Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/10/13

So I'm really pissed off at City TV. They're supposed to show The Biggest Loser, so, as usual, I set my VCR to record that channel at 8pm. I come down at 8:30 from putting the girls to bed to discover that City is instead showing Hell's Kitchen. F--k. (No, I don't have a PVR. Anyone who would like to buy one for me, please feel free to let me know. :) So for once I'm actually glad that they give detailed recaps after returning from some of the commercial breaks - I was able to see that there was some kind of Wheel of Fortune-esque temptation, which - surprise, surprise, since game power was involved - Tracey won.

Since it's now apparently time to split the group into Black (Jillian) and Blue (Bob) teams, the power reward for this temptation was the ability to assign who goes to which team. Tracey, of course - being selfish, ruthless, paranoid, and possessing about as much empathy as a sociopath - makes mincemeat of the former pairings and stacks her team (Blue, of course, since Jillian won't tolerate her crap) with strength. The new teams are:

Jillian's Black Team:

  • Abby
  • Amanda
  • Daniel
  • Danny
  • Dina
  • Shay

Bob's Blue Team:

  • Allen
  • Liz
  • Mo
  • Rebecca
  • Rudy
  • Tracey

Those who have been following story will notice that a lot of pairs have been split up: Amanda and Rebecca, Danny and Liz, and Dina and Rudy, all six of whom are now royally pissed off, not merely because they were split, but because Tracey apparently gave some kind of "I'm making decisions from the heart" bullshit as she was pulling this purely gameplay-driven crap. I'm sure Abby, Daniel and Shay are none too pleased, either, at having been stuck on the "weak team". This marks the second time that Tracey has screwed with Liz, who is supposed to be her best friend in the house. (Way to go, Tracey.) This is enough for Liz, who, cloistered in a bedroom with Danny and Dina, vows to get seriously evil on Tracey's ass. Her plan is to be all nicey-nice to Tracey and then, when the opportunity presents itself, to stab her in the back by voting her off, and telling her exactly why in the process. Danny and Dina lap this up like gravy and look really gleeful, both at the prospect of this actually happening and the lengths to which Liz will go to get revenge. Personally, I'm on Liz's side.

Workout time! Amanda's face is looking very slender, I must say. And I have never seen anybody so cheerful about throwing up. "Here it comes!" she chirps before she rushes outside to hurl, even pointing out some green apple chunks when Jillian comes out to make sure it's actual puke. (Yum.) Meanwhile, Liz is torn up about Danny working out on the other side of the room. But like a trouper, she pushes herself like crazy...and falls over. Things don't look good. Gosh, I hope she's okay. We draw out the suspense by going to commercial. But when we return, Liz appears to actually have passed out. I start getting really worried. But then...she's back. What happens when a southern woman gets mad, asks Jillian? "We get even," Liz says. I am loving me some Liz.

Dina is scared shitless to jump up on a stool. A really short stool, I might add. Jillian looks on in disgust. Dina confesses she's afraid. Jillian says Dina doesn't want to let go of the story where Dina is the failure, so...Dina quits. (Brilliant.) Rudy goes to her and asks her what her block is, because there's got to be something. Dina says she's never counted on herself before. Rudy - who is fantastically awesome in his perceptiveness and support, tells her that she needs to start relying on herself. Rudy gets her back into the gym and Dina goes for it! But man, she really sucks at jumping. Rudy tells her "You're trying not to." Rudy takes the Blue team out of the gym and tells Dina to keep trying. It doesn't work.

Bob takes his team grocery shopping to shill Jennie O. Then they go back to the sunny, birdsong-filled grounds of the ranch for a delightful picnic lunch with Jennie O. Tracey waxes poetic, thanks to Jennie O, about how great it is to sit down, with Jennie O, and eat as a team. (Team, right. Snort. How little she knows.)

Onto the challenge. Shay notes that the Blue team is so much stronger, but maybe Black has bigger hearts because they're the underdogs. (Jillian's team as the underdogs? The hell, you say!) This week's challenge is about carrying each other. Liz thinks it's going to be a piggyback challenge. And indeed, it's a race: up the hill, through two stretches of mud, and on to the finish line, all the while carrying a litter upon which will sit one of the team members. Which team member is carried can be switched at any time during the race, though, which is a good option to have. The prize is videos from home, so Dina really wants to win this one. Tracey and Abby, as usual, have to sit out. There is a brief strategy discussion among the teams before the race starts, and Dina interviews that she doesn't want to be the one on the litter. However, she ends up there anyway.

Go! Blue edges Black behind them on the narrow stretch of path that the race starts with. Black pauses and Blue keeps going. Rebecca, who was being carried, interviews that she had visions of Cleopatra, but that the reality is NOTHING like the fantasy. No grapes. :) Blue pauses, Black makes up some ground. Blue hits the mud first, which is apparently quite tough and slippy. But they make it through. When Black hits the mud, Amanda's shoe falls off! She refuses to let people stop so she can fish it out, and instead switches places with Dina on the litter, to Dina's delight. However, Black then has some serious problems with people hitting a wall. Daniel in particular has a tough time, and does non-team-player stuff like stopping suddenly without warning anybody, or trying a weird new grip that throws everyone else's balance off. (Way to go, Dan.) As Shay begins screaming at him, we go to commercial. However, there's not much suspense in that and Blue makes it over the finish line first. They manage to park their litter nicely in their blue dot before Black even touches the finish line.

Liz is happy to win but is still gunning to take Tracey out. Allen and Rudy are especially (and touchingly) grateful to receive their videos. As Dina sniffles regretfully, Rebecca takes a deep breath and then offers to give up her video so Dina can watch hers. And that's just the sweetest thing ever. I get all tingly and vorklempt. As the two ladies hug, Rebecca tries to inspire Dina to overcome this stool-jumping problem. Unfortunately, this strategy backfires, as Dina decides not to take the offer of the video until she can get on the stool by herself. So Rebecca ends up watching her sister sing an adlibbed song really, really badly. :) We hear that although Rebecca is the younger sister, she's always been the bigger sister, and that one of her goals is for HER to be the one to get the piggyback ride.

Allen sees his wife and daughter. Rudy sees his wife, daughters, and dog, and his wife tells him that she wants a 75th wedding anniversary, dammit, and now there's no excuse. :) Rudy gets just the sweetest glow when he talks about how amazing his wife is. A whole bunch of people from Mo's family make appearances, including some lovely little girls and the CUTEST LITTLE BABY ZOMG!!! Tracey's husband tells her he's been sleeping on the couch because he can't sleep in their bed without her. He seems really into her and hugely sad that she isn't there. Now, I have to admit that that's really sweet, but it doesn't change my mind that she's a lunatic. I feel sorry for the dude.

Finally, Liz comes to visit Danny in his room because she wants company to watch her video with. He says he'd be honoured, and she says he's her rock, so they go downstairs together and turn on the television. And...surprise! Turns out they're watching DANNY's video! He's gobsmackedly delighted, and Liz looks really tickled to have been able to do that for him. Turns out that Danny's family has been doing great in his absence - his wife's lost 20lbs, and his in-laws have lost an average of 20lbs apiece, too. His wife tells him not to worry about her at all, she's got lots of support (the subtext being to go right ahead and focus on himself while he's at the ranch). As the video winds to a close, Danny still can't believe Liz gave up her video for him. Again, how sweet is that! That is good TV, my friends. Damn good.

Jillian goes for a teambuilding exercise as a last chance workout. Dina points out that the Black team's big strength is Jillian. Bob uses the last chance workout to build focus for his team by shilling 24-Hour Fitness gyms. They do a step class. Meanwhile, Jillian's team is doing trust exercises. Abby clearly has complete trust in Danny and his crazy eyes. Amanda finds it easier to focus when she's not distracted by seeing Bob's team working out. Tracey seems to have been given the green light on exercise because she's actually on a treadmill. Finally, the last group effort Black does is get Dina to jump on the stool. Dina tells us that we don't see all the pain and suffering that goes on on the ranch. Honestly, honey, the worst pain and suffering is over here on this end of the television, watching your pathetic attempts to jump. Seriously, what is WRONG with her?!? She needs to go and play with some children for a few hours.

Weigh-in. Tracey is worried that her team won't win and that people will think she made bad choices. Honey, newsflash? EVERYONE ALREADY THINKS YOU MAKE SHITTY CHOICES. Allen is annoyingly overconfident. Since Tracey is responsible for this mess, she gets to weigh in first. She says she feels eyes on her back: daggers. She accuses people of being immature children who are whining because she took away their crayons. I so hate her. But she loses seven pounds and YET AGAIN, nobody (myself included) can believe the weight loss this woman keeps posting! She gloats and tells her detractors, "How dare you be judgmental?" in an interview. I so hate her even more.

