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?

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