Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/12/08 (Season 9 finale)

Welcome to the finale, everybody! I love Biggest Loser finales. It's like Christmas. Except that at Christmas, there aren't commercial breaks and recaps coming out the wazoo. And speaking of recaps, we start out the evening with footage of the Final Four, before they started this journey, projected digitally onto the stage. Ali promises that we will not believe the transformations. She leads us into the opening retrospective of the season. (And I confidently say "OPENING retrospective" because you just know that with a two-hour show, we're going to be ODing on retrospectives tonight.) It's pretty inspirational stuff.

(Odd moment: The retrospective shows a quick shot of Rudy's sister, and I'm suddenly struck by how much her smile resembles Dina's smile. No wonder Rudy chose her as his partner. That's pretty sweet.)

Ali then introduces the scale, to ominous music and cheers from the audience. It flexes its muscles and takes a bow. (No, of course it doesn't, as it's an inanimate object. Such a thing would be almost as ridiculous as introducing it to an audience as if it were a sentient being. Ahem.)

With that, we get right to the results of America's vote for the third finalist spot. The contenders, which you'll of course know if you've been following story, are Liz and Amanda. We start with Amanda. She punches through her fat picture and comes out looking very nice. And hey! They've taken a page from the Australian Biggest Loser playbook and are doing a side-by-side digitisation of Before Amanda walking beside After Amanda. I've always wished they'd do that on the American version, that's great to see. At any rate, we now have Ali and Amanda standing beside each other, and I'm getting flashbacks to Single White Female. Liz comes out next, looking sharp - I do like her outfit. Ali reveals that Liz actually wanted to quit for the first month of the show, and Liz tells us how close she indeed came to doing so. She and Amanda hold hands as Ali psyches us all out with a commercial break. The suspense isn't that riveting, though, because as lovely as these two women look, there's no way either of them can possibly beat Danny or Rudy in the finals. Regardless, it's Amanda who gets the vote once again, and she's very happy and grateful. Liz looks a bit pissed off.

We then move on to the very long segment of the show where we ignore the finalists completely. It's time to bring out the contestants who didn't make the Final Three! First up are the first four people to have been kicked off the ranch, although they don't come out in that order: Antoine, Alexandra, Sean and Julio. Antoine is looking unbelievably fly! My first thought is that he's going to give Rebecca a serious run for her money. Alexandra must be enjoying hitting that. And speaking of whom, she's looking pretty cute, although way too camera-muggy, as usual. She obviously still has a ways to go, though. Sean's doing okay too, he looks much more healthy. But the surprise is Julio! Look at him! He's very unrecognizable, although the facial hair is bleargh, it's kind of slimy. We start off the interviews by talking about Sean's new baby, Jillian May, whose picture flashes onto the screen. Sean says he's looking forward to her starting to motivate him...when she starts talking. (That was pretty funny.) Ali then turns to the new lo-vers to get their reactions. Alexandra loves having the support of another person, and Antoine loves all the unexpected good stuff that's come his way. Julio says he kept his promise.

Ali brings out Bob and Jillian, both dressed in slimming black. Jillian says the secret to keeping the weight off is to appreciate yourself.

Is it time for the first set of weigh-ins yet? Not quite. There is a recap toll we have to pay before getting to see each person's final weight. Alexandra was abandoned by her father when she was young, but now she's 91 pounds lighter, for a total of 29.45%. Antoine then takes the stage, and I still can't get over how great he looks. Like, really, amazingly good. He lost 152lbs for a total of 41.42%. That's excellent, but I change my mind - he's not going to catch Rebecca, who had lost a bigger percentage than that as of her Jay Leno interview a few weeks ago. We flash back to when Sean got to call home and find out the gender of his new baby, and then we see his pants-drop, which revealed not only his shrunken waistline, but his two older children. That was cute. He is looking mighty good as he stands on the scale. He's lost 155lbs for a total of 34.91%. Obviously he's not done, but it's an excellent start. Julio really does look amazing except for that gawdawful hairy spider on his face, argh! He blows ALL my expectations away with a weight loss of 180lbs, for a total of 44.23%. I start wondering if Rebecca's really going to win this after all, holy CRAP. Julio is very emotional and makes a cute crack about how his driver's licence is honest now.

