Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/10/27

We start off with the Black team returning from the elimination, sans Dina. Naturally, Rudy - Dina's former teammate - looks bummed. Liz, however, seems unreasonably incensed and invites Black in an interview to "kiss my ass". She accuses them of crocodile tears and having some kind of "young people" alliance. I'm not sure where all this venom is coming from - I mean, it makes sense that there would be, if not an alliance, at least a strong connection, among people who have a lot in common, so that's not the most awful thing to do, as far as I'm concerned. And I also don't think that just because a voting block saved one of their own means that they can't be genuinely sad that the person they did vote off is gone. Maybe Liz is just petrified for Danny's safety and it's coming out as viciousness, but it's not making her look very nice. Combine that with a bonus scene I found at where it turns out that she hid all but one of the blenders because she felt the Black team wasn't cleaning up after themselves and thus did not "deserve" all the blenders until such a time as they proved they could keep things clean? She's starting to look like a bitch. And not in the good way. (Although I must say that she really deserves to be pissed off after having to clean mould and slime off a bunch of blenders, and I do agree with a bunch of her logic...she still comes off as a bitch.)

Link to said video

This week is face-off at the weigh-in. Black and Blue team members will face each other one-on-one, and the person with the bigger percentage of weight loss wins a point for their team. The team with the most points at the end of the weigh-in wins the weigh-in. When he finds this out, Danny's jaw hits the ground and stays there. It's a gormless look for him, I don't recommend that he keep that up. DH: "Anything they can do to pit the teams against each other to create drama." This is, however, an opportunity for Shay to recall last season for us, with Kristin's hilarious tactic of putting a picture of Filipe on her treadmill as motivation.

So how are the face-offs arranged? Why, the team who wins the mini-challenge gets to pick, of course! Liz tells us that this mini-challenge is crucial, as this is the pivoting point of the game. But it's a pretty strange challenge, which focuses on the contestants' ability to move fast while switching between different levels. Each team gets a really short "track" kind of set-up. At each end of the track is a hanging medallion tag kind of thing that they have to reach up and tap when they get to them; and in the middle of the track is a low bar that they have to duck under. Each team has to complete 500 circuits of this track. And the rules are that only one team member can run the track at a time, and each person can only get one turn to do so in the whole game. (So if you have to bow out before your team hits 500, that's it for you and the rest of your teammates have the responsibility of finishing.) First team to hit 500 wins.

Towards the end of the challenge, it's Daniel and Rebecca going head-to-head. Rebecca looks prety fresh and fast, and pulls ahead. She interviews about it as we go, talking at about a million miles an hour, she's so excited about the need to win. And indeed, she pulls it off, leaping for the last tag and actually breaking it off entirely. Daniel, meanwhile, is getting frustrated that he can't pull through. As Shay tells us, "Losing every single"

After some consultation with each other, which Tracey is freaking out about, Blue decides the faceoffs will be as follows:

  • Rebecca vs. Amanda (good friends, but very competitive; as they step forward to face each other, Rebecca attempts to get all Black Girl on Amanda's ass, to pathetic effect)
  • Tracey vs Abby
  • Allen vs Danny (this'll be interesting)
  • Rudy vs Shay (who were hilarious with each other as they stepped forward, I love them)
  • Liz vs Daniel (Tennessee vs North Carolina)

For some bizarre reason, Liz is selling herself short. She says that her odds against Daniel are not good. I think she's on crack and I beg to differ; the stats are waaay in favour of Liz. Don't they have freakin' spreadsheet programs on the computers at the ranch? Shay isn't particularly worried, though, because courage and your heart can get you further than your head and the numbers. Okayyy...that's a nice sentiment, Shay, but it's the numbers which actually keep SCORE around here, so you might want to pay attention to them. DH reminds me at this point that we should not factor out JILLIAN as an advantage which the Black team possesses. Tracey interviews that she's all set to kick some Black ass at this face-off weigh-in, and actually RUNS OUT OF THE INTERVIEW to get into the gym. I am not appreciating her attempt to be cute.

But speaking of manic...has Rebecca been upping her caffeine intake? Like seriously, the girl is now completely Micro Machines guy when she speaks!

So, it's time to work out. Bob works out his people in the pool. DH, who used to swim at the master's level and is sick of not seeing people in the pool: "FINALLY!!!" Meanwhile, Jillian has her people sweating buckets in the gym. Amanda does a lot of whining; a LOT. Like, at one point I think only dogs could hear her. This week's excuse is that she can't focus when the cameras are in her face. Yuh huh. Jillian reveals that the reason she's a bitch when she trains is purely for therapy. Alas, though, it doesn't work this time, and Amanda quits, actually leaving the gym. Cut to commercial.

(Me to DH: "Are you feelng sorry for zis saltshaker? Zat is because you are crazy.")

