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

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