Moving on to the next batch of contestants to have been eliminated from the ranch, this time actually coming out in the order in which they were eliminated. Mo looks good, with a purple sweater, a nice nod to his team colour there. Dina looks very snazzy, although I definitely wouldn't have put her in those pants. Abby looks ridiculously smoking. Finally, we have the villain of the season, Tracey. She looks very skinny, and not really in a good way. She is extremely muscular and shapeless, unfortunately, and the clunky shoes complete the awkwardness of the look. When we do a closeup on her face, she looks kind of sick. Her face is sagging in a scary way, and overall it looks like she's pulled a Helen. (If she wins the at-home prize, I may puke.)

In his recap, we see Mo fighting for it, and then looking very slick in his pants-drop profile. As the clip winds up, the audience is chanting his name because, well, who doesn't love Mo? He loses 92lbs for a total of 25.92%, and gives the camera a really excellent smile. We are then once again treated to the sight of Dina trying and failing to jump onto a stool. Finally at home, she gets it. She really is a pretty lady. She also has the distinction of weighing EXACTLY what I predicted she would. (DH: NAILED it!) She's lost 79lbs for a total of 31.23%. However, it's time to get sad again, because we're profiling Abby. (I found a YouTube video a few weeks ago which was a slide show of tons of photos of her husband and children. I just couldn't finish watching it. So heartbreaking.) The audience is on her feet for her. (And rightly so.) As the scale punches up her numbers, I notice that she is surprisingly top-heavy. Woo. She's lost exactly 100lbs for a total of 40.49%. Last of the group to weigh in is Tracey, aka Skeletor. Man, she has lost all her pretty. Despite her apparent unhealthy skinniness, though, she hasn't lost as much as it looks like she has. She's down 106lbs, which is 44.54%. She edges Julio off the podium by just 0.31%, but according to my numbers, Rebecca still has a really good shot.

The last contestants to have been kicked off the ranch are next. We start with Shay, who is wearing a very glam sparkly top, I like it. And hell-LO, Daniel! Starting to look cut! (DH: Look at you, dude!) The much-anticipated Rebecca, however, looks, well, slutty, not to put too fine a point on it. Her new hair colour is awful because of how revoltingly artificial it looks, and the dress is not flattering - it reveals a lot of saggy leg skin. However, I will say that at least the cut of her hair is very cute. And of course she looks like she's done a beautiful job with the weight loss. My hope that Tracey will not win this thing is renewed. Allen hops down the stairs like a spry little elf. As they're all lined up, Shay looks tall and confident. Then Dr. H stands up to talk about how freaky-scary Daniel and Shay were when we first saw them. Daniel had adult diabetes when he was freakin' TWELVE, for example. Dr. H preaches about how bypass is not the only answer - in fact, it apparently gives people of Shay's and Daniel's previous size a one in ten chance of DYING within the first year. Also, Dr. H really needs to cut his hair. He says that Shay and Daniel have gained 13 and 23 more years of life expectancy, respectively. Really good times. Rebecca and Allen, however, don't even get to say a peep before we're hauled off to another commercial.

As we come back, Tracey is looking freaked out as all hell UNTIL SHE REALISES THE CAMERA IS ACTUALLY ON HER, and then she gives a million-dollar smile. Whoops. With that, we move to Shay's very sad life story, and see the pants-drop that was never shown the week she left the ranch. As she steps on the scale, she is looking really cute. She's lost 172lbs for a total of 36.13%. I'm so proud of her, that's awesome. Of course, it's not even remotely close to beating Tracey, but it is no small feat to lose that kind of weight. As we go to Daniel's recap, his girlfriend Rebecca fondles the back of his neck. He doesn't look particularly thrilled about it, though. We see him from Season 7 when he was frickin' enormous. It really is hard to believe that he was that guy. He blows my expectations away by losing 111lbs for a total of 35.58%. And from his starting point at the beginning of Season 7, he has lost 253lbs for a total of 55.73%. That. Is. Excellent. Onto Rebecca, whose arms are quite skinny now, they look good. But she's having way too much fun being the centre of attention. (DH: She's enjoying being glamourous, and she's overdoing it.) Ali tells Rebecca how much she needs to lose to beat Tracey, and she loses it for about two seconds - I'm sure this is because she knows that number is no problem and that she's about to be much, much richer. Indeed, she beats my prediction very handily, dropping 139lbs for a total of 49.82%. She has knocked Tracey off the podium, to the eternal gratitude of the (rather considerable, I expect) anti-Tracey crowd, and does her trademarked cutesy happy dance. She really does have a Bridget Fonda thing going on, doesn't she?

We still have Allen and Liz to weigh in, but this is kind of anti-climactic as they really have no chance. We definitely want to see them anyway, though. First up is Allen, the awesome stand-up guy who saves people's lives and property for a living. He really does look awesome now, at 116lbs lighter for a total of 35.69%. However, it's worth noting that his final weight was 209lbs, but during his Jay Leno interview, he said his weight was 200lbs. So he's actually gained nine pounds in two weeks?!? That's worrying. Liz's turn is coming soon, and she looks scared as shit. To compound her suspenseful freakout, we go to commercial. When we return, Liz has lost 91lbs for a total of 34.08%. This is a lovely amount of weight but it doesn't even touch the numbers of Rebecca, who loses her shit and jumps Bob, wrapping her legs around him. Ali tries to ask her a few questions, but she's so ridiculously jittery that it's actually kind of freaky. She then hugs a whole bunch of people who aren't Daniel, including another jump-and-leg-wrap, around SEAN of all people. (If I were Sean's wife, I would probably be kind of pissed at that.) But as I say, Daniel doesn't seem to get any attention from her, which is odd, since they're supposed to be together and in love? Curious.

Once everyone's calmed down a wee bit, Ali calls out Shay, who clearly has no idea what's going on. DH theorizes that they're going to offer her a spot in Season 9, which is a great idea, but not quite what the show has in mind. Rather, Subway wishes to reward Shay for memorizing their menu and generally plugging them at every possible opportunity by inviting her to weigh in at the Season 9 finale. They will be giving her a thousand dollars for every pound she has lost between now and then. This is very exciting and terrific! Her husband Gene looks realy stoked about this prospect, and starts doing a happy dance up to the stage...but suddenly stops. I'm guessing he was shown the hand by someone on crew. Bob tells Shay that she's inspirational and that we're all invested in her story. (True.) She's happy as a clam and vows to get down to 204lbs. Go, Shay.

At long last, it's time to pay some attention to the Final Three. No, not the actual Final Three, the RECAPS of the Final Three. (You didn't seriously think we'd get to the main show this far out from the end of the show's timeslot, did you? Foolish viewers.) Roll a profile of Rudy, who started with 442lbs and a sunburned nose and cheeks. He spent his time on the ranch dragging Jillian (and sometimes Bob) around the gym, before opening up about his sister and winning a marathon.

But then, in the middle of all this finalist stuff, Antoine is on the stage. I find this confusing...until I get what he's about to do (I'd been wondering whether this would happen). The audience also clues in that a proposal is in the offing, and starts whooping in anticipation. And indeed, he gets Alexandra out there with him and goes down on one knee. He can't stop crying, she can't stop laughing. Okay, this is the sweetest thing ever. DH and I are both totally vorklempt. She holds out her hand for that rock faster than anyone I've ever seen! Their moms go apeshit huggy with each other in the audience before they engage in a very nice liplock. (Antoine and Alexandra, that is, not their moms.) THAT IS GOOD TV, PEOPLE!!!

