, the moment of truth: weigh-in. This week's deal is that only one team will fall below the yellow line; and one member of that team will go home. Everyone looks SHOCKED by this, which is pretty dumb; have they not seen the show? At least one person going home per week is part of the whole PREMISE. Mo has to weigh in for his team alone as Tracey is still out of commission.

Milestones achieved:

  • Julio went below 400lbs
  • Mo went below 350lbs
  • Alexandra went below 300lbs
  • Dina and Antoine went below 250lbs
  • a number of contestants have now lost 5% or more of their total bodyweight: Mo, Danny, Allen, Abby, Rudy and Rebecca
  • Amanda and Abby went from being morbidly obese to clinically obese

Rebecca is the individual weight loss winner. DH is supremely impressed and believes she is a serious threat. She is wearing pink, after all.

But in the end, it's the black team below the yellow line, mostly thanks to Julio, who had one of the lowest individual loss percentages this week and was profiled as doing a lot of falling down during the last-chance workout. His partner Alexandra seems pretty pissed about all of that. Both make good cases for themselves back at the ranch. The decision is between person-who-deserves-to-stay vs. person-who-needs-to-stay. Need wins out over merit and Alexandra is given the boot by a vote of 4-3. She's very gracious about it in the elimination room, so good for her. Back at home, we find that she's down 60 pounds and her face sure does look great. Unfortunately, she seems to have mastered the annoying Leah Miller-esque style of posing for the camera. Ugh. However, she's motivating her friends and family to be healthier. She speaks of her increased self-confidence, and lets us in on the fact that she had a crush on someone at the ranch but was too shy to act upon it. Apparently we should stay tuned for the finale when we will find out who it was. Ooh, big secret. Assuming that she's hetero (which I think is safe to do since unfortunately I don't think it's likely that a mainstream American show would overtly plug a lesbian relationship), and eliminating all the married people and older dudes, it's either Antoine or Daniel. Big mystery.

Next week, look for the following achievements at weigh-in:

  • Shay could drop below 450lbs
  • Danny and Rudy could drop below 400lbs
  • Daniel will in all likelihood drop below 300lbs
  • Allen could drop below 300lbs
  • Liz could drop below 250lbs
  • Rudy could move from super obese to morbidly obese
  • Dina and Liz could move from morbidly obese to clinically obese