As the weigh-in progresses, wonderful things start to happen. Liz beats Tracey for weight loss percentage, which means that Tracey will not have immunity if it's Blue below the yellow line. Moreoever, Black starts to post really good numbers, and Danny reveals that he's off all his meds, which is awesome! (Although he says "finay" to describe this. "FINAY"?!? Sweetie, I think you mean "fini". Danny, I love ya, but if you don't speak French, then please...don't try to speak French.)

Finally, we are down to just Daniel and Shay, and I'm scared out of my mind that they won't be able to push the Black team out of danger, since they haven't been dropping good numbers lately. But Daniel hits it out of the park, leaving Shay the responsibility of losing eight pounds. That's only 1.85% of her bodyweight, but I'm still super-nervous. Shay's already crying as we cut to commercial. But when we return, Black goes absolutely apeshit as Shay drops SIXTEEN POUNDS. She's pretty damn gleeful, too, and does a happy speech about not letting the decisions of others affect the control you have over your own life. Whee! Tracey attempts to keep her chin up, and Liz sports a knowing smirk as Shay makes her way back to her team. Rebecca doesn't even try to hide her glee. And when Ali announces that Liz is the biggest loser of the Blue team, thus possessing immunity, Danny is stunned and delighted.

And that's when it all starts going to hell. Blue team goes back to Rebecca's room to deliberate. Rudy mentions that they need to think about the future of the team. Tracey points out (quite rightly) that she consistently posts great numbers, despite all odds. However, before anyone can point out that perhaps it might be more advantageous to have a low-losing member of the team stick around instead of a raving psychopath, Mo decides to fall on the sword because he doesn't want to "take advantage" of another person when it's actually he who isn't pulling the weight on his team. Rebecca goes ballistic in an interview, because she really wants Tracey gone. Finally, Mo and Tracey leave the room, leaving Rebecca, Liz, Allen and Rudy to hash it out. Those four together could totally give Tracey the axe, but suddenly Allen and Liz are conflicted? The hell? Rebecca points out that Tracey makes things insane; do they want another week like that? Rudy also makes the point that they should consider who helps them mentally, and that Mo is a better choice to keep if you look at it that way. Liz, who doesn't want to reveal her hand to Tracey unless she's absolutely sure it's the right moment, is getting really wishy-washy.

JUST VOTE FOR TRACEY, PEOPLE!!! All you had to do was work on Allen for a few minutes and I'm sure he would have seen reason!!! Geez, if you can't think of your own sanity, at least think of the poor viewing audience who has to put up with Tracey from week to week! AUGH!!!

However, since apparently nobody has a spine on this team, they all go into the elimination room and unanimously kick out Mo. I can't. Fucking. Believe it.

The one silver lining is that Mo seems to be doing decently at home. He's down to 279lbs, and has incorporated nutrition into the focus of his youth organization in addition to sport. He certainly does look more glowy and happy, and I don't think that's just because he shaved off the facial hair. His goal is to lose 150lbs by the finale, which is completely delusional since the finale is in just eight weeks, but hey, all power to him, even if he is responsible for making Tracey show up on my television screen for at least another week.

Milestones achieved this week:

  • Amanda and Dina dropped under 225lbs
  • Amanda, Daniel, Dina and Shay hit the 10% total weight loss mark
  • Abby, Rebecca and Rudy hit the 15% total weight loss mark
  • Amanda and Dina hit the 25lbs of total weight loss mark
  • Danny and Shay hit the 50lbs of total weight loss mark

Next week, we could see the following milestones:

  • Allen and Daniel could drop below 275lbs
  • Allen, Liz, Shay, Tracey and Danny could hit 15% of total weight loss
  • Allen could hit 50lbs of total weight loss
  • Rudy could hit 75lbs of total weight loss
  • Abby could move from clinically obese to obese

Also next week (SPOILERS):

Jam! listings: Two teams head to the beach to dig for buried treasure; one team goes home to emotional reunions with loved ones, while the other tries to make the most of time alone on campus.

TV Guide listings: The teams hunt for buried treasure on the beach in hopes of winning a trip home to visit loved ones. But when members of the winning team are home, some struggle to continue making healthy choices. The team back on the ranch, however, focuses on losing weight and making the most of the time alone on campus. Also: the players work at a food bank; a contestant has a breakthrough.

Next week is my birthday. D'you suppose the universe would give me Tracey going home as a present?

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