To continue the love (and finalist avoidance), we profile all the food bank assistance which the Biggest Loser has been inspiring over the last year. We then go in for a General Mills plug, following Bob around the country as he fights hunger in America through "Wake Up to Hunger". 49 million Americans are struggling with hunger, so General Mills is donating 49 million bowls of cereal. That adds up to just one meal for all the hungry people, which obviously isn't enough, so your help is needed. It'll make you feel good to help others, America. Bob sez so. Go to and get involved with the Pound for Pound Challenge.

At last, back to the finalists. Next up is Danny. He started at 430lbs and holy crow, he really was huge. A far cry from the "rock star" he used to be. We watch him get double digits for a record-breaking seven-week streak. By the final weigh-in, he had a really nice Kenneth Branagh thing going on with his face. "It's gonna be awesome," we watch Big Danny interviewing, and yes, buddy, yes you are. (Danny for the win.)

We still don't get to see Danny and Rudy though, because we have to check in with Erin from the vote on last season's finale. She's lost 70lbs (or was it 72?) and looks gorgeous. Her competitor Amanda then gets her retrospective played. We see a lot of whining before she starts kicking ass, as Bob looks on with deep satisfaction. Pretty girl.

At last, here are da boys! Rudy looks EXCELLENT. (DH: Oh, it's ON.) He is tall and lanky and, well, hot. He, too, gets a digitisation of his old self walking down the catwalk with his new self. After Rudy reaches over to pat Before Rudy's ass, which is HILARIOUS. In the audience, his older daughter covers her ears to block out the screaming. Finally, he gets to talk. Once he returned home, he realised he had a thousand excuses in his old life, including a horrific 70-hour work week. But after coming back from the ranch, he still made it work. (DH: Yeah, he's gotta stop working 70 hours a week.)

And how does Danny look? Damn, DAMN good, although his outfit throws me off at first. That combination of shiny shirt and velevety vest is, I'm not going to lie, awful. (DH: He's got a little bit of Jimmy Stewart in him, too.) However, the more I see of Danny, the more fantastic he looks. My husband concurs, and starts raving: "LOOK at him! He's a movie star! He could have women falling at his feet! If I was his wife, I'd be kinda nervous! To hell with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, there it is, guys!" (He's straight, I swear.) Danny really is very handsome, but in a totally accessible, "I'm just a regular guy" kind of way. Wow. DH is right, no wonder his wife feels insecure. (Hm. Any bets that that's why he ended up gaining the weight, because he felt a subconscious need to reassure his wife that he wasn't going to stray? Interesting.) Anyhoo, he tells Ali that nobody recognizes him anymore, to the point where he'll be at the gym and the Biggest Loser will be playing on the TV, and he'll look around nervously for a mob of crazed fans, and NOBODY MAKES THE CONNECTION. Hilarious.

But you know we have to drag this thing out a little bit more, so we get to see a preview of Season 9, which starts January 5. Apparently, one of the qualifications for anyone who wanted to compete in the upcoming season was to strip down to the bare essentials, and weigh in in front of HUGE amounts of people that they KNOW, to show them how much they really weigh. Man, that is harsh. The contestants are overflowing with issues. One of the pairs is a married couple who aren't even friends anymore. Another guy tells says he's never had a girlfriend in his entire life. (Dude, consider the possibility that it could be your hair. Seriously.) It all flashes by pretty quickly, but I did catch a moment where some older woman in orange is getting completely aggressive, which looked AWESOME. Just four more weeks. Can't wait.

Scale time. Amanda's really just there to look pretty, though - this competition is between the guys. Danny gets to choose the order of weigh-in, since he was the biggest loser upon leaving the ranch. He goes with Amanda-Rudy-Daniel, which is my anticipated order of finish. However, yet again, we have to pay a recap toll: before each finalist weighs in, we have to see a retrospective of their previous weigh-ins. (Kill me now.) Amanda had a hilarious cute little dance of celebration when she did well. But now, she thrusts her chest out and waits for the verdict. She is down 87lbs (just 7lbs of extra weight loss since we last saw her), for a total of 34.80%. Next!

(ANOTHER commercial? Are you kidding me?)

Rudy's weight loss successes week after week were amazing. His final loss is a whopping 234lbs (45lbs of extra weight loss since we last saw him), for a fantastic total of 52.94%. Danny's jaw is on the floor, he's totally gobsmacked, and looks quite worried as we go into his weigh-in retrospective, in which we see that his weigh-in success move is a big hearty clap. (DH, looking at Danny's face: "Bit of Hugh Grant, too." Me: "I'VE BEEN SAYING THAT FOR WEEKS!") Danny has to have lost more than 227lbs to beat Rudy, which means that he has to have lost 27lbs since we last saw him. Danny tells us what a great guy Rudy is, and that he hasn't had a better friend in the house (take that, Liz), and that Rudy is an inspiration. Finally, Ali cuts him off so we can get to the meat-and-potatoes. Danny loses 239lbs for a total of 55.58%. This beats Rudy handily, and wins Danny the title and the $250,000 prize money. It also means, as far as I've been able to find out, that he has the highest single-season weight loss percentage of anyone on any Biggest Loser show anywhere in the world. And as far as I'm concerned, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Hooray.

Later, Danny has an interview with that extremely effeminate Ross guy on the Jay Leno Show. Danny tells us that the first thing he's going to buy with his prize money is new carpet for the house. He and his wife have had the same awful carpet for eight years and desperately need another one. Ross replies that this is great, because he just looooves carpet! And I'm thinking, Ross, do NOT love "carpet", if you know what I mean. ;D

So it's happy all round! New carpet, the good guys win, the bad guys don't, everyone's healthier, and love triumphs over all. One of the best seasons ever. See you in Season 9.

How my predictions stacked up

Not too badly. Some excellent successes, and some surprises. Julio was the big surprise of the night, in a good way (I love that), and there were some people who fell short of expectations, too. Here's how I did.

Placement of the finalists

100% correct

Placement of the at-home contestants

  • Was off by 5 spots for one contestant
  • Was off by 3 spots for five contestants
  • Was off by 1 spot for two contestants
  • Correctly guessed the placement for five contestants, including the winner

Final weights

  • Big fails
    • Underestimated Julio by 35lbs
    • Underestimated Daniel by 16lbs
    • Overestimated Sean by 15lbs
    • Overestimated Danny by 14lbs
    • Overestimated Allen by 12lbs
    • Underestimated Rebecca by 10lbs
  • Decent guesses
    • Off on Tracey's and Liz's weights by 8lbs
    • Off on Amanda's and Rudy's weights by 7lbs
  • Successes
    • Off on Antoine's and Abby's weights by 5lbs
    • Off on Shay's weight by 4lbs
    • Off on Mo's and Alexandra's weights by 3lbs
    • Got Dina right on the money

Final standings

Who Loss Weight BMI
Mo 25.92% 263lbs 33.8
Alexandra 29.45% 218lbs 33.1
Dina 31.23% 174lbs 29.0
Liz 34.08% 176lbs 27.6
Amanda 34.80% 163lbs 26.3
Sean 34.91% 289lbs 37.1
Daniel 35.58% 201lbs 30.6
Allen 35.69% 209lbs 29.1
Shay 36.13% 304lbs 46.2
Abby 40.49% 147lbs 25.2
Antoine 41.42% 215lbs 29.2
Julio 44.23% 227lbs 30.8
Tracey 44.54% 132lbs 24.1
Rebecca 49.82% 140lbs 22.6
Rudy 52.94% 208lbs 25.3
Danny 55.58% 191lbs 26.6

purple = morbidly obese
red = clinically obese
orange = obese
yellow = overweight
green = normal

No comments: