Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/10/20

Blue returns from elimination looking glum. Danny pulls out the crazy eyes when Tracey walks into the room. The rest of Black is pretty shocked, too, as they figured Tracey was the obvious choice to go. Rudy explains that Mo fell on the sword. People ask Tracey what she's feeling. Tracey immediately pulls out the crocodile tears and says it was obvious from everyone's faces that they were all surprised to see her there. Shay interviews that she just wants Tracey to shut the hell up and stop making everything about her. Right on cue, we see Tracey sobbing pathetically about the sheer agony of the elimination room. Shay is so fed up with this that she leaves the room. Were I there, I'd be right behind her. Amanda thinks not voting off Tracey was stupid, but is honestly just happy that Tracey's not on her team.

But to training. Black's on spin bikes and feeling good. Blue is on the treadmill and determined not to hit the elimination room again. Rebecca looks strong. Tracey is swinging her arms and breathing out her mouth like she is just the most focused creature ever, breathily giving herself little pep talks every now and then and letting out hard-done-by breathless sighs. She interviews that being on a treadmill is enough to make her feel "so damn accomplished." The rest of her team, however, is capable of shutting up while they work.

(No, I'm not in the least objective about Tracey. So shoot me.)

To the beach at night, for a challenge. The teams have to go digging for keys in the sand. Four keys per team. Each team has a box, and all four keys are needed to unlock it. The prizes are inside. Ali isn't really any more forthcoming about the prizes except that they will "definitely determine who stays on campus...and who goes home". Oh, Ali, you tricksy little minx, you, with your clever wordplay. Daniel thinks it's a huge prize simply because they're not being told what it is. As usual, Tracey and Abby have to sit out, leaving Black one person up, so Amanda also sits out because she hates sand.

Shay opts to use her arms instead of a shovel. Liz uses her feet, egged on by Tracey. Sweat is pouring off of Rudy's forehead and down his nose. (At least, I hope that was sweat dripping off his nose and not mucus pouring OUT of it! Ew.)

The keys appear to be buried really deeply. Even when people actually hit the cases containing the keys, it takes a while to dig them out enough to access them. Danny's the first to succeed. He then helps Daniel. Or, rather, takes OVER for Daniel, who kind of just stands there looking useless while Danny works like crazy. More keys are found. Sweat drips everywhere. Shay tells us that digging in sand is exhausting. (I believe her. I suck at digging.) Finally, Blue gets out their last key and opens the case to home! Rudy and Allen are pretty stoked. Ali offers Blue the offer of declining and giving the tickets to the Black team, since being home means no trainers and no gym; potential disadvantage. Daniel hopes that Blue keeps the tickets. But no, Blue sends Black home. Danny experiences "sweet pain" and is kinda scared about this. Or, as Daniel says, "That's, like, exciting, but sucks, too." Deep, dude. Shay interviews that this is the biggest test.

So it's time for homecomings. Daniel's (I presume) grandmother makes excited little circles with her hands as he comes in the door. Abby has a whole mess of family and friends screaming joyfully at her arrival, which is so wonderful. Dina is really happy to see her son. A little happy to see her husband, but mostly happy to see her son. And Shay is apparently...married? Why is this the first we're hearing of this? His name is Gene and he seems like a really nice guy. (Good.) Shay also has some step-sons, who are diligently doing homework when she shows up. Amanda's family has festooned the house with pink balloons. Her parents are delighted, and Amanda shows off her size 16 pants. Danny's son looks exactly like him. His wife and kids practically pile on him when he comes in the door, it's very sweet. His wife interviews that she sees the old Danny in his eyes.

So onto the business of losing weight in the place where you gained it. Shay goes grocery shopping with her husband and step-kids, looking for organic stuff, and her husband flashes us a Jennie O product placement. Danny shows his daughter his food journal. Abby is tempted by brisket at a family barbecue. Dina goes running alongside her son riding his bicycle. Amanda Danny spends time with his wife by taking her to the gym. Abby continues to work around her stress fracture by swimming a lot and riding a stationary bike. Daniel runs on the treadmill and...uh...mops the floor by hand?

Back on the ranch, Bob brings last chance workout-style hell to his team. Liz thinks she's going to die. Tracey looks desperate. Rebecca looks beautifully determined. Allen looks distressed. Bob is pleased.

Dina has to take her son to the gym with her, which must be pretty boring for him, but at least he brought a book. I don't know why Dina's husband can take care of their son when Dina's at the ranch, but the second she comes home, that support goes out the window? But what do I know. Her son seems really impressed with how fast she can run, anyway. Jillian calls Amanda at the gym and Amanda confesses that she feels totally at sea in a strange gym. Jillian tells her she already knows what to do and suddenly, magically, she does! Shay talks about the difficulty of being fat and walking into a gym. She talks about how people stare at her, but this pronouncement is kind of spoiled by the fact that we're simultaneously seeing shots of her in the gym around people who are not looking at her at ALL. (Whoops.) She, however, is staring at THEM. (Double whoops.) So I'm thinking that a lot of her discomfort is in her head. She says it's really hard without the support at the ranch, but she's determined to do it because she has to. DH: She's wrapped up in terror.

Back at the ranch, Liz and Tracey are really enjoying the lack of drama without Black in the house. (I find this confusing, since I thought that it was Tracey's drama that Liz had a problem with, and that Liz's best friends were really in Black? On the other hand, this could just all be part of Liz's smokescreen plan to make it out like she's Tracey's best friend before sinking a knife into her back.) Bob talks about the importance of what you learn on the ranch being taken back to your home. This segues into nutrient-rich drinks, and THAT segues into the fact that we should all be buying and drinking milk. Liz vows to stop purchasing sodas in favour of sweet, delicious, nutritious milk. Does a body good.

Black team people eat food. Abby warns everyone that she will be really annoying at restaurants from now on. Danny tells his kids they're not going out to eat; instead, he will make delicious-looking kebabs on the barbie. He does all the work and his daughter attempts to get enthusiastic about the food. (She fails.) She later wants to go with her dad to the zoo, but he has to go to the gym. That sucks. Dina and Shay, however, are finding a distinct lack of support in their families. Shay's husband is still ordering the same crap they always did before she went to the ranch and she's horrified to notice that her step-children are, too, because that's the example they've been set. She then freaks out about the fact that she can see oil on her chicken. Dina is having a hard time with the number of appetizers at the table, and they do indeed look grossly fattening. She's shocked at how much her husband eats. She tries to encourage him to stop and take a doggie bag, but he tells her that doggie bags are for dessert. She's kind of disgusted and I don't blame her. She realises she has to set a better example. DH: "Either that or she needs to get a new husband. Why do they think she's there?"

More product placement! Shay's face is definitely looking thinner as she tells us that we should all eat at Subway. She is frighteningly knowledgeable about the product lineup and what to buy in order to get the value meal. As they're eating outside, she and her friends chat about her successes and the tough times.

Danny's wife brings over photos of their honeymoon and we see clips of him with a horrible hairstyle - mullet pulled back into a ponytail. Man, I'm happy he lost that sometime between then and now! He talks about how he never gave his wife the champion that he wanted to be. They talk about how he felt that he was in a hole he couldn't dig out of. (Challenge symbolism!) He wishes this light had come on sooner and is thankful for being on the show. Everybody else starts the tearfest as they head back.

So it's back to the food bank where they held a challenge last year, because the Blue team wants to help out. The guy in charge of the food bank tells them that, by a staggering coincidence, they couldn't have come at a better time. (Oh, Superman, thank goodness you've come!) The team will fill backpacks for the backpack program, for kids who need food at home on the weekend. Tracey explains this concept to us in detail. Liz reflects that it's pretty pathetic that there are children who don't have enough food when the US is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. (Ya think? Didn't Bobby Kennedy say something like that quite some time ago?) Tracey vows to bring her kids to a food bank when she gets home to volunteer some more.

Black comes home and Danny boots them all to the gym for the last chance workout. Jillian implements beatings. which Shay loves. Danny seems to have turned a corner and is "getting his Superman back". He foolishly tells Jillian he feels no pain. Alas, we never see her making him eat these words. Bob says that if his team loses this weigh-in, it'll be pathetic. Tracey loves sweating like a pig. Then Jillian threatens Daniel with death and yells at him that he's not working to his potential. He looks quite distressed. Jillian interviews that she's quite concerned about his low intensity and poor weight loss. She thinks there's a piece of the puzzle she's not getting. Finally Daniel breaks down into tears and apologizes. He talks about how his mom's constant nagging him about his weight as he was growing up made him feel that he wasn't good enough. He feels like crap for treating his mom like crap. It's a breakthrough. Hugs ensue.

Weigh-in time! Black feels doomed. Bob threatens dire pissed-offedness if Blue doesn't win it. Allen has a good result and Rebecca uses this as an opportunity to pat him on the ass. Tracey goes to pieces at her four-pound loss and brings out the crazy eyes. All the other ladies get small results, too, and start getting really annoyed, especially Liz. Rudy, however, pulls out a gorgeous 14-pound loss and his face practically lights up with joy. I really like that man. Ali points out that he's within shouting distance of the 100lb mark, and if he does lose 13 pounds next week, he will have hit 100lbs of weight loss faster than anyone in Biggest Loser history.

Time for the Blacks to weigh in! Danny looks glum. Tracey hopes they ate cake and drank sodas. Bitch. Abby reveals that her parents said the biggest difference they saw when she went home was that they saw life in her again. Cue my tear ducts. Tracey gloats that she thinks Blue will win. Bitch. Things aren't going so great for the Black team until Danny pulls a massive number (YAY!). Liz actually looks pissed off at this, which is weird. I can get on board with her faking being fed up with Black team drama for the sake of fooling Tracey, but to the point where her first reaction at seeing her former partner do really well is to get mad? Mmmm, not so sure what's going on with Liz there. Anyway, it's all up to Daniel, who actually GAINS a pound. He's not happy. It's embarrassing, it makes him a target, etc. He's tearful. He earnestly assures his team that he did not slack off, and they all totally believe him (as do I). Jillian did warn him by phone earlier in the week that you can retain water from travelling, so maybe that's it? Regardless, it's Black in the elimination room this week.

Milestones achieved:

  • Allen, Danny and Tracey hit the 15% total weight loss mark
  • Allen dropped below 275lbs
  • Allen hit the 50lbs of total weight loss mark
  • Rudy hit the 75lbs of total weight loss mark
  • Danny moved from super-obese to morbidly obese

So I thought Daniel was doomed, but it turns out he has enough support that Dina is gone instead. Even in the little clip showing us her first day and her vote-off day, you can totally see the difference in her face, it's great. She vows to win this battle. Her goal is to be "all me". And now she weighs 188 and she looks terrific. She takes her son to the gym and presses him on the leg weights. :) He's her little chererleader, it's so sweet! And, miracle of miracles, she can jump onto a friggin stool! Her son finds everything more exciting now because of his awesome mom. Finally, Dina gets a makeover and they chop off a fair bit of hair. Unfortunately, she's chosen a dress that makes her look kind of huge. The other thing I notice is that her husband is NOWHERE in her profile. That's concerning - methinks the lack of support finally got to her and she kicked him to the curb? Who knows.

Exchange of the night:

Ali: Remember what you're playing for!
Rebecca: We don't know!
Ali: Oh...right.

Next week, look for the following potential milestones:

  • Rebecca could hit 50lbs of total weight loss
  • Danny could hit 75lbs of total weight loss
  • Danny and Rudy could go below 350lbs
  • Daniel could go below 275lbs
  • Liz could go below 225lbs
  • Abby and Tracey could go below 200lbs
  • Liz and Shay could hit 15% of total weight loss
  • Rudy could hit 20% of total weight loss
  • Abby, Liz and Amanda could move from clinically obese to obese

Also next week (SPOILERS)

Jam! listings: Derek Jeter talks to the contestants about teamwork before they take part in a baseball challenge; Curtis Stone prepares a healthy meal for the challenge winner; a contestant breaks a Biggest Loser record.

TV Guide listings: Derek Jeter leads a baseball challenge in which the winner receives a healthy Mediterranean meal cooked by chef Curtis Stone. Also: the players compete directly with a member of the other team during the weigh-in; and a contestant breaks a show record.

I'm guessing that record-breaking is going to be Rudy hitting 100lbs of weight loss, which would be really freakin' awesome.

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?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Biggest Loser Review, 2009/10/06


Flashback to last week: Tracey wins "control" of the weigh-in, Dan asks Tracey to pick him to weigh in, and Tracey seems to go along. But then she picks Shay at the actual moment.

Flash forward to this week: Orange and Purple talking to each other, because Shay wants everything out there and under the bridge. Shay tells Purple very clearly that Tracey said the words "I want to see you stay here" but then put Shay on the scale. Mo complains that people wanted favours from Purple without being willing to give Purple anything in return. Shay accurately responds that when someone says they want you to stay, that is not a FAVOUR. Tracey, despite ALL evidence to the contrary, stammers out, "I am straight up, I really am," which is really quite incredibly delusional, not to mention that she is waaay too white to pull that expression off. :) But the baldface lie sends Shay into renewed tears and incredulity. Tracey tells Orange that she thought Shay would drop a huge number, and then protests in an interview that "I didn't do anything!"

Upshot: Shay doesn't trust Purple. Not Tracey (although I think especially Tracey), but Purple as a whole. Also: Purple is probably doomed.

Bob and Jillian return to see Red is gone. Rudy explains that Antoine and Sean volunteered to go, sacrificing themselves for Shay. Jillian, for some bizarre reason, takes issue with this; apparently Red's display of human compassion and decency is symbolic of not putting yourself first, which is how the contestants got fat in the first place. So today's lesson is, always look out for number one, no matter what the cost. Bob backs her up. I think they're both insane. I mean, yes, absolutely take care of yourself, but there's a freakin' limit, people.

Bob lets us in on the fact that Tracey hasn't even touched the gym because of her mysterious medical issues. This means that she has managed to avoid the beatings that Bob and Jillian like to dish out in order to delve to the root of people's psychological problems, which is of course half the fun of being on the show. So Tracey's really missing out. And so, by extension, are we, since Tracey has psychological problems coming out the freakin' wazoo.

Queue the sweat. Oh, and the jiggly camera movements whenever people's weights touch the floor. (What is this, Star Trek?) Daniel interviews that Week 4 is a big deal for him because Week 4 is when he went home last time. Amanda adjusts her bra strap. People weep and wail as they lift arm weights, and then Bob hustles them over to cardio. Bob reminds Amanda that between two pretty much equally bland young, blonde, perky fat girls to be on this show, America chose HER, and by golly, that toss of the coin must mean that she has hitherto unplumbed specialness and depth, so dammit, MOVE YOUR LEGS ON THAT SPINNING MACHINE!

Meanwhile, Jillian is on Julio's case. She wants to know why he gained weight, but he says he doesn't know. Jillian keeps pushing. Julio says, "But I'm happy!" then repeats it tearfully. Jillian points out that yeah, he looks thrilled. She's not talking about happiness in his family. "Have you ever been good enough?" she asks. "Have you ever been excellent in your life?" Yes, he tells her: in food. He knows loads about it, including how to eat it, clearly. Jillian asks, so is this the one thing you're great at? What happens when that's gone? Julio tells her he won't get rid of his food love, he'll just CHANGE it. That's a pretty good answer, but I think Jillian's kind of missing the point. Anybody remember Julio's phone call home a few weeks ago, when his mom got on the line and asked him accusingly if he was crying? (The very strong implication being that men don't cry.) Yeah. I'm guessing at least some of his issues stem from there. Maybe he could never be good enough for his mom.

Dr. H shows up for Tracey. She's expecting great news, that she can go into the gym now. Dr. H says that her attempt to beat Dan in the mile run caused a serious injury to her muscle. Which muscle we aren't told, but I guess that's not important right now. However, it means they've been doing blood tests on her every few days. Her CPK enzyme levels went up really high, which is an indication of muscle injury. Too much of this enzyme can start to damage the kidneys and other organs, so this is obviously not a good thing. The levels are still high, so Tracey is not allowed to do anything. Seriously, ANYTHING. No walking, no pool, zippo. Tracey gives Mo the lowdown. Mo is obviously pretty bummed. Man, when he got stuck with Tracey he really got well and truly screwed.

Into the kitchen, where Ali is waiting. She introduces the week's twist: lock up your pots and pans, the kitchen is closed! With chains and padlocks everywhere. Cupboards, fridges, everything is off-limits. Shay says, "That's scary..." in a truly scary voice, reminiscent of that "They're here" kid from Poltergeist. Like seriously, Shay, you can keep that voice hidden far away for the rest of the season so I don't have nightmares, mmmkay? Abby puts on her patented thinking face to try and figure out what's going on. Ali reveals that everything will be locked up for the whole week and the contestants are going to have to order out for EVERYTHING. Everyone is gobsmacked, and, I'm guessing, damn pissed off. Ali points out, though, that life involves not eating in for every single meal, so this is going to be good practice for when they all go home and have to film footage for their profiles in restaurants. Tracey interviews that since she can't do any exercise, her nutrition has to be perfect, so this is the worst thing ever for her. Which makes me think if maybe the show's producers aren't trying to kick her off? Oh, what a lovely thought. But anyway...

It's time for a pop challenge. Ali will present three meal choices, and the contestants have to choose the healthiest one. The winner gets free healthy groceries for a year. Everyone LOVES the idea of this prize. Shay reveals that she holds down three jobs (THREE?!?) in order to pay the bills, so this prize is huge. For some reason, only three teams (Orange, Brown and Pink) choose the meal which doesn't involve chicken with the skin on, and thus get to vie for the grand prize by guessing how many calories are in the winning meal without going over. (DH: Shouldn't Bob Barker be asking this?) Pink makes what I think is a ridiculously low guess, but the other two teams go over, so Pink is the grand winnah. Shay shoots them a half-serious, half-kidding look of deep bitterness. But all is not lost, because everybody gets a Biggest Loser book! And just to emphasize the point, we get a closeup shot of the book with Ali doing a beautiful Vanna-style shill.

(What's with the beach ball?)

So it's mealtime, and everyone is freaking the hell out about ordering in. Getting food now carries the complexity and stress of planning a major military manouever. Despite waffling about choices for a really long time and spending forever on the phone being extremely specific about what they want, the contestants experience general dissatisfaction with how things came in. For instance, in many cases, there's cheese all over stuff. Also, Julio's "no melon, I'm allergic" specs were not only ignored, but he ended up with melon over everything. (Great.) This exercise inspires Danny to make big plans for cooking when he gets home. Julio reflects that picking unhealthy bits out of your salad is an indication of personal strength. (Okayyyyy...)

I get all drooly as Jillian plugs cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes. Mmmm, cauliflower...

(Donald Trump has a line of mattresses? MATTRESSES?!?!?!?)

Bob and Jillian are back and everyone pretends to cheer. However, you know that they're actually very un-thrilled to see them, as it probably means another round of getting chewed out. As the trainers blather on, we get very clear product shots of people chewing a lot of gum. Also, Rebecca has insane hair. Finally, Bob and Jillian decide to take the contestants out to dinner at a restaurant to show them what to do. I'm convinced that it'll be Subway, but no, it turns out to be an actual local sit-down restaurant called The Spanish Kitchen. This apparently means Mexican food (I would have thought it meant Spanish food, but clearly I'm just weird that way), which of course is very challenging for the weight-conscious.

Everybody starts off well, by saying no to the bread, and the waiters actually take the baskets away. Then it's Rebecca's turn for the psychotherapy, because she lets on that she'd love to eat all the fantastic things on the menu, no thanks to Jillian, who rubbed it in that it's all stuff the contestants can't have. So Jillian confronts Rebecca, saying that this kind of life change is HARD, so unless there's an actual seriously-desireable goal behind it, failure will result. Rebecca starts in with the pat 'I wanna be healthy' response, but Jillian isn't buying, finally getting Rebecca to name meaningful goals, which I thought was good. Rebecca interviews that all this change is really hard. As Bob backs up the lesson, Jillian gives a sly wink to somebody else on the other side of the table, which was kind of creepy.

Finally, the waiters come to take orders and Bob and Jillian turn into freakin' despots. Then the contestants start ordering for themselves and it's like thirteen individual Meg Ryans from When Harry Met Sally all at the same table. Shay tells us not to be shy about sending things back that aren't to your satisfaction. Apparently, waiters are there to help you and make sure you are happy with your dining experience. Personally, I think she's a bit delusional, and that what the waiters are really doing back in the kitchen is bitching about her to the rest of the wait staff while passing her plate round for everyone to sneeze on. But perhaps I'm too cynical? Meanwhile, Jillian's giving Amanda's dinner the thumbs up, and I do have to agree that the chicken and avocado looks yum. Jillian yells at them all for forgetting their calorie counters at home, and we see interviews with a few people beating their breasts and swearing that, as God is their witness, they will never leave their calorie counters at home again! Bob gives Dina's dinner the thumbs up except for possible salt in the beans. Rudy ruminates on how great it is that he knows he can go home and have dinner at a restaurant without ruining his health.

Onto the challenge, for which the prize is, of course, immunity, so Tracey wants it. Daniel is also pretty keen, as he's dead set against going home in Week 4 a second time. Contestants have to hang onto a bar suspended at a bit of an angle above a pool, so they're holding up a lot of their own weight. If they let go, they're dumped in the water. Tracey and Abby can't play. I'm not sure about the logic of sitting Abby out, since her injury is in her LEG, but whatever. Liz is freaked out by heights, so this is not a fun challenge for her. DH and I both predict Allen as the winner. A lot of people look like they're doing a great job finding their place of serenity. Liz kicks off the flow of people getting eliminated from the challenge. Clearly this is not easy, but Allen looks like he's having naptime. Dina is extremely angry when she hits the drink. Shay interviews that she loves that she was still in there, and Shay, I'm delighted right along with you! She comes in fourth, followed by Julio, leaving just Allen and Daniel. Finally, Allen actually lets go! Daniel wins!

Over we go to the agonized faces and dripping sweat that is the last chance workout. This week's whiner to incur Jillian's wrath is Rudy, who admittedly doesn't do all that much whinging. However, it's an opportunity for Jillian to spout off a pretty good line: "I don't care! I'm not Bob! Pick up the weight!" Tracey, however, is in the kitchen doing absolutely nothing, so Mo's got the pressure on. Julio refers to Mo as "the old warrior," which all sounds terrific until Mo puts his back out and declares himself done. Bob, however, instead of feeling guilt at breaking Mo, says that Mo is just panicking. Apparently Mo is in pain all the time. But cue the overdone triuphant orchestral music as Mo hobbles back into the gym!

It's time for the weigh-in, or, as Danny calls it, a crap shoot. Everyone's stressing about what the order-in twist is going to do to their results. Rebecca's crazy hair is back. Dina tells Ali that she probably went under her calories a lot this week in an effort not to screw up with the food and that she didn't have as much energy. Liz sums it up a lot better, though: "It sucked."

Daniel loses nothing this week and everyone instantly jumps on him for gameplaying. He says, "I didn't, I swear to God!" And y'know, it's my understanding that Daniel is a Jesus freak, so I'm willing to take his word for it there. Jillian, however, is not willing. Liz expresses a complete lack of confidence in herself as she takes her turn to weigh in. DH says: "She seems brow-beaten. That's her issue."

Once again, beyond all reason, Tracey loses weight. She and Mo are safe, and everybody else looks around at each other like, "How the hell are we going to manage to get RID of these people?"

Milestones achieved:

  • Danny, Julio, Liz, Mo and Tracey hit 10% total loss
  • Liz and Tracey hit 25lbs of total loss
  • Allen and Rebecca moved from morbidly obese to clinically obese

At the end of it, though, it's Black and Brown below the yellow line. Since they really love each other, we are faced with yet another this-sucks-rocks decision. Purple is particularly conflicted because Mo promised never to put Julio's name down and Tracey promised the same thing to Liz. (Whoops. Maybe you guys shoulda consulted with each other on that beforehand?) The four youngest people in the house discuss strategies and how they want to play the game.

But in the end, Julio is given the boot. At home, we see that his new favourite place is the gym. He looks much better, and weighs 299lbs! He's trying to get down to 207 by the finale.

Next week, look for...

  • Amanda and Dina could drop below 225lbs
  • Amanda and Dina could hit 25lbs total lost
  • Danny and Shay could hit 50lbs total lost
  • Rudy could hit 75lbs total lost
  • Amanda, Dina, Shay and Daniel could hit 10% total loss
  • Abby, Rebecca, Rudy and Allen could hit 15% total loss
  • Mo could move from being morbidly obese to clinically obese

Also next week: (SPOILERS)

A challenge winner gets to divide the contestants into two teams; one contestant gives another a special gift; a difficult elimination results in another player being sent home.