It's World Series week in real life, so we're at the baseball field; even though for the contestants, it's actually around the time of the All-Star game. Everyone has their weight loss poundage as their jersey numbers, and this is deeply symbolic for Danny, who's sporting number 73. He gets totally emotional about this, and believes it means that he really will become Danny the Champion of the World. (Not without pheasants and raisins, baby.) On the field, the contestants are presented with life-size pictures of themselves at the back of enclosed cage-type things, and are truly horrified. Especially Daniel, I'm guessing, because his picture is from the beginning of LAST season when he was 454 pounds, as opposed to the comparatively svelte 312 he started this season with. They're then greeted by baseball great Derek Jeter. No, not in real life. Apparently they couldn't get Jeter to actually come to California; no, he's on the jumbotron. He explains the challenge: there are a bunch of baseballs scattered around the field. Everybody has to gather balls up and throw them at the pictures of their competitors, so that they land in the cages. Once anyone has 316 balls in their cage, they're out of the challenge. (316 is significant because this is Jeter's career batting average, which is extremely impressive, especially considering I'd never heard of the dude. What can I say, I became jaded about the game during the strike and stopped following it.) The winner of the challenge gets Curtis Stone personally cooking lunch for their team. Tracey (like a lot of women who appear on this show, don't ask me why) has a huge hard-on for Curtis Stone, so this is good news for her. Oh, and also? The winning team gets a two-pound advantage at the weigh-in, to be either split up among two people or given to one person.

Abby can't play, so Tracey sits out to make the sides even. Allen heads out to the field first and starts targeting Amanda. Amanda in turn targets Allen, and so does Danny. There's a whole bunch of back and forth that I wrote down but honestly I don't think you all have the patience to read exactly who targeted whom and when, so I'll just tell you that Liz is the last person to be taken out on the Blue team while Shay and Danny are still alive on the field for Black. Black engage in a heck of a group hug in celebration, since this is the first challenge they've ever won. Blue looks bummed. Oh, also, Shay didn't appreciate Blue heckling her during the challenge because her aim sucks. Fortunately, Danny made up for it because his aim was terrific.

Bring on Curtis Stone. Danny makes an unfortunate reference to getting a "hands-on experience" with Curtis. Ahem. Anyhoo...Curtis shows them how to make healthy burgers. To start with, the burgers are based on ground turkey. And then there's an interesting twist: replace the bun with grilled portobello mushrooms! That is so cool. And the whole thing looks really freakin' delish, not to mention that each burger is only 280 calories. Nice. Danny testifies to the flavourfulness of it. Curtis then tells us how to make our own stock out of veggies. Wow, good cooking tips this week!

Back we go to the Black team working out. Everyone's on the treadmill except for Abby, who is rowing, and Jillian has a chin wag with her. It turns out that Abby is finding a purpose again, which is awesome. Jillian stops Abby from rowing for a minute and asks her very seriously what it's like to lose everything you've ever loved. Wow, way to rub lemon juice into the paper cut there, Jillian. We then get more details about the last moments of Abby's family's life, and Abby talks about her survivor's guilt a bit. Jillian, unfortunately, even though she started this sob-fest (and I'm speaking about the viewing audience too, not just Abby), has zero advice. Zero. (And really, who could?) Abby wants to live, rather than exist. Jillian wants to help. Abby tells us that she's finally "in it" again, not just going through the motions. Gosh, Abby's an amazing person. DH reflects that he has no idea how he'd recover from that situation, and I agree.

Then we move on to Amanda, a figure far, FAR less capable of generating audience empathy, but who nonetheless wants to discuss her breakdown in the gym. Jillian tells Amanda that she didn't walk out on her trainer, she walked out on herself. Amanda thinks that Jillian's expectations of her are too high. But the point that Jillian's trying to drive home, of course, is that Amanda is dead wrong about that. (While making every kind of excuse in the book to try to appear right about it, I might add.) Turns out that Amanda is frightened by all these new "powers" she's discovering about herself. She can't let go of the fat girl image she has playing in her head. Also, she's afraid of failing; of starting what Jillian tells her to do and then not being able to do it. I think that's pretty silly; I mean, be afraid of tripping and bonking your head on the treadmill bar, be afraid of passing out, be afraid of puking; but to be afraid of failure ITSELF? Suck it up, cupcake! Jillian seems to agree with me; she tells Amanda she needs to redefine what "failure" means. If she can't run really fast, that's not failure, it's a learning process. So they go work out and try again.

Cut to Allen working out, where the camera keeps wiggling annoyingly every time he impacts the ground. (A few more weeks of this and the contestants will all be able to lurch in unison when this happens, just like the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.) To up the ante (not to mention the nausea factor of the camera jiggles), Bob breaks out an INSANELY high stool for Allen to jump on. It sure looks unscalable to me. DH: "Free. Your. Mind." :) And Allen actually DOES it, man! Day-um!

Cut to Allen's opponent Danny, lifting weights and breaking out his crazy eyes. Then we go to Rebecca and Amanda spinning while facing each other. Shay, meanwhile, is on the ladder again, which she uses as a metaphor of her life. Shay reveals that instead of turning to heroin like her mom did (which probably would have been so easy for her to fall into), she turned to food. She also turned to food because her mom used to turn tricks for drug money while Wee Shay was hiding in a closet in the same room. And wow, I'm really despising her mom right now. I can't be the only person who wanted to hug Shay at that moment. Or better yet, go back in time and give Wee Shay the biggest, most loving cuddle and reassuring her that she's a wonderful kid and that her mother's behaviour is NOT HER FAULT. Particularly during the very heartrending moment where Shay confesses that she couldn't make her mom love her, nor could she save her. Fortunately, though, Jillian is there with the reassurance, and tells Shay that unless she forgives herself and stops blaming herself, nothing will change. Jillian says very clearly that it was Not. Shay's Fault. She was a CHILD. And she can be angry about it. Shay sobs. DH: "Does she [Jillian] have a psych degree or something?" Me: "No, but her mom's a psychotherapist."

Shay takes it out on some boxing.

As we head into the weigh-in, Danny reflects on how much of a rollercoaster week it's been, how high the stakes are, and how seriously the rivalry is getting. Uh, yeah, dude, like, welcome to the Biggest Loser.

Ali points out that this could be a pretty historical weigh-in: if Rudy loses 13 pounds, he will have broken the Biggest Loser record for how quickly anyone has lost 100lbs, that record currently being held by Dane from last season. The Black team decides that the two-pound advantage is all going to Amanda. However, things are not going well for Black. They lose the first two face-offs. When Tracey wins her face-off, she gloats unbecomingly, thus reminding me that I despise her. But OMG! At Rudy's weigh-in, they bring Dane from last season in to witness the potential recordbreaking! This intimidates Rudy, especially since Dane's looking pretty good, not to mention that he's doing a triathlon the next day with twelve other former Biggest Loser contestants. Bob interviews that he loves hearing stuff like this, and how he's had a part in making morbidly obese people get from Morbid to Triathlon.

Despite Dane's hilarious-and-totally-in-fun tactic of sending Rudy a pepperoni, ham and sausage pizza right after his last chance workout, Rudy DOES IT! Awesome! He thanks Dane for the inspiration. Good times.

Besides Rudy's triumph, other milestones this week:

  • Danny and Rudy drop below 350lbs
  • Daniel drops below 275lbs
  • Liz and Rebecca drop below 225lbs
  • Tracey drops below 200lbs
  • Liz and Shay hit the 15% of total weight loss mark
  • Rebecca and Rudy hit the 20% of total weight loss mark
  • Rebecca hits the 50lbs of total weight loss mark
  • Danny hits the 75lbs of total weight loss mark

Black goes on to lose the weigh-in. And they didn't just lose, they lost CONVINCINGLY. Danny, however, had an awesome week and earned immunity. Liz is elated by this and cackles witchily over the prospect of seeing "real tears" when Black comes out of elimination this week.

Ali doesn't permit Black to go back to the house and talk amongst themselves for an hour; they've got to go into elimination pretty much right away. So they do a quick chat. Abby points out how important it is for everybody else BUT her to stay at the ranch; basically, she falls on the sword for all of them, saying that she's achieved the purpose of her journey. Tears are actually RAINING out of Shay's eyes and she interviews about how amazing Abby is. In a poignant statement, she says that she spent years fighting for her mother's love, but she walked into the Biggest Loser house and Abby just GAVE it. Shay's testimonial in the elimination room is also ridiculously moving. She never had a mom and Abby doesn't have children anymore. Gawd. Like my cold isn't already making me congested enough. As she prepares to leave the house, Abby tells us that she's starting to have new dreams again.

In her at-home profile, Abby looks fantastic! She seems to be doing motivational speaking to youth. She's lost a total of 80lbs, and right at the end, we see that this episode is in memory of her husband and children.

Great quotes this week:

  • from Abby: "Tracey's um...well, she's crazy."
  • from Shay to Rudy: "You're not THAT tall."
  • from Daniel: "Derek Jeter just said my NAME!"
  • "The world is fixin' to be a better place because Abby is BACK."

Next week: with Abby gone, Danny's doomed. Also, watch for these possible milestones:

  • Shay could drop to under 400lbs
  • Amanda could hit the 15% of total weight loss mark
  • Allen and Danny could hit the 20% of total weight loss mark
  • Rudy could hit the 25% of total weight loss mark
  • Liz could hit the 50lbs of total weight loss mark
  • Shay could hit the 75lbs of total weight loss mark

Also next week (SPOILERS):

From The contestants, now competing individually, go to Washington, D.C., for a series of challenges. Included: a large-scale public workout with other volunteers at the Washington Monument; a meeting with members of Congress to discuss health education; a trip to the White House, where the players prepare a salad using ingredients from the garden; and a weigh-in by the Lincoln Memorial steps.

from jam! listings: The remaining contestants take a trip to Washington, D.C., including a visit to the White House kitchen; the players compete to get people to participate in a public workout; the trainers and contestants meet with members of Congress; elimination.

No comments: